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Dharma Talk

Part1: The Road to the Other Shore 11-20

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11. The Value of the ‘I’

People who become entangled in the environment after forgetting their ‘True-I’, are attracted by material things because of wrong perception, and mar themselves through foolish offenses. But because the enlightened man is not attracted by material things, even if the world would become a mound of pure gold he would remain as immovable as T’ai Shan and would be consistent in living a life of frugality.

Even if the world was pure gold,
It would not be precious to me.
All the holiness of the sages:
What does it do for me?
The bright moon shining on Chogye Mountain
Is the brightness of my mind.
 
12. The Miraculous Functioning of the ‘I’

Since the enlightened man, like white clouds over green mountains, is not fettered by any state, there is no right or wrong in any of his actions. He flows along according to karmic affinities like a blue stream in a deep valley, which winds without obstructions through the curves and the straights. He is like an empty boat on the river, which drifts along according to the rising and falling of the waves. He is like a white gull on a cliff who eats when he is hungry, and as the sun sets, searches for reeds in which to rest in perfect freedom. I ask you men of the world: who is it who is doing the discriminating?

The white clouds and the grey storks make friends;
They gently reply to the fresh wind
and the bright moon.
Unaffected by the passage of time
I remain bright and quiet while I sit.
A bowl of porridge,
A plate of wild greens,
And a cup of tea:
I smile.
 
13. Our Destination

In the sky the brilliant sun and moon shine equally and impartially over all the sentient beings and insentient things throughout the universe. How much is the benefit bestowed by the sun and moon? Anyone asked would reply that they are impartial and that their worth cannot be fathomed. However if it is asked if the sun and moon exist apart from my Mind, I would answer that they also exist within my Mind. Therefore since both limitless space and the sun and moon exist within my Mind, I want to ask if you can become a great Dharma-vessel which shines like the sun and moon, and which like space, embraces everything? I must emphasize that if you wish to become such a great vessel, you must awaken your Mind.

Everyone has a Master which directs the body. But ‘Master’ and its other designations, like ‘Mind’, ‘Spirit’, ‘Soul’, ‘Original-Face’, or ‘Heart’ are all just names; they are only labels without any relationship to the true-essence which they represent. If it is asked what the form of this True-Essence is apart from these denominations, since it cannot be seen by the physical eye, or felt with the hands, some people wonder if it is not empty space. After all, since it is not a material thing and cannot be grasped, wouldn’t it have to be empty space? But can empty space distinguish between good and bad, and right and wrong? As empty space is an inorganic substance, this is absolutely impossible. Consequently, what is the One Thing which is vividly and brightly aware? In other words, if we separate the Master which is directing the body from its names, it is not Mind. Since it is not enlightened, it is not Buddha. Because it cannot be given or received, it is not a material thing. And as empty space cannot know good or bad, it is not empty space. Finally a doubt arises as to what this thing ultimately is, which has been negated in these four ways. Thus the hua-t’ou or kung-an “What is it?” is generated. Hua-t’ou Ch’an (commonly known as Rinzai Zen) considers that if a great doubt is produced, a great Awakening must follow.

In the past there was a monk named Chao Chou, the manifestation of an ancient Buddha. One day a monk came and asked him whether a dog possessed the Buddha-nature or not? Chao Chou answered, “Mu” (No). Since the Buddha said that all sentient beings have the Buddha-nature, you must investigate why Chao Chou said ‘Mu’. Chao Chou’s ‘Mu’ is not the ‘Mu’ of yes or no. It is not the ‘Mu’ of true non-existence. Then why did he say ‘Mu’? Before expressing himself by saying ‘Mu’, what thought did Chao Chou have that made him say ‘Mu’?

If we can awaken to this ‘Mu’, then we will also become an ancient Buddha, just like Chao Chou. The perfections of a stainless, complete, and flawless personality, through awakening in such a manner, is the greatest human happiness. And it is thus that we become a paragon for men and gods.
 
14. Choose the Right Road

Is there any misfortune greater than that of someone who cannot find a secure refuge and is standing at a crossroads completely disoriented? If we know that a rich treasure house is not far off, let’s throw off the suffering of destitution and go! Who would like to stay on a dangerous trail through a vast desert? As bitter hardship and extreme suffering are not things innate to us, let’s throw them off!

When sentient beings cultivate evil, they do not know that it is evil; hence, the more they continue, the deeper their bad karma becomes, Even though sentient beings fall in to the bad regions, they continue to be happy with being reborn; therefore, not only does their appointment to leave the bad regions become more and more postponed, but they sink deeper into those regions.

