Daily Lectures at Two
Ch'an Weeks - II
given at the Jade Buddha Monastery,
Shanghai, in 1953
(From the Hsu Yun Ho Shang Nien P'u)
Tr. Lu K'uan Yu (Charles Luk)
The Second Week
The First Day
My coming here
has already caused much inconvenience to the monastery and I do
not deserve the generous hospitality extended to me by the (Venerable)
Abbot and group leaders. Today, I am again asked to preside over
this (second Ch'an) week. I must say I am not qualified to do so.
It is quite logical that the (venerable) old Dharma master Ying
Tz'u who is advanced in age and Dharma years
should preside over this meeting. There are also in this monastery
many learned and virtuous Dharma masters. I am only 'duckweed'
floating on water and am, therefore,
a completely useless man. It would be wrong to say that I am accorded
priority and courtesy because of my age.
Even, in the world-dharma, no consideration is given to the question of age. Formerly, when
the scholar's examination was held in the imperial palace, no matter
whether a candidate was young or old, he called the examiner "my
old teacher" for the latter was respected (because of his
rank and) not because of his age. In the Buddha Dharma also, no
consideration is given to age. (I cite) Manjusri Bodhisattva who
very long ago attained Buddhahood and was the teacher of sixteen
princes, one of whom was Amitabha Buddha. Sakyamuni Buddha was
also his disciple, but when Sakyamuni Buddha attained Buddhahood,
Manjusri came to assist him (in teaching his disciples). Thus we
know there is only One equality which is neither high nor low.
Therefore, please make no mistake about all this.
As we are learning (the Dharma), we should respect
(and observe) the rules and regulations (set up for the purpose).
The (Venerable) Abbot has in mind the enlightenment of others,
the expounding of sutras, the holding of Ch'an meetings and the
spreading of the Buddha Dharma. This is indeed a very rare opportunity.
All of you have been braving the cares and confusion
of travel and giving yourselves a great deal of trouble to come
of your own accord to attend this retreat. This shows that you
have in mind the rejection of passions and desire of quiet.
In reality, you and I have only one mind but because
of the difference between delusion and enlightenment, there are
living beings who are busy from morning till evening without a
day of rest. If we give some thought to this (state of things),
we will see that no advantage can come from it. In spite of this,
there are people who are busy all day long foolishly thinking of
an abundance of food and clothing for themselves and anxious to
find pleasure in singing and dancing. They want their children
and grandchildren to have wealth and fame and their descendants
to enjoy glory and prosperity. Even when they are about to breathe
their last to become ghosts, they still think of protection and
prosperity for their children. These people are really foolish
There are also people who know something about
good and evil and about cause and effect. They do meritorious acts
which consist only in holding Buddhist ceremonies, in giving offerings
to monks, in commissioning statues of Buddhas and in repairing
temples and monastic buildings. Their acts contribute to the worldly
cause, and they hope to be rewarded with happiness in the next
rebirth. Because they do not know anything about the passionless
merits which are unsurpassed, they do not perform them. The Lotus
Sutra says: "Sitting in meditation (even) for a short while
is better than erecting as many seven treasure stupas as the sandgrains
in the Ganges." For this method of sitting in meditation will
enable us to wipe out our passions and to have peace of mind and
body, resulting in the complete realization of the self-nature
with liberation from birth and death. By "a short while",
it means a moment as short as an instant (ksana).
If one cleanses and purifies his mind and turns the light inwards
on himself, his sitting in meditation even for an instant will
(at least) enable him to sow the direct
cause of attainment of Buddhahood, if it does not ensure the (immediate)
realization of the truth. His ultimate achievement can be expected
(sooner or later). If his training is effective, Buddhahood can
be attained in an instant. For this reason, Ananda said in the
Surangama Sutra: "The Dharmakaya can be realized without having
to pass through countless aeons (kalpas)."
However, you and I, and all other people in general,
live in the midst of passions, of joy and anger, of gain and loss,
of the five desires and pursuits of
pleasure and enjoyment. All these things are no more seen and heard
as soon as we step into this Ch'an hall where our six senses are
exactly like the black tortoise's six (vulnerable) parts which
shrink into its shell and where nothing can disturb your minds.
This is the practice of the passionless Dharma and (is also) the
passionless Dharma (itself). Therefore, the merits derived from
the erection of as many seven treasure stupas as the sandgrains
in the Ganges cannot be compared with those resulting from a moment
spent sitting in meditation. The simile of the black tortoise comes
from the (story of) the fish-eating seal which swam to catch the
tortoise on the seashore. Seeing that it was attacked, the tortoise
withdrew its head, tail and legs into its shell, so evading the
seal's efforts to bite it.
In this world, when we have no money, we are worried
about our food and clothing, and when we have money, we cannot
free ourselves from passions. We are thus caught and eaten by the
seal. If we know of the danger to which we are exposed, we should
bring our six senses under control and turn the light inwards on
ourselves so that we can be liberated from mortality. Two days
ago, I talked on our Sect's Dharma, dealing with the Right Dharma
Eye, the Tathagata's Mind-dharma and the basis of liberation from
birth and death. Other Dharma doors
including the expounding of sutras, in spite of their aims which
are the arousing of faith and understanding, are only accessories
and do not advance the perfect (experiential) understanding. If
the sutra expounding Dharma is used to ensure liberation from birth
and death, there must still be (two complementary phases) to pass
through: practice and witnessing which are very difficult to achieve.
For this reason, very few cases have been recorded of those who
listened to the expounding of sutras or followed other Dharma doors
and who thereby attained instantaneously complete enlightenment
and acquired transcendental powers. These cases were few as compared
with those in the Ch'an Sect. According to our Sect, not only Ch'an
monks and laymen (upasakas) possessed the inconceivable device,
but Ch'an nuns were also of outstanding abilities.
Ch'an master Kuan Ch'i was a disciple of Lin Chi but did not realize the truth in spite of having stayed several
years at his master's monastery. One day, he (left his master)
to call at other places (for instruction). When he arrived at a
nunnery on Mo Shan mountain, a little nun reported his arrival
to (Ch'an Bhiksuni,) Mo Shan who sent her attendant to ask him
this question; "Venerable Master, do you come here
for sightseeing or for learning the Buddha Dharma?"
Kuan Ch'i replied that he came for learning the Buddha Dharma.
Mo Shan said: "If you come for the Buddha Dharma,
there are here also rules about beating the drum and ascending
to the seat." Thereupon, she ascended to her seat, but Kuan
Ch'i bowed only and did not kneel down. Mo Shan asked him: "What
place did the Venerable Bhiksu leave today?" He replied: "I
left the entrance to the road." She asked him: "Why didn't
you cover it up ?" Kuan Ch'i
could not reply and knelt down (to pay his respects), asking: "What
is Mo Shan?" She replied: "The top of the head is not
exposed." He asked: "Who is the owner of Mo Shan (mountain)?"
She replied: "He is neither male nor female." He shouted:
"Why does he not transform himself?" She asked back:
"He is neither a ghost nor a spirit, into what should he transform
himself?" He could not reply and submitted to her authority.
