信堅昨日整理、張貼 “六祖法寶壇經” 第一品及第二品中英對照後，繼續整理所餘八品。發現經文字句，其實不難懂，主要是讀者，不習慣佛經文句的結構、標點 (但為文句，沉吟至今)。同時發現，如果中、英分開，對初學佛經者，也會花很多時間在尋找相對的翻譯。為此之故，信堅繼續張貼剩餘八品的中英對照，以助有緣，園滿解讀，六祖壇經，大開智慧之門。
One day Prefect Wei entertained the Patriarch and asked him to preach to a big gathering. At the end of the feast, Prefect Wei asked him to mount the pulpit (to which the Patriarch consented). After bowing twice reverently, in company with other officials, scholars, and commoners, Prefect Wei said, “I have heard what Your Holiness preached. It is really so deep that it is beyond our mind and speech, and I have certain doubts which I hope you will clear up for me.”
師曰：「有疑即問，吾當為說。」 韋公曰： 「和尚所說，可不是達摩大師宗旨乎？」師曰：「是。」”If you have any doubts,” replied the Patriarch, “please ask, and I will explain.” “What you preach are the fundamental principles taught by Bodhidharma, are they not?” “Yes,” replied the Patriarch.
公曰：「弟子聞達摩初化梁武帝，帝問云： 『朕一生造寺度僧，布施設齋，有何功德？』 達摩言： 『實無功德。』 弟子未達此理，願和尚為說。」
“I was told,” said Prefect Wei, “that at Bodhidharma’s first interview with Emperor Wu of Liang he was asked what merits the Emperor would get for the work of his life in building temples, allowing new monks to be ordained (royal consent was necessary at that time), giving alms and entertaining the Order; and his reply was that these would bring no merits at all. Now, I cannot understand why he gave such an answer. Will you please explain.”
“These would bring no merits,” replied the Patriarch. “Don’t doubt the words of the Sage. Emperor Wu’s mind was under an erroneous impression, and he did not know the orthodox teaching. Such deeds as building temples, allowing new monks to be ordained, giving alms and entertaining the Order will bring you only felicities, which should not be taken for merits. Merits are to be found within the Dharmakaya, and they have nothing to do with practices for attaining felicities.”
The Patriarch went on, “Realization of the Essence of Mind is Gong (good deserts), and equality is De (good quality). When our mental activity works without any impediment, so that we are in a position to know constantly the true state and the mysterious functioning of our own mind, we are said to have acquired Gong De (merits). Within, to keep the mind in a humble mood is Gong; and without, to behave oneself according to propriety is De. That all things are the manifestation of the Essence of Mind is Gong, and that the quintessence of mind is free from idle thoughts is De. Not to go astray from the Essence of Mind is , and not to pollute the mind in using it is De.
If you seek for merits within the Dharmakaya, and do what I have just said, what you acquire will be real merits. He who works for merits does not slight others; and on all occasions he treats everybody with respect. He who is in the habit of looking down upon others has not got rid of the erroneous idea of a self, which indicates his lack of Gong. Because of his egotism and his habitual contempt for all others, he knows not the real Essence of Mind; and this shows his lack of De.
Learned Audience, when our mental activity works without interruption, then it is Gong; and when our mind functions in a straightforward manner, then it is De. To train our own mind is Gong, and to train our own body is De. Learned Audience, merits should be sought within the Essence of Mind and they cannot be acquired by almsgiving, entertaining the monks, etc. We should therefore distinguish between felicities and merits. There is nothing wrong in what our Patriarch said. It is Emperor Wu himself who did not know the true way.”
刺史又問曰：弟子常見僧俗念阿彌陀佛，願生西方； 請和尚說，得生彼否？願為破疑。 Prefect Wei then asked the next question, “I notice that it is a common practice for monks and laymen to recite the name of Amitabha with the hope of being born in the Pure Land of the West. To clear up my doubts, will you please tell me whether it is possible for them to be born there or not.”
“Listen to me carefully, Sir,” replied the Patriarch, “and I will explain. According to the Sutra spoken by the Bhagavat in Shravasti City for leading people to the Pure Land of the West, it is quite clear that the Pure Land is not far from here, for the distance in mileage is 108,000, which really represents the ‘ten evils’ and ‘eight errors’ within us. To those of inferior mentality certainly it is far away, but to superior men we may say that it is quite near.
Although the Dharma is uniform, men vary in their mentality. Because they differ from one another in their degree of enlightenment or ignorance, therefore some understand the Law quicker than others. While ignorant men recite the name of Amitabha and pray to be born in the Pure Land, the enlightened purify their mind, for, as the Buddha said, ‘When the mind is pure, the Buddha Land is simultaneously pure.’
史君! 東方人，但心淨即無罪；雖西方人，心不淨亦有愆。東方人造罪，念佛求生西方；西方人造罪，念佛求生何國？凡愚不了自性，不識身中淨土，願東願西，悟人在處一般。所以佛言： 『隨所住處，恆安樂。』
“Although you are a native of the East, if your mind is pure you are sinless. One the other hand, even if you were a native of the West an impure mind could not free you from sin, When the people of the East commit a sin, they recite the name of Amitabha and pray to be born in the West; but in the case of sinners who are natives of the West, where should they pray to be born? Ordinary men and ignorant people understand neither the Essence of Mind nor the Pure Land within themselves, so they wish to be born in the East or the West. But to the enlightened everywhere is the same. As the Buddha said, ‘No matter where they happen to be, they are always happy and comfortable.’
“Sir, if your mind is free from evil the West is not far from here; but difficult indeed it would be for one whose heart is impure to be born there by invoking Amitabha!
“Now, I advise you, Learned Audience, first to do away with the ‘ten evils’; then we shall have traveled one hundred thousand miles. For the next step, do away with the ‘eight errors’, and this will mean another eight thousand miles traversed. If we can realize the Essence of Mind at all times and behave in a straightforward manner on all occasions, in the twinkling of an eye we may reach the Pure Land and there see Amitabha.
“If you only put into practice the ten good deeds, there would be no necessity for you to be born there. On the other hand, if you do not do away with the ‘ten evils’ in your mind, which Buddha will take you there? If you understand the Birthless Doctrine (which puts an end to the cycle of birth and death) of the ‘Sudden’ School, it takes you only a moment to see the West. If you do not understand, how can you reach there by reciting the name of Amitabha, as the distance is so far?
“Now, how would you like it if I were to shift the Pure Land to your presence this very moment, so that all of you might see it?”
The congregation made obeisance and replied, “If we might see the Pure Land here there would be no necessity for us to desire to be born there. Will Your Holiness kindly let us see it by having it removed here.”
The Patriarch said, “Sirs, this physical body of ours is a city. Our eyes, ears, nose and tongue are the gates. There are five external gates, while the internal one is ideation. The mind is the ground. The Essence of Mind is the King who lives in the domain of the mind. While the Essence of Mind is in, the King is in, and our body and mind exist. When the Essence of Mind is out, there is no King and our body and mind decay. We should work for Buddhahood within the Essence of Mind, and we should not look for it apart from ourselves.
He who is kept in ignorance of his Essence of Mind is an ordinary being. He who is enlightened in his Essence of Mind is a Buddha. To be merciful is Avalokitesvara (one of the two principal Bodhisattvas of the Pure Land). To take pleasure in almsgiving is Mahasthama (the other Bodhisattva). Competence for a pure life is Sakyamuni (one of the titles of Gautama Buddha). Equality and straightforwardness is Amitabha. The idea of a self or that of a being is Mount Meru. A depraved mind is the ocean. Klesa (defilement) is the billow. Wickedness is the evil dragon. Falsehood is the devil. The wearisome sense objects are the aquatic animals. Greed and hatred are the hells. Ignorance and infatuation are the brutes.
善知識！常行十善，天堂便至，除人我，須彌倒；去邪心，海水竭； 煩惱無，波浪滅； 毒害忘，魚龍絕。
“Learned Audience, if you constantly perform the ten good deeds, paradise will appear to you at once. When you get rid of the idea of a self and that of a being, Mount Meru will topple. When the mind is no longer depraved, the ocean (of existence) will be dried up. When you are free from klesa, billows and waves (of the ocean of existence) will calm down. When wickedness is alien to you, fish and evil dragons will die out.
“Within the domain of our mind, there is a Tathagata of Enlightenment who sends forth a powerful light which illumines externally the six gates (of sensation) and purifies them. This light is strong enough to pierce through the six Kama Heavens (heavens of desire); and when it is turned inwardly it eliminates at once the three poisonous elements, purges away our sins which might lead us to the hells or other evil realms, and enlightens us thoroughly within and without, so that we are no different from those born in the Pure Land of the West. Now, if we do not train ourselves up to this standard, how can we reach the Pure Land?”
Having heard what the Patriarch said, the congregation knew their Essence of Mind very clearly. They made obeisance and exclaimed in one voice, “Well done!” They also chanted, “May all the sentient beings of this Universe who have heard this sermon at once understand it intuitively.”
The Patriarch added, “Learned Audience, those who wish to train themselves (spiritually) may do so at home. It is quite unnecessary for them to stay in monasteries. Those who train themselves at home may be likened unto a native of the East who is kind-hearted, while those who stay in monasteries but neglect their work differ not from a native of the West who is evil in heart. So far as the mind is pure, it is the ‘Western Pure Land of one’s own Essence of Mind’.”
韋公又問：「在家如何修行，願為教授。」 師言： 「吾與大眾，作無相頌，但依此修，常與吾同處無別。若不作此修，剃髮出家，於道何益？頌曰：
Prefect Wei asked, “How should we train ourselves at home? Will you please teach us?”
The Patriarch replied, “I will give you a ‘formless’ stanza. If you put its teaching into practice you will be in the same position as those who live with me permanently. On the other hand, if you do not practice it, what progress can you make in the spiritual path, even though you cut your hair and leave home for good (i.e., join the Order)? The stanza reads:
For a fair mind, observation of precepts (Sila) is unnecessary.
For straightforward behavior, practice in Dhyana (contemplation) may be dispensed with.
