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Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

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Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby hrtbeat7 on Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:36 am

Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners
By Master Hanshan Deqing [1546-1623]
Translation by Guo-gu Shi

http://purifymind.com/PracticeBegin.htm


I. How to Practice and Reach Enlightenment

Concerning the causes and condition of this Great Matter, [this Buddha-nature] is intrinsically within everyone; as such, it is already complete within you, lacking nothing. The difficulty is that, since time without beginning, seeds of passion, deluded thinking, emotional conceptualizations, and deep-rooted habitual tendencies have obscured this marvelous luminosity. You cannot genuinely realize it because you have being wallowing in remnant deluded thoughts of body, mind, and the world, discriminating and musing [about this and that]. For these reason you have been roaming in the cycle of birth and death [endlessly]. Yet, all Buddhas and ancestral masters have appeared in the world using countless words and expedient means to expound on Chan and to clarify the doctrine. Following and meeting different dispositions [of sentient being], all of these expedient means are like tools to crush our mind of clinging and realize that originally there is no real substantiality to "dharmas" or [the sense of] "self."
What is commonly known as practice means simply to accord with [whatever state] of mind you're in so as to purify and relinquish the deluded thoughts and traces of your habit tendencies. Exerting your efforts here is called practice. If within a single moment deluded thinking suddenly ceases, [you will] thoroughly perceive your own mind and realize that it is vast and open, bright and luminous-intrinsically perfect and complete. This state, being originally pure, devoid of a single thing, is called enlightenment. Apart from this mind, there is no such thing as cultivation or enlightenment. The essence of your mind is like a mirror and all the traces of deluded thoughts and clinging to conditions are defiling dust of the mind. Your conception of appearances is this dust and your emotional consciousness is the defilement. If all the deluded thoughts melt away, the intrinsic essence will reveal in its own accord. It's like when the defilement is polished away, the mirror regains its clarity. It is the same with Dharma.
However, our habit, defilement, and self-clinging accumulated throughout eons have become solid and deep-rooted. Fortunately, through the condition of having the guidance of a good spiritual friend, our internal prajna as a cause can influence our being so this inherent prajna can be augmented. Having realized that [prajna] is inherent in us, we will be able to arouse the [Bodhi-] mind and steer our direction toward the aspiration of relinquishing [the cyclic existence of] birth and death. This task of uprooting the roots of birth and death accumulated through innumerable eons all at once is a subtle matter. If you are not someone with great strength and ability brave enough to shoulder such a burden and to cut through directly [to this matter] without the slightest hesitation, then [this task] will be extremely difficult. An ancient one has said, "This matter is like one person confronting ten thousand enemies." These are not false words.

II. The Entrance to Practice and Enlightenment

Generally speaking, in this Dharma-ending-age, there are more people who practice than people who truly have realization. There are more people who waste their efforts than those who derive power. Why is this? They do not exert their effort directly and do not know the shortcut. Instead, many people merely fill their minds with past knowledge of words and language based on what they have heard, or they measure things by means of their emotional discriminations, or they suppress deluded thoughts, or they dazzle themselves with visionary astonishment at their sensory gates. These people dwell on the words of the ancient ones in their minds and take them to be real. Furthermore, they cling to these words as their own view. Little do they know that none of these are the least bit useful. This is what is called, "grasping at other's understanding and clouding one's own entrance to enlightenment."
In order to engage in practice, you must first sever knowledge and understanding and single-mindedly exert all of your efforts on one thought. Have a firm conviction in your own [true] mind that, originally it is pure and clear, without the slightest lingering thing-it is bright and perfect and it pervades throughout the Dharmadhatu. Intrinsically, there is no body, mind, or world, nor are there any deluded thoughts and emotional conceptions. Right at this moment, this single thought is itself unborn! Everything that manifests before you now are illusory and insubstantial-all of which are reflections projected from the true mind. Work in such a manner to crush away [all your deluded thoughts]. You should fixate [your mind] to observe where the thoughts arise from and where they cease. If you practice like this, no matter what kinds of deluded thoughts arise, one smash and they will all be crushed to pieces. All will dissolve and vanish away. You should never follow or perpetuate deluded thoughts. Master Yongjia has admonished, "One must sever the mind [that desires] continuation." This is because the illusory mind of delusion is originally rootless. You should never take a deluded thought as real and try to hold on to it in your heart. As soon as it arises notice it right away. Once you notice it, it will vanish. Never try to suppress thoughts but allow thoughts to be as you watch a gourd floating on water.
Put aside your body, mind, and world and simply bring forth this single thought [of method] like a sword piercing through the sky. Whether a Buddha or a Mara appears, just cut them off like a snarl of entangled silk thread. Use all your effort and strength patiently to push your mind to the very end. What is known as, "a mind that maintains the correct thought of true suchness" means that a correct thought is no-thought. If you are able to contemplate no-thought, you're already steering toward the wisdom of the Buddhas.
Those who practice and have recently generated the [Bodhi-] mind should have the conviction in the teaching of mind-only. The Buddha has said, "The three realms are mind-only and the myriad dharmas are mere consciousness." All Buddhadharma is only further exposition on these two lines so everyone will be able to distinguish, understand, and generate faith in this reality. The passages of the sacred and the profane, are only paths of delusion and awakening with in your own mind. Besides the mind, all karmas of virtue and vice are unobtainable. Your [intrinsic] nature is wondrous. It is something natural and spontaneous, not something you can "enlighten to" [since you naturally have it]. As such, what is there to be deluded about? Delusion only refers to your unawareness that your mind intrinsically has not a single thing, and that the body, mind, and world are originally empty. Because you're obstructed, therefore, there is delusion. You have always taken the deluded thinking mind, that constantly rises and passes away, as real. For this reason, you have also taken the various illusory transformations in and appearances of the realms of the six sense objects as real. If today you are willing to arouse your mind and steer away from [this direction] and take the upper road, then you should cast aside all of your previous views and understanding. Here not a single iota of intellectual knowledge or cleverness will be useful. You must only see through the body, mind, and world that appear before you and realize that they are all insubstantial. Like imaginary reflections-they are the same as images in the mirror or moon reflected in the water. Hear all sounds and voices like wind passing through the forest; perceive all objects as drifting clouds in the sky. Everything is in a constant state of flux; everything is illusory and insubstantial. Not only is the external world like this, but your own deluded thoughts, emotional discriminations of the mind, and all the seeds of passion, habit tendencies, as well as all vexations are also groundless and insubstantial.
If you can thus engage in contemplation, then whenever a thought arises, you should find its source. Never haphazardly allow it to pass you by [without seeing through it]. Do not be deceived by it! If this is how you work, then you will be doing some genuine practice. Do not try to gather up some abstract and intellectual view on it or try to fabricate some cleaver understanding about it. Still, to even speak about practice is really like the last alternative. For example, in the use of weapons, they are really not auspicious objects! But they are used as the last alternative [in battles]. The ancient ones spoke about investigating Chan and bringing forth the huatou. These, too are last alternatives. Even though there are innumerable gong ans, only by using the huatou, "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" can you derive power from it easily enough amidst vexing situations. Even though you can easily derive power from it, [this huatou] is merely a [broken] tile for knocking down doors. Eventually you will have to throw it away. Still, you must use it for now. If you plan to use a huatou for your practice, you must have faith, unwavering firmness, and perseverance. You must not have the least bit of hesitation and uncertainty. Also, you must not be one way today and another tomorrow. You should not be concerned that you will not be enlightened, nor should you feel that this huatou is not profound enough! All of these thoughts are just hindrances. I must speak of these now so that you will not give rise to doubt and suspicion when you are confronted [by difficulties].
If you can derive power from your power, the external world will not influence you. However, internally your mind may give rise to much frantic distraction for [seemingly] no reason. Sometimes desire and lust well up; sometime restlessness comes in. Numerous hindrances can arise inside of you making you feel mentally and physically exhausted. You will not know what to do. These are all of the karmic propensities that have been stored inside your eighth-consciousness for innumerable eons. Today, due to your energetic practice, they will all come out. At that critical point, you must be able to discern and see through them then pass beyond [these obstacles]. Never be controlled and manipulated by them and most of all, never take them to be real. At that point, you must refresh your spirit and arouse your courage and diligence then bring forth this existential concern with your investigation of the huatou. Fix your attention at the point from which thoughts arise and continuously push forward on and on and ask, "Originally there is nothing inside of me, so where does the [obstacle] come from? What is it?" You must be determined to find out the bottom of this matter. Pressing on just like this, killing every [delusion in sight,] without leaving a single trace until even the demons and spirits burst out in tears. If you can practice like this, naturally good news will come to you.
If you can smash through a single thought, then all deluded thinking will suddenly be stripped off. You will feel like a flower in the sky that casts no shadows, or like a bright sun emitting boundless light, or like a limpid pond, transparent and clear. After experiencing this, there will be immeasurable feelings of light and ease, as well as a sense of liberation. This is a sign of deriving power from practice for beginners. There is nothing marvelous or extraordinary about it. Do not rejoice and wallow in this ravishing experience. If you do, then the Mara of Joy will possess you and you will have gained another kind of obstruction! Concealed within the storehouse consciousness are your deep-rooted habit tendencies and seeds of passion. If your practice of huatou is not taking effect, or that you're unable to contemplate and illuminate your mind, or you're simply incapable of applying yourself to the practice, then you should practice prostrations, read the sutras, and engage yourself in repentance. You may also recite mantras to receive the secret seal of the Buddhas; it will alleviate your hindrances. This is because all the secret mantras are the seals of the Buddhas' diamond mind. When you use them, it is like holding an indestructible diamond thunderbolt that can shatter everything. Whatever comes close to it will be demolished into dust motes. The essence of all the esoteric teachings of all Buddhas and ancestral masters are contained in the mantras. Therefore, it is said that, "All Tathagatas in the ten directions attained unsurpassable and correct perfect enlightenment through such mantras." Even though the Buddhas have said this clearly, the lineage ancestral masters, fearing that these words may be misunderstood, have kept this knowledge a secret and do not use this method. Nevertheless, in order to derive power from using a mantra, you must practice it regularly after a long and extensive period of time. Yet, even so, you should never anticipate or seek miraculous response from using it.

