行住坐臥皆清淨 穿衣喫飯亦菩提 機教相扣無所得 文字不立有何奇
放下布袋真自在 粉碎虛空了他依 遍往十方諸佛剎 毫端法界誰狐疑
From last issue: Dhyana Master Yuanxian served as the Abbot at Gushan Monastery in 1634. Later he also served as the abbot at Kaiyuan, Baoshan, and Zhenji Monasteries. He passed into stillness in 1657 while in a seated position.
A verse in praise says:
Pervading throughout the ten directions
In all the Buddha worlds,
Thus are the two sounds,
Unimpeded, resonant, and clear.
Upon seeing Master Shouchang,
He put down his cloth sack.
One strike of the stone drum
Awakened the deaf and the muddled.
Pervading throughout the ten directions / In all the Buddha worlds / Thus are the two sounds / Unimpeded, resonant, and clear. No matter where one goes, there are two kinds of sounds: real and fake. The “two sounds” can be interpreted in many ways and don’t necessarily mean a loud sound and a soft sound. “Unimpeded, resonant, and clear” means that one completely understands. As for the two sounds, there may be two sounds within a single sound, or one sound within two different sounds. They are dual and yet nondual. If you understand, then the one becomes limitless. If you don’t, then the limitless is still one. If you understand, then the limitless is one, and the one is limitless. Whether you understand or not, it’s still the same way. Within this, there is nothing subtly wonderful, and yet there is nothing that is not subtly wonderful. Within true emptiness there is wonderful existence, and within wonderful existence there is true emptiness. There is sound within the absence of sound, and absence of sound within sound. How confusing! Once you understand, you won’t be confused anymore.
“Teacher, listening to you has made me more confused!"
Then the teacher is confused, and so is the disciple. One who is muddled teaches others to be muddled. Since we realize that we’ve been muddled, let’s not be muddled anymore.
Upon seeing Master Shouchang, / He put down his cloth sack. After meeting Master Shouchang, he saw through and set down his attachments and his stinking skin bag (body).
One strike of the stone drum / Awakened the deaf and the muddled. The deaf were restored to hearing, and the muddled became clear-headed.
Another verse says:
Whether moving or still, awake or asleep, one is pure.
Wearing clothes and eating are also Bodhi.
When the teaching tallies with the potentials, nothing is
Without a single word, what is wonderful?
Putting down the cloth sack, one is truly at ease.
Smashing through emptiness, one puts an end to mutual
Travelling to Buddhalands throughout the ten directions,
Who doubts that the Dharma realm can manifest at the
tip of a hair?
Whether moving or still, awake or asleep, one is pure. What is meant by the pure and bright body? Walking, standing, sitting, and lying down are all the pure and bright body. What should you do? Purify the body, mouth, and mind. Once the three karmas of body, mouth, and mind are pure, that is the pure and bright body. If you are impure in body, mouth, and mind, then you simply have the body of a living being in the evil world of the five turbidities.
Wearing clothes and eating are also Bodhi. Don’t think that you are eating to nourish the body and wearing clothes to cover up the body and keep out the cold and heat. If you know how to apply your skill, then these activities are also part of cultivation; they are also Bodhi. As for eating, you shouldn’t steal food to eat or eat on the sly. As for wearing clothes, you shouldn’t steal clothes to wear. Then you won’t violate the precepts. If you get hungry and sneak into the kitchen to eat on the sly, then you’ve broken the precepts. Or let’s say you want to wear expensive clothes, but you don’t want others to see them, so you wear them inside. You wear a rough coat on the outside, and underneath it you wear expensive furs that are soft and warm. That’s what some people did in ancient times. I tell you, this is also violating the precept of stealing, because you hide something from others.
You have to know how to eat, dress, and sleep. Don’t say, “I didn’t get enough sleep last night, and I can hardly keep my eyes open. I feel terrible.” If you say that, it means you don’t know how to do it right. If you knew how, then it would be the same whether or not you’ve eaten, put on clothes, slept. If your Bodhi mind is constantly present, then you will put all of these things down. You won’t be attached to them. If you know how to do them right, then eating, wearing clothes, and sleeping are all within Bodhi (enlightenment). If you aren’t greedy for fine food and delicious treats, then you’re in accord with the Bodhi mind. If you say, “I want to eat more of this sweet stuff, but I’m going to stay away from the bitter and hot food,” then you are still far from Bodhi. “Originally, Bodhi has no tree.” It is without a mind, so eating and wearing clothes are also Bodhi.