He became a gardener at the nunnery where he stayed three years
during which he was completely enlightened.
(Later) when Kuan Ch'i went to the Ch'an hall (to
instruct his own disciples), he said to them: "When I was
at my father Lin Chi's place, I got a half-ladle (and) when I was
at my mother Mo Shan's, I got another half-ladle, thus obtaining
a full ladle which has enabled me to satisfy my hunger up to now."
Thus, although Kuan Ch'i was Lin Chi's disciple, he was also Mo
Shan's Dharma successor.
We can See that among the nuns, there existed alsopeople
of real ability. There are many nuns here as well; why do not they
come forward to show their abilities and reveal the Right Dharma
on behalf of their predecessors? The Buddha Dharma extols equality
(of sex) and we are only required to make efforts in our training
without backsliding so as not to miss this (rare) opportunity.
The ancients said:
In one hundred years or six and thirty thousand
There is not a quiet moment to lay down mind and body.
For countless aeons, we have been floating in the
sea of mortality because we have never wanted to lay down our bodies
and minds in order to have quiet for our learning and self-cultivation,
with the result that we have been turned round by the wheel of
transmigration without a chance of liberation. For this reason,
all of us should lay down both body and mind and sit in meditation
for a moment with the hope that the bottom of the cask of (black)
lacquer will drop off  and that we will together experience the law of no-birth.
The Second Day
This is the second day of the second Ch'an week.
The increasing number of those who come to this meeting shows how
really good-hearted are the people of Shanghai and the excellence
of their blessed virtues. It also indicates every man's aversion
to disturbance (caused by passions) and longing for the quiet (found
in meditation), and every man's desire to escape from sorrow and
to seek happiness. Generally speaking, there is more suffering
than happiness in this world and, as time passes very quickly,
the short space of several decades slips away in the twinkling
of an eye. Even if one can live 800 years like Peng Tsu,
this space of time is (still) short in thc eye of the Buddha Dharma.
However, worldly men who can reach the age of seventy are rarely
seen. Since you and I know that this short length of time is like
an illusion and a transformation, and is really not worth our attachment
(to it), we have come to this Ch'an week and this is certainly
due to our having grown good roots in our former transmigrations.
This method of (self-) cultivation
requires an enduring mind. Formerly, all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
reached their goal after spending many aeons in self-cultivation.
The Surangama Sutra's chapter on Avalokitesvara's Complete Enlightenment
"I remember that long before the elapsing
of as uncountable a number of aeons as there are sandgrains in
the Ganges, a Buddha by the name of Avalokitesvara appeared in
the world. At that time I developed the Bodhi mind and for my entry
into Samadhi was instructed by Him to practise (self-) cultivation
through (the faculty of) hearing."
From the above statement, we can see that Avalokitesvara
Bodhisattva did not achieve his goal in one or two days. At the
same time, he clearly told us about the method of his training.
He was head (of the group of) twenty-five "Great Ones"
who attained complete enlightenment. His method consisted of (self-)
cultivation of the ear which enabled him to transmute the faculty
of hearing into perfection which led to (the state of) Samadhi.
Samadhi means the (state of) undisturbedness. Therefore, he continued:
(I)"At the start, by directing the hearing
Into the stream (of meditation), this organ became detached
from its object."
This method consists in turning the hearing inwards
(on the self-nature) to hear the self-nature so that the six senses
will not (wander outside to) be in touch with the six external
objects. This is the collection of the six senses into the Dharma
nature. Therefore, he continued:
(II)"By wiping out (the concept of) both
sound and stream-entry,
Both disturbance and stillness
Became clearly non-existent."
He said again:
(III) "The advancing step by step,
Both hearing and its object came to an end.
But I did not stop where they ended."
He meant that we should not allow our training,
by turning our hearing inwards (on the self-nature) to come to
a halt; he wanted us to move forward little by little and to make
additional efforts to reach (another stage about which he said
(IV) "When the awareness (of this state)
and this state itself (were realized) as non-existent,
The awareness of voidness became all embracing
After the elimination of both subject and object relating to
Then the disappearance of both creation and annihilation
(Resulted in) the state of Nirvana becoming manifest."
This state results from the training which consists
in turning the ear inwards to hear the self-nature and after all
kinds of creation and annihilation are realized as non-existent,
the true mind will manifest itself. This is the (meaning of the
saying:) "When the mad mind is brought to a halt, it is Bodhi
(i.e. perfect wisdom)."
After attaining this stage, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva
"Suddenly I leaped over both the mundane
and supramundane and realized an all-embracing brightness pervading
the ten directions, acquiring two unsurpassed (merits). The
first one was in accord with the fundamental Profound Enlightened
Mind of an Buddhas high up in the ten directions, possessing
the same merciful power as the Tathagata. The second one was
in sympathy with all living beings in the six realms of existence,
here below in the ten directions, sharing with them the same
imploration of pity."
Today, in our study of the Buddhist's doctrine
for our (self-) cultivation, we should first succeed in our training
by liberating all the living beings of our self-nature such as
concupiscence, anger, stupidity and arrogance and by realizing
the fundamentally pure and clean Profound Enlightened Real Mind.
Only then can we perform the Buddha work high above for the
salvation of living beings here below, as did Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva
who could manifest in thirty-two different forms, each being suitable
for the liberation of the corresponding individual, and only then
can we possess the required (transcendental) powers. Avalokitesvara
Bodhisattva (can) appear in the world as a boy or a girl, but worldly
men do not know that he has already attained Buddhahood, has no
sex and is neither an ego nor a personality, making a (particular)
appearance only in response to each individual potentiality. When
worldly man(in China) hear the Bodhisattva's name, thoughts of
devotion and reverence for him arise. This is due to the fact that
in their former lives, they had repeated his name so that the seeds
previously sown in the field of their store-consciousness (alaya-vijnana)
now develop in them. For this reason, the sutra says:
"After entering through the hearing,
The Bodhi-seed is sown for ever."
Today, as we come here for our self-perfuming and self-cultivation, we should rely on the Dharma of the Supreme
Vehicle practiced and experienced by all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
This Dharma consists in clearly recognizing the fundamental Profound
Enlightened Mind; that is to say, the perception of the self-nature
leading to the attainment of Buddhahood. If this mind is not recognized,
Buddhahood can never be attained. In order to recognize the mind,
we should begin with the performance of virtuous deeds. If every
day, from morning until evening, we perform all good actions and
refrain from committing evil deeds, we will accumulate merits and
if in addition we hold a hua t'ou constantly (in our minds), we
will be able to realize, in a moment's thought, the state of no-birth
and will (thereby) attain Buddhahood instantaneously.
Dear friends, please make a profitable use of your
time and do not give rise to wrong thoughts in your minds. Now
is the time to give rise to a hua t'ou for your self-cultivation.