III. Understanding-enlightenment and Actualized-enlightenment

There are those who are first enlightened then engage in practice, and there are others who first practice and then get enlightened. Also, there is a difference with understanding-enlightenment and actualized-enlightenment.
Those who understand their minds after hearing the spoken teaching from the Buddhas and ancestral masters reach an understanding-enlightenment. In most cases, these people fall into views and knowledge. Confronted by all circumstances, they will not be able to make use of what they have come to know. Their minds and the external objects are in opposition. There is neither oneness nor harmony. Thus, they face obstacles all the time. [What they have realized] is called "prajna in semblance" and is not from genuine practice.
Actualized-enlightenment results from solid and sincere practice when you reach an impasse where the mountains are barren and waters are exhausted. Suddenly, [at the moment when] a thought stops, you will thoroughly perceive your own mind. At this time, you will feel as though you have personally seen your own father at a crossroad-there is no doubt about it! It is like you yourself drinking water. Whether the water is cold or warm, only you will know, and it is not something you can describe to others. This is genuine practice and true enlightenment. Having had such experience, you can integrate it with all situations of life and purify, as well as relinquish, the karma that has already manifested, the stream of your consciousness, your deluded thinking and emotional conceptions until everything fuses into the One True [enlightened] Mind. This is actualized-enlightenment.
This state of actualized-enlightenment can be further divided into shallow and profound realizations. If you exert your efforts at the root [of your existence], smashing away the cave of the eighth consciousness, and instantaneously overturn the den of fundamental ignorance, with one leap directly enter [the realm of enlightenment], then there is nothing further for you to learn. This is having supreme karmic roots. Your actualization will be profound indeed. The depth of actualization for those who practice gradually, [on the other hand,] will be shallow.
The worst thing is to be self-satisfied with little [experiences]. Never allow yourself to fall into the dazzling experiences that arise from your sensory gates. Why? Because your eighth consciousness has not yet been crushed, so whatever you experience or do will be [conditioned] by your [deluded] consciousness and senses. If you think that this [consciousness] is real, then it is like mistaking a thief to be your own son! The ancient one has said, "Those who engage in practice do not know what is real because until now they have taken their consciousness [to be true]; what a fool takes to be his original face is actually the fundamental cause of birth and death." This is the barrier that you must pass through.
So called sudden enlightenment and gradual practice refers to one who has experienced a thorough enlightenment but, still has remnant habit tendencies that are not instantaneously purified. For these people, they must, implement the principles from their enlightenment that they have realized to face all circumstances of life and, bring forth the strength from their contemplation and illumination to experience their minds in difficult situations. When one portion of their experience in such situations accords [with the enlightened way], they will have actualized one portion of the Dharmakaya. When they dissolve away one portion of their deluded thinking, that is the degree to which their fundamental wisdom manifests. What is critical is seamless continuity in the practice. [For these people,] it is much more effective when they practice in different real life situations.

