Correct View of Emptiness
by Denma Locho Rinpoche

So continuing on with our text then, today we are going to cover the subject of the correct view, that is to say, the correct view of reality. Without this correct view then, it is impossible to sever the root of existence, that is to say, cut the root of the cycle of existence, that is to say, uproot the seed which brings about all the manifest sufferings within Samsara, or within the cycle of existence. If you ask ‘Why is this, what is this cause of the cycle of existence which holds us in its grip?’ – that is none other than the ignorance, or the confusion, with regard to the mode of phenomena, that is to say, grasping on to self-existence, or autonomous existence.

To uproot this then, we need its antidote, or antithesis, which is then this wisdom which cognises the actual nature of phenomena. When this arises in our continuum, then we can be said to be on our way to getting rid of the root of the cycle of existence, kind of dragging up or tearing up this root of the cycle of existence. Without this wisdom, it is impossible for us to sever this root of the cycle of existence, therefore it is impossible for us to gain either of the two kinds of enlightenment (that is to say, the enlightenment of the lesser vehicle or the Buddhahood of the greater vehicle) because both of these arise in dependence upon thoroughly shedding the cycle of existence. So in order to do that, we need to generate this wisdom within our mental continuum or mind.

THE PRASANGIKA MADHYAMIKA VIEW

The viewpoint which I’m going to teach from today is the highest philosophical viewpoint, that is to say, the Prasangika Madhyamika view. Within this system what we find is that there is a unique presentation of the various grounds and paths. With regard to the paths then, the Prasangika Madhyamika view holds that the practitioners of the hearer and the Solitary Realiser lineages cognise the emptiness, or the lack of autonomous existence, of phenomena, and through that, they achieve the lesser nirvana. The other philosophical schools, for example, Svatantrika Madhyamika, the Mind-Only school and so forth, they say that these persons (that is those of the lesser vehicles lineages) do not cognise the emptiness of phenomena, and because of that, they don’t achieve nirvana. However, it is difficult to assert that, so what we have to put forward is that the practitioners of these lesser vehicles, cognise the actual mode of phenomena or the emptiness of phenomena, and from that viewpoint, we will proceed with the presentation of the Prasangika Madhyamika view.

So here what we are presenting is a view of phenomena, or what is known as the ultimate mode of abiding of phenomena, that is to say, the mode of abiding or the way of abiding of phenomena at its utmost peak. The reason for talking about the mode of phenomena is that the underlying way of existence of all phenomena, whether animate or inanimate – their final mode of existence is what is going to be presented here. This mode of phenomena is what is meant when we talk about various classifications of teachings by the Enlightened One. We can classify the various sutras as belonging to two different categories, that is to say, the sutras of definitive and then interpretative meanings. So here then if we look at two different kinds of sutra then, for example, the sutra which teaches us that all composite phenomena are impermanent, then if we look at the mode of abiding of phenomena we do see that if they are composite, then they are momentarily disintegrating. This is in one level the mode of that phenomena – that they are momentarily disintegrating. However there is something that through further analysis will come to light, and that is that the objects in and of themselves – albeit an impermanent object or momentarily disintegrating object – those objects are themselves empty of any kind of autonomous existence, that is to say, empty of any kind of existence from their own side. So this then is what is meant by ‘final’ with regard to ‘final mode of existence’. The ‘final’ here then refers to the ultimate or the empty nature of phenomena.

If you have some doubt about that we can clarify it by quoting another sutra which says that one must kill one’s mother and father. So then we have to explain what is meant by ‘killing one’s father and mother’ here by looking at the twelve links of dependent origination. So within those twelve, we find that the third and the ninth then are talking about various kinds of karma, so what is meant by ‘to kill one’s father and mother’ is to kill these two types of karma, because Buddha has on numerous occasions made clear that, for a follower of the Buddha, killing is completely out of the question. So we need to clarify, we need to interpret, the meaning of those sutras. Whereas the sutras which present the actual mode of phenomena, that is to say, the empty nature of phenomena, those particular sutras don’t need any interpretation because if we look at what they are presenting, there is nothing else to be found within that, that is to say, they are presenting the final nature or the final mode of existence of both animate and inanimate phenomena. So it is from that point of view that we are going to look at the actual nature of phenomena, look at its antithesis, that is to say, the ignorance which is the cause of the cycle of existence, that is to say, the ignorance which is confused about that nature of existence and through its confusion grasps onto the actual reverse of that, that is to say, grasps onto self- or autonomous existence. So the antithesis is what we are going to study today and going back to the root text then, it says:

Although you practice renunciation and Bodhi mind,
Without wisdom, the realisation of voidness, you cannot cut the root of Samsara.
Therefore strive to understand dependent origination (or dependent arising).

So here then it’s quite clear: Even though one practices renunciation and the mind aspiring to the highest enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, without this wisdom which cognises the final mode of phenomena, that is to say, the empty nature of phenomena, one cannot uproot the cause of the cycle of existence, and therefore one cannot be free from the fetters of Samsara. So therefore it’s extremely important then to search out this final, or ultimate, mode of existence of phenomena.

So therefore we are encouraged to engage in the practice of trying to understand dependent origination, or dependent arising, because it is through applying the sign of dependent arising, that is to say – setting up a syllogism, for example, the subject – a sprout – is empty of inherent existence because it is dependent arising. Understanding what is meant by dependent arising, and then through that understanding, we can come to understand what is meant by the lack of a true or autonomous existence, what is meant by ’emptiness’. So all these different words we keep hearing – ‘final mode of phenomena’, ’emptiness’, ‘suchness’ and so forth – these are all just mere enumerations on the same meaning which is that phenomena lack any kind of autonomous existence. We are encouraged then to understand what is meant by dependent origination, or dependent arising, then to set that as the sign by means of which we can prove the thesis that phenomena are lacking in any autonomous existence.

DEPENDENT ARISING

So then dependent arising is the reason which is going to be utilised in proving that phenomena lack any kind of autonomous or true existence. So then to utilise this, we have to, as we mentioned earlier, set up the syllogism. So for example what we are going to prove – the thesis – is that phenomena are lacking in true existence. So here then we have to understand what is being negated, or the object of negation, that is to say, true existence, because if we don’t have a clear understanding of what is to be negated then there is every chance that we might negate too much and fall to the extreme that nothing exists whatsoever, or if we leave too much behind then we might fall into the extreme of permanence. So then in order to avoid these two extremes, of true existence and non-existence, or permanence and annihilation, it’s very important that we understand exactly what is mean by true existence and exactly what is meant by its antithesis, that is to say, the lack of true existence.

So then this is going to be proved through utilising the reasoning of dependent arising, and then through setting that sign, we are able then to cut this mistaken view. So this syllogism that we’re setting up then – you may wonder: well, is this the actual mode of phenomena, is this the actual lack of true existence or not? So this is clearly stated to not be the actual mode of existence but rather is a convention, a convention which will then lead us to the ultimate understanding, that is to say, lead us to understand the mode in which phenomena actually exist. This is clearly mentioned by Chandrakirti in one of his works where he says that utilising the convention is the method to get to the ultimate. So here then ’method’ is referring to the setting up of that syllogism, having the basis upon which one is going to prove emptiness, then having the idea of the thesis that something is empty of some kind of autonomous or true existence, and then having the reason to prove that.

So these are all within the realm of conventionality and are used as a method to generate the ultimate. The ultimate here, as the text goes on to explain, is the subject which the superiors meditate upon. So the superiors’ meditative equipoise is a single-pointed concentration upon the ultimate nature of phenomena. Being such then, it continually dwells on the empty nature, or the final mode of existence, of phenomena, the true existence, lacking any autonomy. So this then is the wisdom which is brought about through utilising the conventional method of the reasoning of dependent arising to prove the thesis of the lack of any autonomous or true existence. So we have to be very clear with regard to this middle way – (‘middle way’ here being between the two extremes of permanence and annihilation) – so we have to be clear that we don’t leave too much behind and then fall to the extreme that there is some permanent or true or autonomous existence, or that we cut too much and then we are left with nothing and fall to the extreme of annihilation. Thus then the middle way has to be viewed as that which is between the two extremes of permanence and annihilation, and this is what is going to be proved through utilising the reasoning of the dependent arising.

SELFLESSNESS

So then we initially have to understand what is meant when we talk about – let us use the example of a human being or a sentient being as our basis for proving the lack of any autonomous or self-existence. If then we use as a basis for example a human being (let us leave aside animals and so forth for the time being) – then human beings exist, you exist, I exist, there is somebody who creates causes, there is somebody who experiences results because there is the karmic law which we have gone through earlier on. So in that way there is an ‘I’, there is a self who is creating causes, who is experiencing results, and then there is something which goes from this life to the future life. So that self exists, also we know this because we see other individuals with our eyes. If we were to say that self or human being, being mere elaborations on the same meaning, that don’t exist, then what are we seeing when we see other human beings with our eyes? So that self exists, exists in a conventional way, exists in a nominal way.

Then when we talk about ‘selflessness’ or ‘I-lessness’, what is this ‘I’ which is being spoken about? Here, what we are talking about is a lack of autonomous existence, because human beings exist as designations upon the five aggregates, that is to say, the aggregates of body and then the various kinds of mind. So on this basis then, an ‘I’ is imputed. And that ‘I’ then if grasped as anything else, as anything other than an imputation upon these five aggregates, seen as being something other than them, as existing solidly from its own side, that ‘I’, that feeling that we have, that feeling that something exists in and of itself is the ‘I’ or the self which is to be negated, thus we have selflessness or ‘I-lessness’. So it is extremely important to make a distinction between these two different kinds of self or these two different kinds of ‘I’ – one existing nominally, the other one not existing ultimately and the view that that exists being thus the mistaken view, the one which we are trying to negate or remove through our contemplations upon thusness.

So it is extremely important then to understand clearly these two modes of existence, these two ‘I’s, or these two selves, which we experience because, as is mentioned in the Bodhisattva grounds, when we explain the actual mode of phenomena or the selflessness of people or persons, it is very easy to fall to the extreme that nothing exists at all – there is no person creating karma, there is nobody to experience the result of that karma, there is no ‘I’ used as a conventional term which is going between one existence and another existence. When this is presented then we have to be extremely careful in making clear this distinction at the beginning because, as the Bodhisattva grounds mentions, there is every danger that the listener, the person who is being instructed, might fall to the extreme that because we are taught selflessness, that self refers to us, ourselves – then there is nobody to create karma, there is nobody to experience the results, there is no past and future lives, and they fall into this extreme wrong view that there is no karma and no continuation from this life to a future life.