When the Buddha expounded the Surangama Sutra,
he ordered the twenty-five "enlightened ones" who were
present, to talk about the various means by which they had attained
enlightenment, so that the assembly could learn something from
them. After the statements by twenty-four of the "enlightened
ones" of their realization of the real by means of the six
gunas: (1) sound, (2) sight, (3) smell, (4) taste, (4) touch and
(6) idea; the five sense-organs: (7) the eye, (8) nose, (9) tongue,
(10) body, and (11) mind; the six perceptions of (12) sight, (13)
ear, (14) nose, (15) tongue, (16) body, and (17) faculty of mind;
and the seven fundamental elements of (18) fire, (19) earth, (20)
water, (21) wind, (22) space, (23) knowledge and (24) perceptibility,
Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva declared that he had attained enlightenment
by means of (25) the organ of hearing. In order to teach Ananda
and the assembly, the Buddha asked Manjusri for his opinion on
these twenty-five methods. Manjusri praised the method used by
Avalokitesvara saying that he himself had also used it for his
own enlightenment and that it was the most suitable one for human
The following is a commentary on the verses of
the Surangama Sutra:
(I) At the start, by directing the hearing
Into the stream, this organ became detached from its object.
This was the turning of the ear inwards on the
self-nature to hear it so that hearing and its object, i.e. the
sound, became detached. When hearing was brought under control
in this manner, the other five senses had no chance of wandering
outside to get in touch with the corresponding external objects.
Stream here means the inward stream of meditation, or correct concentration.
The mind was brought under control to free it from
external disturbance. Could it really be controlled by using it
to direct the ear inwards to hear the self-nature? The mind was
already disturbed when it was directed inwards. Therefore, efforts
should be made to free it from disturbance so that stillness can
(II) By wiping out (the concept of) both sound
Both disturbance and stillness
Clearly became non-existent.
As the sound and stream were realized to be non-existent,
both disturbance and stillness also became non-existent. The mind
was thus disentangled from the gunas, or sensation-data.
(III) Thus advancing step by step,
Both the hearing and its object came to an end;
But I did not stop where they ended.
By making additional efforts I advanced further
step by step, until both hearing and sound came completely to an
end. However, I did not stop there. Thus the mind was disentangled
from the sense-organs. The voidness of which the meditator was
aware then appeared. This incomplete or partial awareness should
also be wiped out.
(IV) When the awareness (of this state) and
this state itself(were realized as) non-existent
The awareness of voidness became all-embracing,
After the elimination of subject and object relating to voidness.
Then the disappearance of creation and annihilation
(Resulted in) the state of Nirvana becoming manifest.
With further progress, the meditator perceived
that both the incomplete awareness (subject) of voidness and the
voidness itself (object) were non-existent. After the elimination
of both subject and object relating to the false conception of
relative voidness, the complete awareness of the absolute voidness
became all-embracing, ensuring the end of the dual conception of
creation and annihilation of even subtle phenomena, perceptible
only at this last stage of meditation, such as relative voidness
and incomplete awareness, which were only creations of the mind.
As creation existed only as a relative term and was followed by
annihilation, so long as this duality existed, the mind was still
held in bondage. Now as this pair of opposites was non-existent,
the awareness became complete. When this last stage was reached
the resultant state of Nirvana became manifested. This stage ensured
the instantaneous leap over both the mundane and supramundane when
the meditator attained the all-embracing illumination of absolute
Master Han Shan also followed this method and attained
Samadhi during his stay on the Five Peaked Mountain. (See Han
The holding of a hua t'ou also enables a Ch'an
student to realize the disentanglement of his mind from gunas (or
external objects), sense-organs, incomplete awareness (or inner
subject) and relative voidness for the same purpose of attaining
the absolute voidness of complete awareness, or wisdom.
The Third Day
This is the third day of this second Ch'an week.
Those who are already familiar with this training, can always control
their minds no matter where they may happen to be either in the
midst of disturbance or of stillness. To them, there is no difference
between the first and second week or between the second and third
day. But those who are beginners should endeavor to make progress
in their training which they should not undergo in a careless manner,
in order not to waste their (precious) time. I will now tell the
beginners another story and hope they will listen to it attentively.
In every Ch'an hall, there is (a statue of) a Bodhisattva
called the "Holy Monk". He was a cousin of the Tathagata
Sakyamuni and his name was Arya Ajnata-Kaundinya. When the World
Honored One left home, His father sent three paternal and two maternal
clansmen to go with and look after Him in the Himalayas. This cousin
was one of the two maternal clansmen. After the World Honored One
had attained enlightenment, He went to the Mrgadava park where
He expounded the Four Noble Truths and where this cousin was the
first disciple awakened to the truth. This cousin was also one
of His great disciples and the first to leave home. For this reason,
he was called the "Holy Monk". He was also known as the
Sangha Head. His method of self-cultivation
is clearly described in the Surangama Sutra which says:
After I had attained enlightenment, I went to the
Mrgadava park where I declared to Ajnata-Kaundinya and the other
five bhiksus as well as to you, the four varga,
that all living beings failed to realize Enlightenment (Bodhi)
and attain Arhatship because they were misled by foreign dust which (entering the mind) caused distress and delusion. What,
at the time, caused your awakening (to the truth) for your present
attainment of the holy fruit?
This was the Buddha's talk about the cause of our
failure to realize Bodhi and to attain Arhatship. He also
asked his great disciples in the assembly about the methods
they used for their awakening (to the truth). At the time, only
Ajnata-Kaundinya knew this method. So he arose from his seat and
replied to the World Honored One as follows:
I am now a senior in the assembly in which I am
the only one who has acquired the art of explaining because of
my awakening to (the meaning of) the two words "foreign dust"
which led to my attainment of the (holy) fruit.
After saying this, he gave the following explanation
(of these two words) to the World Honored One:
World Honored One, (foreign dust) is like a guest
who stops at an inn where he passes the night or takes his meal,
and as soon as he has done so, he packs and continues his journey
because he has no time to stay longer. As to the host of the inn,
he has nowhere to go. My deduction is that one who does not stay
is a guest and one who does stay is a host. Consequently, a thing
is "foreign" when it does not stay.
Again, in a clear sky, when the sun rises and its
light enters (the house) through an opening, the dust is seen moving
in the ray of light whereas the empty space is unmoving. Therefore,
that which is still is the void and that which moves is the dust.
How clearly he explained the two words "host"
and "guest"! You should know that this illustration shows
us how to begin our training. In other words, the real mind is
the host who does not move and the moving guest is our false thinking
which is likened to dust. Dust is very fine and dances in the air.
It is visible only when the sunlight enters through the door or
an opening. This means that false thoughts within our minds are
imperceptible in the usual process of thinking. They become perceptible
only when we sit in meditation during our training. In the midst
of the unending rise and fall of mixed thoughts and in the tumult
of false thinking, if your training is not efficient, you will
not be able to act as a host; hence your failure to attain enlightenment
and your drifting about in the ocean of birth and death, wherein
you are a Smith in your present transmigration and will be Jones
in the next one. Thus you will be exactly like a guest who stops
at an inn and will not be able to remain there for ever. However,
the true mind does not act in that way; it neither comes nor goes,
is not born and does not die. It does not move but remains motionless,
hence the host. This host is likened to the immutable voidness
in which the dust dances. It is also like the host of an inn who
always stays there for he has nowhere else to go.
