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혜암현문 / 慧庵玄門 Hyeam Hyeonmun (1886-1985)
(Magyar átírás:) Hjeam Hjonmun
PDF: Zen Master Hae–Am's Dharma Talks
Venerable Master Hye-Am (1886-1985)
Successor of the 76th Korean Son patriarch, Venerable Master Mann-Gong of Dok-Sung Mountain
Venerable Master Hye-Am was born Soon-Chon (the follower of heaven), the only son of three generations of only sons. He wes born in the Yellow Sea (Hwang-Hae)Province, of Sea-Moon County, in the Sea- Rock City, just north of Seoul, Korea on January 5, 1886. These names imply Buddha(i.e., the sea), Mind (i.e.,the moon), and Sangha (i.e., the rock where the temple or shrine is). By the lunar calendar it was December 1, 2429.
The day of Soon-Chon's birth, in a dream, an unnamed Bodhisattva, riding a white elephant, emerged from the sky's edge and descended to the location of his expectant mother. At the spot was a holy rock adorned with flowers and jewels. Upon this rock the Bodhisattva sat and entered Samadhi. After sitting for some time he arose, reached deeply into his chest, and brought out a jar of holy milk. He handed it to the woman-with-child, then disappeared. Later that morning while his mother gave suddenly appeared from no-where, hovered above the house, and steadfastly for some time.
His father died when Soon-Chon was ten (1896). At that same age, he had a chance to visit the Hung-guk temple in Yangju City Kyonggi Province. As soon as he entered through its gate, he insisted on remaining at the temple. He behaved as one who, after aeons of searching, had, at last. found his home. Who could have even imagined that that would be the last day of his worldly life. Finally, his mother had to move into the temple as well.
At age fourteen (1900), he became a monk under Po-Am S'nim and thereafter remained the monk named Song-Am (rock of Self-nature). Song-Am S'nim never received a formal education and thus, throughout his life, relied on others to read write for him.
At age sixteen(1902) his mother passed away and he became very lonely. Orphaned and feeling great sorrow and depression, he set out on an endless journey. For over six years he was a hobo-style monk, employing charity chanting to beg for food, clothes, and money. Wherever mind led, wherever foot stopped, one tattered cloth and spindly staff was all his life:
With one tattered and spindly staff
Travelled east and west; it was endless.
If someone asked, "Where have you travelled?"
Everywhere in the world has been all-encompassing.
At age twenty-two (1908) he heard, for the first time, about Son meditation and raised the great faith. Giving up his endless journey, he attended the seasonal retreats in Diamond Mountain, in Myo-Hyang (Profound Incense) Mountain, and others, in order to do the original task of the sramana (Buddhist priest).
After four years had passed and his study had not progressed, he realized that the expected results of further study would require a teacher. In 1911 the Master Song-Wol in Tongdo Temple gave him a Hwa-du(Kong-an) and in the same year he had a chance to meet the Venerable Master Mann-Gong in Sudok-Sa.
Yesterday was new spring, today is already autumn. Yearly, daily, monthly, it flows like valley streams. Looking for fame and fortune, Returning gray-haired before the desires were accomplished.
He began realize what the right teacher could do, and it was becoming apparent to him what the only task for a human-being was. How lucky!
Even parents are not close.
if asked who the closest is,
Blind tortoise and one gimp-legged turtle.
Hye-Am S'nim's first meeting with Venerable Master Hye-Wol and Master Yong-Song was also very significant. "Without them," he commented, "how could I am?"
Blind tortoise met the wood-board in the ocean;
The meeting with superior mind in the Eagle's Peak
(Where Buddha held up the lotus flower).
Master Mann-Gong was a great, powerful master, while Master Hye-Wol was like a compassionate father or almost a mindless Buddha; but, both were the honey-dew tea of dharma for Hye-Am S'nim. There were many great monks under Mann-Gong. Especially great were Tae-An and Song-Wol (sometimes called Ha'm-Wol), both of whom were actually older than Master Mann-Gong.
Other monks who were related to Master Hye-Am included his well-known colleagues, Jon-Kang, Go-Bong, and Choon-Song. Hye-Am S'nim's lifelong foundation of enlightenment and sea of great accomplishment included the Venerable Master Yong-Song of O-Dae Mountain, an expert in dodtrinal and patriarchal teachings, as well as other great figures: Mann-Gong, Hye-Wol, Song-Wol, and his closest colleague, Jon-Kang.
Fifteen years passed during which there were continuous retreats and ceaseless re-examination for Hye-Am S'nim. Finally, on the day of Master Mann-Gong's bifthday. April 18, 1929 (March 7th, 2473), when Hye-Am S'nim was forty-three, the Master was at Sudok-Sa and recalled everyone in the mountain. He cheerfully rolled up his sleeves, filled his brush with ink, and without hesitation, composed the following patriarchal transmission Gatha on silk to Hye-Am S'nim:
To: Son Master Hye-Am (Wisdom Hut)
Clouds and mountains are not the same or different,
Also has no great family tradition:
This, the wordless seal
Transmitting to you, Hye-Am.
From: Mann-Gong: Wol-Myon (Moon Face)
March 7th, 2473rd year from Buddha
(April 18, 1929)
This patriarchal transmission was derived directly from Kyung-Ho and Mann-Gong, both in the modern Korean Buddhest lineage, the ancestry of which goss back to Bodhidharma and includes the Sixth atriarch Hui-Neng (Hye-Nung), and hes lineage of Lin-Chi (Yhm-Je). This Korean lineage, at the end of the Koryo Dynasty, includes the Patriarch Na-Ong (1380-1436) and Chong-Ho (1520-1604) in the Yi Dynasty; after which was a three hundred and fifty year dark age for Korean Buddhism.
After this dark age, however, modern Korean Son Buddhism flourished. We must mention this because it really began with Kyung-Ho S'nim (1849-1912). Just prior to his time, Korean Buddhism was still faded from a lineage that had slept deeply. The great life of Buddhism had been awry until Master Kyung-Ho's time.
As the 75th generation from Buddha, the 31st from Lin-Chi, and the 12th generation from the Korean Patriarch Chong-Ho, Kyung-Ho S'nim was able to reestablish the foundation of Bodhidharma and the Sixth Patriarch, Hui-Neng. Kyung-Ho S'inm was the modern revival of Korean Son Buddhism. Mann-Gong and Hye-Wol S'nimm were in the first generation after him, but it was to Mann-Gong S'nim (1871-1946) that Master Kyung-Ho transmitted the dharma with the following Gatha:
To: Mann-Gong, the Moon-Face
Cloud, moon, stream, mountain are same everywhere.
'Tis Mann-Gong Moon-Face's
(this was Mann-Gong's monk name) family tradition.
Secretly transmit the wordless seal by sharing with you,
One wonderful power overflows in your unmovable living eye.
From: Kyung-Ho; Sung-Woo (Awakened Ox)
March 27th, 2448th year from Buddha (1904)
When Mann-Gong S'nim, composed the Gatha to Hye-Am S'nim, the direct lineage was suddenly transmitted to Master Hye-Am who, without regard for fame or fortune, continued to just examine day and night. At that time, however, this young "bud of enlightenment" did not understand what had happened, so he immediately asked,
"Master, my study is still far behind; I did not accomplish the great enlightenment. What dharma are you going to transmit to the one who did not yet accmplish the Tao?"
To this question, headmaster Mann-Gong smiled slightly and snswered, "This dharma is a so-called, birthday surprise."
He, however, did not understand this unexpected, extraordinary surprise, and declared, "There are many good students of yours on this mountain; I am yet the un-perfected bowl."
Master Mann-Gong suddenly stood up, took out his own bowl from the wall closet and abruptly said,
"If so, then keep this bowl."
Hye-Am S'nim's words were severed. Suddenly one aucient phrase dawned on him.
People of the true mind
Have no shape to see and no form at which to look.
word and utterance are severed,
Thought and its abiding place are also annihilated.
Mann-Gong S'nim wrapped up the Gatha in red silk and proclaimed him. No one understood it and no one questioned concerning it.
Who said, The circle does not know the circular?
After receiving the bowl and robe, Hye-Am S'nim continued to study under the great masters, caring for nothing but study. He preserved himself under the re-examination with the Good-and-Wise Ones.
"Only by the power of continuous re-examination, until the moment of death, can one be free from the suffering of Hell. Do not jump into the ocean of life-and-death by haughty foolishness.
Studying without the Master-Mentor is death.
Studying without refinement is insanity.
Studying without re-examination is disease."
He also said that without a Master-Mentor life is only miserable; worse than having no parents.
Here is a Gatha sung by Ch'an Master Tu-Sun:
A cow in northern city had hay.
A horse in southern city had indigestion.
Looking for a good doctor everywhere,
Treating a pig's shoulder with burning moxa.
The rewards after continuous refinement and re-examination under the true Master-Mentor have nothing to do with the rewards of this ordinary world's pursuits. The goal of the homeless one is this invisible work.
One time, an attendant asked the Venerable Master, "By virtue of what seeing can the direct lineage of Buddhas and Patriarchs be transmitted to the one who is not enlightened?"
Master Hye-Am sad,
"Enlightened and not enlightened are just names indicating how they are examining. If you let the word of resolve become the contents of your faith, then that is the enlightenment. If there is no faith in the mind, then the re-examination will be cut off and cause a final entry into the ocean of life-and-death. That is why it is called not enlightened." -p 31-
This is what the Master Mann-Gong called birth day surprise and the bowl of dharma, which is nothing but the holding bowl of re-examination. Because of that, it is called greatly awakened, not because of a certain enlightenment to be attained.
The Sixth Patriarch said,
Seeing Self-nature is the virtue (of re-examination), Equanimity is its excellence.
The Patriarch once sang a Gatha:
Since re-examining the Buddha-Patriarchs' words is
The Tathagata's enlightening mind -as-it-is,
If fire can emerge by rubbing sticks,
Red lotus will definitely bloom in the mud.
When night is deep, dawn is near. When the mind is deep, word is little. When examination is deep, enlightenment is supreme.
By chance, Master Yong-Song once asked the following Kong-an of Master Mann-Gong:
Yong-Song: Tell me, merely departing from speaking silence, movement, and stillness.
Yong Song: Is that the Good-Silence?
Mann-Gong: No, not at all.
This dharma discussion was dropped here. Later, Hye-Am S'nim's life-long colleague, Jon-Kang S'nim, discussed this with Master Mann-Gong.
Jon-Kang: It us as though both of you masters entered the muddy water while strangling each other. -p 33
Mann-Gong: Then how would you respond?
Jon-Kang: What could possibly be said merely departing from speaking, silence, movement, and stillness?
Mann-Gong: Very good. Very good.
Master Hye-Am did not overlook this Kong-an but examined it and had a chance to meet with Master Jon-Kang.
Hye-Am: Do you believe what you said to the Master, "What could possibly be said merely departing from speaking, silence, movement, and stillness," was right? Since it has something from which to depart, why can't you say something?
Hye-Am: Why don't you ask me?
Jon-Kang: Tell me, merely departing from speaking, silence, movement, and stillness. "In order to answer this Kong-an you have to discover the moment before entry into the womb.
If someone asked me, 'What is the discovery of the moment before entry into the womb?' I would say, Broken glass is non-cohesive."
He then sang a Gatha:
One word for Speaking silence-movement-stillness, Who could possibly break through it?
If one asked me to comment after departing from them,
I'd say, "Broken glass is non-cohesive."
Everyone called this the enlightenment Gatha of Master Hye-Am. Every mountain was surprised by this discovery and speechless, like a person who had just slightly awakened from sleep.
As Master Jon-Kang commented, "Patriarchs are nothing but the ones who re-examine Buddha's words." Without ceaseless refinement of the Kong-ans, one cannot be claimed as a disciple of Buddha.
After Master Mann-Gong passed away, Sudok-Sa became an empty temple in need of a new head master. Some elder monks recommended Master Hye-Am, but at that time he refused, saying, "To be head master is worse than going to a fiery hell. Why are you concerned with such titles? Why can't we just study together?"
