The Sixth Patriarch’s Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra

(Continued from issue #261)

When the followers heard this verse, they understood its meaning and bowed down before the Master. They made up their minds to practice in accordance with the Dharma and to not argue, knowing that the Great Master would not remain long in the world. Senior-Seated Fa Hai bowed again and asked, "After the High Master enters extinction, who will inherit the robe and Dharma?"

When the followers of Sixth Patriarch heard this verse, they understood the Master's teaching. All sincerely bowed in obeisance to the Master. Nobody cried or made a fuss. Nobody argued. They made up their minds to practice in accordance with the Dharma and to not argue. Everyone is aware that the Great Master would only be in the world for about a month. Fa Hai never forgets himself. The Senior-Seated Fa Hai bowed again and asked, "After the High Master enters stillness, who will inherit the robe and Dharma?"No doubt he wanted the robe and bowl for himself.

The Master said, "Ever since I spoke the Dharma in Da Fan Temple, transcriptions of my lectures have been circulated around. They are to be called The Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra. Protect and pass on these teachings in order to rescue living beings. When you speak of these teachings, you are speaking the Orthodox Dharma. Now, I will speak the Dharma for you, but I will not transmit the robe. The roots of your faith are genuine and mature. You certainly have no doubts and you are capable of carrying on the great Work. According to the transmission verse spoken by the First Patriarch Bodhidharma, there is no need to transmit the robe anymore. His verse said,

Originally I came to this land,
To rescue deluded sentient beings.
One flower opens up five petals, and
The fruit comes to bear of itself.

There were no tape recorders during the time the Sixth Patriarch was lecturing on the sutras. His students took notes by hand and worked together to compile them.The Master instructed, "This sutra is called Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra. You should safeguard this dharma jewel. Vastly circulate this sutra to rescue living beings extensively. Adhering to this method of cultivating the Way is Proper Dharma. You all have understood the dharma I have spoken for you, so there is no need for a transmission of the robe. The robe is a representation of faith. You all have genuine and mature roots of faith and certainly do not doubt me. Hence, you all can carry on the Thus Come One's mission of teaching and transforming living beings. Furthermore, Great Master Bodhidharmahad said that beginning with the Sixth Patriarch, robe transmission should cease. In his verse of transmission, Patriarch Bodhidharma stated, 'I originally came to China to transmit the Buddha's proper dharma and save all the deluded living beings. One flower (me) will bring five petals to open, referring to the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Patriarch. By that time, there is no need to transmit the robe. Transmitting the dharma will suffice. For this reason, the Fifth Patriarch told the Sixth Patriarch, "As the robe is a source of contention, transmit it no more."

Look at the last line of the verse "The fruit comes to bear itself." The first character of your Dharma-name is ĒG (Gwo) and it means "fruit" or "result." Here, the word 'fruit' is referring to all of you who have taken refuge with me. So don't forget to ripen. The Sixth Patriarch also said, "The fruition of Bodhi will naturally be achieved." All of you should hurry up in attaining the fruition of Bodhi. It is critical not to be lazy! Look. Patriarch Bodhidharma had known all the while that all of you, plentiful ĒG (Gwo), would naturally attain Bodhi in the future. That fruit is you; you are that fruit. The two are the same.

The Master reiterated, "All of you Good Knowing Advisors, purify your minds and listen to my explanation of the Dharma. If you wish to realize all knowledge, you must attain the Samadhi of One Mark and the Samadhi of One Conduct. If you do not dwell in marks wherever you are, neither giving rise to love nor hate, neither grasping nor rejecting, neither apprehending advantage nor disadvantage, success nor failure, but instead you remain tranquil, calm, and accommodating, then you have achieved the Samadhi of One Mark. If you uphold the four deportments (walking, standing, sitting, reclining) wherever you are, maintaining an unmoving Bodhimanda of a straight mind and truly realizing the Pure Land, then you have achieved the Samadhi of One Conduct. A person who is replete with these two kinds of samadhi can be likened to earth that has seeds planted and to be nourished in the ground, able to grow, mature and bear fruit. The One Mark and One Conduct are just like that. "

The Master said, "All Good Knowing Advisors, purify your minds. Do not harbor any greed, hate, and delusion. Listen to my expounding the dharma. If you wish to realize all knowledge, you have to understand thoroughly the Samadhi of One Mark (not dwelling in marks while amidst marks) and the Samadhi of One Conduct (not dwelling in conduct while amidst myriad conduct).

