Mạn Đàm Tâm Kinh & Truyền Đăng Lục - Heart Sutra & Transmission of the Lamp


Uploaded by 48adidaphat on 28.01.2012

Transcript:
Introduction
Heart Sutra has 260 words
condensing the major meaning of Prajna wisdom
it also includes the thoughts of the Mahayana and Hinayana
Heart Sutra is among thousands of classic volumes
that have the fewest words but the richest meaning
In simple and clear words Heart Sutra describes
"The world of senses is the void and vice versa."
as its philosophy and denies all other desires
It states how clear and simple the human mind is
and how clever and mortal our heart is
Everything beyond this world starts from the true heart
that is why this book is called "Heart Sutra"
From Yao Qin to Song a period of six hundred years
Heart of Wisdom was translated into eleven different languages
but all of them have been long gone
and left no copies to the present day
Of all the versions, the most widely spread was one translated
by Master Tang Hsyan Tsang People called him Tang San Zan
He was from Honan Province, Loyan
He Tang Hsyan Tsang became a monk when he was thirteen
and when he was twenty-six years old
he traveled to India to acquire
valued Buddhist scriptures for China
The Heart Sutra
When Bodhisattva Quan Yin
practised the most profound wisdom,
the wisdom illuminated Quan Yin
to see that everything in the universe
is kong, including the five aggregates
of physical and mental activities;
all the material world and all decisions,
sensations, perceptions, and awareness.
Whoever understands that everything
is kong rises above all personal
suffering and misfortune.
Buddha Shakyamuni elaborated this wisdom
further to his disciple Sariputra :
The material world is not different
from kong, kong is not different
from the material world.
The material world is therefore kong,
and kong is therefore the material world.
Kong is also all sensations, perceptions,
decisions, and all awareness.
Sariputra, all phenomena and observations are kong.
Phenomena such as life and death,
filth and cleanliness, gain and loss
are all kong. Since kong is everything,
there can be
no material world and no sensations
perceptions decisions, or awareness
from the viewpoint of a separate self,
no separate eyes, ears, nose, tongue,
body, or mind, no form, sound, smell,
taste, touch, or any other phenomena,
no individual view point,
no individual field of consciousness,
no delusion of separation,
and no ending of the delusion of separation,
no aging and death,
and no ending of aging and death.
The four phases of cultivation no longer exist.
This principle makes no one wiser,
since there is no separate self;
no individual gains anything, since
there is nothing separate to be gained.
People receive enlightenment
because they follow this perfect wisdom.
They have wide-open hearts
without worries and, therefore,
none of the worries of a separate self.
The also have no fear.
All delusions and self-centered fantasies are far removed.
Enlightened ones reach ultimate nirvana.
Three generations of Buddhas have followed this ultimate wisdom
and attained the highest perfect enlightenment.
Therefore, come to know this ultimate
wisdom in a grand spiritual mantra,
a great enlightenment mantra, a supreme mantra, a mantra with no peers
that is able to end all suffering.
This wisdom is real and not an illusion.
This wisdom is real and not an illusion.
Therefore, the perfect wisdom mantra
has been proclaimed.
Chant the mantra this way:
GATE, GATE PARAGATE, PARASAMGATE, BODHI SVAHA
GATE, GATE PARAGATE, PARASAMGATE, BODHI SVAHA
Essence of the Heart Sutra
Among more than 5 billion people in this world
only a handful are "enlightened ones"
who have understood the ultimate truth in life
We refer to each of them as "Buddha"
Let's presume that the world they live in
is "The Other Shore"
Most of the rest of all living beings
mistake the real essence of life
and live in distorted illusions of this world
Let's call their world "This Shore"
People who live on This Shore are
preoccupied with the subjective ego-self
At any time and place they happen to be
they hold onto their sense of ego-self
like a needle falling into a bucket of water
not willing to dissolve into the water of time and space
As long as the ego-self exists there are judgments which contrast "I"
with time and space such as good vs. bad
high status vs. low class
As long as the ego-self exists there is "they"
Through a person's own tools of recognition
eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, mind
information is received from the external world
form, voice, smell, taste touch and all other phenomena
this information enters
a person's inner world
After the information is communicated
to the cortex of the brain
it is stored in the information center
and then compared and contrasted
New information is compared to existing information
and the ego-self's ever-changing
emotional values are added to analyze
deduce and reason
Finally, comes the decision to act
Acts of the Mouth, Acts of the Body Acts of the Mind
Therefore, these inner responses and decision-making processes
produce their results
This inner world is ever-changing
in response to external stimulant
and is referred to as sensations perceptions, decisions and awareness
All of the external world
including the self's physical body
which is outside of the inner mind is referred to as the material world
The external material world
and the sensations, perceptions decisions and awareness
of the inner world
are referred to as "the five aspects of existence"
All living beings exist in the relative world
of ego-self and objects
Therefore, there is the contrast of big vs. small
Beauty vs. ugliness
The mind distinguishes things that are my will and not my will
When people live with this attitude
of separating ego-self from time and place
we refer to it as living in the "REALM OF MATERIAL WORLD"
The enlightened ones
who live spiritually on The Other Shore
have a different attitude toward their lives in this world
Whatever place they happened to live in
they dissolve themselves into that space
without any ego involvement
Whatever time they happened to live in
they dissolve into that time without any ego involvement either
A nice hot day. Perfect for sun bathing
When an enlightened one watches flowers
I am the flower. I am the fragrance
When an enlightened one listens to the rain
I am the rain I am the sound of the rain
When an enlightened one is born grows older, gets sick, dies
I am birth! I am aging !
I am illness! I am death!
An enlightened one lets go
of ego selflessly and sincerely embraces
all changes in the external world
An enlightened one also mindfully
appreciates any piece of time and place
An enlightened one's attitude toward living in this world
is like a grain of salt dissolving into a bucket of water
Slat dissolves into water
and turns into zillions of molecules
Although the ego-self disappears
every part of the water is salty
In the water bucket of space and time
there is no more ego-self to be found
Instead, it has dissolved into one with the entirety of space and time
An enlightened one is like endless light
that fills up all space
Like an endless life-span that lasts throughout all time
We refer to this attitude
of high consciousness in living as:
Kong !
If the world is a big meadow
and everyone is a blade of grass
If you consider yourself to be a tiny blade of grass
you are living in the
" realm of material world" on This Shore
I am a tiny blade of grass
If you consider yourself to be one with the meadow
then you are living in the "realm of kong" on The Other Shore
I am the meadow!
If the world is a vast ocean
and everyone is a drop of water
If you consider yourself to be a drop of water
you are living in the realm of material world
I am one drop of water in a vast ocean
If you consider yourself
to be one with the vast ocean
then you are living in the realm of kong
I am the vast ocean!
The so-called This Shore and The Other Shore are
as a matter of fact
in the same physical space and time
How boring. . .
How serene. . .
The only difference is in the mindset (This Shore or The Other Shore )
used by those living in any particular place and time
The quality of life for those two mindsets ends up significantly different
How noisy. . .
What a delightful sound !
Therefore, the Buddha Shakyamuni says:
Material world is not different form kong
kong is not different form material world
Mateial world is kong and kong is material world
A human being in any time and place
should be like a grain of salt dissolving into a bucket of water
Right at the time a gain of salt falls into a bucket of water
there is ego-self and there is water
I am a grain of salt
After it dissolves into the water
there is no more pure salt or pure water
The identify of ego disappears
as self dissolves into every part of that particular time and place
Every part of the water has me I am one with the water
Dissolve the ego-self into a bucket of water
You therefore own the whole bucket of water
Dissolve the geo-self into the time and place you happened to be
and you won that whole time and place
Most people are always
carrying the burden of the past
anticipating the future while missing life in the present
Be a person who dissolves into the present
Do not be a slave who carries the burden of the past
and anticipates the future
Be like a boat that flows in time and space
Wherever the water goes, the boat is
wherever the boat goes, the body is
wherever the body goes the mind and heart are
Up and down and all around
are included in this Chinese character
which represents " space"
From the closest possible to the furthest away imaginable
inclusive of all space there is no end and no boundary
From the ancient past to the present moment
this Chinese character represents "time"
and covers from the first beginning to the last ending
inclusive of all time
there is no starting point and no finish
Bodhisattva Quan Yin used the selfless point of view
to obtain the most perfect wisdom
Quan Yin then brought us the wisdom to understand
that everything in this universe is one essence
and nothing can be truly independent
The external material world
and one's inner sensations,
perceptions decisions and awareness
all flow and change constantly in time and space
One should dissolve the ego of self
into the unity of time and space everywhere and every place
The concept and practice of being part of the universal
whole is defined as "kong"
When one understands, appreciates and practices that everything is kong
and completely allows oneself into the kong
thereafter, there is no more hardship and misfortune
because both are sufferings generated
by the distorted viewpoint of the ego-self
Buddha Shakyamuni said to his disciple Sariputra :
Sariputra
we often look at external objects
as completely separate from us
In reality, all objects are one with the ultimate essence
and this essence is inseparable from any object
Nothing can be independent of this ultimate essence
Your entire body, mind, and spirit
are all a part of this essence
This ultimate essence of the universe is kong
All objects you see may be referred to
as material world
As a result, kong and the material world
are not separate
Material world is kong and kong is material world
They are not different from each other
This is also the case for our sensations
perceptions, decisions and awareness.
