My late Master, the Old Buddha of Tendo, once recited a poem of
his during an informal session at the beginning of a summer retreat:
Set your bones upright upon level ground,
* * *
Thus, whenever the monks and laity arrive for the three months of
the retreat, they put into practice the Important Matter of the supreme
and wondrous enlightenment of the bodhisattvas. Keep in mind that male
and female lay trainees can also do the retreat. The place of this retreat
is great, fully perfected enlightenment. This being so, Jetavana Park and
the Divine Vulture Peak are both temples of the Tathagata’s great fully
perfected enlightenment. You should carefully listen to, and take to heart,
the World-honored One’s teaching that the Tathagatas and great bodhisattvas
in all ten quarters did the practice and training of the three months’ summer retreat.
And to seclude yourself, scoop out a cavern in space.
Pass forthwith beyond the gate of dualities,
Only taking with you a darkness as dark as a black-lacquered pail.