Sayings of Lin-chi

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Sayings of Lin-chi

Post by Individual » Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:50 pm

From "Precious Lessons of the Zen Schools" (Chanmen Baoxun), translated by Thomas Cleary.

People who study Buddhism in the present day should for now seek truly accurate vision and understanding. Then life and death will not influence you, and you will be free to leave or to stay. You do not need to seek the extraordinary, for the extraordinary will come of itself.

The worthies of old all had means of emancipating people. What I teach people just requires you not to take on the confusions of others. If you need to act, then act, without any further hesitation or doubt.

When students today do not realize this, where is the problem? The problem is in not spontaneously trusting. If you do not trust yourself completely, you will then hurriedly go along with whatever happens in all situations, as you are caused to undergo change by those myriad situations, you cannot be independent.

If you were able to put a stop to the mentality in which every thought is running after something, then you would be no different from a Zen master or a buddha. Do you want to know what a Zen master or a buddha is? Simply that which is immediately present, listening to the Teaching. It is just because students do not trust completely that they seek outwardly. Even if they get something by seeking, it is all literary excellence, they never attain the living meaning of the masters.

Make no mistake about it; if you do not find it now, you will repeat the same routines for myriad eons, a thousand times over again, following and picking up objects that attract you, born in the belies of donkeys and oxen.

According to my view, we are no different from Shakyamuni Buddha. Today, in your various activities, what do you lack? The spiritual light coursing through your six senses has never been interrupted. If you can see in this way, you will simply be free of burdens all your life.

The world is unstable, like a house on fire. This is not a place where you stay long. The murderous haunt of impermanence comes upon you in a flash, no matter where you are rich or poor, old or young. If you want to be no different from a Zen master or a buddha, just do not seek outwardly.

The pure light of your mind in a single moment of thought is the reality-body Buddha in your own house. The nondiscriminatory light of your mind in a single moment of thought is the reward-body Buddha in your own house. The nondifferentiated light of your mind in a single moment of thought is the projection-body Buddha in your own house. These three kinds of embodiment are none other than the person who is listening to the teaching right here and now, but it is only by not seeking outwardly that one has these effective functions.

According to professors and scriptures and treatises, the three embodiments are the ultimate model, but in my view this is not so. Three three embodiments are names, words, they are also three kinds of dependence. An ancient said, "Embodiments are established based on meaning; the lands are discussed based on substance." The embodiment of the nature of reality and the land of the nature of reality are obviously reflections of a light; now you should get to know the person who manipulating the reflections of the light-this is the root source of the buddhas. Everywhere is your way home.

The fact is that your physical body cannot expound the Teaching or listen to the Teaching. Your lungs, stomach, liver, and gallbladder cannot expound the Teaching or listen to the Teaching. Space cannot expound the Teaching or listen to the Teaching. So what can expound the Teaching or listen to the Teaching? It is the immediately present, clearly obvious, completely formless solitary light; this is what can expound the Teaching and listen to the Teaching. If you can see in this way, you will be no different from a Zen master or a buddha.

Just do not allow any more interruptions at any time, and everything that you see is It. Just because feelings arise, knowledge is blocked, changes in conceptions result in changes in actualities. That is why you keep repeating the same routines in the world and suffer a variety of miseries.

In my view, nothing is not extremely profound, nothing is not liberated. The reality of mind has no form but pervades the ten directions. In the eyes it is called seeing, in the ears it is called hearing, in the nose it smells, in the mouth it speaks, in the hands it grips, and in the feet it steps. Basically it is a single spiritual light, differentiated onto a sixfold combination. Once the whole mind is as nothing, you are liberated wherever you are.

What do I mean when I say this? It is just because you are unable to stop the whole mentality of seeking that you get hooked onto useless actions and states of other people who lived a long time ago. If you take my view, you will sit at the head of the psychic and physical embodiments of Buddha: those at the tenth stage, with fulfilled hearts, will be like migrant laborers; those who have attained equivalent and ineffable enlightenment will be like people in fetters and chains; saints and self-illuminates will be like privy orude; enlightenment and nirvana will be like donkey-tethering snakes.

Why so? You have these obstacles only because you have not realized the emptiness of the eons. Genuine Wayfarers are never like this, they just dissolve their history according to conditions, dressing according to circumstances, acting when they need to act, and sitting when they need to sit, without any idea of seeking the fruits of Buddhahood.

Why are they like this? An ancient said, "If you are going to contrive activities to seek buddhahood, then buddhahood is a major sign of birth and death."

Time is to be valued! You just try to learn Zen on the surface as something outside yourself, learning to recognize terms and slogans, seeking "buddhahood," seeking "mastery," seeking "teachers," considering them conceptually. Make no mistake about it--you have but one father and mother, so what more are you seeking? Turn your attention back upon yourself and observe.

An ancient said, "Yajnadatta lost his head, but when his searching stopped, then he had no troubles." What you should do is be normal; don't act imitatively.

There is a kind of shaveling who does not know good from bad, who sees ghosts and spirits, points out this and pictures that, and makes a fun about sun and rain. All who are like this will have to pay back their debts, someday swallowing hot iron pills in front of the king of the underworld. Once men and women of good families get charmed by this kind of fox, they hoke up wonders, blind to the fact that one day they will be charged for their meals.