Dust is like one of the passions and can be wiped
out completely only when one reaches the Bodhisattva-stage. By
falsehood, is meant illusion. There are eighty-eight kinds of illusory
view and eighty-one of illusory thought. These (misleading) views
come from the five stupid temptations, and in self-cultivation, one should wipe out all of them in
order to attain the first stage of the Arhat (Srota-apanna).
This is the most difficult thing to do, for the cutting of illusory
views is likened to the cutting (or stopping) of the flow of a
forty-mile stream. Thus we can see that we should have a great
measure of strength in our training. We can attain Arhatship only
when we have succeeded in cutting out all misleading thoughts.
This kind of self-cultivation is a gradual process.
(In our Ch'an training), we have only to make use
of a hua t'ou which should be kept bright and lively and should
never be allowed to become blurred and which should always be clearly
cognizable. All misleading views and thoughts will thus be cut
off (by the hua t'ou) at a single blow leaving behind only something
like the cloudless blue sky in which the bright sun will rise.
This is the brightness of the self-nature when it manifests itself.
This saint (arya)
was awakened to this truth and recognized the original host. The
first step in our training today is to be cognizant of the fact
that the foreign dust (or guest) is moving whereas the host is
motionless. If this is not clearly understood, we will not know
where to begin our training, and will only waste our time as heretofore.
I hope all of you will pay great attention to the
The Fourth Day
It is very difficult to meet with the unsurpassed
Profound Dharma in a hundred, a thousand or ten thousand aeons,
and the present opportunity of our gathering for a Ch'an week in
this Monastery of the Jade Buddha is really afforded by an unsurpassed
co-operating cause. The fact that lay men and women have come from
all directions in an increasing number to attend this meeting for
the sowing of the direct cause of the attainment of Buddhahood,
proves that this opportunity is rarely available.
The Buddha Sakyamuni said in the Lotus Sutra:
If men, with minds disturbed,
Enter a stupa or a temple
(And) call: Namo Buddhaya!
Buddhahood they will attain.
In a short period of several decades, worldly men
are not aware of the passing of time. Those who have money, pursue
wine, sex and prosperity. Those who have no money, have to work
hard for their food, clothing, shelter and travel. Thus (all of
them) rarely have a moment's leisure and comfort and their sufferings
are beyond description. However, if they happen to enter a Buddhist
temple, they will find happiness in the majesty of its quiet. They
will behold the statues of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and may repeat
at random the Buddha's name; or they may be impressed with the
sudden quiet of their (temporarily) purified minds, and praise
the Tathagata's bliss which is so rarely found (elsewhere). All
this comes from their having acquired very deep good roots in their
former transmigrations and provides the cause of their future attainment
of Buddhahood. For, in general, what their eyes want to see is
only merry-making; what their ears want to hear is only songs and
music, and what their mouths want to taste is only succulent dishes
and rare delicacies. All this soils their thinking and this defiled
thinking produces a disturbed mind, the deluded mind of birth and
death. Now, if, while in a stupa or temple, one has a chance of
calling the Buddha's name, this is the awakened mind, the pure
mind and the Bodhi seed leading to attainment of Buddhahood. The
Sanskrit word "Buddha" means the Enlightened One, that
is one who is (completely) enlightened and is no more deluded.
When the self-nature is pure and clean, one possesses the awakened
Today, we do not come here for fame and wealth
and this is our awakening power which manifests itself. However,
many are those who hear of the Ch'an week but do not know anything
about its real meaning. They come to see this bustling meeting
to satisfy their curiosity and this is (certainly) not the highest
mind. Now that you have come to this place, you are like those
who arrive at the mountain of precious gems and you should not
return empty handed. You should develop the highest Truth-Mind,
and sit in meditation during the time of the burning of an incense
stick, in order to sow the direct cause of attainment of Buddhahood
and to become Buddhas later on.
Formerly, Sakyamuni Buddha had a disciple whose
name was Subhadra. He was very poor
and was all alone, without anybody to support him. His heart was
full of sadness and he wanted to follow the Buddha as his disciple.
One day, he went to the World Honored One's place but it happened
that He was not there.
After looking into Subhadra's former transmigrations
for the purpose of finding out whether there existed some co-operating
cause, the Buddha's great disciples found that in the past 80,000
aeons, he had not planted any good
roots. They then decided not to allow him to stay and sent him
away. With a heart full of sadness, Subhadra left the place and
when he reached a walled town, he thought that if his karma was
so bad, it would be better for him to kill himself by knocking
his head against the wall. As he was about to commit suicide, the
World Honored One happened to arrive there and asked him about
his intention. Subhadra related his story to the World Honored
One who accepted him as His disciple. They returned together to
His place where seven days later, Subhadra attained Arhatship.
The great disciples who did not know the cause of Subhadra's attainment,
asked the World Honored One about it.
The World Honored One said to them: "You only
know things which happened in the last 80,000 aeon, but before
then Subhadra had already planted good roots. At that time, he
was also very poor and gathered firewood as his means of subsistence.
One day, he met a tiger on the mountains, and seeing that his escape
was cut off; he hurriedly climbed a tree. The tiger saw that he
was up the tree which it began to gnaw to fall it. At the critical
moment, as no one came to his rescue, he had a sudden thought of
the great enlightened Buddha who possessed the power of compassion
and could save all sufferers. Thereupon, he called:
"Namo Buddhaya! Come quickly to save me!"
Upon hearing the call, the tiger went away and did not harm his
life. He thus sowed the direct cause of Buddhahood which became
ripe today, hence his attainment of the Arhat--stage." After
hearing the story, all the great disciples were delighted and praised
the marvellous (achievement of the poor man).
Today you and I meet here under auspicious circumstances,
and if we can sit in meditation during the time of the burning
of a (whole) incense stick, our (resultant) good karma will exceed
many times the (one narrated in the above story). We should never
take this meditation as child's play. If we come here to see a
bustling meeting, we will simply miss a very good opportunity.
The Fifth Day
Those of you who have a deep believing mind, are
naturally making efforts in their training in this hall. The (venerable)
group leaders who are experienced in this self-cultivation, are
already familiar with it. However, experienced men must know the
interplay of activity (phenomenon) and principle (noumenon). They should probe it exhaustively and make sure that (they experience)
the unhindered interdependence of the noumenal and phenomenal and
of the immutable and mutable. They should not sit like dead men;
they should never be immersed in the void and cling to stillness,
with delight in it. If there be delight in the still surrounding
and absence of (realization of) the interchange (of practice and
theory), this is likened to fish in stagnant water,with no hope
of jumping over the Dragon Door. They are also like fish in frozen water (and) this is a fruitless
type of training.
In this training, beginners should be earnest (in
their desire to escape) birth and death, and should develop a great
mortification-mind by laying down all kinds of (productive) causes.
Only then, can their training be effective. If they are unable
to lay down these causes, the (round of) birth and death will never
come to an end. For, since we have been deluded by the seven emotions
and six sexual attractions from the
time without beginning, we now find ourselves, from morning to
evening, in the midst of sounds and forms, without knowing the
permanent true-mind, hence our fall into the bitter ocean (of birth
and death). As we are now awakened to the fact that there is only
suffering in all worldly (situations), we can (certainly) lay down
all (our thoughts of) them and (thereby) attain Buddhahood at once.
