The monk asked: I clearly understand your explanation of the Sudden-Enlightenment Dharma, but would you please demonstrate more clearly what you mean by the statement that the Teaching and the Vehicle are different.
The master said: I wish never to disappoint anyone; so if you have further specific questions, I shall answer them.
The monk asked: What is the meaning of the statement "All Dharmas return to the One Mind"?
The master said: Let me use the example of a lump of gold that is used to make many different gold containers. If, later, one puts all these gold containers into the fire, they all remelt again into the original single lump of gold. Likewise, all Dharmas return to the One Mind.
The monk asked: What is the nature of the surpassing strength of one who is suddenly enlightened by the Dharma?
The master said: With right understanding and perfect practice, one can transcend Kalpas. Even in birth and death he can enter Nirvana, or he can stay in the world constantly as well as dwell in the Pure Land forever. He can change the flesh-eye into the Wisdom-Eye and turn the worldly mind into Buddha-Mind. Thus, to believe in the Sudden-Enlightenment Dharma brings great merit.
The monk asked: It is said that to understand the Mind and to realize the Self-Nature is just "like a drinker of water who knows for himself whether it is cold or warm"; but what is the evidence for this?
The master said: If a student is sincere about practicing and realizing, then his body-mind duality will become Absolute Oneness. His light of wisdom will be bright, understanding Original Enlightenment throughout numberless Kalpas -- a state which cannot be described in words. So he is said to be "just like a drinker of water who knows for himself whether it is cold or warm". If one wishes to take the expedient method to manifest Original Mind, then he should take both the Teaching and the Vehicle and compare them in order to experience a genuinely all-sided understanding.
The monk asked: Why does the Ch'an Sect teach that students should not be allowed to study the Teachings, asserting that many of them get only incomplete comprehension and gain only a knowledge of words?
The masters said: If you want to study the Teachings and do research in the Tripitaka, then just understand how each word makes its impression upon your mind. However, because some students grasp the letters and the words for an explanation, they cannot really understand the substance. Therefore, some Ch'an adherents laugh at those who study the Teachings to become holy through words alone.
The monk asked: What is the confused mind in contrast to the Enlightened Mind?
The master said: If in Original True Mind there arises an unenlightened thought, this is called confused mind. In contrast, if in the unenlightened mind the process arises for the actualization of Enlightenment in order to recover True Mind, this is called Enlightened Mind. Therefore, just understand that if thought either arises from or falls upon the causal ground, then the confused mind and Enlightened Mind are different; but in Original Mind they are one.
The monk asked: Why should one, after understanding the principles, then put an end to both false and truthful views?
The master said: Because there is the false, we must then say that the true, also, exists; but the true is really without form and is void. Similarly, if we declare the true to be existent, then we must recognize the false, also, as existent; but the substance of the false originally is empty. Since the false is originally empty, the true, also, cannot be set up as other than void. Therefore, we should put an end to both the true and the false. Original Mind is permanent and naturally void.
The monk asked: If, by the sudden method of Ch'an, one can become enlightened directly, then how can words be used to explain or show it?
The master said: One who investigates the profound meaning should have two different kinds of eyes. First, there are one's own eyes, which are used to understand Ch'an. Second, there is the Wisdom Eye, which is used to recognize illusion. The Ch'an Sect has explained it thusly: "If one only understands one's own self, he does not know what is in front of his face." Thus, if a person only has one eye -- i.e., has only an awareness of the principles but not of the illusory appearances -- he cannot ever really realize complete perfection. Also, if he dares to consider that pursuing wisdom is not right, then what is to be understood by that great wisdom of Manjusri, who is the son of the Dharma King? On the other hand, if one thinks that to be without learning is right, then why is the non-learning Bhiksu really a hell-person? It is just because his consciousness is locked. However, without the key of wisdom how can it be opened? Because one is caught in the net of emotion, how can it be cut away without using the sharp sword of wisdom? If anyone is practicing for Complete Enlightenment, then he should not hold the view of the unlearned but should, on the contrary, utilize both kinds of eyes.
The monk asked: If one has perfect practice and has attained True Mind, can he still fall back into cause-and-effect conditions?
