yama uba the zen play  before you  read yama uba

[Before you read Yama Uba]

«Love = Tao = Zen»

The most important (and probably the most confusing) word is «love» in this Yama Uba the Zen play.

It has to be quite clear that this word «love» does not mean at all "love" as a feeling. It is not a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone.

Feelings are part of a hologram, which is an appropriate modern translation of Genzo/Eye-storage in Zen Buddhism. A hologram is an image/illusion projected by Tao/Love/Zen. It includes sounds, smells, thoughts, sensations, and emotions. A hologram works as catalyst in order to stimulate Tao/Love/Zen to emit itself and keep its circulation. (☞See 5b Hologram / Tao by Matsumoto)

The word «love» is often used to translate the word Buddha, which signifies both the name of the founder of Buddhism and the fundamental energy (=Tao, =Zen)

Please make sure that you do not read the text as it is. You need some decoding.

Here we have two principal tools to rephrase the words in order to understand how Zen works.

1. Love = Tao = Buddha = Zen = the fundamental energy = nothingness. This is represented by the hag in Yama Uba the Zen play.

2. Hologram = World = Life = Self (and Non-self, strictly speaking) = colors. This is represented by the diva in the play.

«Which character represents what?»

Hag: Love, Tao, Zen; The fundamental energy that projects a hologram.

Diva: Hologram, or the material outside world and your own Self, including memories, sentiments, and thoughts; A hologram stimulates Tao/Love/Zen to emit itself while Tao/Love/Zen is projecting another hologram.

Monk: Daisetz Suzuki, one of the best guides of Buddhism, especially Zen Buddhism. Listen to his epigrams.

Valet: a typical secular person. When you talk about Tao, you have to face this kind of mockeries and bewilderment, as Lao Tzu discusses in his Tao Te Ching.

«What is a hologram in Zen Buddhism and Taoism?»

Tao/Love/Zen projects "the world", which is sometimes called Self (You and non-you, more precisely) or Life. It is a three-dimensional image/illusion with sounds, smells, thoughts, sensations, and emotions. In the old days, Zen masters used the expression "Genzo 眼蔵". Gen 眼 means "eye". Zo 蔵, "storage". In our time, it should be interpreted as "hologram".

The Tao/Love/Zen energy emits itself, projecting a hologram (The entire world is one hologram.) The hologram stimulates Tao/Love/Zen while Tao/Love/Zen is returning to it. This is how the cycle goes.

«Ten Bulls and Yama Uba»

Do you want to reach Satori? If yes, it is the exact reason why you will never "reach" Satori because you are already in there. If you try to reach there, you are denying the fact that you are in the "state" of Satori. Besides, it is easier if you consider it as act rather than state. The act of living is Satori. Receiving and emitting Tao/Love/Zen energy is Satori. Whatever you do, you are receiving and emitting Tao/Love/Zen. So, whatever you are doing, you are in Satori.

This concept of «Ten Bulls / Ten Steps to reach Satori» is supposed to have been invented in the 12th century by a Chinese Zen master Kakuan.

It is understandable that a Zen master was tempted to use of a step by step teaching method in order to explain how Satori can be reached, but it has to be crystal clear that time does not exist in the sphere of Tao/Love/Zen/Buddha. Therefore, all the ten steps can/does take place simultaneously.

All you have to know is you are in Satori. You don't have to do anything to get there.

You can even begin with the fact that you are in Satori and start from the 10th Bull to the first one. It is an useful application of Reverse Thinking to Ten Bulls. (☞See Reverse Thinking) Time is just a parameter. In Tao (=Zen, =Love), time does not exist. So, the order doesn't have the slightest importance.

Once you understand that you must not search for Satori, you are ready to see how the Ten Bulls correspond to Yama Uba step by step.

The comments on Ten Bulls are quoted from Wikipedia, whose interpretation is far from perfect. So, please be careful not to allow yourself to fall into a Searching-Satori trap. Yama Uba the hag (=Tao/Love/Zen) is always with you whether you are aware of Satori or not. Never think that you have to work hard before you reach Satori. Ten Bulls is used here to clarify the structure of Yama Uba the Zen play, not to ask you to follow these steps. On the contrary, never follow the steps, thinking methodically how to reach Satori. One can use the ten steps as a negative exemplum if he likes.


