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Buddhadharma : Summer 2005
summer 2005| 36 |buddhadharma me talk right now. Having no form, no characteristics, no root, no foundation, no specific dwelling place, this one is brisk and dynamic, acts according to myriad circumstances, and indeed has no fixed place. Therefore, the more you search for it, the further away it goes. The more you reach for it, the less you can grasp it. This is what I call ‘the uncanny.’ “Followers of the Way, you must not be deceived by your illu- sory companion. Sooner or later, you will face impermanence. What are you seeking in this world in order to emancipate your- self? You look for something to eat, spend time patching your robe. You would better visit an outstanding master, rather than hanging around and pursuing comfort. You must begrudge the passing of the day. Remember that moment after moment is impermanence itself. You are swayed by earth, water, fire, and wind at the gross level. You are swayed by the four phases of birth, life, decay, and extinction at the subtle level. Followers of the Way, right now you must recognize these four formless conditions. Don’t be swayed by external circumstances.” CHApTER XVI Someone asked, “What are the ‘four formless conditions?’” The Master replied, “The moment you doubt you are hin- dered by earth. The moment you yearn you are drowned by water. The moment you rage you are burned by fire. The moment you rejoice you are blown around by wind. If you understand this, you are not controlled by external circumstances. Using circumstances anywhere, spring up from the east and sink in the west. Spring up from the south and sink in the north. Spring up from the center and sink at the edge. Spring up from the edge and sink at the center. You can walk on the water as you do on the earth. In the same way, you can walk on the earth as you do on the water. Why is this so? Because you have realized that the four elements are like a dream, like a fantasy. Followers of the Way, this one who is right now listening to my talk is not the four elements, but is using the four elements. When your understanding reaches this level, you are free to go and stay. “According to this mountain monk’s view, there is no dharma to be disliked. If you love the sacred, remember that the sacred is merely a name. Many students of Dharma search for Manjusri Bodhisattva on Mount Gotai (Wutai Shan). Mistake! There is no Manjusri on Mount Gotai. Do you want to know who Manjusri is? When you are free of doubt, your continuous everyday activ- ity is the living Manjusri. Your activity right now, unaffected by inconsistency and doubt, is the living Manjusri. Your single thought of non-discriminating light, pervading everywhere, is the real Samantabhadra. Your single thought that emancipates you wherever you may be, is the Dharma of Avalokitesvara Samadhi. These three always appear together, taking alternately the places of master and attendants. One is three. Three are one. Only when you understand it in this way do you have eyes to appreciate the sutras and shastras.” CHApTER XVII The Master addressed the assembly: “Today’s students of the Way must have faith in themselves. Do not seek anything outside. If you try to seek externally, you only accumulate arti- ficial dust, and you won’t be able to discern right from wrong. Buddhas and patriarchs appear only in written form. If someone brought up a phrase beyond the hidden and the revealed, you would immediately be filled with doubt, looking up to heaven, looking down to the earth, asking your neighbors for help, utterly perplexed. Resolute students, don’t just talk about offi- cials and outlaws, right and wrong, lust and money, and spend your days in idle talk. “This mountain monk, no matter who comes here, monks or laymen, can discern them through and through. Coming from various states of mind, whatever they say is nothing but names and phrases. After all, they are as if in a dream, a fantasy. On the other hand, when I see someone who is the master of circumstances, I know that such a person is the quintessence of all buddhas. The state of buddhahood cannot declare, ‘I am the state of buddhahood.’ Rather, this very per- son of the Way who doesn’t depend on anything is the master of circumstances. Suppose someone came asking me about seeking Buddha, I would immediately appear in the state of purity and act accordingly. Suppose someone came asking me about bodhisattvas, I would immediately appear in the state of compassion and act accordingly. Suppose someone came asking me about bodhi, I would immediately appear in the state of inconceivable purity and act accordingly. Suppose someone came asking me about nirvana, I would immediately appear in a state of extinguished tranquility and act accordingly. Though there are innumerable different states, the person is not differ- ent. Therefore, it is said, According to circumstances, forms reveal like the moon reflecting on the water. “Followers of the Way, if you want to be in accord with the Dharma, you must be resolute. If you are spineless and unsure, then you can’t be. A cracked vessel cannot contain ambrosial nectar. To be a great vessel of Dharma you must not be deceived by the opinions of others. Make yourself the master of everywhere; wherever you stand is the true place. Whatever comes from outside, don’t ever accept it. Your one doubt is the devil, which immediately enters your mind. When a bodhisat- tva doubts, the demon of birth and death gets the advantage. Just keep your mind from searching. Never ever seek outside. If something comes, observe it. All you have to do is have faith in yourself, which presents activity, here, now. Other than that, there isn’t anything for you to do. Your one thought creates the three realms, and according to the law of causation is divided into the six dusts6 by circumstance. What is lacking in your present activity? In one instant you can enter purity, enter defile- ment, enter the pagoda of Maitreya, and enter the Lands of the Three Eyes.7 You travel from place to place and you see that all are but empty names.” 6 The six dusts refer to the delusions that arise as a result of the interaction of our senses and the world. Each one corresponds to a sense (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching), with a sixth being added for the mind. 7 “The Land of the Three Eyes” comes from the Hua Yan Sutra. Here Master Lin Ji uses this name differently, to refer to the Lands of the Three Bodies (Dharmakaya Buddha, Sambhogakaya Buddha, and Nirmanakaya Buddha).