On the principle of gratefulness, we support our parents and serve them filially.
On the principle of righteousness, the superior and the inferior stand for each other
(in time of need).
On the principle of mutual desire to please, the senior and junior are on affectionate terms.
On the principle of forbearance, we do not quarrel even in the midst of a hostile crowd.
If we can persevere till fire can be obtained through rubbing a piece of wood,
Then the red lotus (the Buddha-nature) will shoot out from the black mire (the unenlightened state).
That which is of bitter taste is bound to be good medicine.
That which sounds unpleasant to the ear is certainly frank advice.
By amending our mistakes, we get wisdom.
By defending our faults, we betray an unsound mind.
In our daily life we should always practice altruism,
But Buddhahood is not to be attained by giving away money as charity. Bodhi is to be found within our own mind,
And there is no necessity to look for mysticism from without.
Hearers of this stanza who put its teaching into actual practice
Will find paradise in their very presence
The Patriarch added, “Learned Audience, all of you should put into practice what is taught in this stanza, so that you can realize the Essence of Mind and attain Buddhahood directly. The Dharma waits for no one. I am going back to Cai Xi, so the assembly may now break up. If you have any questions, you may come there to put them.”
At this juncture Prefect Wei, the government officials, pious men, and devout ladies who were present were all enlightened. Faithfully they accepted the teaching and put it into practice.
定慧品第四 Samadhi and Prajna
The Patriarch on another occasion preached to the assembly as follows: Learned Audience, in my system Samadhi and Prajna are fundamental. But do not be under the wrong impression that these two are independent of each other, for they are inseparably united and are not two entities.
Samadhi is the quintessence of Prajna, while Prajna is the activity of Samadhi. At the very moment that we attain Prajna, Samadhi is therewith; and vice versa. If you understand this principle, you understand the equilibrium of Samadhi and Prajna. A disciple should not think that there is a distinction between ‘Samadhi begets Prajna’ and ‘Prajna begets Samadhi’. To hold such an opinion would imply that there are two characteristics in the Dharma.
For one whose tongue is ready with good words but whose heart is impure, Samadhi and Prajna are useless, because they do not balance each other. On the other hand, when we are good in mind as well as in words, and when our outward appearance and our inner feelings harmonize with each other, then it is a case of equilibrium of Samadhi and Prajna.
Argument is unnecessary for an enlightened disciple. To argue whether Prajna or Samadhi comes first would put one in the same position as those who are under delusion. Argument implies a desire to win, strengthens egotism, and ties us to the belief in the idea of ‘a self, a being, a living being, and a person’.
Learned Audience, to what are Samadhi and Prajna analogous? They are analogous to a lamp and its light. With the lamp, there is light. Without it, it would be darkness. The lamp is the quintessence of the light and the light is the expression of the lamp. In name they are two things, but in substance they are one and the same. It is the same case with Samadhi and Prajna.
On another occasion the Patriarch preached to the assembly as follows: Learned Audience, to practice the ‘Samadhi of Specific Mode’ is to make it a rule to be straightforward on all occasions — no matter whether we are walking, standing, sitting or reclining. The Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra says, “Straightforwardness is the holy place, the Pure Land.
莫心行諂曲，口但說直，口說一行三昧，不行直心；但行直心，於一切法，勿有執著。 Don’t let your mind be crooked and practice straightforwardness with your lips only. We should practice straightforwardness and should not attach ourselves to anything.
迷人著法相，執一行三昧。直言坐不動，妄不起心，即是一行三昧。作此解者。即同無情，卻是障道因緣。People under delusion believe obstinately in Dharmalaksana (things and form) and so they are stubborn in having their own way of interpreting the ‘Samadhi of Specific Mode’, which they define as ‘sitting quietly and continuously without letting any idea arise in the mind’. Such an interpretation would rank us with inanimate objects, and is a stumbling block to the right Path which must be kept open. Should we free our mind from attachment to all ‘things’, the Path becomes clear; otherwise, we put ourselves under restraint. If that interpretation ‘sitting quietly and continuously, etc.’ be correct, why on one occasion was Sariputra reprimanded by Vimalakirti for sitting quietly in the wood?
Learned Audience, some teachers of meditation instruct their disciples to keep a watch on their mind for tranquility, so that it will cease from activity. Henceforth the disciples give up all exertion of mind. Ignorant persons become insane from having too much confidence in such instruction. Such cases are not rare, and it is a great mistake to teach others to do this.
(On another occasion) the Patriarch addressed the assembly as follows:–
In orthodox Buddhism the distinction between the ‘Sudden’ School and the ‘Gradual’ School does not really exist; the only difference is that by nature some men are quick-witted, while others are dull in understanding. Those who are enlightened realize the truth in a sudden, while those who are under delusion have to train themselves gradually. But such a difference will disappear when we know our own mind and realize our own nature. Therefore these terms, gradual and sudden, are more apparent than real.
Learned Audience, it has been the tradition of our school to take ‘Idea-lessness’ as our object, ‘Non-objectivity’ as our basis, and ‘Non-attachment’ as our fundamental principle. ‘Idea-lessness’ means not to be carried away by any particular idea in the exercise of the mental faculty. ‘Non-objectivity’ means not to be absorbed by objects when in contact with objects. ‘Non-attachment’ is the characteristic of our Essence of Mind.
於世間善惡好醜，乃至冤 之與親，言語觸刺欺爭之時，並將為空，不思酬害，念念之中，不思前境。若前念、今念、後念，念念相續不斷，名為繫縛。於諸法上，念念不住，即無縛也。此是 以無住為本。」
All things — good or bad, beautiful or ugly — should be treated as void. Even in time of disputes and quarrels we should treat our intimates and our enemies alike and never think of retaliation. In the exercise of our thinking faculty, let the past be dead. If we allow our thoughts, past, present, and future, to link up in a series, we put ourselves under restraint. On the other hand, if we never let our mind attach to anything, we shall gain emancipation. For this reason, we take ‘Non-attachment’ as our fundamental principle. To free ourselves from absorption in external objects is called ‘Non-objectivity’. When we are in a position to do so, the nature of Dharma will be pure. For this reason, we take ‘Non-objectivity’ as our basis.
Learned Audience, to keep our mind free from defilement under all circumstances is called ‘Idea-lessness’. Our mind should stand aloof from circumstances, and on no account should we allow them to influence the function of our mind. But it is a great mistake to suppress our mind from all thinking; for even if we succeed in getting rid of all thoughts, and die immediately thereafter, still we shall be reincarnated elsewhere.
學道者思之。若不識法意，自錯猶可，更勸他人，自迷不見，又謗佛經； 所以立無念為宗。」Mark this, treaders of the Path. It is bad enough for a man to commit blunders from not knowing the meaning of the Law, but how much worse would it be to encourage others to follow suit? Being deluded, he sees not and in addition he blasphemes the Buddhist Canon. Therefore we take ‘Idea-lessness’ as our object.
Learned Audience, let me explain more fully why we take ‘Idea-lessness’ as our object. It is because there is a type of man under delusion who boasts of the realization of the Essence of Mind; but being carried away by circumstances, ideas rise in his mind, followed by erroneous views which are the source of all sorts of false notions and defilements. In the Essence of Mind (which is the embodiment of void), there is intrinsically nothing to be attained. To say that there is attainment, and to talk thoughtlessly on merits or demerits are erroneous views and defilements. For this reason we take ‘Idea-lessness’ as the object of our School.
「善知識！無者無何事？念者念何物？無者：無二相，無諸塵勞之心；念者，念其如本性。真如即是念之體，念即是真如之用。Learned Audience, (in ‘Idea-lessness’) what should we get rid of and what should we fix our mind on? We should get rid of the ‘pairs of opposites’ and all defiling conceptions. We should fix our mind on the true nature of Tathata (Suchness), for Tathata is the quintessence of idea, and idea is the result of the activity of Tathata.
真如自性起念，非眼耳鼻舌能念，其如有性，所以起念；真如若無，眼耳色聲，當時即壞。」It is the positive essence of Tathata — not the sense organs — which gives rise to ‘idea’. Tathata bears its own attribute, and therefore it can give rise to ‘idea’. Without Tathata the sense organs and the sense objects would perish immediately.
Learned Audience, because it is the attribute of Tathata which gives rise to ‘idea’, our sense organs — in spite of their functioning in seeing, hearing, touching, knowing, etc. — need not be tainted or defiled in all circumstances, and our true nature may be ‘Self-manifested’ all the time. Therefore the Sutra says, “He who is an adept in the discrimination of various Dharmalakshana (things and phenomena) will be immovably installed in the ‘First Principle’ (i.e., the blissful abiding place of the Holy, or Nirvana).”
師示眾云：「此門坐禪，元不著心，亦不著淨，亦不是不動。若言著心，心元是妄，知心如幻，故無所著也。The Patriarch (one day) preached to the assembly as follows: In our system of meditation, we neither dwell upon the mind (in contradistinction to the Essence of Mind) nor upon purity. Nor do we approve of non-activity. As to dwelling upon the mind, the mind is primarily delusive; and when we realize that it is only a phantasm there is no need to dwell on it.
As to dwelling upon purity, our nature is intrinsically pure; and so far as we get rid of all delusive ‘idea’ there will be nothing but purity in our nature, for it is the delusive idea that obscures Tathata (Suchness). If we direct our mind to dwell upon purity we are only creating another delusion, the delusion of purity. Since delusion has no abiding place, it is delusive to dwell upon it. Purity has neither shape nor form; but some people go so far as to invent the ‘Form of Purity’, and treat it as a problem for solution. Holding such an opinion, these people are purity-ridden, and their Essence of Mind is thereby obscured.
Learned Audience, those who train themselves for ‘imperturbability’ should, in their contact with all types of men, ignore the faults of others. They should be indifferent to others’ merit or demerit, good or evil, for such an attitude accords with the ‘imperturbability of the Essence of Mind’. Learned Audience, a man unenlightened may be unperturbed physically, but as soon as he opens his mouth he criticizes others and talks about their merits or demerits, ability or weakness, good or evil; thus he deviates from the right course. On the other hand, to dwell upon our own mind or upon purity is also a stumbling-block in the Path.