If vipers, centipedes, serpents and other deluded beings knew how bad their own situation was, they would be glad to die, and their offspring would disappear. But because each of them, in its own way, desires to be alive, they are frightened when they meet with dangers, and either resist them or run away. And take a look at insentient things too. Even though a weed is pulled up and thrown aside, a root will go down and a new sprout will come up. If you cut a tree and leave it, the part on the earth will send down roots and from the upper section an offshoot will grow. In this attachment to life there is no difference whatsoever between men and other living things. This in no way implies that the utility of the physical body should be discounted, but rather, that people who wrongly grasp, at the physical body alone as being ‘I’, have lost their sense of value as men. How are they any different from all the other animals?

Having reflected upon this point, let’s choose the road following which we can awaken to the ‘True-I’; let’s seize the Truth which is complete in knowledge and complete in potential, and become a ‘true man of non-action’. Subsequently, let’s save all the sentient beings throughout the ten directions, and realize the fruit of the Great Dharma King. As we must be diligent in order to achieve the Nirvana-without-residue, let us follow the right road for men.
 
15. The Way of Ch’an Meditation

Those grave mounds in the green mountains:
Aren’t they my Spring?
I ask, “White bones! Where is the Master?”
A hundred years of life may seem long,
But it is no more than three or four seconds.

A whole life is lived in the instant of a breath. And as life exists within the period of one breath, how could it not be impermanent? What is the ‘I’? Is there anything we can trust?

After thinking deeply about this, we have decided to follow the path of meditation in order to seek a haven for the mind. We sit facing the wall, and look into the mind; but if we expect to bring an end to all the defilements while sitting with closed eyes and no hua-t’ou, only endless thinking will arise. If we struggle to bring an end to this mental fantasizing, it, rather, is churned up even more, like waves on the sea’s surface which are whipped up by the wind. Finally it gets entirely out of hand. Therefore we must bring the hua t’ou into our attention and stick to it. The hua t’ou is like the precious green-dragon sword which slashes through all the 84,000 defilements. We must think, “What is it?” which is neither mind, Buddha, a material thing nor empty space. When we think in this manner we must do it as earnestly as if trying to extinguish a fire burning on our head. We must do it in the same way as we think of water when thirsty, as an infant thinks of his mother’s breast, as a sixty or seventy year-old man worries about (his lineage being broken after) three generations of only sons, or as a cat which is trying to catch a rat.

Look at the demeanor of a cat at the foot of a stone wall who is trying to catch a rat. While sneaking along at the bottom of a stone wall it keeps its eyes on the hole where the rat entered. At a place far away from the hole the cat hides silently, and with eyes staring piercingly, it waits for the rat to come out. At that time even if a person, a chicken or a dog goes near the cat, it takes no notice of their passing and continues to watch the rat-hole. If the rat appears for even an instant, like a flash of lightning, it leaps and grabs the rat.

On the other hand, a rat which wishes to bore through a grain-chest in order to get the rice must stealthily and continually gnaw at it for a long time, until finally the grain-chest is perforated. Similarly, if we investigate, “What is it?” untiringly over a long period of time, seeing our Nature and attaining Buddhahood will not be difficult.

People who are cultivating meditation have to reflect with wisdom on the place of the mind. While sticking to the hua-t’ou, if the time is reached when the hua-t’ou becomes focused to a point, the hua-t’ou will become heavy and we will not be able to put it down. Then, when we sit down on our seat, the day and the night will pass like a second. The body will become light as if it is floating in space; we will not know whether the earth exists or not. At that time, even if we do not strive to keep the thought of the hua-t’ou, naturally the hua-t’ou will be raised vividly. Even if we try to discard the hua-t’ou, we cannot; rather it remains vivid all the same.

Sons of the Buddha who are practicing: if the time comes when, in this manner, you do not try to raise the hua-t’ou yet it is raised spontaneously, and you do not try to consider the hua-t’ou yet it is thought of spontaneously –do not let that opportunity be wasted. The body will become motionless like the incense burners before a Buddha-image. The absorbed mind will be pure and clear like fresh water. Having become aloof to the tens of millions of worldly concerns, in the mind there will be no worldly concerns, and in these concerns there will be no mind.

Spontaneously we will gradually enter into wonderful states, and will become as if deaf and dumb. As the meditation practice ripens, karmic habits formed in the past will gradually decay; naturally the mind will become light and happy, and the spirit will brighten.