The Sixth Day
In this Ch'an hall, I have noticed that many male
and female participants are only beginners who do not know the
(standing) rules and regulations and whose unruly behavior interferes
with the calm meditation of others. However, we are fortunate in
that the Venerable Abbot is most compassionate and is doing all
he can to help us achieve our religious karma.
(Moreover) the group leaders who have developed the unsurpassed
mind bent on the right Way, are here to lead us so that we can
undergo an appropriate training. This is (indeed) an opportunity
rarely available in myriad of aeons.
(Therefore), we should strive resolutely to make
further progress in our inner and outer training. In our inner
training, we should either concentrate pointedly on the hua t'ou:
"Who is the repeater of Buddha's name?" or repeat the
name of Amitabha Buddha, without giving
rise to desire, anger and stupidity and all kinds of thought so
that the Dharma nature of the Bhutatathata
can manifest itself.
In our outer training, we should not kill the living
but should release all living creatures; we should transmute the
ten evils into the ten good virtues;
we should not eat meat and drink alcoholic liquors in order not
to produce the sinful karma of unintermittent
suffering; and we should know that the Buddha-seed arises from
conditional causation, that the commitment of many evil karmas
is followed by the certain fall into the hells, and that the performance
of many good karmas is rewarded with blessing ensuring our enjoyment
of them. And so the ancients taught us this: "Refrain from
committing all evil actions (and) perform all good actions."
You have already read the causal circumstances of the killing of
members of the Sakya clan by the Crystal King (Virudhaka) and know
of this (law of causality).
At present, all over the world, people are suffering
from (all sorts of) calamity and are in the depth of the aeon (kalpa)
of slaughter. This is the retribution (for evil actions). We (should)
always exhort worldly men to refrain from taking life and to release
living creatures, to take vegetarian food, to (think of the Buddha
and) repeat his name, so that everybody can escape from the turning
wheel of cause and effect.
All of you should believe and observe (this teaching)
and sow now the good cause for reaping later the Buddha-fruit.
The Seventh Day
This ephemeral life is like a dream,
(And) this illusory substance is not stable.
If we rely not on the compassion of our Buddha
How can we ascend the transcendental Way?
In this life which is like a dream and an illusion,
we pass our time in an upside-down manner. We do not realize the
greatness of the Buddha and do not think of escaping from (the
realm of) birth and death. We let our good and evil (actions) decide
our rise and fall and we accept the retribution according to their
karmic effects. This is why in this world, few accomplish good
deeds but many commit evil actions, and few are rich and noble
but many are poor and mean. In the six worlds of existence, there
are all kinds of suffering. There are living beings who are born
in the morning and die in the evening. There are those who live
only a few years and others who live many years. They are not all
masters of themselves. For this reason, we should rely on the Buddha's
compassion if we want to find a way (out of this mess), because
the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas possess the power of their vows of
kindness, pity, joy and renunciation and can deliver us from the
bitter ocean (of mortality) for our (safe) arrival at the bright
"other shore". They are kind and compassionate and when
they see living beings enduring suffering, they take pity on them
and liberate them so that they can escape suffering and enjoy happiness.
Their joy and renunciation consist in their rejoicing and praise
for living beings who accomplish meritorious deeds or give rise
to thoughts of kindness in the mind, and in granting all requests
according to the latter's requirements.
When the World Honored One practiced His self-cultivation
from the causal ground, His deeds
(in the successive Bodhisattva stages of His former lives) consisted
in His renunciation of His own head, brain, bone and marrow. For
this reason, He said:
In the Universe, there is not a spot of land as
small as a mustard-seed where I have not sacrificed my lives or
have not buried my bones.
Today, all of you should endeavor to hold the hua
t'ou firm (in your mind); be careful not to waste your time.
The Closing Day
Dear friends, I congratulate you all on the conclusion
of this Ch'an week. You have completed your merit-(orious training)
and in just a moment, the gathering will come to an end and I will
have to congratulate you.
According to the ancients, the opening and closing
of a Ch'an week do not mean much, for it is (more) important to
hold a hua t'ou continuously (in mind) until one's complete enlightenment.
At present, no matter whether you have been awakened or not, we
must follow the procedure set forth in the (standing) rules and
regulations. During these (two) Ch'an weeks, you did not make any
difference between day and night, because your (only) aim was your
own awakening. The (ultimate) purpose of the meeting was, therefore,
to produce men of ability for (spreading) the Buddhist doctrine.
If you have wasted your time without achieving any result, you
will indeed have missed a (great) opportunity.
Now, the (Venerable) Abbot and group leaders will
follow the ancient rules and regulations and will examine the result
of your training. I hope you will not talk wildly (when questioned);
you should, in the presence of others, give in a sentence (a summary
of) your achievement. If your replies are in order, the (Venerable)
Abbot will confirm your realization. The ancients said:
"(Self-) cultivation takes an unimaginable
(While) enlightenment in an instant is attained.
If the training is efficient, enlightenment will
be attained in one finger-snap.
In days gone by, Ch'an master Hui Chueh of Lang
Yeh mountain, had a woman disciple who called on him for instruction.
The master taught her to examine into the sentence: "Take
no notice." She followed his
instruction strictly without backsliding. One day, her house caught
fire, but she said: "Take no notice." Another day, her
son fell into the water and when a bystander called her, she said:
"Take no notice." She observed exactly her master's instruction
by laying down all causal thoughts.
One day, as her husband lit the fire to make fritters
of twisted dough, she threw into the pan full of boiling (vegetable)
oil a batter which made a noise. Upon hearing the noise, she was
instantaneously enlightened. Then
she threw the pan of oil on the ground, clapped her hands and laughed.
Thinking she was insane, her husband scolded her and said: "Why
do you do this? Are you mad?" She replied: "Take no notice."
Then she went to master Hui Chueh and asked him to verify her achievement.
The master confirmed that she had obtained the holy fruit.
Dear friends, those of you who have been awakened
(to the truth), please come forward and say something about your
(After a long while, as no one came forward, Master
Hsu Yun left the hall. The (Venerable) Dharma master Ying Tz'u
continued to hold the examination, and when it was over, Master
Hsu Yun returned to the hall to instruct the assembly.)
(Master Hsu Yun said:)
In this tumultous world and (especially in this)
bustling and disorderly city, how can one have spare time for,
and thought of, coming here to sit in meditation and to hold a
hua t'ou? (However), the deep good roots possessed by the people
of Shanghai, in combination with the flourishing Buddha Dharma
and the unsurpassed co-operating cause have made this great opportunity
available for our gathering.
