Original text in Chinese: http://www.wmxf.net/nr/7/74727.html

I told ChatGPT to translate a text from Chinese to English. Its ability to translate improved recently.


The excerpt is from "A Brief Explanation of 'Wu Xin Ming'" by Yuan Yin Lao Ren, originally published in the second issue of the "Zen" journal in 1990. This work elaborates on the "Wu Xin Ming" (Inscription of the Enlightened Mind), a profound Zen Buddhist text. Here's a brief summary and translation of the key points:

    Introduction to "Wu Xin Ming": The text emphasizes the importance of practicing the deep teachings of Buddhism through the compassion of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. This approach makes it easier to achieve a focused and enlightened state of mind. The practice is likened to using modern transportation compared to walking on foot, indicating efficiency and effectiveness.

    The Essence of "Wu Xin Ming": The poem "Wu Xin Ming" itself is composed of 40 lines, each with four characters, totaling 160 characters. Despite its brevity, it encapsulates the essence and key principles of achieving Buddhahood and understanding the mind. It's recommended for practitioners to recite and internalize this text daily.

    Key Teachings and Interpretations:
        The true nature of the mind is neither existent nor non-existent, akin to the flavor of salt in the sea or dye in a fabric – invisible yet undeniably present.
        The concept of 'emptiness' in Buddhism is explained as neither void nor existent. Everything is interdependent and arises due to conditions.
        True practice involves actively engaging with life's experiences, not avoiding them. One should practice mindfulness and awareness without attachment to what is seen or heard.
        True 'mindlessness' is achieved not by suppressing thoughts but by letting the mind be unattached and responsive to circumstances without lingering thoughts or biases.
        Delusions and ignorance are seen as illusions that can be dispelled through awareness and understanding. Once the nature of reality is understood, these fall away.
        Karmic obstacles and hindrances are overcome by recognizing the inherent emptiness of all phenomena and not clinging to any fixed state or concept.

    Conclusion: The path to enlightenment is essentially simple and direct, without need for complex practices or seeking external miracles. The true nature of reality and the mind is accessible and can be realized through clear understanding and practice.

The text emphasizes the importance of direct experience and realization in Zen practice, advocating for a practical approach to enlightenment that integrates daily life with spiritual understanding.
Wait. I want direct word by word translation instead

I understand. Let's translate the text word by word:

Yuan Yin Elder: "Enlightenment Heart Inscription" Brief Explanation

Originally published in the "Zen" journal, 1990, issue 2.

The full text of "Enlightenment Heart Inscription"

Brief Explanation

The esoteric method of the heart within the heart, relies on practicing through the power of the compassion bestowed by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Therefore, it's easy to attain focus, open up the original self (Soh: original Chinese words 本来 mean 'the primordial', not literally 'original self'), and realize the true heart.

Like traveling, self-practitioners rely solely on walking by their own feet. Practicing heart esoterism is like traveling by boat, car, or even airplane, thus it’s faster, more stable, and more effective.

The former teacher, Xiang Lu Gong, in order to help practitioners of heart esoterism to quickly realize the true heart and transcend the ordinary to enter sainthood, wrote "Enlightenment Heart Inscription," consisting of forty lines, each with four characters, totaling one hundred sixty characters. Although the text is short and the words are few, its meaning and rationale are rich and profound.

The entire true essence of becoming a Buddha and the essential tips for cultivating the heart are fully declared without omission.

It can truly be said to be a concise text with abundant meaning, a work of essence with simplicity in words and richness in meaning, and also a rare modern commentary on understanding the heart!

Scholars, in addition to practicing the method, should recite it several times daily until it is thoroughly memorized. Over time, upon encountering circumstances, they will immediately react, deriving great opportunities and uses from the true essence.

This is to help later learners understand its implicit profound meaning and easily realize the heart. Hence, a sentence-by-sentence brief explanation is provided. It is hoped that learners will treasure it and not overlook it!