National Master Bo Jo taught that, “Vividness (mental clarity) and quiescence must be maintained equally,” until his mouth ached from reiterating it. Meditation practice is correct if both vividness and quiescence are present: i.e., the hua t’ou which we are raising should be vivid internally, producing quiescence in the environment. Practice is wrong if mental fantasizing is vivid: i.e., the hua-t’ou escapes, to where we do not know, and only the wandering thoughts are vivid. The quiescence of mental dullness is wrong: i.e., if, though the external environment is quiescent, internally there is no hua-t’ou but only dullness.

Practice is correct only when there is both quiescence and vividness: i.e., when there is quiescence in the external environment, and when internally the hua-t’ou is vivid.

What states of mind must be developed if we want to practice authentically?
 
16. The Three Types of Mental Resolution

1. The Mind of Great Anger
2. The Mind of Great Bravery
3. The Mind of Great Doubt

First, the Mind of Great Anger must be produced. All the Buddhas of the three time-periods, the Patriarchs and Teachers throughout history, and the good-knowing advisors of this generation, have all stated through different mouths, that all sentient beings are originally Buddhas. We must examine for ourselves whether we have realized Buddhahood yet or not. If we haven’t, then who hindered and prevented us from doing so? And further, who lead us to this world of sentient beings and left us here? Hence, we must try to think of what the reason was that we have not yet become Buddhas. Frankly, the reason is that we have not listened to the words of the accomplished and worthy ones who were enlightened before us, and have persisted in doing many kinds of evils. And by becoming accustomed to making karma only within the turning wheel of birth-and-death, we have moved farther and farther away from the realm of the accomplished and worthy ones and the sphere of Nirvana, until the world of deluded beings and the bad regions, exclusively, have become our world. It is impossible that we can enjoy the immeasurable pain the suffering drowning in the sea of suffering. Therefore, first we must reproach ourselves and feel remorse.

Is there anyone else who can assume in our place the responsibility for the hardships of life, which by nature, are the results of actions done previously by ourselves? Not even through suicide can we escape from this responsibility. Even though we have to face hardships again and again, we must put a final end to the blazing defilements and mental fantasizing. Consequently, this Mind of Great Anger gushes forth.

Second, we must develop the Mind of Great Bravery. Although we try to enjoy the pleasures we receive in the Saha-world, we are instantaneously deceived by these temporary pleasures; they are not complete, perfect, and true happiness. The pleasures of this world are the pleasures of the following five types of desires.

The first is the desire for wealth. The accumulation of wealth is the source of misfortune for ourselves, the ruin of ourselves, and ultimately it cannot but be the enemy of ourselves. For the poor man who doesn’t have it, wealth is suffering; and for the rich man who does have it, wealthy also causes suffering. It is the root for the making of many kinds of bad karma for people who cannot be satisfied with their position. In a warm place with a full belly, only laziness will grow; thus wealth is the cause of our progressive estrangement from the Path.

The second is the desire for sex. Even if men and women would have tens of lovers each, they would never tire of sex, when there is this degree of attachment, how are we any different from animals? It is not once that sexual desire has been the unfortunate cause of suicide or murder. Recently the evil practice of abortion operations has become popular and is now commonly accepted, as if it were perfectly normal to kill a child which is still in the womb. But who will take the responsibility for that crime? We are ignorant of the natural principle that if we kill others, they will kill us. Thus, isn’t it ultimately sexual desire between men and women that can lead to such an uncompassionate act that will eventually result in your own murder. In the animal world there is copulation only at mating time, and not outside of this fixed period. For man, the highest spirit in creation, to have sexual intercourse as an amusement, cannot but be a shameful act. And not only that, but the pairing of a woman with a man in the initial step in the formation of a society. Good men and women cannot but bear this in mind, in order that the establishment of both pure families and a society based upon moral principles will be accomplished. Further, we sons of the Buddha who cultivate our minds in order to achieve the Path, must realize that we are an example for other sentient beings [and should consequently exercise proper restraint in our sexual relations].

The third is the desire for fame and reputation. How many people in the world, whether East or West, past or present, have destroyed their family, lost their lives, and fallen into utter ruin because of their love of fame? The honor and fame on a sheet of paper are not different from bubbles floating on the water’s surface. People who are busy pursuing fame and profit cannot but be utterly confused. Since times of old, great men have always concealed their footprints, fled from fame, and lived in poverty enjoying the Path. We must realize that the morning dew and the evening clouds cannot last forever.