When the teaching tallies with the potentials, nothing is attained. When one teaches living beings, the teaching and the potentials merge into one. Nothing is attained; there is no teaching and no potentials, because they have united into one. You cannot say that you have taught such and such a person and have therefore accrued merit. Nor can the person say that he is grateful to you for teaching him. Nothing is attained. Both sides are empty; there is nothing at all. You don’t have to thank me, and I don’t have to thank you. At the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, no one says “thank you.” This is a symbolic custom. All of you should know, when you say, “Oh, thank you, thank you so much!” you are indulging in superficial human emotions; you are applying effort at the level of the mind consciousness. Those who study the Buddhadharma should set good examples for others to follow; we should try to refrain from worldly expressions such as “thank you.”
Without a single word, what is wonderful? There’s not even a single word. You may put things in writing or read what people have written and say, “What a fine essay! What a wonderful poem!” Yet not a single word is established, so what’s so extraordinary? There is nothing special and nothing ordinary.
Putting down the cloth sack, one is truly at ease. Truly put down your attachments and your stinking skin bag, and stop toiling away on its behalf, stop acting as its slave. Don’t let the mind be a slave to the body. Don’t say, “I’ve got to find meals for it, buy clothes for it, feed it medicine. I’ve got to do this and that for my body...” With that attitude, wouldn’t you say the mind is a slave to the body? The body has taken over. If you set down the cloth sack, you’ll truly be at ease. How happy you’ll be! You’ll be relieved of all your burdens! It’s like empty space or the bright moon. “The light breeze and the bright moon neither come nor go.” They neither come nor go; they are totally unimpeded, neither increasing nor decreasing. What is there then? Think it over: if you can put down the cloth sack—the stinking skin bag—your afflictions will come to an end. Nobody will lose his temper anymore. When someone scolds you and you get angry, it’s because you haven’t put down the cloth sack. If someone beats you or does something else to you, you become afflicted at that point. That’s because you haven’t put down your cloth sack. You haven’t met Master Shouchang.
The previous verse said, “One strike of the stone drum / Awakened the deaf and the muddled.” The muddled are as if unconscious; they don’t understand human affairs. All of you should quickly wake up. Then I wrote another simple verse, which began, “Whether moving or still, awake or asleep, one is pure.” It’s all the pure Dharma body. “Wearing clothes and eating are also Bodhi. / When the teaching tallies with the potentials, nothing is attained.” Basically there’s nothing at all. So I often think to myself, “If none of you listen to me, I don’t need to get afflicted. Why not? I should listen to my teacher. All those who don’t listen to me are my teachers.” When I think of it like that, it’s sweeter than honey; all the bitterness is gone. “Without a single word, what is wonderful?” What’s so strange about it? “Putting down the cloth sack, one is truly at ease.”
Smashing through emptiness, one puts an end to mutual dependence. In the world, there are the three Dharma seals. There are also the Nature of Dependent Arising, the Nature of Pervasive Discrimination and Attachment, and the Nature of Absolute Truth. When we discriminate about things, that is the Nature of Dependent Arising at work. For example, if you see a rope on the road at night, because you can’t see very clearly, you might think it’s a snake. The Nature of Dependent Arising begins with the rope. Then with the Nature of Pervasive Discrimination and Attachment, you think, “Oh, this black form must be a snake!” When you take a closer look, you find that it’s merely a rope made of twisted hemp—nothing serious at all. This is the Nature of Absolute Truth, which returns to a state of nonattainment. “Puts an end to mutual dependence” means that the Nature of Dependent Arising is gone. If even empty space does not exist, from where could the Nature of Dependent Arising come forth? It’s also gone.
Travelling to Buddhalands throughout the ten directions… If you can do away with empty space, then the Buddhalands of the ten directions will appear right in front of you. There is no coming and no going. Who doubts that the Dharma realm can manifest at the tip of a hair? Who is in doubt? You have doubts only because you haven’t seen through and put things down. You’re still carrying the cloth sack around. That’s why you’re still thinking about this and that, getting afflicted over this and being confused about that. Once you’ve put everything down, what’s the big deal? Think it over.