THREE STEPS, ONE BOW
THE DAILY RECORD
Continued from issue #57
5 Dec. 73. Hung Ju--(Today we passed MacKerriher Beach State Park.) I recall the story of the late Master Hsu Yun who was travelling across China on his way to a meditation session. He came to a river, and since he had no money, he walked along the bank, looking for a place to get across. He slipped and fell and went sinking and bobbing down the river for a whole day and night. Some fishermen caught him in their nets, and summoned a monk from a nearby monastery, where he was brought back to consciousness. Blood was coming out of his mouth, nose, and rectum, but as soon as he could walk, he took off for Kao Min Monastery. He was determined not to miss that session. When he arrived at Kao Min, the Abbot asked him to take an administrative position, but he politely refused and asked to participate in the session. Because of his refusal, the residing monks beat him with a wooden board. He did not tell them he was sick, and withstood the beating, although he was passing blood and sperm. He joined in the meditation, working diligently every minute. His mind became pure and concentrated and he forgot about his body. Later, the Abbot of the monastery near the river came by with provisions for those taking part in the session. He was surprised to see Hsu Yun looking so well, and proceeded to tell everyone what had happened. The monks who had beaten him were ashamed of their rash judgement, and held him in high esteem. His Ch'an samadhi took effect day and night. Late one evening, he opened his eyes, and the entire monastery was glowing with a bright light, just as if in broad daylight. He could see through the walls; he could see the monks in the courtyard; he could see the boats on the river. But he realized that this was just a passing state and kept working until he eventually became enlightened. Hsu Yun was truly a fearless cultivator.
6, Dec. 73. Hung Yo--The ultimate purpose of the Ch'an School is to "directly point to the mind of man." This statement does not refer to the ordinary mind, which we use for the tasks of our day to day, mundane existence. The mind, which is pointed to by the accomplished Ch'an Master is the true mind, which is like space: it pervades the universe, does not come or go, and contains everything. The aim then, is to cultivate the path, and develop our inherent potential for the realization of this mind, that is, Buddhahood. It says, "directly pointing," because often times words are not sufficient to convey exactly what this mind is. Short of defining it, it can be pointed to directly. A skilled master can help others to experience it directly. Sometimes very unorthodox, impolite, or outrageous methods have been used to help a cultivator over the last hurdle. Today in America, these stories have been overemphasized and blown up out of proportion. People may be unaware of the years, or lifetimes of practice of morality, samadhi, and wisdom, which are required to bring the adept to the brink of enlightenment. One small shove in the right place at the right time can result in his ending birth and death, that is, enlightenment. Because of this, people tend to forget about the less sensational aspects of cultivation, such as the day to day diligence required in order to become successful. Buddhism has been misrepresented to those who think that it is nothing more than a lot of fast talking, wisecracking antics. This is called head-mouth zen, and refers to someone who has little or no cultivation to back up his baseless and silly efforts to prove that he is indeed enlightened.
7 Dec. 73, Hung Ju-- Bowed into Westport. Gary and Zida Bachelor gave us shelter for the night.
One night while in the tent I was sleeping, and when I awoke I experienced a state wherein I had no body or mind. It was as if I had gotten up, but had not yet climbed into the clothes of self. The mind just felt universal like it could be used for anything. But then the thinking process began and I returned to being me.