The Patriarch on another occasion preached to the assembly as follows: Learned Audience, what is sitting for meditation? In our School, to sit means to gain absolute freedom and to be mentally unperturbed in all outward circumstances, be they good or otherwise. To meditate means to realize inwardly the imperturbability of the Essence of Mind.
「善知識！何名禪定？外離相為禪； 內 不亂為定。外若著相，內心即亂；外若離相，心即不亂。本性自淨自定，只為見境思境即亂。若見諸境心不亂者，是真定也。」 Learned Audience, what are Dhyana and Samadhi? Dhyana means to be free from attachment to all outer objects, and Samadhi means to attain inner peace. If we are attached to outer objects, our inner mind will be perturbed. When we are free from attachment to all outer objects, the mind will be in peace. Our Essence of Mind is intrinsically pure, and the reason why we are perturbed is because we allow ourselves to be carried away by the circumstances we are in. He who is able to keep his mind unperturbed, irrespective of circumstances, has attained Samadhi.
「善知識！外離相即禪，內不亂即 定；外禪內定，是為禪定。菩薩戒經云：『我本性元自清淨。』 善知識！於念念中，自見本性清淨，自修自行，自成佛道。」
Learned Audience, to be free from attachment to all outer objects is Dhyana, and to attain inner peace is Samadhi. When we are in a position to deal with Dhyana and to keep our inner mind in Samadhi, then we are said to have attained Dhyana and Samadhi. The Bodhisattva Sila Sutra says, “Our Essence of Mind is intrinsically pure.” Learned Audience, let us realize this for ourselves at all times. Let us train ourselves, practice it by ourselves, and attain Buddhahood by our own effort.
懺悔品第六 On Repentance
Once there was a big gathering of scholars and commoners from Guangzhou, Shao Zhou, and other places to wait upon the Patriarch to preach to them. Seeing this, the Patriarch mounted the pulpit and delivered the following address:
In Buddhism, we should start from our Essence of Mind. At all times let us purify our own mind from one Ksana to another, tread the Path by our own efforts, realize our own Dharmakaya, realize the Buddha in our own mind, and deliver ourselves by a personal observance of Silas; then your visit will not have been in vain. Since all of you have come from afar, the fact of our meeting here shows that there is a good affinity between us. Now let us sit down in the Indian fashion, and I will give you the ‘Formless’ Repentence.
When they had sat down, the Patriarch continued:– The first is the Sila Incense, which means that our mind is free from taints of misdeeds, evil jealousy, avarice, anger, spoliation, and hatred. The second is the Samadhi Incense, which means that our mind is unperturbed in all circumstances, favorable or unfavorable.
The third is the Prajna Incense, which means that our mind is free from all impediments, that we constantly introspect our Essence of Mind with wisdom, that we refrain from doing all kinds of evil deeds, that although we do all kinds of good acts, yet we do not let our mind become attached to (the fruits) of such actions, and that we are respectful towards our superiors, considerate to our inferiors, and sympathetic to the destitute and the poor.
The fourth is the Incense of Liberation, this means that our mind is in such an absolutely free state that it clings to nothing and concerns itself neither with good nor evil.
The fifth is the Incense of “Knowledge obtained on the Attainment of Liberation”. When our mind clings to neither good nor evil we should take care not to let it dwell upon vacuity, or remain in a state of inertia. Rather should we enlarge our study and broaden our knowledge, so that we can know our own mind, understand thoroughly the principles of Buddhism, be congenial to others in our dealings with them, get rid of the idea of ‘self’ and that of ‘being’, and realize that up to the time when we attain Bodhi the ‘true nature’ (or Essence of Mind) is always immutable. Such, then, is the Incense of ‘Knowledge obtained on the Attainment of Liberation.’
Learned Audience, this five-fold Incense fumigates us from within, and we should not look for it from without.
Now I will give you the ‘Formless’ Repentance which will expiate our sins committed in our present, past, and future lives, and purify our Karmas of thought, word and deed.
Learned Audience, please follow me and repeat together what I say. “May we, disciples so and so, be always free from the taints of ignorance and delusion. We repent of all our sins and evil deeds committed under delusion or in ignorance. May they be expiated at once and may they never arise again.
May we be always free from the taints of arrogance and dishonesty (Sathya). We repent of all our arrogant behavior and dishonest dealings in the past. May they be expiated at once and may they never arise again.
May we be always free from the taints of envy and jealousy. We repent of all our sins and evil deeds committed in an envious or jealous spirit. May they be expiated at once and may they never arise again.
「善知識！已上是為無相懺悔。云何名懺？云何名悔？懺者：懺其前衍；從前所有惡業、愚迷、憍誑、嫉妒等罪，悉皆盡懺，永不復起，是名為懺。悔者：悔其後 過；從今已後，所有惡業、愚迷、憍誑、嫉妒等罪，今已覺悟，悉皆永斷，更不復作，是名為悔，故稱懺悔。凡夫愚迷，只知懺其前衍，不知悔其後過。以不悔故， 前衍不滅，後過又生。前衍既不滅，後過復又生，何名懺悔？」
Learned Audience, this is what we call ‘Formless Chan Hui’ (repentance). Now what is the meaning of Chan and Hui (Ksamayati)? Chan refers to the repentance of past sins. To repent of all our past sins and evil deeds committed under delusion, ignorance, arrogance, dishonesty, jealousy, or envy, etc., so as to put an end to all of them is called Chan. Hui refers to that part of repentance concerning our future conduct. Having realized the nature of our transgression (we make a vow) that hereafter we will put an end to all kinds of evil committed under delusion, ignorance, arrogance, dishonesty, jealousy, or envy, and that we shall never sin again. This is Hui.
On account of ignorance and delusion, common people do not realize that in repentance they have not only to feel sorry for their past sins but also to refrain from sinning in the future. Since they take no heed of their future conduct they commit new sins before the past are expiated. How can we call this ‘repentance’?
「善知識！既懺悔已，與善知識發四弘誓願，各須用心正聽： Learned Audience, having repented of our sins we will take the following four All-embracing Vows:
We vow to deliver an infinite number of sentient beings of our mind.
We vow to get rid of the innumerable defilements in our own mind.
We vow to learn the countless systems in Dharma of our Essence of Mind.
We vow to attain the Supreme Buddhahood of our Essence of Mind.
Learned Audience, all of us have now declared that we vow to deliver an infinite number of sentient beings; but what does that mean? It does not mean that I, Hui Neng, am going to deliver them. And who are these sentient beings within our mind? They are the delusive mind, the deceitful mind, the evil mind, and such like minds — all these are sentient beings. Each of them has to deliver himself by means of his own Essence of Mind. Then the deliverance is genuine.
Now, what does it mean to deliver oneself by one’s own Essence of Mind? It means the deliverance of the ignorant, the delusive, and the vexatious beings within our own mind by means of Right Views. With the aid of Right Views and Prajna-Wisdom the barriers raised by these ignorant and delusive beings may be broken down; so that each of them is in a position to deliver himself by his own efforts. Let the fallacious be delivered by rightness; the deluded by enlightenment; the ignorant by wisdom; and the malevolent by benevolence. Such is genuine deliverance.
As to the vow, ‘We vow to get rid of the innumerable evil passions in the mind,’ it refers to the substitution of our unreliable and illusive thinking faculty by the Prajna-Wisdom of our Essence of Mind.
又，法門無盡誓願學，須自見性，常行正法，是名真學。As to the vow, ‘We vow to learn countless systems of Dharmas,’ it may be remarked that there will be no true learning until we have seen face to face our Essence of Mind, and until we conform to the orthodox Dharma on all occasions.
又，無上佛道誓願成，既常能下心，行於真 正，離迷、離覺，常生般若，除真、除妄，即見佛性，即言下佛道成。常念修行是願力法。As to the vow, ‘We vow to attain Supreme Buddhahood,’ when we are able to bend our mind to follow the true and orthodox Dharma on all occasions, and when Prajna always rises in our mind, so that we can hold aloof from enlightenment as well as from ignorance, and do away with truth as well as falsehood, then we may consider ourselves as having realized the Buddha-nature, or in other words, as having attained Buddhahood.
Learned Audience, we should always bear in mind that we are treading the Path; for thereby strength will be added to our vows. Now, since all of us have taken these four All-embracing Vows, let me teach you the ‘Formless Three-fold Guidance’:
We take ‘Enlightenment’ as our Guide, because it is the culmination of both Punya (merit) and Prajna (wisdom). We take ‘Orthodoxy’ (Dharma) as our Guide, because it is the best way to get rid of desire. We take ‘Purity’ as our Guide, because it is the noblest quality of mankind.
從今日起，稱覺為師，更不皈依邪魔外道。以自性三寶，常自證明，勸善知識，皈依自性三寶。Here after, let the Enlightened One be our teacher; on no account should we accept Mara (the personification of evil) or any heretic as our guide. This, we should testify to ourselves by constantly appealing to the ‘Three Gems’ of our Essence of Mind, in which, Learned Audience, I advise you to take refuge.
They are: Buddha, which stands for Enlightenment; Dharma, which stands for Orthodoxy; Sangha, (the Order) which stands for Purity.
自心皈依覺，邪迷不生，少欲知足，能離財色，名兩足尊。To let our mind take refuge in ‘Enlightenment’, so that evil and delusive notions do not arise, desire decreases, discontent is unknown, and lust and greed no longer bind, this is the culmination of Punya and Prajna.
To let our mind take refuge in ‘Orthodoxy’ so that we are always free from wrong views (for without wrong views there would be no egotism, arrogance, or craving), this is the best way to get rid of desire.
自心皈依淨，一切塵勞愛欲境界，自性皆不染著，名眾中尊。To let our mind take refuge in ‘Purity’ so that no matter in what circumstances it may be it will not be contaminated by wearisome sense-objects, craving and desire, this is the noblest quality of mankind.
