A Shramana asked the Buddha, hat is the greatest strength? What is the utmost brilliance? "
The Buddha said, patience under
insult is the greatest strength, because people who are patient do not
harbor hatred, and they gradually grow more peaceful and strong. Patient
people, since they are not evil, will surely gain the respect of others.
hen the mind defilements are gone completely, so that it is pure and untainted, that is the utmost brilliance. When there is nothing, from before the formation of the heavens and the earth until now, in any of the ten directions that you do not see, know, or hear; when you have attained omniscience, that may be called brilliance."
This fifteenth section tells us that the strength of patience is the greatest strength. It can end all defilement and enable one to have far-reaching understanding.
A Shramana asked the Buddha, what is the greatest strength?" He asked, hat is the strongest of all things? What is the utmost brilliance?" What is the brightest and wisest thing?
The Buddha said in reply to the question, atience under insult is the greatest strength. "If you can be patient under insult, then your strength is great. If you aren patient under insult, then you have no strength. The strength of patience under insult is infinite. Why is it so great? Because people who are patient do not harbor hatred; because the strength of goodness contains no evil. It is totally good, and therefore it is inexhaustible.
It is said that, he soft can overcome the hard; that which yields can defeat that which is obstinate. " Some thing soft can overcome something hard, and victory goes to what yields over what is obstinate. I have often asked you, hy do teeth fall out? " The answer is because teeth are hard. hy doesn the tongue fall out? " Because the tongue is soft. Even if you live to be several hundred years old, you will meet only people whose teeth have fallen out; youl never run into somebody whose tongue has fallen off. The tongue is yielding and can endure; this is the greatest strength. And they gradually grow more peaceful and strong. What is more, the patient person becomes calm, healthy, and robust.
Patient people, since they are not evil, will surely gain the respect of others. If you can be patient under insult, you won do evil. If you are incapable of doing evil, you surely will obtain people respect. When the mind defilements are gone com-pletely, when you extinguish the selfishness, profit-seeking, greed, hatred, stupidity, and related defiled and desirous thoughts from your mind, so that it is pure and untainted, then you become pure to the point that your mind doesn have any faults, filth, or defile-ments. There only a pure mind, and that is the utmost brilliance. If you can get rid of the darkness in your mind, that is the greatest brilliance; it is the supreme wisdom.
When there is nothing, from before
the formation of the heavens and the earth until now, in any of the ten
directions that you do not see, know, or hear; when you have attained omniscience,
that may be called brilliance. From beginningless time onwards, throughout
the ten directions, there is nothing that is not seen and nothing that
is not known. From eons without beginning to the present, you know everything
that has happened, and there is nothing you haven heard of. How can you
be this way? Because you have obtained all-wisdom, and only this counts
as genuine understanding, genuine comprehension, and genuine wisdom.
The Buddha said, eople who cherish love and desire do not see the Way. Just as when you stir clear water with your hand, those who stand beside it cannot see their reflections, so, too, people who are entangled in love and desire have turbidity in their minds, and therefore they cannot see the Way. You Shramanas should cast aside love and desire. When the stains of love and desire disappear, you will be able to see the Way. "
This sixteenth section explains the minds of ordinary people. The ater of the mind " is fundamentally pure and clear. But if you stir the water up, it no longer clear. What is the settled clarity? It is the Way. That which is not clear and pure is love and desire. Desire obstructs us so that we are not able to understand our mind and see our nature. Desire keeps us from seeing the Way, and therefore from realizing the fruition of the Way. One who realizes the first fruition is at the position of the Way of Seeing, which also means seeing the Way.
The Buddha said, eople who cherish love and desire do not see the Way. " To explain this Dharma to Westerners is difficult, because no matter what Wester ners talk about, it always concerns love and desire. This is especially true of followers of certain religions who say, od loves me, and I love God. " They love God, just as men and women love one another. In fact, some nuns even say that they marry God. They simply have no understanding of the Way. What people harbor in their minds is love and desire. Everything they do involves love and desire. If you cultivate the Way, but do not understand it, then on the one hand you cultivate, but on the other hand you lose your cultivation. Youe advised not to hold onto any love and desire, but your love and desire keep on increasing!
It is just as when you stir clear water with your hand. When love and desire overtake you, you don't see the Way. What's it like? It like stirring up clear water with your hand so that it becomes murky. The clear water becomes murky because it contains sand and silt; if it didn contain sand and silt, then even if you stirred it up, it wouldn get murky. What is this sand and silt? It love and desire. When you bring forth your love and desire, it's like stirring up the silt in the water with your hand, so that those who stand beside it cannot see their reflections. The water won reflect their images. Why? Because youe stirred it up. Why don you see the Way? It is because love and desire have made you so murky.
