The Collected Lectures
of Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua on
Translated by The Buddhist Text Translation Society
XI. ONE MEMBER OF THE SANGHA
One of the Sangha asked the Master, “Who got the principle of Huang Mei?”
The Master replied, “The one who understands the Buddhadharma.”
Sangha member said, "High Master, have you obtained it?"
do not understand the Buddhadharma," the Master replied.
member of the Sangha was truly a barbarian, an educated savage.
He rudely confronted the Master and asked, "Who got the robe
and bowl of the Fifth Patriarch Hung Jen of Huang Mei?" He knew very
well that the Sixth Patriarch had it, but he asked anyway. From this we
know that among those who came to the Master for instruction there were
rude country peasants as well as good disciples. He knew that his question
was a slight to the Master and what he meant by it was, "You can't
even read. How can you be worthy of the robe and bowl?"
Master said, "One who thoroughly comprehends the Buddhadharma obtains
that principle and the Fifth Patriarch's robe and bowl."
High Master," the Bhiksu said, "have you got it or not?" He
didn't believe that the Master had received the transmission.
Sixth Patriarch didn't say yes, and he didn't say no; he simply said,
"I don't understand the Buddhadharma." What do you think? Was he
telling the truth?
XII. BHIKSU FANG PIEN
One day the Master wanted to wash the robe, which he had inherited, but there was no clear stream nearby. He walked about two miles behind the temples where he saw good vibrations in a dense grove of trees. He shook his staff, stuck it in the ground, and a spring bubbled up and formed a pool.
Master walked about two miles behind the temple where he found a luxuriant
grove filled with tall trees and good vibrations. People who have opened
their five eyes and obtained the six spiritual powers can tell at a glance
the geomancy of any particular piece of land. So when the Master planted
his tin staff in the ground causing the nine metal rings hanging from the
staff-head to echo throughout the wood, a spring gushed forth and formed a
clear, pure pool.
public washing stream is about a third of a mile behind Nan Hua Temple.
Whether this present stream is the same source as was used before is not
As he knelt to wash his robe on a rock, suddenly a monk came up and bowed before him saying, “I am Fang Pien, a native of Hsi Shu, a while ago I was in India where I visited the Great Master Bodhidharma. He told me to return to China immediately, saying, 'The orthodox Dharma Eye Treasury and the samghati robe which I inherited from Mahakasyapa have been transmitted to the sixth generation at Ts'ao His, Shao Chou. Go there and pay reverence.' Fang Pien has come from afar, hoping to see his Master's transmitted robe and bowl."
about it. Bodhidharma had long since died in China, but Bhiksu Fang Pien
met him in India. This is not surprising, however, because to this day no
one knows exactly what happened to Bodhidharma.
now will tell you a true story. While I was living in Manchuria I decided,
for various reasons, to leave home and cultivate the Way. The man I most
respected was Wang Hsiao Tzu, "Filial-Son" Wang. When he was
twenty-eight years old, his mother died, and he practiced filial piety by
sitting beside her grave. He built a small hut out of scrap lumber for
protection against the bitter Manchurian cold, and lived there for three
years according to the Confucian custom. When the first three years were
up he decided to stay for another three years, so in all he practiced for
the second three-year period he did not speak, no matter who came to see
him. Every day he sat in his hut, meditating and reciting the Diamond
Sutra. Toward the end of the sixth year he had a daydream. "In Ch'ien
and Kuang Ling Mountains," he thought, "there are cultivators
who live for over a thousand years. When I finish my filial duties I'll go
there to cultivate." The following morning during meditation he heard
a Dharma Protector say, "Today an important guest will visit
you." He thought perhaps a great official was coming and he waited
until ten o'clock when he saw a monk approaching wearing rag robes and
carrying a bumblestick. Filial Son Wang did not speak out loud, but in his
mind he wondered, "Where is he from?"
monk replied, "I'm from Kuang Ling Mountain."