To practice the Threefold Guidance in the way above mentioned means to take refuge in oneself (i.e., in one’s own Essence of Mind). Ignorant persons take the Threefold Guidance day and night but do not understand it. If they say they take refuge in Buddha, do they know where He is? Yet if they cannot see Buddha, how can they take refuge in Him? Does not such an assertion amount to a lie?
Learned Audience, each of you should consider and examine this point for yourself, and let not your energy be misapplied. The Sutra distinctly says that we should take refuge in the Buddha within ourselves; it does not suggest that we should take refuge in other Buddhas. (Moreover), if we do not take refuge in the Buddha within ourselves, there is no other place for us to retreat.
Having cleared up this point, let each of us take refuge in the ‘Three Gems’ within our mind. Within, we should control our mind; without, we should be respectful towards others — this is the way to take refuge within ourselves.
Learned Audience, since all of you have taken the ‘Three-fold Guidance’ I am going to speak to you on the Trikaya (three ‘bodies’) of the Buddha of our Essence of Mind, so that you can see these three bodies and realize clearly the Essence of Mind. Please listen carefully and repeat this after me:
『於自色身，皈依清淨法身佛；於自色身，皈依千百億化身佛；於自色身，皈依圓滿報身佛。』」With our physical body, we take refuge in the Pure Dharmakaya (Essence-body) of Buddha. With our physical body, we take refuge in the Perfect Sambhogakaya (Manifestation body) of Buddha. With our physical body, we take refuge in the Myriad Nirmanakaya (Incarnation-bodies) of Buddha.
Learned Audience, our physical body may be likened unto an inn (i.e., a temporary abode), so we cannot take refuge there. Within our Essence of Mind these Trikaya of Buddha are to be found, and they are common to everybody. Because the mind (of an ordinary man) labors under delusions, he knows not his own inner nature; and the result is that he ignores the Trikaya within himself, (erroneously believing) that they are to be sought from without. Please listen, and I will show you that within yourself you will find the Trikaya which, being the manifestation of the Essence of Mind, are not to be sought from without.
Now, what is the Pure Dharmakaya? Our Essence of Mind is intrinsically pure; all things are only its manifestations, and good deeds and evil deeds are only the result of good thoughts and evil thoughts respectively. Thus, within the Essence of Mind all things (are intrinsically pure), like the azure of the sky and the radiance of the sun and the moon which, when obscured by passing clouds, may appear as if their brightness has been dimmed; but as soon as the clouds are blown way, brightness reappears and all objects are fully illuminated.
Learned Audience, our evil habits may be likened unto the clouds; while sagacity and wisdom (Prajna), are the sun and moon respectively. When we attach ourselves to outer objects, our Essence of Mind is clouded by wanton thoughts which prevent our Sagacity and Wisdom from sending forth their light. But should we be fortunate enough to find learned and pious teachers to make known to us the Orthodox Dharma, then we may with our own efforts do away with ignorance and delusion, so that we are enlightened both within and without, and the (true nature) of all things manifests itself within our Essence of Mind. This is what happens to those who have seen face to face the Essence of Mind, and this is what is called the Pure Dharmakaya of Buddha.
Learned Audience, to take refuge in a true Buddha is to take refuge in our own Essence of Mind. He who does so should remove from his Essence of Mind the evil mind, the jealous mind, the flattering and crooked mind, egotism, deceit and falsehood, contemptuousness, snobbishness, fallacious views, arrogance, and all other evils that may arise at any time. To take refuge in ourselves is to be constantly on the alert for our own mistakes, and to refrain from criticism of others’ merits or faults. He who is humble and meek on all occasions and is polite to everybody has thoroughly realized his Essence of Mind, so thoroughly that his Path is free from further obstacles. This is the way to take refuge in ourselves.
Now, what is the Myriad Nirmanakaya? When we subject ourselves to the least discrimination of particularization, transformation takes place; otherwise, all things remain as void as space, as they inherently are. By dwelling our mind on evil things, hell arises. By dwelling our mind on good acts, paradise appears. Dragons and snakes are the transformation of venomous hatred, while Bodhisattvas are mercy personified. The upper regions are Prajna crystallized, while the underworld is only another form assumed by ignorance and infatuation. Numerous indeed are the transformations of the Essence of Mind! People under delusion awake not and understand not; always they bend their minds on evil, and as a rule practice evil. But should they turn their minds from evil to righteousness, even for a moment, Prajna would instantly arise. This is what is called the Nirmanakaya of the Buddha of the Essence of Mind.
What is the Perfect Sambhogakaya? Let us take the illustration of a lamp. Even as the light of a lamp can break up darkness which has been there for a thousand years, so a spark of Wisdom can do away with ignorance which has lasted for ages. We need not bother about the past, for the past is gone and irrecoverable. What demands our attention is the future; so let our thoughts from Ksana to Ksana be clear and round, and let use see face to face our Essence of Mind. Good and evil are opposite to each other, but their quintessence cannot be dualistic. This non-dualistic nature is called the true nature (i.e., the absolute reality) which can neither be contaminated by evil nor affected by good. This is what is called the Sambhogakaya of Buddha.
One single evil thought from our Essence of Mind will spoil the good merits accumulated in aeons of time, while a good thought from that same source can expiate all our sins, though they are as many as the grains of sand in the Ganges. To realize our own Essence of Mind from Ksana to Ksana without intermission until we attain Supreme Enlightenment, so that we are perpetually in a state of Right Mindfulness, is the Sambhogakaya.
Learned Audience, the Dharmakaya is intrinsically self-sufficient. To see face to face from Ksana to Ksana our own Essence of Mind is the Sambhogakaya of Buddha. To dwell our mind on the Sambhogakaya (so that Wisdom or Prajna arises) is the Nirmanakaya. To attain enlightenment by our own efforts and to practice by ourself the goodness inherent in our Essence of Mind is a genuine case of ‘Taking Refuge’. Our physical body, consisting of flesh and skin, etc., is nothing more than a tenement, (for temporary use only), so we do not take refuge therein. But let us realize the Trikaya of our Essence of Mind, and we shall know the Buddha of our Essence of Mind.
I have a ‘Formless’ stanza, the reciting and practicing of which will at once dispel the delusions and expiate the sins accumulated in numerous Kalpas. This is the stanza:
People under delusion accumulate tainted merits but do not tread the Path.
They are under the impression that to accumulate merits and to tread the Path are one and the same thing.
Though their merits for alms-giving and offerings are infinite,
(They do not realize that) the ultimate source of sin lies in the three poisonous elements (i.e., greed, anger and illusion) within their own mind.
They expect to expiate their sins by accumulating merit
Without knowing that felicities obtained in future lives have nothing to do with the expiation of sins.
Why not get rid of the sin within our own mind,
For this is true repentance (within our Essence of Mind)?
(A sinner) who realizes suddenly what constitutes true repentance according to the Mahayana School, And who ceases from doing evil and practices righteousness is free from sin.
A treader of the Path who keeps a constant watch on his Essence of Mind
May be classified in the same group as the various Buddhas
Our Patriarchs transmitted no other system of Law but this ‘Sudden’ one.
May all followers of it see face to face their Essence of Mind and be at once with the Buddhas.
If you are going to look for Dharmakaya
See it above Dharmalaksana (phenomena), and then your Mind will be pure.
Exert yourself in order to see face to face the Essence of Mind and relax not,
For death may come suddenly and put an abrupt end to your earthly existence.
Those who understand the Mahayana teaching and are thus able to realize the Essence of Mind
Should reverently put their palms together (as a sign of respect) and fervently seek for the Dharmakaya.
The Patriarch then added: Learned Audience, should you realize your Essence of Mind after reciting it, you may consider yourself to be always in my presence, though actually you are a thousand miles away, but should you be unable to do so, then, though we are face to face, we are really a thousand miles apart. In that case, what is the use of taking the trouble to come here from so far away? Take good care of yourselves. Good-bye.
The whole assembly, after hearing what the Patriarch had said, became enlightened. In a very happy mood, they accepted his teaching and put it into practice.
機緣品第七 Temperament and Circumstances
Upon the Patriarch’s return to the village of Cao Hou in Shao Zhou from Huang Mei, where the Dharma had been transmitted to him, he was still an unknown figure, and it was a Confucian scholar named Liu Zhi Lue who gave him a warm welcome. Zhi Lue happened to have an aunt named Wu Jin Chang who was a Bhikkhuni (a female member of the Order), and used to recite the Maha-Parinirvana Sutra. After hearing the recitation for only a short while the Patriarch grasped its profound meaning and began to explain it to her. Whereupon, she picked up the book and asked him the meaning of certain words.
“I am illiterate,” he replied, “but if you wish to know the purport of this work, please ask.” “How can you grasp the meaning of the text,” she rejoined, “when you do not even know the words?” To this he replied, “The profundity of the teachings of the various Buddhas has nothing to do with the written language.”
This answer surprised her very much, and realizing that he was no ordinary Bhikkhu, she made it widely known to the pious elders of the village. “This is a holy man,” she said, “we should ask him to stay, and get his permission to supply him food and lodging.”
Whereupon, a descendant of Marquis Wu of the Wei Dynasty, named Cao Shu Liang, came one afternoon with other villagers to tender homage to the Patriarch. The historical Bao Lin monastery, devastated by war at the end of the Sui Dynasty, was then reduced to a heap of ruins, but on the old site they rebuilt it and asked the Patriarch to stay there. Before long, it became a very famous monastery.
師住九月餘日，又為惡黨尋逐。師乃遁于前山，被其縱火焚草木，師隱身挨入石中得免。石今有師趺坐膝痕及衣布之紋，因名避難石。After being there for nine months his wicked enemies traced him and persecuted him again. Thereupon he took refuge in a nearby hill. The villains then set fire to the wood (where he was hiding), but he escaped by making his way to a rock. This rock, which has since been known as the ‘Rock of Refuge’, has thereon the knee-prints of the Patriarch in the squatting position and also the impressions of the texture of his gown.
Recollecting the instruction of his master, the Fifth Patriarch, that he should stop at Huai and seclude himself at Hui, he made these two districts his places of retreat.