The master said: From the lowest sentient beings right up to the level of the Buddhas -- all are affected by the law of cause and effect. How can we deny the law of Karma? because the heterodox believers do not understand that all things are created by causal conditions, they grasp at nature as the only explanation, seeking to deny causes and effects. The Two-Vehicle followers, having narrow views, attain only a partial insight into emptiness because they extinguish their bodies in the fire of the house of the passions, grasping at the law of Karma as the only explanation. All of the above, however, become merely foolish explanation if one remains ignorant of one's own permanent, complete Original Mind. If one is to be a real practitioner, he should understand that only reality is the cause and, also, that only reality is the effect. Also, he should not have any view that denies the law of Karma, or he will certainly fall into heterodoxy. Thus, one should learn to create perfect causes and attain wonderful effects.
The monk asked: There once was someone who developed the method described as "practicing without mind". If there really is such a thing as "practicing without mind", that would be like becoming a piece of wood or a stone. Under such conditions, how can holy beings and sages be said to have achieved great wisdom?
The master said: If there be one who is really "without mind", he is not at all like a piece of wood or a stone. He just has no discriminating mind, no hating nor loving mind, no liking nor disliking mind, no good nor evil mind, no void nor existent mind, no extreme nor middle mind, no inside nor outside mind -- no grasping mind whatsoever. This does not mean that he is without True Mind. It is simply still yet radiantly illuminated. It is radiantly illuminated yet simply still.
The monk asked: The ancient master said, "One should not say that No-Mind is the Tao, because No-Mind still has one more gate." What is it?
The master said: True Mind is voidness, neither having existence nor non-existence. If one abandons existence and dwells in non-existence, that is wrong. The ancient master also handed down the following gatha. "I advise you to learn the Tao, but don't seek it with greed. All things are without mind, which is, perhaps, to be near the Tao." With No-Mind one comprehends the Tao of Mind; and after one comprehends No-Mind, the Tao, also, rests.
The monk asked: What does it mean to declare that in No-Knowing there is real awareness and that there is only understanding through mere knowing?
The master said: No-Knowing is the function of Pure Mind, and knowing is the function of the intellectual mind. The substance produces the function, that is, No-Knowing is real and fundamental awareness. The function cannot, in reality, be separated from the substance. If the function is apparently separated from the substance, this is knowing that is dependent on form and is the condition of knowing through the intellectual mind. However, if there is only substance without function, that is merely stupid emptiness.
The monk asked: Why is it said that the thoughts that arise from the knowing mind are false?
The master said: The six sense organs with their objects have both discriminating thought and knowledge, therefore, such knowing is said to be false.
The monk asked: What, then, is the nature of that No-Mind understanding, which is said to be true?
The master said: When True Mind responds to all things, it is just like a mirror that reflects all images brightly and clearly without any cloudiness or impurities -- that is to say, No-Mind understanding is true.
The monk asked: What is the right view?
The master said: If one does not rely on any sense organ or its data for understanding, he, then, has the right view. However, if one relies on the various sense organs and their data to understand, he, then, has the wrong view.
The monk asked: What are the Precious Three?
The master said: Voidness and stillness of the mind is the Precious Buddha. Stillness with illumination and permanence is the Precious Dharma. Illumination without any defilement is the Precious Sangha.
The monk asked: What does it mean to really offer to the Buddha?
The master said: Abandoning oneself to follow objects and desires is to go against the Buddha, but returning to one's Original Mind is really offering to the Buddha.
The monk asked: What does it mean to really listen to the Dharma?
The master said: With the six sense organs in front of all objects, the six consciousnesses do not arise. This is really listening to the Dharma.
The monk asked: What does it mean to really leave home?
The master said: Not to dwell in the house of the five Squanders is really leaving home.
The monk asked: How can one not dwell in the house of the five Skandhas?
The master said: In seeing, do not rely on the particular sense organ, but always understand that form is empty. Understand clearly that with No-Mind all feelings toward objects are empty. Then, in thought after thought, without defilement, the impulses and passions are, also, seen to be empty. True Mind is permanent, and its consciousness is empty.
