Also see: Nonduality of Life and Death
The Path of Anatta
Fearless Samadhi

Here is a compilation of articles by Zen Master Hong Wen Liang, who is very clear: 

Translated some excerpts from - talk by Zen Master Hong Wen Liang on the Jewel Mirror Samadhi. I found this article recently and resonated well with it.
「苦樂 升沉」包括痛麻癢…這些都是,這表示不是特別有一個三昧,各位修了就可以進入,未修就不能進入;或是說有所成就的人才有寶鏡三昧,不是!不管是佛還是凡 夫,有情、無情、饅頭、鑽石、唱歌、走路…皆是,到底什麼意思?
"The rise and fall of suffering and joy" including pain, numbness and itch... these are all it, this means it is not that there is a special samadhi, in which everybody can practice to enter, or that those who have not practiced are unable to enter it. Nor is it the case that only someone accomplished is able to obtain the jewel mirror samadhi, not so! It does not matter if one is a Buddha or a sentient being, sentient or insentient, steam bun, diamond, singing, walking... all is it, what does this mean?
With accurate vision, the entire universe is a piece of Jewel Mirror Samadhi. Because it is one piece, there is no perceiver nor perceived.
If you interpret that as a mirror, then you'll enter straight into hell.
你把他當作一面鏡子 解釋,是解釋哦,一解釋的話,你就把他當作是對像去解說,那當然奇怪了,一面鏡子照的當然是影子,這樣分開來的話就完全錯了。
If you explain it as a mirror, you'll be treating it as an object, that would of course be odd. What a mirror reflects would of course be a reflection, it would be erroneous to delineate/separate in this way.
「入地獄如矢」就是馬上錯掉 了,不可以把他當作這樣去解釋。『不見言』是沒有聽說過嗎?『山河不在鏡中見,山河草木即鏡』,你聽到「全宇宙是一枚寶鏡三昧」,就把三昧當作是一副鏡 子,這樣就很容易錯掉了。所以他強調「山河草木不在鏡中見,山河草木就是鏡子」。千萬不要把你所看的、所覺受的當作是鏡中的影子,不可以這樣講,山河大地 本身都是鏡子,不是鏡中的影子。
"Entering straight into hell" means instantly falling into error, we cannot explain it that way. Haven't you heard of it? "Mountains and rivers are not seen within a mirror, mountains and rivers are themselves the mirror." When you heard "the whole universe is a piece of Jewel Mirror Samadhi", and you treat that as a mirror, it is very easy to err. Therefore he emphasizes, "mountains and rivers are not within a mirror, mountains, rivers, grasses and wood are the mirror." Never treat what you saw and sensed as being reflections of a mirror, we cannot explain it that way. Mountains, rivers, and the great earth are themselves the mirror, not the reflections of a mirror.
所以各位看到的、聽到的,你千萬不要以為是大圓鏡智所現,有一面法界法性的鏡子所現 的,隨你的因緣果報不同而現出的影子,這樣解說就完全錯掉了。看到、聽到、摸到、想到的通通都是鏡子,包括你自己,整個都是鏡子!這點不要誤會了。
Therefore, do not think that whatever you see and hear are the manifestations of the Great Mirror Wisdom, as if there is a universal mirror that is reflecting the reflections according to your causes and conditions/karma, such explanations are false. Whatever you see, hear, sense, think are entirely the mirror, including yourself - in their entirety they are all the mirror. Do not be mistaken on this point.
『能見所見雙泯,本應解釋為相容,恐被誤解為二元之說』。有一個能見的,有一個所見 的,有你和被你看見的山,兩個東西溶解在一起,很容易被誤解為二元,本來是兩個東西,後來變成是一個東西,融入了,不是這樣子。『故曰山隱,此為隱之道 理』,所謂「山隱」,眼睛對到山的時候,眼睛變成山,眼和山變成一個東西,能見所見沒有了。「山」是「我見」,你說「山」即是「我見」加進去了,思維一 動,我見有了,山和你就分開了。現在知道能見所見相容的關係,能見所見都是一張寶境的變化而已。
"Perceiver and perceived are both extinguished, that ought to be explained as interwoven, but I'm afraid it might be misunderstood in terms of a dualistic view." There is a perceiver, and something perceived, there is you and the mountain seen by you, the two things melt into one, this is easily mistaken as subject-object duality - originally there are two things, then later they fused into one thing. It is not like that. "What is known as mountain concealment, is to be regarded as the principle of concealment" - what is known as "mountain-concealment", when the eyes face the mountain, eyes become mountain, eyes and mountain become one thing, perceiver and perceived vanishes. "Mountain" is "self-view", when you say "mountain", the "self-view" is thereby inserted. Once conceptual proliferation begins, self-view emerges, then the mountain and you have separated. When you understood the interwoven relationship between perceiver and perceived, perceiver and perceived are merely the transformations of a Jewel Mirror.