So one has to be extremely clear with regard to this presentation of how the self exists, and what is meant by selflessness or I-lessness. So one of the distinctions which is extremely important to make is one that is quite simple, but when we talk about seeing things or experiencing things like we experience our self directly, we experience others through our eye-consciousness, now this valid cognition which we are using is then one which is correct with regard to the object which it entertains, or which it engages. So if one is perceiving somebody else as being an object of one’s valid cognition, then that must be something which exists because the very differentiating point between existence and non-existence is whether the object can be cognised by valid cognition or not. So as we see other individuals then, we are seeing them with a correct or valid cognition, therefore there must be some object existing there for us to see. This is the nominally existent or the existing ‘I’, then the ‘I’ which is to be negated is the emptiness of an autonomously existing ‘I’, ( ‘autonomous’ here referring to not being part of the five aggregates but existing as something other than that). Through that contemplation then, the ignorance which grasps onto that is removed.

THE OBJECT OF NEGATION

So then initially it’s incredibly important to understand what is meant by the object of negation. When we talk about something lacking natural or true existence, autonomous existence, however, we like to use that language, then we are getting down to the same point – something lacking any kind of existence from its own side. So we have to understand then what is meant by ‘existing from its own side’ or ‘true existence’ and so forth. So in order to do that, we have to understand this ignorance which grasps onto such phenomena in a mistaken way, and for that to happen, we have to understand the naturally arising or spontaneously produced mind which is grasping at true or self-existence. Through observing that, then we can come to see the way that this ignorance grasps onto its object, we can then come to see the actual nature of the object and the mistaken way in which it is being grasped at by this naturally or spontaneously arising mind of ignorance. So then when we talk about understanding the object of negation, if we look in the scriptures we can take a quotation from Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara which mentions – How without understanding true existence, can you talk about the lack of true existence? So here it’s very clear isn’t it, if we want to understand what is meant by lack of true existence, then we have to understand initially true existence, that which is to be negated.

In a simpler to understand the answer, if we talk about a house or a building, if someone were to come to us and say ‘Is Lodro in the house?’, then if we don’t know who Lodro is, we can’t possibly answer that person – we cannot say ‘yes’ or we cannot say ‘no’. Even though we might say the word ‘Lodro’ a lot, it doesn’t really mean anything because we don’t understand the basis to which this word, or this name, is attached, or given. So, in the same way, we may say ‘lack of self-existence’ or ‘lack of autonomous existence’, and so forth, but unless we are really clear about what ‘ self-existence’ is or what ‘autonomous existence’ is then it just is a lot of play with words, we’re not really going to learn anything from that, and what is more, we’re not really going to be able to develop the wisdom which cognises this mode of abiding of phenomena. So it is extremely important than initially for us beginners to contemplate upon this object of negation, that which is actually negated by its antithesis and the wisdom arising thereafter. And for those of you who have already understood this then, there is not much point in me going on about it, but for the majority of us beginners then it’s incredibly important to understand what is meant by the object of negation.

TWO KINDS OF REASONING

So then in order to find the ultimate nature of phenomena, we contemplate its antithesis – true existence or autonomous existence – and then we strive to understand what is meant by the opposite, that is to say, selflessness, or lacking autonomous or self-existence, and the way we do this – because this mode of phenomena is the kind of phenomena which is classified as a hidden phenomena, we have to rely upon a correct line of reasoning to draw out or to prove what we are trying to set forth, or our thesis. In order to do this there are various kinds of reasoning we can set forth, but from within those, we find that two are the best two. So the first of these is the reasoning of ‘the one and the many’, and the second one is the ‘king of reasonings’ then, the reasoning of dependent origination or dependent arising.

So from within these two then, it is said that the reasoning of the one and the many – from this we draw out the renowned fourfold analysis. This is for beginners, the easiest way to settle or come to understand the ultimate nature, or the ultimate mode, of phenomena. However then, when we look at the other reasoning – the ‘king of reasonings’, that of dependent arising or dependent origination, this reasoning is one which is renowned as the king for what reason? For the reason that the Mind Only school use this reasoning to prove true existence, whereas the Madhyamika school use this to prove non-true existence. So everybody is coming down to this same point of dependent arising, and through this reason, it is renowned as the ‘king of reasons’ or the king of correct signs when set in a syllogism.

So as our text here principally deals with the reasoning of dependent arising, then we will follow this line reasoning (if we can go through the fourfold analysis, so much the better), but if we just stick with the text then what we are going through is the reasoning of dependent origination or dependent arising, so let us then stick with that. It is always better to use one line of reasoning because in dependence upon one line of reasoning one can come to understand the truth of the thesis, then as one has understood the truth of that thesis then there is no need to then entertain another reasoning to again prove that same thesis because one has already proved that to oneself.

So in order to set the syllogism then, if we lay it out using as the subject a sprout (we can actually use any kind of subject, for example, a human being or whatever but let us just use the example which is given in the text, then the subject a sprout). So it’s very important that we understand that in order to set a thesis, we have to have a subject – a basis upon which we are going to discuss a natural or autonomous existence because if we are just talking about having or lack of autonomous existence, we have to have something which we are going to look at, something which we are going to focus upon when we start to engage in this reasoning. If we don’t have a basis of a discussion or argument, our argument is going to spiral out of control.

So here then we will look at the subject (in this case a sprout) and the thesis which is to be proven about that is its lacking autonomous existence or lacking a natural inherent existence. So that is what is to be proven then, and the reasoning, or the sign, which is going to be set forth, is that it is lacking that natural existence or autonomous existence because it is dependent arising. So here then, if we have a look, we have three things: We have the subject which is the sprout; that which is to be proven about it (or the thesis) – that it is lacking natural or autonomous existence; and then the sign, or the reason, for that – because it is a dependent arising. So the sprout then is something which is dependent arising and if we look at this in the simplest way then, it is something which comes into existence in dependence upon its causes and conditions. So as it is a subject which has come into existence in dependence upon a cause, in dependence upon a condition, then it is not something which is existing naturally in and of itself, because if it was existing in and of itself it wouldn’t rely on phenomena other than itself to come into existence because it would already be there, naturally or autonomously existing, it wouldn’t have to rely upon the various causes and conditions which bring about, or bring forth, its existence. Thus then the reasoning of dependent arising looked at in this way – that the sprout arises in dependence upon its causes and conditions – therefore proves that the sprout in and of itself is not existing in such an autonomous way, but rather has come about as a product of various causes and conditions.

THE PRAISE TO DEPENDENT ORIGINATION

So then this reasoning of dependent arising is further elaborated upon in the prayer by Lama Tsongkhapa called The Praise to Dependent Origination within which he says that anything that has arisen in dependence upon a cause and a condition is something which lacks autonomous existence, and this understanding is one which is most beautiful and which needs no further elaboration. So here then if we look at the object of our analysis, if that object is one which is has arisen in dependence upon objects which are other than it, that is to say, causes and conditions, then it cannot exist in an autonomous, self-existing way. This is because if it were existing in such a way it wouldn’t need to rely upon, it wouldn’t need to depend upon, its causes and conditions which brought it into being.

Now the source of Lama Tsongkhapa’s words here are from the Rare Stalk sutra, within which it explains how phenomena exist in a dependent way, and how viewing them in a way which is contrary to that, that is to say, in an autonomous way is then a false or a wrong way of viewing phenomena. So this goes on to tell us that something which arises in dependence upon causes and conditions must exist because if it were a non-existent, we could not talk about it coming into existence, or we could not talk about it being generated, so this has to be something which exists. So if it is something that exists, how does it exist? So then it has come into existence in dependence upon its causes and conditions, so therefore it has dependently arisen. So it is an object which we can perceive, it has dependently arisen.

However then if we view this in a contrary way, that is to say, in a way which doesn’t accord with that reasoning, that is to say, we view it as something which is autonomously existent, then the third line tells us then, this object which we are viewing cannot possibly exist in such an autonomous way because it lacks such natural existence for the very reason that it has depended upon causes and conditions to come into existence, and that is proved then through looking at the subject and seeing how it has arisen in dependence upon its causes and conditions. So if it something that has depended upon others, that is to say, something other than it, to come into existence, then it cannot naturally or autonomously exist from its own side. So cognising this reality is said to be the mind or the awareness which destroys the father – that is to say, the cognition or the ignorance which understands phenomena in a wrong or in a false manner is like the father which gives rise to the children of the destructive emotions. So if one negates that, it is as if one has removed the source of all of the destructive emotions.

So dependent arising then – when we think of an object if this object exists in dependence upon causes and conditions which are other than it, that is to say, it has arisen in dependence upon those other causes and conditions, then there is no way that this object can exist in and of itself, for the very reason existing in and of itself implies not depending upon other phenomena, or other causes and conditions or whatever, to come into existence. So if something is lacking this inherent existence, it is something which has arisen in dependence upon its causes and conditions, for no naturally existing or autonomous phenomena can come into existence in dependence upon its causes and conditions because, at the very time of those causes and conditions, this object must already exist in the way we are perceiving it to exist, that is to say in the wrong way. So this understanding of emptiness then is mentioned by Aryadeva by saying that through understanding emptiness in dependence upon any object, once we have understood that – the empty nature of phenomena – at that moment we have uprooted the seed of the cycle of existence. The reason for this is given – because the seed of the cycle of existence is the confusion or the ignorance which grasps onto autonomous or true existence, so then through understanding the falseness or the wrongness of that nature, we have completely cast out that wrong view. Its analogy is of having plucked a seed from the earth – nothing can thereafter grow from that, so in a similar fashion, no other confusion can come through this mistaken view.

So as is further mentioned by Aryadeva in the Four Hundred Verses, for a person who doesn’t have much merit or positive potential, that individual is one for whom the mere speculation of emptiness is something which is very far away from their being, from their mind, in other words, they are not really interested in this mode of phenomena. However for somebody who has a little more merit, let’s say that they have doubt towards the mode of phenomena – ‘perhaps there is natural or autonomous existence, perhaps not’ – let’s say they have the doubt which is known as the doubt leaning towards the truth (or leaning towards the true meaning) that phenomena don’t have any inherent existence – for that person they acquire a tremendous amount of positive potential, just through that doubt. As Aryadeva mentions in his book, just having that doubt is enough to tear the three worlds asunder; that is to say, this reasoning, this doubt, which is tending towards the fact, is one which has the ability to not only remove, but to tear to shreds, any notion that the three worlds exist inherently. Thus one is able to remove through this the seed of the cycle of existence, and through that then the whole of Samsara for that individual becomes something which is withered and then finally non-existent.

