con. (from previous issues) by Professor Yu Kuo K'ung


      From the experiment or the rubber band, we have learned the most important notion

--the self nature. There are many similarities between a piece of rubber band and a human 

being as far as their relations to
environmental disturbances are concerned.

Now let me point them out so that we can easily understand the doctrines of Ch'an.

      Eq.(3-l) can be rewritten in a general functional form:

= =()       (4-1)

Mathematically is a function which maps the domain of to the range of . The domain is the totality of causes and the range is the totality of the effects. They are simply referred to as cause and effect. The function which maps onto is called a dharma in 

Ch'an. The cause, response, and
dharma form a single notion, not three, because a function 

has no real meaning without a domain and a range.

      It is noticed from Eq.(4-l) that, for ( 0, =0) if and only if k = 0. This 

statement explains an important notion in
Ch'an: Dharmas are not produced apart from the self nature. Outside the mind, there is no dharma. It is also noticed that, when 0, 0 implies k 0. Therefore, from the afflictions and human responses ( 0), we can be

certain that we
have human nature. Since there is no dharma outside the self nature, just 

trace the
root of the affliction and other human responses and find that the root is the self  


      After realizing the existence of the self nature (k 0), we observe the following 


A) (dharma) 0 if (cause) 0.

B) is independent of the nature k.

C) (dharma) = 0 if (cause) = 0.

These three conditions correspond to an important statement in Ch'an. That is: A) Dharma is 

produced from the cause in one's
mind. B) Cause has no nature. If one sees just his nature, 

the cause is empty.

C) When the cause is empty, the dharma is empty.

      Eq.(4-l) has an inverse which can be expressed in the following general form:

= (1/k) = ()      (4-2)

In this equation, is the cause and the effect. Therefore, a cause (effect) of one dharma 

is the effect (cause) of
another. That is, cause is effect and effect is cause. The causes 

and effects are
woven into a dharma net. A human being lives in this dharma net which he 

for himself from beginningless time. This is a fundamental law of Ch'an: No dharma  

is isolated.

      Eq.(4-2) is the inverse of Eq.(4-l) . It is interesting to notice that the mathematical requirement for the inverse to exist is that k 0. This is another

verification for the existence of the self
nature. To put it in a common language, it means

the following: If a cause is an
effect and the effect is a cause, then it ensures the

existence of the human self

      For a given applied on a rubber band, there is a corresponding because of 
existence of the elastic nature. From this environmental disturbance (, ), the 

nature of the elasticity is determined. In other words, without the disturbance, the value 

of the spring constant k (self nature), cannot be obtained. It is similar for human beings. 

To the
environmental influences, we have human responses: happiness or sadness, acceptance or 

rejection. Without these human
disturbances, we have no clue to realize the intrinsic self 

nature. For this reason, the Platform Sutra says, "Affliction
is Bodhi (self nature). The 

root cause
of purity is the lust nature, for rid of lust, this is just the pure nature

body. Each of you, within your natures, leave the five desires. In a flash, see the nature - 

it is true." Therefore, a
cultivator should neither attach to nor be afraid of afflictions or 

any other human
responses, since realizing their root cause is seeing one's self nature. 

affliction can be just an affliction or it can be the road to enlightenment. The  

difference depends on how one uses one's
human freedom.

      We have observed the similarities, there
must be at least one dissimilarity. Otherwise, 

the human being becomes just a piece
of rubber band, which we know is not the case. The 

differences are many. I will point out
the essential one: freedom. It is this freedom that 

differentiates a human being
from other insentient material things. For a given rubber band, 

the relation between
the influence and the response is a fixed or dead one. In other words, 

for a given
value of , there corresponds a fixed value of . For simplicity in

let k = self nature, = environmental influence, = human response. We have 

realized that human beings have self nature,
hence k 0. If 0 , then the 

corresponding can not be zero for an elastic
rubber band. However, for human beings, both 

the cases = 0 and
0 are acceptable. These two cases separate the human beings into 

two groups: the enlightened and
the confused. It does not imply that the enlightened and the 

confused are different
in nature, but only that some see the self nature and the others do