⊙ The full text of "Enlightenment Heart Inscription"

不是有心 不是无心 不是不见 不是不闻 了了觉知
Not having a mind, not lacking a mind, not not seeing, not not hearing, clearly aware and knowing,

不著见闻 荡然无住 是名无心 心若无住 妄依何立
Not attached to seeing and hearing, completely unattached, this is called mindlessness. If the heart is unattached, where can delusion stand?

妄既不立 夙障自除 问心何来 因境而起 境亦不有
Once delusion does not establish, early obstacles remove themselves. Asking where the heart comes from, it arises due to circumstances, and the circumstances also do not exist.

同属幻影 妙用恒沙 尽是缘心 缘心息处 顿证无生
All belong to illusions, wonderful uses are as numerous as grains of sand, all are due to the heart. When the heart of conditions ceases, suddenly prove non-birth.

无生实相 非可眼见 杳杳冥冥 其中有精 证悟之者
Non-birth true nature, not visible to the eye, dark and obscure, within it there is essence, those who prove and realize it,

名曰见性 是故无求 心自宁一 无心可惑 即是大定
are called seeing the nature. Therefore, there is no seeking, the heart naturally becomes one, no heart can be confused, this is great concentration.

得大定者 无动无静 无得无失 无喜无嗔 本位不移
Those who attain great concentration are without movement, without stillness, without gain, without loss, without joy, without anger, their original position does not move,

起应万机 不变随缘 即无生死 成佛要诀 如是而已
respond to myriad situations, unchanged and following conditions, thus there is no birth and death. The essential secret to becoming a Buddha is just this.

⊙ Brief Explanation

The "Enlightenment Heart Inscription" begins by saying: 'Not having a mind, not lacking a mind.'

These two lines describe the essence and wonderful use of the clear and bright true heart. The clear and bright true heart belongs neither to existence nor to non-existence.

If you say it exists, there is no form to be seen, no sound to be heard; if you say it does not exist, in speaking or silence, moving or still, lying or sitting, there is nothing that is not it functioning.

Ancient sages likened it to 'the taste of salt in the sea,' 'the dye in the fabric,' though it cannot be seen, its essence truly exists.

Shakyamuni Buddha told us that it is the great treasure of true emptiness and wonderful existence, wonderful existence is true emptiness.

The so-called true emptiness is different from stubborn emptiness and annihilative emptiness. Because of wonderful existence, it is empty yet not empty, not empty yet empty.

The so-called wonderful existence is different from false existence or actual existence. Because of true emptiness, it exists yet does not exist, does not exist yet exists.

Next, speaking of its application, it is also neither existent nor non-existent, neither non-existent nor existent. If you say it does not exist, all forms and colors clearly appear before you, and its wonderful uses are as numerous as grains of sand;

if you say it exists, all forms and appearances, all arise due to conditions, without their own substance, the things it brings about, like the moon reflected in water, empty flowers,

are not graspable.

The "Heart Sutra" says: 'Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.' This means form and emptiness are not two, neither existent nor non-existent.

As all forms and appearances are manifestations of the wondrous body of true emptiness, and the wondrous body of true emptiness cannot manifest its function apart from form and appearance, nor does it exist beyond form and appearance.

Like the waves arising from water, water is the wave, the wave is the water; apart from the wave, water cannot be obtained; apart from water, the wave cannot be obtained.

When we practice, we must neither cling to forms and appearances as truly existent and get attached, nor deviate from forms and appearances, abandoning existence and clinging to emptiness.

Therefore, regardless of whether we are in formal seated meditation or active in application, we must have no preferences or aversions, in order to meet the principle of the Middle Way and walk the great path of true emptiness and wondrous existence.

When practitioners cultivate the method, and their deluded thoughts dissolve, then the mind of thought, the mantras they hold, all at once fall away. Internally the body and mind, externally the world, all simultaneously collapse, turning into nothingness.

Pure and naked, not clinging to a single thread, utterly unblemished by a speck of dust, yet clearly aware and distinct, not like wood or stone.

What is this threadless, empty brightness? If not the wonderfully clear true heart of the person, neither existent nor non-existent, vividly present, then what is it?!