The fourth desire is for food. Even if we are eating the rarest delicacies, we can eat only to our capacity. Regardless of how much we have eaten, once we are full, even the sight of those delicacies will disgust us. But when we are starving, even rice wrapped in lettuce with a spoonful of miso tastes better than honey. Even though we try to insure that we will always have nice clothing and good food, this is like trying to insure that the jade leaves will stay on the golden branches. Impermanence is swift: we will not be able to keep them forever.

The fifth is the desire for sleep. There is even attachment to sleep! Sleep is the small dream, and death, the great dream. Sleep is partial death, and death, complete death. But the Mind is the Deathless. Consequently, because the Mind does not sleep, it constructs the illusory, dream world within which it performs many kinds of activities. When the spirit comes back, waking up is said to have taken place. Since sleep is pulling the mind into the world of darkness and delusion, Cultivators of the Path say: “One night of sleep and we are deluded for three lives.” Therefore sleep cannot but be the malignant habit which entices the spirit into the world of delusion and dreams.

The happiness derived through these five desires results from the misperception of illusory forms and is the cause of further unwholesome action. Since within this illusory dream we are developing other illusions at two or three different levels, if the spirit and the physical body should become separated we would die. Then, whether we burn it or bury it, the physical body would remain without sensation. If we think it over, don’t riches, honor, glory, high office and nobility, and mother, father, children, foes, friends, benefactors and loved ones, all belong to the same illusory dream? To abandon the riches and honor of royalty, as if discarding weeds, is precisely Great Bravery.

Third, we must give rise to the Mind of Great Doubt. When the Buddhas of the three time-periods, the Patriarchs, and all the good-knowing advisors of this generation, work for the salvation of all sentient beings, they directly point to the minds of those beings and directly expound the Dharma in order that they will see their nature and realize Buddhahood. Whose fault is it that we listeners, having let ourselves become deluded, have not awakened to our Mind Consequently we cannot but raise a doubt about the kungans and the sincere words of the Buddha. The thousands of sutras and the tens of thousands of sastras are all teaching about the nature; even one word or half a sentence does not teach anything else. So why can’t we realize it? Although Chao Chou’s ‘Mu’, ‘The cypress tree in front of the garden’, ‘The dry shit stick’, ‘All dharmas return to the One’, and other kung-ans are all direct instructions, how is it that we have not yet awakened?

The answer is, that for innumerable kalpas until today we have considered the six sense-bases (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and consciousness) to be ‘I’, and the six bandits (form, sound, scent, flavor, tactile objects, and mental phenomena) to be the objects of our activities. We grasp at this situation and consider the three poisons (greed, hatred, and delusion) to be our assets. The latent tendencies become second-nature. At the point of contact (between the sense organs and their objects) we live a life completely dominated by the Inversions. Consequently, the sea of suffering of the six regions never comes to an end. We have ears but it is as if we are deaf; for though we listen to the sincere words of the Buddhas and Patriarchs we do not hear them. We have eyes but it is as if we were blind; for though we watch the sacred practice of compassion we do not see it. This is what is called the world of sentient beings. So whose fault is it that we fall into the bad regions? We have tied up ourselves, and bound ourselves; and because no one else can release us from our bondage, we must cultivate.

Liking glory, we have no limits in our quest for it.
Greedy for gold, we even cheat our own conscience.
Dazzled by the light of the fire,
The tiger moths all die.

If we want to be liberated from the three evil regions, we cannot but search for the ‘True-I’. If we wish to search for the ‘True-I’, there is no better way than to investigate the kung-an. Since we cannot understand the kung-an, if we want to awaken to its significance, we must raise a doubt. Under a Great Doubt there must be a great Awakening; but to have no doubt while trying to understand the hua-t’ou is a great error. If we wish to awaken to the True-nature, we should not search outside ourselves. And why? Because if we chase after that Nature outside, we will only get farther and farther away from it, just as if we intended to go eastwards but ended up going to the west. The ancients said: “If a person throws a clod at a lion, the lion will attack him; but if he throws it at a dog, the dog will chase it.” Therefore, people who have resolved to cultivate ‘Mu’ must raise it before them and try to intuitively understand how the idea arose for Chao Chou to say ‘Mu’. This ‘Mu’ is not the ‘Mu’ of yes or no. It is not the ‘Mu’ of true non-existence. Before Chao Chou expressed himself by saying ‘Mu’, what thought did he have that made him use such an expression? You must inquire into this thought. In all four postures of walking, standing, sitting and lying, in speaking and in being silent, in activity and in stillness, the doubt-mass must appear clearly by itself. If the Doubt remains unalloyed and unobscured during all activity, the practice will ripen naturally. At that time, although we do not try to cut off mental fantasizing, it is naturally removed; and although we do not try to progress towards Bodhi (Enlightenment), naturally we progress and reach it. From then on we can taste the rare flavor of the hua-t’ou. If we practice in this manner, changing an ordinary man into an accomplished one will not be a difficult matter.