The most important point is to always "conscientiously bear/endure/experience and fuse with conditions, thereby forgetting oneself", by continuously not deviating from this, that would be the practice after realization.
並不 是澈悟後就絕對不會跑掉、偏離,因此隨隨便變都可以,不是這樣,處處時時「與緣合一而忘己」都不偏離就對了。
It is not the case that after realization one will absolutely not be lost or deviate, and therefore we can let our guards down. That is not the case. Instead, at anywhere and at any time, never deviating from "being one with conditions and thereby forgetting self" is the correct (way).
弄清楚自己就是寶鏡,就是悟了,悟後還要修行 嗎?「修行沒有終止」,這就是曹洞宗最難使人瞭解的地方,使得學人轉學跑到臨濟宗或是淨土宗那裡去。「悟沒有開始,修行沒有終了」一聽就受不了!修行沒有 終止?那我要悟作什麼?我以為悟了就沒有事了,還要一直修行下去?悟沒有開始?那我就不要悟了,本來就是悟嘛。一下子就搞糊塗了,用思想去想佛講的正法, 佛傳的真正的東西,要命呀!
Being clear of oneself as the jewel mirror is already realization, why should there be practice after realization? "There is no end to practice", this is Soto Zen's hardest point to understand. It has led many learners to leave the school for the Rinzai Zen or Pure Land sect. Once a person hears "there is no beginning to realization, there is no end to practice", they cannot endure such a statement. Practice is without end? Then what is the point of realization? I thought after realization there is nothing else, but practice has to go on? Realization has no beginning? Then I shouldn't have gotten realization, since realization always already is. All of a sudden one gets utterly confused. Using one's conceptual thinking to conceptualize the Buddha's teachings - the real thing transmitted by the Buddha, very dreadful!
When dying, fearlessly die, never giving rise to the thought of (desire for) life-extension, that is liberation, peace and joy. It is also explained as "not experiencing", for there is no experiencer in the experience. How is this so? Sweet melons are sweet to the base, while even the roots are bitter in the bitter melon.
He explains "being one with conditions" in another way, "When dying, fearlessly die, never giving rise to the thought of (desire for) life-extension, that is liberation, peace and joy". At the time of death, fearlessly die, at this moment there is never a thought for life extension, a desire to live one more day, or two more days, otherwise there would be suffering. That is being one with conditions, that is liberation, peace and joy.
還有一個三昧翻譯成「不受」,因為沒有受與受者,寶鏡嘛!能受所受沒有的關係,所以 叫不受。三昧正受有時翻譯成不受,何以如此?『甜瓜徹蒂甜,苦瓜連根苦』,這上頭有沒有道理?苦瓜吃下去的時候,根也苦,葉子也苦;甜瓜整個都是甜,哪有 這裡甜,那裡不甜?或是這裡甜多一點,那裡甜少一點?有這事嗎?這是什麼意思?沒有能所的意思。本來沒有能所,為什麼?因為都是一枚寶鏡。
There is one more translation of "samadhi" as "not experiencing", because there is neither the experienced and the experiencer, as (it is just) a Jewel Mirror! Due to the absence of an experiencer and the experienced, therefore it is called "no experience". The true experience of samadhi is sometimes translated as the absence of experience, how is this so? "Sweet melons are sweet to the base, while even the roots are bitter in the bitter melon." Is this reasonable? When you are eating a bitter gourd, the roots are bitter, the foliage are also bitter. The sweet melons are entirely sweet, how can there be sweetness at this part but not at the other parts? How can it be sweeter at this point but a little less sweet at another point? What does this mean? There is no subject nor object. There never was a subject nor an object, why? Because it is just a single Jewel Mirror.
