Baling Haojian’s Three Barriers
Baling was a student of Yunmen Wenyan who established the Yunmen school of Zen that flourished for about 300 years before being absorbed into the Rinzai school. When Baling took up residence as a teacher, he did not create a document of succession for his students. He only used three turning phrases as the way to attain the essence of the Yunmen school.
Baling responded, "A clear-eyed person falls into a well."
- A person of the way asked, "What is the Tao?"
Baling responded, "Each Coral branch of coral holds up the moon."
- A person of the way asked, "What is the blown-feather sword that cuts away delusion?"
Baling responded, "Fresh snow in a silver bowl."
- A person of the way asked, "What is old-lady Zen?"
Yunmen said, "In future, on my remembrance day, just restate these three turning phrases, then you will have repaid my benevolence."