8 Dec. 73. Hung Ju--In Westport, Upasakas Kuo Fa Olson, Kuo Kuei Nicholson, and Kuo Hui Weber drove up to make a meal offering. Kuo Hui stayed, and the others went back. That evening, the three of us stayed in a rickety old barn in the middle of town. It was quite a night. Hung Yo had a dream in which he was the janitor in a large hospital. In the beds were various Buddhist disciples. The Master entered wearing grey robes and began making the rounds, and then transformed into two Masters so no one would have to be kept waiting. Kuo Hui was also in a corner of the barn dreaming of the Master. I myself had begun the night sleeping sitting up, as is the practice of most people of Gold Mountain, but after a couple of hours, I was lying on my back. At about 2:00 in the morning, everyone was startled out of their sleep. I was being pinned down by a Kumbhanda ghost. I could not move my body, and could not see the ghost, but I could feel something very strong holding me down. I couldn't remember my mantras, sol yelled at the top of my lungs "HELLP!!!" The others didn't know what was going on, and thinking the place was haunted, crawled deeper into their bags. I was left all alone with the ghost. I didn't know if it was a dream or not, but my eyes were open. Finally it stopped. Later that night, I dreamt I saw the Master walking hand in hand with my late grandmother Testu in empty space. The next morning, when I told the others what had happened, Hung Yo related a similar experience he had, back at the Monastery. He used the Great Compassion Mantra to send the ghost away.
Hung Yo--We spoke to the Master by telephone today. He asked us where we had slept last night, and we described the above events to him. "People who hold the precepts are protected by Dharma protecting spirits, but if you do not hold the precepts, these spirits go on strike, and then you are easy prey for ghosts. You must at all times be vigilant and have, to rid yourself of idle and extraneous thoughts, for these can make you act in opposition to the precepts. Do not think about women." He also told us to contemplate the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions making the world peaceful, and to bow more slowly.
9 Dec. 73. Hung Ju--Bowing along the coast north of Westport, a few people stopped to query us. A couple of sixth graders interviewed us for a special report in their English class. Today Kuo Hui is bowing also. He has a big green sleeping bag on his back. I jokingly told him that if he bowed sincerely, a cabin would manifest after five miles, and we would have a nice place to spend the night. Surprisingly, right on the five mile mark we discovered an abandoned cabin--the only one around for miles--but he must not have been completely sincere in his bowing, for half the cabin was collapsed. Passed through Rockport. Kuo Hui now sports a backpack, in which he carries tent, sleeping bag and spare clothes, and he still bows. You should see the people look now. We receive mail in just about every town at the General Delivery window. Heng Kuan and Heng Shoou at Gold Mountain keep us supplied with plenty of sutras to read. Yo's load seems to get heavier every day.
10 Dec. 73. Hung Ju--Many people ask us why we are bowing. It is a difficult question to answer satisfactorily. Words and thoughts just can't account for everything. Words and thought are like a bubble in the sea of reality, so a scientific explanation of everything sometimes just doesn't make, it. There is a contemplation made while bowing the Great Compassion Repentance ceremony which says: "The worshipper and the worshipped in nature are empty and still. The response and the Way are difficult to conceive. This mind is like a precious pearl. The Great Compassionate Bodhisattva manifests in it; my body manifests before the Great Compassionate One seeking eradication of obstacles, prostrate and worshipping." Our true nature is like empty space. It cannot be seen or conceived of, yet there is no getting away from it. It is everywhere, but there is no getting a hold of it. We can only work to purify our karma and seek realization.
11 Dec. 75. Hung Yo--Winding road, evergreens, cold, brisk wind. "Seeing the nature, become a Buddha." "Nature" refers to the innate wisdom, which lies dormant in all living beings—it is called the "Buddha Nature." "Buddha" is a Sanskrit word, which means "the enlightened one," so that anyone who develops the Buddha Nature is a. Buddha, one who has awakened. This is, however, easier said than done, for this nature lies buried under layers of coverings which have been allowed to obscure its natural purity and brilliance for countless aeons. The work of cultivation is not only to stop adding to the coverings, but to start vigorously drilling through them to reveal the source of wisdom. Greed, anger, stupidity, arrogance, pride, and doubt of countless lifetimes past all leave a sediment which must be gotten rid of. The process by which this is done is called cultivation of the Way. One need not be a Bhiksu (Buddhist monk) to undertake this work, nor must he be a certain age, sex, color, or race, for there are no useless discriminations in the Buddha Nature. The only requirements are a pure and sincere heart, and a desire to end birth and death and save all living beings. Whoever cultivates successfully sees the Nature and becomes a Buddha.
To be continued