It is absolutely necessary for you to seek genuinely accurate insight and understanding. Then you can travel freely anywhere and avoid being confused by the common sort of spiritual charmer.

It is the one without obsession who is noble. Just do not act in a contrived manner; simply be normal. When you go searching elsewhere outside yourself, your whole approach is already mistaken. You just try to seek buddhahood, but buddhahood is just a name, an expression--do you know the one who is doing the searching?

The buddhas and Zen masters of all times and places have emerged only on account of search for truth. Present-day seekers are also in search of truth. Only when you attain truth will you be done; until you have attained it, you will repeat your former ways.

What is the truth? The truth is the reality of the mind. The reality of mind is formless and pervades the ten directions. It is being used presently, right before your eyes, yet people do not trust it sufficiently, so they accept terms and expressions, seeking to assess Buddhism conceptually in the written word. They are as far away as the sky is from the earth.

What truth am I talking about? I am talking about the truth of the ground of mind, which can enter into the ordinary and the sacred, into the pure and the polluted, into the absolute and the conventional, and yet is not absolute or conventional, ordinary or sacred, but is able to give names to all the absolute, conventional, ordinary, and sacred. Someone who has realized this cannot be labeled by the absolute or the conventional, by the ordinary or the sacred. If you can grasp it, then use it, without labeling it anymore. This is called the mystic teaching.

My teaching is different from that of everyone else. Even if Manjushri and Samantabhadra were to appear before me, each manifesting an embodiment to ask about the teaching, as soon as they addressed me I would already have distinguished them. As I sit in peace, if any more followers of the Way come to see me, I discern them all completely. Why is it like this? Because my view is distinct: externally I do not grasp the ordinary or the sacred, internally I do not dwell on the fundamental, seeing all the way through, I no longer doubt or err.

There is no place for exertion of effort in Buddhism; it is just a matter of being normal and unobsessed, taking care of bodily functions, dressing and eating, lying down when tired. Fools laugh at me; it is the wise who understand this. An ancient said, "Those who work on externals are all ignoramuses."

For now, be the master wherever you are, and then wherever you stand is reality, and situations that come up cannot move you. Even if you have existing habit energy that would impel you to evil deeds, it naturally becomes an ocean of liberation.

Students today do not know the truth at all. They are like goats nosing around, taking whatever they find into their mouths. They cannot distinguish the servant from the master, the guest from the host. People like this enter the path with the wrong attitude; they cannot enter into clamorous situations, yet the call themselves genuine renunciants. In fact they are really worldlings.

As for renunciants, they must master constant truth and authenticity of insight and understanding. They must distinguish Buddha from the devil, they must distinguish the real from the false, and they must distinguish the ordinary from the holy. If they can make these distinctions, they can be called true renunciants.

Those who cannot distinguish devil from Buddha are actually leaving one house to enter another. They may be said to be creating karma; they cannot be called real renunciants. Now there is a confusion of Buddha and devil, like water and milk are mixed together. They can only be separated by an expert.

As for Wayfarers, with enlightened eyes, they strike down both devil and Buddha. If you love the holy and despise the ordinary, you are bobbing in the ocean of birth and death.


What are the Buddha and the devil?

A moment of doubt in the mind is a devil. If you realize all things are unborn, and mind is like an illusory projection, so that there is no longer a single particle, a single phenomenon, but everywhere is immaculate purity, this is Buddha.

However, Buddha and devil represent the two realms of purity and defilement; in my own view, there is neither Buddha nor mortal being, there is neither antiquity nor present; those who get it do so at once, without taking a certain time. There is no cultivation, no realization, no gain, no loss. At all times there is nothing else. Even if there were something beyond this, I would say it is like a dream, like a projection. This is what I always say.

The immediate solitary light clearly listening is unobstructed everywhere, pervading the ten directions, free in the three realms, entering into the differentiations in objects without being changed. In an instant it enters the cosmos of realities: meeting buddhas, it talks about buddhas, meeting Zen masters, it talks about Zen masters, meeting saints, it talks about saints, meeting ghosts, it talks about ghosts. Within a single thought, it roams in lands everywhere teaching people; its omnipresent pure radiance pervades the ten directions.

Now you know there is basically nothing to be obsessed with. It's just because you do not trust completely that your thoughts run in search: Ignoring your own head, you look for another head, unable to stop yourself.

Bodhisattvas of the complete all-at-once path manifest their bodies in the cosmos of realities, disdaining the ordinary and seeking the body within purelands. Types like this have not yet forgotten grasping and rejection; mindfulness of pollution and purity is still there. The view of the Zen school is not like this; it is right now, no other time.

What I say is all temporary medicine for curing illness, there is no real doctrine at all. If you can see it in this way, you are a true renunciant, you can use a thousand ounces of gold a day.

Do not hastily let teachers give you a stamp of approval, claiming, "I understand Zen, I understand Tao." They may talk glibly, but they are making hellish karma.

Genuine students of the Way do not look for the faults of the world; what is most urgent is to seek real true insight and understanding. If you attain real true insight, it must be complete and clear before you are finished.

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