At the time of our final resolution, we forgo sleep and forget meals. Even if we want to sleep we cannot, for it is as if we are confronted by all the enemies we have made throughout ten thousand years. We cannot go left, we cannot go right, we cannot go forward, we cannot go backward; and finally when there is no place left to keep the body, we do not fear dropping into the Void. At such a time we are close to the Great Awakening.

This body must become like a stone which has rolled to the side of the road. Even if a stone on the roadside is burned by the sun, it is unaffected; if soaked by the rain, it is unaffected; when excreted upon, it is un affected; in the cold and the heat, it is unaffected; though flowers blossom, it is unaffected; in the fresh breeze, it is unaffected; whether birds fly over it or animals step on it, it is unaffected.

Although the vivid yet quiet light of the spirit is shining brilliantly, do not under any pretext give rise to intellection or hold any opinions like “I know,” or “I am enlightened.” If we give rise to such opinions while having neither penetrated the hua-t’ou nor awakened to the True-nature, we will lapse into the Palace of Delusion. At that time we must generate the Mind of Great Bravery. Since the subtle stream (of defilements) has not yet been exhausted, we must investigate meticulously. As the delicate, gentle flow of mental fantasies is still present we must become increasingly ferocious. Like a rat which is trying to dig its way into a cow’s horn, the beginning student in his initial study of the hua t’ou must keep pushing forward continually and without interruption, digging into how the idea arose for Chao Chou to say ‘Mu’. Suddenly there will be a meshing as if the upper and lower parts of a millstone have come together exactly. The way of words and speech is cut off. The (discriminative) activities of the mind are annihilated. Without a doubt, the lacquer barrel is broken. The Natural and True Face is revealed. We apprehend and defeat Chao Chou and are no longer deceived by the tongue tips of the good-knowing advisors of this world. In one glance, we see clearly the Buddhas and the Patriarchs, and understand the eighty-four thousand volumes of the Tripitaka.

At that time, we must search out enlightened Masters in order to polish our achievement. At that moment, we are rightly treading the road which leads up to the practice done by true men. Do you understand?

Even if the entire world were pure gold,
It would not be precious.
Even though the Accomplished and Worthy Ones
Are honored and respected,
They are not intimate with me.
All of heaven and earth fills my eyes,
But I do not see one blade of grass anywhere.
The moon on Chogye Mountain shines cowardly.
The waters and mountains are my original home.
The flowers and grasses are all marvelously fragrant.
Well settled in an empty boat,
I follow the curves and straights of the current;
All the places I pass through are filled with my light.
 