Comments by the Translator
Hanshan Deqing [1546-1623] is considered one of the four most eminent Buddhist monks in the late Ming Dynasty [1368-1644] partly for his social-political interactions with Ming court, exegesis of Buddhist texts, and most importantly, for his Chan practice. In this short introduction, I will only comment briefly on the last aspects on his contributions to Chinese Buddhism.
Even at age seven, Hanshan had existential concerns about life and death. These thoughts had led him to leave the household life and pursue a life of Buddhist training already at age nine. At the age of 19, he was ordained as a Buddhist monk.
In all of the history of Chan, there is not a single master that has written in such detail about his own practice and experiences, especially in describing the enlightened state of mind. According to a compiled record, The Dream Roaming of Great Master Hanshan, he had numerous and extraordinary enlightenment experiences. His first experience was during a Dharma lecture when he heard the profound teaching on the interpenetration of phenomena as taught in the Avatamsaka Sutra and the treatise, The Ten Wondrous Gates. He experienced another deep enlightenment experience sometime later when at Mt. Wu Tai he read the treatise by an early Chinese Madhyamika monk called Things do not Move. According to the record, Hanshan served as proofreader of the Book of Chao, the source of Things do not Move. Hanshan came across the stories of a Bramacharin who had left home in his youth and returned when he was white-haired. When people saw him, the neighbors asked, "Is that man [whom we know] still living today?" The Bramacharin replied, "I look like that man of the past, but I am not he." On reading this story ,, Hanshan suddenly understood that all things do not come and go. When he got up from his seat and walked around, he did not see things in motion. When he opened the window blind, suddenly a wind blew the trees in the yard, and the leaves flew all over the sky. However, he did not see any signs of motion. When he went to urinate, he still did not see signs of flowing. He understood what the text spoke of as, "Streams and rivers run into the ocean and yet there is no flowing." At this time, Hanshan shattered all doubt and existential concerns about birth and death. He wrote the following poem:
Life and death, day and night;
Water flows and flowers fall.
Only today, I know that
My nose points downward!
The next day when another great Chan Master, Miaofeng, saw him, he knew that Hanshan was different and asked him whether anything has happened. Hanshan replied, " Last night I saw two iron oxen fighting with each other next to the river bank. They both fell in the river. Since then, I have not heard anything about them." Miaofeng rejoiced and congratulated him.
Still, on another occasion, after a meal, Hanshan walked in the mountains and experienced a profound state of samadhi while standing. In the record, it described that suddenly he lost all consciousness of his body and mind. He experienced everything, the whole universe, as contained in a great perfect mirror-like mind. Mountains and rivers all reflected in it. After he came out of that experience, he wrote the following verse:
In an instant of thought, this chaotic mind is put to rest.
Internally and externally, the sense faculties and objects
Became empty and clear.
Overturning the body-emptiness is now shattered.
The myriad forms and appearances arise and extinguish
[in their own accord].
These are just some of his experiences recorded in The Dream Roaming of Great Master Hanshan. The instructions on practice that I have translated here are from the second fascicle of this record. The original text had no titles but were letters written to a lay practitioner on Chan practice.
Hanshan was also a prolific writer whose published works ranging from commentaries on Buddhist sutras and treatises, to secular poems, reached the length of 8,300 pages. In The Dream Roaming of Great Master Hanshan, there are 55 chuan, or books, covering over 3,000 pages. His commentaries on the Supplement to the Tripitaka consist of 119 chuan, covering over 1,200 large pages printed on both sides. Like other Ming Dynasty Buddhist monks, he also wrote many commentaries on non-Buddhist works such as Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi, as well as other Taoist and Confucian text.
His contributions to Chinese Buddhism lies in his exemplary personality and his striving toward liberation, especially in an age of mismanaged government, corruption, internal oppression, and the external vulnerability of the Ming Dynasty. Although his Buddhist commentary is not particularly original, the strength of his writing comes from his active approach in reviving and popularizing Buddhism, and in the way he responded to the times in which he lived.
From all that we know of Hanshan, we can conclude that he was a great master who gave equal weight to doctrine and practice, as well as to the revival of Chinese Buddhism.

(Webmaster's note: To know more about Han'san's life, you can download his autobiography at www.hsuyun.org)


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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby freefall on Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:11 am

That is a lot of useful information. More to the point I think the traps and the solution to those traps (non-attachment) Hanshan details is great encouragement. Finally, I am certain there is more in there then I was able to digest, however I appreciated being able to read this. Thanks!
Try, again and again.
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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby ZenGeek on Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:55 pm

Excellent stuff. :Namaste: It sounds like he regards a practitioner as a beginner untill one is enlightened. So, I guess most of us are beginners :)
Zi gui yi Fo - I take refuge in the Buddha
Zi gui yi Fa - I take refuge in the Dharma
Zi gui yi Seng - I take refuge in the Sangha
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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby Fugen on Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:29 pm

Hi.

nice read.

Mtfbwy
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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby tim on Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:52 pm

Very clear and insightful.

Thank you
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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby TomMac on Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:05 pm

"You cannot genuinely realize it because you have being wallowing in remnant deluded thoughts of body, mind, and the world, discriminating and musing [about this and that]. For these reason you have been roaming in the cycle of birth and death [endlessly]."

Ah! Bob,

How well I became aware of that. . .

Tommy. :rbow:
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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby hrtbeat7 on Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:00 pm

TomMac wrote:"You cannot genuinely realize it because you have being wallowing in remnant deluded thoughts of body, mind, and the world, discriminating and musing [about this and that]. For these reason you have been roaming in the cycle of birth and death [endlessly]."

Ah! Bob,

How well I became aware of that. . .

Tommy. :rbow:


Hiya Tom, yes, we can and do spend a lot of time wandering around in circles, eh.


M: Give up all working for a future, concentrate totally on the now, be concerned only with your response to every movement of life as it happens.

Q: What is the cause for the urge to roam about?

M: There is no cause. You merely dream you roam about. In a few years your stay in India will appear as a dream to you. You will dream some other dream at that time. Do realize that it is not you that moves from dream to dream, but the dreams flow before you.... No happening affects your real being – this is the absolute truth.

Q: Cannot I move about physically and keep steady inwardly?

M: You can, but what purpose does it serve? If you are earnest, you will find that in the end you will get fed up with roaming and regret the waste of time and energy. To find yourself you need not take a single step.

~from I Am That
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj



Even more to the point, from our Zen ancestors:


Dizang asked, "Where do you go?"

Teacher [Fayan] replied, "I'm on a pilgrimage."

Dizang said, "What is the point of your pilgrimage?"