Within the political turmoil of a new born country on old traditional soil and after the Korean war, Buddhism was no longer an interest of the people. It was worship attended for miracles of escape from anxiety and hunger and by the wealthy for good fortune, while the priesthood brotherhood of landholders under the name of Buddhist work. The abbot of the temple was usually a property manager or landlord. By way of criticism, Venerable Master Mann-Gong once roared out:
What is the dirtiest thing in the world?
Dirtier than dung is the maggot;
Still dirtier than maggots are all abbots in the main temples.
The true students were very few. Korean Buddhist sects became vehicles for achieving fame and wealth.
Thieves were many, feigning mastery:
No good people claimed themselves as students.
When Master Hye-Am, who had never been an abbot of any temple, was nominated as head of Dok-Sung Chonglim (Sudok-Sa Temple affiliates), he bellowed out:
Who wishes to hold the dog's collar?
It's hollow gourd.
All the disciples were in utter agreement and appreciation of his discerning assessment of the outside world. The times were topsy-turvy. Rather than monks, many lay people came to see him and a score lf thousands studied; but only sixty lay people, twenty Bhikunis (female monks), and less than a handful of Bhikus (male monks) saw the Selfnature. Most came, not to study, but to accrue a popular affiliation. Verily, the times were such that instead of students looking for a master, a master, the master had to look for the students.
No need to blame the world. This kind of situation was not new; it existed in Buddha's and Bodhidharma's times as well as in Kyung-Ho's time.
Even after becoming disabled from an accident, Master Hye-Am deeply sighed, citing Master Kyung-Ho's living thunderbolt-in-daylight:
The one word breaking through the empty space,
True voice of giving and snatching away:
Looking around, there is no one;
To whom should I transmit this bowl and robe?
Why is it called bad?
Because of not believing in the dharma.
Why does one receive the sufferings of hell?
Because of not following the word of the Good-and-Wise Ones.
What is the trouble?
Letting thought arise in the mind.
The Master summarized his one hundred years of life with one word: re-examination.
While examining what you have awakened, naturally, the major Hwa-du from Buddhas and Patriarchs will be pierced through.
Even if one has seen the Self-nature, without re-examination, seeing Self-nature will soon be obscured and totally useless.
In the study of Son, the three requisite pillars are great faith, a great bundle of doubt, and great provocation.
To the one who saw the Self-nature,
What else can be the great faith other than re-examination?
To the one who saw the Self-nature,
How possibly can the bundle of doubt not be vivid while in re-examination?
To the one who saw the Self-nature,
Re-examination cannot be perfected without the great provocation.
Because of faith, it examines. Because a bundle of doubt is vivid, it examines. Since the mind is provoked, nothing else can do except re-examination.
Today's students deal with patriarchal Kong-ans carelessly as if they were children playing with a ball, with the idea that awakening is easy, merely saying, "understood it."
But the old Master, using his dharma sword, destroyed them mercilessly, which is the same way that all the patriarchs have brightened Buddha's Teaching by re-examination. That is the patriarchal spirit.
Re-examining the Hwa-do of Buddhas and Patriarchs is the true nature of enlightenment, i.e.,Buddha-as-it-is.
Here is a Gatha sung by Ch'an Master Hwang-Pyok (d. 849):
Liberating ourselves from the six sensual dusts is extraordinary.
Playing tug-of-war while holding tightly the end of the reins;
Without passing through the one time chilled-to-the-bone cold,
How dare exotic plum blossom fragrance reach to the tip of the nose?
This old Good-and-Wise One, already past the dusk of life, eight years before his death, slipped and fell, rendering his hip and knee useless. He barely managed to live with only several spoonfuls of rice in plain hot water; sometimes one spoonful of honey with some pine nuts for nutrition. Food was as simple as his life.
However, layman students and the lines of the laywomen never stopped whether he was in Sudok-Sa Temple, at Non-Dual Shrine in On-Yang City, or in -p45- the Dong-A Hospital in Seoul. Wherever he was, it became the Chonglim; the sitting and the dharma discussions never stopped. It contented him because this was the old Good-and-Wise One's karmic task. The weakened body, seeing the world as a shadow, was unable to distinguish voice, was unable to distinguish drum and bell. He fell into the soundless abyss; his hearing was like waiting for the echo from the horizon. Several broken teeth protruded like tombstones from his otherwise toothless mouth.
However, even in front of this old, weak, and sick corpse, why did the strong and not knowing what to do?
Why could someone else have strong teeth, a better and healthier jaw, and yet not open it? Why?
What did they see?
What could they not see?
In contrast, as goes the ordinary world, people are only interested in power and gold; and the Korean Buddhist sects were no different. In fact, they were the monsters who only looked after the benefit of their own family members and pursued power with the Outlaw Kingdom. Through the eyes of power holders, Master Hye-Am was just a helpless monk -p47- and an irascible old fellow. However, even for this kind of criticism, the Master scolded his attendants who spoke ill of those people.
"After all, dragon lives among snakes!
Mind which better condition is wicked.
If you pursue something outside, then already you have slain the Buddhas and Patriarchs, not to mention having lost your life.
Do not become a follower of them; while you debase them, you become the same kind of indigent-being. While you criticize them, you become a disciple of devils.
Talking hard; useless, 'til blood pours from the throat.
Prefer shut mouth for the rest of life."
Study, Study, and again Study!
Once the great Son Master Na-Ong sang a Gatha:
The primary concern of Son is faith;
Study carefully but sharpen it more enthusiastically.
When the bundle of doubt is pierced through unexpectedly,
Mud-ox ploughing in the farm at the entrance of Aeon.
Days and months were faster than thunderbolt, knowing that his time would soon come.
Ask without delay.
Nineteen eighty-four, this old Good-and-Wise One became Korean Ancient Buddha who lived twenty years more than Buddha.
On one of the hottest days in Sudok-Sa Temple, Master Hye-Am recalled all of the students to review one-by-one. He called his attendant, Myo-Bong:
In this soil, seeds are sufficient,
The West will be the new fountain.
Quickly but secretly proceed!
Not easy to spread the true Teaching.
"Where can you go with your health?"
"Teaching of the seeing the Self-nature cannot be delayed by any means. This is a first in history. There are some who, under the name of Zen, gather the people and teach the Sutras, or raise the fist and make the Hal(shout), or compose the Gathas without knowing even how to distinguish between black and white; all the while claiming themselves to be teachers of Zen life, of Zen chanting, or even proclaiming themselves to be paatriarchs. However, no one does direct teaching of the Buddha-Patriarchs' Hwa-du work, by which one sees the Self-nature.
I have been waiting for this opportunity for over twenty years and I cannot postpone it.
Claiming themselves to be enlightened; gathering the people everywhere; but, hungry students have nothing to eat. Imitating their teacher as a cub somersaulting, what will be their excuse on the Day of Judgement?
One who knows has word.
One who speaks cannot know.
Not knowing how to teach the disciples, their disease will become critical. Both teachers and disciples will become descendents of the devil.
One mink who resides in America said,
'There are many different books published on Byddhism. Many kindw of prescriptions have been introduced, but, there is no real doctor who can properly determine how to treat the patients!'
Let's pack up! Accomplish it as soon as possible.
Like a mouse-catching cat.
Like a birth-giring mother.
If it fails this time, there is no hope for the Buddha-dharma in the West."
Leaving behind all the deceitful gossip and insults owing to jealousy, this old Good-and-Wise One still eagerly did his work in order to repay all the Buddhas.
Twenty-seventh day of November in 2528 (1984),
Finally faith reached ultimate peak where "faith" is no longer.
An ancient trace of Kyung-Ho and Mann-Gong; the highest teaching of mankind, Have moved to the western world to be begetter of the beginning.
Finally, the wicked ones shut their mouths for a while to find out what was going on, but the ignorant ones continued the chattering of debasement behind his back. This old Good-and-Wise One was accomplishing his only purpose: whatever the cost, he would direct seeing the Self-nature to the world.
Around scenic Los Angeles there were many communities: industrial, educational, and especially excellent scientists and artists, and many religiously open-minded people. Just south of Los Angeles, in Orange County, there were at least three million people of upper intelligence from South East Asia, Northern Europe, England, and South America. Truly, some might say that America was the "Department of the Human Race."
One journalist, originally from Denmark, was -p55- asked to come and interview this oldest and highest Korean Buddhist leader. She published this historic event. Everyday many visitors, sometimes thirty or forty, came to see him. During the three months he was in America, about one thousand people were interviewed. Among them, three or four, after several interviews, reached high levels of dharma understanding. They were given dharma names and encouraged by the Master to accomplish the Buddhahood, But, what heavy work for this old body!
A one hundred-year-old international birthday party was held and still he continued to see the people. Finally he became dramatically weak and could not swallow even a grain of rice. This far journey to the West was new explained.
"I am ready to depart from you."
"When are you going?"
When the temple bell crown is softened.
"To where are you going?"
To the fiery hell.
Afterward, what should we do?
"If I die in the city, put this corpse in the hearse, carry it to the mortuary, and cremate it immediately. If I depart from this world in the mountain, do not even make a coffin, but rather carry my body just like a coffin, but rather carry my body just like a dried piece of wood and cremate it with a bowl of gasoline. After the cremation, return to the main altar, burn one piece of incense and prostrate three times. Then, go to the altar of spirits (for the deceased ones) and again burn one stick of incense and chant The Heart Sutra one time. Do not waste any materials for my body.
Also, I would not produce any sarira from my body, because I do not even respect Buddha's sarira. Even if sarira were produced, it would not be the same kind as Buddha had. If something emerges from this corpse, immediately bury or scatter it. If anyone gathers my ashes, builds a pagoda or a mausoleum, he will be my worst enemy.
Sarira originally were to be examined by the Good-and-Wise One with the true dharma eye. If the Good-and-Wise One perceives them in his palm with the dharma eye, the licentious sarira will become bloody pus, and greedy sarira will become a snake or serpent. The ignorant sarira will become a snake or serpent. The ignorant sarira will become a wandering ghost. The ignorant sarira will become a wandering ghost. Only the sarira examined by the master of the brightened-eye can be acknowledged as the true sarira.
Even if there is the true sarira, including Buddha's whole body sarira, one should not ct,respe bow, or pray in front of them, for all of these behaviors will be the main karmic cause of entering the hell. Prayers, bows, and displays of respect are derived from attachment to the truth of all that Buddha taught us.
Whatever has the form
As a whole, is all delusory.
There is no definite substance;
Even illusion has no definite illusion.
This is The Dharma-of-Formlessness.
By not assuming the form, one will coincide with the Saint.
Departing from each and every form is called,
Now, listen to my own Gatha:
At the summit of Buddha's and Patriarchs' peak,
Ancient buried sarira have been disclosed.
Instead of seeing one's own sarira,
Everyone busily scurries after them.
I just carefully looked at Buddha's sarira,
Buddha is not in sarira.
Even though sarira came from the Buddha,
Buddha-of-seeing is watching Buddha's sarira.
Therefore, from now on, people of the True-Mind should strive hard, alert and bright, in Study. Purify and cultivate the uncountable vows for the uncountable indigent-beings until this body is completely dis-integrated."
Blue-eyed students asked,
"How should we Study from now on?"
"Let the examination become your teacher; there is no other work to do besides this. I heard that even Socrates said, The unexamined life is not worth living for man."
"What, then, would be the last word?"
"Good-bye," he said in English.
After this short word he turned away. He concluded his difficult three-month journey to the Western world in this way. He insisted on passing away in America. However, his attendants knelt down and beseeched him to return to Korea for the sake of his many followers there. He returned on February 16, 1985.
He locked up his room and forbade entrance to anyone; then spent three more months before he entered Nirvana.
Anxious disciples asked,
"To whom did you transmit the Chamber of the True-Dharma-Eye?"
To the one who examine.
Since the disciples did not say a word, the old Master continued.
"Listen to my Gatha:
No form is,
No emptiness is,
No non-emptiness is."
"Is there anything more to say?"
There is nothing more to say.
He entered Samadhi for a while; then opening his eyes wide, embraced the whole universe. He then made three strokes in the air horizontally and one vertically. No one knew what he meant.
The Master's last day was eight days before Buddha's Birthday, May 19th, nineteen eighty-five (March 30, 2529 by the lunar calendar).
Many eminent monks attended his funeral from throughout the nation. Throngs of people attended the ceremony, forming an ocean of people. Who are they? Suddenly a colorful aura, as appeared at his birth, arced in the sky. Everyone was enraptured by this marvelous phenomenon and called it his power of dharma. What an auspicious occasion!