So then we need to continually familiarise ourselves using reasons. Once we have established those reasons we can meditate upon the ultimate nature, or the lack of autonomous existence, of phenomena – this then is something which we need to prove to ourselves using the various reasonings. For example, when we start to contemplate, we need to have an understanding and then slowly get into the understanding of the nature, or the actual mode of existence, of phenomena. Then when we start to have queries about that, we can remove those using the various reasonings. For example, if something has autonomous existence then it cannot be something which arises in dependence upon something else because it’s autonomously existing. Another example we could use is that if it is a functioning thing, if it has natural or self-existence then it is not something which is brought about by a cause and an effect – but yet it is something that is brought about by a cause and an effect. So through using these jarring reasonings we can bring ourselves – we can continually familiarise ourselves with the actual mode of phenomena. For somebody then who has a doubt about the ultimate mode or the ultimate nature of phenomena, for that person we can set the syllogism and then through that we can lead them into that correct understanding. So if we have some doubt ourselves, then we can perhaps contemplate that the subject – whatever you like – is empty of any autonomous existence because it is a dependent arising or because it is lacking autonomous existence as singular or plural, and through these kinds of reasonings we can bring ourselves onto the path and using the former reasonings, continually familiarise ourselves with that.

GRASPING ONTO INHERENT EXISTENCE

So we have to understand how the mind grasps onto true existence. We have already spoken about how phenomena lack any kind of natural or autonomous existence, so we have to have a look then at the mind which grasps onto autonomous existence, that is to say, a mind which grasps onto inherent existence, and the trouble which is brought about through entertaining such a mind. So then this is clearly explained in Chandrakirti’s book where he says that initially what happens is we have a view of self or ‘I’, and in dependence upon this, we generate a feeling of possessiveness – for example ‘my head’, ‘my arms’, ‘my possessions’, ‘my enjoyment’ and so forth. Then in dependence upon that view of possessiveness, when we engage with various objects, what we find is then mind grasping onto the true pleasure which we perceive to be existing from the side of the object give rise to attachment towards such seemingly true or autonomous existence; and quite the reverse on the other side – for example when a seemingly antithesis for our pleasure comes before us, our reaction towards that is of repulsion, we want to get rid of that, we are completely averse to that object. When we have those minds then of attachment and aversion we have generated the destructive, or the disturbed, emotions in our being, or in our mind, and once they have arisen and we engage in actions in dependence upon those, we are developing negative karmic seeds within our mental continuum or mind. Having brought about those negative karmic seeds, having planted those negative karmic seeds, the result of those is something which is definitely going to be experienced by us in the future.

As they are going to be experienced in the future, how are they going to be experienced then? They are going to be experienced as none other than existence within the cycle of existence. So Chandrakirti’s book then tells us how initially sentient beings have a notion of an autonomously existing ‘I’. That is to say, we’ve spoken a lot about how phenomena lack such autonomous existence or true, from its own side, existence and how phenomena (when we use the self as the object of our discussion) exists merely as a nominal designation on the five aggregates – so grasping onto it as something other than that is the first step; the second one is a sense of possessiveness on top of this ‘I’; then with this idea of true possessiveness with regard the object we encounter, a sense of true pleasure or true discomfort arising from the side of those objects; and then our mind of attachment and then aversion directed towards those objects; and then in dependence upon that, the arising of the destructive emotions of attachment and aversion; and then in dependence upon that, the generation of karma; and then in dependence upon that, the whole of the cycle of existence.

So Chandrakirti goes on to mention that seeing helpless sentient beings in such a way one should strive to generate compassion and so forth. If we were to give a great or a long explanation of this process of the arising of the cycle of existence, we would give an explanation of the twelve links of dependent origination, but as we don’t have time for that, this is a very abbreviated way of how sentient beings first grasp onto an ‘I’ and then through that the whole cycle of existence comes into being.

So then there are no phenomena for which dependent arising is not its actual mode of existence, there are no phenomena which does not arise in dependence upon other factors, be it causes and conditions or nominal designations. For example, Rinpoche was showing his glasses case and was saying ‘is this long or is it short?’ If you hold it up to the microphone you can say it’s short in dependence upon the length of the microphone, whereas if you compare it with Rinpoche’s finger then, it’s long in comparison with Rinpoche’s finger. So ‘short’ and ‘long’ – ‘short’ depends upon ‘long’ and vice versa; there is no object about which we can say ‘this is long and there is nothing which is longer than this, this is the perfect long’, or ‘this is the perfect short, there is nothing shorter than that particular object’. For example with a table, can we say that the table in front of Rinpoche is high or is it short? In dependence upon the floor, it’s something quite high, but compared with the shelves and the tables behind, it is shorter. So we cannot say of an object that this is the perfect high or the perfect short.

IMPUTATION FROM THE SIDE OF ANOTHER

This reasoning can also be applied to all other individuals, for example, we speak a lot about those who are our friends, and those who are our enemies, but there is no naturally existing or autonomously existing ‘enemy’. If we look in world history, we find two individuals, for example, Adolf Hitler and Mao Tse-tung, so these two individuals – the majority of the people in the world would class them as their enemy, as somebody evil and somebody to be hated. For example, if we concentrate on Mao Tse-tung then – the Tibetan and Chinese religious practitioners would then view him as the most evil man alive, he was their complete sworn enemy because it was he who was responsible for the destruction of all their religious practices and so forth. However, if we look at it from a different angle, if we look at it from the angle of those in China who support the Communist party, or those for whom the Communist Party holds a great sway, then for them, Mao Tse-tung is like their hero, somebody who is almost worshipped by them. So we can say that ‘friend’ and ‘enemy’ are opposites, there is nothing which is both of them. However, if we look from different perspectives then we can see that one individual can exist at the same time as both somebody’s friend and somebody’s enemy. So from one side then, the name ‘enemy’ is applied and from another angle, the name ‘friend’ is applied to the same object. This is another opening into the perception that there is no object which exists in and of itself, rather it is just a mere imputation from the side of another.

So then let us take the example of an individual called ‘John’. So let’s say this character has a son, and has a brother and a wife and so forth. So then this person ‘John’ from his father’s side is a son, and from his own child’s side is a father, from his wife’s relations’ side he is an uncle and from his own relations’ side, he is a brother and so forth. So then if this individual ‘John’ was one who existed as a son in and of himself, then even his own son, his own relatives, his wife’s relatives would all have to view him as such because he is naturally existing, or existing from his own side, as a son. And the same looking at it from the child’s perspective – seeing John as a father – if he was naturally existing as a father then all those other beings (his father, his uncles, his relations) would all view him as ‘father’, so again this is something which is absurd. So through looking at other people’s perspectives we can see how the labelling process provides us with a person existing in such a way, whether it be as a son, whether it be as a father, uncle and so forth. If we look at a woman – for example, the woman has a child, so from the child’s point of view, the woman is a mother, but from her mother’s own point of view she is a daughter, and then from her relatives’ point of view, she is a sister or an auntie. So with regard to this woman, she is being seen in four completely different ways. If she were naturally or autonomously a mother then everyone should see her as such; if she were autonomously a daughter, again everyone should see her as such. But that doesn’t occur, and the reason for that is because she doesn’t exist naturally or inherently as any of those things but rather from the perspective of the mother, the child, the relative and so forth she is merely designated as a mother, auntie, and so forth.

ESTABLISHING A PHENOMENON IN DEPENDENCE ON ITS PARTS

So then we can look at a quotation from the sutra which says that just as a chariot comes into existence in dependence upon its parts and the labelling process, in such a way a human being is also known. So here when we talk about ‘a chariot’ we might have some idea of what a chariot is, but we have to remember that this was some years ago when the Buddha gave this sutra, so nowadays a modern interpretation might be ‘a car’. So then if we take ‘car’ as the starting point then: A car is made up of all its components, if we separate out its components, we don’t find something that we can point to as ‘car’. For example, if we were to point to the wheel and say ‘this is the car’, or look at the exhaust and say ‘this is the car’ – this is something absurd. So then when we put all the parts of the car together, we designate the name ‘car’ upon the certain formation of those parts and then that serves as the basis of designation of the label ‘car’.

…five aggregates are not in and of themselves the self, we have to clarify this. If we look at the five aggregates – is the self the form aggregate? or the feeling aggregate? – and so forth and right down to the point of having the aggregate of consciousness. So here then the biggest doubt comes with regard to this aggregate of consciousness because the Svatantrika Madhyamika then say that this is the self, this is the autonomously existing self. But the simple negation of that is that we don’t talk about possessing something which is the ‘I’ in the way which we talk about possessing something which is consciousness. For example, we can easily say ‘my consciousness’ or ‘my mind’ but we don’t say ‘my I’, do we? So how can the thing which is the ‘I’ in and of itself, that is to say, the consciousness, be possessed by something which is other than it? So that is what Rinpoche was saying – can you say ‘my I’ or ‘my self’, not as in ‘me, myself’ but rather as in my – other than my – like a glass – ‘my glass’, ‘my self’ kind of thing. So is it possible to say that? – and obviously, that is not the case, and the antithesis then is that we can say with regard to consciousness, ‘my mind’ or ‘my consciousness’, so that kind of negates the fact that the consciousness in and of itself is the possessor, or that is to say, the ‘I’.

With regard to objects then we’ve looked at a car, but let’s look at something which is more accessible to us at the present moment – if we look at this building and in particular this hall which we are now gathered in: This hall exists, we are enjoying the Dharma teaching within this hall, but if we were to say ‘Where is the hall?’ – can we say that it is in the northern wall, the eastern wall, the southern wall, the western wall? If it was, let’s say, in the eastern wall – if we then look towards that wall, we could say ‘this is the hall’ and there would be something there which everybody would perceive as ‘the hall’. But if we investigate then if we look at that wall, we find it is a composite of bricks and cement and wood and glass and so forth, there is nothing there screaming out ‘hall’ from its own side.

So through these kinds of reasonings, we can come to understand that the way phenomena exist is just as a mere verbal designation, or as a concept, a name which is applied by a conceptual mind or a thought. So it is in dependence upon these reasonings that we can start to pass through the gateway into the correct understanding of emptiness or the correct understanding of the ultimate nature of phenomena. But you have to understand that this is just the beginning – we are just introducing those initial reasonings, those initial contemplations as a means to inspire you to come to terms with, or try to understand, what is meant by ‘the object of negation’, and then through that to try to get into the understanding of the way that phenomena actually exist. Because if we were just to say – ‘Well, we can’t find a hall in this place, there is a hall but we can’t find it – I’ve realised emptiness!’ – then that would be something that is quite absurd because the realisation of emptiness is something extremely difficult. A reason for that is those past masters, for example, Dignaga, have set forth their various tenets, so we have the four tenets school system and so forth; so these are not idiots, these are individuals who knew what they were talking about. So this is just an introduction to the lines of reasoning which will eventually, if one pursues them, lead one to a correct understanding. It’s not as if I’ve said ‘this is emptiness and you’ve got to see this’, and now you’ve got it because I’ve just told you this and you have accepted this.