Bhikkhu Fa Hai, a native of Qu Jiang of Shao Zhou, in his first interview with the Patriarch asked the meaning of the well-known saying, ‘What mind is, Buddha is.’ The Patriarch replied, “To let not a passing thought rise up is ‘mind’. To let not the coming thought be annihilated is Buddha. To manifest all kinds of phenomena is ‘mind’. To be free from all forms (i.e., to realize the unreality of phenomena) is Buddha.
If I were to give you a full explanation, the topic could not be exhausted
even if I took up the whole of one Kalpa. So listen to my stanza:–
Prajna is ‘What mind is’, Samadhi is ‘What Buddha is’. In practicing Prajna and Samadhi, let each keep pace with the other; Then our thoughts will be pure. This teaching can be understood Only through the ‘habit of practice’. Samadhi functions, but inherently it does not become. The orthodox teaching is to practice Prajna as well as Samadhi.
法海言下大悟，以偈讚曰：After hearing what the Patriarch had said, Fa Hai was at once enlightened. He praised the Patriarch with the following stanza:
‘What mind is, Buddha is’ is true indeed!
But I humiliate myself by not understanding it.
Now I know the principal cause of Prajna and Samadhi,
Both of which I shall practice to set me free from all forms.
Bhikkhu Fa Da, a native of Hung Zhou, who joined the Order at the early age of seven, used to recite the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra (Lotus of the Good Law Sutra.) When he came to pay homage to the Patriarch, he failed to lower his head to the ground. For his abbreviated courtesy the Patriarch reproved him, saying, “If you object to lower your head to the ground, would it not be better do away with salutation entirely? There must be something in your mind that makes you so puffed up. Tell me what you do in your daily exercise.”
“Recite the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra,” replied Fa Da. “I have read the whole text three thousand times.” “Had you grasped the meaning of the Sutra,” remarked the Patriarch, “you would not have assumed such a lofty bearing, even if you had read it ten thousand times. Had you grasped it, you would be treading the same Path as mine. What you have accomplished has already made you conceited, and moreover, you do not seem to realize that this is wrong. Listen to my stanza:–
Since the object of ceremony is to curb arrogance
Why did you fail to lower your head to the ground?
‘To believe in a self’ is the source of sin,
But ‘to treat all attainment as void’ attains merit incomparable!
The Patriarch then asked for his name, and upon being told that his name was Fa Da (meaning Understanding the Law), he remarked, “Your name is Fa Da, but you have not yet understood the Law.” He concluded by uttering another stanza:–
Your name is Fa Da. Diligently and steadily you recite the Sutra. Lip-repetition of the text goes by the pronunciation only, But he whose mind is enlightened by grasping the meaning is a Bodhisattva indeed! On account of Pratyaya (conditions producing phenomena) which may be traced to our past lives ,I will explain this to you. If you only believe that Buddha speaks no words, then the Lotus will blossom in your mouth.
Having heard this stanza, Fa Da became remorseful and apologized to the Patriarch. He added, “Hereafter, I will be humble and polite on all occasions. As I do not quite understand the meaning of the Sutra I recite, I am doubtful as to its proper interpretation. With your profound knowledge and high wisdom, will you kindly give me a short explanation?”
The Patriarch replied, “Fa Da, the Law is quite clear; it is only your mind that is not clear. The Sutra is free from doubtful passages; it is only your mind that makes them doubtful. In reciting the Sutra, do you know its principal object?” “How can I know, Sir,” replied Fa Da, “since I am so dull and stupid? All I know is how to recite it word by word.” The Patriarch then said, “Will you please recite the Sutra, as I cannot read it myself. I will then explain its meaning to you.”
Fa Da recited the Sutra, but when he came to the chapter entitled ‘Parables’ , the Patriarch stopped him, saying, “The key-note of this Sutra is to set forth the aim and object of a Buddha’s incarnation in this world. Though parables and illustrations are numerous in this book, none of them goes beyond this pivotal point. Now, what is that object? What is that aim? The Sutra says, ‘It is for a sole object, a sole aim, verily a lofty object and a lofty aim that the Buddha appears in this world.’ Now that sole object, that sole aim, that lofty object, that lofty aim referred to is the ‘sight’ of Buddha-Knowledge.
“Common people attach themselves to objects without; and within, they fall into the wrong idea of ‘Vacuity’. When they are able to free themselves from attachment to objects when in contact with objects, and to free themselves from the fallacious view of annihilation on the doctrine of ‘Void’ they will be free from delusions within and from illusions without. He who understands this and whose mind is thus enlightened in an instant is said to have opened his eyes for the sight of Buddha-Knowledge.
“The word ‘Buddha’ is equivalent to ‘Enlightenment’, which may be dealt with (as in the Sutra) under four heads:
To open the eyes for the sight of Enlightenment-knowledge
To show the sight of Enlightenment-knowledge
To awake to the sight of Enlightenment-knowledge
To be firmly established in the Enlightenment-knowledge
“Should we be able, upon being taught, to grasp and understand thoroughly the teaching of Enlightenment-knowledge, then our inherent quality or true nature, i.e., the Enlightenment-knowledge, would have an opportunity to manifest itself.
You should not misinterpret the text, and come to the conclusion that Buddha-knowledge is something special to Buddha and not common to us all because you happen to find in the Sutra this passage, ‘To open the eyes for the sight of Buddha-knowledge, to show the sight of Buddha-knowledge, etc.’ Such a misinterpretation would amount to slandering Buddha and blaspheming the Sutra. Since he is a Buddha, he is already in possession of this Enlightenment-knowledge and there is no occasion for himself to open his eyes for it.
You should therefore accept the interpretation that Buddha-knowledge is the Buddha-knowledge of your own mind and not that of any other Buddha. “Being infatuated by sense-objects, and thereby shutting themselves from their own light, all sentient beings, tormented by outer circumstances and inner vexations, act voluntarily as slaves to their own desires. Seeing this, our Lord Buddha had to rise from his Samadhi in order to exhort them with earnest preaching of various kinds to suppress their desires and to refrain from seeking happiness from without, so that they might become the equals of Buddha. For this reason the Sutra says, ‘To open the eyes for the sight of Buddha-knowledge, etc.’
“I advise people constantly to open their eyes for the Buddha-knowledge within their mind. But in their perversity they commit sins under delusion and ignorance; they are kind in words, but wicked in mind; they are greedy, malignant, jealous, crooked, flattering, egotistic, offensive to men and destructive to inanimate objects. Thus, they open their eyes for the ‘Common-people-knowledge’. Should they rectify their heart, so that wisdom arises perpetually, the mind would be under introspection, and evil doing replaced by the practice of good; then they would initiate themselves into the Buddha-knowledge.
“You should therefore from Ksana to Ksana open your eyes, not for ‘Common-people-knowledge’ but for Buddha-knowledge, which is super-mundane, while the former is worldly. On the other hand, if you stick to the arbitrary concept that mere recitation (of the Sutra) as a daily exercise is good enough, then you are infatuated like the yak by its own tail.” (Yaks are known to have a very high opinion of their own tails.)
Fa Da then said, “If that is so, we have only to know the meaning of the Sutra and there would be no necessity for us to recite it. Is that right, Sir?” “There is nothing wrong in the Sutra,” replied the Patriarch, “so that you should refrain from reciting it. Whether sutra-reciting will enlighten you or not, or benefit you or not, all depends on yourself. He who recites the Sutra with the tongue and puts its teaching into actual practice with his mind ‘turns round’ the Sutra. He who recites it without putting it into practice is ‘turned round’ by the Sutra. Listen to my stanza:–
When our mind is under delusion, the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra ‘turns us round’.
With an enlightened mind we ‘turn round’ the Sutra instead.
To recite the Sutra for a considerable time without knowing its principal object
Indicates that you are a stranger to its meaning
The correct way to recite the Sutra is without holding any arbitrary belief; Otherwise, it is wrong.
He who is above ‘Affirmative’ and ‘Negative’
Rides permanently in the White Bullock Cart (the Vehicle of Buddha)”
達聞偈，不覺悲泣，言下大悟，而告師曰：「法達從昔已來，實未曾轉法華，乃被法華轉。」Having heard this stanza, Fa Da was enlightened and moved to tears. “It is quite true,” he exclaimed, “that heretofore I was unable to ‘turn round’ the Sutra. It was rather the Sutra that ‘turned’ me round.”
He then raised another point. “The Sutra says, ‘From Sravakas (disciples) up to Bodhisattvas, even if they were to speculate with combined efforts they would be unable to comprehend the Buddha-knowledge.’ But you, Sir, give me to understand that if an ordinary man realizes his own mind, he is said to have attained the Buddha-knowledge. I am afraid, Sir, that with the exception of those gifted with superior mental dispositions, others may doubt your remark. Furthermore, three kinds of Carts are mentioned in the Sutra, namely, Carts yoked with goats (i.e., the vehicle of Sravakas), Carts yoked with deers (the vehicle of Pratyeka Buddhas), and Carts yoked with bullocks (the vehicle of Bodhisattvas). How are these to be distinguished from the White Bullock Carts?”
師曰：「經意分明，汝自迷背。諸三乘人，不能測佛智者，患在度量也，鐃伊盡思共推，轉加懸遠。佛本為凡夫說，不為佛說，此理若不肯者，從他退席，殊不知坐 卻白牛車，更於門外覓三車。況經文明向汝道，唯一佛乘，無有餘乘。若二若二乃至無數，方便種種因緣譬喻言詞，是法皆為一佛乘故。汝何不省？三車是假，為昔時故；一乘是實，為今時故。只教汝去假歸真，歸真之後，真亦無名。應知所有珍財，盡屬於汝，由汝受用，更不作父想，亦不作子想，亦無用想；是名持法華經。 從劫至劫，手不釋卷，從晝至夜，無不念時也。」
The Patriarch replied, “The Sutra is quite plain on this point; it is you who misunderstand it. The reason why Sravakas, Pratyeka Buddhas and Bodhisattvas cannot comprehend the Buddha-knowledge is because they speculate on it. They may combine their efforts to speculate, but the more they speculate, the farther they are from the truth. It was to ordinary men, not to other Buddhas, that Buddha Gautama preached this Sutra. As for those who cannot accept the doctrine he expounded, he let them leave the assembly. You do not seem to know that since we are already riding in the White Bullock Cart (the vehicle of Buddhas), there is no necessity for us to go out to look for the other three vehicles. Moreover, the Sutra tells you plainly that there is only the Buddha Vehicle, and that there are no other vehicles, such as the second or the third. It is for the sake of this sole vehicle that Buddha had to preach to us with innumerable skilful devices, using various reasons and arguments, parables and illustrations, etc. Why can you not understand that the other three vehicles are makeshifts, for the past only; while the sole vehicle, the Buddha Vehicle, is the ultimate, meant for the present?