Son Wang then thought, "What is his name?" The monk told him his
name and added, "In the Ming dynasty I was a general and later I left
home to cultivate. We two have a karmic affinity for one another and so,
when I heard that you wanted to go to Kuang Ling Mountain, I felt I should
advise you that the monks there cultivate solely for their own benefit.
You, on the other hand, should cultivate for the good of all. After you
have finished your act of filial piety, build a temple right here and
spread the Buddhadharma."
"Filial—Son" Wang hadn't spoken to this monk, and yet the monk
read the questions in his mind. This proves that the monk had the
spiritual power of knowing other's thoughts and had obtained the five eyes
and six spiritual powers. He said he was from the Ming dynasty.
"Filial-Son" Wang lived during the first years of the Republic,
some three hundred years after the Ming. So you see that Bodhidharma could
easily have been in southern India several hundred years after his
disappearance from China. That he told Fang Pien about the robe and bowl
is a very ordinary affair—nothing strange at all.
showed them to him and asked, “Superior One, what work do you do?”
“I am good at sculpting,” he
Keeping a straight face, the
Master said, “Then sculpt something for me to see.”
Fang Pien was bewildered, but
after several days he completed a
lifelike image, seven inches high and wonderful in every detail. The
Master laughed and said, "You only understand the nature o£
sculpture; you do not understand the nature of Buddha." Then the
Master stretched out his hand and patted Fang Pien on the head, saying,
"You will be a field of blessing for gods and men forever."
Master rewarded him with a robe, which Fang Pien divided into three parts;
one he used to wrap the sculpture: one he kept for himself: and the third
he wrapped in palm leaves and buried in the ground, vowing, "In the
future when this robe is found again, I will appear in the world to be
abbot here and restore these buildings."
NOTE: During the Sung dynasty in the eighth year of the Chia Yu reign period (1063 A.D.), while Bhiksu Wei Hsien was repairing the hall, he excavated the earth and found the robe which was like new. The image is at Kuo Ch'uan Temple and those who pray before it find a quick response.
section appended to original text at a later time.)
Bhiksu Fang Pien knew how to make Buddha images. He carved them in wood and molded them in clay. The Master very solemnly said to him, "Please sculpt an image for me to see."
off guard. Fang Pien just stood there in silence, but a few days later he
had completed a true image of the Sixth Patriarch. It looked just like the
Master. The nose, ears, eyes, all the features were exactly right.
It was a perfect likeness right down to the finest detail.
When the Master saw this little statue of himself he couldn't help but smile. "Fang Pien," he said, "you may know how to model clay, but you don't know the Buddha nature. In any case, you should always leave home, become a Bhiksu, and act as a field of blessing for men and gods."
XIII. MASTER WO LUN'S GATHA
Bhiksu was reciting Dhyana Master Wo Lun's gatha;
Lun has the talent
stop the hundred thoughts:
states his mind won't move;
Bodhi grows day by day."
reciter's name is not given; perhaps he had no name, or perhaps he didn't
want to be famous.
Master Wo Lun could cut off his thoughts, but Wo Lun himself, the 'cutter
off of thoughts” still remained. Thus he had fallen into the second or
third position. He was not in the number one position.
When the Master heard it he said, "This gatha shows no under standing of the mind-ground and to cultivate according to it will increase one's bondage."
he spoke this gatha:
Neng has no talent
stop the hundred thoughts;
face to face with situations,
mind often moves;
can Bodhi grow?"
The Great Master replied,
“I don’t have a single talent,
Nor even the thought of cutting off thought.
My mind responds in a natural way:
Who cares whether Bodhi grows or not?”
Here he expressed the same principle as in his earlier gatha: “Originally there is not one thing. Where can the dust alight?” The absolute is pure; what need is there to dust it off?
For the biography of "Filial-Son" Wang, the Great Master Ch'ang
Wo Lun's gatua shows that he still held on to the idea of a subject:
CHAPTER VIII: SUDDEN AND GRADUAL
Sudden refers to the immediate understanding of a principle. You may be suddenly enlightened to a principle, but unless you have certified to the fruit you still must cultivate that principle gradually by putting it into practice in everyday life.