大家剛才聽到鐘響了,下課了,平常我們都是「我自己聽到鐘響」,有沒有分開來?有沒 有一枚寶鏡?不是嘛!處處都是分開來。我是我,鐘響是鐘響,這是不回互。因為徹底的不回互,所以是回互。
Everyone just heard the bell ringing, class has ended. Normally we are in the position of "I myself have heard the bell ringing", is there separation here? Or is there only a single jewel mirror? That is not the case! Always in a state of separation. I am I, bell ringing is bell ringing. ...
聲音在我這裡響,還是在那邊響?我這邊沒有響,聽 不見;如果只有我這邊響,那就不要鐘也可以響,我想要響就響就好了,不行!一定要鐘動才行,大家動起來才有,有緣才有。
Is the sound reverberating over here, or is it reveberating from over there? If there is no reveberation at my location, then it would not be heard. But if it is only reverberating at my location, then there would not have been a need for a bell for the sound to be. If I only wanted the reveberation itself, it wouldn't work! There needs to be the vibrating bell, along with all the conditions working/moving together. Only with those conditions can it manifest.
比方講,我在這裏照鏡子,鏡子上有沒有我的影子?有啊!如果沒有我,鏡子上有沒有顯 出我的影子?沒有!
As an example, I am using the mirror here, does the mirror contain my reflection? Yes! If I were not around, would the mirror display my reflection? No!
一定要有鏡子,也要有我。也許有人說拿鏡子的人把這個影子照出來的,那叫拿鏡子的人走開,鏡子擺在那裡就好了,行嗎?不是拿鏡子的人把 影子照出來的,那麼是虛空把影子照出來嗎?那影子是誰照的?不是鏡子照,也不是中間的虛空照,也不是拿鏡子的人照,但是,沒有我不行,沒有鏡子也不行,沒 有空間也不行。
There needs to be a mirror, and there also needs to be me. Perhaps some people may say that the person who carries the mirror is causing the reflection to appear on the mirror. In that case if you ask the person to go away and just let the mirror stand there by itself, would it work? Since it is not the person carrying the mirror that is causing the reflection, could it be the empty space that is causing the reflection to appear? In that case who is reflecting the reflection? Not the mirror, not the empty space in between, not the person carrying the mirror. And yet, it wouldn't work without me, it wouldn't work without the mirror, it wouldn't work without empty space.
像這樣用頭腦去 理解的話是這樣子,那麼實際的情況還是希望大家多多盤腿,盤腿放鬆六根,六根讓它放鬆,就是回到自然的規律。
This is the way of using one's brain to understand and talk about it. Then, in actual situations, I wish everybody still sits often in the lotus position, sitting in the lotus posture and relaxing all six senses, letting the six senses relax, that is to return to the natural law.
「哦!這是自然的規律…」,你不要又加進了自 己的意見了。擺在那裡,思想動來動去也不是你動的,也不是你趕走它,你不趕它,它也走掉啊。念頭動的時候,你不要再加一個「我在想」就好了嘛!飯田禪師整 個序言講了半天就是一個重點:整個都是一個寶鏡三昧在顯,上頭沒有你、我、她,實際的生活怎麼相應?就是和你所看到、所聽到、所接觸到的情景、情況合一, 「與緣合一」這是實際生活用功很好的方法。
"Oh! This is the natural law..." You should not insert your own views/opinions. Just assume your position there. If thoughts move they are not moved by you, neither is it chased away by you. Even if you do not chase them away, they will go away. When thoughts move, it will suffice if you do not add "I am the one thinking"! Zen Master Lida's whole lengthy preface is only about one important point: the entirety is the manifestation of a jewel mirror samadhi, in it there is no you, me, her. How do we actualize this in daily living? That is to be one with all scenes and situations that you see, hear, sense and encounter, "being one with conditions" is the best and most realistic/practical method to put your effort in daily living.
2 Responses
  1. David Says:

    Many thanks Soh for this translation

  2. Zarathustra Says: