The venerable monk Chōkei Eryō was a revered senior monk training under Seppō. For twenty-nine years he went back and forth between Seppō and Shibi, exploring the Matter through his training with both of them. During those months and years he wore out twenty sitting mats. There are people today who love doing seated meditation and, citing Chōkei, they take this beloved ancient one as their model. Those who idolize him are many; those who equal him are few. At the same time, his efforts for thirty years were not in vain. There was a time when he was rolling up a bamboo blind in the doorway of the Meditation Hall and suddenly had a great awakening. During those thirty years, he never returned to his home country, or visited his relatives, or chatted with those sitting on either side of him; he just put his efforts into the Principle Matter. The ceaseless practice of this Master went on for thirty years. For thirty years he treated his doubts and misgivings as doubts and misgivings: we should speak of him as someone of keen wit who did not ignore anything, as someone with great potential for realizing the Truth. Reports of such firmness in resolve are sometimes met with when studying the Scriptures. When we desire what we should desire and feel shame about what we should feel shame about, then we may encounter Chōkei. To speak the truth, it is only due to a lack of heart for the Way and a lack of skill in handling their daily conduct that people become vainly tied to fame and gain.
Gudo Nishijima’s translation can be found here (scroll down […]