The union of the two realisations of dependent arising and emptiness
So then returning to the root text, it reads:
One who sees the infallible cause and effect
of all phenomena in Samsara and nirvana
and destroys all false perceptions
has entered the path that pleases the Buddha.

So here than when we talk about ‘seeing the infallible nature of cause and effect of all phenomena within Samsara and nirvana’ – ‘samsara’ then refers to the cycle of existence within which one is bound by the fetters of the destructive emotions and the actions, or karma, which is generated thereby; ‘nirvana’ here then refers to an individual who has destroyed the enemy of the gross destructive emotions but not perhaps the subtle imprints, and has achieved the lesser nirvana – we could also include within that category the various pure lands and so forth – so all of these experiences, all these places, come about through the infallible nature of cause and effect. ‘Cause and effect’ here then – when all the causes are gathered for a result it is very difficult to stop that result coming. So it is also possible to remove negative causes, that is to say, negative karmas, through the various practices which are set forth and then through that avert such a drastic event, but when all the causes and conditions are in place, then it is very difficult to avert such an effect.

So with regard to the cycle of existence, if one engages or encourages the play of the destructive emotions and the cause of Samsara, that is to say, the truth of origin, the truth of the cause of Samsara, it is very difficult to bring about an end to the cycle of existence. And with regard then to achieving the truth of final cessation – if one is an individual who is fully qualified in meditating upon the ultimate nature of phenomena, that is to say, the empty nature of phenomena, and then through that generates the truth of the path, then it will be very difficult to stop the truth of that – which is the truth of cessation. So then understanding the mode of the true nature of phenomena destroys all false perceptions. So here ‘false perceptions’ refers to grasping at objects as existing as something which they aren’t, and then through removing that, generating the wisdom which cognises that as something other, that is to say, as naturally empty of that false mode of existence. Then that individual is one who is said to have entered the path that pleases the Enlightened One, or the Buddha.

The next stanza reads:

Appearances are infallible dependent origination;
voidness is free of assertions.
As long as these two understandings are seen as separate,
one has not yet realised the intent of the Buddha.

So here then there are two understandings – first of all, that appearances (whatever appears to our five senses) are dependently originated, they have arisen in dependence upon something other than them; and then the voidness, or the empty nature, of that object. If they are seen as something lacking a single entity, that is to say, lacking a single unity, then one is perceiving them in a wrong fashion because these two (what is written here as) two ways of existing of phenomena are in actuality one entity. So then seeing them as other that is not the intent of the Buddha, so whilst one is seeing them in such a way one has not, as the text says, realised the intent of the Enlightened One.

The next stanza reads:

When these two realisations are simultaneous and concurrent,
from a mere sight of infallible dependent origination
comes certain knowledge that completely destroys all modes of mental grasping.
At that time, the analysis of the profound view is complete.

So here then when one has these two realisations of dependent arising and emptiness arising simultaneously within one’s mind – from just seeing the sight, as it is said here, of infallible dependent arising – through cognising the emptiness at the same time as that comes the ‘certain knowledge’ – ‘certain’ with regard to the actual mode of phenomena; and then through that understanding of the correct or the true way or natural way of existence comes the negation, or the removal, of the grasping onto autonomous existence; and then through this negation, one arrives at the state where the basis for the destructive emotions has been destroyed, so as the text says ‘ comes certain knowledge that completely destroys all modes of mental grasping’. So at that time then, one’s analysis of the profound view, that is to say, the view of emptiness is complete.

So the next stanza reads:

Appearances clear away the extreme of existence;
voidness clears away the extreme of non-existence.
When you understand the arising of cause and effect from the viewpoint of voidness,
you are not captivated by either extreme view.

So here then it’s a rather unique presentation because if we look below the Prasangika Madhyamika philosophical school we find that the majority of the other schools use appearances to prove existence, but here we are clearing away that very notion of existence by appearance. The reasoning set forth here is that if something appears to our senses, or to our consciousness, at the moment that appears, we understand that object in a causal way, that is to say, it appears as an object because there is an object possessor, it appears in a certain way because of certain causes and conditions. So we are seeing that object as an object which is lacking any kind of autonomous existence. Thus just through the object appearing to our mind, any notion of the object existing in and of itself becomes, as the text reads, cleared away, or removed.

Then ‘voidness clears away the extreme of non-existence’ – so here then ‘voidness clearing away the extreme of non-existence’ – what is meant by that is in order for us to talk about the emptiness of something, that ‘something’ has to exist as the basis of our discussion, or analysis. So for example, if we use the example of a sprout – and a sprout being empty of inherent existence – the basis upon which we are going to prove, or set forth, emptiness is the sprout, and it is negating a false perception of that sprout, and through that, we negate that false perception. We cannot talk about the emptiness of a non-existent phenomena, for example saying the emptiness of the horn of a rabbit, or the emptiness of the child of a barren woman, because for that we don’t have any basis on which to prove emptiness. If there is no basis upon which to prove the lack of or the emptiness of a false perception then we cannot possibly prove that. So then the text reads ‘when you understand the arising of cause and effect from the viewpoint of voidness’ (that is to say when you understand these two simultaneously) ‘you are not captivated by either view.’ ‘Either view’ here then referring to the extremes of permanence or annihilation – ‘permanence’ referring to the ignorance or confusion which grasps at true or autonomous existence, or in simpler terms grasps on to the object which we are trying to negate; and then the extreme of ‘annihilation’ – which has cut away too much, too much so that there is no ability for the workings of cause and effect and so forth.

Encouragement to practice
The final stanza of the root text reads:
Son, when you realise the keys of the principles of the path,
depend on solitude and strong effort and quickly reach the final goal.

So this is an exhortation to engage in the practice of these three important parts of spiritual practice through depending upon living in a quiet – or living in solitude and then exerting great effort with the practice of these three important points. ‘Quickly reaching the final goal’ refers to achieving the various states of nirvana. And then we see in the last line in Tibetan (but it is the first line in English) – ‘Son, when you realise the keys’ – ‘Son’ here then is a term which refers to Ngawang Drakpa, who was a disciple of Lama Tsongkhapa, the author of this text, and because he was such a close disciple, Lama Tsongkhapa referred to him as being like his child.

DEDICATING MERIT

So then we come to the conclusion of our time together. I have offered you this abbreviated commentary on The Three Principal Aspects of the Path and you have listened to this, so all of us have gathered some positive potential or merit, and now it is extremely important to dedicate this merit. So what should be the object towards which we are dedicating this merit? So nowadays in the world, there are a lot of problems, we are living in a very degenerate time, so it would be good if we could direct our positive potential towards the well-being of all other sentient beings, to the joy and bliss of others.

And with regard to the Buddhadharma – which Shantideva mentions in The Bodhicaryavatara is like the cool nectar which quells the heat of the sufferings of sentient beings – then for this holy Dharma to spread in the ten directions. And in order for the Dharma to spread in the ten directions depends upon those who are renowned as the upkeepers of the Dharma, so then we should pray for the long life of such luminaries as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the person who is in charge of all the FPMT centres, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, we should pray for his long life and also that all his exalted wishes, especially the building of the huge Maitreya statue, be accomplished quickly, because as you may know, Rinpoche has a lot of obstacles with the building of the statue, so it would be excellent if we could dedicate our positive potential towards fulfilling Rinpoche’s wishes. So then, in essence, dedicating the merit towards the spreading of the Dharma and then in addition to that to the benefit and the bliss of all sentient beings. So it’s not that we recite a prayer and then instantly everything becomes fine, but rather it may help if we dedicate our positive potential in such directions, so it’s an excellent practice if we do that. And as I mentioned earlier, the dedication of merit is extremely important because, without it, there is every chance that we could fall into some state of negative emotion and then through that, destroy our roots of virtue. So it’s important then to continually make these roots of virtue and merit and then to continually strive to recognise and then abandon negative states of mind.

Denma Locho Rinpoche 5.

When you have peace of mind, it’s easier to cope with problems. Real change will come about not as a result of prayer, but of using intelligence and taking action.

— His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama 207.

重走成佛之路
净慧长老

[吴明山:今天在这里的,大部分都是在这里打坐的。有些是天天来,有些是经常来,有一些是隔三岔五来,也有偶尔来的人。大家在这里打坐这么长的时间,今天有机会听听老和尚关于打坐的开示,对大家应该是很有效的指导。我虽然经常在这里打坐只是坐而已,一直没有办法来指导大家。今天请老和尚过来,希望大家能够学习到打坐方面更深入的一些方法。好!现在我们请老和尚开示。]

明天就是佛成道的纪念日。今天是初七,明天初八。一般的寺院,在今天晚上都有一个祝圣普佛。我也是在真际禅林普佛结束后才赶到这边来。我们打坐的一件最重要的事情,就是释迦牟尼佛在菩提树下夜睹明星,大彻大悟,他给我们传递了这样一个信息:人生还有这样一件非常奇妙的事情。这个信息是从释迦牟尼佛在两千五百多年以前的明天凌晨传出来的。这就是我们今天在这里打坐的意义。

释迦牟尼佛说,他走的是一条古仙人之路。也就是说,释迦牟尼佛所传递的这个信息,过去所有的佛祖都曾经经历过这件事,释迦牟尼佛他又重新经历过一次。释迦牟尼佛不是在创造真理,他是发现也真理,他把他发现真理的过程告诉我们,这就是他所说的经典,所谓三藏十二部。三藏十二部就是解决这个问题。就是说他如何发现真理的过程。并且告诉我们,只要亲身经历释迦牟尼佛所修行的过程,我们大家都有发现真理的机会,都有发现真理的可能性。这个意思,就是我们经常讲的人人都有佛性,人人皆可成佛。我想我们各位在这里打坐,大多数人都明白这件事,是想来走释迦牟尼佛走过的这条路,追随释迦牟尼佛的足迹,追随历代祖师的足迹,重走成佛之路。所以非常有意义。

这是人生的一件最重要的事情。官可以不做,财可以不发,这件事情不能不做。为什么这么说呢?释迦牟尼佛是王子啊。他十九出家,如果他不成家的话,很快就会成为一位国王。他觉得,成为国王能够治理国家,照顾人民,固然很重要,比起发现真理,那还是微不足道的事情。所以他放弃了王位,放弃了万贯家财,放弃了骄妻美妾,放弃了人间的一切享受,毅然决然地,带着五个仆人朝着深山老林走去。那意味着什么呢?意味着人生最重要的一件事,是通过修行来克服自己的各种不正当的欲望,完成一件最大的使命,就是要来发现真理,用真理的光芒照破人间的黑暗。人间的黑暗是什么呢?就是烦恼。由烦恼所产生的种种不如理、不如法、违背真理、违背良心的事情,那就是黑暗。我们中国人常讲“无法无天”,无法就无天,无法无天就意味着黑暗。