At such a time, neither form nor emptiness can reach it, neither existence nor non-existence can touch it; when saying it is non-existent, it pervades the realm of Dharma; when saying it exists, not a hair stands; all philosophies, all crafts and skills, even the pure lands of all Buddhas and the countless beings, all merge within it.

The second line: 'Not not seeing, not not hearing.'

This teaches us in our practice, not to do it rigidly, but to lively and actively engage with circumstances to train the heart; not to close our eyes and not see, not to block our ears and not hear. We need to see without seeing anything, hear without hearing anything, to be able to flexibly use this skill and realize the great path.

I often see some who misuse their practice, closing their eyes, not seeing things, blocking their ears, not hearing sounds, thinking that in this way they can train their heart to emptiness and achieve enlightenment.

Little do they know that even if you close your eyes and block your ears, and your heart does not engage with circumstances, you can make your heart immovable. But once you open your eyes and unblock your ears, when your heart engages with circumstances, deluded thoughts inevitably continue to move along with sights and sounds.

Removing circumstances to extinguish the mind is not true enlightenment. Moreover, when closing eyes and blocking ears, it's not certain that the inner heart is not still subtly stirring!

Furthermore, closing eyes and blocking ears has a major drawback. If a practitioner uses this kind of effort and really achieves an immovable heart, then they have gone to the dead waters behind the dark mountains, not only unable to become a Buddha, but also risking becoming like wood, stone, or metal.

Therefore, practitioners must be cautious! To truly achieve a heart that is not turned by circumstances, one still relies on training within the realm of circumstances. As it is said in our lineage: 'Fall down on the ground, get up on the ground!' Leaving circumstances and seeking emptiness ultimately becomes a mere illusion!

The "Diamond Sutra" says: 'All phenomena are illusory!' All forms and sounds arise due to conditions, having no substance; no matter the beautiful sights before you, the wonderful sounds filling your ears, they are all but mirages, empty flowers, castles in the air, momentarily appearing illusions.

Recognizing this principle, then through the passage of time and thousands of times of arduous training in various circumstances, the heart naturally becomes peaceful and the spirit calm, encountering circumstances yet remaining unmoved.

Dongshan Zen Master in his "Five Ranks of Lords and Ministers" praises the fourth rank 'Arriving at the Middle' in the path of cultivation, saying: 'Arriving at the Middle, facing the clash of two blades, there's no need to

avoid, the skilled hand is like a lotus in fire, a man should have the ambition to reach the sky!' This teaches us to energetically apply our efforts and train our hearts through various circumstances, without avoiding sights and sounds, in order to initiate great opportunities and functions in the future.

The third line: 'Clearly aware and knowing, not attached to seeing and hearing.'

This follows the previous two lines 'Not not seeing, not not hearing,' and further explains how to flexibly practice, so as not to go astray.

Our practice is to become a living Buddha, so it is not about sitting still, sinking into empty stillness, sitting behind the dark mountains, and thus achieving the way.

Yunmen says: 'This very seeing and hearing is not seeing and hearing, no other sounds or colors can be presented to you!' Clearly and lucidly telling us, do you want to thoroughly see the true heart? It's right where you see colors and hear sounds.

Realize who is it that sees colors and hears sounds? Away from this base of seeing colors and hearing sounds, you have nowhere to seek it; if you are attached to seeing colors and hearing sounds, and are deluded by sights and sounds, you also cannot see it.

What a flexible practice this is, how could sitting motionless, not seeing, and not hearing lead to seeing the path? It is also said: 'The great path of mysterious emptiness inherently has no attachment, seeing colors and hearing sounds does not require deafness!'

It can be seen that in practicing, one must be lively, not rigid; being rigid not only prevents one from achieving the path but also risks falling into external demonic influences.

Therefore, our former teacher tells us, in practicing, we must actively apply it in walking, standing, sitting, lying, in movement and stillness, in leisure and busyness, not being ignorant like wood or stone, but clearly aware; although clearly aware, we also must not be attached to sounds and colors!

