The wholesome dharmas we create are basically illusory.
The evil deeds we commit are also illusory.
The body is like a clump of foam, the mind like the wind:
They are illusory transformations, with no root and no reality.
The Dharma-transmitting verse of Shikhin Buddha, the second of the past seven Buddhas, says: The wholesome dharmas we create are basically illusory. Do you think your good thoughts and good deeds are real? They're illusory. Good deeds are also false, and you shouldn't cling to them. They are illusory. The evil deeds we commit are also illusory. All the evil karma we create is also false and illusory, without any reality or appearance.
Good dharmas are illusory, and so are evil dharmas. Why do you apply effort within these illusory transformations, instead of working on true principles? We shouldn't be attached and think, "I've done charity and good deeds." Good deeds and evil deeds are both illusory. There's nothing real about them.
The body is like a clump of foam, the mind like the wind: This body is also false. It's like foam bubbles. You see a bubble in the sea, but when you touch it, it's gone. The mind is like the wind blowing. After it blows by, it's gone. They are illusory transformations, with no root and no reality. They have no root; you cannot find their root. What is the root of the mind? What is the root of the body? You won't find them. There is nothing real there, no real substance. Why should you cling to them?
Therefore, this dharma-transmitting verse tells us to get rid of the view of a body, the view of a mind, and all these partial views. Wouldn't you say we're foolish for clinging to such ethereal things?
In cultivation, if we can see the body as false and the mind as illusory, then we won't have any attachments. We won't have the views of self, others, living beings or a lifespan; nor will we have the concepts of self, others, living beings, or a lifespan. Just because we cannot see them as empty, we have them all. If we can see them as empty, there won't be any concepts at all; even the self will be gone. How then could there be the concepts of others, living beings or a lifespan? These are all discriminations which we ourselves make!
The Dharma transmission verses of the every one of the seven Buddhas break our attachments to the body and mind. If we have no attachment to the body and mind, then we understand the Buddhadharma. No matter how many Sutras you read, how many times you recite the Buddha's name, or how many times you bow to the Buddha, if you still cling to this stinking skinbag, then you don't understand the Buddhadharma. Therefore, in your learning of the Buddhadharma, you should study what is fundamental. Don't concentrate on the superficial aspects, such as praying for the Buddha's protection. The Buddha won't protect you. You have to protect yourself. If you bow to the Buddha, believe in the Buddha, and recite the Buddha's name, then even if you don't have any response, you are being protected, for your wholesome seeds will not be ruined, and your bad seeds will not come forth. Therefore, when we study Buddhism, if we cannot grasp the basic principles of Buddhism, and we see the body and mind as very important, then we simply don't understand the Buddhadharma.