The Collected Lectures of Tripitaka Master Hsuan
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society
"If you are one who enlightens himself, you need no seek outside. But this is impossible if you insist that one must seek another Good Knowing Advisor in hope of obtaining liberation. Why? Within your own mind there is self-enlightenment which is a Knowing Advisor."
If you seek outside you will not obtain. You must enlighten yourself. Recognize your self-nature Prajna. If you continue to seek outside, you are making a mistake because your true Good Knowing Advisor is within your self-nature; he is just your own wisdom.
"But if you give rise to deviant confusion false thought, and perversions, although the Good Knowing Advisor instructs you, he cannot save you."
Deviant means not right. Confusion means not understanding. Not understanding what? Not understanding what is right. For example, people have certain fondnesses. Some have the deviant confusion of gambling, smoking, or drinking. Some have the deviant confusion of sex. You should not regard these confusions as unimportant, for when you regard them as unimportant your Confusion deepens and the small confusions become big confusions. Thinking the big confusions unimportant, you arrive at old age with old confusions. Still thinking them unimportant you go to your death wish death confusions. Even at the time of death you are confused and unclear. The small confusion becomes a big confusion, the big confusion becomes an old confusion, the old confusion becomes a death confusion; and it all began because of deviant confusion.
False thoughts are untrue thoughts. They are vain, false and unreal. Perversions occur when you clearly know that something is wrong, but do it anyway. You understand perfectly well that it is not right, but you say, "It is right!"
If you continue to do things contrary to Dharma, you are perverted. When you not only do these things yourself, but encourage others to do so as well, you are perverted. To discuss this thoroughly would take a long time. To have success, students of the Buddhadharma must not be perverted. If you have deviant confusion, false thought, and perversions, although a Good Knowing Advisor instructs you he cannot save you.
Your good teacher and worthy friend may try to help you, but, if you refuse to obey him he has no method. Your Good Knowing Advisor is not a policeman. If you break his laws he cannot put you in jail. He can only hope that you will gradually change your faults. If living beings obey, the master is certainly pleased; but if they do not, although he cannot get angry, he is unhappy because he has no way to help them.
"If you give rise to genuine Prajna contemplation and illumination: in the space of a ksana all false thoughts are extinguished. If you recognize your self-nature, in one enlightenment you will arrive at the Buddha level."
Genuine means not deviant and confused. Prajna is genuine wisdom. To contemplate and illuminate is to cut off deviant confusion and false thought with the wisdom sword. If you do not use the wisdom sword, you are stupid, without wisdom, and you do things, which are upside-down.
Recognize your original nature. Understand it but once, and in that one enlightenment you go to the Buddha ground. On the other hand, where do you go in one confusion? To the ghost ground. One enlightenment is the Buddha ground and one confusion is the ghost ground. This one understanding swings the wisdom sword and cuts through your deviant confusion. So it is said, "Enlightened, Buddha. Confused, a living being."
In the space of a ksana all false thoughts are extinguished, destroyed by your wisdom sword like ice melted by the sun.
“Good Knowing Advisors, when you contemplate and illuminate with the wisdom which brightly penetrates within and without, you recognize your original mind.
“Recognizing your original mind is just the original liberation. The attainment of original liberation is just the Prajna samadhi, is just non- thought.
your inherent wisdom, observe inwardly the mind and body and outwardly
the world. Completely understand both, like looking through a pane of
glass: from the outside seeing in, and from the inside seeing out.
Inwardly, there is no body and mind, and outwardly there is no
world. But, although there are no body and mind and no world, the body
and mind and the world function in accord. Although they function in
accord, they are not attached. This is called recognizing your original
mind. The original self-nature, the true mind, clearly penetrates within
Recognizing your original mind is just the original liberation. When you are not attached to sense objects or false thought, you obtain liberation. Just this is your self-nature's Prajna samadhi. Samadhi is simply non-thought.
I previously spoke about non-recollection, non-thought, and non-falseness. Non-recollection is morality, non-thought is samadhi, and non-falseness (i.e. being without false thought) is wisdom. When morality, samadhi, and wisdom manifest, greed, hatred, and stupidity disappear.