In other words, we need to see without seeing anything, hear without hearing anything, not simply not seeing or not hearing; this is how we achieve flexible and wonderful use.

Even while sitting, we must have proper mindfulness, be clearly aware and not fall into obliviousness or ignorance, not sinking into dullness or forgetfulness.

Master Yongjia says: 'Wakeful silence is right, wakeful wild thoughts are not; silent wakefulness is right, silent forgetfulness is not.' This is the footnote to 'Clearly aware and knowing, not attached to seeing and hearing.'

The fourth line: 'Completely unattached, this is called mindlessness.'

We usually think that mindlessness means not having a single thought, and not having a single thought means suppressing thoughts from arising.

Therefore, everyone uses the effort of rigid suppression, pressing down thoughts to prevent them from arising, thinking that not having a single thought is good practice, and that the longer the duration of not having a single thought, the more progress in practice. Little do they know that continuing in this rigid way not only prevents becoming a Buddha but might turn one into wood, stone, or metal!

For a Buddha is a lively and greatly awakened being, a great man with as many wondrous uses as grains of sand. How could he be like a dead block of wood or stone, a sculpted image without any awareness?

In practicing, if one does not train oneself in various different circumstances, and the heart has no dwelling, merely rigidly suppressing thoughts from arising, what wonderful use can be achieved?

Have you not seen the case of the Sixth Patriarch saving the Zen Master Wo Lun? Initially, Wo Lun thought suppressing thoughts from arising was good practice, hence he had a verse: 'Wo Lun has a trick, can sever a hundred thoughts, the heart does not arise towards circumstances, Bodhi grows day by day!' The Sixth Patriarch, upon seeing this, knew he had entered a dead-end path and thus saved him, saying: 'Hui Neng has no trick, does not sever a hundred thoughts, the heart arises several times towards circumstances, how does Bodhi grow!' Wo Lun, realizing his mistake and correcting it, then began to enter the path.

It is known that mindlessness is not about suppressing thoughts from arising, nor is it about extending the duration of no-thought for improvement

The true practice of mindlessness involves responding to circumstances and interacting with things while the heart remains unattached; managing myriad tasks daily without the intentions being tainted. Just like painting on water, as soon as the brush touches, the water immediately merges back leaving no trace. This is the true excellent practice of mindlessness.

The "Diamond Sutra" says: 'Let the mind be born without abiding anywhere!' The word '应' (should) in '应无所住' (should abide nowhere) is often misunderstood as '应当' (ought to) or '应该' (should), as in a prescriptive sense. In fact, this '应' is about 'responding to circumstances and interacting with things'. It teaches us to handle all events in daily life, to respond to all beings, with a heart that abides nowhere and is completely unattached. It's not just telling us that theoretically we should or ought to abide nowhere.

Therefore, no-thought is alive, arising in response to conditions without dwelling or being stained; it's not about suppressing thoughts and being dead still. We just need to have thoughts arise without dwelling, not clinging, not lingering, using them as they come and letting them go, this is no-thought.

A monk asked Zhaozhou: 'What is no-thought?' Zhaozhou said: 'Playing a ball on rapid water!' Later, Zhaozhou also asked a disciple: 'Playing a ball on rapid water, what does it mean?' The disciple said: 'Thought after thought without lingering!' It can be seen that no-thought means thoughts arise without dwelling, not that no-thought is having no thoughts arise.

Furthermore, Zen Master Lanrong in his "Verses on No-Mind" said: 'Exactly when using the mind, exactly then is no-mind in use; no-mind is exactly in use, constantly used, exactly not there!' That is, even when the mind is in use, it's as if no mind is being used, perfectly expressing the intent and wonderful use of no-mind.

The fifth line: 'If the heart has no dwelling, where can delusion stand?'


Every cultivator detests the deluded mind and wants to eliminate it, to overthrow it. Little do they know that delusion fundamentally does not exist; it's just thoughts wreaking havoc. All external circumstances are like the moon reflected in water, not truly existing. Sentient beings, in ignorance, mistakenly believe them to be real, cling to them, and do not let go, thus creating delusions.