They are all included in the kong essence
Sariputra, all of your observations
and opinions originate
at the point of the ego-self!
Phenomena such as life and death
beauty and ugliness abundance and scarcity
are all generated
from one's individual point of view!
Therefore, if you are able to look at the world without any point of view
and without any pre-existing attitudes
When I look at a flower, I am the flower
When I look at a butterfly I am the butterfly
At any time
you can dissolve the ego-self into that time
At any space
you can dissolve the ego-self into that space
When I am in the water, I am the water
When I am with a school of fish I am the fish
Transform the ego-self into millions and zillions of molecules
and dissolve into any time and space you happen to be
All this time there is no more separate ego-self
and no more separate universe phenomena, time, space
This is like a grain of salt dissolved into a bucket of water
Every part of the water is now a bit salty
No more pure salt and no more pure water
They became one complete whole
There are no more activities of the ego-self
No more use of the six senses to monitor the external world
from the point of view of ego-self
one will not have all of the distorted information
generated from human senses
No attempt to understand " death" from the point of view of "life"
no illusion of " presence" from the viewpoint of " absence"
Without distorted viewpoints
there will be no more sense of separateness
There is no such thing as " cause"
and therefore no such thing as " planting a seed"
There is no such thing as " effect"
and therefore, no such concern as "harvesting the fruit"
The meaning of life is found
in completely dissolving into the process of living
and not in specific goals
With such an understanding
one will no longer be troubled by the problems of aging and death
There are four phases in cultivation
Experiencing the suffering in life
Discovering the causes of suffering
Using cultivation to be rid of suffering
And reaching the ultimate state of no self and no suffering.
When we understand the true nature of existence
which is an ever-changing and endless cycle of life and death
and when we dissolve into this process of existence
there are no more problems of birth, aging, illness and death
Being able to understand this principle
appears to be wise
But what's so wise about it?
This principle clearly lies in front of everyone's eyes
Unfortunately most people are too confused to see it
Someone who practices this principle would appear to have a lot to gain
But what is to be gained?
This principle is most natural
and yet, most people don't know how to use it
The enlightened ones have thought through these principles
and clearly see everything as it truly is
The enlightened heart is therefore wide open
and no longer led everywhere by distorted points of view
After letting go of one's ego-self and the sense of separation
One no longer has fear desire and fantasy
and no longer lives by a distorted point of view
Because one knows that all distortions
of existence are generated from ego's selfish viewpoint
Therefore, an enlightened one's mind is like the water in a lake
which gradually settles down from muddiness
to complete clarity and quietness
This is what is meant by The Other Shore
All enlightened ones
from the past, present, and future
follow this kind of wisdom to reach
from This Shore of worldly life
to The Other Shore of highest consciousness
Cleansing oneself of all distorted attitudes and illusions
means fully reaching The Other Shore
Therefore, we should know that
such utmost and perfect wisdom
is a method of grand power and ultimate illumination
A method of supreme excellence
and an outstanding method without peers!
This approach can rid you of all illusion and suffering
generated from distorted viewpoints
This method is realistic and practical
Everybody can adopt it to reach The Other Shore
Let us sing a song
to encourage those soul mates
who are half-way to enlightenment
Hey! Comrades who are half way!
Hey! Friends in the middle of the road !
Hey! Soul mates moving toward The Other Shore of enlightenment
Move onto The Other Shore
Climb onto The Other Shore
How joyful it is to be
On The Other Shore!
Work While You Work Once upon a time
Once upon a time
there was a mule who had always worked
in a rice-pounding mill
Day after day, he walked in circles
One day he was too old to pull the millstone
You have worked all your life
Now you are old and should retire from work
From now on, you will eat tender grasses
sleep long, and breathe fresh air
The mule, however could not handle living like this
He would walk in circles around the tree
day after day. . .
Don't you readers laugh at the stupidity of the mule
Maybe one day. . you will be one of the stupid mules
Focusing on the Current State
I am a string of Buddhist rosary beads
made of precious ivory
I am suffering because of my past. . .
Everywhere I am ridiculed mercilessly
like a drunk trying to walk a straight line
Naz! Devil !
Criminal guilty of animal cruelty!
Because people say elephants should be protected by law
and ivory should not be hunted for rosary beads
I would rather be an ordinary string of bodhi tree seeds
But heaven knows, after a few years people may start saying :
Trees should be protected by laws
We should not harvest seeds from the bodhi tree
It doesn't matter whether the rosary beads are made of ivory
bodhi seeds, plastic or glass
All that matters is whether the rosary beads
played their role well as rosary beads
The Silkworm and the Spider
The silkworm eats mulberry leaves all day long until old age
Then he produces a silk thread to form a cocoon around himself. . .
The workers who farm silkworms
then place the cocoon into boiling water
and pull out the long thread of silk. . .
The spider first works hard at making a web out of his thread
Then he sits in the middles of his web to await flying insects
who become his dinner. . .
My thread can be made into the finest silk embroidery
that is passed down for generations to come
Your thread becomes a trap for preying on innocent insects to eat
Aren't you ashamed of your cruelty?
I make a living by my ability to make thread
What's the shame in being self-sufficient?
You silkworms always get boiled to death
because of your ability to produce pretty thread
That is truly pitiful !
It is nice to have talents
but superfluous talents
may often endanger one's own life
Asking for Too Much
Once upon a time a woman had two daughters
The older daughter was married to a gardener
The younger one was married to a potter
One day the woman went to the temple
to pray for blessings from the gods. . .
Dear Deity
please let the weather keep on raining
so that my older daughter's flowers will bloom better. . .
Dear Deity please let the weather stay sunny
so the sunshine will dry up my younger daughter's pottery
There is no perfect solution for all things in this world
When city folks go to the countryside
they wish for a bright sunshiny day
while the local farmers wish for rain for their crops. . .
Two Frogs
Once two frogs lived together in a pond
One summer, the scorching sun dried up
all water in the pond. . .
We can't stay here any longer without water
Birds look for forests to live in
while us frogs look for water to live around
Look! Right in front of us there's a well
Let's hop right in
This is a fine place to live and eat
Yeh, right! Its fine to move in now
but the problem is how will we ever be able to get out again?
We need to consider the consequences of our decisions
Sometimes an attractive opportunity may be just water in a well
easy to hop in but impossible to climb out!
The Cicada and the Fox
Once there was a fox who had not eaten for three days
He ran around like crazy looking for food
Without any other options, having a cicada for dinner is not a bad idea
Oh, great singer, please come down here
and accept my admiration personally
Ha! You've been tricked !
What? Just a leaf? I've been fooled. . .
From the wings of cicada in the faeces of foxes
I have seen the consequences of my friends' mistakes
The same mistake should not be repeated twice
Sometimes one mistake in a lifetime is too many
Smart guy. . .
The smart ones can learn lessons from their own mistakes
the smartest ones learn lessons from the mistakes of others
Silver and Rock
Once there was a miser
who sold all of his property for silver
and hid his silver in a secret place
Everyday he would visit his fortune
and he always enjoyed himself very much
One day a thief found out about
his secret and stole his silver
Oh, no! My silver is gone. . .