Teacher said, "Don't know."

Dizang said, "Not knowing is the most intimate."

(Record of Fayan Wenyi)



:Namaste:
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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby Floating_Abu on Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:44 pm

Thanks hrtbeat7 - that's helpful.
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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby Rider on Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:16 am

Very nice.

Yet, all Buddhas and ancestral masters have appeared in the world using countless words and expedient means to expound on Chan and to clarify the doctrine. Following and meeting different dispositions [of sentient being], all of these expedient means are like tools to crush our mind of clinging and realize that originally there is no real substantiality to "dharmas" or [the sense of] "self."
~founding member

Don’t be distracted,
your very own mind is
what makes all this real.
- Tilopa

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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby Benign Charlatan on Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:16 pm

it's amazing how happy i become when people tell me things i already know and i recognize them as truth.
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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby Rider on Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:28 am

Benign Charlatan wrote:it's amazing how happy i become when people tell me things i already know and i recognize them as truth.


I feel the same way. It's the basis of the Buddhist publication industry. :PP:
~founding member

Don’t be distracted,
your very own mind is
what makes all this real.
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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby jbrickzin on Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:50 am

Being a Noob this info has helped out alot thanks!
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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby Ted Biringer on Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:01 am

hrtbeat7 wrote:Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners
By Master Hanshan Deqing [1546-1623]
Translation by Guo-gu Shi

http://purifymind.com/PracticeBegin.htm


I. How to Practice and Reach Enlightenment
[SNIP]
In order to engage in practice, you must first sever knowledge and understanding and single-mindedly exert all of your efforts on one thought. Have a firm conviction in your own [true] mind that, originally it is pure and clear, without the slightest lingering thing-it is bright and perfect and it pervades throughout the Dharmadhatu. Intrinsically, there is no body, mind, or world, nor are there any deluded thoughts and emotional conceptions. Right at this moment, this single thought is itself unborn! Everything that manifests before you now are illusory and insubstantial-all of which are reflections projected from the true mind. Work in such a manner to crush away [all your deluded thoughts]. You should fixate [your mind] to observe where the thoughts arise from and where they cease. If you practice like this, no matter what kinds of deluded thoughts arise, one smash and they will all be crushed to pieces.
[SNIP]
(Webmaster's note: To know more about Han'san's life, you can download his autobiography at http://www.hsuyun.org)

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Greetings hrtbeat7,

Thanks for the great post!

For my part, I would like to offer some more encouraging (and instructive) words in hopes of clarifying and/or amplifying this [snipped] section of your post.


Mind is Buddha, while the cessation of conceptual thought is the Way.
~Huang Po, The Zen Teaching of Huang Po, John Blofeld

Once affirmation and negation, like and dislike, approval and dis-approval, and all various opinions and feelings come to an end and cannot bind you, then you are free wherever you may be. This is what is called a bodhisattva at the moment of inspiration immediately ascending to the stage of buddhahood.
~Paichang, Sayings and Doings of Paichang, Thomas Cleary

The self nature is originally complete. If one only does not get hindered by either good or evil things, then that is a person who cultivates the Way. Grasping good and rejecting evil, contemplating sunyata and entering samadhi—all of these belong to activity. If one seeks outside, one goes away from it. Just put an end to all mental conceptions in the three realms. If there is not a single thought, then one eliminates the root of birth and death and obtains the unexcelled treasury of the Dharma king.
~Ma-tsu (Baso), Sun-Face Buddha, Cheng Chien

Through all of space, see as from afar a single word. There is an inherent sequence. People of beginner’s mentality do a lot of grasping at objects. You should contemplate a single word in your mind for now. After you experience realization, as you are sitting, it will look like this: In the midst of a vast wilderness, far off, standing all alone, is a high mountain. You are sitting on open ground on top of the mountain, looking off into the distance in all directions. There are no boundaries. As you sit, you fill the world. Relaxing and releasing body and mind, you abide in the buddha-realm. The pure body of reality, which is limitless, can also be described like this.
~Hongren, Zen Dawn, J.C. Cleary

Frankly speaking, you simply must manage to keep concentrating even in the midst of clamor and tumult, acting as though there were not a single thing happening, penetrating all the way through from the heights to the depths.
~Yuanwu (compiler of The Blue Cliff Record), Zen Letters, Thomas Cleary

Learned audience, the mindfulness techniques of cessation allow your fundamental awareness of reality to calmly shine in the immediate present. When you are at rest in your own fundamental awareness, the habitual conceptualization that goes on in your brain ceases. When you are truly mindful in the present, you are no longer inundated by thoughts, ideas, views, prejudice, associations, memories, and imagination. In true mindfulness, you experience yourself and the world as they are; that is, in their suchness. Your false notions of self and other, which screen you off from the universal mirror prajna, fall away, allowing you to awaken to the true nature of your own mind.
~Louie Wing, The Flatbed Sutra of Louie Wing, Ted Biringer

What is that “true wind” that has never once fallen to earth over the span of endless kalpas? It is the One Great Matter of human life: striving with fierce and courageous determination to bore through the barrier of kensho.
~Hakuin, Wild Ivy, Norman Waddell

Only if you keep your attention on it will you be able to make a discovery; but as I see, most of you just remain in eyes ears, seeing and hearing, sensing and feeling—you’ve already missed the point. You must find the nondiscriminatory mind without departing from the discriminating mind; find that which has no seeing or hearing without departing from seeing and hearing.

This does not mean that “no seeing” is a matter of sitting on a bench with your eyes closed. You must have nonseeing right in seeing. This is why it is said, “Live in the realm of seeing and hearing, yet unreached by seeing and hearing; live in the land of thought, yet untouched by thought.”
~Foyan, Instant Zen, Thomas Cleary

Do not allow the hours to pass in vain. If you people put your trust in this teaching and act accordingly, without being delivered, I shall gladly take your places in hell for the whole of my existence. If I have deceived you, may I be reborn in a place where lions, tigers and wolves will devour my flesh! But, if you do not put your faith in this teaching, and do not practice it diligently, that will be because you do not understand it. Once you have lost a human body, you will not obtain another for millions of aeons. Strive on! Strive on! It is absolutely vital that you come to understand.
~Hui Hai, The Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening, John Blofeld

Concentrate on this one word “Mu”…Day and night, keep digging into it…It is like swallowing a red-hot iron ball. You try to vomit it out, but you can’t… Suddenly Mu breaks open…you find the Great Freedom.
~Mumon (compiler of the Mumonkan), The Gateless Barrier, Robert Aitken