If one can be instantly aware and shatter the illusory realm, then delusions immediately turn into nothingness. Like a person dreaming, who also believes it to be real while dreaming, but upon waking, there is no trace left.

The true heart is like mirror light, all colors, sounds, fragrances, tastes, touches, and phenomena are like reflections in the mirror. Ordinary people, in their ignorance, turn their backs on the mirror light and chase after the reflections, creating karma and receiving retribution, unable to escape birth and death. The practitioners of the two vehicles, although not attached to the dust of the world, also turn their backs on the reflections and dwell in the light. By having a dwelling, they again create delusive dharmas, only escaping segmented birth and death, not escaping changing birth and death. Practitioners of the one vehicle, who thoroughly understand both the Buddha's teachings and worldly laws, are neither just reflections nor apart from reflections. As all reflections are created by the mirror light, the mirror is the reflection, the reflection is the mirror; apart from the mirror, there is no reflection, apart from the reflection, there is no mirror. As they deeply know that both reflections and mirror are without dwelling, they should have no feelings of love or hatred in their hearts, no attachments or rejections in circumstances.

Therefore, practitioners need not fear delusions, but should deeply comprehend the profound intent of the one vehicle. In circumstances, have no grasping or rejecting, no joy or anger, then delusions will eliminate themselves.

Furthermore, many practitioners consider 'ignorance' difficult to break through, and are deeply fearful of it. In fact, what is called 'ignorance' also does not truly exist; it's just the deluded mind playing tricks, clinging to the dust of the world, confused and

unaware, merely a nominal designation.

If the practitioner can be instantly and firmly aware, then the realm of delusion is shattered, and ignorance naturally dissipates. Like a lamp in a thousand-year-old dark room can illuminate, there's no need for a gradual elimination. Therefore, what is called 'ignorance', 'deluded mind', is simply due to our own unawareness. If we can always observe and be sharply aware everywhere, making our hearts clear and spacious, without any dwelling or attachment, what worry is there of not breaking through ignorance or not stopping the deluded mind?

The sixth line: 'Once delusion does not establish, early obstacles remove themselves.'

The heart by nature is communicative and unobstructed; it's only by being entangled in delusion and attaching to appearances that obstacles are formed. What are called 'early obstacles' are the deluded habits accumulated through many lives and eons of deluded actions and karma. These obstacles obscure the clarity of our true nature, preventing us from freely enjoying it, and again resulting in endless suffering, hardship, and affliction.

Now that we know all phenomena are fundamentally empty, the heart harbors no obstacles, and karma does not exist, where can the illusory obstacles reside? Great Master Daimei said: 'All karmic obstacles, in the presence of an enlightened person, are like hot soup melting ice, light dispelling darkness, with nowhere to rest.' Indeed, what are called 'obstacles' are also just nominal, without any real substance. The sutras say: 'Sin arises from the heart, and is also extinguished by the heart.' And: 'When the heart arises, various obstacles arise; when the heart ceases, various obstacles cease.' If one can directly attain a state of no-mind, then delusion has no place to stand, and once delusion does not establish, the early obstacles remove themselves.

Some say 'current karma is easy to eliminate, fixed karma is hard to avoid; mental karma is easy to remove, physical karma is hard to extinguish.' This cannot be generalized. Didn't Bodhidharma tell the Second Patriarch Shen Guang: 'You will have the retribution of being killed, but to spare the Dharma from slander, this debt can be forgiven.' Also, an ancient sage who had a stroke and a crooked mouth was laughed at by an attendant saying: 'The monk curses the Buddha and scolds the ancestors all day, today he receives his retribution.' The ancient sage said: 'You have attended me for decades and see me like this? Know that all karmic obstacles in a patriarch's body are like empty flowers and moon in water, although retribution is repaid, it's like not being repaid. And if it needs to be repaid, then repay; if not, then don't. Do you see my mouth crooked or not?' As he spoke, he slapped his mouth with his hand, and his mouth straightened, then scolded the attendant: 'You and all sentient beings create the idea of karmic obstacles in the fundamental emptiness, and create the idea of repayment in the unrepayable. That's why karmic obstacles are endless and troublesome.' From this, it is known that all karmic obstacles are related to the mind; if the mind is truly empty, there is no obstacle, nor is there anything to repay or not to repay. Since there is neither repayment nor non-repayment, one need not cling to non-repayment as non-repayment, just repay and still it's like not repaying.