All my fortune of 500 Chinese hectograms of silver
has been stolen
Isn't it the same for you to see this rock as silver?
You never put your silver to any use
What's the difference
between your silver and the rock
A miser is obsessed about keeping his fortune
because he does not recognize the real value of money
A person who does not know his true self-worth
will not be satisfied with playing his role in life
A Person's Worst Enemy
When the world discovered iron
the trees started worrying about their future fate
Despicable!
Why are there axes in this world to create a holocaust for trees?
Who invented this murderous tool of the devil?
If the tree did not provide the handle for the axe
how could this mere piece of iron hurt you much?
The origin of bad luck
can often be traced back to the self
In fact, a person's worst enemy may often be himself
Turning an Iron Rod into a Needle
Once there was a mother who taught her son :
Persistence is the basis of success
Anything can be accomplished so long
as you seriously persist in doing it
So long as you are persistent
even a big iron rod can be turned into a small needle for embroidery
Twenty years later. . .
Look! The iron rod is now a needle
This proves that so long as there is endurance
there is no ambitious goal that cannot be reached
You invested your valuable years of youth
but your only accomplishment is a small needle
There is nothing wrong with turning an iron rod into a needle
but a small return on a major investment
does not pay off
Only What We Hold in Our Hands Is Meaningful
A bear once waited patiently for a whole day by a stream
Finally, he caught a tiny fish
I am too small to even fill up the space between your teeth
Please, put me back in the stream
After several years I will grow into a huge fish
Then you can eat me
when I will be most satisfying to your appetite
Do you know why I am able to
grow this tall and strong?
Why?
Because I will never give up
whatever small fortune I already have
in my hand in exchange for a long shot
Oops!
Most people hold onto the past look forward to the future
and do not embrace the present
Only those who can appreciate
what they have now live fully
Know Yourself and Stay within Your Capabilities
Once there was a man who loved worshipping heroes
I should model my life after the courage of Wu Song
who was famous for fighting tigers
Let me have three toasts and set out to look for tigers!
I found the footprints of a tiger!
So you came from thousands of miles away
in order to fight me?
No! No! No! I was only interested in finding your footprints
I dare not even think of approaching anyone as highly respected as you. . .
Fantasized ideals often do not work in real life
When people cannot reach their preset goals
most of them can only blame themselves
for not knowing the limits of their own capabilities
The Fox and the Grape Vineyard
Once there was a fox
who saw a vineyard full of scrumptious grapes
I'll get in there and enjoy a big meal
But he was too fat to squeeze through the fence
So he starved himself for three days
and three nights in order to slim down
Finally! I can squeeze myself through
Yum! Delicious! What a wonderful treat
Now its time to go home
Wow! I can't get out anymore. . .
So he had to repeat his old trick again
He went without food for three days and three nights
I finally got out
but my stomach is as hungry as ever
Isn't life like this too?
We were born naked
and take nothing with us when we leave
Only good deeds that benefit humanity
are worthwhile praising after a person dies
You can't take with you the fame or fortune
that were the result of your lifetime pursuit
The Wild Donkey and the Domesticated Donkey
Once there was a wild donkey who lived in the woods on a mountain
He worked extremely hard every day
just searching out enough food for three meals
One day, he saw a domesticated donkey
who ate really well
and lived in quite a comfortable place
You have an endless supply of food to eat
to make you chubby. How lucky!
Hurry to work!
What are you standing around for?
If freedom is exchanged for fortune
all the gain is not worth the price
Profits gained by giving up your values
are often not worth envying
the loss may often outweigh the gain
This is not a shrewd business deal
The Butcher who Crossed His Level of Competence
One day a hungry wolf ran into a donkey
Ha! Today is the day for a feast the special cuisine of donkey meat!
My foot was suck by a thorn
Before you eat me you had better pull it out
so you won't hurt your throat by accident
Is it here?
Yeh, yeh, yeh. That is right!
You got tricked !
It's my own fault
My father taught me the techniques of butchering
and yet I chose to operate like a surgeon
It is a good thing to be specialized in what you do
Don't show off beyond your level of competence
by doing things that are not familiar to you
The Cry of the Donkey and the Singing of the Cicada
The best thing about the donkey is that
it has a strong back to carry heavy loads and endure hardships
The shortcoming of the donkey is that he makes awful sounds
as unpleasant as the scrams of ghosts
What do you eat everyday?
Why does your voice sound so sweet?
I drink only morning dew and I don't eat any grass
My voice is not beautiful
because I eat foods that are too earthy
From then on, the donkey consumed
only morning dew and not a blade of grass. .
and eventually, he staved to death
Everyone has his own strengths and weaknesses
To give up one's strength to search for
what is beyond one's capabilities
often requires paying a high price
even to the extent of one's own life
What Is a True "Elephant" ?
Once there were seven blindmen
None of them had ever seen an elephant
and none had any idea what an elephant looked like
One day, they had a chance to meet a live elephant
so everyone hurried to find out what an elephant was like with their hands
Now we all know what a true elephant is!
An elephant is like a column!
An elephant is like a rope!
An elephant looks like a wall !
An elephant is like a huge fan!
An elephant is like a water hose!
An elephant is like a stick!
An elephant is like a big rock!
A column. A rope. A rock. A wall !
You're all wrong ! It is like a fan!
A water hose. A stick
An elephant is not like a column, rope
wall, fan, hose, stick, or rock
An elephant is an elephant
Each of you has touched only one part of the elephant
How could you possibly understand the whole truth of an elephant
There Is No Absolute Right or Wrong in Life
Once there was a flock of domesticated ducks
Everyday they would swim in the pond and enjoy themselves
Their days were quite carefree and joyous
Among them was a grey duck who stood out from the crowd
because of his high regard for himself
I am not going to live an indulgent meaningless life like they do
They are wasting their lives and letting precious time slip away
In order to be better than the rest of the flock
everyday he would diligently jog in the morning,
do aerobic exercise
take computer courses
and study foreign languages all day long
One day he finally achieved the goal of all his hard work
Spring passed and autumn arrived,
the season of the harvest had finally come
It is now time for you to say good-bye to the world
I am taking you to report to the butcher's block!
I've worked diligently all my life
how can I die like this?
It's hard to escape your destiny!
This's always the end for domestic ducks
don't blame fate or accuse others for four natural path of life!
Help!
See, you ended up in the same place we did !
What a waste of life to not enjoy
the pleasures of it while you could !
I didn't like to play around
I liked to spend my time studying and learning
Was that so wrong?
To choose a lifestyle is everyone's right
There is nothing wrong with having an easy life
and there is nothing wrong with a diligent life!
Now! Understand !
Buddha and a Pile of Shit
The infamous poet Su Dong Po was
a good friend of Dharma Master Fo Yin
One day, he asked Master Fo Yin :
Master, what do you think I Look like sitting here?
You look like a sitting Buddha
But you surely look like a pile of shit to me
Oh. . . Is that right?
You respect me as a Buddha
and I refer to you as a pile of shit
Aren't you mad?
I should be thrilled. How could I be mad
Because if the self is Buddha the self sees others as Buddha-like
if the self is full of shit the self sees others as shit-like
The world presents itself according to
the Viewpoint of each person
Whatever kind of person one is
one will see that kind of world
whatever kind of mindset one has
one will derive that kind of conclusion
Nothing But A Gas Blows Can Move Him across the River
One day, Su Dong Po wrote a Zen poem
to express how thoroughly
he understood the wisdom of Buddhism
He proudly sent someone to deliver this poem
to the north bank of the river where Master Fo Yin lived
Master, pleases take a look at this poem
Let me see. . .
He dares to claim that
he is immovable in front of the eight types of emotional winds!
This nonsense is like passing gas!
This outrageous old monk!
He dared to write "fart" on my poem
I'll teach him a lesson!
Su Dong Po! Didn't you claim that
all eight types of emotional winds could not move you?
How come a simple word lie "fart"
has blown you across the river?
Zen is a state of mind
a level of consciousness, a way of living
Zen that focuses on semantics and playing with words is a Zen
of lipservice and cult Zen It has nothing to do with real Zen
The Transformation of the Self
The young snake asked the senior snake:
You have lived a long life
Would you tell me what is the meaning of life?
