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A Man of the Way must make his mind firm by taking simplicity and honesty as his foundation. With a hollowed out gourd and a single set of coarse clothing, he must be able to travel anywhere without entanglements.
The Buddha said, "The mind must be as straight as a taut string." He also said, "The straight mind is the ’seat’ of wisdom."106 If one does not have any attachments to one’s self, one can surely travel anywhere without entanglements.
The ordinary man grasps objects. The Man of the Way grasps the mind. But the true Dharma is to forget both mind and objects.
Grasping objects is like a thirsty deer chasing after a mirage. Grasping the mind is like a monkey who tries to grab hold of the moon reflected in water. Grasping objects and grasping the mind are different, but they are the same in the sense that they are both diseases. The above deals with the nature of average people and those who belong to the Two Vehicles.107
Heaven and earth do not contain the sun and the moon of the Chin nation.108
In the mountains and rivers, the Han109 rulers and subjects are nowhere to be seen.110
The sravakas sit peacefully within the forest, but are still caught by the Demon King. The Bodhisattvas roam about in the world, but the heretics and demons cannot find them.
The Sravaka assumes that cultivation means quietude, so his mind moves. When his mind moves, the demons can see it. The Bodhisattva realizes that the Self Nature is intrinsically empty and quiescent, so he leaves no tracks. Leaving no tracks, the heretics and demons cannot see him.
(The above deals with the Two Vehicles and the Bodhisattva.)
Wandering lazily upon the path in March,
A house looks dismal, hidden by the rain.
When one is dying, one should see that the Five Skandhas111 are empty; that the Four Elements are non-self; that the True Mind has no signs; that there is no "going (death) or coming (birth)"; and that one’s nature does not arise when one is born, nor does it disappear when one dies. Exquisitely perfected and quiescent, the mind and its objects appear as one.
Only when one has realized these things is one able to instantaneously achieve complete awakening and no longer be entangled within the Three Dimensions of time. Then, having transcended the world, one is a free man. Even if all the Buddhas appear, one follows them with No Mind. Even if hell appears, one’s mind is without fear. With No Mind, one is at one with the Dharma Realm. One must be able to face death like this! Sowing the seeds throughout life, as one approaches death, the fruit of karma appears. One must open up one’s eyes and look at what’s happening!
People befriend Sakyamuni when they are old and approaching death.
At this time, you should be awakened. A hundred years112 roll by in an instant.
When a man is dying, if he still makes even the slightest distinction between holy men and ordinary men, he will be drawn into the womb of a horse or a donkey, or he will be stuffed into a boiling pot in a hell realm, or he will become an ant, mosquito, or some other insect.
Master Pai-yun113 once said, "Even though a man on his death bed completely does away with even the slightest distinction between holy men and ordinary men, he will still be unable to avoid being drawn into the womb of a horse or a donkey."
The two views fly this way and that; they scatter and enter the various paths.
A violent flame flickers. A jeweled sword glitters.
These two phrases are especially established in order to open "the patriarchs’ gate of No Mind which is in harmony with the Tao." The phrases are a skillful means that close the gate of chanting for a good rebirth. Yet, people’s capacities differ. Their aims and their vows vary. This being the case, the two approaches do not interfere with one another. I hope that all Men of the Way may follow their particular path throughout their daily activities, each one striving so that they have no doubts or regrets during their last moment of life.
If a Seon practitioner still has not clearly seen the scenery of his original home114, how can he penetrate the Lofty Gate of Profundity? One frequently meets people who claim that Seon is the emptiness from cutting off everything so that all (mental objects) is destroyed; or those who say that silent emptiness is the path; or those who believe that the idea "all things do not exist" is a noble view. These "diseases," characterized by darkness and voidness, are extremely serious. Many of those who study Seon these days suffer from such illnesses.
When approaching the ultimate "One Gate," there is no place on which to step. Yun-men115 said, "One who has not yet penetrated the light contracts two diseases. But even one who has already penetrated the Dharma body still contracts two diseases. One must penetrate it and obtain it anew moment by moment."
One who does not walk the path of tangled weeds
Will have a hard time getting to the village of fallen blossoms.
