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Dharma Talk

The Way of the Ordinary Mind

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Writer admin Date17 Jan 2006 Read8,985 Comment0


Zhaozhou asked Nanquan,
"What is the way?”
"The ordinary mind is the way.”
“Can I go in its direction?”
“If you deliberate, immediately you will deviate from it.”
“Without deliberation, how can I know the way?”
“The way is not within knowing or not knowing. If you say you know, that’s illusion. If you say you don’t know, that’s indifference. If you’ve truly mastered the way of no doubt, it is just like the vast expanse of the great void, how can you say if it is right or wrong?”
Hearing these words, Zhaozhou immediately had sudden enlightenment.
In spring, all sorts of flowers dizzily bloom
In summer, a refreshing breeze blows
In fall, the white moon shines
And in winter, white snow blows about.
Leisure too, if it doesn’t vex the mind, is a good occasion for human beings.
Someone once wanted to learn about the way and went in search of a learned master. The master had him become his disciple and ordered him to work every day. Though he spent a long time under that master, three whole years, he had yet to hear even a single dharma sermon. So one day, feeling the situation quite cruel, packed up his belongings, hoisted them on his back, went to the master and said, “I came here in order to learn the way, but you haven’t offered me even one dharma sermon, just ordering me to do work every day for three years. With nothing but disappointment, today I’m going home.” “Okay then, go.”
Carrying his pack, he went out the gate. Then, the master called his name, and when he turned around, the master held out his fist and said, “Everyday when I had you cook the rice, I taught the dharma, when I had make tea and bring it to me, I taught you the dharma, when I had you chop wood, I taught you the dharma, and when I had you work the fields, I taught you the dharma, but you didn’t know it, so, receive the dharma today...” Hearing this, the young man was completely awakened. Our ignorance of the way is because our own eyes are blind to the simple fact that the way is within the everyday affairs of our daily lives.

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