During your childhood be happy and lively
During your youth discover what is your heart
During your middle age strive for your goals
During your later years be peaceful and enjoy life
Does that mean
living your childhood in childhood style
living your youth in youth style
and living your later years in the style of later years?
That's right. If one is stuck with the same person all life long
that is very pathetic
The snake that does not know how to shed old skin will face death soon
No change means death
for life is ever-changing
One should continue to evolve with the growing process
The soul can always be reborn as a new butterfly
Ownership and Being A Part of
Once an artist went to paint at the harbour of river
He found everything to be extremely beautiful
too beautiful for him to start his painting !
Therefore, he bought a house there
Put away his painting supplies and never painting again
From then on he settled down at the river harbour
and dissolved himself into the beautiful scenery
Human beings should not seek after one point in time and place
We should dissolve into any space and time
That is how we can truly own any time and any space
Be All You Can Be
If a tree is full of all kinds of fruit
and if each fruit is a child
I am Orange and proud to be the sweetest!
Look at me I am Persimmon with the best flavor!
I am cherry the pretties and most precious
I am Apple, and I'm the most nutritious
I am Lychee and have the richest taste
Mother Tree says:
Do not envy others and do not underestimate yourself
Just be all you can be
Yes!
Everyone has his own strengths
and unique qualities
Why care about other people's respect or disdain?
If one lives according to others' values
one is guaranteed to die in one's own dissatisfaction
The Fish and the Bird
If you were not born as a human
would you rather be a bird that soars freely in the grand sky?
Or would your prefer to be a fish
that swims without a care in the flowing water?
I wish that when I am young I would be a free flying bird
When I get old I wish to be a peaceful fish
just enjoying myself. That would be nice
Fine
Master, how about you?
It doesn't matter whether I am a fish or a bird
When I am a bird, I'll be a bird
When I am a fish, I'll be a fish
Many of us don't feel like doing mediocre things like others
but we aren't able to do what we dream about doing
Cherish what you have and
don't hunger for what you don't have
When you are the fish, enjoy yourself swimming to your heart's content,
and don't fantasize about flying
When you are a bird, enjoy soaring to your heart's content,
and don't even think of wanting to dive
Big and Small
One batch of clay said to the potter:
Please make me into a small clay urn That would be great
Everyone asks to be big Why do you alone ask to be small?
Because small is better than big
How do you explain that?
Because a small vessel fills up easily
while a big one is never fulfilled
A little bit will bring me satisfaction
I am always lacking and unsatisfied
Everyone in this world says that bigger is better
I, alone, would rather be the small one
I feel rich
because my desires are smaller than my capabilities
I would feel poor
if my desires are larger than what I have
Past and Present
As wished, the batch of clay finally
was fired into a small clay urn
The little clay urn said :
My past was a batch of clay
I was full of all sorts of potential
to be made into a bottle a vase, an urn, or a brick
Now that I am a little urn
I am still full of possibilities
I could be filled with liquor, water
medicine or monetary treasures
Do not carry the burden of the past
do not live in the future
The only important thing is that
one lives in the present authentically and fully
Whatever your current life presents you
be the most you can be by living in the moment
When I am the iron hammer I strike with all my might
When I am the anvil
I stay grounded and stable like a rocky mountain
To Have and Not to Have
The big liquor bottle said to the little clay run :
I am a big container
I am a small container
I am filled with a large quantity of fine liquor
I am empty inside without a thing
Fullness makes one feel solid and satisfied.
Emptiness gives the feeling of being totally insubstantial, like a void.
Self-contentment means that there is
no more room to include anything else
Being empty means having capacity
This capacity makes a small container like me
much superior and grander than a large container like you
Emptiness allows for unfulfilled capacity
while fullness of the ego-self does not
allow for anything more to be added
Fullness appears to be concrete
but because of its full nature
it no longer allows for the possibility
of anything more to be added
The Mountain Has No Feet I Do
A prophet once announced to the public that
he was going to demonstrate a miracle
By noon tomorrow
I am going to have that mountain come to me
The second day the crowd showed up from everywhere
in a rush to witness the miracle
Hello! You, Mountain. Come over here!
Did the mountain move? Nothing has happened yet. . .
Hello! Mountain! Come, be at my side
Hello! Mountain! Come to my side
Still no movement. . The mountain has not moved a bit!
Everyone! You have seen it too
I yelled three times to that mountain
but that mountain still did not move
However, even though the mountain does not move, I can move!
This can also make the mountain be at my side
Thing in this world are not always as we wish
When we cannot change circumstances outside of us
we can still change ourselves;
and that often, can help us reach the same goal
The mountain doesn't move; people can move!
The water doesn't turn; the boat can turn!
Two Points of View
A long time ago
there was a merchant who lived in Song
He brought men's hats and shirts to the country of Yue, in southern China
thinking that he would make a great fortune
Come! Buy new clothing here!
I have shirts and hats that are handsome and fashionable!
However, the fashion in the Yue area was
for men to keep their hair short
and tattoo the naked upper body
They didn't wear shirts or hats at all
Therefore the merchant wrote to his wife:
This was a total disaster No man here wears any shirts or hats
They keep their upper bodies naked
I am coming right home
There was another merchant from Zheng
who also brought men's shirts and hats
to do business in the country of Yue
Hey, come and buy new shirts and hats!
Gorgeous fashionable outfits
He also discovered that the custom of Yue men
was to keep the upper body naked
We guys here never wear shirts or hats
That's exactly why I came here
Great!
Virgin territory for selling shirts and hats
Therefore, he also wrote a letter back
to his wife in Zheng
No man here wear shirts or hats
It's the best market!
Please send a large quantity of shirts and hats to Yue by mail
The Meaning of Life
One day, the Zen Master and his disciple
came to a scenic spot
What beautiful scenery!
Yes, indeed
Master. May I seek your wisdom in answering some questions?
How should we treat the one or two China issue?
What's the meaning of life?
Where do people go after they die?
The essence of life is to dissolve into
any space and time you are in
to experience and practise in every space and time
You came all the way to seek natural beauty
Why are you blind to all the gifts of life right in front of your eyes
All you think about are questions irrelevant to the present moment
Life is like owning a travel coupon
valid for eighty years
During this time, everyone can arrange
his schedule voluntarily
and go wherever he wants to go
But don't just stand in place holding your travel coupon
only obsessed about the problems that will occur
when the coupon is no longer valid eighty years form now
Yes, I see
Don't worry about the whole universe
Don't worry compulsively about the ultimate reason
for crating this world
Life and love is life and love
a bunch of violets is a bunch of violets
it is not necessary to be obsessed about further answers
The Spirit of Everything
This is an authentic copy of the infamous calligrapher Zheng Ban Qiao!
What wonderful and amazing work!
Standing here I could almost feel him
in the middle of doing the calligraphy
Don't be fooled by your emotions!
This copy is actually an imitation
by someone of a later time!
Well, then, if it is just an imitation
then it's not even worth pennies
Do not be fooled
by your subjective judgment this time
Take another careful look at this work!
Yes!
Whether this copy is authentic or imitative
whether it's done by Zheng Ban Qiao
or somebody else
this is a very fine piece of work!
Indeed so!
Reincarnation
The dried up tree is about to die but he is dying quite peacefully
This is the death of tree; this is also the birth of charcoal
They are just different manifestations of being
I provided shade for people
when I was a tree
I will provide warmth for people
when I am charcoal
What happens then when you are burned down to ashes?
I will be reduced to soil again to nourish trees
Whether it is a tree, charcoal, or soil
life has its own terms
Don't ask whether I will be dead or alive
ask only if I am living my life to the fullest in the present
Loss Is Gain
A teacher instructs his pupil :
There are three apples on the table Go ahead and grab one to eat
Thank you, teacher!
Yummy
One of three apples was eaten by you
Now, how many apples are there?
Three!
How can there still be three apples?
One in my tummy ; two on the table
People often take gain and loss too seriously
and even more often judge them entirely wrong
Isn't the apple that is already
in the stomach a true " gain" ?
How could that be a "loss" ?
Transmission of the Lamp
It is said that on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month
of the reign of king Shao of the Zhou Dynasty,
the rivers suddenly flooded, the earth shook,
and the sky lit up with dazzling colors
Please divine whether this is a good omen or a bad omen.
Okay!
It's a good omen about a great sage being born in a country far to the west.
Will he affect my empire?