1. In search of the Bull (aimless searching, only the sound of cicadas)---Without knowing Hag (=Zen, =Tao, =Love), Diva (=Hologram, =Self, =World) sings about her. That is to say, you don't know who you truly are. True You are Tao/Love/Zen, the fundamental energy whether you are aware of it or not. At this point, you are in search of who you truly are, which is unnecessary.

10. Volver a la sociedad (mercado lleno de gente, emitir la iluminación mezclándose con la humanidad) --- Diva vuelve a Kyoto. Después de haberse dado cuenta de que el verdadero usted es Tao/Amor/Zen, su Yo holográfico vuelve a la sociedad holográfica. Vive entre la gente, sabiendo que los otros son parte de su holograma, es decir, los otros seres son una parte extendida de su Yo holográfico. Puede hablar de Tao/Amor/Zen con otros o vivir como ha estado haciendo sin intentar convencer a los demás sobre el budismo o el taoísmo, pero ahora sabe que haga lo que haga, está emitiendo Tao/Amor/Zen, sea o no sea consciente de lo que se le llama Satori.

2. Discovery of the footprint (a path to follow)---From Kyoto, Diva (=Hologram, =Self, =World) travels to the Temple of Righteous Light. You still don't know who you truly are, but accept that your own self and the rest of the world are reconstructed and projected in your "mind" as neurosurgeon Karl Pribram says. (☞See Tao by Matsumoto 4-3 Filled emptiness and Karl Pribram at Wikipedia.) You still believe that your "mind" exist and belong to you personally and independently.

8. Both Bull and Self transcended (all forgotten and empty)---The border between Diva and Hag disappears. The border between a hologram and Tao/Love/Zen disappears. Don't look for a refuge outside the world in front of you (=Hologram) because only inside your hologram your holographic Self can receive Tao/Love/Zen energy. Accept your holographic world as if it were real Tao/Love/Zen. In reality, the division between them does not exist. Only in your "reason" formed by your modern education, only in your so-called independent "mind", the division exist.

7. The Bull transcended (once home, the bull is forgotten)---Diva realizes that in fact she is Hag. This is the answer. Your holographic Self realizes that true You are Tao/Love/Zen, the fundamental energy.

6. Riding the Bull home (great joy)---Diva sings the song with Hag. Your holographic Self sings the song with Tao/Love/Zen. This is how your own Self works. Your own Self does not exist independently. It is a name given to a part of the hologram projected by Tao/Love/Zen. You neither control nor possess your own Self. You cannot do either of them if your own Self does not exist. Then, who are you really?

5. Taming the Bull (less straying, less discipline, the bull become gentle and obedient)---Diva is terrified by Hag. Your holographic Self is terrified by the true nature of Zen (=Tao, =Love). When you find out what Zen (=Tao, =Love) really is, you will be terrified because it is as terrifying as the world in front of you. Your holographic world and Self projected there are the manifestation of Zen (=Tao, =Love) no matter how terrifying it looks. Of course, it might look very peaceful as well. Therefore, do not judge the manifestation of Tao/Love/Zen in front of you, and accept it as it is.

4. Catching the Bull ([a great struggle, the Bull repeatedly escapes, discipline required]---This comment between the square brackets was originally written by a Wikipedia contributor. It is misleading and strongly disagreed with.)---Diva discovers the true nature of Hag. This is represented by the entrance of Hag at the beginning of the act II. Your own Self (=Hologram) discovers what Zen (=Tao, =Love) is.

3. Perceiving the Bull (but only its rear, not its head)---Diva (=Hologram, =Self, =World) meets Hag (=Zen, =Tao, =Love). Your holographic Self meets your true Being (=Zen, =Tao, =Love). In other words, you are aware that your own Self doesn't belong to you, and think that true you are something else although you still don't know what it is.

9. Llegar a la origen (indiferente con o sin, el sonido de las cigarras) --- Bruja vuelve a las montañas. Tao/Amor/Zen vuelve a Tao/Amor/Zen. Estimulado por un holograma, Tao/Amor/Zen se emite. A través del holograma, Tao/Amor/Zen vuelve a sí mismo, emitiendo un otro holograma. Un ciclo termina y otro comienza. Por favor, no olvide que el tiempo no existe en el Tao. El fin, el principio y otro ciclo tienen lugar simultáneamente.