释迦牟尼佛给我们做出了这样一个榜样,我们在追随释迦牟尼,做释迦牟尼佛的弟子、学生,照碰上释迦牟尼佛走过的路,我们再重走一遍。不过这条路,有的人走一辈子还是没有机会发现真理;有的人走了一半就回头了,觉得这条路太艰苦太遥远。

佛教传到中国以后,中国是一个文明古国,中国的文化和印度的文化有相同之处同,但昌中国的文化很简洁,不像印度的文化很繁琐。你看佛经上的话翻来覆去讲,翻来覆去讲,中国话没有这个,它很简洁。很简洁意味着什么呢?意味着它少走许多弯路,一语道破。佛教这种悟的精神,与中华文明接触以后,就产生了顿悟的禅、祖师的禅。虽然像顿悟这种思想理念在佛经上老早就透露了,不过从真正修行来讲,禅宗所传承下来的禅法,在世界佛教史上,中国禅宗的禅是独一无二的。在佛经上也有讲到“见到如破石”,见道就像锤子把石头砸开一样,“一破两开”,没有任何牵连,那也是顿的意思。“断破如断藕,藕断丝连。”断惑很困难,见道不困难。也就是说,顿悟的理念在佛经上到处可以呈现出来,只不过佛教传到中国以后,这种顿悟的精神集中体现出来的,就是达摩所传的祖师禅。达摩所传的祖师禅一直传承到现在,就是“直指人心,见性成佛”的法门。顿超,顿悟。顿悟了以后,再根据悟的要求,把应该断掉的习气,都要逐步断掉,使所行与所悟保持一致,使所言与所行保持一致,使理论与实践保持一致。这就是修和悟的关系。

我们究竟怎样才能进入这样的境界呢?有各种各样的方法。大家可能也会找一些方法进入这种顿悟的境界,顿见真理的境界。这些方法,在诸方的禅宗寺院,现在都是叫我们参“念佛的是谁”,这叫参话头。参这个放着的目的,就是要让我们的怎么样能够起来,把我们的心念集中在同一个对象上。这个对象在佛经上是叫做“境”,环境的境。能够一心不乱的我们的心念集中在同一个境上,就会产生禅定。这种境界,在禅定书上的表述是叫做“一心”,念佛法门把它叫做“一心不乱”。一心不乱了,就可以产生禅定。一心不乱本身就是禅定。由一心不乱而开智慧。

我们世间人在工作也讲究要集中精力,搞好工作。集中精力就是要做到一心。只有集中精力才可以认真地思考一个问题,才能深入思考一个问题,使思想不岔开,对于某一问题的思考会周密,会严谨,会深入。这在禅定术语上是叫心一境性。

为了使现代人能够理解这个意思,为了使禅修的方法能够与现代的生活结合起来,所以我提出了修禅的四个阶段。我在2006年四祖寺的禅文化夏令营上面曾经说到这四个阶段,也就是在2006年第6期的正觉杂志上的我的那篇讲稿。

这四个阶段,第一个阶段就是,我们人坐在这里了,心坐在这里没有?人坐在这里了,心要安住当下,身心保持一致。各位做到了没有?大部分时间可能能够做到,但也有思想开差的时候。思想开差的时候就是思想离开了这个座位,回到家里去了,回到街上去了,回到饭馆去了,跑到这一杯茶上去了,不是安住在当下。身体安住在当下,心也安住在当下,这是第一步的功夫。

要使身心保持一致,都能安住在当下,大概要多少时间呢?专门来做这件事,最少要三个月。像这么断断续续地坐,偶尔来一次,隔三岔五来一次,那大概要三年,而且还得不间断才行。时时刻刻想到这件事,时时刻刻在做这件事,三年不间断,大概能做到使身心保持一致。身在哪里,心就在哪里。这就是安住当下。

所谓的当下,说安住的时候已经走了,心念不会停止下来。不会停止下来怎么办呢?就念念安住当下,这样就能够把功夫稳定下来,就能使身心保持一致。这是一个诀窍。在这一个阶段,可以注意三点。怎么样才能安住当下呢?首先要专注。专注一个念头。参话头,专注;念阿弥陀佛,专注;持咒,专注。始终盯住那个话头,不要改变。

其次就要清明。专注以后,往往心就沉下来了。沉下来了就容易昏沉。这个时候我们内心要保持一种清净光明。清净者没有妄想,光明者没有黑暗。心里不是一片漆黑,而是有光明。就好象一面镜子没有尘垢一样。心地光明,心光朗照。这也是一种修境界,只有到那个地方才能够有体会。

第三点要注意的是,专注和清明都要不间断,绵密。绵绵密密,像小溪的流水一样是不断的。专注要绵密,清明要绵密。

安住当下要注意这三个要点。把这三个要点掌握了,你有一个具体的法门,安住当下就有可能性。这是讲第一个阶段。

第二个阶段叫守一不移。这是指你所用的方法。你不要今天念阿弥陀佛念几句,明天嗡嘛呢叭弥吽念几句,后天阿弥陀佛念几句。那就很难做到心一境性。一定要守住一个法门不要改变,一直到有一个彻底的突破为止。守一不移,这个方法和心一境性是同一个意思。这是印度在释迦牟尼佛以前所有修道的人使用的一个方法,也是中国在佛教没有传入以前所有修心养性的人使用的方法。道教叫抱一。这个“一”字非常重要。当然佛教后来就不是用这个“一”。方法上用“一”,境界上不用。到了境界上,佛教是用“无”来表现。因为有“一”,往往还有“二”。不过在过程中,这个方法很重要。守一不移首先是一个过程,在过程中运用这个方法是绝对有效的。这是第二个境界。

第三个境界。守一不移以后,守一不移成为一个铜墙铁壁了,针插不进,水泼不入,这个时候就是前是=念不起,后念不生,中间一片空寂,这个时候就叫做一念不生。这是第三个阶段。一念不生不是偶尔的。不是一分钟两分钟,不是一天两天,而是长期都是这个样。我相信你们有许多人接触过祖师语录。有许多祖师说他十年二十年行不知行,坐不知坐,吃饭不知是吃饭,腿子也不知道疼。那就是一念不生。就是没有任何的思维来干扰这一片清净的心,光明的心,历历孤明的心。

如果这个阶段保持一个相当长的时间,机缘成熟,或者是在佛言祖语的启发下,或者是在明眼善知识的激励下,就有可能把桶底打破。那个阶段是什么呢?就是灵光独耀。见到光明,而且整个身心就是一大光明藏当中。也不是说一分钟一秒钟的事情,而是长期地能够保持那种光明朗照的境界。而那种光明朗照,不是你自己心里想象的。而是实实在在这个光明就是彻天彻地。当然这个光明只有他自己感受得到。这是不共法,这是自受用,不是他受用。

灵光独耀,是百丈禅师描述的开悟当下的那种境界。我们的心识到这个时候完全净化了,转变了,就成为智慧了,所谓转识成智。灵光独耀就是转第八识成大圆镜智,转第八识成大圆镜智那是灵光独耀,那就是见法身。根与尘脱节了,根不染尘。脱节了并不是说手不接触任何事物,身体不坐凳子。他还是坐,还是接触,只是不分别。根尘迥脱了,完全没有分别心了,一切都是现量境。“灵光独耀,迥脱根尘。体露真常,不拘文字。” 语言表述不出来。如人饮水,冷暖自知。“心性无染,本自圆成。但离妄缘,即如如佛。”到了这样的境界了,只要保任就行了。好好的保任,保任这一片灵光,保任根尘相脱这种受用、这种现量境,就与自己本具的佛性没有一丝一毫的隔阂,彻底打破一切障碍。这个时候好好修。这个时候修,那就是事半功倍。

人生这种悟的追求,是人生最大的追求,最重要的一件事。把这个问题解决了,你可以去发大财,你可以去做大官。唐宋时期有许多大官解决了这个问题。那个时候大禅师、大善知识多,看着他们跟这些大禅师、大善知识的交往,那可真是了不起啊。就是到了宋元时期,这样的人还不少。我们也不可以说现在就没有这样的人。现在还有。宋元时期有一个耶律楚材,就是在我们北京,元朝的时候也做大官。他就是在万松行秀的指导下亲见本来的一个人。他后来就做了元朝的开国宰相,他有一本书叫做《湛然居士全集》。

各位能够有这个因缘、有这个信心来参加禅坐,非常好。不过每天光在这里坐两个小时还不够,在家里也要坚持坐。只有把这件事当成是最大的一件事情来做,才能够真正有成效。今天我在真际禅林,这次禅修活动最后的一次开示中讲到,要建设我们家庭的道场,家庭就是道场。因为《维摩经》上面讲,什么是道场啊?诸烦恼就是道场。没有烦恼也不需要道场,有烦恼才要道场。在烦恼中作道场,把烦恼当作道场,那才是功夫。烦恼是什么呢?烦恼就是我们的生活,我们的生活就是烦恼。没有转化,它就是烦恼。转化了是什么呢?转化了就是佛事。家庭是道场,生活作佛事。我们怎么样用禅的思想、禅的理念,来转化烦恼,使家庭变成道场?这要一步步地去做。光说没有用。

今天有机会和各位来沟通交流。就作以上这一点点的贡献、供养。

问:师父,我想请问一个问题。就是我们怎么样在生活中对待别人对自己无礼,或者看我看不惯的事情?有一些人,比如说医院里的病人、监狱里的犯人、网吧里那些网虫,有些人是不错,但是有些可不能惹,他骂你,他吼你。对这样一个人群,对这样一个人群,我们应该持什么样的一个态度?

答:包容。因为他是说他的,你不要去和他联系上嘛。你何必去和他联系上呢?干嘛呢?你要修无我观。你不要以为他就是在骂你嘛,你何必去理他这件事呢?一切的烦恼不理自退。还是我们在分别!我要知道啊,住在医院里的人,泡网吧的人他也要骂人,社会上有许多没有工作的人,下岗的人,没有职业的人,他要骂人。你要晓得他有现实的问题。不要说治病难吗?住在医院里你以为他舒服啊?医院虽然说是在治病救人,是不是也会发生以治病为名、以宰人为实的事情呢?他不骂,他心里过不去。他没有饭吃,你们可以每个月有工资拿,他没有工资拿,他心里有牢骚。泡网吧的人,他心里往往也是想一种自我沉醉的办法来麻痹自己,他也不一定想去过那种生活。一定要理解这些人。然后我们就要努力工作,为社会和谐多作贡献,为社会发展多作贡献,创造更多的财富解决所有人衣食住行的困难。要理解,就晓得:哎呀!这些声音很重要啊,这些声音就是催促我们好好发心做好每一件事。他是在对你提出要求,他是在对你呼吁,希望你能够帮助他,希望你能够理解他。你千万不要和他这个样(手势:拳头对拳头),不要对立;要这个样(手势:左掌抱住右手的拳头),包容他。这是一个很现实的问题。我们一定要理解那些拿不到工资的人,一定要理解那些躺在病床上求生不得、求死不能、求钱没有的人。要理解这些人啊。我是一个很穷苦的人出生的,所以我对穷人很理解。

Ven Jing Hui 净慧法师 22.