The monk asked: What does it mean to say that "The void is form and the form is void"?
The master said: If one see void and dwell on the void, then the void is form. If you see form and do not dwell on form, then the form is void.
The monk asked: What does it mean to say "The mind is Buddha"?
The master said: Mind and Buddha are one, so don't go seeking anything else outside.
The monk asked: What does it means to say that "There really is neither mind nor Buddha"?
The master said: Just eliminate your grasping and take away your explanations. Only this is really "originally no mind or Buddha".
The monk asked: What is the meaning of the statement "The three minds are unobtainable"?
The master said: Originally the three minds of past, present and future are void and still. It is, therefore, unreasonable to give rise to and grasp at false flowers in the sky, creating obstacles and illusions that cover the total, bright Truth.
The monk asked: What is real Emptiness?
The master said: The substance of True Mind is stillness. The function of abstract thought is illumination. Therefore, being illuminant while yet maintaining stillness is called real Emptiness.
The monk asked: What is Wonderful Existence?
The masters said: When you so illuminate both existence and non-existence such that neither has subject nor object -- this is Wonderful Existence.
The monk asked: What is the meaning of "Only get the beginning, no need to worry about the end"?
The master said: If one is enlightened, understanding that True Mind is original stillness, then all Dharmas vanish quite naturally.
The monk asked: What is the meaning of "Defilement is Bodhi, and ignorance is Buddha Nature"?
The master said: When the first thought arises, that is defilement; but if the second thought does not stay, that is Bodhi. When the first thought moves, that is ignorance; but if the second thought does not continue, that is Buddha Nature.
The monk asked: How can one keep from backsliding?
The Master said: Just realize suddenly enlightened Original Mind, hold it with discipline, and practice for complete attainment; and then you will complete the process in one lifetime. If one can just do this, he will never backslide. One the other hand, if one relies on written explanation to realize some meaning but has many bad habits and a floating mind that has no discipline or meditative insight whenever he meets some object or thought or circumstance that creates discrimination, then he will backslid automatically.
The monk asked: What are the six Paramitas?
The master said: To be enlightened about Absolute Mind suddenly -- this is to be filled with the six Paramitas.
The monk asked: What does it mean to say the Absolute Mind is filled with the six Paramitas?
The master said: If one is enlightened about Absolute Mind, then that is the six Paramitas taking root. In contrast, if one is confused about Absolute Mind, he is blind to the six Paramitas. Just why must Absolute Mind be the original root? If one does not understand True Mind but holds the Disciplines, he will take his effect as rebirth into the heaven of the desire realms; however, after finishing his effect, he might still backslide and fall into hell. If one does not understand True Mind but practices forbearance, he will take the effect of good retribution; but he cannot attain stillness and Nirvana. If one does not understand True Mind but practices Dhyana, he can only arrive at the stage of the heavenly realms of form; but he cannot realize the Dharmadhatu. If one does not understand True Mind but practices Wisdom, he can only skillfully explain ideas and manipulate concepts with words, but all the meanings become Mundane. Therefore, if one is enlightened about True Mind, he is completely filled with all the virtues (Paramitas). However, if one is confused about True Mind, all his labors are, sadly, in vain.
The monk asked: What are the Discipline, Meditation and Wisdom, which are the threefold Mahayana study of the Supramundane?
The master said: Neither to find existence outside nor to hold to emptiness as inside is the Discipline. To realize that without a single thought all conditions are void and still is the Meditation. To distinguish among objects but never to have love or hate for anything is the Wisdom. This, then, is the threefold Mahayana study of the Supramundane.
The monk asked: What is the threefold study of the Hinayana path?
The master said: To control both one's body and speech and to cut off the disease of the four seeds of defilement is the discipline. To view the body like a piece of dried wood, without showing respect-inspiring deportment, is the meditation. Finally, only to attain prejudiced voidness, losing the law of the Middle Way, is the wisdom. Therefore, this is called poor Dharma, which burns and discards meditation and wisdom. That is why Vimalakirti criticized those practicing the Dharma of the Hinayana path.
