by Upasaka Yu Kuo Kung

The force which makes the two cases
ε=0 and ε≠0 possible is human freedom. The wise use of this freedom transforms an ordinary person into a Buddha in one direction. And in the opposite direction, the stupid use transforms a Buddha into an ordinary person. One may ask, "What is an enlightened person?" I may answer this question by saying that an enlightened person is one who does not attach to or dwell in any human disturbance for all time. In other words, an enlightened person resides in his self nature in all situations and for all time.

      It is here that one must cultivate to convince oneself that the two cases ε=0 and ε≠0 are possible. Any doubt and hesitation must be removed without residue. In every situation, one should observe one's response and examine its changes when one illuminates the situation with one's wisdom until that ε0 has been reached. This is one's proof of the existence of human freedom.

Expediently in explanation, we Write ε=εp +εm,  where εp is the physical response (external activity or behavior) which can be observed by others. For an enlightened person, it is εm=0, but not εp. For this case mathematically it should be ε=εp ≠ 0. Then why do we say ε =0? To understand it, one must know the principle of relativity: "All observations depend on the observers. Without an observer, the observations have no definite meaning." An enlightened person does not dwell on any human disturbance; therefore, εp is zero relative to him, even though it is observed as non-zero by others. Hence, we say that ε=0. For an enlightened person, εm=0 is due to his vast compassion. This is the true meaning of the well-known Ch'an principle of no action: "Thinking without thinking, speaking without speaking, and acting without acting."


      It has been pointed out in the previous section that no dharma is isolated. All dharmas form a dharma net which flows along the time axis.  We may call this phenomenon the continuity law of dharmas. If one does not attach to the dharma net, one will see it as it is. This is the truth. If one attaches to it, the dharma net in one's mind is distorted. If one seeks truth in a distorted dharma net, the truth thus found is distorted. There is no distorted truth;  distorted truth is no truth at all. In the physical world, truth is reality. Hence, the distorted truth is always contradictory to the reality. Contradiction means affliction, and there are synonyms.

      The dharma net is simply one's environment; dwelling on it is not only the source of afflictions, but also the route cause of death. But then, how can we not dwell on the environment? If we don't see others' good and bad points, if we don't favor some persons and dislike the others, if we don't search for fortune and reject misfortune, if we don't have the notion of me-and-mine, then where can we dwell? If we don't have any mark in our mind, we have no place to dwell.