«Key phrases and comments»


If you dedicate that beautiful song to Buddha, how wonderful, it will purify me and I can forget about the obsession to the material world. --- (If you send Tao/Love/Zen, you can detach yourself from your holographic world, that it to say, you can remember that true You are Tao/Love/Zen.)

And, you know, then I can go back to the real world of love where I belong. --- (And, true You [= Tao/Love/Zen] will go back to Tao/Love/Zen. A cycle completes.)


[To the audience]

I have to tell all of you one thing.

We, especially intellectuals and philosophers, prefer playing with ideas, and detest Reality. --- (This Reality means Tao/Love/Zen, not the so-called reality in front of you, which is a hologram.)

When Reality shows up, we get scared. --- (Reality is represented by Hag.)

Or, we just try to put it into moulds, moulds of ideas which we are capable of understanding. --- (This is a typical attitude of the academics.  The 13th century Zen Master Dogen expressed his despise for them various times in his «Shobogenzo».)

To some extent, this is a right attitude. --- ("To some extent", not at all completely)

No matter how hard we try to be genuine realists, none of us can help being idealists.

But we must remember there is something that doesn’t belong to either the world of idea or the world of matter. --- ("Something" = Tao/Love/Zen. World of idea/sense/sentiment + World of matter = Hologram.)

If you want to grasp the root of your life, you must face this “something”. --- (This is important. Treat each word carefully. "Your life" = Hologram. "The root of your life" = Tao/Love/Zen. "Something" = Tao/Love/Zen. "Face this 'something'" = Face the so-called reality in front of you, accept everything as it is, including your projected Self, and receive the Tao/Love/Zen energy through the holographic "reality" in front of you.)


But what’s the difference between good and bad? --- (☞See Tao by Matsumoto 62a Tao and «Akunin shoki setsu / the doctrine of evil persons as the object of salvation»)

It’s only relative.

Both of them come from the same root. --- ("Root" = Tao/Love/Zen.)

Pain and pleasure do not really exist. --- (Thoughts, sensations, and emotions belong to a hologram.)


It is the world you create. --- (True You = Tao/Love/Zen. The holographic world in front of you is projected by the light of Tao/Love/Zen. It is projected but not "invented" with intention or purpose by Tao/Love/Zen. Please do not try to interpret your holographic "reality" as a moral or precognitive message from Tao/Love/Zen. It is useless. So, just accept it as it is. By doing so, you receive the Tao/Love/Zen energy through it, and consequently you emit Tao/Love/Zen, projecting another hologram.)


Don’t be fooled by my appearance. --- (Tao/Love/Zen's appearance is a hologram. Since your own sense mechanism belong to the hologram, there is no use looking for Tao/Love/Zen outside the hologram. True You are Tao/Love/Zen, which is not part of a hologram, but manifests itself through it.)

I am doing this on purpose. --- (A hologram is not projected with a particular purpose such as a moral message or a precognitive indicator. Its sole objective is to stimulate Tao/Love/Zen to emit the Tao/Love/Zen energy. Thus, Tao/Love/Zen can maintain being Tao/Love/Zen because it is the circulation of energy.)

You are always looking at how life goes on on the surface, but never know how love (=Tao, =Zen) works behind it. --- ("On the surface" = Hologram)

I just wanted to show you how she works. --- ("She" = Tao/Love/Zen)


[Stands up]

Now, a true hag and a metropolitan diva sing the song about a mountain hag. --- (Now, Tao/Love/Zen and a hologram overlap each other and sing the song of Tao/Love/Zen. This is another explanation of how Tao/Love/Zen works. A hologram needs Tao/Love/Zen as projector. Tao/Love/Zen needs a hologram to manifest itself through it. The objective is "to sing the song" of Tao/Love/Zen, which means emitting Tao/Love/Zen.)

Can you tell who’s singing about whom?

One mixes with the other. --- (Tao/Love/Zen and a hologram are overlapping and dependent on each other. Your holographic Self cannot receive Tao/Love/Zen without a hologram because the Self is part of the hologram.)

You see?

This is how “an ugly old hag in the mountains” works. --- (“An ugly old hag in the mountains” = Tao/Love/Zen)

This is how love (=Tao, =Zen) works in front of us, human beings, in our everyday world dramas. --- (Behind any human act or non-human phenomenon, Tao/Love/Zen is working.)

Hag: What is this?