When thoughts are flying around your mind in confusion, what do you do? “A dog’s Buddha-nature? No.” This word No (Mu) is an iron broom: Where you sweep there is a lot of flying around, and where there is a lot of flying around, you sweep. The more you sweep, the more there is. At this point where it is impossible to sweep, you throw your whole life into sweeping. Keep your spine straight day and night, and do not let your courage flag. All of a sudden you sweep away the totality of space, and all differentiations are clearly penetrated, so the source and its meanings become evident
~Tendo Nyojo (teacher of Dogen), Unlocking The Zen Koan, Thomas Cleary

Simply step back from your tangling, dualistic thoughts. Step back from all your ideas about self and other, right and wrong, gain and loss, joy and sorrow. When thoughts come, step back and let them be; you are not just your thoughts. Do the same thing with all your notions, ideas, and views. If you persist in this practice, you will suddenly cease conceptualization and awaken to your true identity.
~Louie Wing, The Flatbed Sutra of Louie Wing, Ted Biringer

Right in the midst of the hubbub, you mustn’t forget the business of the bamboo chair and reed cushion (meditation). Usually (to meditate) you set your mind on a still concentration point, but you must be able to use it right in the midst of the hubbub. If you have no strength amidst commotion, after all it’s as if you never made any effort in stillness.
~Ta Hui, Swampland Flowers, JC Cleary

Just be wary that your investigation does not rest on a firm footing, and that you will not be able to penetrate through to realization. You must bravely cut off all entanglements, so there is not the slightest dependence or reliance. Relinquish your body and give up your life and directly accept the suchness that faces you; there is no other. Then even if the thousand sages came forth it wouldn’t change you at all. Leaving it to the flow at all times, eating food and wearing clothes, you nurture the embryo of sagehood to maturity, not keeping to intellectual understanding. Isn’t this an especially excellent teaching and a most essential shortcut?
~Yuanwu (compiler of The Blue Cliff Record), Zen Letters, Thomas Cleary

“What is ‘hidden practice and scrupulous application’?” someone asked.

It certainly doesn’t mean sneaking off to some mountain and sitting like a block of wood on a rock or under a tree “silently illuminating” yourself. It means immersing yourself totally in your practice at all times and in all your activities—walking, standing, sitting, or lying down. Hence, it is said that practice concentrated in activity is a hundred, a thousand, even a million times superior to practice done in a state of inactivity.

Upon attaining satori, ir you continue to devote yourself to your practice single-mindedly, extracting the poison fangs and talons or the Dharma cave, tearing the vicious, life-robbing talismans into shreds, combing through texts of all kinds, Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike, accumulating a great store of Dharma wealth, whipping forward the wheel of the Four Universal Vows, pledging yourself to benefit and save all sentient beings while striving every minute of your life to practice the great Dharma giving, and having nothing—nothing—to do with fame or profit in any shape or form—you will then be a true and legitimate descendent of the Buddha patriarchs. It’s a greater reward than gaining rebirth as a human or a god.
~Hakuin, Wild Ivy, Norman Waddell

Thanks again!

Peace,
Ted
Do not misunderstand Buddhism by believing the erroneous principle ‘a special tradition outside the scriptures.’ Zen Master Dogen, Shobogenzo, Bukkyo (trans. Hee-Jin Kim)
Ted Biringer Author The Flatbed Sutra
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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby PeterB on Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:32 am

Thank you but I am so full of that good stuff I need to go now and rest a while. Cushion, In and out, in and out,...... :)


:Namaste:
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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby bori on Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:36 am

ZenGeek wrote:Excellent stuff. :Namaste: It sounds like he regards a practitioner as a beginner untill one is enlightened. So, I guess most of us are beginners :)


I'm definitely a beginner--but I tend to forget that from time to time. My teacher must really be a compassionate being.

Good stuff. Thanks all.

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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby bori on Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:44 am

Just be wary that your investigation does not rest on a firm footing, and that you will not be able to penetrate through to realization. You must bravely cut off all entanglements, so there is not the slightest dependence or reliance. Relinquish your body and give up your life and directly accept the suchness that faces you; there is no other. Then even if the thousand sages came forth it wouldn’t change you at all. Leaving it to the flow at all times, eating food and wearing clothes, you nurture the embryo of sagehood to maturity, not keeping to intellectual understanding. Isn’t this an especially excellent teaching and a most essential shortcut?
~Yuanwu (compiler of The Blue Cliff Record), Zen Letters, Thomas Cleary

Yes, dammit.

I remember when I was young and taking swimming lessons--fearfully. I tried so hard to swim without getting wet, without even leaving solid ground, or if I did, without letting go of the side of the pool. All that struggle. But it was amazing how easy it got once I finally let go.

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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby christopher::: on Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:38 am

hrtbeat7 wrote:
I. How to Practice and Reach Enlightenment

Concerning the causes and condition of this Great Matter, [this Buddha-nature] is intrinsically within everyone; as such, it is already complete within you, lacking nothing. The difficulty is that, since time without beginning, seeds of passion, deluded thinking, emotional conceptualizations, and deep-rooted habitual tendencies have obscured this marvelous luminosity. You cannot genuinely realize it because you have being wallowing in remnant deluded thoughts of body, mind, and the world, discriminating and musing [about this and that]. For these reason you have been roaming in the cycle of birth and death [endlessly]. Yet, all Buddhas and ancestral masters have appeared in the world using countless words and expedient means to expound on Chan and to clarify the doctrine. Following and meeting different dispositions [of sentient being], all of these expedient means are like tools to crush our mind of clinging and realize that originally there is no real substantiality to "dharmas" or [the sense of] "self."

What is commonly known as practice means simply to accord with [whatever state] of mind you're in so as to purify and relinquish the deluded thoughts and traces of your habit tendencies. Exerting your efforts here is called practice. If within a single moment deluded thinking suddenly ceases, [you will] thoroughly perceive your own mind and realize that it is vast and open, bright and luminous-intrinsically perfect and complete. This state, being originally pure, devoid of a single thing, is called enlightenment. Apart from this mind, there is no such thing as cultivation or enlightenment. The essence of your mind is like a mirror and all the traces of deluded thoughts and clinging to conditions are defiling dust of the mind. Your conception of appearances is this dust and your emotional consciousness is the defilement. If all the deluded thoughts melt away, the intrinsic essence will reveal in its own accord. It's like when the defilement is polished away, the mirror regains its clarity. It is the same with Dharma.