One short shrill honk from hollow goose pierced through to the stratosphere.
Now where is our old Master? Here is something we cannot forget.
Venerable Master Mann-Gong once wrote a Gatha for Venerable Master Kyung-Ho's (Empty Mirror) true Self image. The Gatha is:
The empty mirror originally has no Mirror.
Awakened ox is already not an Ox.
Everywhere where there is neither Ox nor Mirror.
Living eye freely abides with inebriety and indulgence.
For comparison Venerable Master Mann-Gong wrote for his Self-image:
I am not departed from Thou;
Thou art not departed from me.
Before Thou and I were born,
I don't know; what is this?
Venerable Master Hye-Am concluded with a Gatha for his Self-image:
Thou art not the Thou of Thou.
I am not the I of I.
Since I and Thou are non-dual,
Immediately here is true Thou-and-I.
This is the Nirvana: his worldly-age was 99, dharmaage was 85 and 77th generation from Shakyamuni Buddha (in Korea).
Here I would like to conclude this story with the Master's own Gatha which he composed shortly before he entered Nirvana.
By birth limpid air blew in the horizon,
By death the shadow of moon flew in the tranquil pond;
Departing from body out of Karmic circle: Where did it go?
River flows toward east outside of the Capital City.
October 15, 2529 (1985)
Recorded by His Disciple
妙 峰 Myo-Bong (Profound Summit)
How to Study Kong-an
One The Closing Day of Winter Retreat
Once Venerable Master Hye-Am was staying in Paljong-Sa in Seoul.
On the closing day of Winter Retreat he was asked to give a dharma talk.
He ascended the podium and began by singing a Gatha:
People today do net see old ancient star:
Today's star has shone on the ancient people.
people today and of ancient times flow like water;
Watching the bright star together is also the same.
"When you, the student, preoccupied with Study, achieve greater intimacy with the Kon-ans, more and more you will find yourself in a feeling of ennui. It is the time to remind yourself that this is a sign of great progress and the time for full-blooming. Furthermore, this is the time when you should eagerly introspect upon yourself with vigilant doubt. Returning to doubt should never be delayed.
While introverting upon the Hwa-du(Kong-an,"the head of the dialogue" means the core of the dialogue), if the introversion is pure, it will suddenly enter the place of tranquility. After it becomes tranquil, it can enter Samadhi. However, in Samadhi there can be two kinds: right Samadhi and defiled Samadhi. This also should be kept in mind.
When the power of Samadhi has increased, your body and mind will naturally be bright by the untainted faith; so, finally, you will achieve great alertness.
You should use your mind well, even finely concentrated in everyday life movements. Besides, when you are preoccupied with Study, either beginning or ending, you should never depart from the clear and bright tranquility and purity. When the tranquility is fully matured, enlightenment will be imminent. When the purity is fully matured, the brightness will be pervasive.
If the effort of returning to the vigilant doubt is sincere, and if the determination is thorough, then, whether moving or still, the outer perspective will also be like the color of the autumn sky: transparent and bright. This is the moment your study blooms fully. If you uphold and guard that well, as we have said, your brightness will be like the transparent autumn sky and your tranquility will be like the cold incense holder of the old shrine.
If the act of the mind is not darkened but is bright in tranquil stillness and alertness, your illusory and empty physical subsistence will experience being beyond the world of mankind.
The result of this vigilance with Hwa-du will be like one silk thread hanging straight down from on high; you will see that it would never be severed by any means. If you achieve this level, all the dust will be settled and brightness will pervade. But, naturally, right at this moment, if you allow yourself the idea of being awakened and claim that you are enlightened, then that consistency and loftiness from the awaken mind will immediately cease; for which you must watch out carefully.
At this level, for one who does net commit himself to tardiness, movement and stillness will be conjoined. Also, while you are awake in watchful mind and tranquil. the Hwa-du will abide in front of your eyes constantly; just as, for instance, the reflection of moonlight in the water moves freely in accord with the waves, but the moonlight, itself, is net affected by the waves. It, as-it-is, has never moved. Even though defilement and delusion arise from time to time, if you introspect upon yourself with vigilant doubt immediately, then you will not be subject to defilements and delusions.
By cultivating in such a way, one day the whole bundle of doubt will be destroyed; suddenly seeing it right will be manifested in proportional accord, as the strings of a harp. An analogy to this is the hen sitting continuously on the egg, sending down warm energy. If the warm energy is not supplied for even one moment, the egg will spoil. However, instead, the warm energy is effectuated and the hen, using her beak, then destroys the egg-shell, allowing the baby chick to break through with a sound of Chirp, Chirp.
Or, it is like the bamboo stalk, which, when greatly mature, explodes by itself, Boom, Boom, as the stalk bursts forth in growth. Finally, seeing the True Self-nature (Original Face) will be completed. After that, you should go and meet the TrueEyed Master-Mentor, the Good-and-Wise One and examine yourself with him hundreds and thousands of times to accomplish the Great Dharma Vessel. You should not, however, by haughty judgement, create any idea of being superior.
Without seeing the Good-and-Wise One after enlightenment, you would not be able to complete your life-task, which is a potential hazard, not just once, but endlessly and limitlessly."
Finally Venerable Master sang a Gatha:
Ninety days, chained legs, ending today;
Suddenly winter retreat has no trace.
While Peter and Paul part from each other, north and south,
Stone tiger still fights high mountain peak.
Master hit the dharma floor three times and descended the podium.
While everyone prays without rest,
Standing or sitting, it's always together.
If you don't believe this; watch it carefully!
What is talking now all this time?
How do we uphold true prayer to the Buddha Statue?
One who bows to the Buddha-Statue must correctly understand whence that Buddha-Statue comes.
Whence comes the Buddha Statue?
From the radiant twinkle of your own luminous eye-ball. Buddha- Statue becomes my mind; my mind be-comes Buddha-Statue; and is no longer divided.
How do we correctly bow to the Buddha Statue?
While you bend your body, bowing to the Statue, you should mobilize a great sincerity, not to the Statue, which is the twinkle of radiance from your luminous eye-ball, but directly to the mind.
To what do bow?
You should know to what to bow since the Buddha-Statue is no other them my mind. Bowing to the Statue is bowing to the mind. But how is this possible, the mind has no from, size or trace?
Holy Object does not ex-ist and is not the mind. Therefore, the Statue is no longer an object of prayer. Thus remains the formless mind-itself-as-it-is.
How do we uphold prayer to the mind?
A student should bow while within the living doubt of the Hwa-du, "What is this?" This is bowing now to the Statue. Here the mind is totally revealing itself and can be called true prayer to the mind. Neither this corpse nor the mind can bow; you can name nothing in the world that can bow. We do net know what bows; therefore, we must ask "What is this?"
By asking this, you obviously do not worship a physical from of worshipping the true Buddha. How? Because true worship is beyond the physical eye. If you make contact with outer form, then you do not truly worship . As Bodhidharma warned us, you will thus sow evil seeds and, not only fall into True Hell, but lose your own life.
It is the same when chanting the names of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. While keeping in mind the thought, What is this which is chanting? --whether Amitabha Buddha, Avalokita, or Kshitigarbha Bodhisattva-- it is same. this is true chanting to the mind. In the living doubt, "What is this?" the chanter becomes more sincere, able to see the form of the word mind or of the Buddha Statue. In this way of praying and chanting, and of reading the holy books, the Hwa-du will also naturally be studied at the same time to accomplish the Great Tao.
What is This?
Mud-ox from bottom of the ocean running away, holding the moon in his mouth;
Stone-tiger in front of boulder is sleeping holding a baby in his arm;
Iron-snake is passing though the Diamond-ball;
Mount-Sumeru riding on elephant's back, being pulled by the sparrow.
The Original Face
True, profound Dharma has never been created nor annihilated. How often have we transformed our bodies; sometimes born in heaven, sometimes born in the ghost world? Whatever countenance we possessed has depended on differing transformations and karmic result, while the suffering and pleasure have alternated back and forth accordingly. Good karma results in being born in the heaven or human body, while bad karma molds the ghost or animal bodies, etc.; whichever we have produced at the moment of death. The sufferings from these alternations have never ended throughout this million-kalpas-karmic-cycle.
Then, what is the cause?
It is where all indigent-beings have forgotten their own Self-nature. The mind is deluded, so to speak. It Self-nature is originally bright, how did it become deluded? Defilements,delusion, and greed have covered the pure mind and blocked its luminosity. More clearly, using an analogy, it is the bright moon net disclosed in the dark night because of black clouds. These black clouds are equivalent to defilements and delusion; the bright moon is the pure mind. Therefore, by carefully cultivating ourselves, like one breeze from the West dispersing the clouds, we should disperse the cloud of the mind, so that our bright, transparent, and original moon can be found.
How do we find it?
We see things outside by eyes, however, the dead corpse also has eyes but cannot see. There is one thing, independent of physical eyes, which can see whatever it wants to see. Yet, no matter how hard we try to introspect upon what sees here, there is not even one form that can be seen.
When not even one form can be seen, no matter how hard we try to introspect upon what sees, right at this moment, "The West wind has already blown and scattered the black cloud, and the bright moon has already been exposed."
When not even one form can be seen, no matter how hard we try to introspect upon what sees,right at this moment, "Love and hatred have already been annihilated."
When not even one form can be seen, no matter how hard we try to introspect upon what sees, right at this moment, "Liberation from life-and-death has already been accomplished."
When not even one form can be seen, no matter how hard we try to introspect upon what sees, right at this moment, "The sea of suffering has already been crossed."
The indigent- beings' "Life-and-death" is derived from their contemplating only the physical bodies. Life-and-death itself originally does not subsist.
While originally they do not subsist, everyone has, rather, one bright, self-divine light of Buddha-nature, which is magnificently luminous in ten directions in the world of each and every being and of everything.
When and how does it come to be? When color can be seen by the eye, and when sound can be heard by the ear, then right at this moment, it actually comes to be. Now, even though we say that color comes to be eye, and sound comes to be in the ear, what if there is neither color in the eye nor sound in the ear? Then where does it come to be?
When there is neither color nor sound, this has been tranquil; and then by sudden karmic chance, like this book of Dharma talks you are now reading, it comes to be.
This disclosure of be-coming itself cannot be expounded by the three different time of Buddhas. It can not even be transmitted one to the other by the Good-and-Wise Ones (Master-Mentors).
In this be-coming itself, all karmas are cut off from object; thus out of the relativities is "the True Essence(Original Face) of every Buddha and Bodhisattva in the Ten Direction World." of all the Good-and-Wise Ones, and of everyone here. Even though every indigent-being has continuously maintained and used this since ancient time 'til now, it has never been diminished. This is what is called the True Original Face which "each and every indigent-being has maintained and carried from the beginning."
Now listen to my Gatha:
Body is our chamber of right dharma,
Mind is obstructionless candle.
All Dharma has been disclosed, it is empty;
Everything can be seen very clearly.
Re-Examination Is the Faith
In the Sutra, it says,
Faith is the mother of enlightenment.
When you were a fetus, you had ears, eyes, mouth, and nose similar to those of an adult; but, they were sense-organs of limited functioning, You did not hear, see, talk, or smell as well as am adult, and you needed continuous nourishment and maternal protection until mature.
Likewise, when you begin to understand the core teaching of the Patriarchal Kong-an, by listening to the Good-and-Wise One, a spiritual transformation ensues, and you are no longer an ordinary humanbeing, but the fetus of enlightenment. This new fetus, however, is like a seed without soil or water.
As the seed of a saint, the understanding, thinking, speaking, and distinguishing are not as mature as those of an enlightened master. You need ceaseless practice with, great respect for, and careful help from your teacher(Master-Mentor) who is the mother of Tao and a necessary condition of the great enlightenment. Until you become a mature master, you need care. Continuous protection by the master, as well as constant re-protection by the master, as well as constant re-examination and respectful practice with the master, are all contents of the teaching of the Patriarchs.
When Chao-Chou was enlightened, for example, Ch'an Master Nam-Chon recommended that he leave and teach in the other mountain. But Chao-Chou said,
I will stay for a while and serve you just until you die.