The monk asked: What is the best way to begin to learn meditation?
The master said: In beginning to learn how to realize Samadhi, it is best to maintain concentration on one Dharma only. After practicing over a long period of time, one can realize the complete fruit of meditation. Then True Wisdom will appear automatically.
The monk asked: How many kinds of ch'an are there?
The master said: There are five kinds.
The monk asked: What are the five kinds?
The master said: First, there is the view of one who likes to practice superior Dharma but dislikes to learn inferior Dharma. This the Ch'an of heterodox believers. Secondly, there is the view of one who believes in causes and effects but also practices depending on his own idea of what he likes or dislikes. This is the Ch'an of worldly people. Thirdly, there is the view of one who understands the doctrine of voidness and who practices and attains only the prejudiced truth. This is the Ch'an of the Hinayana path. Fourthly, there is the view of one who is without concepts of either person or Dharma and who always practices the Middle Way. This the Ch'an of the Mahayana path. Fifthly, there is the realization of the one who is without any differentiating or discriminating view whatsoever and who attains the awareness of the complete equality of all Dharmas. This is called the Ch'an of the Tathagata.
The monk asked: What is the Tathagata?
The master said: Stillness and illumination are always one -- this is Tatha. One never abandons either his vow or compassion -- this is Gata. Worldly people, however, have Gata without Tatha, while Hinayanists have Tatha without Gata. Only Buddhas have both Tatha and Gata. Therefore, all Buddhas are called Tathagata.
The monk asked: In the study of the three meditations -- the void, the unreal and the Middle Way -- why is it said that the latter is inclusive of the first two?
The master said: In reflecting on one's own Mind, one understands that, originally, it comes from nowhere and that, because it comes from nowhere, it is called void. so since it comes from nowhere and produces all things, all things are, thus, unreal and are called unreal. However, do not dwell on either or both extremes of the void or the unreal. It is really only True Mind that one should dwell on, and this is called the Middle-Way meditation.
The monk asked: How can we analyze or make a distinction between the substance and the function of True Mind?
The master said: The substance of True Mind is voidness and stillness, while the function of True Mind is clear understanding. The voidness and stillness, however, are not like the obstinate void; for while it is still, yet it is always shining, clear and understanding. Do not defile by consciousness and discrimination that which is illuminant yet still, for that which has both stillness and illumination is called True Mind.
The monk asked: What are "staying" and "not staying"?
The master said: Since voidness is the substance of True Mind, we, therefore, say that it does not stay; on the other hand, since the substance of voidness is all penetrating and omnipresent, we, therefore, say that it stays.
The monk asked: If True Mind is penetrating and omnipresent, then why does the body have knowing, whereas other objects do not have knowing?
The master said: The substance of True Mind is void, and the Dharmadhatu is absolute oneness, which permeates the ever-changing world of objects and responds to conditions that are manifest within it everywhere.
The monk asked: What are the four inverted views of worldly people?
The master said: The first inverted view is that the body, which is impure, is ours. The second inverted view is that sensation, which always results in suffering, is enjoyable. The third inverted view is that thought, which is impermanent, is permanent. The fourth inverted view is that, even though there is originally no self, there is a self. By means of these four inverted views, worldly people grasp at experience.
The monk asked: What are the four inverted views of Hinayanists?
The master said: The first inverted view is that the body, which is originally pure and empty, is impure. The second inverted view is that sensation, which originally is nowhere, is suffering. The third inverted view is that Original Mind, which is permanent, is impermanent. The fourth inverted view is that No-Ego, which is one's Real Self, is merely ego. Thus, the Hinayanists fall into nihilistic emptiness by holding these four inverted views.
The monk asked: How can one relinquish these eight inverted views and attain Eternity, Bliss, Real Self and Purity?
The master said: All sentient beings, bound as they are to the cyclical Wheel of Birth-and-Death, grasp their four inverted views; but those Hinayanists seeking salvation believe that is they cut off their four inverted views, they will attain Nirvana. All Buddhas and Tathagatas, however, are detached and remain far distant from these eight inverted views, holding no concept of them whatsoever, and thus attain Eternity, Bliss, Real Self and Purity -- known collectively as the Four Permanences.
