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The Sixth Patriarch’s Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra


(Continued from issue #258)





CHAPTER X
FINAL INSTRUCTIONS



One day the Master summoned his disciples Fa Hai, Zhi Cheng, Fa Da, Shen Hui, Zhi Chang, Zhi Tong, Chi Che, Chi Dao, Fa Zen and Fa Ru, and said to them, "You are not like other people. After I complete my passage into extinction, you should each be a master in a different direction. I will now teach you how to explain the Dharma without deviating from the tradition of our school.


In Chapter 10, the Sixth Patriarch gave his disciples his final instructions and directives.

One day the Master called his room-entering disciples together for a talk. They are called room-entering disciples because they had received the transmission of the Master's Dharma and were therefore permitted to enter his room. The first was Fa Hai. He edited The Sixth Patriarch Sutra and was Sixth Patriarch's great disciple. He put his name at the top of the list here because he had to be number one. Zhi Cheng was the spy sent by Shen Hsiu to steal the Sixth Patriarch's dharma. In the end, not only did he not steal the dharma, but he forsake the darkness (Shen Hsiu) and submitted himself to radiance (Sixth Patriarch). Fa Da was the arrogant bhikshu who had read The Lotus Sutra over three thousand times but couldn't bring himself to put his head on the ground when he bowed to the Master. Shen Hui was the playful thirteen-year-old who tried to play Zen banter with the Sixth Patriarch. Then, Zhi Chang and Zhi Tong. Chi Che was the previous Chang the Flying Cat. Then, Fa Zen and Fa Ru. These were the Master's ten great disciples. The Master said, "All ten of you should each be a Teaching Host/Dharma Host in an assigned location. After I enter perfect stillness, you should each be a master teacher in specific locations and receive offerings there from humans and gods. I will now teach you how to propagate the Dharma. When you speak the dharma, you should not stray from the tradition of our Sudden Enlightenment Dharma Door Teaching.


First, bring up the three classes of Dharma-doors. Then, use the thirty-six pairs of opposites, so that, whether coming or going, you remain in the Bodhimanda. While explaining the myriad dharmas, do not depart from one's self-nature. Should someone suddenly ask you about a dharma, answer him with its opposite. If you always answer with the opposite, both will be eliminated and nothing will be left, since each depends on the other for existence.


When you speak the Dharma, you should base it on the three classes of Dharma-doors. Then, use the thirty-six pairs of opposites, so that, whether coming or going, you remain in the Bodhimanda. When speaking of the myriad dharmas, the most important thing is to not depart from your self-nature. When someone asks you a question about the Buddhadharma, the principle he brought forth is bound to have an opposite to pair with. Apply double entendre in which you come up with principles no matter which side of the equation you expound. To those whose intention is to challenge you, answer them with theories of relativity. For example, coming and going are relative concepts. Without a coming, there is no going; without a going, there is no coming. Coming is the cause of going; going is the effect of coming. When coming and going are both eliminated, there is nowhere to go. Nothing is left behind. There will be no coming and no going, for there will be no place left to go.


The three classes of Dharma doors are the skandhas, the realms, and the entrances. The Five Skandhas represent form, feeling, cognition, formations, and consciousness. The Twelve Entrances are composed of the six sense objects outside (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, objects of touch, dharma) and the six doors/sense organs within (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, mind). The Eighteen Realms are the six sense objects, the six sense organs and the six consciousnesses. The self-nature can contain all the myriad dharmas. It is called the 'consciousness of keeping and storing.' When one gives rise to deliberation, it turns the consciousness, and results in the production of the six consciousnesses, going out of the six doors, and perceiving the six sense objects. Thus the eighteen realms arise as a function of the self-nature."