No, he won't ...
However, in approximately a thousand years,
the teachings of this great sage will be transmitted to our country.
In the year 527, the first year of the Datong reign of the Liang Dynast.
A monk from India named Bodhidharma arrived at the shores of southern China.
On the twenty-first day of the ninth lunar month,
he came ashore in Guangzhou. At the same time,
emperor Wu of the Liang Dynasty was himself infatuated with Buddhism.
He often wore Buddhist clothes, ate vegetarian meals,
and hanted Buddhist scriptures. On the first day of the next month,
Bodhidharma accepted Emperor Wu's invitation to the capital at Nanjing.
Ever since my ascending the throne, I have supported monks,
built temples and monasteries, and copied the scriptures.
How many merits shall I receive for this
None to speak of.
These are but minor earthly achievements.
They are worth no merits.
True merit is the most perfect and pure wisdom,
the original substance of
which is emptiness and quiescence.
You cannot obtain it by earthly means.
On the nineteenth day of the month,
Bodhidharma, realizing his differences with Emperor Wu, departed Liang
and crossed the Yangtze River into northern Wei.
Where is that high monk from India living now?
He went across the river into northern Wei.
Your majesty really is one who looks but does not see;
meets but does not recognize.
Who is he?
None other than the Bodhisattva, transmitter of the Buddha-mind.
I am indeed one who looks but does not see,
meets but does not recognize...
send Zhao Guangwen to the other side of the Yangtze
to find him!
It's no use.
Even if all the people of the country where to pursue him,
he would not return.
After crossing the Yangtze,
Bodhidharma arrived at Shaolin monastery on Song Mountain in Henan province.
He spent his days facing a wall,
concentrating his energy, putting an end to all Karmic conditions.
On the ninth day of the twelfth month of the tenth year of the Taihe reign,
Shenguang, a monk seeking the Dharma,
stood out side all night long.
What are you after,
standing there in the snow so long?
I wish for the master the nectar gates and provide deliverance for all creatures
Please teach me the Buddhadharma.
When the Buddhas were seeking the highest enlightenment,
they never hesitated expending unlimited time in self-cultivation.
You come seeking the great Dharma with but the slightest determination.
I think your wishes will be difficult of fulfill.
In seeking the Dharma, the Buddhas did not take their bodies as bodies
or their lives as lives.
Cutting off your arm like that is a good start.
Please settle my mind.
Hand over your mind, and I'll settle it.
I've searched long, but I cannot reach my mind.
If you do reach it,
how can you consider it your mind?
I just settled your mind.
Do you understand now?
Yes, because all Dharmas are empty and quiescent,
the Bodhisattva doesn't stir his thoughts,
by not stirring his thoughts, he is able to ascend to the shores of Nirvana.
So the first Zen patriarch Bodhidharma accepted Shenguang as his disciple
and gave him the new name Huike.
In the year 536,
Bodhidharma, feeling that it was time for him to leave,
called together is disciples.
I want each of you to tell me about your progress toward enlightenment.
We shouldn't cling to language,
yet we shouldn't dispense with it either.
We should take language as a useful tool
in the quest for enlightenment.
You have attained my skin.
From what I understand,
it is like taking joy in seeing the land of the Buddha Aksobhya
once you get a glimpse, you needn't look again.
You have attained my flesh.
Earth, water, fire, and wind have always been empty,
and the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body do not really exist
there is no single Dharma in the entire world.
You have attained my bones.
It was finally Huike's turn.
He bowed once to Bodhidharma, then stood there unmoving.
You have attained my marrow.
Thereafter, Huike became the second patriarch of Zen Buddhism
and continued Bodhidharma's work of the deliverance of all sentient beings.
In the year 559,
a certain lay Buddhist came to seek the advice of Huike...
I must have done horrible things in my previous life
to suffer the afflictions I have now. Please absolve me of my sins, master!
You have me your sins, and I'll provided the absolution.
I've looked so long and yet I just can't find the sins.
The absolution is complete.
Now please convert to three treasures the Buddha, the Dharma, and the monastery.
I know about the monastery,
but what are the Buddha and the Dharma?
The mind is the Buddha, and is also the Dharma.
There is really no difference between the Buddha and the Dharama.
I get it.
This thing called sin isn't inside or outside,
or even in between.
I accept you as my disciple
and shall transmit to you the orthodox Dharma,
I hereby name you Sengcan.
Sengcan succeeded Huike to become the third patriarch of Zen Buddhism.
One day when Sengcan had gathered his disciples together to teach the Dharma,
a young monk stepped forward.
What kind of mind can be considered Buddha-mind?
What kind of mind is your present mind?
Right now I am of no-mind.
If you don't have a mind,
why would the Buddha have a mind?
I would appreciate it if you could point out a method of release.
Who tied you up?
No one tied me up.
Then why do you need a method of release
With this, the monk achieved enlightenment
and went on to become the fourth patriarch of Zen Buddhism, Daoxin.
The fourth patriarch, Daoxin,
was succeeded by Hongren, the fifth patriarch,
who then passed on the robe and almsbowl to huineng, the sixth patriarch.
The sixth patriarch, Huineng,
can be called the true patriarch of Zen in China,
as it was he who was responsible for the vibrancy and flourishin
of Chinese Zen Buddhism.
Wisdom has never been a tree,
and the bright mirror has no stand ;
there has never been anything,
so where can dust land?
True geniuses are not of this world.
The sixth patriarch, Huineng, was this kind of genius.
He, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Confucius, and mencius
were great men of the same strain.
His thinking, his words, and his actions were complied by disciples
into a short book called the Platform sutra of the sixth patriarch,
the only Chinese Buddhist work to attain the status
of a sacred scripture in China.
The Platform sutra is a heartfelt book
generated by a truly genuine person.
Every word, every sentence,
is as fresh and penetrating
as water from a clear spring.
The sixth aptriarch, Huieng
Huineng's lay surname was Lu,
and he was born in the year 638 in Guangdong province.
His father died while Huineng was still young, leaving the family in poverty,
Huineng supported himself by peddling firewood.
It was also because of this that
he never had the opportunity to attend school.
The way of great learning is in illuminating luminous virtue.
Here's your firewood.
Just put it right there, and here's the money.
Abiding in nothing, let the mind come through...
Excuse me, what Sutra is that you're quoting?
The Diamond Sutra.
Where did you study the Buddhist scriptures?
I studied with the fifth patriarch, Hongren, at Huangmei Mountain in Hebei.
Huineng then put his mother
under the care of neighbor.
And departed for Hebei to study the Buddha-Dharma...
After thirty days of walking, he arrived at Huangmei,
whereupon he immediately went to meet Hongren.
Where are you from, and why are you here
I am from Guangdon and have come to study under you
in the hopes of someday becoming a Buddha.
Being from Guangdon, you are but a southern Barbarian.
How can you become a Buddha?
People distinguish south from north.
Are you saying that Buddha-nature does as well?
People differ in form,
but our Buddha-natures are identical.
For a southern Barbarian, you're quite sharp.
I'll send you out back and put in charge of grinding rice.
Thank you.
Huineng's first eight months at Huangmei Mountain passed in an instant.
Then one day Hongren felt that the time had arrived to transmit the Dharma
I want you all to write down your view of enlightenment in a short poem.
If there is a person who has truly attained enlightenment,
I'll pass on the robe and almsbowl to him.
Among Hongre's Disciples,
one Shenxiu was recognized by all
to be the one most likely to receive the robe and almsbowl.
The body is the wisdom tree,
the mind like a bright mirror stand ;
always strive to wipe it clean,
making sure that no dus lands.
Who wrote that?
Shenxiu. He wrote it on the wall.
Can you take me to see it?
Sure.
Here it is.
Whoever wrote this has yet to attain enlightenment.
You can read a poem? That'll be the day!
Sometimes it is the lowliest person who possesses the highest wisdom;
and it is the highest person who has the least knowledge and understanding.
I have a poem myself.
Can you write it on the wall for me?
Yeah, Okay...
Wisdom has never been a tree,
and the bright mirror has no stand ;
there has never been anything,
so where can dust lands?
Let's go.
A living Bodhisattva!
My goodness!
Fabulous! Wow, that's deep.
This poem is unenlightened. Please wipe it off.
The following day,
Hongren quietly went over to Huineng's work area.