17. The Refinery of Man
 
We have seen that it is possible for an ordinary man to cultivate the mind, awaken to the True-nature, and achieve Buddhahood; yet this is not an easy matter. We who are still constrained by ignorance may consider the physical body only as being ‘I’, and forgetting our Mind and spirit, end up losing our ‘I’; but how are those people who do not even know that they have lost their ‘I’ any different from animals? Even though such a person has a human shape, he is actually only half-human, for his humanness has not developed. Do not men have the greatest value of all of the ten thousand things between heaven and earth? Thus isn’t it pitiful that although we designate ourselves ‘I’, we nevertheless enjoy living a life of slavery— shackled by religion, and freedomless? How pathetic! If we have forgotten the ’True-I’, not only while asleep are we dreaming, but even with wide-open eyes, everything we do is a dream. It is precisely because of this that the Enlightened Ones feel pity for sentient beings.
Isn’t it utterly lamentable that we must come to birth and not know to where we are coming, and must go to death and not know to where we are going? Although fundamentally there is no birth to come to and no death to go to, how is it that we ourselves must still suffer the pain of birth and death? Where is the mistake? It is simply because we have misperceived the illusive ‘I’ and hence are fettered by conditioned dharmas; within this apparent yet unreal (perceptual) dimness we cannot liberate ourselves from our stupor. Conse­quently, if we unexpectedly encounter unanticipated events, even though we know them to be illusory dreams, we cannot develop the determination which can cut through them with one stroke of a sword. This is an unavoidable aspect of this world of sentient beings. This is what is called "to carry the hemp and discard the gold."
This misperception is illustrated in the simile of the rope snake. While walking alone at night, a man saw that there was a snake in the middle of the road; greatly startled by it, he turned pale. However upon careful observation, he found out that it was only a rope, and after a closer look saw that it was made of hemp. If he would have analyzed the hemp carefully too, he would have found that there wasn’t really any hemp either. The man who awakens to the fact that the rope is void (of substance) would also awaken to the fact that all the affairs of this world are only an illusory dream; his determination aroused, he would look for a way to practice the Path. Having cultivated the Path according to his individual abilities and awakened to the ‘True-I’, he would realize that he has always been in pos­session of a rare treasure. Therefore the Buddha said that He had universally examined all sentient beings and had seen that, from the beginning, they all were endowed with the Tathagata’s Wisdom and Virtue. Since everyone, re­gardless of who he might be, is endowed with it, what is the reason that we have not been able to achieve Buddha­hood yet? It is simply because we have not tried that we have not succeeded; but anyone who tries will succeed. Therefore practice-centers like monasteries and meditation centers are the refineries of man. They are furnaces which produce accomplished ones by refining the ordinary man. To give a simile: because gold is highly valued by the world, people will spare no capital in their search for it. Pure goldis obtained in the following manner. After mining ore, it is smelted in a furnace; only then can we sort the pure gold out from the other constituents. If we don’t pass through such a process, then needless to say, it will not be true gold. Similarly, though the original Buddha-nature is innate in everyone of us, if we do not pass through the process of cultivating the Path, it is impossible that we will be able to discover our Self-nature—the ‘True-I’. Thus, in the Sutra of Complete Enlightenment it is said: "As when gold ore is smelted, it is not because we smelt gold ore that gold exists....Once the true gold substance is extracted upon completion of the smelting process, it cannot become ore again." Thus, though all sentient beings originally possess the Buddha-nature which is the great truth of the universe, without the effort to awaken to that nature through practice, it is impossible to change an ordinary man into an accomplished one. Nevertheless, once we have realized the fruit of Buddhahood we cannot become sentient beings again.
To smelt ore to produce pure gold:
This is what is done in a smelting furnace.
We must refine (the mind) a hundred times in the furnace of samadhi.
Do not remain dark to the Wisdom of Complete Enlightenment.
 