"What is meant by 'non-thought?' Non-thought means to view all dharmas with a mind undefiled by attachment. The function pervades all places and is nowhere attached. Merely purify your original mind and cause the six consciousnesses to go out the six gates and, among the six objects, to be undefiled and unmixed, to come and go freely and to penetrate without obstruction. This is the Prajna samadhi, independence, and liberation, and is called the 'non-thought practice.'"
Non-thought means to view all dharmas with a mind undefiled by attachment. When the mind is undefiled by attachment, dharmas are empty. If dharmas are empty, then why must you attach to your bad habits and weaknesses?
Someone hears this and wants to try to become unattached to dharmas by ignoring his faults. He may be unattached to dharmas, but he can't get rid of his faults. How can this be called "undefiled by attachment?" To be undefiled by attachment there must be no dharmas, how much the less can there be faults? So the Diamond Sutra says, "Even dharmas must be forsaken, how much the more non-dharmas."
If you do not put down your bad habits and your faults, what kind of Buddhadharma do you study? I ask you. You are nothing but a fraud. You cheat yourself and you cheat others. Students of the Dharma must give up their faults. If you cannot, even though you may be able to explain a few sentences of Dharma, you are utterly useless.
The function of the Prajna samadhi pervades all places, and illuminates all places. Although it pervades all places, it is nowhere attached. It is just like empty space.
Merely purify your original mind, so that it is undefiled and unattached. Cause the six consciousnesses. (the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind consciousnesses) to go out the six gates (the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind), and among the six objects (forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables; and mind objects), to be undefiled and unmixed, to come and go freely, and to penetrate without obstruction.
If you examine this conglomeration, you will see that the six organs and six objects ordinarily unite to form a corporation. Where there is a corporation, there is defilement and mixing.
should freely cone and go. The eye views forms outside; inside there is
nothing. The ears hear sounds outside; but the mind does not know. You
don't understand? Then study the Buddhadharma diligently.
At the time of unobstructed penetration, the ten thousand changes and the ten thousand transformations of the responding use are unhindered unblocked, and inexhaustible. This is the Prajna samadhi. Independence, and liberation, and is called the 'non-thought conduct.'
"Not thinking of the hundred things and always causing your thought to be cut off is Dharma bondage and is an extreme view.”
If you sit, saying, “I am sitting here, not thinking of anything. I am thinking of nothing.” And in this way try to cut off your thought, you still have not cut off the thought of “not thinking of anything.” If you do this, you will be tied up by dharmas, and will not obtain release. Thought, non-thought: falling into either of the two extremes is not the middle way.
"Good Knowing Advisors, one who awakens to the non-thought dharma exhaustively penetrates the ten thousand dharmas; one who awakens to the non-thought dharma sees all Buddha realms; one who awakens to the non-thought dharma arrives at the Buddha position."
In telling you to awaken to the non-thought dharma, it is not to say that you should be like dead ashes or rotten wood. What use are ashes without fire? They a»re nothing but dirt. What use is rotten wood? You can't burn it. If you sit, thinking, "Do not think. Do not think of the hundred things!" Your thought of not thinking is of itself a thought.
Trying not to think is like trying to prevent the grass from growing by pounding on it with a rock. You push the rock into the soil, but when you move it again, the grass grows up thicker, stronger, and coarser than ever.
Then how does one attain to the non-thought dharma? It requires samadhi power, which comes from having right and not deviant thought.
One who awakens to the non-thought conduct sees all Buddha realms. Do you know the realms of all Buddhas? Do you know what their state is like? If you do, then you understand the non-thought dharma. "No," you say, "I do not understand the Buddha realms." Then you do not understand the non-thought dharma.
Do not be like those people who do not know anything at all, who cannot even explain the Five Esoteric Meanings and the Seven Sutra Title Topics, but who still run around "lecturing" on sutras and cheating those who do not understand the Buddhadharma. People flock like ants to hear him. What for? The lecturer reads an English translation of a Sutra aloud. Anybody can read it.