From olden time till now, we have had the Teaching,
the Discipline (Vinaya), the Pure Land and the Esoteric (Yoga)
Schools. A rigorous comparison between these schools and the Ch'an
Sect proves the superiority of the latter. Earlier, I also spoke
of this unsurpassed Sect, but owing to the present decline of Buddha
Dharma, men of ability are not available. Formerly, in my long
journeys on foot I went to and stayed at various monasteries but
what I see now cannot be compared with what I saw then. I am really
ashamed of my ignorance, but the (Venerable) Abbot who is very
compassionate, and the group leaders who are very courteous, have
pushed me forward (to preside over this meeting). This task should
have been entrusted to the (venerable) old Dharma master Ying Tz'u
who is an (acknowledged) authority on both Ch'an and the scriptures
and is an (experienced) senior. I am now a useless man and cannot
do anything, and I hope you will all follow him and push forward
Ancestor Kuei Shan
said: "It is regrettable that we were born at the end of the
semblance period, so long after the
passing of the holy period, when the Buddha Dharma is disregarded
and when people pay little attention to it. I am (however) expressing
my humble opinion to make the coming generation understand it."
The Dharma name of (Master) Kuei Shan
was Ling Yu; he was a native of Fu Chien
province. He followed Ancestor Pai Chang and realized his (self-)
mind (at the latter's monastery.) The ascetic Szu Ma saw that Kuei Shan mountain in Hunan province was auspicious
and would become the meeting place for an assembly of 1,500 learned
monks. At the time Kuei Shari was a verger of Pai Chang monastery
where, during a visit Dhuta Szu Ma met him, recognized him as the
right owner of the mountain and invited him to go there to establish
a monastery. Kuei Shan was a man of the T'ang dynasty (618-906)
and the Buddha Dharma was already at the end of its semblance period.
For this reason, he was sorry he was not born earlier, because
at the time the Buddha Dharma was difficult to understand and worldly
men, whose believing minds were retrograding, refused to make efforts
in their study of the doctrine, with the result that there was
no hope for their attainment of the Buddha fruit. Over a thousand
years have elapsed since the time of Kuei Shan and not only has
the semblance period passed, but over 900 years of the present
period of termination have also elapsed. (Therefore), worldly men
of good roots are now very much fewer. This is why men believing
in the Buddha Dharma are many and men who actually realize the
truth are very few.
I now compare my own case with that of those who
are now studying the Buddha Dharma and who have the advantage of
all kinds of convenience. In the reigns of Hsien Feng (1851-61)
and Tung Chih (1862-74), all monasteries were destroyed in the
region south of the three rivers, where only the T'ien T'ung monastery
remained intact. During the Tai Ping rebellion (1850-64)monks of
the Chung Nan mountains came (to the South) to rebuild (these monasteries)
and at the time, they were equipped each with only a gourd and
a basket, and did not possess as many things as you have now. Later,
the Buddha Dharma gradually flourished again, and monks began to
carry their loads (with a pole over the shoulder). At present,
they even carry leather suitcases but they do not pay much attention
to the correct practice of the doctrine. Formerly, Ch'an monks
wishing to call at various monasteries for instruction, had to
journey on foot. Now, they can travel by train, motor car, steamer
and airplane which relieve them of all (previous) hardships but
intensify their enjoyment in indulgence and ease. At present, in
spite of the increasing number of Buddhist institutions and Dharma
masters, no one pays attention to the fundamental question, and
from morning to evening everybody seeks only knowledge and interpretation
with the least heed for (self-) cultivation and realization. At
the same time, they do not know that (self-) cultivation and realization
are the essentials of the doctrine.
(Ch'an master) Yung Chia said in his Song of Enlightenment:
Get at the root. Do not worry about twigs.
(Be) like pure crystal round the precious moon.
Alas! in this time of decay and in this evil world
Living beings of ill fortune are hard to discipline.
The holy period's long passed and perverted views are deep.
With Demon strong and Dharma weak, hatred and harm prevail.
When they hear the Tathagata's Instantaneous Dharma door,
They hate not having smashed it into pieces.
While their minds so act their bodies will then suffer;
They cannot accuse or blame their fellow-men.
If you would avoid unintermittant karma,
Do not vilify the wheel of the Buddha's Law.
In my youth I amassed much learning,
Sought sutras, sastras, and their commentaries
Endlessly discriminating between name and form.
As one vainly counting sandgrains in the ocean
I was severely reprimanded by the Buddha,
Who asked what gain derived from counting others' gems.
Yung Chia called on the Sixth Patriarch for instruction
and was completely enlightened. The Patriarch called him the "Overnight
Enlightened One". For this reason, the ancients said: "The
search for truth in sutras and sastras is like entering the sea
to count its sand-grains."
The Ch'an Sect's device is likened to the precious
Vajra king sword which cuts all things
touching it and destroys all that runs up against its (sharp) point.
It is the highest Dharma door (through which) to attain Buddhahood
at a stroke. (To give you an example,
I will tell you the story of) Ch'an master Shen Tsan who traveled
on foot when he was young and who became enlightened after his
stay with ancestor Pai Chang. After his enlightenment, he returned
to his former master and the latter asked him: "After you
left me, what (new) acquisition did you make at other places?"
Shen Tsan replied: "I made no acquisition." He was then
ordered to serve his (former) master.
One day, as his (former) master took a bath and
ordered him to scrub his dirty back, Shen Tsan patted him on the
back and said: "A good Buddha hall but the Buddha is not saintly."
His master did not understand what he meant, turned his head and
looked at the disciple who said again: "Although the Buddha
is not saintly, he sends out illuminating rays."
Another day, as his master was reading a sutra
under the window, a bee knocked against the window paper
trying to get out (of the room). Shen Tsan saw the struggling bee
and said: "The universe is so vast and you do not want to
get out. If you want to pierce old paper, you will get away in
the (non-existent) year of the donkey !" After saying this, he sang the following poem:
"It refuses to get out through the empty
And knocks against the window stupidly.
To pierce old paper will take a hundred years,
Oh when will it succeed in getting out?"
Thinking that Shen Tsan was insulting him, the
(old) master put his sutra aside and asked him: "You went
away for so long: whom did you meet, what did you learn and what
makes you so talkative now?" Shen Tsan replied: "After
I left you, I joined the Pai Chang community where master Pai Chang
gave me an indication as to how to halt (thinking and discriminating).
As you are now old, I have returned to pay the debt of gratitude
I owe you." Thereupon, the master informed the assembly (of
the incident), ordered a vegetarian banquet (in honor of
Shen Tsan) and invited him to expound the Dharma. The latter ascended
to the seat and expounded the Pai Chang doctrine, saying:
Spiritual light shines on in solitude
Disentangling the sense organs from sense data.
Experience of true eternity
Depends not just on books.
Mind-nature being taintless
Fundamentally is perfect.
Freedom from falsehood-producing causes
Is the same as absolute Buddhahood.
After hearing this, his master became awakened
to the truth and said: "I never expected that in my old age
I would hear about the supreme pattern." Then he handed over
the management of the monastery to Shen Tsan and respectfully invited
him to become his own master.
You see how free and easy this all is! We sat in
this Ch'an meeting for over ten days and yet why did we not experience
the truth? This is became we were not seriously determined in our
training, or we took it for child's play, or we thought it required
sitting quiet in meditation in a Ch'an hall. None of this is correct
and men who really apply their minds to this training, do not discriminate
between the mutable and immutable, or against any kind of (daily)
activity. They can do it while in the street, at the noisy market
place, or anywhere (they may happen to be).