The monk asked: If True Mind is really without discrimination, isn't that like walking on a pitch-black night with no light and, thus being ignorant of one's surroundings, recognizing nothing?
The master said: There are three kinds of discrimination. The first is when we begin to have sense organs and consciousness, which create discrimination through perception. The second is discrimination through calculated thinking. The third discrimination is that of True Mind, which responds to all things like a mirror reflecting all images; this is the same as having everything but understanding clearly with nothing whatsoever.
The monk asked: If there are three kinds of discrimination, then which is false and which is real?
The master said: All discrimination is false which depends on the sense-organs and sense-consciousness. However, True Mind, responding to all things with absolute clarity and understanding, looks like it has discrimination but really has nothing at all.
The monk asked: If the Dharmakaya is originally without form, it must be like voidness, so why, then, does it ever appear to have the form of the six sense organs?
The master said: To understand True Mind as form is not contrary to its function. The Supreme Dharma exists for the benefit of all, never closing the door when it comes to converting sentient beings. The ancient master once said, "It is like void without form, but it can manifest all kinds of forms." Likewise, the Dharmakaya is fully endowed with the forms of the six sense organs.
The monk asked: What is real salvation?
The master said: If the six sense organs are not bound by anything whatsoever as they reflect all things and do not dwell on any Dharma at all, then there is real salvation.
The monk asked: How can one subdue all demons?
The master said: Just have real and total compassion for and patience with all beings, and you will subdue all the demons in the world -- just this, without any differentiating thoughts about subduing demons in the mind and without any subtle scheme or wonderful drug for subduing either inside or outside demons.
The monk asked: What is the Threefold Tathagatagarbha?
The master said: The substance of bright True Mind is voidness and stillness, and there exists the so-called Tathagata Store of Voidness. The Tathagata Store of Voidness produces infinite wonderful functions, as numberless as the grains of sand in the Ganges River. There exits, also, the so-called Tathagata Store of Voidlessness. Substance can produce function, but function can never be separate from substance in this so-called Tathagata Store of Voidness - Yet - Voidlessness.
The monk asked: What are the eight consciousnesses?
The master said: They are the following. The first six are the consciousnesses of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind; the seventh consciousness is called Manas; and the eighth consciousness is called Alaya.
The monk asked: Would you please characterize the eight consciousnesses and all their forms?
The master said: The eighth consciousness (Alaya), or store consciousness, is the mind that collects and holds all the Dharma-causing seeds; i.e., causes are created by these seeds to produce all Dharmas. The seventh consciousness (Manas) is the mind that cooperates with the Alaya consciousness, constantly examining objects and both pondering and calculating, thus causing and creating ego. The first six consciousnesses constitute the six different sense realms. Examining and being aware of the thinking process and its constant and interrupted changes at the very instant of each change, just as it occurs, constitute understanding.
The monk asked: According to the Lankavatara Sutra, "There are three kinds of consciousness -- namely, real consciousness, immediate consciousness and discriminating consciousness." Just how is consciousness divided into these three categories?
The master said: The ninth consciousness is called Pure Consciousness. The eighth consciousness (Alaya) manifests all kinds of Dharmas. All the other seven consciousnesses together are called the discriminating consciousness. The seventh consciousness (Manas) does not itself depend on external objects but, since it cooperates with the eighth consciousness, still has discrimination.
The monk asked: How can the eight consciousnesses be transformed into Fourfold Wisdom?
The master said: Just transform the first five consciousnesses into Perfecting Wisdom; turn the sixth consciousness into Wonderful-Observing Wisdom; turn the seventh consciousness into Equality-Nature Wisdom; and turn the eighth consciousness into Perfect-Great-Mirror Wisdom.
The monk asked: What is Perfect-Great-Mirror Wisdom?
The master said: It is True Mine's unchanging voidness and stillness that is like a bright mirror.
The monk asked: What is Equality-Nature Wisdom?
The master said: It is the opposite of all Dharmas, for it is without any distinguishing characteristic whatsoever.
the monk asked: What is Wonderful-Observing Wisdom?