Tonight at midnight, come to my quarters
Yes, master!
Huineng kept the midnight appointment as planned,
and Hongren explained to him the diamond sutra.
Hongren them handed over the robe and almsbowl to him
and transmitted the teachings of sudden enlightenment.
When Bodhidharma came from the west,
nobody believed what he said. This led to the tradition of
the passing on of the robe and almsbowl as a token of belief.
Now you are the sixth patriarch of Zen Buddhism,
and I hope that you will serve well.
You must transmit the Dharma and pass on the teachings.
With the passing of the robe and almsbowl, it is easy for quarrels to arise,
so you should quickly leave these parts.
I'll deliver you a cross the river.
When I was confused, you delivered me.
Since my enlightenment, I am able to deliver myself.
Fine.
From this day forward, the Buddha-Dharma will flourish because of you.
In going to the south, it will be difficult at first.
Wait for the right time, then speak the dharma.
Thank you for your instruction, master.
A sentient being plants a seed,
because of soil it returns to life;
without sentience,there are no seeds,
without self-nature,there is no life.
Upon receiving the robe and almsbowl from hongren,
huineng headed south and just kept going.
My robe and almsbowl have been transmitted southward.
An able person has received them.
" An able person." That must mean huineng got them.
Can a southern barbarian get the robe and almsbowl?
He gave them to that ignoramus who ground the rice and couldn't read.
Let's go get them back!
Let's get him!
But huineng had already gone incognito in the southern countryside.
No one could find him,
until fifteen years later. .
In the year 6 7 6 at faxing monastery in Guangzhou
Today I, yinzong the dharma teacher,
shall speak about the nirvana sutra.
Just the, a banner in the courtyard began to flap in the wind.
Look at the wind stirring !
No, No, No. It's clearly the banner that is moving.
It's the wind.
The banner!
The wind !
It is neither the wind nor the banner,
but your minds that are stirring.
Would this layman please come forward to speak.
Layman, your understanding seems quite penetrating.
Would you care to speak of the Buddha-Dharma?
All right.
As for the roots of goodness, there are two hinds,
one that is changing, and one that is unchanging.
Buddha-nature, however,
transcends both changing and unchanging, good and not good.
My lecture was as worthless as rubble,
and your explanation as precious as pure gold.
I heard that hongren's robe and almsbowl were transmitted south.
Would you be the one who received them?
That's right.
Your disciples seek guidance from the sixth patriarch!
Following this, yinzong shaved huineng's head
and formally ordained him.
And then he himself took huineng as his teacher.
The following year, huineng went to an area near the cao river and,
through the support of his many follower constructed baolin monastery.
It was here that he began spreading the Dharma.
Not reliant on the written word,
Aspecial transmission separate from the scriptures;
direct pointing at one's mind ; seeing one's nature, becoming a Buddha.
This short poem has been attributed to bodhidharma,
but would even more accurately describe huineng's thinking.
The way of perfect wisdom is mind to mind transmission,
whereas books and scriptures are just
a convenient method of opening one's mind toward self-enlightenment.
cannot stuff his own enlightenment into another person's mind.
He can only act like a midwife
and wait for the right time
to lend a helping hand.
Sudden in the south, gradual in the north
With the tang capital of Changan as its center of activity,
the teachings of Shenxiu flourished and became known as the " northern sect."
promoted gradual enlightenment
emphasized sudden enlightenment
In contrast to this, Huineng's teachings
became known as the " southern sect,"
Shenxiu of the northern sect promoted gradual enlightenment,
while Huineng of the southern sect emphasized sudden enlightenment.
Thus arose the northern versus southern schism in Zen.
Among huineng's disciples, there were five who stood out among the rest.
They were: nanyu huairang, qingyuan xingsi, youngjia xuanjue,
nanyang huizhong, and heze shenhui
Huairang of Nanyu,
In the year 6 7 7-7 44
From Jin prefecture in Shaanxi province, his lay surname was du.
He left his family for the order at fifteen
and first studied in the vinaya sect.
unsatisfied, however, he went to song mountain to study under huaian,
who suggested he go to Caoxi to study under Huineng.
Where did you come from?
From song mountain.
What is it that has come?
To say it's a thing is not correct.
Is there need for cultivation and verification?
I dare not say that one mustn't
but I can say that it would not lead to defilement.
Your views are the same as mine.
That which wouldn't be defiled is that
which the buddhas and bodhisattvas wish us to be mindful of protecting.
So huairang took his place as huineng's disciple
and studied with him for fifteen years.
He then went to nanyu,
where he succeeded in greatly disseminating Zen.
His mot famous disciple was Mazu Daoyi.
Xingsi of Qingyuan, in the year 660-7 40,
From Ji prefecture in Jiangxi province, his lay surname was Liu.
He left home to join the order at a very young age,
and he was of a quiet disposition.
At his first meeting with Huineng, he asked :
What can we do to keep from slipping into the levels of relativism?
What works have you accomplished lately?
I haven't even worked on the sacred truth.
And what level has this work brought you to?
If I haven't even worked on the sacred truth,
what level is there to speak of?
Good, good. Very good.
Huineng was impressed by his depth
and regarded him as having accomplished the most of all of his students.
Later, Xingsi was sent to Quingyuan Mountain in Ji prefecture
to spread the Dharma.
There, he disseminated the teachings of Huineng.
He had only one outstanding disciple, Shitou Xiquan.
Although he was but one, he was sufficient.
Though horns are numerous a unicorn suffices.
Xuanjue of Yongjia,
in the year 66 5-7 13,
From Yongjia in Zhejiang province, his lay surname was Dai,
He initially studied the Tiantaisect and was accomplished in meditation.
Later he went to see Huineng to verify what he had learned.
At their first meeting,
Xuanjue walked three circles around Huineng.
You possess the three thousand dignified deportments
and eighty thousand refined behaviors.
Where do you come from
with such great virtue,
Generation and extinction are important,
and hasted describes the impermanence of things.
Perhaps you should experience
"No generation"
and try to understand "No haste."
In all the world, experience is without generation,
and understanding has nothing to do with haste.
Well said, well said.
Thank you for your instruction. I must take leave now.
Why such haste to return?
I haven't moved.
What haste is there to speak of?
Who knows there is no motion?
You brought up the distinction.
Yes, now you understand the meaning of
"No generation."
How can "No generation" have meaning?
If there is no meaning,
how can we make a distinction?
"Distinction" also has no meaning.
Please stay just one night.
Tomorrow we should go
All right.
Xuanjue stayed at Baolin monastery for just one night,
and thereafter people called him Yisujue ("One-night realization").
Huizhong of Nanyang,
in the year 6 7 7-7 7 5,
He was one of Huineng's five greatest disciples.
After studing under Huineng, he went to Baiyai Mountain in Nanyang,
where he lived for more than forty years,
not once stepping foot off the mountain.
In the year 7 61,
Emperor Suzong invited him to the capital
to accept the post of national teacher.
Once during a meeting, although the emperor asked many questions
Huizhong refused to even look at him.
I am the emperor of the great Tang,
how dare you not look at me!
Has his majesty seen empty space before?
Yes.
Has empty space ever blinked an eye at you?
Shenhui of Heze,
in the year 6 70-7 58,
From Xiangyang in Hubei province, Shenhui's lay surname was Gao.
He made great strides in preserving Huineng's teachings
and in popularizing Zen.
He also succeeded in promoting the southern sect of sudden enlightenment
at the expense of the northern sect of gradual enlightenment.
Shenhui first studied under Huineng when he was only thirteen.
Having come from so far away,
did you bring your most fundamental thing?
If yes, you should know
what its most important aspect is.
See if you can tell me.
This thing of which you speak is non-abiding.
Its most important aspect is opening one's eyes and seeing.
For such a young monk, you're pretty sharp.
Master, when you mediated, do you see or not?
When I hit you, does it hurt or not?
It hurts, and yet it doesn't .
I see, and yet I don't .
How do you see and not see at the same time?
What I see are my own failings,
and what I don't see
are other people's right and wrong, good and bad.
As for you, if it doesn't hurt,
you have no feeling, like wood or rock.
If it does hurt, you have a mind of resentment,
just like common people.
Seeing and not seeing are the simultaneous holding of two positions.