While the Patriarch was staying at Pao Lin Temple in Ts'ao His, the Great Master Shen Hsiu was at Yu Ch'uan Temple in Ching Nan. At that time the two schools flourished and everyone called them "Southern Neng and Northern Hsiu". So it was that the two schools, northern and southern, were divided as to "sudden" and "gradual". As the students did not understand this doctrine, the Master spoke to them saying. "This Dharma is originally one school. It is men who have North and South. The Dharma is of one kind, but men understand it to be either slow or quick. Dharma is not sudden or gradual. It is rather, men who possess sharpness or dullness. Hence the terms sudden and gradual.”
all remember Shen Hsiu, the Great Master who .was obsessed with the deadly
ambition to be a patriarch. Such an intelligent man, and yet he couldn't
cut off his desire for the Patriarchate.
the south, in Canton, the Sixth Patriarch taught the "sudden"
Dharma to a flourishing assembly of over a thousand people. Shen Hsiu, in
Ching Nan in Hu Pei Province, taught "gradual" Dharma to an even larger crowd of over
ten thousand people. Originally, Shen Hsiu had about two hundred
followers, but every day more and more people came. However, everyone knew
that the Fifth Patriarch had transmitted the robe and bowl to Hui Neng in
the south. In spite of the
fact that Shen Hsiu had been teaching master under the Fifth Patriarch
and was extremely well educated, he did not have the transmission.
Still, Shen Hsiu's disciples advertised him as the Sixth Patriarch
and finally even sent an assassin to try to kill the Master and seize the
robe and bowl.
of the division into northern and southern schools, students of the Way
did not know where to turn. Should they study with the Sixth Patriarch? He
was illiterate and sometimes his teachings seemed to contradict the
scriptures. On the other hand Shen Hsiu didn't have the robe and bowl...
Seeing their dilemma, the Master said, "There is only one Dharma. People may come from the north or south, but there is only one non-dual Dharma door. Intelligent people understand it all of a sudden and stupid people come to understand it gradually, but the Dharma itself is neither sudden nor gradual."
Shen Hsiu's followers continually ridiculed the southern Patriarch saying
that he couldn't read a single word and had nothing in his favor. But Shen
Hsiu said. "He has obtained wisdom without (the aid of) a teacher and
deeply understands the Supreme Vehicle. I am inferior to him. Furthermore, my Master, the Fifth Patriarch, personally transmitted
the robe and Dharma to him, and not without good reason. I regret that I
am unable to make the long journey to visit him, as I unworthily receive
state aid here. But do not let me stop you. Go to Ts'ao Hsi and call on
Shen Hsiu's men constantly made fun of the Sixth Patriarch. "Hey, look at him!" they said, "he can't even read. The Southern School disciples are following an illiterate. How perfectly ridiculous! What could they possibly learn from him?" Thus they slighted the Patriarch and his disciples saying that they were ignorant, having not even one doctorate among them.
Hsiu said, "Don't talk like that! He's an enlightened man. He has
obtained wisdom through his own effort, without the aid of a teacher, and
has a thorough grasp of the Supreme Vehicle. Frankly, I'm not as good as
he is; I do not possess his enlightened wisdom. Our teacher, the Fifth
Patriarch, passed the wonderful mind seal Dharma on to him and for a good
reason. It was no
Hsiu was a National Master. He and Masters Lao An, Chih Hsien, and Fa Ju
were among the Fifth Patriarch's ten great disciples. As they had received
invitations to the Imperial Palace from Empress Wu Tsai T'ien, they
received state patronage. Shen Hsiu told his disciples, "I can't get
away, as I receive state aid here. But don't let me stop you. You may go
to Ts'ao Hsi to call on the Great Master."
