Mr. Fox was invited to lunch at the Buddhist
Lecture Hall in San Francisco on September 24th, 1969, by his son,
Dharma Master Heng Ch'ien, on behalf of Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua.
Mr. Fox arrived at ten o'clock. After a quiet meal, tea was served
and conversation began. A comment about sleep occasioned Mr. Fox to say:
"Where I work there is a great deal of noise.
Strangely enough, at night, when it is quiet, I am sensitive to the
smallest sound, even the turning of a doorknob, and occasionally I
hear sounds in my sleep."
Master: "Whenever the slightest sensation is experienced through the doors
of the senses a 'seed' is introduced into the store, or eighth,
consciousness. It is planted there in the field of the eighth
consciousness and stored. Although these seeds are mere shadows of
sense objects, they can later be discriminated by the sixth
consciousness. Therefore, the sixth consciousness, the intellect,
may continuously recollect sensations, even though the sense object
is no longer present. States of mind such as the one you have
mentioned arise because the intellect discriminates; if
discrimination ceases, these states also cease.
If you are not attached to these false states,
your worries and afflictions will be diminished. After doing
something, forget it and go on to the next matter. Nothing should be
taken as ultimately real. In The Diamond Sutra, it says:
As stars, a fault of vision, as a lamp,
A mock show, dew drops, or a bubble,
A dream, a lightning flash, or a cloud,
So should one view what is conditioned."
"When it is hot, we are comfortable wearing few clothes.
However, when it is cold, if we are not warmly dressed, we shiver.
If it is cold outside, then in our minds there is cold. It is hot
outside, then in our minds there is hot. The states of hot and cold
certainly seem real."
"If your intellect does not discriminate between hot and cold, they
do not exist. When hot and cold do not exist, who feels either one?
The same principle is true of all conditions. If we refrain from
making unnecessary distinctions, our original peace of mind remains
"How does technological progress relate to Buddhism? As times
change, new things are invented, and there is progress. Each man is
an individual who creates different things. Each of us has been
given a mind meant to be used; minds continually think."
"Yes, there certainly has been a great deal of progress in
technology, but there is something which is even more important than
technological progress. Where does 'progress' lead us? In five
hundred years, all present day inventions will be obsolete, and
entirely new inventions will be in use. When everything has been
invented, what will man do then?
The important point here is one of priority.
Should society serve man or should man serve society? In the
existing order, men devote their efforts to maintain society, but
society disregards the suffering and murder of men. This is a grave
error. When society serves the needs of man, the world functions
peacefully. When the world functions peacefully, man is free to
contemplate his self-nature and consider the essential problem, the
problem of birth and death.
You should know where you came from and where
you are going. As it is, ‘murky we come and confused we go.’ It is
important to investigate the self-nature by reflecting inwardly. If
you practice inward contemplation, then no longer will you be moved
by the confusion of society. When you see your self-nature, you will
naturally understand science and philosophy.”
“this certainly sounds ideal, but I don’t think that all men
can become of one mind in this pursuit. We are all different. Each
individual has his own natural inclinations, and it is not certain
that all men can accomplish this work.”
“You are absolutely right. Only a few people have the ‘roots’, the
natural inclination and ability, to study and practice the Great
Vehicle Buddhadharma. For that matter, few people even encounter it.
Among those, fewer yet can practice and penetrate its principles. It
is difficult, but if we can do what is most difficult, that is true
accomplishment. Some people come to study and stay for a few days,
but they are unable to endure and have to leave.
If one person understands true principle, then
he can do what has to be done. If ten people understand true
principle, then they can do what has to be done. Buddhas and
Bodhisattvas, in teaching and transforming living beings, do not
worry if the teachings are not received. If people understand and
become enlightened, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are happy. If no
one understands and nobody becomes enlightened, then the Buddhas and
Bodhisattvas are still happy.
Greed prevents man from solving the essential
problems. It obscures his vision of the self-nature. For example,
one of my disciples wants to learn about spiritual power, but as
long as he is greedy for spiritual power, he will be unable to obtain it.
Now the Buddhadharma is scarce in the West.
All unenlightened people are confused about something, and only the
proper Dharma can resolve this confusion. It follows that your son's
decision to become a Bhiksu and study the Dharma is extremely important.
Where does confusion come from? Greed is the
basic cause: greed for food, sleep, beautiful forms, wealth and
fame. Everyone has desires, which are based on greed, and it is
difficult to put them down. I teach my disciples to be strong in the
control of desire. However, I do not use force. I merely show them
the way. Whether or not they follow is up to them. To teach a
method, which is contrary to this, would be like using a rock to
beat down grass. If you try to keep down grass by pounding on it
with a stone, it grows back thick and strong. Rather than do that, I
go after the roots, the basic causes.
(The FOX RECORD will be
continued in the next issue of Vajra Bodhi Sea.)