What are the three classes of Dharma doors? They are the Five Skandhas, the Twelve Entrances, and the Eighteen Realms. The Five Skandhas are form, feeling, cognition, formations, and consciousness. The Twelve Entrances are the six defilements/sense objects outside (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, objects of touch, dharma) and the six doors/sense organs within (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, mind). The Eighteen Realms are comprised of the six defilements, the six doors and the six consciousnesses. The six consciousnesses (eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, mind-consciousness) arise from within the six organs/six doors. All the myriad dharmas are stored within the self-nature. Hence, it is called the "storehouse consciousness", also called the eight-consciousness. The eighth consciousness may be transformed into the Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom. However, if you give rise to deliberation, it will transform to the seventh consciousness, which in turn produces the six consciousnesses. Going out of the six doors, one sees the six defilements. This paragraph talks about the Eighteen Realms, the function of which arises from the innate mind.


If self-nature is improper, it gives rise to eighteen improper realms; if self-nature is proper, it gives rise to eighteen proper realms. When misused, it serves the function of living beings; when well-used, it serves the function of buddhas. What is the function based on? It is based on the dharma of opposites within one's self-nature. External insentient beings exhibit five pairs of opposites, i.e. heaven and earth, sun and moon, light and darkness, yin and yang, water and fire.


If self-nature is improper then the Eighteen Realms become improper. If self-nature is proper, then the Eighteen Realms are proper. If the function is not well-utilized, then it serves as the function of living beings. If it is well-utilized, then it serves as the function of buddhas. The function is produced from the self-nature. The difference in function arises from the dharma of opposites within the self-nature. External states are basically insentient. What are the five pairs of opposites? They are heaven and earth, sun and moon, light and darkness, yin and yang, water and fire.


In speaking of the marks of dharmas, one should delineate the twelve opposites: language and dharmas, existence and non-existence, form and formlessness, with marks and without marks, with outflows and without outflows, form and emptiness, motion and stillness, purity and turbidity, the common and the holy, monastics and laity, old and young, big and small.


In speaking of the marks of dharmas one should delineate the twelve pairs of opposites, i.e. language and dharmas, existence and non-existence, form and formlessness, with marks and without marks, dharma with outflow and dharma without outflow, form and emptiness, motion and stillness, purity and turbidity, ordinary people and sages, monastics and laity, old and young, big and small.


From self-nature arises nineteen pairs of opposites, i.e. lengthiness and shortness, deviance and orthodoxy, foolishness and wisdom, stupidity and knowledge, confusion and composure, kindness and cruelty, morality and immorality, straightness and crookedness, reality and unreality, danger and safety, affliction and Bodhi, permanence and impermanence, compassion and harmfulness, joyousness and hostility, generosity and stinginess, advance and retreat, production and extinction, the Dharma-body and the Form-body, the Transformation-body and the Reward-body.


"Opposites" refers to relative counterparts, such as yin and yang, front and back, right and wrong. These functions arise from the self-nature of True-suchness. There are nineteen pairs. Long is relative to short. Without that which is long, there is no manifestation of that which is short; and, vice-versa. So, long and short is a pair of opposites. In the middle of long and short is the Middle Way. In the middle of deviant and proper is also the Middle Way. So, deviant and proper is another pair of opposites. Foolishness and wisdom is another pair of opposites, so is stupidity and knowledge. Discomposure and composure is another pair of opposites. Discomposure shows the lack of composure. Kindness bestows happiness and is the opposite of cruelty. Morality and immorality are opposites. Morality is the practice of all good actions and the absence of all evil. Straight and crooked are opposites. Real and false are opposites. Danger and safety are opposites. Afflictions and Bodhi are opposites. Permanence and impermanence are opposites. Compassion pulls living beings out of suffering and is the opposite of harmfulness. Joyousness and hostility are opposites. Generosity means giving; if you can give, you are not stingy. Forging ahead and retreating backwards are opposites. Production and extinction are opposites. The Dharma-body pervades all places and is the opposite of the form-body. Transformation-body and Reward-body are opposites. Above functions are produced from one's self-nature.



(To be continued ..)



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