When the master died, Chao-Chou was already eighty.
Having no teacher for the enlightened student is more critical than having no father for a son. This is the reason Chao-Chou, through his retreatless faith, turned down Ch'an Master Nam-Chon's recommendation to complete his profound work.
One student asked a question of the master,
How is it when one has just been enlightened?
The Master said,
Before the wind of spring, flower didn't bloom.
Naw it's blooming season, unless the shoots are blown away.
There is no hope without continuous reexamination. The exercise of re-examination creates the master of wisdom. One should listen to the Good-and-Wise One very carefully. By this direct dialogue with the master, delivered from the beginning on through this moment, one's becoming a master is as near and natural as the dawn following long night's wandering. With ceaseless examination under your master, and because of this retreatless and strong faith, doubtlessly the flower of enlightenment and strong faith, doubtlessly the flower of enlightenment will bloom and brighten.
One will become a saint;
Because, when the night is fully dark.
The sun has to rise soon.
Without the seed of a saint,
Who could dare expect this wonder?
Therefore, to successfully become a saint, you must follow the dharma-words of the teaching as passed on directly by the Patriarchs. The Dharma-words you are examining are the revelation of the Self-nature. Hwa-du itself becomes a more utilized, faithful, and unique Study by examining through dharma-words because the ceaseless re-examination naturally requires the great faith, the great doubt, and the great provocation. But, without a sincere, primary examination, Hwa-du is merely a brain-game. Only by continuous re-examination does it become alive, dealing with the life and death question, and become a true mirror of Self-nature.
In order to become a saint, you must continuously protect this fetus to see the blooming season.
These are the words of the holy ones; shouldn't we heed them?
What To Love
For the truth-seeker preoccupied with Study, that which must principally be avoided is maintaining the idea that "I have accomplished this-and-that" by upholding some format of understanding.
What is the best way to eliminate such a format?
Foremost, one should introspect upon oneself with vigilant doubt regarding whatever is to be known. Searching for different expedient methods or means will only increase the conflictions in the mind by creating otherness (objectification), while vigilant doubt will void all in general.
The next consideration is affectionate attachment, as between children and parents, affectionate attachment combined with feeling seems best for this lifetime. However, in later life the relationship may become antagonistic, even to the point of committing murder and sending each other to hell. Rather than have such a result, what would be the best way for people to get along with each other and still be born in paradise?
For the one with whom you have a personal relationship, do not relinquish control of your mind to the attachment of love by pursuing the feeling; -p393- rather introspect upon yourself with the same living doubt as when praying and chanting Buddha, God, or any other great being's name. Then, naturally, all the hidden power of goodness will be experienced. This is called true love and is the true way to care for and love someone.
All of you should know that the worldly relationships are nothing but karmic shadows, temporary and apparitional; appearing and disappearing in vain, like a movie film. If this is not realized, then the so-called suffering from life-and-death, defilement, and delusions will be endlessly maintained. To love or like only one's physical body, which is no different from a dead corpse, is illusory.
Then, what is true love? If the body is illusory, then what is not illusory? Should it be mind? Or spirit? Since mind is just a name, it does not subsist. How can one even call it spirit or mind? Then for what should one care?
When someone calls to one, "Hello,"there is one-thing which knows how to respond,
"Yes." When a child calls, "Mother," there is one-thing which knows how to respond,
"Yes, Dear." This is the one-thing each of us originally possesses; this one-thing can be called neither the mind nor the body. It has no name and cannot be known by intellect, but it is also very obviously present.
Now this is the only one-thing you should love and -p397- care for. To love this one-thing is to care for parents and to love.
Now listen to the Gatha!
Sleeping with Buddha every night,
Even rising together every morning;
Standing and sitting consecutively,
Talking and being silent, dwelling and visiting.
Tis not separated at all,
Just like your own shadow;
Want to know where Buddha has gone?
Just look at voice of this-one.
Hyeam Sunim, ed., Gateway to Son
translated by Myobong Sunim
Irvine, Calif.: Western Son Academy, 1986.
Volume I: Bodhidharma: On Lineage
Volume II: Bodhidharma: On Mind Watching
Myobong (formerly Daesoo) Sunim is the dharma disciple of Hyeam
Sunim (the last surviving dharma disciple of the great Zen master Man'gong
Sunim) and carries on the work of his teacher at the Neungin Sunwon temple
(Hoso Son Academy: Western Son Academy) in Irvine, California. He
first came to the United States in 1972 . Feeling that this way of teaching Son
(Zen) was not going well, he went back to Korea and received Zen training
under Hyeam Sunim at the Soodok Sa temple. He returned to the United
States and established the Neuning Sunwon temple in Mission Viejo in 1980.
When he parted ways with another monk at the temple in 1982, one of his
disciples invited him to open a temple in Huntington Beach. The temple
moved to rented quarters again in Irvine in 1984.
Myobong Sunim feels that his emphasis on Whadoo (Kong-an: dharma dialogue)
has gained momentum since 1984 . He emphasizes the importance
of dialogue on an individual basis. So far ten of his disciples have become
monks or nuns adopting his methods of Son (Zen). About twenty additional
persons are regular members undergoing training at the Zen groups he has
established in California and Texas. Myobong Sunim travels frequently to
lead Korean Son (Zen) sessions for these groups. He is currently working
on a translation of Iljo Tankyong.
Myobong Sunim feels that the individual encounter through dialogue
(Whadoo) is the best approach to Zen. He regrets that most of the Korean
monks and nuns working in the Korean community are not practicing Zen
because they have to struggle to make a living. He feels strongly that in order
for Korean Buddhism to take a fi rm hold in American soil, this situation must
change. Myobong Sunim translated and published a bilingual (Korean and English)
text on master Hyeam's Son teaching in 1986.
Gateway to Son. Volume I
Bodhidharma: On Lineage
Edited by Master Hye-Am. Translated by Master Muvong
I. No Buddha-Nature Outside of the Mind
Bodhidharma: Even though in the three different cosmos there have been
so many chaotic events, all will be finally concluded in just one mind.
Former and later Buddhas have transmitted the mind to the mind without
depending on the written word.
Student: If we do not depend upon the written word, with what and how do
we conceive the mind?
Bodhidharma: When you are asking me, that is your mind. When I am
responding to you, that is my mind; From the ancient, beginingless time,
each and every movement in all different times and places is your original
mind and also your original Buddha.
That is the reason it has been said, the mind in itself is Buddha in himself.
Without this mind no one could seek a different Buddha; because it is
impossible to find either Bodhi (the wisdom of enlightenment) or Nirvana
outside of the mind.
Our self-nature is fulfilled in truth; it is already neither cause nor effect.
Self, as it is, is its own mind; the mind in itself is this Buddha.
And, this mind is the Nirvana which is already perfectly radiant and serenely
Insisting that there should be Buddha or Bodhi outside of the mind would
be a critical fault.
Where could both Buddha and Bodhi be?
How can empty space be held?
Empty space is just a name; no form, no size, so, impossible to hold or to drop.
As if trying to hold empty space; seeking Buddha outside of the mind would
be to no avail.
Since Buddha is a product of one's mind, how can it be possible to seek Buddha
outside of the mind? Former and later Buddhas have spoken the mind only:
“Only the mind is Buddha
Only Buddha is the mind;
Buddha exists not outside of the mind,
Mind exists not outside of Buddha.”
If Buddha exists outside of the mind, where can it be? If Buddha exists not
outside of the mind, from where did the idea of Buddha come?
Without seeing the original mind, and by exchanging false opinions, we
stick to the dead substance (Buddha's statue), and thus become un-free beings.
If you do not believe this, you are fooling yourself, which is not at all helpful.
Buddha does not have any deceptions, rather, confused indigent-beings do
not realize or understand the fact that one's mind is already the Buddha.
If you see Buddha is just your mind, then do not seek Buddha outside of the
mind. Buddha cannot be liberated by Buddha, and Buddha cannot be seen if
sought with the mind; for, that would result only that Buddha must be outside
which is caused by ignorance, knowing not that Buddha is no different from
your own mind.
And, being Buddha already, do not worship Buddhas, or being your mind, do
not think of (recite) Buddhas. Buddha in itself cannot read the sutras; Buddha
in itself cannot uphold the precepts (of Sangha); Buddha in itself cannot violate
the precepts; Buddha in itself does not have something to uphold or violate,
and Buddha in itself does not cause the good or the bad.
If you truly seek Buddha, you must just see the self-nature, which is Buddha.
Without seeing self-nature, no matter how well you recite (think of) Buddhas,
read the sutras, bow in ceremonies, and uphold precepts, still no benefit will
Thinking of (reciting) Buddhas will promise you a happy next life. Reading
the sutras will make you wise and knowledgeable, upholding the precepts
will let you be born in heaven. Helping others will result in prosperous fortune;
but, Buddha cannot be seen by doing these things.
If you still do not know yourself clearly, you should be awakened to the
essence of life-and-death by finding and meeting a Master who already has
attained a great awakening.
One cannot be called Master if he has not yet seen self-nature. So, even if
one has studied all sections of sutra volumes, he would still, without fail,
fall into the sea of life-and-death and karmic cycle in the three different cosmos,
without freedom from great sufferings.
Once upon a time there was a monk named Son Sung. And, although he had
mastered all twelve sections of the sutra volumes, he had not seen self-nature,
and thus, he could not be freed from his karmic chain.
And, people today believe they can be enlightened by only studying a few
How terribly wrong they are!
Without understanding one's mind, memorizing groundless phrases is useless.
To seek Buddha, see the self-nature!
Self-nature is Buddha!
Buddha is being in himself; doingless and creationless one!
Without seeing self-nature, no matter how hard you look for Buddha, day
and night, it is absolutely impossible (to see).
Even though we might say there is originally not a thing to be attained, if
you do not yet understand it, you must, with sincere effort and work, find
and meet a Master to open your mind.
Life-and-death is a great puzzle. Do not spend your life in vain.
Deceiving yourself does not help you in any way.
Even if one has jewels stored in quantity as big as a mountain or, if one
has a lot of followers, these things can only be seen while eyes are alive.
But, when eyes are dead; are they still possible to be seen? Therefore, it is
very obvious fact that anything we do is a fleeting apparition, like a dream
or a ghost. Unless you quickly find a teacher, you will waste your life
meaninglessly because of this; everyone already has Buddha-nature, but
unless you depend on a teacher's help, no one can acknowledge and sanction
your understanding. That is why it is almost impossible to attain great
understanding without a teacher.
But one, who, by his own karmic privilege, has already attained the level
of understanding of a sage; he does not have to go find a teacher. Although
everyone has a
Buddha-nature before birth, if there is even one tiny residue of misunderstanding
remaining, he must go and meet with the teacher who will open him and cultivate
If one understands perfectly, he might be different from ordinary ones and
not have to learn. But, if, still, he cannot make a crystal clear distinction
between black and white; and feigning mastery, talk about Buddha-Dharma,
he is actually humiliating the Buddha and destroying the Buddha-Dharma.
Such a speech, no matter how fluidly spoken is just talk of the devil, not of
The leader of such speech-makers is the devil's kind. And his followers are
the devil's disciples. Without a doubt, they will fall into the dark sea of
life-and-death under the devil's direction.
Only the people who have not seen the self-nature talk about Buddha nonsensically;
and they are great sin-makers, because by deception they lead people toward
If one is able to speak about the twelve sections of sutra volumes perfectly,
yet does not see the self-nature, then still it is the devil speaking and producing
offspring of the devil, not a disciple from Buddha's family.
Thus, if one's understanding is not crystal clear, how can he avoid life-and-death?
Seeing the self-nature is Buddha, not seeing the self-nature is indigent-being.
If you believe Buddha-nature can be attained by separating from the
indigent-being's nature, then where could the Buddha be now? The nature of
indigent-being is the Buddha-nature. Buddha does not ex-ist outside of the
self-nature, Buddha is the self-nature.
Without this self-nature, Buddha cannot be attained. Without this Buddha,
the self-nature cannot be attained.
II. Confused Mind Cannot Be Free from Karmic Result
Student: Is it possible to become Buddha without seeing the self-nature,
if one endeavors to perfect the practice of chanting, reading sutras,
upholding precepts, and exercising great discipline?