18. Great Enlightenment is No-Enlightenment
 
When the ordinary man begins the practice of meditation, he may feel that there are things to be practiced and things to be realized. But if he should have a great Enlighten­ment he would understand that there is nothing to practice and nothing to realize. This is because nothing affects the Truth. Although there is neither more of the True-nature in the Accomplished One, nor less of it in the ordinary man, he who has not awakened to the Self- nature is an ordinary man, and he who has awakened to it is a great accom­plished one. Even though this nature is without deepness or shallowness, if because of gradual practice and gradual awakening the enlightenment is shallow, then he is called a sage; if because of sudden practice and sudden awakening there is penetrative understanding, then he is called a Great Accomplished One. Although the Dharma is without more or less, a person might, according to his practice and realization, be satisfied with only a little. If he then says that the law of cause and effect is void for himself and indulges in unrestrained sensual activities, when he is about to die he will forget the True-nature, and the way in front of him will be vague and uncertain. According to his actions he would receive rebirth, and possibly would fall into the evil regions, where he would receive all kinds of suffering. This is the result of Dry Wisdom. Whose fault is it that he has not avoided birth-and-death? People who are cultivating the path cannot but be careful on this point.
The kind of person who is described above is a person of shallow roots and a small Dharma-vessel; for even though he is fortunate enough to meet Masters, has his faith aroused after listening to the Dharma, and diligently cultivates Concentration and Wisdom, on his initial entrance through the door of voidness (空門) he says, "I have obtained the Supreme Path," as if he were mad or drunk, and wrongly acts as if he were without hindrances. How could he not have but made a great mistake?
A man of deep roots and great wisdom is different. As soon as he hears a kung-an he establishes his mind like a mountain and settles his mind like the sea. He keeps only the hwadu raised before him as if he were deaf or dumb. Since he has not yet been able to understand the reiterated instructions of the Buddhas and Patriarchs, he cannot but have a doubt. He is constantly doubting and constantly probing as if trying to save his burning head. Suddenly one morning he shouts "Ha!", and heaven and earth are overturned. He enters into a place unfathomable by others; and after a laugh alone, he only smiles. When he has reached that stage he can taste for himself without one iota of difference, the flavor of the sincere words of the Buddha and the Patriarchs. Pure faith is established and he continues to examine the depth of his practice. He incites himself to progress and puts forth all his effort. He doesn’t think of the distances involved in going to the East or West in search of Masters to meet. He polishes himself of right and wrong (views) and can easily obtain the right view. How­ever, if proudly and arrogantly, he conceals the results of his practice, and doesn’t expose the results of   his achievement to a Master, he will ultimately fallinto wrong views where repentence is useless. Therefore in The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch it is said: “When the Ch’an Master Nan Yueh Huai Jang (南嶽懷讓) went to see the Sixth Patriarch, the Patriarch asked, ’What thing came in this manner?’
The Master answered, ‘Even if you say it is one thing, it doesn’t strike the mark.’
The Patriarch asked, ‘Have you been able to practice and realize it or not?’
He answered, ‘Although practice and realization are not absent, impurities (i.e., attachment to my achievement) arenot present.’
The Patriarch said, ‘This absence of impurities is what all the Buddhas safeguard. You are like this; I am also likethis.’”
Thus we see that after enlightenment, looking for aMaster to polish our achievement is a practice we cannot dispense with.
Once we have penetrated to the nature of the mind we see that it is originally non-dual. Ordinary men and the accomplished ones are non-dual; delusion and enlightenment are non-dual; and male and female, old and young, birth and death, far and near, high and low, good and bad, right and wrong, and sentience and insentience are all non-dual. Therefore if one man recognizes the Truth and returns to the Source, the entire world becomes the pure Dharma-kaya of Vairocana Buddha. So, great enlightenment is the reali­zation that there is nothing to awaken to. (Nevertheless for sentient beings there is still delusion, despite the fact that there is nothing to be deluded by). This is called the ’Pure Dhyana of the Tathagata’, and it is also called the Integrative Nature Wisdom. What was said above is what is observed from the Original-nature when the mind is absorbed within the Undiscriminative Samadhi.
In The Flower Garland Sutra it is said: "These three things—Mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, are without distinction." (The subject) arises and yet there is no arising: therefore all the Dharma-realms are the Pure (Dharma) Body. (The object) is annihilated and yet there is no anni­hilation; therefore all of space is the true Original-nature. There is existence and yet it does not exist; there is non-existence and yet it does not exist. Since function arises from essence, there is birth without being born. When the function is absorbed it returns to the essence; therefore there is death without dying. As the Mind is void, bright and shining by itself, it is the existence of non-existence. As its miraculous functioning has no hin­drances it is the non-existence of existence (lit., not non-existing). Consequently, what is the Original-nature like? Because it is originally ’thus’ without activity or quiescence, it has no existence in time or space. This is called the Wisdom of Marvelous Observation.
 
19. Discriminative Wisdom

In contrast to the above-mentioned Wisdom of Marvelous Observation, if we examine with discriminative wisdom, the differentiations of all the things of creation into their individual shapes, forms and characteristics are clear.

Understanding is the essence of wisdom and wisdom is the functioning of understanding. If we give a simile, understanding is the substance of white jade and wisdom is the brightness of the white jade. Although uncut jade is valuable, when we polish the surface of the stone so that there are no defects, the pure essence of the jade appears and the emanation of its light is striking. The Essential-nature is exactly the same. If the True-nature is not cultivated we are called ordinary men. If the self-nature is clearly penetrated to, we are called Accomplished and Worthy Ones. Therefore since an accomplished one is a person with a bright mind, if he examines all the world with the Eye of Wisdom, there is none of his seeing, hearing, feeling, and knowing that is not experienced through the True-nature; and there are no forms, sounds, smells, or tastes, which are not the functioning of that True-nature. Although all of the diverse things existent in the universe are illusory, if we awaken to our Mind, there are none that are not real. And just why is this? It is because the Essential-nature fills all the Dharma-realms and transcends existence, non-existence, and birth-and-death. For example, if we dig eighty feet into the earth, there is eighty feet of space; if we dig a thousand feet into the earth, there is a thousand feet of space. Therefore space permeates all material things. It is exactly the same with the Essential-nature.