The master said: It is the interplay of all the sense organs in discriminating activity but without any defilement.
The monk asked: What is Perfecting Wisdom?
The master said: It is characterized by each of the five sense organs performing the functions of its opposite sense realms without distinguishing or discriminating.
The monk asked: How can one transom Fourfold Wisdom into the Threefold Body?
The master said: Perfecting Wisdom and Wonderful-Observing Wisdom become the Nirmanakaya, Equality-Nature Wisdom becomes the Sambhogakaya. Perfect-Great-Mirror Wisdom becomes the Dharmakaya.
The monk asked: What is the Dharmakaya?
The master said: To be without a single thought, wherein all is only void and stillness, is the Dharmakaya.
The monk asked: What is the Sambhogakaya?
The master said: To be skillful about all Dharmas, wherein everything is equal, is the Sambhogakaya.
The monk asked: What is the Nirmanakaya?
The master said: To depend on one's own Original Vow to do all things responsibly is the Nirmanakaya.
The monk asked: The Complete Enlightenment Sutra says, "The Perfect-Great-Mirror Wisdom is my Sangharama Body." If the mind dwells in Equality-Nature Wisdom, then why don't Perfecting Wisdom and Wonderful-Observing Wisdom manifest at the same time?
The master said: Perfect-Great-Mirror Wisdom, even while it is still, yet is luminous. Equality-Nature Wisdom, even while it is luminous, yet is still. The Wonderful-Observing and the Perfecting Wisdom are both accepted by the Dharmakaya. When delusion is transformed from the eighteen sense realms into Wonderful-Observing Wisdom, all phenomena then turn into Perfecting Wisdom; and finally all Wisdom transform into the Perfect-Great-Mirror Wisdom. The Lankavatara Sutra relates: "The Buddha, speaking to the Great-Wisdom Bodhisattva, said, "From early in beginningless time, during its middle and at the end, one should use Wonderful-Observing Wisdom to purify instantaneous consciousness and the six sense organs, transforming them into Perfecting Wisdom so that when a hand is placed with its palm up, one does not ask what is on the other side, also, on seeing ice, one does not ask where the water is". Just take a strong vow to have compassion and pity for the benefit of others and thence attain Wonderful-Observing Wisdom and Perfecting Wisdom for the benefit of all sentient beings.
The ancient virtuous master once said, "All sentient beings grasp the name of Alaya consciousness, but they do not understand what is really means. "However, Buddhas have attained that understanding and, therefore, can have the functions of the Four Wisdom. If one is ignorant regarding Alaya consciousness, only grasping its name, then the seventh consciousness (Manas) is labeled impure, while the sixth consciousness is thought to consider all things to be real. Also, thereafter, the first five consciousness are thought to be bound by the forms of their sense organs. However, if one can truly understand that the substance of Alaya is Perfect-Great-Mirror Wisdom, then he will have opened the door of merit. At that time, Manas is then understood to be the source of Equality-Nature Wisdom and is clearly seen to have the awareness that self and others are of one nature. Then, the sixth consciousness is understood to be the source of Wonderful-Observing Wisdom, which turns the wheel of Right Dharma. Then, the first five consciousnesses are understood to have the merit of Perfecting Wisdom for manifestations of the Nirmanakaya. To be concentrated in single-minded meditation, without moving, creates a clear division between consciousness and Wisdom, so that then one does not change the substance but only changes the name in the transformation of the eighth consciousness into Perfect-Great-Mirror Wisdom.
The monk asked: If one is enlightened about the Doctrine, then he can transform consciousness into Wisdom, while those who are bounded by illusion rise and fall according to the vicissitudes of consciousness. So can we know whether the eight consciousnesses are great or small?
The master said: The mind of consciousness is fine, wonderful and inconceivable and receives its forms depending on Karma; so it is not uniformly great or small. In the Sutra of Manifest Consciousness, the Buddha, speaking to the Bodhisattva Tao Yao, says, "There, consciousness is like the wind, without form or shape and compressed and confined in a deep hole or valley; and it is so strong when it bursts forth that it can destroy Mount Sumeru. Just as the molecules of the wind are subtle and without form, likewise is consciousness itself."