So, samsara is very insecure and we are trapped in it. Not just this lifetime, but lifetime after lifetime after lifetime after lifetime. Why? — because we are enchanted. We are fascinated. We don’t want to let go: We want to be enlightened. We want to have bliss and peace and be full of loving kindness. But we don’t want to let go of anything. We want everything and everything. But it doesn’t work like that.

— Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

Tenzin Palmo 13.

The Religion of the Future
by Anam Thubten Rinpoche

A recent report by the Washington, DC-based Pew Research Centre projects that some of the world’s major religions are going to expand, with the notable exception of Buddhism, whose following is forecast to decline over the next few decades. You might find it confusing, then, that I’m going to name Buddhism the religion of the future when the Pew Research Centre is predicting its decline.

Ultimately, there is not a single facet of Buddhist wisdom that science can disprove, from the notion of reincarnation to emptiness. Reincarnation, as understood in Buddhism, is quite different from that described by Hinduism. The Buddha taught that a personal self is nonexistent and that what migrates from life to life is pure consciousness. Since nothing goes completely extinct in the universe — it only changes form — our consciousness will continue to exist. In my understanding, there is no true science that can disprove the Buddhist theory of reincarnation. The truth is that most Buddhists don’t understand the true meaning of reincarnation taught by the Buddha; their understanding is unconsciously based on the transmigration of some kind of autonomous personal self. Modern neuroscience has also come to the conclusion that there is no personal self, which corresponds with the very fulcrum of Buddhist doctrine; no-self (Skt: anatman).

Buddhism has an astonishingly rich repertoire of teachings and practices for developing love and compassion toward all beings that can be applied universally, across time and cultures. Mindfulness is now fully embraced by people from all walks of life. Today, you will see schoolteachers, politicians, movie stars, police officers, and soldiers practising mindfulness, even in the Western world, thanks to the tireless work of extraordinary teachers such as Jack Kornfield and many others. Its benefit has been validated by scientific trial, which is helping to make mindfulness more popular every day. Even some Christians and Hindus have embraced its universal appeal and undeniable power.

Other religions are predicted to grow, mainly in developing countries where education and economic development are assumed to lag behind for the foreseeable future. These cultures are not only holding onto their traditions firmly, they are also bearing more children for personal security, creating a new generation who will carry on their traditions and culture. As society becomes prosperous and educated, its citizens generally become more scientific and secular. Contrary to the above Pew forecast, let’s say there is a possibility that the majority of the world is eventually going to enter the club of “developed nations,” and will become increasingly modernised. Then, Buddhism can have a unique mission to serve the spiritual needs of many who might not relate to theistic traditions. That might be why Albert Einstein stated that Buddhism is the only religion that is compatible with modern science. I’m not saying that we should change Buddhism to fit modern science — such efforts can be dangerous and may dilute its depth. Instead, it’s a call to recognise that it is already intrinsically scientific. Nor am I trying to create a new marriage between modern science and Buddhism by promoting pseudo-science, such as the theory of intelligent design, a concept invented by some theists with a specific intention.

Asian Buddhist monastics and teachers must awaken to this fact. Not only should they be focusing on meditation practice for themselves, they also should be teaching meditation practice to the lay community, such as the four foundations of mindfulness. They should teach the basic Buddhist doctrine of the Four Noble Truths to the general public in contemporary language so that laypeople can gain wisdom about the human condition and deal with their own life’s challenges wisely. They should conduct meditation retreats in various environments and welcome everyone, regardless of their background, education, or economic status. Asia now has a large enough educated population who can understand the subtleties of the Buddha’s teachings and who will have the willingness to meditate rather than wanting to visit a temple to burn incense and pray for money and success.

S. N. Goenka is such an inspirational figure for all of us in this area. After studying mindfulness in Myanmar he moved to India to share what he had learned. Today there are hundreds of his Vipassana centres where everyone is welcome. While alive, he conducted a 10-day Vipassana retreat at jails and prisons with amazing results. As long as we focus on meditation practice and interpreting Buddhism in contemporary language, it might continue to grow in the world as a force for peace, happiness, and wisdom. With these merits, it possesses appeal for educated populations.

It’s also good to look at why Buddhism is dying out in Japan and Korea. Once upon a time, these countries were veritable Dharma kingdoms. Buddhism underwent a heyday on the Korean Peninsula during the Silla dynasty (57 BCE–935 CE). Now, few young Koreans have any interest in practising Buddhism; they are perhaps more interested in learning English or K-pop lyrics. Japan is also becoming increasingly secular and Buddhism there is rapidly dying. The cause of this development might be traced to the Meiji era (1868–1912) when the country tilted toward full-blown modernisation. As I mentioned earlier, my solution for such a disconcerting situation might lay in two points: first, spreading the meditation movement into mainstream society and teaching the Dharma using contemporary language to meet the needs of people of our time. Many people these days are drawn toward Buddhist meditation because they can see the benefits right away and become free from the baggage of superstition.

From my visits to countries in Asia, I can clearly see that many laypeople are visiting temples, inviting monks into their homes to perform ceremonies, and attending big Buddhist conventions to receive blessings, yet we rarely see anyone practising meditation or contemplating the true teachings of the Buddha. If this trend continues, who knows what the future holds for this great tradition that we all love.

The world is changing with digital technology and unsurpassed access to information — knowledge that will also alter the consciousness of the collective. What people want this year may not be what they want next year. In the West, the traditional Judeo-Christian religions are dissolving so rapidly that many European nations are secular in almost every aspect. A secular society without spirituality can come with many problems, such as a lack of introspection, compassion, sympathy, and altruism. It’s time for Buddhist leaders to rethink how we’re going to maintain this extraordinary Buddhadharma to serve humanity’s well being.

Anam Thubten 5.

We can bind ourselves further in samsara or we can free ourselves from it right now. It is all up to us. We are the ones who have to keep looking at our thoughts, looking for the nature of our mind.

— 7th Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

Ponlop Rinpoche 65.

血脉论
达摩祖师

原人之心,皆具佛性。泛观诸家禅说一切经文,原其至当之理,未有不言自己性中本来真佛。达磨西来,直指人心,见性成佛;盖谓自己真佛,不出一性之中。人人不自委信,所以向外驰求。将谓自性真佛外更有别佛,故诸佛诸祖师说法要人省悟自己本来真佛,不假外求。又缘种种法语泛滥不一,转使学人惑乱本性,无悟入处。惟有达磨血脉论,并黄檗传心法要二说,最为至论。可以即证自己佛性,使人易晓。比之求师访道,钻寻故纸,坐禅行脚,狂费工夫,相去万倍,此非小补。绍兴癸酉见独老人任哲序。

达摩血脉论
渝州华严寺沙门释宗镜 校刻

三界混起,同归一心,前佛后佛,以心传心,不立文字。问曰:‘若不立文字,以何为心?’答曰:‘汝问吾即是汝心,吾答汝即是吾心。吾若无心因何解答汝?汝若无心因何解问吾?问吾即是汝心,从无始旷大劫以来,乃至施为运动一切时中,一切处所,皆是汝本心,皆是汝本佛。即心是佛,亦复如是。除此心外终无别佛可得;离此心外觅菩提涅槃无有是处。自性真实非因果。法即是心义,自心是涅槃。若言心外有佛及菩提可得,无有是处。佛及菩提皆在何处?譬如有人以手提虚空得否?虚空但有名,亦无相貌;取不得、舍不得,是捉空不得。除此心外,见佛终不得也。佛是自心作得,因何离此心外觅佛?前佛后佛只言其心,心即是佛,佛即是心;心外无佛,佛外无心。若言心外有佛,佛在何处?心外既无佛,何起佛见?递相诳惑,不能了本心,被它无情物摄,无自由。若也不信,自诳无益。佛无过患,众生颠倒,不觉不知自心是佛。若知自心是佛,不应心外觅佛。佛不度佛,将心觅佛不识佛。但是外觅佛者,尽是不识自心是佛。亦不得将佛礼佛,不得将心念佛。佛不诵经,佛不持戒,佛不犯戒、佛无持犯,亦不造善恶。若欲觅佛,须是见性,见性即是佛。若不见性,念佛诵经持斋持戒亦无益处。念佛得因果,诵经得聪明,持戒得生天,布施得福报,觅佛终不得也。若自己不明了,须参善知识,了却生死根本。若不见性,即不名善知识。若不如此纵说得十二部经,亦不免生死轮回,三界受苦,无出期时。昔有善星比丘,诵得十二部经,犹自不免轮回,缘为不见性。善星既如此,今时人讲得三五本经论以为佛法者,愚人也。若不识得自心,诵得闲文书,都无用处。若要觅佛,直须见性。性即是佛,佛即是自在人,无事无作人。若不见性,终日茫茫,向外驰求,觅佛元来不得。虽无一物可得,若求会亦须参善知识,切须苦求,令心会解。生死事大,不得空过,自诳无益。纵有珍馐如山,眷属如恒河沙开眼即见,合眼还见么?故知有为之法,如梦幻等。若不急寻师,空过一生。然即佛性自有,若不因师,终不明了。不因师悟者,万中希有。若自己以缘会合,得圣人意,即不用参善知识。此即是生而知之,胜学也。若未悟解,须勤苦参学,因教方得悟。若未悟了,不学亦得。不同迷人,不能分别皂白,妄言宣佛敕,谤佛忌法。如斯等类,说法如雨,尽是魔说,即非佛说。师是魔王,弟子是魔民,迷人任它指挥,不觉堕生死海。但是不见性人,妄称是佛。此等众生,是大罪人,诳它一切众生,令入魔界。若不见性,说得十二部经教,尽是魔说。魔家眷属,不是佛家弟子。既不辨皂白,凭何免生死。若见性即是佛,不见性即是众生。若离众生性,别有佛性可得者,佛今在何处?即众生性,即是佛性也。性外无佛,佛即是性;除此性外,无佛可得,佛外无性可得。’问曰:‘若不见性,念佛诵经布施持戒精进,广兴福利,得成佛否?’答曰:‘不得。’又问:‘因何不得?’答曰:‘有少法可得,是有为法,是因果、是受报、是轮回法,不免生死,何时得成佛道。成佛须是见性。若不见性,因果等语,是外道法。若是佛不习外道法。佛是无业人,无因果,但有少法可得,尽是谤佛,凭何得成。但有住著一心一能一解一见,佛都不许。佛无持犯,心性本空,亦非垢净。诸法无修无证,无因无果。佛不持戒,佛不修善,佛不造恶,佛不精进,佛不懈怠,佛是无作人。但有住著心,见佛即不许也。佛不是佛,莫作佛解。若不见此义,一切时中,一切处处,皆是不了本心。若不见性,一切时中拟作无作想,是大罪人,是痴人,落无记空中;昏昏如醉人,不辨好恶。若拟修无作法,先须见性,然后息缘虑。若不见性得成佛道,无有是处。有人拨无因果,炽然作恶业,妄言本空,作恶无过;如此之,堕无间黑暗地狱,永无出期。若是智人,不应作如是解。’

问曰:‘既若施为运动,一切时中皆是本心;色身无常之时,云何不见本心?’答曰:‘本心常现前,汝自不见?’