Green, yellow, red, white, high, low, clean and dirty are nothing but the miraculous functioning of the Essential-nature. Therefore it is said in the Lotus Sutra: “If the mind arises, than all they types of dharmas arise; if the mind ceases, then all the types of dharmas cease.” Accordingly, as it is observed that all mundane and supermundane dharmas are the miraculous functioning of the self-nature of each individual, the Sixth Patriarch said: “The Buddha-dharma exists in the mundane world; there is no Enlightenment outside of this mundane world. If we look for Bodhi (Enlightenment) apart from this world, it is just like looking for the horn of a rabbit.” Further, it is said in the Flower Garland Sutra: “If people want to understand all the Buddhas of the three time-periods, they should contemplate the nature of the Dharma-realms: everything is produced by the Mind.” In the Sutra of Complete Enlightenment it is said: “If one thought is purified, all thoughts are purified. If all thoughts are purified, all the Dharma-realms are purified.” As space and all the worlds of the ten directions are the miraculous functioning of our minds, if we examine with the eye of enlightenment, then there is no difference between the Saha-world and the Pure Land, or between the Buddhas and sentient beings. The Sea of Suffering of the six regions is originally void. Therefore when the worldly feelings are brought to an end, holiness as something distinct from those feelings cannot be conceived. So we should respond with a laugh when facing favorable or adverse circumstances, for they are all the miraculous functioning of our minds. This is called the Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom. In all places and at all times, there is nowhere which is not a Garden of Happiness. This is the highest happiness of mankind.

The Buddha is the Mind, the Mind is the Buddha; why search for the Buddha apart from the Mind? The Buddhas of the past have gone, the Buddhas of the future have not yet come; where are we going to find the Buddha of the present? Outside of the Mind there is no Buddha; outside of the Buddha there is no Mind. If we discover our own Mind the true Buddha of the present appears in the world. At that time we walk hand in hand with all the Buddhas of the three time-periods. There is no place that is not a Bodhimandala, and no time when we do not enjoy the happiness of Nirvana. Such a man is called ‘the true man of non-action’, ‘the man of outstanding character’, ‘the man who stand beyond all things’, ‘the man who has cultivated the Path’, ‘the free man who is master of himself’, ‘the teacher of gods and men’, ‘the Buddha’, ‘the World Honored One’. This is called the Wisdom of Perfection in Action.

The mountains move, the moon doesn’t move.
Everywhere is a Bodhimandala.
In an old pine a cloud-white stork roosts.
In the green trees the yellow orioles
call to one another.

The shining moon reflects in the autumn waters, which are joined to the sky. Can you understand this?

The five fresh colors of September’s rivers and
mountains:
Their variegated red colors remind me of the March
Spring.
Aloof from the seasons, there is no common man or
saint.
A stone man in the fire turns the Dharma-wheel.
 
20. Encouragement to Practice

In India, in the kingdom of Kapila, a prince named Siddhartha was born to King Suddhodana. During His early years, He went on an excursion to the four gates (of the capital), and had a deep insight into the impermanence of life after seeing a sick man, an old man, and a dead body; later, after seeing a holy man, He resolved to ‘leave home’. After six years of hard practice, He awakened to His Mind and saw His Nature, and became known as the Buddha and the World Honored One. He was a great revolutionary, unparalleled in history. This is because, first, He transmuted ordinary people into Accomplished Ones. Second, He criticized the Indian four-caste system, and advocated egalitarianism. Third, He transmuted the Saha-world into a Pure Land. He was a hero amongst heroes. Because He became such a revolutionary and such a hero, I sincerely entreat all men not to entertain petty doubts, but also to search diligently for the ‘True-I’. If you awaken to your own True-nature won’t you really be a great man too?

The Buddha said there were four things difficult to obtain. One, it is difficult to obtain human birth. Two, it is difficult to be born as a man. Three, it is difficult to leave home. Four, it is difficult to have contact with the Buddha-Dharma.

First, even though we obtain a human body, if we use our mind like an animal or fall into ignorance and stupidity, it is not called being human.

Second, even though we are able to be born as a man, if bound by existence and non-existence, we are attached to male and female, we are not men.

Third, although we are able to leave home, if we chase after the five desires and do not cultivate the way to Enlightenment, it is not called leaving home.

Fourth, even though we diligently study meditation and doctrine, if we gradually fall into grasping at the form of the practice but do not penetrate to the substance of the practice (the True-Nature), it is not called being in contact with the Buddha-Dharma. There is no need to say that, regardless of whether one is a man or woman, old or young, if the self-nature is diligently cultivated we will become liberated from birth-and-death; and climbing to the Buddha-sphere, we will enjoy the happiness of Nirvana.

When the lion roars amidst the mountains and rivers, the wild foxes and the spirits lose their courage and run away. When the dragons bestow rain upon the earth, sentient beings and insentient things all benefit. Birds flying through the sky go east, go west, go up, and go down, without hindrance and in perfect freedom. Consequently, if within the mind of non-action, we give rise to a mind of great compassion and save those sentient beings who have karmic affinities with the Dispensation, won’t we be outstanding men?

I hope that from now onwards, all those who see or hear this may, together with all sentient beings, attain Buddhahood.
 

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