“The Sutra teaches you to dispense with the makeshifts and to resort to the ultimate. Having resorted to the ultimate, you will find that even the name ‘ultimate’ disappears. You should appreciate that you are the sole owner of these valuables and they are entirely subject to your disposal. When you are free from the arbitrary conception that they are the father’s, or the son’s, or that they are at so and so’s disposal, you may be said to have learned the right way to recite the Sutra. In that case from Kalpa to Kalpa the Sutra will
達蒙啟發，踴躍歡喜，以偈讚曰： Being thus awakened, Fa Da praised the Patriarch, in a transport of great joy, with the following stanza:
The delusion that I have attained great merits by reciting the Sutra three thousand times over
Is all dispelled by an utterance of the Master of Cao Xi (i.e., the Patriarch).
He who has not understood the object of a Buddha’s incarnation in this world
Is unable to suppress the wild passions accumulated in many lives
The three vehicles yoked by goat, deer and bullock respectively, are makeshifts only,
While the three stages, Preliminary, Intermediate, and Final, in which the orthodox Dharma is expounded, are well set out, indeed!
How few appreciate that within the burning house itself (i.e.,mundane existence)
The King of Dharma is to be found!
The Patriarch then told him that henceforth he might call himself a ‘Sutra-reciting Bhikkhu’. After that interview, Fa Da was able to grasp the profound meaning of Buddhism, yet he continued to recite the Sutra as before.
Bhikkhu Zhi Tong, a native of Shou Zhou of An Feng had read the Lankavatara Sutra a thousand times, but he could not understand the meaning of Trikaya and the four Prajnas. Thereupon, he called on the Patriarch for an interpretation.
“As to the Three Bodies,” explained the Patriarch, “the pure Dharmakaya is your (essential) nature; the perfect Sambhogakaya is your wisdom; and myriad Nirmanakayas are your actions. If you deal with these Three Bodies apart from the Essence of Mind, there would be ‘bodies without wisdom’. If you realize that these Three Bodies have no positive essence of their own (because they are only the properties of the Essence of Mind) you attain the Bodhi of the four Prajnas. Listen to my stanza:–
The Three Bodies are inherent in our Essence of Mind,
By development of which the four Prajnas are manifested
Thus, without shutting your eyes and your ears to keep away from the external world
You may reach Buddhahood directly.
Now that I have made this plain to you
Believe it firmly, and you will be free from delusions forever.
Follow not those who seek Enlightenment from without;
These people talk about Bodhi all the time (but they never find it).
“May I know something about the four Prajnas?” asked Zhi Tong. “If you understand the Three Bodies,” replied the Patriarch, “you should understand the four Prajnas as well; so your question is unnecessary. If you deal with the four Prajnas apart from the Three Bodies, there will be Prajnas without bodies, in which case they would not be Prajnas.”
The Patriarch then uttered another stanza:–
The Mirror-like Wisdom is pure by nature.
The Equality Wisdom frees the mind from all impediments.
The All-Discerning Wisdom sees things intuitively without going through the process of reasoning.
The All-Performing Wisdom has the same characteristics as the Mirror-like Wisdom.
The first five vijnanas (consciousness dependent respectively upon the five sense organs) and the Alaya vijnana (Storage or Universal consciousness) are ‘transmuted’ to Prajna in the Buddha stage; while the Klista-Mano vijnana (soiled-mind consciousness or self-consciousness) and the Mano vijnana (thinking consciousness), are transmuted in the Bodhisattva stage.
「如上轉識為智也。教中云：『轉前五識為成所作智，轉第六識為妙觀察智，轉第七識為平等性智，轉第八識為大圓鏡智。』雖六七因中轉，五八果上轉；但轉其名，而不轉其體也。」These so called ‘transmutations of vijnana’ are only changes of appellations and not a change of substance. When you are able to free yourself entirely from attachment to sense-objects at the time these so-called ‘transmutations’ take place, you will forever abide in the repeatedly-arising Naga (dragon) Samadhi.
(Upon hearing this), Zhi Tong realized suddenly the Prajna of his Essence of Mind and submitted the following stanza to the Patriarch:–
Intrinsically, the three Bodies are within our Essence of Mind.
When our mind is enlightened the four Prajnas will appear therein.
When Bodies and Prajnas absolutely identify with each other
We shall be able to respond (in accordance with their temperaments and dispositions) to the appeals of all beings, no matter what forms they may assume.
To start by seeking for Trikaya and the four Prajnas is to take an entirely wrong course (for being inherent in us they are to be realized and not to be sought).
To try to ‘grasp’ or ‘confine’ them is to go against their intrinsic nature.
Through you, Sir, I am now able to grasp the profundity of their meaning,
And henceforth I may discard forever their false and arbitrary names. (Note: Having grasped the spirit of a doctrine, one may dispense with the names used therein, since all names are makeshifts only).
Bhikkhu Zhi Chang, a native of Gui Xi of Xin Zhou, joined the Order in his childhood, and was very zealous in his efforts to realize the Essence of Mind. One day, he came to pay homage to the Patriarch, and was asked by the latter whence and why he came.
“I have recently been to the White Cliff Mountain in Hong Zhou,” replied he, “to interview the Master Da Tong, who was good enough to teach me how to realize the Essence of Mind and thereby attain Buddhahood. But as I still have some doubts, I have travelled far to pay you respect. Will you kindly clear them up for me, Sir.”
師曰：「彼有何言句，汝試舉看。」曰：「智常到彼，凡經三月，未蒙示誨。為法切故，一夕，獨入丈室，請問如何是某甲本心本性？大通乃曰：『汝見虛空否？』 對日：『見』。 彼曰：『汝見虛空有相貌否？』 對曰：『虛空無形，有何相貌？』彼曰：『汝之本性，猶如虛空，了無一物可見，是名正見；無一物可知，是名真知。無有青黃長短，但見本源清淨，覺體圓明，即名見性成佛，亦名如來知見。』學人雖聞此說，猶未決了，乞和尚開示。」
“What instruction did he give you?” asked the Patriarch. “After staying there for three months without being given any instruction, and being zealous for the Dharma, I went alone to his chamber one night and asked him what was my Essence of Mind. ‘Do you see the illimitable void?’ he asked. ‘Yes, I do,’ I replied. Then he asked me whether the void had any particular form, and when I said that the void is formless and therefore cannot have any particular form, he said, ‘Your Essence of Mind is exactly like the void. To realize that nothing can be seen is ‘Right View.’ To realize that nothing is knowable is ‘True Knowledge.’ To realize that it is neither green nor yellow, neither long nor short, that it is pure by nature, that its quintessence is perfect and clear, ‘is to realize the Essence of Mind and thereby attain Buddhahood,’ which is also called the Buddha-knowledge.’ As I do not quite understand his teaching, will you please enlighten me, Sir.”
“His teaching indicates,” said the Patriarch, “that he still retains the arbitrary concepts of ‘Views’ and ‘Knowledge,’ and this explains why he fails to make it clear to you. Listen to my stanza:–
『不見一法存無見，大似浮雲遮日面，不知一法守空知，還如太虛生閃電；此之知見瞥然興，錯認何曾解方便，汝當一念自知非，自己靈光常顯現。』」To realize that nothing can be seen but to retain the concept of ‘Invisibility’
Is like the surface of the sun obscured by passing clouds.
To realize that nothing is knowable but to retain the concept of ‘Unknowability’
May be likened to a clear sky disfigured by a lightning flash.
To let these arbitrary concepts rise spontaneously in your mind
Indicates that you have misidentified the Essence of Mind, and that you have not yet found the skilful means to realize it.
If you realize for one moment that these arbitrary concepts are wrong,
Your own spiritual light will shine forth permanently.
Having heard this Zhi Chang at once felt that his mind was enlightened. Thereupon, he submitted the following stanza to the Patriarch:–
To allow the concepts of ‘Invisibility’ and ‘Unknowability’ to rise in the mind
Is to seek Bodhi without freeing oneself from the concepts of phenomena.
He who is puffed up by the slightest impression, ‘I am now enlightened,’
Is no better than he was when under delusion.
Had I not put myself at the feet of the Patriarch
I should have been bewildered without knowing the right way to go.
智常一日問師曰：「佛說三乘法，又言最上乘，弟子未解，願為教授。」 師曰：「汝觀自未心，莫著外法相，法無四乘，人心自有等差。凡聞轉誦，是小乘；悟法解義，是中乘；依法修行，是大乘。萬法盡通，萬法俱備，一切不染，離諸法相，一無所得，名最上乘。乘是行義，不在口爭，汝須自修，莫問吾也，一切時中，自性自如。」常禮謝執侍，終師之世。One day, Zhi Chang asked the Patriarch, “Buddha preached the doctrine of ‘Three Vehicles’ and also that of a ‘Supreme Vehicle’. As I do not understand this, will you please explain?” The Patriarch replied, “(In trying to understand these), you should introspect your own mind and act independently of outward Dharmalaksana (things and phenomena). The distinction of these four vehicles does not exist in the Dharma itself but in the differentiation of people’s minds. To see, to hear, and to recite the Sutra is the Small vehicle. To know the Dharma and to understand its meaning is the Middle vehicle. To put the Dharma into actual practice is the Great Vehicle. To understand thoroughly all Dharmas, to have absorbed them completely, to be free from all attachments, to be above Dharmalaksana, and to be in possession of nothing, is the Supreme Vehicle. “Since the word ‘Yana’ (vehicle) implies ‘motion’ (i.e., putting into practice), argument on this point is quite unnecessary. All depends on self-practice, so you need not ask me any more. (But I may remind you that) at all times the Essence of Mind is in a state of ‘Thusness’.” Zhi Chang made obeisance and thanked the Patriarch. Henceforth, he acted as his attendant until the death of the Master.