Formerly, there was a butcher monk who called on
learned masters for instruction. One day, he arrived at a market
place and passed a butcher's shop where every buyer insisted on
having "pure meat". Suddenly,
the butcher got angry and, putting down his chopper, asked them:
"Which piece of meat is not pure?" Upon hearing this,
the butcher monk was instantaneously enightened.
This shows that the ancients did not require to
sit in meditation in a Ch'an hall, when they underwent their training.
Today,not one of you speaks about awakening. Is this not a waste
of time? I now (respectfully) request the (Venerable) Master Ying
Tzu and the other masters to hold the examination.
Master Hsu Yun's saying at the closing of the
(two) Ch'an weeks.
After tea and cakes had been served, all the assembly
stood up when the Venerable Master Hsu Yun, in formal robe (with
large sleeves) entered the hall again and sat in front of the (jade)
Buddha. With a strip of bamboo, he drew a circle in the air, saying:
Convocation and meditation!
Opening and closing!
When will all this come to an end?
When (productive) causes halt abruptly.
External objects will vanish.
When mind is still, essence and function (of themselves)
return to normal. Fundamentally there
is no day nor night but only complete brightness.
Where's the dividing line 'twixt South and North,
'twixt East and West?
Without hindrance things are seen to be the product of conditioning
While birds sing and flowers smile, the moon reaches the stream!
Now, what shall I say to close the meeting?
"When the board is struck, the bowl springs
Let us scrutinize the Prajnaparamita!"
Now let us close the meeting.
 The Dharma age of a monk is
the number of summer or discipline years since his ordination.
 i.e. a man of no fixed abode.
Master Hsu Yun had come from the Yun Men monastery in South China
and did not yet know where he was going to settle. The Yun Men
monastery was that of Ch'an master Yun Men, founder of the Yun
Men Sect, one of the five Ch'an Sects in China. The monastery was
rebuilt by master Hsu Yun.
 Master Hsu Yun was then 114
 World-dharma or worldly affairs.
 Worldly cause, or asrava in
Sanskrit, meaning 'leaking' cause; inside the passion-stream as
contrasted with anasrava, outside the passion-stream; no drip or
 Ksana = the shortest measure
of time, as kalpa or aeon, is the longest. 60 ksanas equal a finger-snap,
90 a thought and 4,500 a minute.
 Direct cause, a truth, as compared
with a contributory cause.
 Asankhya in Sanskrit, or innumerable
 The five desires arising from
the objects of the five senses, things seen, heard, smelt, tasted
 This parable is frequently
used in Buddhist Scriptures to advise us to shut the six gates
of our senses so as to be detached from external surroundings.
 Dharma doors to enlightenment
or methods of realizing the self-nature.
 Lit. leaves and branches in
literary forms, i.e. accessories not fundamental in the experiential
realization of the real. On the other hand, the Ch'an Sect aims
at the direct pointing at the Buddha nature which every living
being poseesses and the instantaneous realization of the mind leading
to the attainment of Buddhahood.
 Founder of the Lin Chi Sect.
 Mo Shan's question means:
If you think you are really enlightened and can dispense with kneeling,
you should have realized your Dharmakaya which pervades everywhere
and covers also the entrance to the road, for it is free from coming
or going, and does not leave one place to come to another.
 The question: "What is
Mo Shan?" means: "What is the state of the enlightened
mind in the Mo Shan nunnery?" The questioner wanted a description
of the Bodhi mind. The nun's reply refers to the small lump on
the top of the Buddha's head which could not be seen by his disciples.
Mo Shun meant that since the visitor was unenlightened, he could
not perceive her Dharmakaya which was indescribable.
 When Kuan Ch'i asked about
the owner of Mo Shan, i.e. about herself, she replied that the
owner was neither male nor female for sex had nothing to do with
enlightenment, and the Dharmakaya was neither male nor female.
Generally, women had many more handicaps than men, and Kuan Ch'i
seemed to look down upon her because of her sex and asked her why
she did not change herself into a man if she was enlightened. His
question showed that he was still under delusion.
 The maximum life span of each
 In Ch'an parlance, our ignorance
is symbolized by the thick black lacquer contained in a wooden
cask, because nothing can be seen through it. Ch'an training will
cause the bottom of the cask to drop off, thus emptying it of the
black lacquer, i.e. our body and mind of delusion. This is the
moment when we can perceive the real.
 Law of no-birth: lit. endurance
leading to the personal experiencing of the law of no-birth, or
immortality, i.e. the absolute which is beyond birth and death,
boundless patience or endurance being required for subduing the
 The Methuselah of China.
 Dharmata in Sanskrit, i.e.
the nature underlying all things, the Bhutatathata.
 The profound enlightenment
of Mahayana, or self-enlightenment to enlighten others. The 51st
and 52nd stages in the enlightenment of a Bodhisattva, or the two
supreme forms of Buddha-enlightenment are respectively: (1) Samyak-sambodhi,
or absolute universal enlightenment, omniscience, and (2) the profound
enlightenment of Mahayana, or self-enlightenment to enlighten others.
The first is the "cause" and the second is the "fruit",
and a Bodhisattva becomes a Buddha when the "cause is complete
and the fruit is full".
 i.e. to be under the beneficial
influence of the fragrance of Buddha Dharma.
 Head of the Sangha order.
 The four varga, groups or
order, i.e., Bhiksu, bhiksuni, upasaka and upasika; monks, nuns,
male and female devotees.
 Foreign dust: guna, in Sanskrit,
small particles; molecules, atoms, exhalations; element or matter,
which is considered as defilement; an active conditioned principle
in nature, minute, subtle and defiling to pure mind; impurities.
 Fruit of saintly life, i.e.
 The five stupid temptations,
or panca-klesa, in Sanskrit, i.e. the five dull, unintelligent,
or stupid vices or agents: desire, anger or resentment, stupidity
or foolishness, arrogance and doubt.
 One who has entered the stream
of holy living or who goes against the stream of transmigration;
the first stage of the Arhat.
 Meaning Ajnata-Kaundinya.
 The last convert of the Buddha,
"a Brahman 120 years old".
 The digit 8 in 80,000 symbolizes
the eighth or store (alaya) consciousness (vijnana), the deluded
aspect of the self-nature. So long as the Self-nature is under
delusion, it is controlled by the discriminating mind and will
never perceive the real which is beyond all numbers. The great
disciples did not perceive the unconditioned cause of the attainment
of Buddhahood, and saw only worldly events occurring in the former
transmigrations of Subhadra. The Buddha who possessed the Sarvajna
or All-wisdom, saw clearly his new disciple's cause of Arhatship,
which cause being beyond all numbers is inherent in the self-nature.
 i.e. practice and theory;
phenomena ever change; the underlying principle, being absolute,
neither changes nor acts; it is the Bhutatathata. When we see a
flag streaming in the wind, we know that, in theory, only the mind
moves and not the wind or the flag. In practice, we cannot deny
that the wind blows and the flag moves. We know also that in theory
mind, wind and flag are but one undivided whole. Now, how can we
have an experiential realization of this sameness? If we fail to
experience it, we will also fail in our self-cultivation. This
is the most important phase of the meditation, which can be achieved
only if we put an end to our feelings and discrimination.
