Venerable Master: Does anybody know what is meant by "bringing forth the odhi resolve?" What is the Bodhi resolve? Can anyone explain it? I'm asking you what the Bodhi resolve is and you are all speechless. What does the Bodhi mind look like? No one knows! [The Master tells one of the disciples: I'm going to ask your sister, "What is the Bodhi resolve?" Translate that for her. Do you understand what he said] Don't wait for me to call you; let's see how everyone answers. What is the Bodhi resolve? [Someone answers in Cantonese.] It's not "cause and condition." What is the Bodhi mind?
Disciple: The Bodhi mind is having compassion. If you want to become a Buddha, you first have to bring forth the mind for Bodhi.
Venerable Master: That's Fang Guo Zhi's answer. Does anyone else have another opinion?
Disciple: The Bodhi mind is the mind without discrimination.
Venerable Master: What does it look like?
Disciple: It doesn't look like anything.
Venerable Master: When you first listen to the "Essay of Exhortation to Bring Forth the Bodhi Resolve," did Dharma Master Hui Seng explain what the Bodhi resolve is? Did all of you forget it? Guo Zhou knows how to write essays. What does the essay on the "Exhortation to Bring Forth the Bodhi Resolve" say?
Disciple: I think the Bodhi resolve is a decisive resolve to attain Bodhi. It's a responsibility, an intent. You have to take action; you have to become a Buddha. I think that it is the ultimate resolve.
Venerable Master: What do you do after you become a Buddha?
Disciple: You don't do anything after becoming a Buddha. You simply are free from attachments and ego, like the Sixth Patriarch. When the Sixth Patriarch requested Dharma from Great Master Hong Ren, the Great Master inquired, "Why did you come here? What do you want?" The Sixth Patriarch replied, "I want nothing, I just want to become a Buddha, that's all." I think that's the Bodhi resolve.
Venerable Master: I asked you what the Bodhi mind looks like and you said it doesn't look like anything. You said the Bodhi resolve means being free from discrimination. Then why is it called the Bodhi mind instead of the mind without discrimination? Can we call this essay the "Exhortation to Bring Forth the Mind Without Discrimination?" Guo Heng and Wen Yi-Jing should answer my question.
Disciple: In my opinion, we are forced to distinguish it as the "Bodhi resolve" for people who cling to wrong beliefs. But there is no way to truly explain the term "Bodhi resolve." Once we try to discriminate what it is, our definition will be false and not Bodhi. Bodhi is enlightenment. Since the Sixth Patriarch said that, "It's false as soon as we have a thought," why are we attached to this term? That is not Bodhi. This is how I look at it.
Translator: Dharma Master Heng Kung said that in the beginning, if the Venerable Master asked what is the discriminating mind and the mind without discrimination, we would say that the Bodhi mind is fundamentally without discrimination. It's basically the same as the mind of no discrimination.
Venerable Master: Upasaka Xiao! Xiao Guo Zao, what is the Bodhi resolve?
Upasaka Xiao:... "Bodhi" is the enlightened path; the enlightened path is the great path. The great path means not seeking anything, or samyaksambodhi. Samyaksambodhi is the short form of Bodhi, which tells us to bring forth a great resolve, a complete resolve. That is the Bodhi resolve. We need to make a resolve to save all beings and to become a Buddha. That is the Bodhi resolve.
Venerable Master: Correct! What Upasaka Xiao said had some principles in it. I was asking what the Bodhi resolve is. I'm not talking about the Chan School or existence and nonexistence— where if asked about existence one, answers with nonexistence, and if asked about nonexistence, one answers with existence; if asked about wrong, one answers with right, and when asked about right, one answers with wrong. I'm not asking about the thirty-six pairs of opposites. I have a simple and clear way to explain the Bodhi resolve. Let me tell you.
If you don't bring forth the Bodhi resolve, it's like a dough without yeast. When you bring forth the Bodhi resolve, it is like adding yeast to the dough so that it rises and grows bigger. I asked you what the Bodhi mind looks like. Well, originally it has no form or appearance. It is only an enlightened path. To be enlightened means one understands the Way. Not only does one understand it, one must cultivate the enlightened path. Therefore, the Bodhi resolve is formless. However, we also can use something that has form as a metaphor.
What do we use as an analogy? A jeweled pagoda. No matter how many stories a jeweled pagoda has, it must be built from the ground up. The ground represents a person's mind-ground. When we start to build a jeweled pagoda on our mind-ground, building one layer upon another, the pagoda will get higher and higher. The Bodhi resolve also grows in stages. The more you bring it forth, the higher and bigger it becomes. In the beginning, it's very tiny, but later it expands until one realizes Buddhahood. This is my simple explanation. I think bringing forth the Bodhi resolve is like building a jeweled pagoda. If your Bodhi resolve is big, you build a big pagoda. The principle is the same. The more you bring forth the resolve, the higher and larger it becomes. This is only an analogy for the Bodhi mind. The Bodhi resolve is not actually a jeweled pagoda. Bringing forth the Bodhi resolve is like building a pagoda. That is my view of the Bodhi resolve.