Shen Hsiu was just testing his disciples to see whether or not they would
go. He said that the Sixth Patriarch had more virtue than he, but what he
meant was, "If you believe in me you won't leave, even though he has
more virtue, but if you don't believe, you'll go as soon as I tell you to
XIV. CHIH CH'ENG
One day he told his disciple Chih Ch'eng, "You are intelligent and very wise. You may go to Ts'ao Hsi on my behalf and listen to the Dharma. Remember it all and take careful notes to read to me when you return."
ordered, Chih Ch'eng proceeded to Ts'ao Hsi and joined the assembly
without saying where he had come from. The Patriarch told the assembly,
"Today there is a Dharma thief hidden in this assembly!"
Chih Ch'eng immediately stepped forward, bowed, and explained his mission. The Master said, "You are from Yu Ch'uan; you must be a spy."
"No he replied, "I am not."
Master said. "What do you mean?"
He replied. "Before I confessed, I was; but now that I have confessed, I am not."
Chih Ch'eng was a good disciple, one of the Master's favorites. "You may represent me at Ts'ao Hsi," the Master said, "I cannot go. If I were to go personally, Hui Neng would surely recognize me and not speak the Dharma. Write down everything he says without getting one word wrong. Then bring back your notes and read them to me."
When Chih Sh'eng asked for instruction at Ts'ao His he didn't say where he was from. "I've been here and there," he said, beating around the bush."
That day there were several thousand people gathered to hear the Dharma. The Sixth Patriarch announced, "Everyone should be careful. There is a Dharma thief hidden in this assembly!" Chih Ch'eng pushed his way through the crowd, bowed at the Master's feet and said, "I confess that I am a spy. I was sent by Shen Hsiu."
The Master said. "How does your Master instruct his followers?"
(Chih Ch'eng) replied, "He always instructs us to dwell with the mind in contemplation of stillness and to sit up all the time without lying down."
Master said, "To dwell with the mind in contemplation of stillness is
sickness, not Dhyana. Constant sitting restrains the body. How can it be
beneficial? Listen to my gatha;
living, sit, don't lie.
dead, lie down, don't sit.
can a set of stinking bones
used to establish meritorious effects?”
stillness is a kind of "professional effort sickness',” said the
Master. "It is not Dhyana. As to constant sitting in meditation, this
is a mere restriction of the body. What is the principle behind it?
When you eat, just eat; when you sleep, just sleep. Don't lock
Hsiu was just working on his stinking skin bag. He didn't know how to work
in the self-nature. This is sickness. The Sixth Patriarch worked naturally
in the self-nature, and be spoke this gatha to say,
sit up when you're alive,
lie down when you're dead.
body's a bone bag composed of the four elements:
not work on the self-nature instead?"
To dwell with the mind contemplating stillness contradicts the principle of the Diamond Sutra, which tells us to "produce that thought which is nowhere supported.” The Sixth Patriarch spoke this gatha to break Chih Ch'eng's attachment to marks.
Hsiu taught people to dwell with the mind, contemplating stillness, and
the Sixth Patriarch said this was wrong. Nonetheless if you can do it bit
by bit you will gain benefit. If you always sit and do not lie down,
although it is not very natural, it will assist your body and mind in
cultivation. Then why did the Sixth Patriarch object to these practices?
It was because Chih Ch'eng had just come from Shen Hsiu, and it was
necessary to break his attachments before he could properly receive the
genuine Buddhadharma. In cultivation you should not be attached to your
work and think, "Look at me! I really work hard, constantly sitting
and never lying down!" Such thoughts will obstruct your progress.
the mind dwells it is attached. In order to mesh with the original wisdom
of the self-nature you must, as the Diamond Sutra instructs, "produce
that thought which is nowhere supported." The Sixth Patriarch gave
Chih Ch'eng this teaching in order to break his attachments. If you can
constantly sit and feel natural and unforced in doing so, then go ahead,
but do not force yourself. Force is not the Way.
You should work naturally.
you say, "then I don't have to follow the rules."
This does not mean that you can ignore the rules. If you lie down when people sit, and sit when they lie down, you are not in accord with Dharma and are just trying to show that you think you're special. In general, you must follow the rules and be natural with yourself as well. But "being natural" does not mean that you can break the rules. Is this clear?