So, too, people who are entangled
in love and desire have turbidity in their minds. From morning to night,
people think about such unclean things as love and desire. They become
entangled, so that no matter what they think about, it really only variations
on that one theme. The water of wisdom becomes turbid in their minds; their
wisdom disappears, and therefore they can not see the Way. You cultivate
day in and day out, but you don realize the fruition, and you don see the
Way. Why? Because you have thoughts of love and desire. If you didn have
thoughts of love and desire, you would be able to see the Way quickly.
So the Buddha said, ou Shramanas should cast aside love and desire. " hramanas " includes all of us Bhikshus and Bhikshunis of the present age. We should all give up love and desire. This does not mean that men should say, hate women. When I see a woman, I get angry and send her away. " That not the way we should handle desire. How should it be? We should see as if not seeing, and hear as if we hadn heard. There no reason to despise them. We simply don let our minds become swayed by them. To cast aside love and desire means to give them away. It just like giving money to people; once youe given it, you don have it anymore. To whom should you give your love and desire? Give it back to your father and mother. When the stains of love and desire disappearf the impure, turbid filth of love and desire are gonehen you will be able to see the Way. This cultivation can lead you to see the Way and to realize the fruition of the Way.
The Buddha said, hose who see the Way are like someone holding a torch who enters a dark room, dispelling the darkness so that only light remains. When you study the Way and see the truth, ignorance vanishes and light remains forever."
The seventeenth section reveals that darkness has no independent existence. Since it doesn have any independent existence, once it vanishes, it is gone for good. Once you see the Way, then all ignorance will vanish.
The Buddha said, hose who see the Way are like someone holding a torch who enters a dark room, dispelling the darkness so that only light remains. " A person who sees the Way is like someone who takes up a torch and goes into a dark room, immediately banishing the darkness so that only the light remains. The darkness is gone because he holds a torch. The torch represents our wisdom. This means that if we have wisdom, we can break through ignorance, which is represented by the dark room. If we have wisdom, the dark room will become bright.
When you study the Way and see the truth, ignorance vanishes and light remains forever. Someone who studies the Way and can see the actual truth will immediately vanquish ignorance, and wisdom will re main forever.
The Buddha said, y Dharma is the mindfulness that is both mindfulness and non-mindfulness. It is the practice that is both practice and non-practice. It is words that are words and non-words, and cultivation that is cultivation and non-cultivation. Those who understand are near to it; those who are confused are far away, indeed. It is not accessible by the path of language. It is not hindered by physical objects. If you are off by a hairsbreadth, you will lose it in an instant. "
The eighteenth section explains the relationship between the existence and non-existence of mindfulness and cultivation.
The Buddha said, y Dharma is the mindfulness that is both mindfulness and non-mindfulness. "The Buddha said, y Dharma is not being mindful that you are mindful; and even the thought of that ot being mindful ' is not there. Therefore my Dharma is called a mindfulness that is mindfulness, and yet not mind fulness. It is the practice that is both practice and non-practice. In my Dharma, practice also is he Way of effortlessness. ' In cultivating, you don want to have any attachments. It should be the same as not cultivating. Even the shadow of o cultivating ' should not remain. "
It is words that are words and
non-words. Don be attached to words and language. Further, even your
intention not to be attached to words and language should be done away
with. And it is cultivation that is cultivation and non-cultivation.
It is the Way of effortlessness, cultivating and yet not cultivating,
certifying and yet not certifying. There isn any thought of cultivating
the Way. That means that you don have any attachments; all attachments
are seen as empty. Even the emptiness is emptied out.
Those who understand are near to it. To understand something means to be clear about it. If you understand this doctrine, you are near to the Way. Those who are confused are far away, indeed. But if you fail to understand and are confused about the principle, then you will be far from the Way. What is the Way ultimately like? Il tell you: It is not accessible by the path of language. You want to speak about it, but you can represent it in words. You want to think about it, but you can formulate the thought. You simply cannot speak of its wonder. It is said that the path of words and language is cut off, and the place of the mind workings ceases to be. What the mind wants to think about is gone, and absolutely everything is empty. It is not hindered by physical objects. Physical matter is itself the basic substance of True Suchness. If you are able to realize this state, then you will see that the mountains, the rivers, the earth, and all the myriad things are just the basic substance of True Suchness, and you will not be hindered by physical objects. If you are off by a hairsbreadth, if you are off by just a fraction of an inch, just a tiny bit, in the way you cultivate, you will lose it in an instant. You immediately lose it and won be able to find it. You should break through your attachments, and then you will be able to attain this state.
