Someone is wondering just what is meant by a lion throne. The Lion Throne is the seat the Buddha sits on when he speaks the Dharma. We call it the Lion Throne because the Buddha speaks the Dharma like the roar of the lion. The lion is the king of beasts and when the lion roars the animals are all afraid. In his
Song of Enlightenment the Great Master Yung-jya wrote:
The roar of the lion is fearless proclamation.
When the hundred wild beasts hear it, their brains split,
And the musk-elephant flees in confusion, losing his awesomeness.
The gods and dragons listen in stillness and in great joy.
When the lion roars, all the animals are scared to death! Elephants are actually very strong, but when they hear the lion roar they are subdued. They cower on the ground, bereft of all dignity. That's why it says,
And the musk-elephant flees in confusion, losing his awesomeness. The gods and dragons listen in stillness and in great joy. The gods and dragons hear it and are delighted. The position the Buddha assumes when he sits on the throne is called the lotus posture. His legs are crossed in full lotus. It is also called the Vajra position. What advantage does it have? It is used for subduing demons. Most especially for those who sleep sitting up, it's best to sit in lotus posture. In this way you can subdue your mind and prevent it from becoming scattered. In China they have the saying "Gold Mountain has the legs." That's because the Chan cultivators at Jyang-tyan Monastery in Gold Mountain, China were famous for their stamina in meditation. Why? They didn't allow people to take their legs out of lotus posture. If while sitting, you wanted to take your legs out of lotus posture, you would be struck with the board. No matter how much your legs hurt, you had to grit your teeth and bear it. You couldn't release your legs or move around. Those were the rules they had. After awhile, no one dared to take their legs out of the posture, and their legs became compliant. They no longer hurt. That's why the Chan cultivators at Gold Mountain had the best legs. They were the best meditators around. They also say "Gau-min has the incense." At Gau-min Monastery, the incense would be lit for the duration of a sit and it would never vary by even a minute. When it was time to end the sit, they would end it. When it was time to begin a sit, they would start. They wouldn't be off even by a second. Their sitting time was extremely punctual. So it's said, "Gau-min has the incense." And "Hai-chau Monastery has the chatter." Hai-chau Monastery is in Shanghai. What does the "chatter" refer to? It refers to people who didn't follow the rules, and chatted from morning to night, casually talking all the time. This is a Buddhist saying in China: "Gold Mountain has the legs, Gau-min has the incense, and Hai-chau Monastery has the chatter." This "chatter" refers to Bhikshus who don't follow the rules in Buddhism. They all end up in that place. This is like the story of the five hundred Arhats who were invited to Potola Mountain by Gwan Yin Bodhisattva, and declined to go because they were intimidated by the regulations. They said, "Your rules are too strict there, so we won't go." Then Gwan Yin Bodhisattva said, "Fine! If you come, you don't have to follow any rules. You can do anything you want." That's why the monks who go to Potola Mountain do all kinds of things. They smoke and they drink wine, but they don't eat meat. Since no meat is sold on Potola Mountain, the left-home people and laypeople all have to eat vegetarian food there. That's how it is at Potola Mountain.
When you are seated in the lotus posture, it is very easy for you to enter samadhi. At the beginning you have to bear a little pain, of course. If your legs hurt a bit, don't be afraid of the pain. Don't be like a little child who is not able to take any pain. As soon as the child feels a little pain, it starts crying and calling for its mama. We are all great heroes now, and we must learn from great heroes. Great heroes are able to endure what others cannot endure. The more it hurts, the more we have to bear up. The best thing for you to do is to look into your
hua-tou (meditation topic). There are many meditation topics that you can investigate. The Japanese people investigate and enlighten to the word "Wu" which means "nothing." They think, "Wu, wu...", just like the Chinese investigate the question of "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" and look into the word "swei" which means "who." Who is the one reciting the Buddha's name? They look for the "who." Others may investigate the question, "Before my parents gave birth to me, what was my original face?" After my parents gave birth to me, I know what kind of person I am. But what appearance did I have before I was born? What was my original face? This is also a meditation topic. The question "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" is another meditation topic. Japanese people investigate and enlighten to the word "nothing", but I'll tell you that you can also look into the word "something"! There are no fixed, definite dharmas. If you say something is fixed, and insist that I told you to investigate the topic, "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" it will be difficult to discover the answer to that question. Ultimately, who is it? People may investigate for years and not find an answer. Some people investigate the question, "Before my parents gave birth to me, what was my original face?" This is what I look like after my parents gave birth to me. What did I look like before being born? It cannot be found, nor can it be seen. The Japanese investigate "nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing,..." until everything is gone. Everything has disappeared, yet they still haven't found it. So now, I'll teach you all to investigate "something"! You say, "Something, something, something..." But you shouldn't just say, "Something, something, something." Everything in the world comes to an end and becomes nothing. If everything becomes nothing, is there anything that's not gone? Is there something that doesn't become nothing? Look for it! If everything comes to an end and becomes nothing, then what meaning is there? Everything comes to an end. Ultimately, what exists? Look for that thing! Everything comes to an end and is reduced to nothing. What is there that is not annihilated? If you find that thing which really cannot be reduced to nothing, just that is enlightenment. If you can find it, you become enlightened. If you find out what your original face was before your parents gave birth to you, then you will also become enlightened. If you find out who is reciting the Buddha's name, you will become enlightened, too. But you must really find out for it to count. If you cannot find it and you just indulge in Chan banter, that's useless. You can't just repeat the things other people have said, either.
to be continued