Chih Ch'eng bowed again and said, "Your disciple studied the Way for nine years at the place of Great Master Hsiu but obtained no enlightenment. Now, hearing one speech from the High Master, I have meshed with the original mind. The affair of your disciple’s birth and death is great. Will the High Master be compassionate enough to instruct me further?"
many years have you studied here? One year. And you think this is a very
long time. Cultivators may study for ten, twenty, or thirty years with
great effort. You can't graduate in just a few months.
soon as the Sixth Patriarch spoke, his principle entered Chih Ch'eng's
heart like water flowing into water: "thus, thus" like milk
mixing with milk. There was not the slightest difference between them.
"The Patriarch's heart is my heart," said Chih Ch'eng, "and
my heart is the Patriarch's heart. I suddenly mesh with the original mind
because basically our minds are one and the same."
I do not know when I will die," Chih Ch'eng continued, "and I do
not know when I will be born again. This matter of birth and death is most
pressing. Please be compassionate and help me understand."
Master said, "I have heard that your Master instructs his students in
the dharmas of morality, concentration, and wisdom. Please tell me how he
defines these terms." (Lecture
(Chih) Ch'eng said, "Great Master Shen Hsiu says that morality is abstaining from doing evil, wisdom is offering up all good conduct, and concentration is purifying one's own mind. This is how he explains them, but I do not know. High Master, what dharma you use to instruct men."
The Master said, "If I said that I had a dharma to give men, I would be lying to you. I merely use expedients to untie bonds and falsely call this samadhi. Your master's explanation of morality, concentration and wisdom is truly inconceivable, but my conception of morality, concentration, and wisdom differs from his."
"I don't have any dharmas at all," said the Sixth Patriarch. "I'd be cheating you if I said that I did. I have no special dharma to give to people. For each individual I use an appropriate teaching to untie his bonds. To "untie bonds” means to break attachments. The attachments of living beings bind them up. I just set them free from their attachments and untie their bonds. Basically this teaching has no name whatever, but, hypothetically, it is called 'samadhi’. Thus, my view of morality, concentration, and wisdom is special; it is not the same as Shen Hsiu's."
Chih Ch'eng said, "There can only be one kind of morality, concentration, and wisdom. How can there be a difference?"
The Master said, "Your master's morality, concentration, and wisdom guides men of the Great Vehicle whereas my morality, concentration, and wisdom guides men of the Supreme Vehicle. Enlightenment is not the same as understanding; seeing may be slow or quick."
When you become enlightened, in that one enlightenment you attain
your aim. Understanding, on the other hand, is a gradual process. Thus,
perceptions may be sudden or gradual, fast or slow.
to my explanation. Is it the same as his? The Dharma, which I speak, does
not leave the self-nature, for to leave the self-nature in explaining the
Dharma is to speak of marks and continually confuse the self-nature. You
should know that the functions of the ten thousand dharmas all arise from
the self-nature and that this is the true morality, concentration, and
wisdom. Listen to my gatha:
“When I speak the Dharma,” said the Sixth Patriarch, “I never
stray from the self-nature. When you stray from the self-nature you become
attacked to marks and confuse the self-nature. All dharmas take the
self-nature as their substance, responding in unlimited function. Now,
listen to this:
“Mind ground without wrong:
mind is like a piece of ground. Whatever you plant in it grows there. If
you plant a good cause, you reap a good result; if you plant a bad cause,
you reap a bad result. When the mind "ground" contains no
thoughts of greed, malice, envy, or selfishness, it is without wrong
thoughts and just this is the morality of the self-nature.
Shen Hsiu said that abstaining from evil was called morality; this is
nearly the same as the Sixth Patriarch's instructions to clear the mind
ground of wrong thoughts. But Shen Hsiu merely gave morality another name,
calling it the non-doing of evil, while the Sixth Patriarch spoke of the
morality of the mind ground, the morality of the self-nature.