间曰:‘心既见在,何故不见?’师曰:‘汝曾作梦否?’

答:‘曾作梦。’

问曰:‘汝作梦之时,是汝本身否?’

答:‘是本身。’ 

又问:‘汝言语施为运动与汝别不别?’

答曰:‘不别。’ 

师曰:‘既若不别,即此身是汝本法身;即此法身是汝本心。’此心从无始旷大劫来,与如今不别;未曾有生死,不生不灭。不增不减,不垢不净,不好不恶,不来不去;亦无是非、亦无男女相、亦无僧俗老少、无圣无凡;亦无佛、亦无众生、亦无修证、亦无因果、亦无筋力、亦无相貌;犹如虚空,取不得、舍不得,山河石壁不能为碍;出没往来,自在神通;透五蕴山,渡生死河;一切业拘此法身不得。此心微妙难见,此心不同色心,此心是人皆欲得见。于此光明中运手动足者,如恒河沙,及乎问著,总道不得,犹如木人相似,总是自己受用,因何不识?佛言一切众生,尽是迷人,因此作业,堕生死河,欲出还没,只为不见性。众生若不迷,因何问著其中事,无有一人得会者,自家运手动足因何不识。故知圣人语不错,迷人自不会晓。故知此难明,惟佛一人能会此法;余人天及众生等,尽不明了。若智慧明了,此心号名法性,亦名解脱。生死不拘,一切法拘它不得,是名大自在王如来;亦名不思议,亦名圣体,亦名长生不死,亦名大仙。名虽不同,体即是一。圣人种种分别,皆不离自心。心量广大,应用无穷,应眼见色,应耳闻声,应鼻嗅香,应舌知味,乃至施为运动,皆是自心。一切时中但有语言道断,即是自心。故云如来色无尽,智慧亦复然。色无尽是自心,心识善能分别一切,乃至施为运用,皆是智慧。心无形相,智慧亦无尽。故云如来色无尽,智慧亦复然。四大色身,即是烦恼,色身即有生灭,法身常住无所住,如来法身常不变异故。经云:众生应知,佛性本自有之。迦叶只是悟得本性,本性即是心,心即是性,性即此同诸佛心。前佛后佛只传心,除此心外,无佛可得。颠倒众生不知自心是佛,向外驰求,终日忙忙;念佛礼佛,佛在何处?不应作如是等见,但知自心,心外更无别佛。经云:凡所有相,皆是虚妄。又云:所在之处,即为有佛。自心是佛,不应将佛礼佛;但是有佛及菩萨相貌,忽尔见前,切不用礼敬。我心空寂,本无如是相貌,若取相即是魔,尽落邪道。若是幻从心起,即不用礼。礼者不知,知者不礼,礼被魔摄。恐学人不知,故作是辨。诸佛如来本性体上,都无如是相貌,切须在意。但有异境界切不用采括,亦莫生怕怖,不要疑惑,我心本来清净,何处有如许相貌。乃至天龙夜叉鬼神帝释梵王等相,亦不用心生敬重,亦莫怕惧;我心本来空寂,一切相貌皆是妄见,但莫取相。若起佛见法见,及佛菩萨等相貌,而生敬重,自堕众生位中。若欲直会,但莫取一切相即得,更无别语。故经云:凡所有相,皆是虚妄。都无定实,幻无定相。是无常法,但不取相,合它圣意。故经云:离一切相,即名诸佛。

问曰:因何不得礼佛菩萨等?

答曰:天魔波旬阿修罗示见神通,皆作得菩萨相貌。种种变化,是外道,总不是佛。佛是自心,莫错礼拜。佛是西国语,此土云觉性。觉者灵觉,应机接物,扬眉瞬目,运手动足,皆是自己灵觉之性。性即是心,心即是佛,佛即是道,道即是禅。禅之一字,非凡圣所测。又云:见本性为禅。若不见本性,即非禅也。假使说得千经万论,若不见本性,只是凡夫,非是佛法。至道幽深,不可话会,典教凭何所及。但见本性,一字不识亦得。见性即是佛,圣体本来清净,无有杂秽。所有言说,皆是圣人从心起用。用体本来空,名言犹不及,十二部经凭何得及。道本圆成,不用修证。道非声色,微妙难见。如人饮水,冷暖自知,不可向人说也。唯有如来能知,余人天等类,都不觉知。凡夫智不及,所以有执相。不了自心本来空寂,妄执相及一切法即堕外道。若知诸法从心生,不应有执,执即不知。若见本性,十二部经总是闲文字。千经万论只是明心,言下契会,教将何用?至理绝言;教是语词,实不是道。道本无言,言说是妄。若夜梦见楼阁宫殿象马之属,及树木丛林池亭如是等相;不得起一念乐著,尽是托生之处,切须在意。临终之时,不得取相,即得除障。疑心瞥起,即魔摄。法身本来清净无受,只缘迷故,不觉不知,因兹故妄受报。所以有乐著,不得自在。只今若悟得本来身心,即不染习。若从圣入凡,示见种种杂类,自为众生,故圣人逆顺皆得自在,一切业拘它不得。圣成久有大威德,一切品类业,被它圣人转,天堂地狱无奈何它。凡夫神识昏昧,不同圣人,内外明彻。若有疑即不作,作即流浪生死,后悔无相救处。贫穷困苦皆从妄想生,若了是心,递相劝勉,但无作而作,即入如来知见。初发心人,神识总不定;若梦中频见异境,辄不用疑,皆是自心起故,不从外来。梦若见光明出现,过于日轮,即余习顿尽,法界性见。若有此事,即是成道之因。唯自知,不可向人说。或静园林中行住坐卧,眼见光明,或大或小,莫与人说,亦不得取,亦是自性光明。或夜静暗中行住坐卧,眼睹光明,与昼无异,不得怪,并是自心欲明显。或夜梦中见星月分明,亦自心诸缘欲息,亦不得向人说。梦若昏昏,犹如阴暗中行,亦是自心烦恼障重,亦自知。若见本性不用读经念佛,广学多知无益,神识转昏。设教只为标心;若识心,何用看教?若从凡入圣,即须息业养神,随分过日。若多嗔恚,令性转与道相违,自赚无益。圣人于生死中,自在出没,隐显不定,一切业拘它不得。圣人破邪魔,一切众生但见本性,余习顿灭。神识不昧,须是直下便会,只在如今。欲真会道,莫执一切法;息业养神,余习亦尽。自然明白,不假用功。外道不会佛意,用功最多;违背圣意,终日驱驱念佛转经,昏于神性,不免轮回,佛是闲人,何用驱驱广求名利,后时何用?但不见性人,读经念佛,长学精进;六时行道,长坐不卧;广学多闻,以为佛法。此等众生,尽是谤佛法人。前佛后佛,只言见性。诸行无常,若不见性,妄言我得阿耨菩提,此是大罪人。十大弟子阿难多闻中得第一,于佛无识只学多闻,二乘外道皆无识佛,识数修证,堕在因果中。是众生业报,不免生死,远背佛意,即是谤佛众生,杀欲无罪过。经云:阐提人不生信心,杀欲无罪过。若有信心,此人是佛位人。若不见性,即不用取次谤它良善,自赚无益。善恶历然,因果分明。天堂地狱只在眼前,愚人不信,现堕黑暗地狱中;亦不觉不知,只缘业重故,所以不信。譬如无目人,不信道有光明,纵向伊说亦不信,只缘盲故,凭何辨得日光;愚人亦复如是。现今堕畜生杂类,诞在贫穷下贱,求生不得,求死不得。虽受是苦,直问著亦言我今快乐,不异天堂。故知一切众生,生处为乐,亦不觉不知。如斯恶人,只缘业障重故,所以不能发信心者,不自由它也。若见自心是佛,不在剃除须发,白衣亦是佛。若不见性,剃除须发,亦是外道。

问曰:白衣有妻子,淫欲不除,凭何得成佛?

答曰:只言见性不言淫欲。只为不见性;但得见性,淫欲本来空寂,自尔断除,亦不乐著,纵有余习,不能为害。何以故?性本清净故。虽处在五蕴色身中,其性本来清净,染污不得。法身本来无受,无饥渴,无寒热,无病,无恩爱,无眷属,无苦乐,无好恶,无短长,无强弱,本来无有一物可得,只缘执有此色身,因即有饥渴寒热瘴病等相,若不执,即一任作。若于生死中得自在,转一切法,与圣人神通自在无碍,无处不安。若心有疑,决定透一切境界不过。不作最好,作了不免轮回生死。若见性,旃陀罗亦得成佛。

问曰:旃陀罗杀生作业,如何得成佛?

答曰:只言见性不言作业。纵作业不同,一切业拘不得。从无始旷大劫来,只为不见性,堕地狱中,所以作业轮回生死。从悟得本性,终不作业。若不见性,念佛免报不得,非论杀生命。若见性疑心顿除,杀生命亦不奈它何。自西天二十七祖,只是递传心印。吾今来此土,唯传顿教大乘,即心是佛,不言持戒精进苦行。乃至入水火,登于剑轮,一食长坐不卧,尽是外有为法。若识得施为运动灵觉之性,汝即诸佛心。前佛后佛只言传心,更无别法。若识此法,凡夫一字不识亦是佛。若不识自己灵觉之性,假使身破如微尘,觅佛终不得也。佛者亦名法身,亦名本心,此心无形相,无因果,无筋骨,犹如虚空,取不得。不同质碍,不同外道。此心除如来一人能会,其余众生迷人不明了。此心不离四大色身中,若离是心,即无能运动。是身无知,如草木瓦砾。身是无性,因何运动。若自心动,乃至语言施为运动,见闻觉知,皆是动心动用。动是心动,动即其用。动用外无心,心外无动。动不是心,心不是动。动本无心,心本无动。动不离心,心不离动。动无心离,心无动离,动是心用,用是心动。动即心用,用即心动。不动不用,用体本空。空本无动,动用同心,心本无动。故经云:动而无所动,终日去来而未曾去,终日见而未曾见,终日哮而未曾哮,终日闻而未曾闻,终日知而未曾知,终日喜而未曾喜,终日行而未曾行,终日住而未曾住。故经云:言语道断,心行处灭,见闻觉知,本自圆寂。乃至嗔喜痛痒何异木人,只缘推寻痛痒不可得。故经云:恶业即得苦报,善业即有善报,不但嗔堕地狱,喜即生天。若知嗔喜性空,但不执即业脱。若不见性,讲经决无凭,说亦无尽。略标邪正如是,不及一二也。

颂曰

心心心难可寻,宽时遍法界,窄也不容针。我本求心不求佛,了知三界空无物。若欲求佛但求心,只这心这心是佛。我本求心心自持,求心不得待心知。佛性不从心外得,心生便是罪生时。

偈曰

吾本来此土。 传法救迷情。
一华开五叶。 结果自然成。

Bodhidharma 64.