僧志道，廣州南海人也，請益曰：「學人自出家，覽涅槃經，十載有餘，未明大意，願和尚垂誨。」 師曰：「汝何處未明？」 曰：「諸行無常，是生滅法，生滅滅已，寂滅為樂；於此疑惑。」 師曰：「汝作麼生疑？」
Bhikkhu Zhi Dao, a native of Nan Hai of Guang Dong, came to the Patriarch for instruction, saying, “Since I joined the Order I have read the Maha Parinirvana Sutra for more than ten years, but I have not yet grasped its main idea. Will you please teach me?”
“Which part of it do you not understand?” asked the Patriarch.
“It is about this part, Sir, that I am doubtful: ‘All things are impermanent, and so they belong to the Dharma of becoming and cessation (i.e., Samskrita Dharma). When both becoming and cessation cease to operate, the bliss of Perfect Rest and Cessation of Changes (i.e., Nirvana) arises.'” “What makes you doubt?” asked the Patriarch.
“All beings have two bodies — the physical body and the Dharmakaya,” replied Zhi Dao. “The former is impermanent; it exists and dies. The latter is permanent; it knows not and feels not. Now the Sutra says, ‘When both Becoming and Cessation cease to operate, the bliss of perfect rest and cessation of changes arises.’ I do not know which body ceases to exist and which body enjoys the bliss. It cannot be the physical body that enjoys, because when it dies the four Mahabhutas (material elements i.e., earth, water, fire and air) will disintegrate, and disintegration is pure suffering, the very opposite of bliss. If it is the Dharmakaya that ceases to exist, it would be in the same state as ‘inanimate’ objects, such as grass, trees, stones etc.; who will then be the enjoyer?
“Moreover, Dharma-nature is the quintessence of ‘Becoming and Cessation’, which manifests as the five Skandhas (Rupa, Vedana, Samjna, Samskara and Vijnana). That is to say, with one quintessence there are five functions. The process of ‘Becoming and Cessation’ is everlasting. When function or operation arises from the quintessence, it becomes; when the operation or function is absorbed back into the quintessence, it ceases to exist. If reincarnation is admitted,
there would be no ‘Cessation of Changes’, as in the case of sentient beings. If reincarnation is out of the question, then things will remain forever in a state of lifeless quintessence, like inanimate objects. If this is so, then under the limitations and restrictions of Nirvana even existence will be impossible to all beings; what enjoyment could there be?”
“You are a son of Gina (i.e., a son of Buddha, or a bhikkhu),” said the Patriarch, “so why do you adopt the fallacious views of Eternalism and Annihilationism held by the heretics, and criticize the teaching of the Supreme Vehicle? “Your argument implies that apart from the physical body there is a Law body (Dharmakaya); and that ‘Perfect Rest’ and ‘Cessation of Changes’ may be sought apart from ‘Becoming and Cessation’. Further, from the statement, ‘Nirvana is everlasting joy,’ you infer that there must be somebody to play the part of the enjoyer.
“Now it is exactly these fallacious views that make people crave for sensate existence and indulge in worldly pleasure. It is for these people, the victims of ignorance, who identify the union of five skandhas as the ‘self’, and regard all other things as ‘not-self’ (literally, outer sense objects); who crave for individual existence and have an aversion to death; who drift about in the whirlpool of life and death without realizing the hollowness of mundane existence, which is only a dream or an illusion; who commit themselves to unnecessary suffering by binding themselves to the wheel of re-birth; who mistake the state of everlasting joy of Nirvana for a mode of suffering, and who are always after sensual pleasure; it is for these people that the compassionate Buddha preached the real bliss of Nirvana.
“At any one moment, Nirvana has neither the phenomenon of becoming, nor that of Cessation, nor even the ceasing of operation of Becoming and Cessation. It is the manifestation of ‘Perfect Rest and Cessation of Changes’, but at the time of manifestation there is not even a concept of manifestation; so it is called the ‘Everlasting Joy’ which has neither enjoyer nor non-enjoyer. “There is no such thing as ‘one quintessence and five functions’ (as you allege), and you are slandering Buddha and blaspheming the Law when you state that under such limitation and restriction of Nirvana existence is impossible to all beings. Listen to my stanza:–
The Supreme Maha Parinirvana
Is perfect, permanent, calm, and illuminating
Common people and ignorant ones miscall it death,
While heretics hold arbitrarily that it is annihilation.
Those who belong to the Sravaka Vehicle or the Pratyeka Buddha Vehicle
Regard it as ‘Non-action’.
All these are mere intellectual speculations,
And form the basis of the sixty-two fallacious views.
妄立虛假名，何為真實義？惟有過量人，通達無取捨。Since they are mere fictitious names invented for the occasion
They have nothing to do with the Absolute Truth.
Only those of super-eminent mind
Can understand thoroughly what Nirvana is, and take up the attitude of neither attachment nor indifference towards it.
They know that five Skandhas
And the so-called ‘ego’ arising from the union of these Skandhas, Together with all external objects and forms
And the various phenomena of sound and voice
Are equally unreal, like a dream or an illusion
They make no discrimination between a sage and an ordinary man.
Nor do they have any arbitrary concept on Nirvana.
They are above ‘Affirmation’ and ‘Negation’ and they break the barrier of the past, the present, and the future.
They use their sense organs, when occasion requires,
But the concept of ‘Using’ does not arise. They may particularize on all sorts of things, But the concept of ‘Particularization’ does not arise.
Even during the cataclysmic fire at the end of a Kalpa, when ocean-beds are burnt dry,
Or during the blowing of the catastrophic wind
when one mountain topples on another,
The real and everlasting bliss of ‘Perfect Rest’ and ‘Cessation of Changes’
Of Nirvana remains in the same state and changes not.
Here I am trying to describe to you something which is ineffable
So that you may get rid of your fallacious views
But if you do not interpret my words literally
You may perhaps learn a wee bit of the meaning of Nirvana!
Having heard this stanza, Zhi Dao was highly enlightened. In a rapturous
mood, he made obeisance and departed.
行思禪師，生吉州安城劉氏，聞曹溪法席盛化，徑來參禮，遂問曰：「當何所務，即不落階級？」師曰：「汝曾作什麼來？」 曰：「聖諦亦不為。」師曰：「落何階級？」 曰：「聖諦尚不為，何階級之有？」
Bhikkhu Xing Si, a Dhyana Master, was born at An Cheng of Zhi Zhou of a Liu family. Upon hearing that the preaching of the Patriarch had enlightened a great number of people, he at once came to Cao Xi to tender him homage, and ask him this question: “What should a learner direct his mind to, so that his attainment cannot be rated by the (usual) ‘Stages of Progress’?”
“What work have you been doing?” asked the Patriarch. “Even the Noble Truths taught by various Buddhas I have not anything to do with,” replied Xing Si.
“What Stage of Progress are you in?” asked the Patriarch.
“What Stage of Progress can there be, when I refuse to have anything to do with even the Noble Truths?” he retorted.
His repartee commanded the great respect of the Patriarch who made him leader of the assembly.
One day the Patriarch told him that he should propagate the Law in his own district, so that the teaching might not come to an end. Thereupon he returned to Qing Yuan Mountain in his native district. The Dharma having been transmitted to him, he spread it widely and thus perpetuated the teaching of his Master. Upon his death, the posthumous title ‘Dhyana Master Hung Ji’ was conferred on him.
Bhikkhu Huai Rang, a Dhyana Master, was born of a Du family in Jin Zhou. Upon his first visit to ‘National Teacher’ Hui An of Sung Shan Mountain, he was directed by the latter to go to Cao Xi to interview the Patriarch. Upon his arrival, and after the usual salutation, he was asked by the Patriarch whence he came. “From Sung Shan,” replied he.
“What thing is it (that comes)? How did it come?” asked the Patriarch.
“To say that it is similar to a certain thing is wrong,” he retorted.
“Is it attainable by training?” asked the Patriarch.
“It is not impossible to attain it by training; but it is quite impossible to pollute it,” he replied.
Thereupon, the Patriarch exclaimed, “It is exactly this unpolluted thing that all Buddhas take good care of. It is so for you, and it is so for me as well.
Patriarch Prajnatara of India foretold that under your feet a colt (馬祖道一)would rush forth and trample on the people of the whole world. I need not interpret this oracle too soon, as the answer should be found within your mind.”
Being thereby enlightened, Huai Rang realized intuitively what the Patriarch had said. Henceforth, he became his attendant for a period of fifteen years; and day by day his knowledge of Buddhism got deeper and deeper. Afterwards, he made his home in Heng Shan where he spread widely the teaching of the Patriarch. Upon his death, the posthumous title, “Dhyana Master Da Hui (Great Wisdom) was conferred on him by imperial edict.
Dhyana Master Xuan Jue of Yong Jia was born of a Dai family in Wen Zhou. As a youth, he studied Sutras and Shastras and was well-versed in the teaching of Samatha (inhibition or quietude) and Vipasyana (contemplation or discernment) of the Tian Tai School. Through the reading of the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra he realized intuitively the mystery of his own mind.
A disciple of the Patriarch by the name of Xuan Ce happened to pay him a visit. During the course of a long discussion, Xuan Ce noticed that the utterance of his friend agreed virtually with the sayings of the various Patriarchs. Thereupon he asked, “May I know the name of your teacher who transmitted the Dharma to you?”
“I had teachers to instruct me,” replied Xuan Jue, “when I studied the Sutras and the Shastras of the Vaipulya section. But afterwards it was through the reading of the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra that I realized the significance of the Buddhacitta (the Dhyana) School; and in this respect I have not yet had any teacher to verify and confirm my knowledge.”
