On one occasion, [Zhaozhou / Joshu] said,
Thinking of those who’ve left home in this realm,
How many could there be with an abbacy like mine?
An earthen bed with a tattered reed mat,
An old elmwood headreast with no cover at all.
At the icon, I don’t burn the incense of Arsaces, (*)
In the ashes, I just smell the odor of cow dung. (**)
From these sayings, we can understand the purity of his cloister. We should study these traces. That his monastic assembly was not many, said to have been less than twenty, is because "being able to do it is hard." The saṅgha hall was not large and lacked both front shelving and back shelving. There was no lamp light at night and no charcoal fire in winter weather. One could say it was a pitiful life for an aged one. Such was the conduct of the old buddha.
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from the Translation Notes:
(*) "Incense of Arsaces" (ansokkō 安息香): Also read ansoku kō. Incense made from gum benzoin, the resin of a tree (styrax benzoin) of Southeast Asia; identified with the Indian incense guggulu. The Chinese anxi 安息 transliterates “Arsaces,” the name taken by the kings of the Arsacid empire of Parthia.
(**) "Odor of cow dung" (gyūfunki 牛糞氣): i.e., dried dung used for fuel.
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