However, our habit, defilement, and self-clinging accumulated throughout eons have become solid and deep-rooted. Fortunately, through the condition of having the guidance of a good spiritual friend, our internal prajna as a cause can influence our being so this inherent prajna can be augmented. Having realized that [prajna] is inherent in us, we will be able to arouse the [Bodhi-] mind and steer our direction toward the aspiration of relinquishing [the cyclic existence of] birth and death. This task of uprooting the roots of birth and death accumulated through innumerable eons all at once is a subtle matter. If you are not someone with great strength and ability brave enough to shoulder such a burden and to cut through directly [to this matter] without the slightest hesitation, then [this task] will be extremely difficult. An ancient one has said, "This matter is like one person confronting ten thousand enemies." These are not false words...



Brilliant.

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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby Choanou on Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:57 am

hrtbeat7 wrote:Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners
By Master Hanshan Deqing [1546-1623]
Translation by Guo-gu Shi

http://purifymind.com/PracticeBegin.htm


I. How to Practice and Reach Enlightenment

Concerning the causes and condition of this Great Matter, [this Buddha-nature] is intrinsically within everyone; as such, it is already complete within you, lacking nothing. The difficulty is that, since time without beginning, seeds of passion, deluded thinking, emotional conceptualizations, and deep-rooted habitual tendencies have obscured this marvelous luminosity. You cannot genuinely realize it because you have being wallowing in remnant deluded thoughts of body, mind, and the world, discriminating and musing [about this and that]. For these reason you have been roaming in the cycle of birth and death [endlessly]. Yet, all Buddhas and ancestral masters have appeared in the world using countless words and expedient means to expound on Chan and to clarify the doctrine. Following and meeting different dispositions [of sentient being], all of these expedient means are like tools to crush our mind of clinging and realize that originally there is no real substantiality to "dharmas" or [the sense of] "self."
What is commonly known as practice means simply to accord with [whatever state] of mind you're in so as to purify and relinquish the deluded thoughts and traces of your habit tendencies. Exerting your efforts here is called practice. If within a single moment deluded thinking suddenly ceases, [you will] thoroughly perceive your own mind and realize that it is vast and open, bright and luminous-intrinsically perfect and complete. This state, being originally pure, devoid of a single thing, is called enlightenment. Apart from this mind, there is no such thing as cultivation or enlightenment. The essence of your mind is like a mirror and all the traces of deluded thoughts and clinging to conditions are defiling dust of the mind. Your conception of appearances is this dust and your emotional consciousness is the defilement. If all the deluded thoughts melt away, the intrinsic essence will reveal in its own accord. It's like when the defilement is polished away, the mirror regains its clarity. It is the same with Dharma.
However, our habit, defilement, and self-clinging accumulated throughout eons have become solid and deep-rooted. Fortunately, through the condition of having the guidance of a good spiritual friend, our internal prajna as a cause can influence our being so this inherent prajna can be augmented. Having realized that [prajna] is inherent in us, we will be able to arouse the [Bodhi-] mind and steer our direction toward the aspiration of relinquishing [the cyclic existence of] birth and death. This task of uprooting the roots of birth and death accumulated through innumerable eons all at once is a subtle matter. If you are not someone with great strength and ability brave enough to shoulder such a burden and to cut through directly [to this matter] without the slightest hesitation, then [this task] will be extremely difficult. An ancient one has said, "This matter is like one person confronting ten thousand enemies." These are not false words.

