Sameness – Koan 46

No. 46. Sameness

In the first year of Shunyu (1241) of the Southern Sung Dynasty, priest Rankei (afterwards Zen Master Daikaku) came to a desire to carry Zen to the east; and in March, with five attendants (Gio, Ryosen, Ryuko, Taimon, Kotsugo) he set sail to the east for Hizen (present-day Nagasaki). But when they were passing the coast off Shantung they encountered a typhoon which sank their boat. They managed to transfer to the ship (Hachiman) which was making the same voyage, and in the 4th year of Kangen (1247), on the twenty-fourth day of the seventh month, they arrived at Hakata in Kyushu.

(On the first boat) going east to Hizen, when the boat was being driven along by a raging wind and spun round its length by the furious waves, the passengers were terrified, and many had an aspect like death. Rankei was saying again and again ‘Sameness, sameness’ (Hinten, hinten — the Japanese approximation to the P’ing-teng of his Szechuan dialect). ‘When you put the mind in Sameness with the boat, even if it overturns, that will not trouble you; when you put your mind in Sameness with the waves, even sky-high breakers will not frighten you; when you put your mind in Sameness with life- and-death, there will be no grieving after the body; when the subject comes to Sameness of mind with the lord, the country is at peace; when the child comes to Sameness with the parents, the family is happy; when the husband comes to Sameness with the wife, their association is perfect; when living beings come to Sameness of mind with the Buddha, delusive passions come to an end. When the Buddha has sameness of mind with living beings, there appear compassion and virtue. To come to the samadhi of Sameness when approaching or leaving any thing great or small is what I mean by Bringing-everything-to-One.’


(1) How do you come to Sameness right now? Say!

  1. In the ocean of life and death, the boat of the four great elements (the body) meets a typhoon, and is about to capsize. At that moment, with what do you come to Sameness? Say!

  2. You are sitting in profound meditation when a blazing fire comes towards you and you cannot escape. With what then do you come to Sameness? Say!

  3. You are sitting in deep meditation when a ruffian comes at you to attack you. If you become like him in Sameness of mind, you too will be a ruffian. In such a case how do you understand the real Sameness of mind? Say!

This became a koan in Kamakura Zen in the interviews of

Master Kosen.

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