The masters of the Seon School also have many diseases. For those masters with diseased ears and eyes, Seon is raising the eyebrows and opening the eyes wide, or it is listening attentively then nodding the head. For those who have diseased mouths and tongues, Seon is twisting words and contorting speech. It is yelling "Ho!"116 and shouting wildly. For those with diseased hands and feet, Seon is advancing to the front or walking to the back of the room, or it is pointing east or drawing a line to the west. For those with diseased hearts and bellies, Seon is exhausting the profound in search of the marvelous. It is transcending attachments and forsaking all views. Actually, all such actions are diseased.117
A man who has killed his parents may repent in front of the Buddha, but a man who slanders wisdom has no way to repent.
Trying to grasp the shadows within emptiness is not so special. Chasing after something that is outside of everyday objects -why is that heroic?
The words of the Dharma in which the "Original-Share" Masters118 completely demonstrate the truth are like a song breaking forth from a wooden doll; 119 they are like snow hitting a red-hot stove; they are like the spark from a flint being struck, or a bolt of lightening. Students of the Way truly cannot even imagine the profundity of such men. For this reason, an ancient once said, out of appreciation for his teacher’s kindness, "It’s not my master’s virtue that I respect; it is his refusal to provide me with theoretical explanations about the Dharma."120
Don’t speak! Don’t speak! Lest the words be recorded on paper.
The arrow piercing the reflection of the red moon in water
Must certainly belong to a falcon hunter.
Those who practice must first carefully distinguish between the approaches of the different schools. Long ago, Ma-tsu’s121 one shout made Pai-chang122 deaf and made Huang-po’s123 tongue hang down from his mouth.124 This one shout is nothing less than the understanding achieved by Mahakasyapa when the Buddha held up the flower. It is also Bodhidharma’s Original Face when he came to China. Ah, the Lin-chi School originated from this. It is profound indeed!
One who thinks that he understands the Dharma is to be feared. I’ll hit him as soon as he opens his mouth.
A stack of sticks with no gnarls
Is closely assigned to a man who goes on the road by night.
Hearing Ma-tsu’s one shout, Pai-chang obtained the Great Essence125 and Huang-po obtained the Great Functioning. To obtain the Great Essence means to perfectly respond to all situations. To obtain the Great Functioning means to directly respond without hesitation. The above incidents regarding the three masters are recorded in the Transmission of the Lamp.
The Five Houses of Seon are: the Lin-chi House, the Ts’ao-tung House, the Yun-men House, the Wei-yang House, and the Fa-yen House.
The Lin-chi House: This line extends from our original teacher Sakyamuni to the Sixth Chinese Patriarch Hui-neng, who was the thirty-third patriarch in the lineage from the Buddha. Below Hui-neng, there are, in their respective order, Seon Master Nan-yueh Huai-jang, Ma-tsu Tao-i, Pai-chang Huai-hai, Huang-po Shi-yuan, Lin-chi I-hsuan, Hsing-hua Ts’ung-chiang, Nan-yuan Hui-yung, Feng-hsueh Yen-chao, Shou-shan Sheng-nien, Fen-yang Shan-cha, Tz’u-ming Ch’u-yuan, Yang-ch’i Fang-hui, Pai-yun Shou-tuan, Wu-tsu Fa-yen, Yuan-wu K’o-ch’in, and Ching-shan Tsung-kao,126 etc.
The Ts’ao-tung House: This is a peripheral line127 of transmission from the Sixth Patriarch. Below Hui-neng, in their respective order, are: Seon Master Ch’ing-yuan Hsing-ssu (?-740), Shih-t’ou Hsi-ch’ien (700-790), Yueh-shan Wei-yen (751-834), Yun-yen T’an-sheng (782-841), Tung-shan Liang-chieh (807-869), Ts’ao-shan Tan-chang(839-901), Yun-chu Tao-ying (?-902), etc.
