Every Saturday at 3 p.m. Tripitaka Master Hsuan
Hua teaches a class in Buddhist Poetry. Everyone is invited to
attend and not miss this excellent opportunity to study the Chinese
language and the principles of Buddhism.
Wisdom and Stupidity;
True and False
Wise men seek the truth not apart from the
false; Stupid men clutch the false, and confuse the truth.
Wisdom, stupidity, two marks—
their functions have myriad
True and false, one
substance without obstruction.
--- written by Master Hsuan Hua
translated by Heng Ch'ien
Guest Dust Verse1
Eighty-one doubts exhausted,2
Rest the maddened mind.3
Stilling qualms, consider,4
"Who is this so busy? "5
Free to go their way:
Independent, not departing,
The enlightenment nature king.7
--- written by Master Hsuan Hua
translated by Heng Shou
verse is a valuable and versatile tool for use in cultivation.
Although on first perusal it may appear quite simple, its lesson is
firmly grounded in specific Buddhist teachings.
To benefit from continual mindfulness of this
verse, it is essential to understand the basic connotations of "guest dust". The term refers to all elements of conditioned
existence, such as the objects of the five desires: wealth, form, fame, food, and sleep; or, alternately:
forms, sounds, smells, tastes, and touchables.
In The Shurangama Sutra,
where the principle of the "guest dust" analogy is quite clearly
revealed, Ajnata-Kaundinya, senior of the assembly, spoke thus:
of enlightenment to the two words 'guest
dust', I realized the fruit. World Honored
One, it is like a traveling guest who seeks a lodging and stops at
an inn, either to spend the night or to take a meal. Following the
affairs of the night's rest and food, he packs up and resumes his
journey along the path before him, stopping neither for leisure or
peaceful dwelling. The actual host, (the innkeeper), has no
"Thus considered, the
non-dweller is called the guest and the dweller is called the
host. It is by means of non-dwelling that the meaning of "guest" is established.
it is as when clouds have freshly cleared and the sky is clear and
sunny, light entering through an opening illuminates the existent
signs of dust in space. Dust motes swirl and drift about, and
emptiness is still.
"Thus considered, clear stillness is called
space. That which dances and moves about is called dust. It is by
means of that agitation and movement that the meaning of dust is
The Buddha said, "So it is."
2"Doubts" refers generally to confused and false thoughts which arise in
response to states, and serve as upside-down principles on which to
base actions. If one is not confused by states, false thoughts do
not arise; consequently unprincipled action ceases.
author revealed when he explained the verse, it is said in
The Shurangama Sutra, "The mad mind
put to rest is Bodhi."
qualms, consider," might as well be interpreted thus: "While engaged
in the practice of dhyana, consider...". Stilling qualms（靜慮）is the
standard translation used by Chinese Buddhists when they define "dhyana".
an example of investigating the "word-head". (See the explanation in
Ch'an Seven"--pages 33-34). Perhaps one who is "busy" vigorously
practices "mindfulness of the Buddha", yet turns to the practice of
Dhyana as well, using the question, "Who is this so busy?" as he
investigates the word-head.
in most cases, "eighty-four thousand" represents a figure
immeasurable by either number or parable.
the nature of enlightenment is free of all dependence, it has no
coming or going. It is the true mind which is compared to a king. A
true ruler who is all-powerful needn't leave his palace to fully
know and understand all the affairs of his country. If one is able
to allow all guest dust to follow its own course, and thus be
neither dependent upon it or moving, that which remains is "the
enlightenment nature king".
Verse On A Hundred Foot Pole
Cultivating the Way resembles
up a hundred foot pole:
Coming down is easy;
going up is hard.
If from the top of the pole
you can take yet another step,
In the ten directions of the Dharma realm
you're free to come and go.
--written by Master
translated by Heng Yin