“Mind ground without stupidity:
your mind ground lacks stupidity you can, as Shen Hsiu instructed, offer
up all good conduct. But Shen Hsiu merely passed out names, he did not
speak of morality, concentration, and wisdom in terms of the self-nature
and the mind ground. Do not plant the causes of stupidity in the mind
ground; just this is the self-nature's wisdom.
ground without confusion:
without confusion, one's mind is purified. But Shen Hsiu's instructions to
purify the mind did not relate concentration to the self-nature. The Sixth
Patriarch always spoke Dharma from the mind ground. His Dharma arose from
the self-nature and did not come from outside. Shen Hsiu spoke about the
external dharmas and was attached to marks. Shen Hsiu spoke from outside
the mind; the Sixth Patriarch spoke from within.
increasing or decreasing,
The self-nature’s brilliant light illuminates everywhere; it is
miraculous, profound, and all-inclusive. The self-nature neither increases
nor decreases; it is your very own indestructive vajra.
“Body comes, body goes;
go away, you come back, and you're in samadhi all the time: standing,
sitting, walking, and reclining.
this gatha. Chih Ch'eng was repentant and expressed his gratitude by
submitting this gatha:
These five heaps are
The five skandhas are not real. The body, too, is false—merely a combination of the four elements. Knowing this, you should not attach so much importance to it by looking for good food, good clothes, a nice place to live or a good wife or husband.
How do the four elements combine to form your body? The earth is the hard part of your body, the skin, nails, bones, and muscles. Tears, mucus, saliva, and excrement are the water, and your body heat is the fire. Circulation and respiration are the wind. After you die, the body decomposes and the earth returns to the earth, the water to water, the fire to fire, and the wind to wind. But where do you go? You don't know, do you? Now we study the Buddhadharma just to understand this question.
body, then, is nothing but a transformation of the five skandhas and the
four elements. What, ultimately, is this illusion?
you tend toward true suchness, the Dharma is not yet pure, for you have
not arrived at the root substance, and you have not returned to purity.
Why? Because you still have the thought, "I'd like to go back
to true suchness." If you have even one thought, you cannot penetrate
the basic substance because this substance functions independently and
freely, without obstructions. There is no grasping or rejecting, no
thinking of this or that in the basic substance.
The Master approved and spoke further to Chih Ch'eng saying." Your Master's morality, concentration, and wisdom exhort men of lesser faculties and lesser wisdom, whereas my morality, concentration, and wisdom exhort men of great faculties and great wisdom. If you are enlightened to your self-nature, you do not set up Bodhi. Nirvana or the liberation of knowledge and vision. When not a_single dharma is established, right then you can establish the ten thousand dharmas. If you understand this principle, this is called the Buddha body: it is also called Bodhi. Nirvana and the liberation of knowledge and vision. Those who see the nature can establish or not establish. They come and go freely, without impediment, without obstacle. They function correctly and speak appropriately, seeing all transformation bodies as not separate from the self-nature. Just thus do they obtain independence, spiritual powers, and the samadhi of playfulness. This is called seeing the nature.”
right," said the Master, "and your gatha's not bad at all. You
should know that my morality, concentration, and wisdom are not the same
as Shen Hsiu's. His teaching is for men of lesser wisdom."
the Master describes the men of great wisdom for whom his teaching is
are awake to the self-nature," said the Master, "and they don't
even have (the notion of) Bodhi, Nirvana, or the liberation of knowledge
and vision. All these dharmas do not exist for them. There remains not a
such men do not set up a single dharma, they can set up ten thousand
dharmas. Although there exists not a single dharma, the ten thousand
dharmas are present all the same. The ten thousand dharmas are present all
the same, and yet there is not a single dharma established.
If you understand this principle, you may become a Buddha on the spot. Then you may call it Bodhi, Nirvana, or the liberation of knowledge and vision. You may call it anything you like. But first you must understand it. If you don't understand it you can't call it anything at all.
of genuine enlightenment who have understood the mind and seen the nature
can establish or not establish. They come and go without obstruction.