II. The Entrance to Practice and Enlightenment

Generally speaking, in this Dharma-ending-age, there are more people who practice than people who truly have realization. There are more people who waste their efforts than those who derive power. Why is this? They do not exert their effort directly and do not know the shortcut. Instead, many people merely fill their minds with past knowledge of words and language based on what they have heard, or they measure things by means of their emotional discriminations, or they suppress deluded thoughts, or they dazzle themselves with visionary astonishment at their sensory gates. These people dwell on the words of the ancient ones in their minds and take them to be real. Furthermore, they cling to these words as their own view. Little do they know that none of these are the least bit useful. This is what is called, "grasping at other's understanding and clouding one's own entrance to enlightenment."
In order to engage in practice, you must first sever knowledge and understanding and single-mindedly exert all of your efforts on one thought. Have a firm conviction in your own [true] mind that, originally it is pure and clear, without the slightest lingering thing-it is bright and perfect and it pervades throughout the Dharmadhatu. Intrinsically, there is no body, mind, or world, nor are there any deluded thoughts and emotional conceptions. Right at this moment, this single thought is itself unborn! Everything that manifests before you now are illusory and insubstantial-all of which are reflections projected from the true mind. Work in such a manner to crush away [all your deluded thoughts]. You should fixate [your mind] to observe where the thoughts arise from and where they cease. If you practice like this, no matter what kinds of deluded thoughts arise, one smash and they will all be crushed to pieces. All will dissolve and vanish away. You should never follow or perpetuate deluded thoughts. Master Yongjia has admonished, "One must sever the mind [that desires] continuation." This is because the illusory mind of delusion is originally rootless. You should never take a deluded thought as real and try to hold on to it in your heart. As soon as it arises notice it right away. Once you notice it, it will vanish. Never try to suppress thoughts but allow thoughts to be as you watch a gourd floating on water.
Put aside your body, mind, and world and simply bring forth this single thought [of method] like a sword piercing through the sky. Whether a Buddha or a Mara appears, just cut them off like a snarl of entangled silk thread. Use all your effort and strength patiently to push your mind to the very end. What is known as, "a mind that maintains the correct thought of true suchness" means that a correct thought is no-thought. If you are able to contemplate no-thought, you're already steering toward the wisdom of the Buddhas.
Those who practice and have recently generated the [Bodhi-] mind should have the conviction in the teaching of mind-only. The Buddha has said, "The three realms are mind-only and the myriad dharmas are mere consciousness." All Buddhadharma is only further exposition on these two lines so everyone will be able to distinguish, understand, and generate faith in this reality. The passages of the sacred and the profane, are only paths of delusion and awakening with in your own mind. Besides the mind, all karmas of virtue and vice are unobtainable. Your [intrinsic] nature is wondrous. It is something natural and spontaneous, not something you can "enlighten to" [since you naturally have it]. As such, what is there to be deluded about? Delusion only refers to your unawareness that your mind intrinsically has not a single thing, and that the body, mind, and world are originally empty. Because you're obstructed, therefore, there is delusion. You have always taken the deluded thinking mind, that constantly rises and passes away, as real. For this reason, you have also taken the various illusory transformations in and appearances of the realms of the six sense objects as real. If today you are willing to arouse your mind and steer away from [this direction] and take the upper road, then you should cast aside all of your previous views and understanding. Here not a single iota of intellectual knowledge or cleverness will be useful. You must only see through the body, mind, and world that appear before you and realize that they are all insubstantial. Like imaginary reflections-they are the same as images in the mirror or moon reflected in the water. Hear all sounds and voices like wind passing through the forest; perceive all objects as drifting clouds in the sky. Everything is in a constant state of flux; everything is illusory and insubstantial. Not only is the external world like this, but your own deluded thoughts, emotional discriminations of the mind, and all the seeds of passion, habit tendencies, as well as all vexations are also groundless and insubstantial.
If you can thus engage in contemplation, then whenever a thought arises, you should find its source. Never haphazardly allow it to pass you by [without seeing through it]. Do not be deceived by it! If this is how you work, then you will be doing some genuine practice. Do not try to gather up some abstract and intellectual view on it or try to fabricate some cleaver understanding about it. Still, to even speak about practice is really like the last alternative. For example, in the use of weapons, they are really not auspicious objects! But they are used as the last alternative [in battles]. The ancient ones spoke about investigating Chan and bringing forth the huatou. These, too are last alternatives. Even though there are innumerable gong ans, only by using the huatou, "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" can you derive power from it easily enough amidst vexing situations. Even though you can easily derive power from it, [this huatou] is merely a [broken] tile for knocking down doors. Eventually you will have to throw it away. Still, you must use it for now. If you plan to use a huatou for your practice, you must have faith, unwavering firmness, and perseverance. You must not have the least bit of hesitation and uncertainty. Also, you must not be one way today and another tomorrow. You should not be concerned that you will not be enlightened, nor should you feel that this huatou is not profound enough! All of these thoughts are just hindrances. I must speak of these now so that you will not give rise to doubt and suspicion when you are confronted [by difficulties].
If you can derive power from your power, the external world will not influence you. However, internally your mind may give rise to much frantic distraction for [seemingly] no reason. Sometimes desire and lust well up; sometime restlessness comes in. Numerous hindrances can arise inside of you making you feel mentally and physically exhausted. You will not know what to do. These are all of the karmic propensities that have been stored inside your eighth-consciousness for innumerable eons. Today, due to your energetic practice, they will all come out. At that critical point, you must be able to discern and see through them then pass beyond [these obstacles]. Never be controlled and manipulated by them and most of all, never take them to be real. At that point, you must refresh your spirit and arouse your courage and diligence then bring forth this existential concern with your investigation of the huatou. Fix your attention at the point from which thoughts arise and continuously push forward on and on and ask, "Originally there is nothing inside of me, so where does the [obstacle] come from? What is it?" You must be determined to find out the bottom of this matter. Pressing on just like this, killing every [delusion in sight,] without leaving a single trace until even the demons and spirits burst out in tears. If you can practice like this, naturally good news will come to you.
If you can smash through a single thought, then all deluded thinking will suddenly be stripped off. You will feel like a flower in the sky that casts no shadows, or like a bright sun emitting boundless light, or like a limpid pond, transparent and clear. After experiencing this, there will be immeasurable feelings of light and ease, as well as a sense of liberation. This is a sign of deriving power from practice for beginners. There is nothing marvelous or extraordinary about it. Do not rejoice and wallow in this ravishing experience. If you do, then the Mara of Joy will possess you and you will have gained another kind of obstruction! Concealed within the storehouse consciousness are your deep-rooted habit tendencies and seeds of passion. If your practice of huatou is not taking effect, or that you're unable to contemplate and illuminate your mind, or you're simply incapable of applying yourself to the practice, then you should practice prostrations, read the sutras, and engage yourself in repentance. You may also recite mantras to receive the secret seal of the Buddhas; it will alleviate your hindrances. This is because all the secret mantras are the seals of the Buddhas' diamond mind. When you use them, it is like holding an indestructible diamond thunderbolt that can shatter everything. Whatever comes close to it will be demolished into dust motes. The essence of all the esoteric teachings of all Buddhas and ancestral masters are contained in the mantras. Therefore, it is said that, "All Tathagatas in the ten directions attained unsurpassable and correct perfect enlightenment through such mantras." Even though the Buddhas have said this clearly, the lineage ancestral masters, fearing that these words may be misunderstood, have kept this knowledge a secret and do not use this method. Nevertheless, in order to derive power from using a mantra, you must practice it regularly after a long and extensive period of time. Yet, even so, you should never anticipate or seek miraculous response from using it.

III. Understanding-enlightenment and Actualized-enlightenment

There are those who are first enlightened then engage in practice, and there are others who first practice and then get enlightened. Also, there is a difference with understanding-enlightenment and actualized-enlightenment.
Those who understand their minds after hearing the spoken teaching from the Buddhas and ancestral masters reach an understanding-enlightenment. In most cases, these people fall into views and knowledge. Confronted by all circumstances, they will not be able to make use of what they have come to know. Their minds and the external objects are in opposition. There is neither oneness nor harmony. Thus, they face obstacles all the time. [What they have realized] is called "prajna in semblance" and is not from genuine practice.
Actualized-enlightenment results from solid and sincere practice when you reach an impasse where the mountains are barren and waters are exhausted. Suddenly, [at the moment when] a thought stops, you will thoroughly perceive your own mind. At this time, you will feel as though you have personally seen your own father at a crossroad-there is no doubt about it! It is like you yourself drinking water. Whether the water is cold or warm, only you will know, and it is not something you can describe to others. This is genuine practice and true enlightenment. Having had such experience, you can integrate it with all situations of life and purify, as well as relinquish, the karma that has already manifested, the stream of your consciousness, your deluded thinking and emotional conceptions until everything fuses into the One True [enlightened] Mind. This is actualized-enlightenment.
This state of actualized-enlightenment can be further divided into shallow and profound realizations. If you exert your efforts at the root [of your existence], smashing away the cave of the eighth consciousness, and instantaneously overturn the den of fundamental ignorance, with one leap directly enter [the realm of enlightenment], then there is nothing further for you to learn. This is having supreme karmic roots. Your actualization will be profound indeed. The depth of actualization for those who practice gradually, [on the other hand,] will be shallow.
The worst thing is to be self-satisfied with little [experiences]. Never allow yourself to fall into the dazzling experiences that arise from your sensory gates. Why? Because your eighth consciousness has not yet been crushed, so whatever you experience or do will be [conditioned] by your [deluded] consciousness and senses. If you think that this [consciousness] is real, then it is like mistaking a thief to be your own son! The ancient one has said, "Those who engage in practice do not know what is real because until now they have taken their consciousness [to be true]; what a fool takes to be his original face is actually the fundamental cause of birth and death." This is the barrier that you must pass through.
So called sudden enlightenment and gradual practice refers to one who has experienced a thorough enlightenment but, still has remnant habit tendencies that are not instantaneously purified. For these people, they must, implement the principles from their enlightenment that they have realized to face all circumstances of life and, bring forth the strength from their contemplation and illumination to experience their minds in difficult situations. When one portion of their experience in such situations accords [with the enlightened way], they will have actualized one portion of the Dharmakaya. When they dissolve away one portion of their deluded thinking, that is the degree to which their fundamental wisdom manifests. What is critical is seamless continuity in the practice. [For these people,] it is much more effective when they practice in different real life situations.