A monk asked an ancient sage: 'What is karmic obstacle?' The sage said: 'Fundamentally empty!' The monk further asked: 'What is fundamentally empty?' The sage said: 'Karmic obstacle!' Fundamental emptiness is not stubborn emptiness or annihilative emptiness, but the very nature of all things, karmic obstacles, is fundamentally empty of anything at all. Thus, even though the Second Patriarch Shen Guang, having received the instruction from the First Patriarch, still went to repay the debt of being killed after transmitting the Dharma to the Third Patriarch, he showed no difficulty, and at the moment of execution, he sang loudly: 'Bringing my head to the blade is like cutting the spring breeze!' What a spirit! This is truly a grand example of enlightenment.

第七句:“问心何来?因境而起。” 心本无生因境有! 这是毗舍浮佛的名言? 我人之心—即思想本来没有因对境而生起影像,执著不舍,才生起妄想,这就是心。这个心是根—心、尘—境集合而生起的,所以叫作‘集起为心’,它是六尘落谢的影子,纯属虚幻,无有实体。佛经中所说的‘一切唯心造’和‘三界唯心,万法唯识’的‘心’字就是指这个由客观外境反映而生起的虚幻影像心,所以它也是外境,也是客体,而且也不离物质,不可把它看作主观的心!当作主宰世界的真神而宝贝它。

The seventh sentence: "Where does the mind come from? It arises due to conditions." The mind originally has no birth but exists due to circumstances. Is this a famous saying of Vasubandhu? Our mind, or thoughts, originally does not exist; it forms images in response to circumstances. Clinging to these and not letting go gives rise to delusions; this is what the mind is. This mind, arising from the combination of the root—mind and the dust—circumstances, is therefore called 'the mind that arises from collection', a shadow of the six dusts, purely illusory, without any real substance. The term 'mind' in the Buddhist scriptures, 'All is made by the mind' and 'The three realms are only mind, all dharmas are only consciousness', refers to this illusory mind-image that arises from the reflection of objective external conditions. Therefore, it is also an external environment, an object, and is not separate from matter. It should not be considered as the subjective mind or revered as the true deity that rules the world.

Continuing the translation from where we left off:


In our practice, we must not only avoid attachment to the myriad phenomena of the external world but also extinguish this illusory and delusional mind. The so-called mind and body internally, and the world externally, collapse together, revealing the wondrously clear true mind. Conversely, treating this illusory mind as a subjective entity obscures our true nature. Therefore, when we say 'All is made by the mind' in Buddhism, it means treating it as an objective entity to be extinguished, not as the ruler of all things. This is an important distinction for Buddhists to understand to avoid misunderstanding.

第八句:“境亦不有!同属幻影!” 经云:“心不自心,因境故心;境不自境,因心故境。”这就把心与境,境与心的相因相成的关系说得一清二楚。心既因境而有,境亦不能离心独立,因境系因缘生!无有自体。比如镜影!虽有万别千差之相,如无镜光,影不能现;境亦如是,无心境无成,即或有美景佳境,无心领受鉴赏,有亦同无。以境不自境,不自谓为美妙胜境也。心与境既相对而生,离一即无,则境与心,皆非真实,同属虚幻之影明矣。或许有人要说,娑婆世界所有景物,皆我人共业所招的业果,假而非真,谓为幻影,可以说得;至于西方极乐世界,乃阿弥陀佛多生历劫精勤修行,为广大众生造福,积累功德,缘熟果满所感之真境,似不可谓为幻影。