To explain Sutras, one must explain every sentence and every
word, every paragraph and every chapter. You say, “He doesn’t do it
that way.” Of course he doesn’t. He doesn’t know how to, so how
One who awakens to the non-thought dharma arrives at the Buddha position. If you enlighten to the dharma of non-thought, you go to the Buddha position.
When I explain Sutras, people come to hear, not ants. The people are few, but they come to study the Dharma, not to eat honey like ants. Here, we gather to eat bitterness; we do not come to eat candy.
"Good Knowing Advisors, those of future generations who obtain my Dharma should take up this Sudden Teaching Dharma door and with those of like views and like practice, vow to receive and uphold it as if serving the Buddhas. To the end of their lives they shall not retreat and shall certainly enter the holy position. In such a way it should be transmitted from former to later generations. It is silently transmitted. Do not hide the orthodox Dharma and do not transmit it to those of different views and practices who believe in other dharmas as it will harm them and ultimately be of no benefit."
"All of you Good Knowing Advisors," continued the Sixth Patriarch, "the Dharma was transmitted from Sakyamuni Buddha to Mahakasyapa to Ananda and so forth to Bodhidharma, and then to -the Second Patriarch, the Third Patriarch, reaching to me, the Sixth Patriarch. You should transmit the mind seal Dharma door in just this way, from generation to generation. Do not transmit the, orthodox Dharma and transmit the deviant Dharma instead."
Why was the Great Master a Patriarch? Because he never slighted the lowly. When he was at Huang Mei, everyone looked down on him because he was an illiterate country person. He knew the pain of enduring ridicule and so he did not slight others. He addressed everyone as "Good Knowing Advisor," whether they were or not.
“You should not transmit this mind seal to those of different views and practices,” he said. Why?
“I fear that stupid men may misunderstand, slandering this Dharma door, and cutting of the nature which possesses the seed of Buddhahood for hundreds of kalpas and thousands of lifetimes.
“Good Knowing Advisors, I have a markless verse which you should all recite. Those at home and those who have left home should cultivate according to it. If you do not cultivate it, memorizing it will be of no use. Listen to my verse:
speech and mind both understand,
the sun whose place is in space,
spread the "seeing the nature way,"
in the world to destroy false doctrines
is not sudden or gradual,
awakening are slow and quick,
stupid people cannot comprehend
seeing the nature Dharma-door.
it’s said in ten thousand ways
principles return to one;
the dark dwelling of defilements you must
produce the wisdom sun.
deviant comes, affliction arrives,
The right comes, affliction goes.
and right both unused,
purity reaches "no residue."
is the original self-nature;
rise to a thought is wrong;
pure mind is within the false:
the right is without three obstructions.
men in the world practice the way
are not hindered by anything.
seeing their own transgressions.
are thus in accord with the way.
kind of form has its own way
Without chafing or hindering the other;
Leaving the way to seek another way.
To the end of life is not to see the way.
A frantic passage through a life.
When come to its end will bring regret.
Wishing for a vision of the true way.
Right practice is the way.
If you don't have a mind in the way.
You walk in darkness blind to the way:
If you truly walk the way.
You are blind to the faults of the world.
If you attend to other's faults.
Your fault finding itself is wrong;
Others' faults I do not treat as wrong;
My faults are my own transgressions.
Only cast out the mind that finds fault.
Once castaway troubles are gone;
When hate and love doesn’t block the mind.
Stretch out both legs and then lie down.
If you hope, intend to transform men.
You must perfect expedient means.
Don't cause them to have doubts, and then
Their self-nature will appear.
The Buddhadharma is here in the world;
Enlightenment's not apart from the world.
To search for Bodhi apart from the world
Is like looking for a hare with horns.
Right views are transcendental;
Deviant views are all mundane.
Deviant and right completely destroyed;
The Bodhi nature — naturally.
This gatha is the Sudden Teaching.
Called, as well, the great Dharma boat.
Hear in confusion, pass through kalpas.
In a kgana's space enlightenment.
With speech and mind both understand.
speech is to know how to lecture on sutras and explain the Dharma.
Understanding the mind refers to the mind ground Dharma door of Dhyana
meditation. If you can lecture on Sutras, speak Dharma, and cultivate
Dhyana meditation, you are
Like the sun whose place is in space.
are like bright light, which illumines the void and yet is nowhere
Just spread the "seeing the nature way"
The Dharma door, which I transmit, teaches you to understand the mind and see the nature. Understand the mind and there are no difficulties. See the nature and there is no anxiety. When you know your original face, you understand the Buddhadharma.
Appear in the world to destroy false doctrines.
This Dharma door exclusively speaks of transcendental principles, and destroys all heretical, non-Buddhist religions.
Dharma is not sudden or gradual.
Confusion, awakening is slow and quick.
Originally, the Dharma is neither sudden nor gradual. However, confused men must be taught to' cultivate gradually while wise, enlightened men understand the sudden Dharma. If you are stupid, you become enlightened a little slower. If you are intelligent, you become enlightened a little faster.
What is the Sudden Teaching? Sudden means, "cut it off!" Cut what off? Cut off your sexual desire. Can you do it or not? You say, "What's the use in that?” See? You don’t believe. Very well then, I will not talk about it. If I say any more, you will even more disbelieve. I will say just this much:
SUDDENLY CUT OFF ALL IGNORANCE!
Ignorance is just sexual desire. Can you cut it off? Can you? You can't cut it off and so you don't believe true Dharma. When you cut it off, you attain the Sudden Teaching.
What is the gradual teaching? "Slowly, slowly," you say," I can't cut it off all at once? How can I put it down? How can I let it go?" The sudden becomes the gradual. So you get the point? Intelligent people understand when I give them a little bit of Dharma. But stupid people cannot put their desire down. "I don't believe this is the Sudden Teaching." This is why I have never spoken this way before. If you believed, you would have become a Buddha long ago. It's just because you don't believe that you are still wallowing in the mud, turning in the six paths of rebirth. If you want to turn, turn. Nobody is forcing you to stop.
It is a question of sooner or later. You may not want to cut it off now, but when you decide to become a Buddha, you will certainly have to cut it off.
But stupid people cannot comprehend
This seeing the nature Dharma-door.
The Sudden Teaching is the seeing the nature Dharma door. If you
cut off sexual desire you can understand the mind and see the nature.
Don't speak this Dharma to stupid people. They cannot understand
it and they won't believe it, just as now, when I told you to cut it off
and you couldn't do it. Stupid people cannot comprehend, they cannot
understand. If you tell them, they won't believe you.
Although it's said in ten thousand ways.
United, principles return to one;
There are a thousand, ten thousand, millions of Dharma doors used to explain this principle. There are eighty-four thousand Dharma doors to counteract just this kind of affliction, this kind of ignorance. But when you return them to the root, they are all just one. Just the Sudden Dharma, which tells you to suddenly, cut off ignorance and manifest the Dharma nature.
In the dark dwelling of defilements you must
Always produce the wisdom sun.
Having affliction, you are in a dark room, but, having wisdom you are out in the dazzling sunlight.
The deviant comes, affliction arrives,
The right comes, affliction goes.
Today I will give you a little basic Dharma. If I never say it,
you will never know. Deviant refers to the arousing of sexual desire. Do
not take it as happiness; it is affliction.
Prajna wisdom is “right.” Genuine wisdom breaks through ignorance and casts out affliction.
Deviant and right both unused.
Clear purity reaches "no residue."
This is Nirvana without residue. You say, "The gatha says "deviant and right both unused;" I'll ignore both of them!" If you ignore them, you are still in the dark dwelling. When you have transcended the deviant and the right, them they have no use. There is only "right" because there is "deviant"; there is only "deviant" because there is "right". When neither one exists that is clear purity. Nirvana without residue.
