Tagged: zen

Should one fail to enlighten themselves, one should seek the guidance of learned teachers…

The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch : Chapter II : Prajna

Without enlightenment, there would be no difference between a Buddha and other living beings, while a gleam of enlightenment is enough to make any living being equal to a Buddha. Since all Dharmas are immanent in our mind, there is no reason why we should not realize intuitively the real nature of Tathata (Suchness). The Bodhisattva Sila Sutra says, ‘Our true nature is intrinsically pure, and if we know our mind and realized what our nature is, all of us would attain Buddhahood.’ As the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra says, ‘in an instant, anyone can return to the original mind’.

When the Fifth Patriarch taught me, I became enlightened and spontaneously realized the True Nature of Tathata immediately after he had spoken. For this reason it is my job to propagate the teaching of the Sudden School so that students may find Bodhi at once and realize their True Nature by perceiving their own minds.

Should one fail to enlighten themselves, one should seek the guidance of learned teachers who understand the teaching of the highest realization to show them the correct way. The position of a pious and leaned master who guides others to realize their True Nature is an exalted position. Through their assistance one may be initiated into all meritorious Dharmas. The wisdom of the past, the present and the future Buddhas as well as the teachings of the twelve sections of the Canon are all immanent in our mind, but should we fail to enlighten ourselves, we must seek the guidance of the pious and learned ones.

On the other hand, those who enlighten themselves need no outside help. It is wrong to insist upon the ideas that without the advice of the pious and learned we cannot obtain liberation. Why? Because it is by our innate wisdom that we enlighten ourselves, and even the outside help and instructions of a pious and leaned friend would be of no use if we were deluded by false doctrines and erroneous views. If we perceive our mind with the True Wisdom (Prajna), then in an instant, all delusions will disappear. Once we attain out True Nature, we immediately enter the Buddha ground.

Turn Afflictions into Bodhi

( Master Yin Kuang // Pure Land Zen )

If you suffer financial hardship, I suggest you retreat a step. You should reflect thus: “although there are many in this world more fortunate than I, those who are less fortunate are not few in number. I should seek only to escape hunger and cold; why dream of riches and honor?”

Moreover, if you are content and at peace with your circumstances and surroundings, you can even turn afflictions into Bodhi (Enlightenment), and grief into peace and joy!

If you suffer chronic illness, you should reflect deeply that this body is the very source of suffering, develop a revulsion toward it and strive to cultivate the Pure Land path, determined to achieve rebirth in the World of Ultimate Bliss. The Buddhas view suffering as their teacher, thus achieving Ultimate Enlightenment. Likewise, you should consider illness as medicine, to escape Birth and Death.

Zen Master on Thought

Breakfast time at the Zen temple. I asked Master Henry, referring to the many thoughts that arise during meditation :

Shin Pung : “Master, how do you stop the thinking?”

Master Henry : “Stop before stop. Stop after stop. Let the mind be natural… Natural mind.”

Interpretation : [You have to stop actively thinking before the thoughts will stop. Then you have to maintain not thinking after the thoughts have been stopped.]

Master Henry : “You feel pain? Pain is no pain. You think it’s pain. It’s not pain. No eye, no ear, no tongue… No pain. Let it be… natural.”

Easy in mind… Difficult in practice.

Bodhidharma Quotes Sutra 1 : “To seek nothing is bliss”

BodhidharmaBODHIDHARMA QUOTES – BodhiDharma’s outline of practice :
Many roads lead to the path, but basically there are only two: reason and practice.

To enter by reason means to realize the essence through instruction and to believe that all living things share the same true nature, which isn’t apparent because it’s shrouded by sensation and delusion. Those who turn from delusion back to reality, who meditate on walls, the absence of self and other, the oneness of mortal and sage, and who remain unmoved, even by scriptures, are in complete and unspoken agreement with reason. Without moving, without effort, they enter, we say, by reason.

To enter by practice refers to four all-inclusive practices: suffering injustice, adapting to conditions, seeking nothing and practicing the Dharma.

1 • First, suffering injustice. When those who search for the path encounter adversity, they should think to themselves, “In countless ages gone by, I’ve turned from the essential to the trivial and wandered through all manner of existence, often angry without cause and guilty of numberless transgressions. Now, though I do no wrong, I’m punished by my past. Neither gods nor men can foresee when an evil deed will bear its fruit. I accept it with an open heart and without complaint of injustice.” The sutras say, “When you meet with adversity, don’t be upset. Because it makes sense.” With such understanding, you’re in harmony with reason. And by suffering injustice, you enter the path.

2 •   Second, adapting to conditions. As mortals, we’re ruled by conditions, not by ourselves. All the suffering and joy we experience depend on conditions. If we should be blessed by some great reward, such as fame or fortune, it’s the fruit of a seed planted by us in the past. When conditions change, it ends. Why delight in its existence? But while success and failure depend on conditions, the mind neither waxes nor wanes. Those who remain unmoved by the wind of joy silently follow the path.

3 • Third, seeking nothing. People of this world are deluded. They’re always longing for something, always, in a word, seeking. But the wise wake up. They choose reason over custom. They fix their minds on the sublime and let their bodies change with the season. All phenomena are empty. They contain nothing worth desiring. Calamity forever alternates with prosperity. To dwell in the three realms is to dwell in a burning house. To have a body is to suffer. Does anybody with a body know peace?

4 • Fourth, practicing the Dharma. The Dharma is the truth that all natures are pure. By this truth, all appearances are empty. Defilement and attachment, subject and object don’t exist. The sutras say, “The Dharma includes no being because it’s free from the impurity of being. And the Dharma includes no self, because it’s free from the impurity of self.” Those wise enough to believe and understand this truth are bound to practice according to the Dharma. Since the embodiment of the Dharma contains nothing worth begrudging, they give their body, life and property in charity, without regret, without the vanity of giver, gift or recipient, and without bias or attachment. And they take up transforming others to eliminate impurity but without becoming attached to form. Thus, through their own practice, they’re able to help others and glorify the way of enlightenment. And as with charity, they also practice the other virtues. But while practicing the six virtues to eliminate delusion, they practice nothing at all. This is what’s meant by practicing the Dharma.

Those who understand this detach themselves from all that exists and stop imagining or seeking anything. The sutras say, “To seek is to suffer. To seek nothing is bliss.” When you seek nothing, you’re on the path.

› Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
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Falling Leaves

Falling leaves

No ground to land on

Free falling
Beyond.