Diva: It is "it". --- (It means Tao/Love/Zen. Tao/Love/Zen is not supposed to have a name. Lao Tzu says: "If you can talk about Tao, that Tao is not Tao itself. If you can name something, the word does not stand for what it really is." «Tao Te Ching / Chapter 1»)


Do you call them mountains? They rise up from the mud of nothingness. They pierce the clouds in the sky. --- ("Nothingness" = Tao/Love/Zen. "The mud of nothingness" = Hologram.)


The sky is empty! So are the mountains! --- (This is about the famous "Colours are justly emptiness. Emptiness is justly colours." 色即是空。空即是色。 [shiki soku ze ku. ku soku ze shiki.] The sky and the mountains are part of a hologram, which is an illusion and does not exist in reality. Nevertheless, in order to manifest and stimulate itself, Tao/Love/Zen has no other way but through the hologram.  ☞See Tao by Matsumoto / Tao Te Ching Chapter 39-5 Filled valley)



That’s how you hear the sounds of no sounds. --- (That's how you receive the Tao/Love/Zen energy through a hologram.)


You can’t hear the sounds of no sounds! --- (A typical reaction of materialists against Zen Buddhism.)



That’s how you hear the echoes of no voice. --- ("One hand has voices. Listen to the voices." 隻手声あり、その声を聞け [Sekishu koe ari, sono koe wo kike]. «Hakuin 白隠, a Japanese Zen Buddhist 1685 - 1768» This famous Koan asks you to do the same thing. Hear the sound of no sounds = Hear the echoes of no voice = Listen to the the voices of  one hand = Receive the Tao/Love/Zen energy through the holographic world. ☞See Tao by Matsumoto / Tao Te Ching Chapter 14-4 Hakuin / The sound without a sound)


Can’t you see, behind the landscape of the mountains, the true reality of the unlimited waters? --- (The landscape of the mountains = Hologram. The true reality of the unlimited waters = Tao/Love/Zen.)



Aren’t you just looking at the moon shining on the surface of the sea? --- (A beautiful metaphor of the Tao/Love/Zen and a hologram. The sea = Tao/Love/Zen. The moon shining on the surface of the sea = Hologram. A hologram moves with Tao/Love/Zen as the image of the moon moves with the surface of the sea.)

«Note / About the Moon in Zen Buddhism»

"Moon" is Tsuki 月 in Japanese. Tsuki is also the title for a chapter in Dogen's «Shobogenzo» although the Zen master intentionally chose a different combination of Kanji characters for the same pronunciation 都機. This is a key to understand what the moon/tsuki is in Zen Buddhism. The first kanji character 都 [tsu] means "all" and is used to express "capital". The second one 機 [ki] means a mechanism or a machine. Therefore, "tsu ki" 都機 by Master Dogen signifies "all the mechanism". It is the mechanism of the Tao/Love/Zen energy and a hologram. This is also expressed by Shin 心, which is often misleadingly translated as "mind" or "heart". Shin 心 is supposed to be translated as "center" as Dogen appropriately chose the Kanji character 都 [tsu]. The moon 月 [tsuki] is the center/mechanism.

In this mechanism, a hologram stimulates Tao/Love/Zen. Tao/Love/Zen emits its energy, projecting another hologram. Tao/Love/Zen goes back to its source through the hologram, stimulating Tao/Love/Zen. Thus, a cycle completes. The circle of a Zen master represents this cycle. So does the circle of the full moon.



When you realize you are facing a silent reflection of the shining moon, --- (What you are seeing is a hologram.)



When you understand life is just rustles in the forest you create, --- (Life is just a hologram that Tao/Love/Zen projects.)



Then, you know you are safe. --- (If you know that this world is a hologram and that true You are Tao/Love/Zen, you are safe whatever happens in your holographic world.)


The mountains you see are there just to tell you that you are the absolute silence. --- (The mountains = Hologram. The absolute silence = Tao/Love/Zen. One can interpret that the holographic world exists as an educational material. It teaches you that true You are Tao/Love/Zen whose raison d'être is maintaining itself by circulating itself.)