The monk asked: What are the causes for the sinking of consciousness into the four kinds of beings?
The master said: One is born from the womb due to love. One is born from eggs due to thinking. One is born from moisture due to feeling and thinking. One is born from transformation due to the separation of feeling and thinking. all of these states rise and fall and are created by Karma. If one can suddenly cut off discriminating consciousness, then he will be free from transmigration forever.
The monk asked: What are the Five Eyes?
The master said: Not dwelling on outside objects is the Fleshly Eye. Not dwelling on the void inside is the Heavenly Eye. Not dwelling on either existence or non-existence is the Dharma Eye. Illumination of both existence and non-existence without defilement is the Wisdom Eye. Letting go of all forms is the Buddha Eye.
The monk asked: When are the Six Supernatural Powers manifested?
The master said: When the six sense organs, facing objects, come and go without any obstruction whatsoever.
The monk asked: What are Universal Enlightenment and Wonderful Enlightenment?
The master said: Universal Enlightenment is stillness and illumination, wherein all Dharmas are equal. Wonderful Enlightenment is without either stillness or illumination; it is just bright in real permanence.
The monk asked: What is transformational birth and death, and what is the recurring of birth and death?
The master said: The concept of transformational birth and death refers to the process of Bodhisattvas fulfilling their vows and maintaining their compassion for the benefit of all sentient beings, even while they remain in the cycle of birth and death. However, this is different from the process of worldly people, and since its purpose is to purify the outflow of Karma, it is called transformational birth and death. The recurring birth-and death process of worldly people is totally created by false mind grasping at thought after thought and producing obstacles due to defilement. These beings are bound to the Great Wheel of Suffering without remaination. This, then, is the process of recurring birth and death.
The monk asked: What is the meaning of "Standing on top of a pole one hundred feet high, one must still take one more step; then, in all ten directions, the Dharmadhatu manifests itself"?
The master said: The mind of the Tathagata-Store is originally unified and bright, but because we follow phenomena, it becomes divided into six functions and is turned by outside things, drifting forever in birth and death. If one knows how to return to the Truth, he will not wander outside in search of sense data. The sense organs become disengaged from externals at that point, and if any one of them can be returned to Pure Mind, then the functions of all six sense organs will stop; and Mind will remain clear and pure like an extremely bright mirror. If one can hold this Mind, he will be delivered from the deep pit. Such is the view from one side of voidness; but one still needs to take one more step, and then , in all ten directions, all will manifest. Mountains, rivers and all other things are suddenly recognized clearly as the substance of Dharma.
The monk asked: How can one not dwell in the Supramundane and still not exhaust oneself in activity?
The master said: Even if one attains the Dharmakaya, he should not yet embrace complete realization but should still fulfill his vow and have compassion for the benefit of all sentient beings, responding appropriately to all beings and appearances. The Ch'an Master Tsao Shan said, "Do not walk in the path of thinking, never wear your original clothes, and, for the sake of justice, you should not think about what you were before you were born. "The Mahayana Bodhisattva, leading land directing all beings, does not dwell in the Supramundane and just expediently wears ordinary clothes; also, at the same time, he does not exhaust himself in activity. Since he is responsive to all appearances, his actions may appear to be wrong or defiling as he expediently converts sentient beings; but, in reality, his practice is pure, following the way of all Buddhas.
The monk asked: What is real repentance?
The master said: All people in the world are in heavy bondage instigated by the passions. There are four grave sins and ten evils. Since the causes of Karma are already so deep, people, almost automatically, follow the three evil ways. However, if one can suddenly have a sense of great shame and put forth a great and vigorous effort and approach a good, virtuous master to try to enlighten his own mind, all evil Karma of the past an all sins in the present will then become like snow melted by boiling water or like bone-dry firewood consumed in a raging fire. In this way, one can extinguish his Karma, producing blessings and wisdom. He then will attain Great Wisdom to direct the next generation, encouraging all beings to enlighten their own natural minds and showing all of them how they, too, can ultimately attain Buddhahood.