Feeling and not feeling pain belong to the realm of generation and extinction.
Upon hearing this Shenhui felt embarrassed
and immediately bowed to Huineng.
He was to become Huineng's most pious disciple.
In the year 7 13,
Huineng announced that
it wouldn't be long before he passed away.
At this his disciples all began to weep.
All except Shenhui, who just sat there quietly, not shedding a tear.
What principle is it you are all seeking?
Who is it you are crying for?
Only Shenhui has transcended the concepts of good and bad.
One he has attained the realm where he is unmoved by praise and criticism
and where he doe not give rise to feelings of sadness and happiness.
I know well where I am going.
How else would I be able to tell you ahead of time?
You are all crying
because you don't know where I'm going.
If you know, you wouldn't cry.
You know
The Dharama-nature can be neither created nor destroyed.
In the middle of the night on the third day of the eighth month,
Huineng passed away at the age of seventy-six.
From then on,
Caoxi became
a holy ground for Zen Buddhism,
and Huineng's southern sect of sudden enlightenment
gradually evolved into five distinct schools.
Dayi, patriarch Ma
From Chengdu in Sichuan province,
his lay surname was Ma.
Of all the Buddhist monks
throughout history,
he may be the only one
to have gone by his lay surname.
Mazu left home to join the order
t the young age of twelve.
He went to Nanyu
and took Huairang as his teacher.
Excuse me, why are you learning to mediate?
To become a Buddha.
At this Huairang took up a tile
and began to polish it.
Master, why are you polishing that tile?
I'm making into a mirror!
How can polishing a tile make it into a mirror?
If polishing a tile cannot make it into a mirror,
how can sitting in mediation make you into a Buddha?
Then, what should I do to become a Buddha?
It's like an ox pulling a cart.
If the cart doesn't move,
do you strike the cart? Or do you strike the ox?
Do you want to learn to sit in mediation or to sit in Buddha-hood?
If you want to learning to sit in mediation
you won't find it through reclining there.
And if you want to sit in Buddhahood,
you should know that Buddhahood doesn't have any certain posture.
If you are learning to sit in Buddhahood,
you might as well be killing the Buddha,
if you insist on sitting in something, you will never be enlightened.
I see.
It was after this that Mazu finally attained
and he followed Huairang for full ten years.
After leaving Huairang, Mazu went on to Jiangxi province,
where he became abbot of a monastery.
Of Huairang's six most accomplished disciples,
only Mazu was given the transmission of the mind.
Becoming a Buddha is a matter of enlightenment.
One need not become mired in any formalities
to understand the reality of life.
The Hunter's marksmanship
Huicang of Shigong was originally a hunter,
and what he liked to see least at that time was a monk.
One day when he was chasing down a kill,
he ran into Mazu.
What are you?
I'm a hunter.
Do you know how to shoot?
Of course I can shoot.
How many can you get with one arrow?
One animal per arrow.
you don't know the first thing about shooting.
Then you understand shooting?
Of course I do.
How many can you get with one shot?
I can get a whole herd with on shot.
We're all living things.
How can you bear to shoot a whole herd?
My target is the confusion of all beings
Why don't you take aim at your own confusion?
I wouldn't know where to begin.
You have immeasurable confusion and distress,
but from now on, they will be completely eliminated.
Shigong then give up his bow
and joined the order, with Mazu as his master.
Taking aim at an animal can resolve but a moment's hunger.
Taking aim at the mind's confusion
can resolve a lifetime of
distress and suffering.
Self-nature
In their time, Mazu and Shitou were
the two most prominent Zen masters in all of China.
Rather than seeing each other as rivals,
however, they often recommended students back and forth.
Yaoshan was originally a student of Shito Xiquan
I have never been able to fully understand the lines
"Diret pointing at one's mind, seeing one's nature, becoming a Buddha."
Could you explain this for me?
It's wrong to affirm it, it's wrong to deny it,
and it's wrong to both affirm and deny it. Now what?
I...I don't know.
I don't think you are meant to be here.
Why don't you go to Mazu's .
Okay.
So Yaoshan went to take Mazu as his teacher.
How can I directly point at my mind, see my nature, and become a Buddha?
Sometimes I tell it to raise the eyebrows and blink.
Sometimes I don't tell it to raise the eyebrows and blinking.
sometimes the one raising the eyebrows and blinking is it.
and sometimes the one raising the eyebrows and blinking is not it.
So how do you want to go about understanding it?
Upon hearing this Yaoshan was suddenly enlightened
and immediately bowed to Mazu.
What did you see that made you bow to me?
When I was at Shitou's , I was like a mosquito stinging an ox
I just couldn't find the proper opening.
One's self-nature is often defiled by outside forces, thus causing confusion.
If you rid yourself of all value judgments
if you can transcend absolutes, then you will discover your self-nature.
Baizhang's regulations
After Mazu died,
Baizhang inherited the orthodox dharma.
He then established "Baizhang's regulations,"
which became the foundation for the monastic order
as well as Zen Buddhism in general.
Baizhang's regulations set down
in detail the rules for the daily life
of the abbot and all those in the monastery under him.
They required the prospective monk
to vow to observe the five precepts: Do not kill, Do not steal
Do not be licentious Do not lie, Do not drink
And the following : Do not sleep on a high or broad bed
Do not observe or participated in stage shows
Do not adorn oneself
Do not acquire money or precious objects
Do not eat the wrong foods or at the wrong times.
Only after achieving these
would the formally have his head shaven and become a monk.
Baizhang also established a system of work,
in which not only the average monk worked in the fields,
but the abbot as well.
In India, monks were prohibited from farming
and depended on offerings from the faithful.
With his regulations, Baizhang aimed to
eliminate this kind of beggarly, parasitic lifestyle.
Why should a perfectly healthy monk
live like some kind of parasite,
sucking the lifeblood out of the secular people?
So he demanded that all monks spend
time opening up land to cultivation
and farming their own food.
Every day, the heavens, the earth, the sun, and the moon
perform their duties unceasingly.
Every day all creatures between heaven and earth
should do the same,
in an effort at continuous self-enrichment.
Zen of the wild fox
Whenever Baizhang lectured on the dharma,
there was always an old man who sat in with the monks.
Who are you?
Actually, I'm not a person,
originally, I was abbot on this mountain.
A long time ago, when I was abbot of Baizhang Mountain,
an itinerant monk asked me:
Will an experienced cultivator of the self fall into causation?
No!
Because I answered incorrectly,
I was punished by being turned into a fox
and made to live in the form of an animal for five hundred life times.
Will an experienced cultivator of the self all into causation?
He won't ignore causation!
I'm free from the body of the fox.
I live on the other side of the mountain.
Please give me a monk's funeral.
Baizhange did indeed find the body of a fox in a cave
on the back side of the mountain,
and he had it cremated according to Buddhist custom.
In living with the cycle of cause and effect,
you live with the suffering of gain and loss.
The meaning of life is not in results,
but, rather, in every process that life has to offer.
The great suppression
In the year 84 5,
Buddhism in China was dealt a tragic blow
when the Tan emperor Wuzong began a movement to wipe out
Buddhism in China for reasons of economics.
So more than 44,600 monasteries and temples were destroyed,
more than 260,500 monks and nuns were returned to lay life,
and over 1 5,000 servants were taken into service by the government.
Of all the various Buddhist sects suffering this disaster,
only Zen survived intact.
Because Zen didn't rely on scriptures or statuses,
even though everything was destroyed,
the Zen mind still thrived.
In addition, the Zen monks knew how to work and fend for themselves,
not needing to depend on the rest of society for their survival.
This success can all be attributed to the system
of reformation instituted by Baizhang,
which not only allowed Zen to get through the heard times,
but to flourish in the end.
Baizhang's insistence on working
is highly relevant to all of humanity
because at the same time that you depend on your own efforts,
you are also taking control of
your own destiny.
Xiangyan hits bamboo
Xiangyan was originally a student of Baizhang,
and although he was well versed in all the scriptures,
he still couldn't get a handle on the meaning of Zen.
After Baizhang passed away,
he followed Baizhang's best disciple, Guishan.
I've heard that when you were with Baizhang,
you could give ten answers for every question
and a hundred answers for every ten questions.
That's because you're smart and you're a good talker.
But birth and death are the big questions.
Tell me, before your parents were born, what were you?