The eighth sentence: "Circumstances also do not exist! They belong to illusions!" The sutra says, "The mind does not exist by itself; it exists because of circumstances. Circumstances do not exist by themselves; they exist because of the mind." (Comments by Soh: in Chinese there is no 'exists because' but rather more like 'due to environment, hence mind', indicating dependent origination and dependent designation. It is however not asserting dependent existence which is another extreme negated by Nagarjuna, see: https://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2021/02/the-correct-view-of-dependent.html), This clearly states the interdependent relationship between mind and circumstances. The mind exists due to circumstances, and circumstances cannot exist independently of the mind, as they arise from conditions and lack inherent existence. Like a reflection in a mirror, despite the myriad differences in appearance, without the mirror's light, no reflection can be seen; similarly, without the mind, circumstances cannot be established. Even beautiful landscapes, if not perceived and appreciated by the mind, are as good as non-existent. Since circumstances don't exist independently, they cannot be considered as inherently beautiful or sublime. Both mind and circumstances arise interdependently, and without one, the other cannot exist, making them both unreal and merely illusory reflections. Some might argue that the phenomena of the Saha world are the karmic results collectively created by us, and are therefore unreal and illusory. However, the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss, created by Amitabha Buddha through eons of diligent practice for the benefit of all beings, accumulating merit and virtue, and thus manifesting a realm of fruition, seems not to be merely an illusion.

Please let me know if you would like me to continue with the next sections.

Continuing the translation:


This matter deserves thorough discussion. Nowadays, many practice the Pure Land Buddhism. If the true nature of the Pure Land is not understood clearly, and what it really entails is not comprehended, then the practice will not be effective. Furthermore, achieving deep realization of Buddha-recitation Samadhi and attaining a high-level rebirth in the Pure Land will be difficult.


Firstly, in terms of their characteristics, the Saha world is the result of karmic obstacles created by sentient beings, manifesting as the five turbidities and evil outcomes. In contrast, the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss is a pure realm resulting from the fulfillment of Amitabha Buddha's vows and virtues. Thus, one is tainted and vile, and the other is wondrous and dignified; there is a significant difference. However, the land arises from the mind: without the mind, there is no land; without the land, there is no mind. Thus, the sutra says, "To purify the land, first purify the mind!" "As the mind is purified, so is the Buddha-land!" This teaches us to understand what the Pure Land truly is, enabling us to properly engage in practice and attain it, to avoid merely chasing after external forms and going astray.


Since there is no mind beyond the land, and no land beyond the mind, and they are inseparable, and the one true Dharma realm — the true mind — neither increases in the sacred nor decreases in the mundane, the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss emanates from the pure and wondrous true mind. How can the defiled land of Saha be separated from the pure nature of the Buddha? Therefore, although the Pure Land is pure and Saha is defiled, both are manifestations within the true mind, like reflections in the mirror's light. Despite their differences in form and purity, they are like the moon in the water, fundamentally ungraspable. One should not mistakenly believe that the pure reflection of the moon in the Pure Land can be obtained.

Please let me know if you would like me to continue further.



Regarding truth and falsehood, the "Diamond Sutra" says, 'All appearances are illusory.' As mentioned earlier, all appearances are like reflections in a mirror, fundamentally unattainable. Thus, they are illusory, not real. The distinction between purity and impurity, beauty and ugliness does not determine truth or falsehood. Hence, the Pure Land, despite its utmost goodness and beauty, is also an illusory appearance. Further, labeling something as true or false is a mistake of ordinary people who cling to appearances and arbitrarily differentiate. The so-called truth and falsehood exist only in relation to each other; without one, the other cannot be grasped. Thus, they are all false labels. When truth is declared, falsehood is implied within it; when falsehood is mentioned, truth is also present. As the proverb goes, 'When the false is taken for true, the true also becomes false.' Isn't it a self-inflicted disturbance to fabricate truth and falsehood where neither exists?