The Yun-men House: This is a peripheral line of transmission stemming from Ma-tsu.128 In their respective order are: Seon Master T’ien-huang Tao-wu (748-807), Lung-t’an Ch’ung-hsin (8th/9th century), Te-shan Hsuan-chien (780-865), Hsueh-feng I-ts’un (822-908), Yun-men Wen-yen (?-949), Hsueh-tou Tsung-hsien (980-1052), Tien-i I-huai, etc.
The Wei-yang House: This is a peripheral line of transmission stemming from Pai-chang. In their respective order are: Seon Master Wei-shan Ling-yu (771-853), Yang-shan Hui-chi (840-916), Hsiang-yen Chih-hsien, Nan-t’a Kuang-yung, P’ach’o Hyech’ong,129 Huo-shan Ching-t’ung, Wu-chao Wen-hsi (820-899), etc.
The Fa-yen House: This is a peripheral line of transmission stemming from Hsueh-feng. In their respective order are: Seon Master Hsuan-sha Shih-pei (835-908, Chi-tsang Kuei-ch’en (867-928),130 Fa-yen Wen-i (885-958), Tien-t’ai Te-shao (891-972), Yung-ming Yen-shou (904-975), Lung-chi Shao-hsiu, Nan-tai Shou-an, etc.
Lin-chi’s shout and Te-shan’s stick completely penetrate and confirm the non-arising nature of reality. They excelled in both the high and low. These men had great capacity which they put to great use. Lin-chi and Te-shan had complete freedom everywhere. Their whole body fell away, but they still kept their bodily form, returning in order to preserve the sagely wisdom of Manjusri and Samantabhadra. Yet if we are to speak the truth, these two teachers were actually nothing more than mere phantoms.
Oh, the gallant, sharp sword! Beware of touching its edge.
Oh, the sparkling, cold brilliance on the pearly drops of water. As the clouds calmly scatter, the moon traverses the sky.
The superior man looks upon the Buddha and the patriarchs as if he were looking at a thief. If one searches for the truth while clinging to the Buddha, one becomes bound by the Buddha. If one searches for truth while clinging to the patriarchs, one becomes bound by the patriarchs. All searching is suffering. It is better to do nothing.
"Looks upon the Buddha and the patriarchs as if he is looking at a thief corresponds to the previously mentioned phrase "there is no wind, but the waves appear." "All searching is suffering" corresponds to "it is all perfect just as it is." "It is better to do nothing" corresponds to "when the thought process becomes activated, distortions occur." When the above phrases are fully understood, you will be able to make everyone’s tongue stop flapping and to bring to a halt the rapidly spinning wheel of birth and death. Even work to ease social crises and quell political upheavals is no different than Tan-hsia’s131 burning of the wooden Buddha image, Yun-men’s "feeding it to a dog," or the old lady’s refusal to go meet the Buddha. All such actions are methods of eliminating the false and manifesting the truth. But what does this all lead to?
I always remember March in the South River. The partridge singing, the fragrance of the flowers.
The sacred brilliance is not dark. It has shown forth since ancient times. If you wish to enter this gate, do not abide in intellectual understanding.
"The sacred brilliance is not dark" corresponds to the above passage "constantly lucid and mysterious." "It has shown forth since ancient times" corresponds to the above passage "originally there is no birth and no death." "Do not abide in intellectual understanding" corresponds to the above passage "you cannot use designations to elicit understanding." "Gate" refers to the coming and going of ordinary men and sages. Along these lines, Shen-hui said that the single word "know" was the "gate to all the myriad wonders."132 Alas, we began with that which cannot be named or depicted and we end with "do not abide in intellectual understanding." The creeping vines of the first chapter are all chopped off with this single phrase. So we begin and end with this one understanding. In the middle, we bring up myriad virtuous actions. This is according to the three principles of the secular classics.133 Knowledge and intellectual understanding cause great injury to the Buddha Dharma, so they have been especially dealt with and put to an end. Seon Master Shen-hui was unable to become a legitimate member of the Jogye Lineage134 because of his adherence to knowledge and intellectual understanding.
As I have elucidated the essentials of Seon in this manner,
The blue-eyed monk from the West135 will laugh.
But what’s to be done? Alas!
As the lonely orb shines,
The rivers and mountains are silent.
His sudden burst of laughter
Startles the earth and sky.