last issue: The Master was a son of the Xia family in Gui Ji. He drew near Master Yin Feng, investigated the word “who” for three days and nights, and had an awakening. For three years he did not lie down. Upon investigating Master Qian Feng's topic, “I speak of one, not of two”…
He was thoroughly and greatly enlightened. He investigated until he reached the end of the mountains and rivers, until he had climbed to the summit and achieved the utmost, until he had attained mastery...then suddenly, he awakened from the dream and discovered the way it really was. He had broken through all attachments and put an end to all afflictions;
In a finger-snap, eighty thousand doors are fully realized.
In a kshana, three asamkheya kalpas are extinguished.
That's how it happened. Eighty thousand great kalpas passed in the space of a finger-snap, and three asamkheya kalpas (infinite eons) were eradicated in a kshana (a brief instant). This is called thorough and great enlightenment. "Thorough" means that there was nothing he did not understand.
Then the qualities of all things, whether external or internal, subtle or coarse, will all be apprehended, and the mind, in its entire substance and its relations to things, will be perfectly understood.
At that time, one will glorify all of ancient and modern times, and be ready to go home. That is why it is called thorough and great enlightenment!
Ah! See how your teacher is both a student and a teacher. While I am lecturing, I don't know whether I should sit or stand. That's why I stand up and lecture for awhile, and then I sit down and talk for awhile. I don't have any fixed method.
In the Xin Mao year of the Wan Li reign period. Wan Li is the name of a reign period in the Ming dynasty. Xin Mao designates the year. Wan Li was the reign period, and the year was Xin Mao in the cycle which begins with the year Jia Zi.
He visited Master Ci Zhou at Zhi Feng Tu. After he became thoroughly enlightened, he probably wanted to do some
traveling on his own. He wanted to go out and hone his skill and match his wits with others to see what level his skill had reached. This is similar to the situation at Shaolin Monastery, where students of gungfu have to fight their way out through the wooden stakes. They have to leave the monastery and go out into the world to try out their skill and see how it is. The Master had heard someone say that the skill of Dhyana Master Ci Zhou (Boat of Compassion) was not bad, so he went there. One reason he went there was to seek certification and ask for correction. As it is said, "Go to one who is virtuous to be corrected." You should draw near a person who possesses virtue, learning, and true wisdom in order to listen to his ideas. This is called asking for correction, going to one who is virtuous to be corrected. Another meaning is that "one who is clever and fond of study is not ashamed to inquire from those below him." One should think: "Perhaps I haven't learned enough, so I want to go around to different places to gain more experience and to get exposed to different situations. I want to go around to see if I am on the right track, or if I have actually gone down the wrong road." This is also a way of verifying the level of skill one has reached in cultivation. This is the meaning of "going to one who is virtuous to be corrected" and "one who is clever and fond of study is not ashamed to inquire from those below him." You could say that someone would do this because he is fond of study and is not proud of himself. You could also say that he is proud of himself and wants to match his abilities with others to see whether or not his skill is useful. All of you think about this: Those who are
traveling students are bound to have these inclinations.
In the past, I myself was a traveling student, but I was one who didn't have any abilities. Everywhere I went, I would listen to others. I watched and listened to others wherever I went and didn't try to compete with them or match wits against them. That was my attitude when I was a
traveling student in the past. However, I am sure that most
traveling students are not as stupid as I was. They wouldn't act the way I did, causing people to look down on me and ignore me no matter where I went.
Traveling students generally go around matching their skill against others. How do they match their skill? "Do Chan
mediators actually take up swords or spears and fight it out with one another?" No, they engage in verbal combat: You say a sentence, and then I say a sentence. How can you tell that this is the way it is? Just read the next passage and you will know.
To be continued
The mind, in its entire substance and its relations to
things, will be perfectly