What is the Sound of the Single Hand? When you clap
together both hands a sharp sound is heard; when you raise the one
hand there is neither sound nor smell. Is this the High Heaven of
which Confucius speaks? Or is it the essentials of what Yamamba
describes in these words: "The echo of the completely empty
valley bears tidings heard from the soundless sound?" This is
something that can by no means be heard with the ear. If conceptions
and discriminations are not mixed within it and it is quite apart
from seeing, hearing, perceiving, and knowing, and if, while walking,
standing, sitting, and reclining, you proceed straightforwardly
without interruption in the study of this koan, you will suddenly
pluck out the karmic root of birth and death and break down the
cave of ignorance. Thus you will attain to a peace in which the
phoenix has left the golden net and the crane has been set free of
the basket. At this time the basis of mind, consciousness, and
emotion is suddenly shattered; the realm of illusion with its
endless sinking in the cycle of birth and death is overturned.
The treasure accumulation of the Three Bodies and the Four Wisdoms
is taken away, and the miraculous realms of the Six Supernatural
Powers and Three Insights is transcended.
From p. 164, Yabukoji, in The Zen Master Hakuin: Selected Writings, Translated by Philip B. Yampolsky, Columbia University Press, New York and London, 1971.