In this evil world of five turbidities of ours, kind and humane ones are rare indeed! People who are truly kind and humane, who possess kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and giving, are very, very scarce.
石鼓山中 葛藤絆倒 翻轉身來 長天日曉
夢筆華生 天界月皎 寶劍橫抽 佛魔齊掃
From last issue: When everyone was getting warm by the fire, Dhyana Master Daosheng said he didn't understand why some of the virtuous ones of old said that the blazing fire at the end of the eon would bring destruction, while others said it would not bring destruction. He asked Dhyana Master Dongyuan to explain.
"Well, what do you make of it?" [asked Master Dongyuan]. "Since you asked the question and said some people called it destruction while others didn't, why don't you say something about it?" Dhyana Master Dongyuan was re-directing the question back to him. When he did that, the Master could not answer. He didn't know what to say. Some people maintain that it is destruction, while others don't; either side could be argued. What's really going on here? He couldn't say anything. But then, after a moment, he expressed his opinion. He told Dhyana Master Dongyuan what he understood. Master Dongyuan was pleased--this means he certified the Master's enlightenment--and presented him with a verse. Master Dongyuan composed a verse and gave it to him as a reward.reward.
The Dhyana Master's eloquence was unimpeded. In the year jiwei (1619) of the wanli reign period [Ming Dynasty], he became the abbot at Mount Luo. Perhaps this is referring to Mount Luofu. He held the abbotship at over fifty monasteries, and he mastered over sixty Buddhist and non-Buddhist texts. He understood both Buddhist Sutras and other kinds of texts, and he mastered over sixty of them in all. He manifested the stillness--entered Nirvana--in the year of jihai (1659), and a grave-stupa was built for him at Mount She.
A verse in praise says:
A vine tripped him up on Stone Drum Mountain. When he was on Stone Drum Mountain, he stumbled over a vine. But when he rolled over, it was clear and sunny. He turned around, and the air was clear and fresh.
And so his writing style flourished like flowers blooming. His style improved greatly, and he wrote fine essays. The moon glistened in the sky. At that point, ignorance, afflictions, and emotions were probably all gone, so it was like the moon shining brightly in the heavens. He drew his jeweled sword, representing the sword of wisdom, ready to clear out both Buddhas and demons. Whether Buddhas or demons came, he recognized them. If Buddhas came, he wasn't confused by them. If demons came, they couldn't delude him either. He wouldn't give rise to attachments or anything like that, because he had his wisdom sword. The wisdom sword can recognize all states and not be turned by them.
Another verse says:
Seeing what he had never seen before, he gave rise to doubt. He thought it very peculiar that his grandfather had passed away sitting up. How could a person die while sitting there? He pondered this question constantly and gave rise to doubt about it. He couldn't figure it out. Since his mind was occupied by this doubt, he didn't have any other false thoughts. His full attention was concentrated on this question; he was determined to figure it out. One day when he was taking a walk on the street, he happened to hear a cat meowing. Upon hearing the cat's cry, he broke through his ignorance. The cat was probably making the mating call, crying, "You love me, and I love you," saying something romantic--the same old story. Hearing that, he thought, "Ah! Just this is birth and death; just this is ignorance." He suddenly understood, and cut off his thoughts of desire right then and there. After cutting off desire, he didn't dare taste the honey on the blade ever again. And so the verse says: Upon hearing a cat's meow, he awakened to Bodhi. He attained enlightenment.
And at that point he became one with empty space and the great earth. He united and became the same as space and earth; he no longer had the marks of self, others, living beings, and a life span; nor did he have thoughts of the past, present, or future; everything became one.
The life force behind the myriad phenomena of the Dharma Realm--this refers to the mysterious generative principle that brings forth the endless forms of life; it is hidden within. This esoteric mechanism or life force is ever-present, and even the blazing fire at the end of the eon cannot burn it up. Even when the fire is at its hottest and it burns everything else up, it cannot burn up this. What is this? It is our intrinsic Buddha nature. The fires might rage at the end of the eon, but the intrinsic Buddha nature cannot be destroyed. And the life force that generates everything on the earth is just that Buddha nature.
In this evil world of five turbidities of ours, kind and humane ones are rare indeed! People who are truly kind and humane, who possess kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and giving, are very, very scarce. Dhyana Master Daosheng was one who understood these principles.
The sword of wisdom is held aloft, ready to clear out Buddhas and demons. He raised the wisdom sword on high. If Buddhas came, he hacked them down. If demons came, he chopped them up. He was not attached to emptiness, nor did he fall into existence. He did things based on the Middle Way. He broke through all attachments and did not cling to any state. He could turn any matter around, but would not let the matter affect him. He could influence the situation, rather than letting the situation influence him. At that point all his attachments were wiped out. He swept away all dharmas and left behind all marks.
Perfect in the Way and replete with virtue, he is equal to the sages and worthies. He had cultivated the Way to perfection and was replete with the myriad virtues. Therefore, he was "breathing through the same nose" as--the same as--all the sages, worthies, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.