When I play in the reality, when I’m with your reality, I help men, who come in the mountains and gather kindling. --- (When Tao/Love/Zen «plays» in your holographic reality, it helps everything to be projected in the hologram. «Play» is an important concept in Zen Buddhism. When Tao/Love/Zen projects a hologram, it «plays». It is never serious. It never projects a hologram to «punish» or «reward» you. There is no causality between a hologram and another one. Neither between an object and another one inside the same hologram. Tao/Love/Zen never project a hologram with a moral judgment or logical consequence. There is no such thing as a bad/good Karma. The sole causation takes place between Tao/Love/Zen and a hologram, as the projector and the projected, or as the stimulated and the stimulator. The cycle between them is the real Karma. Tao/Love/Zen projects a hologram "playfully" without any reason. There is no point trying to interpret «your reality». It is just a stimulator that makes you emit more Tao/Love/Zen. If you emit it, it completes its task.)

Heavily loaded, they need some rest and sit down in the shade of the flowering tree.

I will share their burden and walk with them under the moonlight. --- ("I" = Tao/Love/Zen. Tao/Love/Zen share your burden and walk with you. It projects your burden and your projected Self. "The moonlight" = the light of Tao/Love/Zen = the light of Amida Buddha. Interestingly, in Shintoism, they think that the shadow is the reality. Because of the light, they cannot see the reality and get confused in the light. When the light goes off, they are able to live the real world in the darkness.)

When we get to the village, they are happy to finish a day’s work and go to bed without noticing me. --- (You don't have to know whether Tao/Love/Zen is working or not. Whatever you do, you are receiving and emitting the Tao/Love/Zen energy. You don't need to go through any penance to achieve Satori.)

Diva and Hag


You can hear housewives fulling of cloth or silk. --- ("Housewives" = Hologram)

When the sounds stop, can you hear silent voices talking noisily? --- ("Silent voices" = Tao/Love/Zen. "Hear silent voices talking noisily" = Hear/receive the Tao/Love/Zen energy through a hologram. Whether your holographic Self and the rest of the world are in action or not, Tao/Love/Zen is with the hologram.)

Who’s talking?

No one knows that my hand is moving with every beat of theirs. --- ("My hand" = the energy of Tao/Love/Zen. "Theirs" = Hologram. The other people are characters in a hologram. They don't have to know that Tao/Love/Zen is projecting them. Of course, there is no problem if they know it. You don't have to know it, either. There is no problem if you know it, either. You don't have to convince others that Tao/Love/Zen is the true reality, and that the world, including your projected Self, is part of a hologram.)


No matter how beautifully you sing about me, I still have to wander from mountain to mountain. --- (No matter how much you respect Tao/Love/Zen as a religion, such as Zen Buddhism or Taoism, the task of Tao/Love/Zen will remain the same.)


If you share the shade of one tree or drink water from the same river, it is meant to be so. There is no coincidence. You and I are one. --- (There is no need to interpret them, is there?)


Looking for flowers in spring, following the moon in autumn, flying with snow in winter, I wander from mountain to mountain. --- (I = Hag = Tao/Love/Zen. Spring, autumn, and winter = Hologram. Mountain to mountain = Recirculation = Recreation = Reincarnation.  While projecting a hologram at a time, Tao/Love/Zen recreate itself, emitting the Tao/Love/Zen energy and projecting another hologram. This recreation of Tao/Love/Zen is the reincarnation.)

That’s my destiny. --- (Tao/Love/Zen's destiny = Recreation = Reincarnation.)

I was stuck in this world because I wanted too much in this world. --- (Although this is words by Hag, it might apply to you. The more you want and the more resistance you create, the more difficult it is to realize that true You do not belong to this holographic world. Your holographic Self does not belong to true You. If you want much, Satori or whatever, you will be stuck in your hologram.)

Drifting from one place to another, changing from one thing to another, finally I have become nothing, nothing but a hag. --- (Nothing = Tao/Love/Zen. Hag symbolizes it.)

Now I know I am love. --- (True You are Tao/Love/Zen.)



Look, she was here a moment ago. --- (Tao/Love/Zen exists in anything.)

Now we can’t see her any more. --- (You cannot see Tao/Love/Zen.)

Mountains, mountains, more mountains, mountains, mountains, over mountains, she is wandering forever. --- (The recreation of Tao/Love/Zen repeats eternally. It is the eternal reincarnation without time. It is the constant and timeless cycle of Tao/Love/Zen, stimulated by a hologram and emitting another.)

She is in the land of Nowhere. --- (Tao has no space.)

Read Yama Uba the Zen play.