Bodhidharma: It is impossible.
Student: Why is it impossible?
Bodhidharma: If one says there is some dharma to be attained, big or
small, then this is
the dharma of the form of doing, the dharma of the cause and effect, the
dharma of the necessity of inevitable result, and the dharma of karmic
result; since these dharma cannot avoid life-and-death, at what point
could the way of Buddha be attained? To attain Buddha, one must see
the self-nature. Without seeing the self-nature, speaking of cause-and-effect,
and those above mentioned, are all outsiders-dharma. Buddha, himself,
cannot operate outsiders-dharma; Buddha is the non-karmic person and is
without cause-and-effect. As soon as someone says there is some dharma t
o be attained, big or small, then he is actually humiliating the Buddha.
How can he attain Buddhahood?
Attaching to one mind, one functioning, one opinion, even one idea, results
in no room for Buddha. Buddha has nothing to uphold nor to violate.
Mind-nature is originally void; there is neither pure dharma nor impure dharma.
Nothing to be practiced, nothing to be attained, no cause and no effect.
Buddha neither upholds nor violates the precepts, neither practices the
good nor causes the bad, and neither endeavors to practice nor is languid.
Buddha is the one who does nothing. As soon as you raise the thought of
mind abiding somewhere or attaching to something, there is no longer room
When Buddha is called Buddha, it is already not the Buddha.
Do not raise a thought of Buddha.
If you do not realize this at all times and places, original mind cannot be
If one continuously raises a thought of non-doing without seeing the
self-nature, he is a great sinner and has great ignorance.
Dwelling in blank-minded emptiness, blinded like a drunken man, he cannot
distinguish the good from the bad.
If you want to practice the non-doing-dharma, see the self-nature first, and
then rest the thoughts stemming from the outer perspectives. Before seeing
the self-nature, there is no place to enlighten and nothing to attain.
Someone who ignores the truth of cause-and-effect, while causing all kinds
of bad karma and says that, ‘everything is originally empty', and ‘there is
nothing wrong even though I do some bad things'; without fail he will enter
the exitless Hell and the lightless Hell eternally without hope of getting out;
because of this, a wise one would not raise this kind of thought.
Student: If there is already original mind in every distinction, in every
movement, and at all times, why can we not see it while this physical body
Bodhidharma: Original mind is always appearing in front of you; but just
you, yourself do not see it.
Student: If mind is already there where I see, what is the reason I cannot
Bodhidharma: Have you ever dreamed?
Student: Yes, I have.
Bodhidharma: When you had a dream, was that your own body?
Student: Yes, that was my own body.
Bodhidharma: When you are talking and moving, is this different from
your self or the same as your self?
Student: It is not different.
Bodhidharma: If it is already not different, then this body, as it is, is your
original dharma-body. This dharma-body, itself, is your original mind.
This mind, from the beginningless beginning, is nothing different from
what it is now; it has never been born, it has never died; never perished,
never increased, never decreased; never been dirty, never been immaculate;
never been good, never been bad; has never come, never gone; was never
right, never wrong; never been a man, never been a woman, never been a
monk, never been a layman, never been old, never young, neither a saint
nor ordinary being, not Buddha, nor indigent-being; has had nothing to
attain, has nothing to practice, has had no cause, no effect, no energy and
It is like empty space; it cannot be held nor dropped.
Even a mountain, river or great wall cannot obstruct this; whether entering
or exiting, whether coming or going, it is free and divine.
It will cross over the ocean of the life-and-death and the mountains of five
Skandhas; all kinds of karma cannot imprison this dharma-body.
Such a mind is so hard to see because it is deep-rooted.
The mind is different from the physical material; that is, this mind is this
Everyone wishes to see mind; yet, already he is in the midst of this bright
light; moving his arms and legs in as many ways as the sands of the
Ganges River; yet, as soon as he is questioned about what it is, he is
absolutely silent, like a puppet. These movements are
his own actions Why can this not be known?
“All indigent-beings are confused and from this,
They produce their future Karma,
Falling into the ocean of the life-and-death.
They are trying to escape from it,
But, instead, are falling back in.
Why? Just because the self-nature was not yet seen.”
If all indigent beings are not confused, why does no one ‘see' when
they are questioned?
Why can one not know the one who moves arms and legs?
Even though the words spoken by all the sages were right, still, they
Therefore, you should know that it is difficult to comprehend the mind;
Buddha being the only one who has completed it.
No other creature, except him; no one amongst human-beings or
heaven-beings can do this. If the mind were understood clearly by
wisdom; it might be called,
Dharma-nature or Complete Liberation.
Sometimes it is called, The-Great-King-of-Freedom Buddha because
life-and-death cannot hinder (the mind) and even all dharma cannot
Sometimes it is called, The Unthinkable-One. Sometimes it is called,
The True Body-of-the-Sage. Sometimes it is called, The-Eternal-Life-
Without-Death. Sometimes it is called, The-Great-Sage.
All the differentiations made by the divine-beings are not separated
from the mind in itself; the mind has immeasurable size and it's function
Acting with eye, it sees color, with ear it hears, with nose it smells, and
with tongue it tastes. All different actions are self-mind.
“Here, word-and-utterance is for all time severed,
Thought and its abiding place, also annihilated;
It is our mind.”
It is also said,
“The Buddha's acts are uncountable and
So is his wisdom.”
Uncountable acts are the mind in itself.
The conscious mind is the one that discerned everything and
furthermore, since the mind is formless wisdom and is limitless,
each and every functioning and movement is all it's wisdom.
Because of that it was said,
“Buddha's acts are uncountable and so is his wisdom.”
All actions, by the four elements, are the affliction-body which
is joined with life-and-death. On the other hand, there is the
dharma-body which abides no-where. That is the reason why the
dharma-body of Tathagata is perpetually changeless.
In the sutra, it is said,
“Indigent-being should be understood as a substance
Which originally embodied Buddha-nature.”
In the case of Mahakasapa, he achieved realization of the self-nature
and nothing else.
Original self-nature is the mind; the mind is the self-nature. This
Buddha's mind, the former Buddha and later Buddha, are all
transmitting the same mind.
There is no Buddha to be found outside.
The confused indigent-being, without knowing his own mind is
Buddha, searches outside, day and night, for the Buddha and recites
(thinks of) Buddha, bowing to Buddha. But where is the Buddha? Do
not produce such a thought; just know the mind. There is no other Buddha
outside of the mind.
The Sutra says,
“Whatever has a form, as a whole, is delusory.”
“Wherever being is, there is Buddha.”
Since the mind in itself is the Buddha, do not bow to Buddha again,
being already the Buddha.
Even if a Buddha or Bodhisattva were suddenly to appear, you must
never bow to them, because the mind is void and serene, it originally
cannot have these phenomena. If you follow what is seen, you will be
immediately captivated by the devil and totally fall into the corrupted
If it is clear that these phantoms are raised by the mind, then there is
no need to bow to them. One who bows, knows no thing. One who
knows, does not bow. If you bow to them, immediately you will be
captivated by the devil. I am explaining this to protect the students from
It is a most important thing to realize that all Buddhas, in their original
self-nature, do not have any images. If some extraordinary outer
perspectives should appear, do not try to grab it nor be afraid of it, nor
raise a doubt; since mind in itself is already pure, where can the image be?
Furthermore, do not even raise a thought of respect to Heaven, Dragon,
Yoksa, Gods, soverign Sakra and Brahmin King etc. Nor, be afraid of
them. Your mind is originally void and serene; all appearance is delusory
image; do not follow or try to grasp it.
By raising a thought of Buddha or dharma and a thought of respect
toward Buddha or Bodhisattvas, you are making yourself an indigent-being.
If you want to understand clearly, just do not attach to any kind of form;
there is nothing else to say.
That is the reason why sutra says,
“Whatever has a form, as a whole, is delusory.”
There is no definite reality; illusion does not have any definite form.
This is called the ‘dharma of transitoriness.'
Just avoid grasping the form and it will be, at once, divine truth.
No wonder the sutra says,
“Detaching from all forms, is called the Buddha.”
III. Reason Not to Respect the Buddha-Nature
Student: Why should we not bow to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas?
Bodhidharma: Through magical powers, evil spirits from heaven,
disguise themselves to appear as Buddhas and Bodhisattvas; they
are outsiders, not the Buddhas. Since Buddha is your mind, do not
bow to the wrong one.
What Buddha is, is divine self-awakening, according to different
roots and different types of being. It sometimes blinks its' eye, it
sometimes raises its' eyebrows, sometimes swings its' arms, and
sometimes takes strides with its' legs; all these movements are the
nature of divine self-awakening.
Self-nature is the mind. The Mind is Buddha. Buddha is the Way.
The Way is the Buddha. This word, ‘Buddha' is not comprehensible
by indigent-beings. However, the sutra says that,
“Seeing the original self-nature is Buddha.”
If original self-nature is not seen, then Buddha cannot be. Even though
one can talk about a thousand sutras and even more shastras, as long as
self-nature is not seen, he is still an ordinary-being; that is not the
dharma of Buddha.
The utmost truth is profound and impenetrable; not understood by
word and impossible to be known by sutras. If original self-nature
is seen, it matters not whether one is knowledgeable of letters.
Divine nature, originally immaculate, cannot be tainted; seeing
self-nature is immediately the Buddha. Each and every word is the
functioning from the mind of the sage; but essence of the functioning
is ultimately void and unaccomplished by names and utterances;
so, how could it possibly be attained by the twelve sections of
Truth was, in its' origin, already apprehended clearly; needing
no practice nor attainment. Truth is neither the sound nor the color,
being too profound to be seen. The warmth or coolness of water
can by known only to the one who drinks. Now, do not try to talk
to others about this. Only Tathagata knows, human-beings heaven-beings
and all other beings have absolutely no way of knowing this matter
and cannot realize it.
Ordinary-beings, because of their un-encompassing wisdom are attached
to what appears, without knowing the fact that their own mind is
originally void and serene.
Therefore, if one attaches to phenomena of transitory-dharma, he
naturally becomes an outsider.
If you understood that all dharma came from the mind, then you
would not attach to anything. As soon as one attaches, no thing can
If self-nature is seen, twelve sections of sutra volumes are unnecessary.
Thousands of sutras and even more shastras are only to explain t
he mind. When understanding occurs immediately, then word-dependent
teaching is useless. Ultimate truth is wordless.
Teaching by word is only language, which is not real; truth does not name
itself; whatever is named is illusory.
In a dream, you might see houses of fantasy or palaces, sometimes herds
of elephants or horses, trees, forests, lakes and even gazebos, but, do not,
even in thought, become captivated by the rapture.
You should be so careful because they are creatures of delusion.
Up to the final moment of your life, if you do not chase outward forms,
then all bewilderment will be cut off; but as soon as you raise illusory
thought, you will immediately be led by the devil.
Dharma-body is originally so pure that it has no sense-perception; only by
confusion is one un-knowing and un-awakened.
By illusory cause-and-effect, one becomes enraptured, becomes attached,
and then finally is not free.
It is never too late to awaken your original mind and body; if you realized
your original mind and body, you would not be contaminated by habits.
Sometimes the sages join the ordinary way and disguise themselves in all
different kinds of appearances to help indigent-beings; no kind of karma
can hinder them; that is the reason they are called sages; free to be either
progressive or regressive.
If they had attained sage-hood long before, then, having great virtuous
power, even heaven and hell could not interrupt their ways and all different
karma would simply follow their way.
Ordinary-beings are called ordinary-beings because they are confounded,
not like sages, who are bright inside and outside.
If there is any lack of confidence, do not be overcome by it; once that has
happened, you will fall into the sea of birth-and-death, for which even
regretting cannot help.
Even such things as poverty and suffering come from delusion. Realize
the mind and awaken to it constantly. If one performs without having a
thought of performance, he will immediately enter the world of Buddha's
One, who has initially awakened the mind, may still not be tranquil.
For example, he might see some supernatural view in a dream. Even so,
he should not chase it nor lack confidence either; for everything was
raised by mind.
About the time when the remaining habitual potentialities (karmic power)
have gone and self-nature of truth is fully disclosed, you may see a light
which is brighter than sunshine coming to you. If you have this kind of
experience, it will be an important element in becoming a Buddha. It is
yours only personally and cannot be unfolded to anybody else.