Samadhi of One Mark. Whether you are in a good place or a bad place, whether in motion or in stillness, do not dwell in marks. When you encounter situations in the midst of external marks, do not give rise to like or dislike. As stated: Not stirring up love or hate, the mind is thus, thus unmoving. Faced with situations that you like, do not think of procuring the object of your desire. When you like/love something, you want to have it, as stated in the Twelve Causal Links, "love conditions grasping, grasping conditions becoming..." You grasp at objects of love to have them for your own. You let go of objects you detest, casting them away. Do not apprehend advantages/disadvantages as well as success/failure. If you think "What's in it for me?", you are just being greedy, self-seeking, and impure. Do not fuss over success/failure. Do not harbor such thoughts.

Stay tranquil and free of vexations; be calm like water without waves. Be free of afflictions caused by love-and-hate, grasping-and-rejecting, gain-and-loss, and success-and-failure. If you were not obsessed with success, you would not know what failure is. Be accommodating like empty space.The myriad things come into being from empty space; yet, empty space does not make a big deal of it, staying nonchalant of it all. Empty space did not set up an office, directing the occurrence of events (e.g."You be born here! You go die there!").All the myriad things' coming into being, undergoing transformations and going into extinction, follows the natural phenomena, without much ado. Empty space is accommodating; it is tranquil and serene with clarity of purpose. As stated: When in the status of nobility, one should conduct oneself as a noble. When in the lowly status of poverty, one should do what a poor person ought to do. When situated among barbarous tribes, one should do what is proper to do in barbarous tribes. When in situations of disasters, one should do as needed in disasters. Simply go with the flow. Do not have greed, hatred, or delusion. With fewer desires, one knows contentment without dependence on certain conditions. Do not think, "Wait until my book gets published. Then, I will be a famous scholar." Nor should you think of doing something eccentric to get the attention of the whole world and become famous. Do not have such ideas. As stated:

Knowing contentment, you are always happy.
Able to be patient, you're at peace.

By being accommodating and serene, you can be apart from marks amidst marks, and be apart from defilements while in the midst of defilements. That is the Samadhi of One Mark.

Samadhi of One Conduct. It is conducting oneself with a straight mind wherever you are, be it a good place or a bad place, wholesome or unwholesome, right or wrong; upholding the four deportments of walking, standing, sitting or reclining with a straight mind. A straight mind is the Bodhimanda. Students of the Buddhadharma should not use a crooked mind. Be forthright with everyone in your thoughts, words, and actions. Do not have a devious mind. Honestly speak your mind; do not say 'west' when you are thinking of 'east'. What you say should match what you think. Be forthright in what you say and what you do. A straight mind is the Bodhimanda. When you plant a devious cause, you will reap a devious effect/consequence. Hence, you should only maintain one straight mind in the four deportments of walking, standing, sitting and reclining. Maintain the one to the utmost; there is only one and no second one. That one is the straight mind. Cultivators of the Way should be forthright when dealing with others, self or matters. Do not be scheming, such as approaching wealthy people to borrow money from them. No matter how poor you are, do not do anything that is devoid of integrity and shame. If you later on return the money you borrowed, then you have not lost your noble nature. However, if you do not return the money you borrowed, then you are truly sordid. Having a steadfast Bodhimanda means that you have a straightforward mind. When you can be forthright in your speech and actions in your unmoving Bodhimanda, then you have truly realized the Pure Land. This is called Samadhi of One Conduct.

If a person is replete with Samadhi of One Mark and Samadhi of One Conduct, and he abides by these principles in cultivating the Way, he is like the earth that has seeds planted, buried in the underground. With the passing of time, the seeds will grow Bodhi sprouts and mature to fruits of Bodhi. The Samadhi of One Mark and Samadhi of One Conduct are just like that.

(To be continued ..)