The Buddha said, ontemplate heaven and earth, and be mindful of their impermanence. Contemplate the world, and be mindful of its impermanence. Contem-plate the efficacious, enlightened nature: it is the Bodhi nature. With this awareness, one quickly attains the Way. "
In the nineteenth section, the Buddha teaches us the principle that everything is made from the mind alone. We must cast aside what is false and keep what is true. Heaven covers us from above, and the earth supports us from below. Seen from the point of view of ordinary people, heaven and earth are eternal and indestructible. But, in fact, they are not eternal and indestructible. They also undergo the superseding of the old by the new. They are not permanent.
The Buddha said, ontemplate heaven and earth, and be mindful of their impermanence. "When you look at heaven and earth, you see that sometimes they are hot and sometimes cold. When the cold comes, the warmth goes. There is the cycle of spring, summer, fall, and winter. On the earth the mountains and rivers are involved in constant transition and do not stay fixed. They are dharmas that are created and destroyed. They are not the uncreated, undestroyed dharmas of the mind. They are impermanent. Therefore, the Buddha said to be mindful of their impermanence.
Contemplate the world, and be
mindful of its impermanence. The world changes; it is not static. [In
Chinese, the two characters for the concept orld "
imply the ideas of time and place.] Both time and
place are subject to creation and destruction. Neither is permanent and
indestructible. So the text says, e mindful of its impermanence. "
Contemplate the efficacious, enlightened nature:
it is the Bodhi nature. You contemplate your own bright, enlightened
spiritual nature: it is just the Bodhi-nature.
With this awareness,
one quickly attains the Way. If you can investigate in this way and
gain an understanding, if you can know it as it is, then you will immediately
obtain the Way. Because you understand this principle, you will obtain
the Way. But if you fail to understand this principle, you will not obtain
The Buddha said, ou should be mindful of the four elements within the body. Though each has a name, none of them is the self. Since they are not the self, they are like an illusion."
The twentieth section instructs people to contemplate the human body in terms of the four elements, in order to realize that the body is like an illusion, like a trans formation. It is false, and unreal.
The Buddha said, ou should be mindful of the four elements within the body. " We should consider the four elements within our bodies. Our bodies are a combination of these four: earth, water, fire, and air. The solid parts of the body are from the element earth. The moist parts are of the element water; warmth comes from the element fire; and breathing and movement are manifestations of the air element.
Though each has a name. The
four elements all have names. Each element has its own name. None
of them is the self. None of them can be called the elf. "
Consider the body and figure it out: the head has
the name ead "
feet have the name eet "
the eyes have the name yes "
the ears have the name ars "
the nose has the name ose "
the tongue has the name ongue "
the mouth has the name outh. "
head to foot, every part of the body has its own name. Now, where would
you say the self can be found? Which place is called the elf "
? There isn any place called the self. Since there
is no place called self, then why do you want to be attached to the self?
Why do you want to look upon the self as so important? The entire body
contains nothing called the self.
Since they are not the self, they are like an illusion. There is no self, and so the body is like an illusion, like a transformation. There isn anything real about it. The one who contemplates and that which is contemplated are both empty and false. Both are illusory, and mere transformations. If you can understand that they are like an illusion, like a transformation, you can understand the doctrine of the contemplation of emptiness, falseness, and the Middle Way. When you understand this principle, you will know that the body is empty, false, and unreal.
The Buddha said, here are people who follow emotion and desire and seek to be famous. By the time their reputation is established, they are already dead. Those who are greedy for worldly fame and do not study the Way simply waste their effort and wear themselves out. By way of analogy, although burning incense gives off fragrance, when it has burned down, the remaining embers bring the danger of a fire that can burn one up."
Section Twenty-one teaches that people who seek fame not only don benefit from it, but are actually harmed by it.
The Buddha said, here are people who follow emo tion and desire and seek to be famous. " People give way to their emotions and desires and chase after fame; they are after a good reputation. By the time their reputation is established, they are already dead. By the time you have made a name for yourself, you are already old; and once you are old, you will soon die. So there no real point to it.
Those who are greedy for worldly fame and do not study the Way simply waste their effort and wear themselves out. People who are greedy for an ordinary, worldly reputation and who don cultivate to attain the fruition of the Way apply their effort in vain. They wear themselves out. By way of analogy, although burning incense gives off fragrance, when it has burned down, the remaining embers bring the danger of a fire that can burn one up. Suppose you light a chunk of incense. Although you can smell a whiff of fragrance, when the incense has burned down, a fire may flare up from the embers and burn you to death. This is a very dangerous consequence that could occur.