Sometimes while you are walking, stopping, sitting, or lying down in the
quiet forest, you might view, big or small, flashes of light. Do not talk
about it with anyone and do not attach to it; it might be the light from
Sometimes while you are walking, standing, sitting, or lying down at
night, you might view bright-as-daylight-lightening, but do not be
surprised by it.
It may be a signal that your self-nature is getting brighter.
Sometimes the moon and stars are so clear in your dreams, which may
also be a sign that your self mind is liberated from that phenomenal
objectivity. You should not tell this to anyone either; this is your own
experience. If it is so dark in your dream; just like you are traveling in
the middle of the night, you might know that the lack of confidence of
your mind has such a thick wall of which you should be carefully aware.
When one has seen original self-nature, there is no need to understand
sutras or to recite names of Buddhas; learning widely to know a lot,
rather than giving you some benefit, darkens your spirit.
Various forms of teachings were set down for pointing out the mind to us;
however, after the mind is seen, the written teaching is no longer worth
reading. If, as an ordinary-being, you want to co-exist with sages, you
should rest your karma and, for your lifetime, nourish the spirit in
accordance with your own ability. The farther away you are from the
truth, the more the hateful and pleasurable states arise, which is also
self-deception without benefit. The sage is free within birth-and-death;
coming and going, hiding and disclosing, being unpredictable. No karma
interrupts him; rather, he prevails over wicked devils.
When indigent-beings see the original self-nature, the rest of their
habitual potentiality totally dissolves, until, finally, the spirit is no longer
If you truly want to know Tao, do not attach to a single dharma; instead,
rest your karma and nourish the spirit. When the rest of your habitual
potentiality is dissolved, it will naturally be brightened, and finally, you
will have no thing to study.
Since their understanding is not compatible with Buddha's, all the
outsiders, no matter
how hard they work to be enlightened, still go counter-motion to and far
from Buddha's blessed vision. In spite of their chanting Buddha's name
and reading the sutras with great effort, their darkened spirit cannot escape
Buddha is a non-doer; how could he have something additional to do?
What are you going to do after eagerly looking for fame and fortune?
Only the people who have not seen self-nature are reading the sutras and
chanting names of Buddhas. They believe that long practices, such as;
chanting six times a day, sitting for long periods without lying down, and
learning widely to know a lot, are Buddha-dharma. But, these kinds of
ndigent-beings are actually humiliating the Buddha-dharma.
All the Buddhas, earlier and later, only emphasize the necessity of seeing
self-nature. The greatest sin is to not see self-nature while ignorantly
saying, ‘I have attained the higher truth.'
Among the great disciples of Buddha's time, Ananda was the most
knowledgeable and experienced. Buddha once reprimanded him, saying,
“Let all Great Listeners and Outsiders try to become knowledge-less.”
Because the attainment of Knowledge by numerous words leads to the
dharma of cause- and-effect. This is the natural Karmic cycle of
indigent-beings, that they cannot avoid birth-and-death, and that goes
against the Buddha-dharma; it is actually the indigent-beings who humiliate
the Buddha, and, even though you kill them, it would not be a sin..”
If one has awakened to the faithful mind, this one is abiding at the
level of Buddha; without seeing the self-nature you must not humiliate
another wise one at all. For, self-deception is not beneficial by any means.
The good and the bad are already distinct, Heaven and Hell are crystal
clear right in front of your eyes.
Although falling into the dark hell caused by not having awakened
faithful mind, the unwise ones can neither understand nor notice it.
Why? Because Karma was impacted so heavily, they could not believe it.
It is just like a blind man not believing in sunshine. Even if someone told
him about it, still, he would not believe it; the reason is only that he does
not have the eye to discriminate the sunshine from the darkness.
The unwise ones are just like this; right this minute they are being born
as animal; as one of various unknown creatures or sometimes of poor and
lower class beings, and cannot determine at all what they want to be;
they want to exist, but cannot, they want to not to
exist, but must.
Even though they are in such suffering every moment, when they are
questioned directly, they would rather answer by saying,
“My pleasure at the present time is
No different from being in heaven.”
Therefore, it is easy for us to see that all indigent-beings do not notice
nor understand their origin and instead, define their present condition as
ultimate satisfaction. They are evil-beings because of heavily stored
karma. By knowing that self-mind is Buddha, anyone can be Buddha,
whether one shaves his head and beard or not.
However, if self-nature is not seen, even though they are shaved, they are
IV. Tao Has Nothing to Do with Being Priest or Layperson
Student: The layperson has a wife and children, so he has not yet cut
out the sexual desire. How can he become Buddha?
Bodhidharm'a: I have just talked about seeing nature, not the sexual desire.
If you saw the self nature, sexual desire would already be void and serene;
there would be nothing to attach; even though one may still have habitual
potentiality, it would not be disruptive.
For what reason?
Self-nature is originally immaculate; although buried underneath physical
body which holds the five skandhas, the self-nature is originally pure and
cannot be tainted.
Truth(Dharma)-body originally does not have sense-perception; not of
hunger and thirst, nor of cold and heat; it gas no diseases nor sickness;
is neither blessed nor loved; is of no religious sect; undergoes neither
suffering nor pleasure; is neither good nor bad, not long nor short and
neither strong nor weak. Therefore, originally, there is nothing to be
attained but, rather, just this physical body created those conditions
of hunger and thirst, cold, heat, diseases and sicknesses, etc. If those
cannot deceive you anymore, then behave however you want; for, even
in the midst of life-and-death, you have already attained freedom and are
able to roll the Dharma-wheel just like all the sages, without having obstacles.
Then there is no place which is not comfortable.
But, if mind is still lacking clarity and all kinds of outside phenomena
are still barriers to you, then it means there is no way to avoid karmic result.
However, if self-nature were seen, even the butcher could naturally
attain the Buddhahood.
V. Even Butcher Can Attain the Buddhahood
Student: Killing is Butchers' job; how can they attain Buddhahood?
Bodhidharma: I have told you just to see the self-nature; not about
the resulting karma; although one who saw self-nature is creating karma,
still, he is different from the confused ones; that is, all variety of karma
would not imprison him.
From the beginningless beginning, just because ones have not seen
the self-nature, they have been falling into the hell. Because of this karma,
they produced and are still rolling the birth-and-death wheel; but if original
nature were enlightened, karmic power would, at last, no longer be manufactured.
Without seeing the self-nature, chanting and prayer will not prevent you
from cause-and-effect. Killing is, compared to this, of no great concern.
If one, by seeing self-nature, totally eliminated the confused doubt, even
killing live creatures would not be disruptive to him.
Twenty eight patriarchs from India before me have only transmitted mind.
My coming to this country(China) is just to point out Sudden enlightenment
which is the dharma of Mind-is-Buddha; I am not interested in practicing the
precepts, excruciating training, ascetic practices, or magical ways of entering
the fire or water, standing on the tip of the swords, the eating of only one
meal a day, or sitting for long periods of time without lying down.
Those who practice such are all outsiders dependent upon dharma-of-doing.
Your mind is those Buddhas mind, As long as you see the divine-awakening-nature
in each and movement.
All the Buddhas, former and later, have taught a Dharma-of-transmitting-the-mind
and no other dharma.
By seeing this mind, without knowing a letter, Buddhahood can be attained.
Although working hard even until physical body becomes ashes, without
knowing the divine self-awakening-nature, Buddhahood cannot de attained.
Buddha is called either Truth-body (Dharma-body) or the awakened-mind.
This mind is formless, cause-and-effectless, muscle-and-boneless; it is just
like empty space; you cannot grab it. And, above all, it is different from
material-world and different from
Only Tathagata, one man, knows this mind; any other creatures or
confused ones do not know completely.
This mind is not separate from four elements of the physical body;
without this mind one who moves does not exist. This body does not
have knowing, just like weeds and trees; or like rooftile this corpse itself
does not have feeling and sensation; how can it move?
When the mind moves, saying, doing, seeing, hearing, feeling, and
knowing are all movement of the mind and movement of functioning.
Because this movement is moving of the mind; moving itself is functioning.
Without moving and functioning, there is no mind; and, without mind,
there is no movement. Yet, what is moving is not mind; what the mind
is does not move; because movement itself, does not have the mind;
mind, itself does not have movement.
Movement is not separate from mind; and mind is not separate from
movement, but the mind is neither separation nor what is separated;
the mind, also, is neither movement nor what is moved.
This is the function of the mind and on what the mind functions;
this is the movement of the mind and what the mind has moved;
this is the function of the mind itself and what the mind itself has moved.
This is the movement of the mind itself and what the mind itself has moved.
The mind is neither 'movement' nor' 'function'. The origin of functioning
itself is empty; for no movement can be allowed in emptiness.
Both, movement and functioning are the mind. But no movement
can be allowed in the essence of the mind. This is the reason, sutra says,
It moves without moving.
All day and night it goes and comes, but it has never gone and
never come; all day and night it sees, yet it has never seen; laughed,
yet has never laughed; listened, yet has never listened; knows all the time,
yet has no knowledge; happy, yet has never been happy; walking around,
yet it has never walked around; and finally, abiding(somewhere),
yet has never abided.
That is the reason sutra says,
Word-and-utterance is for all time severed,
Thought and it's abiding place are also annihilated.
Seeing, hearing, feeling, and knowing, themselves are completely serene;
how possibly dan anger, pleasure, itching, and suffering be different from
the original self?
No matter how hard you look for them, you can find them no-where.
Therefore sutra says,
Bad karmic elements will result in srffering, and good karmic
elements of karma will result in happiness.
Anger results in falling into hell, happiness results in being born in heaven;
however, if one sees the empty nature of anger and happiness without
having attachment, then, he will immediately be free from karmic power.
So once more, If one has not seen the self-nature, no matter how well
one teaches and speaks of the sutras and shastras, it would not be of
Although it requires endlell discussion to explain all the necessities,
nevertheless, I have here simply represented what is wrong and right,
although details are still not adequate.
I will tell you by gatha:
The Mind, which calls the mind, 'the mind'
Has, no way to be seen;
When expanded it wraps round the whole world,
When contracted, it permits not even the tip of a needle.
I am just searching for the mind;
Never looked for the Buddha
Everything in the three different cosmos is void;
I truly understand know no thing exists.
If you are looking for Buddha,
Just search the mind;
This mind which you are calling 'the mind',
This is the Buddha which is mind itself.
Even though originally I am searching for the mind,
The mind in itself already knows it all.
If you want to search for the mind,
Do not try to understand it with the mind.
The nature of Buddha,
Cannot be attained outside of the mind,
As soon as a mind arises,
Sin will also arise.
Transmission Gatha to the Second Patriarch;
I came to this country
To liberate all indigent-beings by transmitting Dharma;
One flower will open five leaves,
The fruit will be ripened naturally:
Gateway to Son: Volume II
Bodhidharma: On Mind Watching I-XXV
Edited by Master Hye Am. Translated by Master Muvong
I. Watch Your Mind
Bodhidharma: The one dharma of mind-watching embraces all activities; it is thus called, conclusive and fundamental.
The mind is the source of the ten-thousand dharmas; every dharma is derived from the mind; if the mind were understood, ten-thousand activities would also be completed.
As if every branch, flower and fruit of an immense tree were possible from one root, to take care of the tree, one should sustain the root to provide life.To destroy the tree, one should remove the root to allow it to die.
When the mind is understood, cultivating Tao is easily accomplished with little effort. If not, it is a useless effort without result.
Therefore, you should know that all the good and bad comes from the mind in itself.Looking for it outside is not right.
II.A. Mind Motives of the Pure and Tainted Dharma
Bodhidharma: Four elements and five skandhas are originally void, and self-less. But, you should know there are two different functions of the mind.
What are the two?
The first is of the pure mind; the second is of the tainted mind.
The pure mind means the non-karmic and unmovable true mind-as-it-is.
The tainted mind means the quo-karmic, unenlightened, dark mind.
These two different minds are originally cohesive.
Under karmic conditions, they coexist without affecting each other.
Pure mind always enjoys the good cause. Tainted mind always thinks of evil works.
If the unmovable mind were awakened and understood, then enlightenment could not be tainted.
One is called a holy sage, who, free from suffering, attains Nirvanic Happiness. One entangled and covered by tainted, evil works is called an ordinary-being. He continuously falls into three different cosmos and receives many sufferings.
Why? Because the tainted mind blinds one to the essence of the unmovable true mind-as-it-is.
II.B. True Mind Is Not Disclosed because of Delusion
In the Ten-Mind-Worlds Sutra it is said:
“Within the body of an indigent-being is a diamond Buddha-nature;
Like the luminous radiance, of bright sunshine and as vast and limitless;
But, it is just not visible because of the black cloud of the five skandhas;Like a candle (which cannot be seen) inside a bottle.”
Also, in the Nirvana Sutra is the following:
“All indigent-beings have the Buddha-Nature;
But have not attained Nirvana, because the unenlightened darkness has concealed it.”
II.C. Good Dharma Is the Root of Enlightening
By Buddha-nature we understand enlightenment.
If one enlightens himself, and self-gnostic wisdom is brightened by separation from what is covered, it is called the complete liberation.
Then, it is certain to be known that all good dharma is the root of the enlightenment.
By the root of enlightenment, each and every tree of virtue and merit will appear; and also, the fruits of Nirvana can be perfected.
This is what we call, right-mind-watching.
III.A. Evil Dharma Is the Root of Three Poisonous Minds
Hye Ka: (2nd Chinese Patriarch) What is the root of the unenlightened, dark mind and all sin?
Bodhidharma: The unenlightened dark mind has eighty-four thousand sufferings (defilements) and lusts; the sins are as many as the sands of the Ganges River.In short, they are all derived from three poisons; greedy mind, angry mind, and ignorant mind
These three poisonous minds are like one immense tree having only one root but an immeasurable number of branches and leaves.The three poisonous minds originally prevailed over all sins.
Furthermore, when this poisonous root creates all varieties of karmic sins, it is actually a hundred, thousand, or even ten-thousand times bigger than the simile of branches and leave.
III.B. Original Face of the Six Thieves
These three poisons came from the essential one body.
When it is transformed according to the six sense roots, it becomes six thieves; and six thieves are six consciousnesses.
These six consciousnesses create evil karmas when they respond to the six roots; it will automatically be affected by the outer perspectives and become an obstacle for truth as-it-is That is why we call them six thieves. As a result of these three poisons and six thieves causing confused body and mind, all indigent-beings fall into life-death and enter the six branches of the karmic chain. Thus, all the sufferings follow.
It is like one great river formed by the gathering of many small, ceaselessly flowing streams to make ten-thousand miles of meandering river current.
IV.A Cut Out the Three Poisons
If one cuts out the root and stream, then all flowing will cease; one who wishes to attain Nirvana (must) turn the three poisons into the three immaculate precepts (practice good dharma, liberate all indigent beings, and uphold the precepts) and turn the six thieves into the six paramitas.
IV.B. Enlightenment Gives You Freedom from the Three Different Cosmos
Bodhidharma: All the karmic sequences in the three different cosmos only came from the mind. If you awaken the mind, even though you are in the three different cosmos you will be free from them.Three different cosmos are three kinds of poisons: Greed, the world of desire; Anger, the world of visual form; and Ignorance, the formless world.
By these three poisons all bad karmic causes will be created and karmic effects will be built; thus, allowing entry into the six branches of karmic sequences (i.e., wandering around like a wheel). These are what we call, three different cosmos.
V. Confusion Creates the Six Branches
If an indigent-being practices the good without understanding the right motive (of enlightenment), he cannot avoid the three different cosmos, and will be reborn in the Three Light Branches.
What are the three light branches?
If one practices the ten good conducts (three by body, four by mouth, and three by will) with a confused mind, but wishes happiness, then he cannot escape the desire of happiness, and he will be born in heaven.
If one practices the five great precepts with a confused mind, but still creates delusory hatred and love, then he cannot escape the feeling of anger, and he will be born in the human-body.
If one practices the evil dharma by clinging to the form of doing with a confused mind, but looks forward to fortune, then he cannot escape the ignorance of non-virtuous wishes; and he will be born as an Asura branch.
These are the three light branches.
What are the three heavy branches?
They are the creation of bad karma by the licentious use of the three poisonous minds.
The abundantly greedy one will become the hungry ghost branch.
The abundantly angry one will fall into the hell branch.
The abundantly ignorant one will go to the animal branch.
The combination of these three heavy and light branches becomes the six branches.
Therefore, you should know that evil karma came from the mind. If the mind were controlled well, separated from all sins, then the karma in the three different cosmos would naturally disappear.
All suffering would vanish; that is why it is called Nirvana.
VI. By Three Poisonous Minds, a Centillion Number of Things Appear
Once he was asked about the centillion number of things.
Bodhidharma: This is also the three poisonous minds by which countless (in Sanskrit it is asamkaya, in Chinese it means count-less, in English it is centillion) centillion bad thoughts arise in the mind numbering as many as the sands of the Ganges River, each thought lasting for one kalpa. The Ganges sands are countless. Because the three poisonous evil thoughts are as many as the sands of the Ganges River, we say countless.
Self-nature of truth-as-it-is is already surrounded by the three poisonous minds. Until all bad thoughts numbering as many as the sands of the Ganges River are transcended, how can Nirvana be attained?
If one now eliminates greed, anger, and ignorance, it is the same as transcending cnetillion kalpas. The indigent-beings living in the last era of the world are dull, they just do not understand Tathagata's deep and sublime truth and the three-centillion kalpas' secret word, and say,
After three-centillion kalpas have passed,
One may become Buddha.
What a terrible misunderstanding! Which caused cultivators from the last era of the world to retreat from the way of great enlightenment.
VII. Further Elucidation of Three Immaculate Precepts and Six Paramitas
Hye Ka: As I am concerned, in order to attain the Buddha-Tao a student must practice the three immaculate precepts and six perfections. Why do you say to uphold only the dharma of watching their minds?
Without keeping the precepts, how can one attain the Buddhahood?
Bodhidharma: Three immaculate precepts mean eliminating the three poisonous minds. When ones' poisonous mind is eliminated, an immeasurable bundle of good will be completed.
Three of them together mean if one could eliminate all three poisonous minds, then, the three immeasurable goodnesses could be gathered together in the mind.
Six perfections (in Sanskrit it means Paramita; in Chinese it means, cross-over-to-the-other-shore; in English it means, perfection) mean to give light to the six sense roots.
If the six sense-roots were immaculately purified without the taint of worldly defilement, then one would arrive at the other shore free from bewilderment. That is why we say, six paramitas.
Hye Ka: In the three immaculate precepts, one vows to nullify all sins, vows to practice all the good, and vows to liberate all indigent-beings.
Now you are saying, only eliminate the three poisonous minds; is this not contradictory?
Bodhidharma: Whatever Buddha said in the sutra is true and has no fault.
The Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas took three different vows when they cultivated the conducts of the Bodhisattva.
In order to prevail over the three poisonous minds, they uphold the three great vows and keep the three immaculate precepts; to keep the precept means to prevail over the poisonous greed, because one vows to cut out various sins.
To practice meditation means to prevail over poisonous anger, because one vows to cultivate various goodnesses.
To perfect the wisdom is to prevail over the poisonous ignorance, because one vows to liberate indigent beings.
By upholding the three immaculate dharmas of precept, meditation, and wisdom, one overcomes the three poisonous karmas and attains Buddhahood. If the three poisonous minds were controlled, everything would be diminished.
That is why we call it eliminating. If the three immaculate precepts were upheld, then every good would be fulfilled.
That is the reason it is called cultivation. Nullifying sin and cultivating the good will result in complete perfection; ‘I's and others will benefit and free all indigent-beings.
That is why it is called liberation (perfection).
Therefore, practicing the precepts is not departed from the mind.
VIII. Pure Mind; Pure Buddha Country
If my mind is pure, every indigent-being's mind is pure. As the sutra says:
“When the mind is dirty, the indigent-being is also dirty. When the mind is pure, the indigent-being is also pure.”
It also said,
“In order to purify the Buddha-country, first purify your mind. When your mind is purified, Buddha-Country will be purified.”
If you can control the three poisonous minds well, the three immaculate precepts will automatically be perfected.
IX. Further Explanation of the Six Paramitas
Hye Ka: The six paramitas are contribution, upholding precepts, patience and tolerance, zeal in progress, serenity, and wisdom. And now you have said, ‘when the six sense roots are pure, that is the six paramitas'; what does that mean?
Bodhidharma: If you want to practice the six paramitas you have to purify the six sense roots; to do that you must prevail over the Six Thieves.
If you get rid of a thief in the eye, then you will be free from the color of outer perspectives; your mind would not be stingy anymore. And then you can call it unconditional contribution.
If you get rid of the thief in the ear, then you will be free from the sound of outer perspectives. That is why they call it upholding the precepts.
If you get rid of the thief in your nose, then you will be free of both stench and fragrance. That is the reason they call it patience and tolerance.
If you get rid of a thief in your tongue, then you will be free of any craving for evil taste. Whether speaking or reading, you would not raise any thought of dislike. That is why it is called, zeal in progress.
And if you get rid of a thief in your body, then you will be superb and immovable by any affection. That is why it is called, unmovable serenity.
If you prevail over the consciousness thieves, then you will not chase the ignorant darkness, will always practice the self-gnostic wisdom, and will cultivate all various virtue and merit. That is why it is call wisdom.
Also, wisdom means, ‘carrying out'; so, the six perfections, like a ship, carry the indigent-being toward the other shore; that is why they call the six paramitas, or liberation, crossing-to-the-other-shore.
X. Milk of Truth
Student: I heard that Buddha drank three bucketfuls and six bowlfuls of milk before he attained Buddhahood. Why do you now say, complete liberation (Nirvana) can be attained by watching the mind?
Bodhidharma: The milk Buddha drank is not ordinary, impure milk, rather milk of the immaculate truth-as-it-is.
Three bucketfuls mean three immaculate precepts. Six bowlfuls mean six paramitas; Buddha attained the Tao by drinking this immaculate truth-milk.
If one says rather, ‘Buddha drank the milk which comes from the carnal knowledge complicated by dirty and soured milk', this is actually humiliating the Buddha.
The name, Tathagata implies the meaning of, firmness of a diamond, and imperishable and non-karmic True-Body; it is already free from ordinary sufferings. How can thirst be satiated by this impure milk?
A sutra says,
“This ox does not reside in the higher valley,
This ox does not eat crops or chaff,
Nor play with other oxen.
Its' body has a purple jade-like golden color.
This ox is no different from the luminous omnipresent, Buddha; with great love and compassion, it has pity for all indigent-beings. The immaculate Dharma-Body produced the sublime truth-milk of the three immaculate precepts and six perfections and nursed all who wished to attain complete liberation. Not just Buddha himself, but any who drink this milk will attain the highest, right and true Tao.”
XI. What Is Church?
Student: In the Sutra is says that,
“Building a church and carving holy images,
Burning incense, scattering flowers,
Burning everlasting candles, or
Having a ceremony six times a day;
By the virtue and merit of practice, anyone will
Attain the Buddha-Tao.”
Now you are telling me that ‘one truth of mind-watching' embraces all activities!
It must be a joke!
Bodhidharma: Indigent-beings have dull minds, lack wisdom and do not know the deep and sublime truth. That is the reason uncountable expedient methods help all indigent-beings and expose the formless-doing through the form-of-doing.
Without cultivating the inside of your mind, just looking for fortune outside of your mind is not the right thing to do.
Building a church (immaculate zone in Sanskrit) means getting rid of the three poisonous minds and always having clean sense roots. By this, body and mind are humble and immaculate on either side; this is the building of a church.
XII. Casting the Image of Buddha
For every indigent-being casting Buddha's statue, is the motivated action to attain Buddha-Tao.
They symbolically make Tathagata's figure and sublime form to cultivate all the actions of enlightenment. This does not refer to a statue that was made by the process of molding using gold or copper.
Therefore, one who wishes to attain the complete liberation should think of his own body as a melting pot, dharma as a fire, wisdom as a technician, and the three immaculate precepts and six perfections as a casting dome.
Thus, the Buddha-nature of truth-as-it-is, is melted and put into the casting dome of all precepts. Follow and uphold all the teachings without missing a part. Naturally, the true form of the image will be completed.
