The Sixth Patriarch’s Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra

(Continued from issue #260)

The Master said, "Little Master Shen Hui has attained to the equivalence of good and evil. Whether disparaged or lauded, he is not moved. He is not subject to sadness or joy. The rest of you has not attained that. What Way have you been cultivating all these years in the forest monastery? Now you are all crying. Who are you worrying about? Are you concerned that I don't know where I'm going? I know where I'm going. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to tell you about it in advance. No doubt you are crying because you don't know where I am going; if you knew, you wouldn't be crying. Fundamentally, the Dharma nature is devoid of production and extinction. There is no coming or going." "All of you, sit down. I will recite a verse called 'Verse on the Real-Fake Motion-Stillness'. If you take it up and recite it, you will be of the same mind as I am. If you cultivate in accordance with it, you will not stray from the true principle of our practice."The sangha assembly bowed in respect and requested the Master to recite the verse.

A monastic who has been ordained for one to ten years is called 'little master,' or 'junior-seated.' For ten to twenty years,' middle-seated'. For twenty to thirty years,' senior-seated.' The Sixth Patriarch said, "Little Master Shen Hui is not a young shramanera now that he's fully ordained. Look. Even though he is young in age, he is more advanced than all of you. Why? Because he is able to regard both good and bad equally. He doesn't have a discriminating mind. He has truly turned consciousness into wisdom. He has great wisdom."See how the Sixth Patriarch praised the 'Little Master'.

Critique like 'That Dharma Master does not cultivate! All he does is run after women.' or, "That Dharma Master really works hard. From morning to night, he neither sleeps nor lies down. He only eats one-meal-a-day. His ascetic practice is truly awesome!" Whether good or bad, you should disregard all critiques. If someone said, "You're like a pig.", so what, no problem. If someone said, "You have such wonderful virtue and learning. There is no one like you in this world.", you should disregard them as if you did not hear them. Someone may say, "You are the most erudite one in the study of Buddhism." If you become elated when praised, then you really have not learned at all. If you get angry when scolded, then you have been swayed by conditions. To be unmoved by any condition is to neither grasp nor let go, neither love nor hate. Although Little Master Shen Hui is young in age, he neither rejoice when praised, nor angered when criticized. He does not bring forth thoughts of sorrow or delight. This is truly a complete understanding of the Middle Way. Rare indeed!

"Amongst you here are middle-aged ones and old ones." the Master said, "None of you are up to standard. None of you are tempered. When anger sets you ablaze, you should tell yourself, 'Wait. Wait a minute. Wait a minute before getting angry.' Then you wait, and your anger will dissipate. That is called "tempering the fire." If you don't hold it, the fire will burn; if you hold it, the fire will die out. It is like how a blacksmith strikes the metal when it reached the appropriate high temperature. When steel is red hot, you can shape it into a vessel. But unless you wait for the fire to burn it red hot, you can't mold the metal. This is called tempering the fire."

"What Way have you been cultivating all these years in the forest monastery?" the Master berated. "You have no samadhi at all. You heard that I am going to enter stillness and you cried. You are so useless! All you have been practicing is eating and sleeping! What are you crying about? Who are you crying for? If you are worried that I don't know where I'm going, I am telling you this now: Keep in mind not to worry. I do know where I am going. I have my own arrangement. It is as such,

Nothing big, nothing small, nothing within, nothing without.
You cultivate, you understand,
you make your own arrangements.

If I don't know where I am going, I wouldn't be telling you about it in advance. Perhaps you are crying because you don't know where I am going; but if you knew, you wouldn't need to cry.

Fundamentally, the Dharma nature is neither produced nor extinguished; there is no coming or going." "Now, do not be anxious, flustered or sad. Don't be crying in front of me like that. You are such disobedient followers! All of you, sit down. I will now speak the 'Verse on Real-Fake Motion-Stillness.' It discusses the principles of true and false, motion and stillness. Recite this verse and bear it in mind, then you will be of the same mind as I am. Cultivate in accord with this verse and you won't deviate from the principle of Sudden Teaching."After being berated by the Master, the sangha assembly bowed in respect to the Master and requested for the verse.

Nothing is real; do not take what you see as real.
Taking what you see as real, it is likewise not real.
If you can know what is real by introspection,
Detach from everything false-- that is your real mind.
Not disengaging your own mind from the false,
there's nowhere to find what's real.
Sentient beings understand movement.
Insentient beings do not move.
To practice non-movement, do not move,
like the insentients.
To seek real non-movement,
search for non-movement within movement..
Non-movement is non-movement;
the insentients lack the Buddha-seed.
Clearly distinguish all marks,
yet unmoved in the ultimate truth.
The very act of viewing in this way,
Itself is the function of true suchness.
Students of the Way,
Apply your minds with effort and care.
At the gate of the Great Vehicle
Do not cling to the wisdom of birth and death.
If we tally,
together we'll discuss the Buddha's principles.
If not, put your palms together so all rejoice.
This school is based on non-contention.
With contention, the essence of the Way is lost.
Grasping at contradiction and contention,
The self-nature enters birth and death.

Everything is not real. Do not regard what is not real as real. If you view the non-real as real, what you see is also not real. Turn the light around and reflect within yourself. Seek within yourself. In your own self-nature you will know what's real. To find your true mind, separate yourself from all the false forms and appearances of this world. If your mind does not disengage from the false, your mind does not have what is real. If so, where can you find the real? Hence, the real is not apart from your self-nature; apart from the self-nature, you cannot find the real."

By nature, sentient beings know what is movement. Insentient beings do not move. If you want to cultivate the practice of non-movement, you need to be without movement like the insentient ones. If you want to find real non-movement, you should not be apart from movement because within movement dwells non-movement. Non-movement is non-movement. Only sentient beings have movement. So, if you can practice non-movement as a sentient being, that is real non-movement. If you are insentient, you don't even have the Buddha seed. If, as a sentient being, you are able to clearly distinguish the marks of all dharmas, not with your consciousness but with wisdom, certifying to the attainment of the substantive principle of your self-nature and achieve the ultimate state, then that is real non-movement. If you can have this kind of view and comprehension, then you have the wonderful function of True Suchness.

Students of the Way! Cultivate the Way with diligence and earnestness. In the Great Vehicle Buddhadharma, do not be stuck to your knowledge of birth-and-death, do not hold on to your wisdom that is attached to appearances. If you can clearly see your mind's nature after listening to my verse, then I can discuss the Buddhist principles with you. If you can't understand what I am trying to impart, you should put your palms together so that all living beings will rejoice. My school of Sudden Enlightenment is based on the cultivation of the patience of unproduced Dharmas. There should be no debating. When you argue with others you lose the meaning of the Way.

Verbal contention aims for victory and defeat;
it is in contradiction of the Way.
Giving rise to the four-marked mind,
How can samadhi be attained?

If you insist on arguing, your self-nature won't escape the revolving wheel. Giving rise to the marks of a self, others, living beings, and a life, you will certainly continue to undergo birth and death.

(To be continued ..)