120 Questions


from the Zen-en Shingi a Chinese collection of rules for monastic zen life from the 12th century

1. Do you respect Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, or not?

2. Do you look for your master, or not?

3. Have you aroused bodhi-mind, or not?

4. Do you surrender in faith to the Buddha, or not?

5. Have you extinguished your old emotions finally, or not?

6. Are you anchored firmly, without moving, or not?

7. Are you as deep as a canyon, or not?

8. Are you clear about the precepts, or not?

9. Have your body and mind found rest, or not?

10. Do you always love to practice zazen, or not?

11. Are you as clear and pure as the sky, or not?

12. Does your motivation last for ten thousand years, or not?

13. Are you immovable by circumstances, or not?

14. Do you manifest the truth, or not?

15. Are you beyond the description of words, or not?

16. Has your restless mind finally found peace, or not?

17. Do you see your mind, when you watch things around you, or not?

18. Do you realize your own nature, when you hear sounds around you, or not?

19. Do you sit like Bodhidharma, just like a wall, or not?

20. Do you hide your body, just like a dragon hides his claws, or not?

21. Do you have thousand hands and eyes, or not?

22. Do you see an old buddha in the naked pillar, or not?

23. Is it easy for you to reach the way, or not?

24. Do you sacrifice yourself in practice just like soil piles up in a mountain, or not?

25. Do you meet Bodhidharma when you go astray, or not?

26. Are you completely in your practice, without being disturbed by your neighbours, or not?

27. Do you let rain fall in the north, when clouds pile up in the south, or not?

28. Do you fight like a lion, or not?

29. Does compassion open up like a flower, or not?

30. Do you waste your body, protecting the dharma, or not?

31. Do you use the old teaching to reflect on your mind, or not?

32. Do you use the three views to open the eyes of the gods, or not?

33. Is samadhi like play for you, or not?

34. Do you manifest the universal dharma gate, or not?

35. Have you penetrated the six aspects of phenomena, or not?

36. Have you found out about the ten mysteries, or not?

37. Do you realize how everything is connected as one net of causes and effects, or not?

38. Are you one with the ocean of the virtue of ten Buddha bodies, or not?

39. Do you first trust in Manjusri, or not?

40. Do you then follow Samantamukha, or not?

41. Is even the smallest of your actions guided by subtle samadhi, or not?

42. Do you check your words well, or not?

43. Is that what you say, in accord with that what is in your mind, or not?

44. Do you refrain from praising yourself and criticizing the others, or not?

45. Do you step back to give way to the others, or not?

46. Do you realize the virtues of the others, or not?

47. Do you keep silent about the other’s faults, or not?

48. Aren’t you afraid of difficult questions, or not?

49. Do you refrain from talk and laughter, or not?

50. Do you enjoy silence, or not?

51. Don’t you fool the foolish, or do you?

52. Do you rest in the community like a mountain, or not?

53. Do you practice modesty, or not?

54. Do you harmonize with the others, without fighting, or not?

55. Do you find the middle way, when a decision has to be made, or not?

56. Are you happy about well spoken words, or not?

57. Aren’t you angry about true words, or are you?

58. Do you gladly accept your suffering, or not?

59. Can you listen to the bad words of the others, or not?

60. Does your mind always radiate joy, or not?

61. Don’t you interfere into the affairs of the others, or do you?

62. Does your practice never slack down, or does it?

63. Don’t you help yourself to what belongs to all, or do you?

64. Don’t you use things to serve your own purposes, or do you?

65. Do you keep no savings, or do you?

66. Don’t you collect treasures, or do you?

67. Don’t you run after people because of their money, or do you?

68. Do you realize that you will have clothes to wear, even without weaving, or not?

69. Do you realize that you will have enough to eat, even without plowing, or not?

70. Do you realize that you will have peace when you stop fighting, or not?

71. Do you really understand that you are getting enough, or not?

72. Do you eat and drink moderately, or not?

73. Do you never get tired of sacrificing yourself, or do you?

74. Don’t you expect others to sacrifice themselves for you, or do you?

75. Don’t you have any extra robes and bowls, or do you?

76. Do you teach the dharma without expecting any gain, or not?

77. Don’t you want to be respected and loved by the others, or do you?

78. Don’t you wish to have many students, or do you?

79. Don’t you wish to be famous, or do you?

80. Do you keep from socializing with the powerful, or not?

81. Don’t you show off, or do you?

82. Don’t you interfere into politics, or do you?

83. Do you respect the authorities of state, or not?

84. Don’t you tell the fortune, or do you?

85. Don’t you have relations with women, or do you?

86. Don’t you envy those who are better and cleverer than you, or do you?

87. Aren’t you jealous when you see the success of the others, or are you?

88. Don’t you take poverty lightly, or do you?

89. Do you respect the opinion of the others, or not?

90. Don’t you hurt the other’s feelings, or do you?

91. Does your practice mean the salvation of all sentient beings, or not?

92. Do you always think of protecting all living beings, or not?

93. Do you respect the old and love the young, or not?

94. Do you care for the sick, or not?

95. Are you with those who are imprisoned, or not?

96. Do you give food to the hungry and clothes to those who are cold, or not?

97. Do you suffer about the war far away, or not?

98. Don’t you discriminate between the good and the bad, or do you?

99. Do you appreciate what the government does for you, or not?

100. Do you repay the love and care with which your father and mother brought you up, or not?

101. Are you grateful for the education that your teachers gave you, or not?

102. Do you appreciate the donations of the parish, or not?

103. Do you realize how much you owe to the help of your friends, or not?

104. Are you aware how many people are constantly working for you, or not?

105. Are you grateful for the divine help that guards you, or not?

106. Do you realize how much you owe to the protection through police and military, or not?

107. Do you share the misery of those in heaven, or not?

108. Do you suffer the eight sufferings of human beings, or not?

109. Are you hurt in the fight of Asura demons, or not?

110. Do you starve with the hungry ghosts, or not?

111. Do you pity the ignorance of the animals, or not?

112. Do you feel the pain of hell, or not?

113. Do you transcend love and hate equanimously, or not?

114. Do you respect all things, just as if they were buddha, or not?

115. Do you love all things, just as if they were your own father and mother, or not?

116. Does your life consist of nothing but the wish to save suffering beings, or does it?

117. Do you reflect on your practice during the 24 hours of the day, or not?

118. Have you clarified the one great matter of life, or not?

119. Have you found great liberation, or not?

120. Have you realized great nirvana, or not?