Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Early Chan Meditation 2: Daoxin (Tao-hsin) — practice, with understanding, and with realization

A Radical Edit of 'Pacifying the Mind' contained in 
'Record of the Lanka Masters and Disciples'

There is no separate Buddha apart from mind, and no other mind apart from Buddha. To be mindful of Buddha is to be mindful of mind. To seek mind is to seek Buddha. Why? Consciousness has no shape, Buddha has no form. Knowing this truth is pacifyng mind. With constant mindfulness of Buddha, grasping at objects does not arise. Then it is totally formless, everywhere equal and without duality. When you enter this station, the mind that [actively] remembers Buddha fades away and no longer has to be summoned. When you witness this type of mind, this is the true reality-nature body of the Tathagata. It is also called the Correct Dharma, buddha-nature, the real identity of all phenomena, reality itself. It is also called the Pure Land. It is also called bodhi, diamond samadhi, fundamental enlightenment, and so on. It is also called the realm of nirvana, and prajna, and the like. Though the names are countless, they all share one and the same essence. There is no sense of the subject observing and the object observed.


There are four kinds of people who study. The highest are those with practice, with understanding, and with realization. Next are those with understanding and realization but without practice. Next are those with practice and understanding but without realization. Lowest are those with practice, but without understanding or realization. Question: In the moment, how should we practice contemplation?

Daoxin said: You must let it roll.


Is it that mind is buddha, or that mind makes buddha? We must realize that mind is buddha-outside of mind there is no other buddha. In brief, there are five types [of approaches to this truth] .

One: by realizing that the mind-essence is by nature pure and clean, that this essence is the same as buddha.

Two: By realizing that the mind-function produces Dharma jewels and creates eternal quiescence, that the myriad forms of delusion are all Thus.

Three: By always awakening without stopping, so that the awakened mind is always present, aware that Reality is formless.

Four: By constantly contemplating bodily existence as empty and still, inner and outer pervaded and equalized, entering bodily into the realm of reality without obstruction.

Fifth: By preserving unity and not stirring, always abiding through motion and stillness, enabling the learner to clearly see buddha-nature and quickly enter the gate of concentration.


Those who hear should practice: don't be doubtful and confused. It is like a person learning archery. At first he shoots at large targets. By and by he can hit smaller and smaller ones. Then he can hit a single feather, then hit and smash it into a hundred pieces, then hit one of the hundredths. Then he can shoot the arrow before with the arrow after, and hit the notch, so the arrows line up one after another and he does not let any arrows fall.

This is a metaphor for practicing the Path, concentrating the mind from thought-instant to thought-instant, going on continuously from mind-moment to mind-moment without any interruptions, so that correct mindfulness is not broken and appears before you.


When beginning students sit in meditation, in undivided stillness they directly contemplate body and mind. They must investigate the four elements and the five skandhas, eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body feeling, and conceptual mind, greed, anger, and ignorance, along with all phenomena, whether good or bad, hostile or friendly, ordinary or holy. They must observe that all these are originally empty and still, unborn and undestroyed, everywhere equal and without duality. Since the beginning there has been nothing at all, just ultimate quiescent extinction. Since the beginning, just pure liberation. You must do this contemplation always, no matter whether day or night, whether you are walking, standing, sitting, or lying down.

If you do, you will realize that your own bodily existence is like the moon in the water, like an image in a mirror, like a mirage when it is hot, like an echo in an empty valley. If you say it exists, wherever you seek it, it cannot be seen. If you say it does not exist, when you comprehend completely, it is always before your eyes. The buddhas' body of reality is also like this. Then you come to know that from countless ages past your own body has ultimately never been born, and that in the future ultimately there is no one who dies. If you can always do this contemplation, this is true repentance: the heavy evil karma of thousands of ages dissipates of itself.


When beginners sit in meditation to contemplate mind: Sit alone someplace. First straighten out your body and sit upright; let your robe be wide and your belt loose. Let your body relax: rub yourself down seven or eight times. Let the exhalations from the belly through the throat cease. Then you will find in abundance the purity, emptiness, and peace of inherent reality-nature.

When body and mind are properly attuned, when mind and spirit are at peace, then in deep mystic fusion, the breath is pure and cool. Slowly gather in mind until the path of the spirit is pure and sharp and the mind-ground is illumined and pure. As you perceive clearly and distinctly, inner and outer are empty and pure-this is the mind's inherent nirvana. With this nirvana, the mind of the sages is manifest. Though its real nature is formless, intent and proportion always remain. Thus, the profound luminous one never ends: it remains forever shining bright. This is called the buddha-nature, the enlightened real identity. Those who see buddha-nature leave behind forever birth and death: they are called people who transcend the world.

 from Zen Dawn translated by J.C. Cleary (bold formatting by aumdada)

No comments:

Post a Comment