策云：「威音王已前即得，威音王已後，無師自悟，盡是天然外道。」”Before the time of Bhismagarjitasvara Raja Buddha,” Xuan Ce remarked, “it was possible (to dispense with the service of a teacher); but since that time, he who attains enlightenment without the aid and the confirmation of a teacher is a natural heretic.”
“Will you, Sir, kindly act as my testifier,” asked Xuan Jue. “My words carry no weight,” replied his friend, “but in Cao Xi there is the Sixth Patriarch, to whom visitors in great numbers come from all directions with the common object of having the Dharma transmitted to them. Should you wish to go there, I shall be pleased to accompany you.”
In due course they arrived at Cao Xi and interviewed the Patriarch. Having circumambulated the Patriarch thrice, Xuan Jue stood still (i.e.,without making obeisance to the Master) with the Khakkharam (the Buddhist staff) in his hand.
(For his discourtesy), the Patriarch made the following remark: “As a Sramana (Buddhist monk) is the embodiment of three thousand moral precepts and eighty thousand minor disciplinary rules, I wonder where you come from and what makes you so conceited.”
“The question of incessant rebirths is a momentous one,” replied he, “and as death may come at any moment (I have no time to waste on ceremony).”
師曰：「何不體取無生，了無速乎？」曰：「體即無生，了本無速。」 師曰：「如是，如是！」”Why do you not realize the principle of ‘Birthlessness’, and thus solve the problem of transiency in life?” the Patriarch retorted. Thereupon Xuan Jue remarked, “To realize the Essence of Mind is to be free from rebirths; and once this problem is solved, the question of transiency no longer exists.” “That is so, that is so,” the Patriarch agreed.
At this stage, Xuan Jue gave in and made obeisance in full ceremony. After a short while he bid the Patriarch adieu. “You are going away too quickly, aren’t you?” asked the Patriarch.
“How can there be ‘quickness’ when motion intrinsically exists not?” he retorted.
“Who knows that motion exists not?” asked the Patriarch.
“I hope you, Sir, will not particularize,” he observed.
師曰：「汝甚得無生之意。」 曰：「無生豈有意耶？」師曰：「無意誰當分別？」 曰：「分別亦非意。」
The Patriarch commended him for his thorough grasp of the notion of ‘Birthlessness’; but Xuan Jue remarked, “Is there a ‘notion’ in ‘Birthlessness’?”
“Without a notion, who can particularize?” asked the Patriarch in turn.
“That which particularizes is not a notion,” replied Xuan Jue.
“Well said!” exclaimed the Patriarch. He then asked Xuan Jue to delay his departure and spend a night there. Henceforth Xuan Jue was known to his contemporaries as the ‘enlightened one who had spent a night with the Patriarch’.
Afterwards, he wrote the famous work, ‘A Song on Spiritual Attainment’, which circulates widely. His posthumous title is ‘Grand Master Wu Xiang’ (He who is above form or phenomena), and he was also called by his contemporaries ‘Dhyana Master Zhen Jue’ (He who is really enlightened).
Bhikkhu Zhi Huang, a follower of the Dhyana School, after his consultation with the Fifth Patriarch (as to the progress of his work) considered himself as having attained Samadhi. For twenty years he confined himself in a small temple and kept up the position all the time.
Xuan Ce, a disciple of the Sixth Patriarch on a meditation journey to the northern bank of Huang He, heard about him and called at his temple.
“What are you doing here?” asked Xuan Ce.
“I am abiding in Samadhi,” replied his friend, Zhi Huang.
策云：「汝云入定，為有心人耶？無心人耶？若無心人者，一切無情草木瓦石，應合得定；若有心人者，一切有情含識之流，亦應得定。」 隍曰：「我正入定時，不見有有無之心。」策云：「不見有有無之心，即是常定，何有出入？若有出入，即非大定。」隍無對，良久，問曰：「師嗣誰耶？」 策云：「我師曹溪六祖。」 隍云：「六祖以何為禪定？」 “Abiding in Samadhi, did you say?” observed Xuan Ce. “I wish to know whether you are doing it consciously or unconsciously. For if you are doing it unconsciously, it would mean that it is possible for all inanimate objects such as earthenware, stones, trees, and weeds, to attain Samadhi. On the other hand, if you are doing it consciously, than all animate objects or sentient beings would be in Samadhi also.”
“When I am in Samadhi,” observed Zhi Huang, “I know neither consciousness nor unconsciousness.”
“If that is the case,” said Xuan Ce, “it is perpetual Samadhi; in which state there is neither abiding nor leaving. That state which you can abide in or leave off is not the great Samadhi.”
Zhi Huang was dumbfounded. After a long while, he asked, “May I know who is your teacher?”
“My teacher is the Sixth Patriarch of Cao Xi,” replied Xuan Ce.
“How does he define Dhyana and Samadhi?” Zhi Huang asked.
“According to his teaching,” replied Xuan Ce, “the Dharmakaya is perfect and serene; its quintessence and its function are in a state of Thusness. The five Skandhas (aggregates) are intrinsically void and the six sense-objects are non-existent. There is neither abiding nor leaving in Samadhi. There is neither quietude nor perturbation. The nature of dhyana is non-abiding, so
we should get above the state of ‘abiding in the calmness of dhyana’. The nature of Dhyana is uncreative, so we should get above the notion of ‘creating a state of Dhyana’. The state of the mind may be likened unto space, but (it is infinite) and so it is without the limitations of the latter.”
隍聞是說，徑來謁師。師問云：「仁者何來？」 隍具述前緣。 師云：「誠如所言。」師憫其遠來，遂垂開決。
Having heard this, Zhi Huang went immediately to Cao Xi to interview the Patriarch. Upon being asked whence he came, he told the Patriarch in detail the conversation he had had with Xuan Ce. “What Xuan Ce said is quite right,” said the Patriarch. Let your mind be in a state such as that of the illimitable void, but do not attach it to the idea of ‘vacuity’. Let it function freely. Whether you are in activity or at rest, let your mind abide nowhere. Forget the discrimination between a sage and an ordinary man. Ignore the distinction of subject and object. Let the Essence of Mind and all phenomenal objects be in a state of Thusness. Then you will be in Samadhi all the time.”
Zhi Huang was thereby fully enlightened. What he had considered for the past twenty years as an attainment now vanished. On that night inhabitants of He Bei (the northern bank of the Yellow River) heard a voice in the air to the effect that Dhyana Master Zhi Huang had on that day gained enlightenment.
Sometime after Zhi Huang bid the Patriarch adieu and returned to He Bei, he taught a great number of men and women, monks as well as the laity.
A Bhikkhu once asked the Patriarch what sort of man could obtain the keynote of the teaching of Huang Mei (the Fifth Patriarch). “He who understands the Buddha Dharma can get it,” replied the Patriarch. “Have you, Sir, got it then?” asked the Bhikkhu. “I do not understand the Buddha Dharma,” was his reply.
One day the Patriarch wanted to wash the robe which he had inherited, but could find no good stream for the purpose. Thereupon he walked to a place about five miles from the rear of the monastery, where he noticed that plants and trees grew profusely and the environment gave an air of good omen. He shook his staff (which makes a tinkling noise, as rings are attached to the top of it) and stuck it in the ground. Immediately water spurted out and before long a pool was formed. While he was kneeling down on a rock to wash the robe, a Bhikkhu suddenly appeared before him and tendered him homage. “My name is Fang Bian,” said he, “and I am a native of Sichuan.
昨於南天竺國見達摩大師。囑方辯速往唐土。吾傳大迦葉正法眼藏及僧伽梨。見傳六代，於韶州曹溪，汝去瞻禮。方辯遠來，願見我師傳來衣缽。When I was in South India I met Patriarch Bodhidharma, who instructed me to return to China. ‘The Womb of the Orthodox Dharma,’ said he, ‘together with the robe which I inherited from Mahakasyapa have now been transmitted to the Sixth Patriarch, who is now in Cao Xi of Shao Zhou. Go there to have a look at them and to pay your respect to the Patriarch.’ After a long voyage, I have arrived. May I see the robe and begging bowl you inherited?”
師乃出示。次問上人攻何事業。 曰：「善塑。」 師正色曰：「汝試塑看。」 辯罔措。過數日，塑就真相，可高七寸，曲盡其妙。 師笑曰：「汝善塑性，不解佛性。」即為摩頂授記，永與人天為福田，
Having shown him the two relics, the Patriarch asked him what line of work he was taking up. “I am pretty good at sculptural work,” replied he. “Let me see some of your work then,” demanded the Patriarch. Fang Bian was confounded at the time, but after a few days he was able to complete a life-like statue of the Patriarch, about seven inches high, a masterpiece of sculpture.
(Upon seeing the statue), the Patriarch laughed and said to Fang Bian, “You know something about the nature of sculptural work, but you do not seem to know the nature of Buddha.” He then stretched forth his hand to rub the crown of Fang Bian (the Buddhist way of blessing) and declared, “You shall forever be a ‘field of merit’ for human and celestial beings.”
In addition, the Patriarch rewarded his service with a robe, which Fang Bian divided into three parts, one for dressing the statue, one for himself, and one for burying in the ground after covering it up with palm leaves. (When the burial took place) he took a vow to the effect that by the time the robe was exhumed he would be reincarnated as the abbot of the monastery, and also that he would undertake to renovate the shrine and the building.
A Bhikkhu quoted the following Gatha (stanza) composed by Dhyana Master Wo Lun:–
Wo Lun has ways and means
To insulate the mind from all thoughts
When circumstances do not react on the mind
The Bodhi tree (symbol of wisdom) will grow steadily.
Hearing this, the Patriarch said, “This stanza indicates that the composer of it has not yet fully realized the Essence of Mind. To put its teaching into practice (would gain no liberation), but bind oneself more tightly.” Thereupon, he showed the Bhikkhu the following stanza of his own:-
Hui Neng has no ways and means
To insulate the mind from all thoughts
Circumstances often react on my mind;
And I wonder how can the Bodhi tree grow?
(Note: In the last line, the Patriarch challenged the statement that “the Bodhi tree will grow,” as Bodhi neither increases nor decreases.)