Comments by the Translator
Hanshan Deqing [1546-1623] is considered one of the four most eminent Buddhist monks in the late Ming Dynasty [1368-1644] partly for his social-political interactions with Ming court, exegesis of Buddhist texts, and most importantly, for his Chan practice. In this short introduction, I will only comment briefly on the last aspects on his contributions to Chinese Buddhism.
Even at age seven, Hanshan had existential concerns about life and death. These thoughts had led him to leave the household life and pursue a life of Buddhist training already at age nine. At the age of 19, he was ordained as a Buddhist monk.
In all of the history of Chan, there is not a single master that has written in such detail about his own practice and experiences, especially in describing the enlightened state of mind. According to a compiled record, The Dream Roaming of Great Master Hanshan, he had numerous and extraordinary enlightenment experiences. His first experience was during a Dharma lecture when he heard the profound teaching on the interpenetration of phenomena as taught in the Avatamsaka Sutra and the treatise, The Ten Wondrous Gates. He experienced another deep enlightenment experience sometime later when at Mt. Wu Tai he read the treatise by an early Chinese Madhyamika monk called Things do not Move. According to the record, Hanshan served as proofreader of the Book of Chao, the source of Things do not Move. Hanshan came across the stories of a Bramacharin who had left home in his youth and returned when he was white-haired. When people saw him, the neighbors asked, "Is that man [whom we know] still living today?" The Bramacharin replied, "I look like that man of the past, but I am not he." On reading this story ,, Hanshan suddenly understood that all things do not come and go. When he got up from his seat and walked around, he did not see things in motion. When he opened the window blind, suddenly a wind blew the trees in the yard, and the leaves flew all over the sky. However, he did not see any signs of motion. When he went to urinate, he still did not see signs of flowing. He understood what the text spoke of as, "Streams and rivers run into the ocean and yet there is no flowing." At this time, Hanshan shattered all doubt and existential concerns about birth and death. He wrote the following poem:
Life and death, day and night;
Water flows and flowers fall.
Only today, I know that
My nose points downward!
The next day when another great Chan Master, Miaofeng, saw him, he knew that Hanshan was different and asked him whether anything has happened. Hanshan replied, " Last night I saw two iron oxen fighting with each other next to the river bank. They both fell in the river. Since then, I have not heard anything about them." Miaofeng rejoiced and congratulated him.
Still, on another occasion, after a meal, Hanshan walked in the mountains and experienced a profound state of samadhi while standing. In the record, it described that suddenly he lost all consciousness of his body and mind. He experienced everything, the whole universe, as contained in a great perfect mirror-like mind. Mountains and rivers all reflected in it. After he came out of that experience, he wrote the following verse:
In an instant of thought, this chaotic mind is put to rest.
Internally and externally, the sense faculties and objects
Became empty and clear.
Overturning the body-emptiness is now shattered.
The myriad forms and appearances arise and extinguish
[in their own accord].
These are just some of his experiences recorded in The Dream Roaming of Great Master Hanshan. The instructions on practice that I have translated here are from the second fascicle of this record. The original text had no titles but were letters written to a lay practitioner on Chan practice.
Hanshan was also a prolific writer whose published works ranging from commentaries on Buddhist sutras and treatises, to secular poems, reached the length of 8,300 pages. In The Dream Roaming of Great Master Hanshan, there are 55 chuan, or books, covering over 3,000 pages. His commentaries on the Supplement to the Tripitaka consist of 119 chuan, covering over 1,200 large pages printed on both sides. Like other Ming Dynasty Buddhist monks, he also wrote many commentaries on non-Buddhist works such as Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi, as well as other Taoist and Confucian text.
His contributions to Chinese Buddhism lies in his exemplary personality and his striving toward liberation, especially in an age of mismanaged government, corruption, internal oppression, and the external vulnerability of the Ming Dynasty. Although his Buddhist commentary is not particularly original, the strength of his writing comes from his active approach in reviving and popularizing Buddhism, and in the way he responded to the times in which he lived.
From all that we know of Hanshan, we can conclude that he was a great master who gave equal weight to doctrine and practice, as well as to the revival of Chinese Buddhism.

(Webmaster's note: To know more about Han'san's life, you can download his autobiography at http://www.hsuyun.org)


__/\__



Cant believe I never read this before,,,,,very helpfull,,,,thanks so much
. :Namaste:
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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby mel on Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:04 am

I personally have never really considered the enlightenment bit, but my practise is as follows....

- Daily zazen, with concentration on breathing and posture as T Deshimaru had pointed it out in his books. S Zuzuki, T Deshimaru and others have also mentioned not to get too worked up about it if one loses focus, because one just has to come back

- Constant study of materials. I like the way S Zuzuki's teachings are explained in his books. Not as funny as T Deshimaru, but not as confrontational either. I find that not enough is said in gatherings I've been to about the teachings. Perhaps people are often afraid to say something...maybe in case they get ridiculed for pretending or claiming that they have satori already. So, reading of the teachings is a must

- Bringing the everyday teachings to life. I once said to an American friend from BOULDER(Colorado) that my own understanding of it all is this: Life outside of ones physical and mental self is nothing but noise and movement, whether at work or play. I got into a fight with a drunk in a bar and I felt no feeling for the guy at all; I just did what I had to do. A long time ago in the Australian military, I ran and took off my hat, and slammed it over someone's wound to stop the blood flow until help arrived. A few days ago, an old injury played up and so I decided to rest and relax instead of going to the gym that day. Action, and reaction..and breath..just like in zazen..


I give myself about 30 min of zazen, read S Zuzuki's little book, and try as best as I can to live life as naturally as possible...but that's just me. When I'm tired, I rest. When I'm hungry, I eat. There's a good program on TV tonite, no? I turn on the TV and watch, and enjoy(Damn, those cheetahs were amazin'..)
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Re: Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

Postby bayamo on Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:00 pm

thats ALOT of info to process, but thanks.. very interesting.
where is the invisible hand when it is needed to deliver a good smack!?!?
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