Bodhi is the original self-nature;
Giving rise to a thought is wrong:
Do not seek Bodhi outside. The enlightenment nature is complete within your self-nature's Prajna wisdom. But you produce a thought, a false thought. Originally, unclear and pure Nirvana without residue, there is no thought, no recollection, and no falseness. It is complete in samadhi, morality, and wisdom.
The pure mind is within the false:
Only the right is without three obstructions.
The pure mind is within the false, like water in ice; the water has the potential to become ice.
In order to separate from the three obstacles, you need only cultivate and uphold the right Dharma. The three obstacles are: l) the karma obstacle that is all the karma you have created; 2) the retribution obstacle, that is your body undergoing the obstructive effects of your karma; and 3) the affliction obstacle, all your troubles and worries.
If men in the world practice the way
They are not hindered by anything.
By success in any Dharma-door at all you can realize the way. But you must first understand the true Dharma. Then you can cultivate it walking, standing, sitting, or lying down, with no obstacles whatsoever.
Constantly seeing their own transgressions
They are thus in accord with the way.
Mind you own business. Don’t watch other people, like a camera, which can only take pictures of what is outside, but can’t take pictures of itself. You say, “That person is bad! He drinks, smokes, and takes drugs. No one can teach him. He steals! He Kills! Just look at him!” You only talk big talk; you only criticize others. You never ask yourself. “Did I kill today? Did I steal? Did I have deviant thoughts of lust? Did I lie or drink?” You never return the light because you are too busy shining outside.
If you wish to practice the way, you should cultivate yourself and see your own faults. Then you will be in accord with the way.
The Sixth’s Patriarch’s gatha is excellent. It is profound, deep, and of inexhaustible use. It is simple and clear: anyone can understand it. If you can understand the meaning, and memorize it as well, it will greatly aid your cultivation.
Each kind of form has its own way.
Without chafing or hindering the other;
All that which has a shape and appearance is a kind of form. While dwelling in forms, if you are able to wake up and understand, to cut off desire and cast out love and be unattached to forms, then you will naturally have the way. You need not look for it anywhere else.
Leaving the way to seek another way
To the end of life is not to see the way.
If you understand and are unconfused by forms, then there is no difficulty or annoyance. But if you leave the way, saying, “This is not the way. I am going to find another way,” you are just adding a head on top of a head.
If you see affairs and understand, you can transcend the world.
If you see affairs and are confused, you fall beneath the wheel.
If you become confused and give rise to view delusion you fall into the dust and to the end of your life you will not see the way. So it says, A frantic passage through life/ when come to its end will bring regret. When you arrive at the way, everything you do from morning to night is in accord with Dharma. You do right and proper things, not "hippie" things. If you leave your daily activities and look elsewhere for the way, your whole life will be suffering and when you are old you will have regrets. "I have wasted my life!" you will say. "If only I hadn't drunk so much, I wouldn't be so stupid now. If only I hadn't gambled I wouldn't be so poor. If someone had just told me, I could have cultivated. But I never met a Good Knowing Advisor."
You met a Good Knowing Advisor but you didn't recognize him. His teaching passed by like the wind—-in one ear and out the other. You never reformed your own faults and you never corrected your bad habits and so, in the end, you have regrets.
Wishing for a vision of the true way. Right practice is the way. Cultivate properly. Do not be deviant Do not criticize others and wash clothes for them, saying, "This person's clothes are filthy. I'd better wash them for him. And look at him. He's jealous. He's afraid others are going to be better than he is." This is called "washing other people's clothes."
If you don't have a mind in the way. You walk in darkness, blind to the way. If you only do things in darkness, if you only do things, which you do not wish others to see, that is not the way.
If you truly walk the way. You are blind to the faults of the world. There are those who say, "The Dharma-ending age is really bad. There is no more Dharma. Cultivators do not give proof to the fruit." Why don't you give proof to the fruit? The Dharma itself has no "right," "resemblance," or "ending" age. If you cultivate the "right" Dharma, you live in the right Dharma age. If you do not see the faults of the world, but see all living beings as the Buddha, then you yourself are Buddha. If you see all living beings as demons, then you are a demon.
If you attend to others' faults. Your faultfinding itself is wrong; Does the Buddha look at other people's faults? No. The Buddha sees all living beings as Buddhas.
Others' faults I do not treat as wrong; My faults are my own transgressions. If he is wrong, do not follow his example. If he is wrong, do not join him and do not see his errors. Have a heart of great compassion for everyone. Be merciful. Say, "These living beings are indeed pitiful! I vow to take them all to Buddhahood."
Only cast out the mind that finds fault. Once cast away, troubles are gone;
When hate and love do not block the mind, stretch out both legs and lie down.
“I really love him!” you say. “I would gladly give up my life for him.” This is just emotion. If you truly use a compassionate heart to love and protect all beings, you would say, “I vow to take him to Buddhahood. If he does not realize Buddhahood I will not realize Buddhahood.”
Today someone asked to take refuge. After taking refuge you must follow the rules. Those who believe in the Buddha should not be as they were before. If they are, others will say, “He is a Buddhist, but he still has his same old style. He hasn’t changed.” Therefore I have made this vow: If those who have taken refuge with me do not realize Buddhahood, I will just wait here for them. You must realize Buddhahood before I do. I have no other method. If you take refuge, you should cultivate a little faster. Don’t make me wait for you. I will wait a long time, but eventually I may dislike it and say, “I will wait no longer. I’m finished. This is it!”
'Stretch out both legs and lie down. 'This appeals to lazy people! However, this is not laziness or sleep. It represents freedom. Unchained, unshackled, unfettered and independent, you "leave upside-dream thinking and attain ultimate Nirvana." Do not interpret the Sixth Patriarch's Sutra as saying that you should "stretch out both legs and go to sleep!"
If you hope intend, to transform men. You must perfect expedient means;
To know what dharma should be spoken to what living being is to be unattached.
Don't cause them to have doubts, and then their own self-nature will appear.
Do not cause living beings who hear this dharma to disbelieve and you will then be able to use the brilliant wisdom of your own nature.
The Buddhadharma is here in the world; Enlightenment's not apart from the world.
Buddhadharma includes both mundane and transcendental dharma. Buddhadharma is in the midst of the world and yet transcends the world. There is no awakening and no Prajna wisdom from the world.
To search for Bodhi apart from the world is like looking for a hare with horns.
Do you think you could find a rabbit with horns? There is no such thing. If you separate from worldly dharma to seek transcendental dharma elsewhere, that is like looking for a rabbit with horns.
Right views and transcendental; Deviant views are all mundane.
Right views are enlightenment. To what does one enlighten? To the fact that sexual desire must be cut off. This is transcendental dharma. Deviant views are mundane. When you casually follow your desires, yielding to them instead of causing them to yield to you, you are holding deviant views.
Deviant and right completely destroyed; The Bodhi nature — naturally.
When neither the deviant nor the right remains, the Bodhi nature spontaneously manifests. You need not look for the Bodhi nature anywhere else.
This gatha is the Sudden Teaching called, as well, the great Dharma boat.
This gatha is the sudden enlightenment gatha, the Dharma door of realizing Buddhahood. It can ferry all living beings from the shore of birth and death, across the current of affliction, to the other shore of Nirvana.
Hear it in confusion, pass through kalpas. In a ksana’s space, enlightenment.
If you are deluded, many kalpas may pass before you become enlightened. If you can suddenly enlighten, put down all of your desires, you can open enlightenment in the space of a ksana. If you truly, truly understand, you can open enlightenment in an instant.
The Master further said, "I have in the Ta Fan Temple, Just now spoken the Sudden Teaching, wishing that all living beings of the Dharma Realm will see the nature arid realize Buddhahood as they hear these words.
At that time among Magistrate Wei and the officials. Taoists and laymen who heard what the Master said, there were none who did not awaken. They together made obeisance and exclaimed with delight, “Good indeed! Who would have thought that in Ling Man A Buddha would appear, in this barbaric province?”
After they heard the markless gatha, they said, “Ah, this is really fine! Who would have imagined that a Buddha would appear in this barbaric province?”
...to be continued in future issues of VBS...
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