At last it can be called the perpetually sublime dharma-body, which is not the dharma from the form-of-doing.
While looking for the Tao, if one does not know how to draw or mold the true form, how, then, can he achieve virtue and merit?
XIII. What Are the Five Incenses?
The burning of incense does not mean the ordinary form of incense, but the formless-doing or righteous dharma of incense.
It represents prevailing over stenches, eliminating the darkened, evil karmas, and, finally, burning them away.
There are five kinds of righteous truth incenses:
First is the incense of the precept; to nullify all sins and to practice all the good.
Second is the incense of the unmovable serenity; to have faith in the righteous mind without retreating.
Third is the incense of limitless wisdom; to watch the mind alertly from inside and outside of the body and mind.
Fourth is the incense of complete liberation; to release all entanglements of unenlightened darkness.
Fifth is the incense of the self-perceiving eye of complete liberation; to always feel and watch clearly, completely free of obstacles.
These five incenses are the highest incenses, which cannot be compared with any from the ordinary world. Buddha said:
“Burn the most valuable incenses with the wisdom-fire and offer to each and every Buddha in the ten directions.”
People today are so ignorant, they do not understand the true meaning of the incenses. They only try to use outside fire and different forms of material composition of incense for fortune-seeking which is impossible.
XIV. How To Scatter the Flowers?
Scattering the flowers also means the same thing. By spreading the virtuous flowers of the righteous dharma, one helps sentient-beings. By utilizing all true self-nature-as-it-is, one omnipresently adorns the world. These virtuous flowers are what Buddha praises highly, and which perpetually cannot fade or be shed.
If anyone scatters these flowers, he will receive immaculate virtue and merit.
It should not be said that Buddha asked disciples or indigent-beings to cut beautiful silks or cut the flower blossoms in order to scatter the flowers. If someone says that Buddha requested that, then he is wrong. Why? Because, one who upholds the precepts should not destroy any part of the universe; even killing by mistake could be a great sin.
Then, breaking of the precepts by deliberately hurting any part of the nature?
How can they expect any fortune by this action? Even though of benefit, if detrimental, how can it be right?
XV. What is Lighting the Candle?
Everlasting candle means the truly awakened mind; candle refers to the brightness of self-gnostic enlightenment.
Therefore, one who is looking for complete liberation should think of his body as the base of the candleholder, his mind as the candleholder; faith as the wick, the incense of the precept as wax or oil, and the lighting of wisdom as candle-light.
You should burn this bright candle (destroyer of darkness) all the time, radiating toward unenlightened darkness and prevailing over it.
If you become enlightened by these dharmas, one by one, it means one candles' light carries over to ten thousand candles and, finally, to a limitless number. That is why it is called, the everlasting candle.
Once upon a time there was a Buddha named, Lantern-Lighter; who is like the lighter of the everlasting candle. An indigent-being did not understand the expediency of the method that Buddha used in his speech, so instead, he demonstrated delusory behavior and attached to the form of doing by burning sesame oil, lighting the empty rooms, and sincerely thinking, that he is taking refuge in the sutras.
What a great mistake! Why? If Buddha radiated light from a hair between two eyebrows, it would enlighten the ten-thousand plus eight-thousand worlds.
And if his whole body radiated the light, then it would enlighten the whole world from ten directions.
How can we even talk about benefit from ordinary candlelight?
Watch this meaning carefully; you will know what is wrong.
XVI. How to Operate the Tao?
To operate the Tao six times a day implies to operate the Buddha-Tao in the six sense roots all the time.
By operating all the good conducts of enlightenment so as to control the six sense roots without abandoning them, is called operating six different kinds of Tao.
Stupa is nothing but body and mind; bright wisdom is the real ceremony of encircling the stupa.
Past sages attained Nirvana by operating this Tao, but people today do not understand this. They cannot be called Men of Tao.
The ignorant ones, without operating within, rather look outside for karmic result thereby tiring themselves, by encircling the stupa day and night. But, that is not beneficial for self-nature at all. What a pity it is!
XVII. How to Discipline Body and Mind
Discipline means, ‘everything stays in order'; this means, cultivate the body and mind eagerly and un-chaotically.
It also implies, ‘protection'; that is, righteously upholding the conduct of the precepts; disallow the six carnal bad feelings, control the three poisonous minds; awaken enthusiastically; be alert; and keep the body and mind pure. Then if all is done, we can call it maintaining disciplines.
XVIII. What is Proper Nourishment?
There are five different kinds of nourishment.
First, the enthusiastic dharma nourishment; depend on the Buddha's right dharma, uphold it with pleasure, and cultivate it.
Second, the meditative, joyful nourishment; inside and outside are tranquil and bright; mind and body are joyful.
Third, the mindful nourishment; always thinking of Buddha mindfully, mind and mouth are in accord with each other.
Fourth, the vowing nourishment; either coming or going, staying, sitting, or lying down, always determined with good vows.
Fifth, the great liberation nourishment; mind is always immaculate and should not be tainted by worldly dust.
That is the reason it is called, ‘proper nourishment'.
XIX. What is Fasting?
‘Fasting' means eliminating the eating of dark and sinful karma; the confused and ignorant people do not understand this and, as a result, create all types of evil karmas by the licentious body and mind and the craving of passionate lust without shame.
They think only of outside fasting, saying that they have kept the discipline; it is like the foolish children calling a decaying corpse a living person. It is a mistake.
XX. What Is True Prayer?
Prayer means always being in accordance with Truth (Dharma).
The essential meaning of the act of prayer can be understood by the action itself. Although it may be of changing appearance, still, the essential meaning cannot be discarded. But, the act of prayer exposes what is apparent and what is hidden.
If one understood this, he might be in accord with the dharma.
Generally speaking, prayer means respecting highly and kneeling down in submission.
In this case if one respects the true self-nature, and if unenlightened darkness has knelt down, in submission, then it can be called prayer. Since they respect, they do not humiliate. Since it knelt down, it cannot be negligent. If sinful thought permanently vanishes and good thought steadily stays, then, even though it is not seen from the outside, one is continually in prayer.
What is apparent is the physical appearance when they bow in respect. In order to submit their minds and humble themselves, the ordinary-beings kneel down in respect to an outer image of Buddha.
When it is functioning, then it is exposed (as bowing). When that functioning is eliminated, then it is hidden. Only when self-nature and physical form are in mutual accord can inside-wisdom be brightened through physical prayer.
When one is attached to only the outside form of prayers, then he will be negligent, having greed, anger, and ignorance; raising sinful thought inside and having only false prayer outside, which is not real prayer. This is deceiving the sages and fooling the wise ones. The karmic consequence of this endures!
XXI. What Is Bathing?
Hye Ka: In the Hot-House Sutra it says:
“If one helps the monks bathe,
Then he will receive immeasurable fortune.”
Can it be accomplished by just mind-watching?
Bodhidharma: Bathing the monks does not mean the ordinary form of doing with physical functioning.
It was presented as a metaphor to explain the fundamental truth, including seven things;
First, clean water;
Second, lighting the fire;
Fourth, tooth brush;
Fifth, cleaning powder;
If one uses these seven dharmas to wash and freshen the body, by what can he eliminate the dirt from the three poisonous darknesses.
What are the seven dharmas?
First, truthful precepts; warm the moral flaws and cleanse them like clear water washing off all the dirt.
Second, wisdom; Be watchful both inside and outside; just like the flame of fire warms water.
Third, distinction; identify and separate sins; just like soap eliminates all dirt.
Fourth, truthfulness; eliminate all untruthful talk; like a tooth brush eliminates stenches from the mouth.
Fifth, right faith; after right determination there is no other secondary thinking; like washing powder rubbed on the body clears up infection.
Sixth, breath control; control all heavy inclinations; like the oil makes skin soft and lustrous.
Seventh; knowing shame; neglect all bad karmas; like underclothes cover up a naked body.
These seven things are all the hidden dharma inside the sutra. People today just do not know this.
What is the ‘Hot-House'? Hot-house implies the physical body. With the fire of wisdom, clean and warm the bathtub of the precepts. Wash the truth-as-it-is and the Buddhahood inside of body; adorn the self with the seven dharmas.
All the monks at that time were very bright and wise; they understood what Buddha tried to say and practiced as it was said. And finally they attained the virtues and reached the holy stages. But today's indigent-being is ignorant, dull, and without understanding of this and only says, ‘ordinary water will wash these bodies', while saying, ‘we sincerely take refuge in Buddha's teaching'.
Is that not wrong?
And furthermore, true Buddha-nature-as-it-is has no mark of ordinary-being and, dirt of the bewilderment originally has no form; how can water wash the body of unenlightened darkness? It does not make sense, so how can Tao be understood?
So, contemplate it like this;
This body originally came from an impure greed, where it stinks and excretions are inside and outside.
Although you want to be clean by washing the body, like trying to wash dirty soil; it can never be purified. So you should know that washing outside, naturally, has nothing to do with what Buddha has to say.
XXII. What is Chanting?
Bodhidharma: To chant (recite Buddha) is to practice righteous thought.
Imperfect understanding (which is believing that only certain indigent-beings will be enlightened) is unreliable (devilish thinking).
Right thought will necessarily result in true pleasure. By unreliable thought, on the other hand, how can we cross over to the other shore?
Buddha means to protect oneself from the creation of sin by awakening and watching the body and mind.
Thinking is re-minding, which means, re-collecting the conducts of the precepts without forgetting and practicing diligently.
Understanding this significance at last can be called right-thinking. Therefore, you should know well, thought comes from the mind, not from the word.
By the net, fish can be caught. By speaking, the meaning can be captured.
If it has already the name of ‘reciting', then one should recite the essence (thinking of Buddha).
Without the reality of the essence of chanting, it is useless to recite only the empty name. What benefit can result? Also, remembering and recollecting are far different in name and meaning. Using only the mouth is chanting, doing with the mind is recollecting.
Therefore, reciting comes from the mind. It is gateway of awakening-cultivation. On the other hand, chanting from memory belongs to the mouth, which belongs to the form of the sound. Attaching to the form of sound and looking for fortune is wrong.
XXIII. Gathered Forms Returning to the Mind
The sutra says,
“Whatever has a form, as a whole, is delusory.”
And also said,
“If by figure one would see me,
If by voice one would hear me,
This one is practicing the evil truth;
Cannot see the Tathagata.”
By these contemplations we could easily know that whatever has form cannot be permanent.
Therefore you should know well that all sages in the past time cultivated virtue and merit by talking of nothing but this mind.
Mind is the source of all sages. Mind is the master of all sins. The highest true pleasure also comes from the mind. On the other hand, all karmic cycles of the three different cosmos are also raised from this mind.
Mind is the entrance-of-liberation from the ordinary world. Mind is also the landing-pier of Nirvana. One who knows the entrance should not worry about whether he can accomplish it or not.
XXIV. Do Not Fallaciously Build Buddha-Statues or Temples
Foolish people today think that erecting the visual form of a building is of great virtue and merit. They spend a lot of money on materials.
By doing it they fallaciously kill creatures on the earth and in the water.And they uselessly use manpower to build; wasting the wood boards and blocks and coloring them.
They exhaust themselves and confuse others shamelessly.
Now what enlightenment will result?
While one talks about the dharma of form-of-doing, they eagerly follow it, but, when they are told of the dharma of formless-doing, they become like a non-responsive blockhead.
While looking for small entertainment, they do no foresee the great suffering in the future.
This kind of study will not only tire them but also cause them to turn their back upon the right way and to turn toward the evil path. Deceivingly they say, ‘gain fortune'.
XXV. Final Advice on Mind-Watching
Just awaken the mind and be alert. Turn your attention from the outside and radiate within. Let the awakening and watching be perpetually alive and bright.
Cut off the three poisonous minds. Permanently melt them away. Close the door of the six Thieves entrance, so they cannot sneak in.
Then, immeasurable, as the sands of the Ganges River, virtue and merit, various adornment, and dharma will be attained.
Pass over the old beings and attain the holy result. A second could be a far distance away.
Since enlightenment is between now and the blink of an eye, why should we wait for gray hairs?
True Dharma gate is so profound and bottomless, how can we talk of it at all? We have only been talking of a simple way of watching the mind to let it be seen a little.