 In ancient China, it was believed
that some fish, especially carp, could jump out of the sea to become
dragons. A metaphor meaning that these meditaton will never obtain
 i.e. all causes including
feelings and passions which are productive of effects and contribute
to the turning wheel of births and deaths.
 The seven emotions are: pleasure,
anger, sorrow, joy, love, hatred and desire. The six attractions
arise from colour, form, carriage, voice or speech, softness or
smoothness and features.
 Lit. on the spot.
 which leads to Buddhahood.
 i.e. the repetition of Amitibha's
name as taught by the Pure Land School; this repetition also enables
the repeater to disentangle his mind from all feelings and discrimination
and to attain Samidhi. Cases are on record of adepts of the Pure
Land School, knowing, in advance, of the time of their death. This
is possible only after their attainment of samadhi which manifested
itself simultaneously with prajna, or wisdom, called the wisdom
of mutual response.
 Dharma nature, or Dharmata
in Sanskrit, is nature underlying all things.
 Bhutatathata is the real,
"as thus always", or "certainly so"; i.e. reality
as contrasted with unreality or appearance, and unchanging or immutable
as contrasted with form or phenomena.
 The ten evils are: killing,
stealing, adultery, lying, double-tongue, coarse language, filthy
talk, covetousness, anger and perverted views.
 The ten good virtues are defined
as the non-committal of the ten evils.
 That which sin does, its karma,
producing subsequent suffering without interruption.
 click here for the story of Crystal
 Or cause-ground, the stage
of self-cultivation which leads to the fruit-ground, or stage of
attainment of Buddhahood.
 Lit. three great asarikhya:
kalpas beyond number, the theee timeless periods of a Bodhisattva's
progress to Buddhahood.
 Lit. "Let it go."
 Thoughts productive of causes
leading to effects.
 Her training was already very
effective in disentangling her mind from the sense-organs, sense-data
and perceptions, i.e. her mind was undisturbed at the time, and
the noise had a tremendous effect on it. She did not hear it by
means of her faculty of hearing which had ceased functioning, but
through the very function of her self-nature which exposed her
real "face", hence her enlightenment.
 Usually after an awakening,
or satori in Japanese, one is seized with a desire to cry, jump,
dance or do something abnormal, like throwing down the pan of oil.
If one fails to subdue this desire, one will catch the Ch'an illness
described in Han Shan's autobiography.
 Wei Shan in modern romanization.
[Editor of the web edition.]
 The three periods of Buddhism
are: (1) the period of the holy, correct or real doctrine of the
Buddha, lasting 500 years, followed by (2) the image, or semblance
period of 1,000 year. and then by (3) the period of decay and termination,
lasting 3,000, some say 10,000 years, after which Maitreya Buddha
is to appear and restore all things.
 In deference to him, Master
Ling Yu was called Kuei Shan, after the name of the mountain.
 The map version is Fukien(Fujian)
 Dhuta=a monk engaged in austerities:
 Enlightenment is the root
and other details, such as supramundane powers and wonderful works
are twigs. This is why enlightened masters never talked about miracles.
All this is likened to the crystal which, if clung to, will hinder
the attainment of enlightenment, symbolized by the moon.
 Karma which sends the sinner
to the Avici hell, the last of the eight hot hells in which punishment,
pain, form, birth, death, continue without intermission.
 Dharma cakra in Sanskrit,
Buddha truth which is able to crush all evil and all opposition,
like Indra's wheel, and which rolls on from man to man, place to
place, age to age.
 Name and form: everything
has a name, e.g. sound, or has appearance, i.e. the visible; both
are unreal and give rise to delusion.
 The royal diamond gem, or
indestructible sword which destroys ignorance and delusion.
 Lit. on the spot.
 In the East, thin sheets of
white paper were, and are still, used instead of window glass.
 Old paper is old sutras. The
sentence means: If you want to search for the truth in old sutras,
you will never realize it, for it can only be experienced in the
training. The meaning is: If you want to "pierce" old
sutras in your quest of your self-nature, you will never succeed
in experiencing it.
 i.e. independent, not attached
to and relying on anything.
 This disentanglement is followed
by the state of Samadhi, with simultaneous functioning of Prajna,
 If one clings to names and
terms, one will be held in bondage by them.
 Prime meat is called "pure
meat" in China.
 The butcher monk was so called
because he attained enlightenement upon hearing the butcher's voice.
He was undergoing intense training when he passed the butcher's
shop and his mind was already still and free from all thiniking
and discerning. The butcher's loud voice made a great impact on
the monk's mind and was heard, not by the ear's faculty of hearing,
but by the very function of the self-nature. When the function
of the self-nature manifested itself, the substance or essence
of the self-nature, became apparent, hence his enlightenment.
 The cirde symbolizes the completeness
of the Dharmakaya.
 These three lines show the
illusory mundane activities which have nothing to do with the experiencng
of the truth.
 When all causes productive
of effects come to an end, the phenomenal also disappears, and
this is the moment when one's "great wisdom reaches the other
shore", or Mahaprajnaparamita.
 When the mind is stripped
of feelings and passions, it will he still; this is the moment
the essence and function of the self-natured Buddha are restored
 Fundamentally, there is only
the immutable bright wisdom which is unchanging.
 When the self-nature is under
delusion, it is split into ego and dharma, or subject and object,
hence all kinds of discrimination between East and West and North
and South. Now that enlightenment is attained, where is all this
 The phenomenal is created
only by Conditioning causes but is devoid of real nature.
 Our delusion is caused by
our attachment to things heard, seen, felt and known, but if the
mind is disentangled from the hearing, seeing, feeling and knowing
or discerning, we will attain the Complete Enlightenment of Avalokitesvara
Bodhisattva (see discourse
on the second day of the second Ch'an week). The two faculties of hearing and seeing are mentioned here because
they are constantly active, whereas the other four faculties are
sometimes dormant. If one succeeds in disentangling the hearing
from the birds' song and the seeing from the smiling flowers, the
moon, symbol of enlightenment, will shine on the stream, for water
is a symbol of the self-nature. This sentence means that one can
attain enlightenment while in the midst of sound and sight which
symbolize the illusory world.
 In a monastery, the board
is Struck for calling to meals. If the mind is efficiently stripped
of all feelings and passions, all the eight vijnanas or consciousnesses
will be frozen and inactive. This moment is referred to, in Ch'an
parlance, as "a temporary death foflowed by a resurrection",
i.e. death of delusion and resurrection of self-nature. When the
self-nature recovers its freedom, it will function and hear the
sound of the board. As the phenomenal and noumenal are now an undivided
whole, the self-natured Dharmakaya will pervade everywhere, including
the bowl which reveals its presence. For this reason, the ancients
said: "The exuberant green bamboos are all Dharmakaya and
luxuriant yellow flowers are nothing but Prajna." This attainment
is made possible only by the Prajnaparamita which all seekers of
the truth should put into practice.