Silently a flower blooms,
In silence it falls away;
Yet here now, at this moment,
at this place,
The world of the flower,
the whole of
the world is blooming.
This is the talk of the flower,
the truth of the blossom;
The glory of eternal life is fully
shining here.

— Zenkei Shibayama

Zenkei Shibayama 1.

The commitments of the mind training
by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Always train in three common points.

These general points are: to be consistent in the pledges of the Mind Training, not to be affected and theatrical and not to have double standards.

Consistency in the Mind Training. We should give happiness without regret and attribute all good things and qualities to others. We should take upon ourselves all their sorrow and unwanted situations, accepting suffering with joy. We should strive to free others from their pain, offering them happiness, great or small, sincerely and without second thoughts, in particular towards those who do us harm. And we should not neglect the lesser commitments with the excuse that ‘we are practising the Mind Training.’ Never forgetting the Mind Training, we should nevertheless respect and practise all the commitments, from the Shravakayana to the Vajrayana, that we have promised, drawing them all together into a single way of life. If we are able to do this, it is an extraordinary stepping stone to all the paths of the great vehicle. Therefore let us observe all the vows with equal attention.

Not being affected. In our daily lives, our words should correspond with the actual way we practise Dharma. Moreover, we should avoid doing things in front of others in order to give the impression that we are renunciates and which therefore redound to our advantage. And we should refrain from actions calculated to make others think that we are free from ego-clinging, such as a cavalier attitude with regard to traditional religious sensibilities, or ostentatiously touching lepers or others suffering from contagious diseases. We should not do anything that the Kadampa masters would not do.

No double standards. For example, we might be patient with the harm that human beings inflict on us but intolerant when it comes to the attacks of spirits and demons. We should be courteous to the poor as well as to the powerful. We should avoid attachment to relatives and animosity toward enemies, ridding ourselves of all partiality. But let us be especially respectful towards poor, humble people of no importance. Do not be partial! Love and compassion should be universal toward all beings. Change your attitude and maintain it firmly.

From time without beginning, our ego-clinging has caused us to wander in samsara; it is the root of all our sufferings, it is indeed the culprit.

Considering others to be more important than ourselves, we should give up our self-cherishing attitudes and decide to act without hypocrisy, emulating in body, speech and mind, the behaviour of friends who live their lives according to the teachings. Mind Training should be engaged indiscreetly. It should not be done with external show, in a way that attracts attention and creates a reputation; it should act as the inward antidote to our self clinging and defiled emotions. We should bring our minds to ripeness without anybody knowing.

Do not discuss infirmities.

We should not discuss the handicaps of others. If they cannot see or walk well, if they are not intelligent or even if they have transgressed their vows, we should not call them blind, cripples, idiots, etc. In brief, we should not say anything that is unpleasant for others to hear.

Do not have opinions on other people’s actions.

When we see defects in others, people in general but particularly those who have entered the Dharma, who are disciples of the same Teacher, or who, being clothed in the banner of the monastic robes, are the support for the offerings of gods and men alike, we should understand that it is the impurity of our perception which is at fault. When we look into a mirror, we see a dirty face because our own face is dirty. In the same way, the defects of others are nothing but our impure way of seeing them. By thinking in this way, we should try to rid ourselves of this perception of the faults of others, and cultivate the attitude whereby the whole of existence, all appearances, are experienced as pure.

Work on the strongest of your defilements first.

We should scrutinize ourselves and examine which of our defiled emotions is the most powerful. If desire is strongest, we should try to concentrate upon its antidote, which is ugliness. If anger is to the fore, we should try to generate the remedy of patience. If by nature we are inclined to ignorance and dullness, we should exert ourselves in the cultivation of wisdom. If we are jealous, we should work to develop equanimity. In this endeavour to subdue these defilements, we should concentrate all our Dharma practice. For if we are able to free ourselves of the grosser defilements, the lesser ones will also naturally subside.

Give up hoping for results.

The general effect of Mind Training is to free the practitioner from hope and fear. We should practise the exchange of happiness and suffering without expecting any reward. We should not hope, for example, that because of our practice many non-human beings will gather round, obeying us and displaying miracles, and that people, prompted by them, will also serve us, bringing us wealth and influence. We should rid ourselves of all selfish ideas and ulterior motives, such as working for others but with the wish for our own individual liberation or rebirth in a pure realm.

Give up poisoned food.

There is a saying: ‘Wholesome deeds performed with selfish aims are just like poisoned food.’ Poisoned food might look delicious and even taste good, but it quickly leads to certain death.

Thinking of an enemy as someone to be hated, thinking of a friend as someone to be loved, being jealous of others’ happiness and good fortune: all this is rooted in ego-clinging. And wholesome actions, infiltrated by a clinging to the ‘I’ conceived as something real and solid, turn to poison. We should try to forsake all self-centredness.

Do not be hidebound by a sense of duty.

Faithful to the memory of their parents, people exchange favours – or pursue vendettas against their ancestral enemies. We should not allow ourselves to be ruled by this kind of prejudice.

Do not meet abuse with abuse.

If people say to us, ‘You are not a good practitioner. Your vows are useless,’ we should not respond, by pointing out their defects, for instance telling a blind man that he is blind, or a lame man that he is a cripple. If we act like this, then both parties will be angry. Therefore let us not utter a word that will harm or make others unhappy. When things are not going well, we should not blame anyone else.

Do not wait in ambush.

‘Ambush,’ in this case, means remembering the harm done to us by others and biding our time for a moment of weakness when we might strike back, seeking the help of the powerful or even resorting to witchcraft, and so on. We should relinquish any thoughts of this kind.

Do not strike at weaknesses.

Do not strike at the weak points of others or do anything which will cause them suffering. In the same way, do not recite destructive mantras which will harm nonhuman beings.

Do not lay the dzo’s burden on an ox’s back.

The meaning of this is that we should never allow any injury or blame that we deserve to fall on others. An ox cannot carry the load of dzo. Moreover, we should endeavour to keep from harming the poor and the weak, by burdening them with heavier taxes than others, and so on. All such evil actions should be completely forsaken.

Do not praise with hidden motives.

If, for example, we hold some wealth in common with other people, we should not cajole them with flattery into giving us their share, saying things like, ‘You are famous for your kindness,’ or ‘By being generous, you will accumulate much merit.’ We should not do anything in fact to make someone happy so that he might give us money: all that kind of thing must be abandoned.

Do not misuse the remedy.

We would be misusing the remedy if we were to take upon ourselves the misfortunes of others, but with a wish for personal happiness or that others might say of us that we are patient and loving Bodhisattvas, trying thus to build up for ourselves a good reputation. We should free ourselves of all such intentions and never assume the misfortunes of others for these reasons.

Another example of this kind of behaviour would be wanting to practise the Mind Training in order to be cured from a disease, or out of fear of ghosts and spirits. This is just like practising exorcism with the intention of punishing the spirits with wrathful mantras; it is something which should be completely abandoned. We should not reduce the mind training to the level of mere sorcery by trying to use it as a means of repelling evil influences. Evil spirits and ghosts harm others because they are deluded. We should not practise the Mind Training against them, but to free them from their bad karma. When they create obstacles, we should practise chod with compassion; then they will not harm us. Our practice should be the antidote only for our own negative emotions.

Do not bring a god down to the level of a demon.

Worldly people use their religion, in order to have success in business, to acquire power and situations of prosperity; but if they fall sick, lose their position and so on, they think their gods are displeased and begin to think of them as demons.

If through the Mind Training we become proud and boastful, it will be as Gampopa once said: Dharma not practised properly will bring us down to the lower realms. If we become pretentious and conceited, we will certainly not be practising Dharma. Because of our pride, the Mind Training, instead of taming us as it should, will make us all the more hard and obstinate. We will become so arrogant that, even if we were to see a Buddha flying in the sky, or someone suffering greatly, with his intestines hanging out, we would feel neither devotion for the qualities of the Buddhas nor compassion for the sufferings of beings. The whole point of the Dharma will have been missed. It does not help to station soldiers at the western gate when the enemy is in the east. When we have a liver complaint, we should take the proper liver medicine. When we have fever, again, we should take the appropriate remedy. If the medicine we take is unsuited to the illness we have, our condition will be all the worse. In the same way, we should apply the teachings so that they act as an antidote to our ego-clinging. Towards everyone we should consider ourselves as the humblest of servants, taking the lowest place. We should try really very hard to be modest and self-forgetting.

Do not take advantage of suffering.

If, at the death of relatives or friends, we were to try everything in order to get possession of their belongings, food, money, books etc.; if our sponsor were to fall ill or die, and we were to go to his house with the intention of performing ceremonies in the hope of being remunerated; or if again, at the death of a meditator on our own level, we were to feel pleased at being henceforth without a rival-or at the death of an enemy, to feel that we were no longer threatened, we would indeed be taking advantage of the suffering of others. That is something we must not do.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (顶果钦哲仁波切) 100.

There is pure love and impure love. The difference lies in possessiveness or release. Pure love is the root of lasting happiness. Impure love creates only suffering. Impure love that is tainted by the ego and possessiveness leads to jealousy, then anger and finally separation. Pure love free from possessiveness leads to harmony and peace and may even transform a negative companion. A relationship then becomes a Bodhisattva activity.

Someone, who has understood the nature of mind, will even take on a negative companion, as one has understood that negative emotions are temporary; they come and go. That disturbing person’s mind and one’s own mind essentially are the same. What stays throughout lifetimes as the seed for happiness is pure love. Thus, when one truly understands the nature of mind, samaya commitments cannot be broken. Even if it happens that one quarrels, this temporary occurrence never moves the ever-prevailing love.

If one does not understand the nature of mind, one will cling and try to possess. We then are nice to those who are nice to us, but not nice to those who are not nice to us. This love is impermanent; it cannot last.

Pure love will always last. And my love for you will always last.

— Garchen Rinpoche

Garchen Rinpoche 30.