This question sent Xiangyan into a dither,
and after paging through all his books,
he still couldn't figure it out...
I guess it's true that you can't eat a painting of a biscuit...
Please tell me the answer!
If I tell you now, you will be angry with me later.
Even if I were to tell, it would be my answer,
and it could never become yours.
Why bother with all this Buddha-dharma stuff?
I'd be better off roaming around as a beggar monk.
Xo Xiangyan left
and ended up spending some time
in the temple ruins of the former national teacher Huizhong...
One day when he was out farming,
his hoe came across tile,
which he picked up and tossed back into a clump of bamboo.
On hearing the crisp hollow sound
of tile against bamboo,
Xiangyan suddenly attained enlightenment
Master, your kidness toward me surpasses even that of my parents.
If you had told me the answer,
how would I have attained enlightenment today!
When Xiangyan heard the crisp, hollow sound,
he suddently realized the end of the distinction
between the sound and himself.
He became one with the sound, and then one with the whole world !
The Devil of Language
Yangshan was a pupil of Guishan...
kid, you've got to hurry and attain enlightenment,
don't cling to language and ideas.
I don't even want faith!
Do you not want it because you have faith,
or do you not want it because you don't have faith?
What can I have faith in besides myself?
If that's the case, then you can be considered a disciple
only of that lower Hinayana Buddhism.
I wouldn't even want to meet the Buddha himself.
Of all the scriptures, how much is the word of Buddha,
and how much is the word of the devil?
It's all the devil !
Very good, very good !
From now on, noting will bother you.
In the end Yangshan ingerited the robe and almsbowl of Guishan
and carried on his style of Zen.
The most fundamental ideas have always
been the simplest an clearest,
but when they are put into words,
they can become like a deceitful devil.
So when reading the scriptures,
don't get tangled up in the language.
Congshen of Zhaozhou
In the year 7 7 8-863
Lay surname Hao, Zhaozhou was from Linzi in Qingzhou.
When he was very young, he left home for the order
at Longxing monastery and he took his vows at Song Mountain.
Later he went to Chi prefecture in Anhui province to study under Nanquan
The first time he met Nanquan,
Manquan was resting in bed...
Where do you come from?
From Ruixiang monastery.
Have you ever seen an auspicious statue?
No.
But I just now saw reclining Buddha.
Do you have a teacher?
In deep winter, the weather is cold. I hope the master takes care of himself.
Come with me.
Master, what is the Dao?
The ordinary mind is the Dao.
Is there any goal to be pursued?
As soon as you have a goal, you'll have bias as well.
How can I close off all ideas, and how can I realize the Dao?
The Dao doesn't reside in realization.
Realization is an illusion, and not realizing is numbness.
One who has attained the Dao is empty and open,
he isn't confused by right and wrong.
There is no certain way to the Dao; every way is open.
There are a thousand paths that one may freely come and go by.
You want to be able to extrapolate a thousand other things
when only once clue is given.
Kicked by a donkey
After his enlightenment, Zhaozhou traveled to various parts of the land,
visiting many of the time's Zen masters.
Once when he paid a visit to the monk Zhuyu...
Why don't you find a place to settle down?
Where should I live?
You don't even know where you live?
I've been learning to ride horseback for thirty years,
and today I'm kicked by a donkey.
When pointing out other people's mistakes,
the idea that you're harboring just may be the error itself.
Not until he was about eighty years old
did Zhaozhou finally settle down at Guanyin Mmonastery
on the eastern outskirts of Zhao prefecture ( Zhaozhou )...
During his time as abbot,
he employed a profound wisdom and relaxed sense of humor
in guiding his disciples
down the path toward the genuine self.
If a seven-year-old child surpasses me, I learn from him.
If a hundred-year-old man is less than me, I teach him.
Daowu of Tianhuang
In the year 7 48-807
Lay surname Zhang, Daowu was from dongyang in Zhejiang.
He took his vows in hang prefecture when he was twenty-five
and then followed Daoqin of Jingshan,
which was his first contact with Zen.
After following Jingshan for five years,
he went to Mazu to verify his learning.
After two more years he went to see Shito Xiquan...
After one frees oneself of the concepts of mediation and knowledge,
what other dharma is there to teach others?
There are no slaves here. What is this talk of freeing oneself?
I don't quite understand...
Do you understand emptiness?
This I've understood for a long time.
I didn't know you had already attained enlightenment!
No , I haven't .
I can see the truth with just a glance.
But you've judging me without any evidence!
Your body is the evidence.
Okay, let's say you're right.
But what will I use to teach our successors?
Tell me, who are our successors?
Zen is everywhere, but there is no entryway.
Likewise, as there is no entryway to emptiness,
you enter by way of emptiness,
because emptiness is everywhere.
Chongxin of Longtan
In the year 7 82-86 5 Longtan was originally from human,
he was a student of Tianhuang Daowu.
Longtan grew up impoverished and sold biscuits for a living.
Biscuits for sale. Get your delicious biscuits here!
Daowu let Longtan stay in a small hut next to the monastery,
and in order to express his greatitude,
every day Longtan would bring ten biscuits for Daowu.
And each time,
Daowu would give one back to Longtan.
This is from me to you. May you have many grand children.
How come every time I give you biscuits, you give me one back?
You give to me, and I give back to you.
What's wrong with that?
Upon hearing this,
Longtan attained a small realization
and so decided to join the order and follow Daowu.
Later...
I have been following you for quite a while now.
But you have yet to offer me any insights.
I am constantly offering you insights.
You bring me tea, and I take it.
You bring me food, and I eat it.
You bow to, and I nod my head.
What more do you want?
Longtan lowered his head and thought for a bit...
If you want to behold the truth, you can do it anytime and anywhere,
but thinking about it will only bring bias!
On hearing this, Longtan immediately attained enlightenment.
Experience Zen is being able to
appreciate the goodness and beauty
of every detail in life.
The mind and body are forever one.
Eat when it's time to eat; sleep when it's time to sleep.
Fayan Wenyi
In the year 885-958
Lay surname Lu, Fayan was from Yuhang in Zhejiang.
As a boy, he left home to join the order
and studied the dharma under the vinaya master Xijue.
He came to found the Fayan school, one of the five Zen schools.
Fayan traveled around the land
looking for guidance from various teachers.
Once when he was passing by dicing monastery,
a snowstorm hit, and he stopped in to rest.
The monastery's abbot, Luohan Guichen asked him :
Where are you going?
I'm on a quest for understanding.
Why a quest?
I don't know.
That's the best answer!
The snow has stopped. I should be going.
You said that of the three realms there is only mind,
and of the ten thousand Dharmas there is only consciousness.
Is that rock over there in the mind or outside the mind?
In the mind.
Well, Mr. Questing monk,
why would you put a huge rock inside your mind?
After this exchange,
Fayang decided to stay at the monastery to study under Luohan,
but every time he tried to explain something, Luohan would reject it.
That's not how the Buddha-Dharma is.
I'm out of explanations.
As far as the Buddha-Dharma goes, everything comes ready-made.
On hearing this, Fayan was suddenly enlightened.
The myriad things and concrete substance are already-made,
with no distinction between good or bad,
but as soon as people begin to talk about them.
A peacock is suddenly beautiful and a crow is ugly.
Are crows really ugly?
Wehyan of Yunmen
In the year 864-909
Lay surname Zhang, Yunmen was from Jiaxing in Zhejiang.
He left home to join the order when very young,
and his studies in the doctrines and discipline were excellent.
In his later years he moved to Guangtai Zen monastery
on Yunmen Mountain in Guangdong, where he promoted his own style of Zen.
He was the founding master of the Yumen School.
Yunmen once paid a visit to Muzhou, looking or guidance.
Who is it?
My name is Wenyan.
What are you here for?
I have yet to attain enlightenment, so I come for your guidance.
Muzhous opened the door, took one look,
and then slammed the door shut.
For two days Yunmen knocked on the door
and was rejected.
Then on the third day...
Please open the door...
Speak! Speak!
You're a useless fool !
Muzhou quickly shut the door,
crushing Yunmen's foot.
Just at that moment, Yunmen attained enlightenment.
To see through all things, you must depend on yourself;
no one else can do it for you.
However, a good teacher can choose the most appropriate time
to call out a student's potential.