You say, "I'm this way too. If I want to come to the Buddhist
Lecture Hall, I come; if I want to go, I go." You're wrong. The Sixth
Patriarch was speaking of freedom over life and death. With this kind of
freedom, if you want to live, you live; if you want to die, you can die
any place and at anytime. So I often say to you, "Everything's
O.K." The Third Patriarch Seng Ts'an knew this freedom. He died of
his own will, hanging by one hand from a tree. If you master this you hold
the power of life and death in your hands. Live or die, as you please. No
one can stop you.
other day two American Ancients came bringing two friends to meet me.
"Look at us," their attitude implied, "we are really
useful. We've brought these people to meet you."
is the use of meeting me?" I told them. "No use at all. At the
Buddhist Lecture Hall one person is not a small number and ten thousand is
not a crowd. I don't care in the least whether people come here or not. If
there are many people we lecture about the Sutras every night and if there
are just a few people we do the same, because lecturing on Sutras is our
people wanted praise for introducing new people to me, but I didn't accept
any introductions that evening and I don't even know what their names are.
This is truly wonderful.
to come and go" is not like you’re coming and going from the
Buddhist Lecture Hall.
who see the nature function correctly and speak appropriately, seeing
all transformation bodies as not separate from the self-nature. They
don't need to think, they just speak. But they always speak with
principle. If someone asks
you about the heavens and you reply, "On earth there are mountains
and rivers," or if they ask, "What's a horse?" and you say,
"Oxen have two horns," you are just confusing the issue and
contradicting common sense.
Men who see the nature obtain independence, just like Kuan Tzu Tsai (Avalokitesvara) Bodhisattva. They also obtain the six spiritual powers:
The heavenly eye;
One who has obtained the samadhi of playfulness sings, but not like other singers; he eats, but not like other people. For example, he may say, "Lunch time! Let's eat!" and then run to the table and eat every scrap of food in sight. Then he'll say, "The food is still in the kitchen." When everyone looks in the kitchen the food is still there. He didn't really eat it after all. This is a lot of fun. This is called seeing the nature.
Chih Ch'eng further asked the Master, "What is meant by 'not establishing'? "
The Master replied, "When your self-nature is free from error, obstruction, and confusion, and when in every thought Prajna contemplates and illuminates, when one constantly is separated from the dharma marks and is free and independent horizontally and vertically, what is there to be established?"
When there is nothing in your self-nature, which is obstructive or confused, what is there to be established? Confusion means "upside-down". You should not think that if your hand points to the earth it is upside-down and if you raise it above your head it is right side up. There is actually no such thing as upside-down or right side up.
...in every thought Prajna contemplates and illuminates. Therefore earlier the Master—said, "You should know that the self-nature constantly gives rise to wisdom." You should be separated from any attachment to dharma marks, and then you will be free to come and go. Vertically, if you want to jump, jump! Horizontally, if you want to move sideways, go ahead. Ascend into the heavens or plunge into the hells; visit the Western Paradise or the Eastern Crystal Azure World. You can go anywhere and always be in accord with Dharma. So what dharma is there to be established? That is why I say ‘not a single dharma is established'.
In self-nature, in self-enlightenment, in sudden enlightenment, in sudden cultivation, there are no degrees. Therefore not a single dharma is established. All dharmas are still and extinct. How can there be stages?"
You should enlighten your self-nature by yourself. If immediately enlightened, you will immediately cultivate, and there will be no question of sudden and gradual stages of progress. Therefore no dharmas are established, all dharmas are empty, marked with still extinction. How can you arrange them in stages according to #l, #2, etc.?
Ch'eng made obeisance and attended on the Master day and night without
laziness. (Chih Ch'eng) was a native of T’ai Ho in Chi Chou.
Hearing the Master's instruction, the former spy defected and was converted to the Master's teaching. He changed his mind and corrected his conduct; this is called "going straight". He did whatever the Patriarch told him to do, no matter how difficult, because he knew that the Sixth Patriarch had become a Patriarch by doing bitter work, threshing rice at Huang Mei for over eight months. He thought, "I have an opportunity to serve a Patriarch, and I should work diligently."