The Unborn - The Life and Teachings of Zen Master Bankei (1622-1693) - North Point Press, 1984/2000


p. vii (Preface by Norman Waddell)

The Japanese Rinzai Priest Bankei Yotaku (1622 - 1693) did not leave behind any written exposition of his Zen teaching, and he gave strict orders that no one else was to reduce it to writing. But records were made nonetheless, his followers being unable to bear the thought that their master's words and deeds should go unrecorded and, as one of them put it, "just left for the sparrows to play around with." So although much more was lost than they were able to commit to paper, we must be grateful for the record they have preserved for us: it is our sole means of learning about his Unborn Zen.


p. 41

You are able to hear and distinguish sounds when they do occur without consciously intending to hear them because you're listening by means of the unborn Buddha-mind. When people are firmly convinced that the Buddha-mind is unborn and wonderfully illuminating and live in it, they're living Buddhas and living Tathagatas from then on. "Buddha", too, is just a name, arising after the fact. It's only the skin and shell. 

p. 69 - 70

Each person receives the Buddha-mind from his parents when he's born. His illusion is something he produces all alone, by being partial to himself. It's foolish to think that it's inherent. When you don't produce your temper, where is it? All illusions are the same; as long as you don't produce them, they cease to exist. That's what everyone fails to realize. There they are, creating from their own selfish desires and deluded mental habits something that isn't inherent but thinking it is. (...)

You create your outbursts of temper when the organs of your six senses (vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and faculty of mind) are stimulated by some external condition and incite you to oppose other people because you desire to assert your own preciously held ideas. When you have no attachment to self, there are no illusions. Have that perfectly clear.