Furthermore, since a mirror necessarily reflects images, the true mind does not exist without illusory appearances, and without appearances, the true mind cannot manifest. Therefore, the "Amitabha Sutra" proclaims the splendor of the Pure Land; because the image is not separate from the mirror, illusory appearances do not exist without the true mind, and without the true mind, these illusory appearances cannot form. Thus, the "Diamond Sutra" reveals the wonderful essence, and no single Dharma stands alone. As nature and appearance are inseparable, closely related like water and its waves, seeing the appearance is seeing the nature. Nothing is fundamentally real, hence the entirely false is true; seeing the nature does not negate appearance, completing the marvelous function of differentiation, thus the entirely true is false. True and false, false and true, are all the workings of our deluded mind. In reality, it is the miraculous true mind, with nothing being established, what can be said about truth and falsehood?

Would you like me to continue with the translation?



Therefore, if the Pure Land is said to be true, then the Saha world is also true; if the Saha world is deemed false, then the Pure Land is also false. Thus, both the pure and impure lands originate from the one true Dharma realm. It is not appropriate for entangled ordinary people, who obscure the true mind and create karma to receive retribution, to deny their spiritual nature, claiming that the manifest impure land and its karmic appearances do not emanate from the true mind of Buddha-nature.


Furthermore, speaking of the Pure Land, there are four types of lands and nine levels of birth. The lowest level, where ordinary beings and sages coexist, has various splendid and wonderful aspects. However, as one ascends to higher realms such as the Land of Expediency and the Land of Reward, the appearances become increasingly subtle and wondrous. In the highest Pure Land of Constant Serenity, the features are even more pure and subtly luminous, with no distinct forms established. Despite this, they do not transcend the three aforementioned lands. Therefore, those who practice with attachment to appearances only achieve rebirth in the lower realms, while those who perceive the nature of emptiness can be born in the higher realms. Thus, true practitioners of the Pure Land, not clinging to nor discarding appearances, let go of everything. They sit upright with sincere respect, holding onto the name, using their breath as a rosary, reciting continuously day and night, tirelessly, and attain the samadhi of Buddha-recitation. By then, they don't have to wait for life's end to be born in the west; they have already secured a position in the higher lotus realms.





The ninth verse: "The wondrous use of myriad grains of sand all arises from the mind."

As mentioned before, in our practice, we should not suppress thoughts to the point of extinguishing delusional mind; rather, we should let thoughts arise without engaging or continuing the chain of attachment. The reason is that in the future, for significant and profound functions, we will still rely on this delusional mind. If this delusional mind is completely suppressed, the true mind will not be able to manifest its wondrous use. Like water producing waves due to wind, if the waves cease completely, there will be no water. The "Surangama Sutra" states, 'At all times, do not give rise to deluded thoughts,' followed by 'Do not extinguish all deluded minds.' This teaches us to employ a dynamic practice to initiate the future wondrous use of prajna.


All our daily activities, creations, and inventions are the wondrous use of this 'delusional mind.' Without it, we would be like fools or idiots, incapable of accomplishing anything. Among ordinary beings, it is this mind that functions; even in the future, when we become sage-like, the great divine functions that arise cannot be separated from it. However, among ordinary beings, due to attachment, it is called delusional mind or consciousness. Among the sages, having eradicated all attachments, it is referred to as prajna or spiritual wisdom.




I once asked someone: How far apart are the consciousness-spirit and Suchness? The listener was shocked, saying that Suchness and the consciousness-spirit are entirely different - one is the true mind and the other is delusional consciousness; how can they be compared? They cited a verse by Zen Master Xuan Sha to support their argument: "Those who learn the Way do not recognize the truth, for they have always recognized the spirit; the source of birth and death for countless eons, the fool calls it the original person!" Hearing this, I couldn't help but laugh and said: "Do you recognize the 'original person'? If not, Suchness turns into the consciousness-spirit; if recognized, then the consciousness-spirit is Suchness itself, where is the distinction? As previously mentioned, waves are essentially water, and without waves, there is no water; if one seeks water apart from waves, where can it be found? Moreover, water that does not generate waves is merely dead water, incapable of grandeur. Suchness without the consciousness-spirit is like a foolish child, unable to be utilized. The verse by Xuan Sha is not condemning the consciousness-spirit; the crux of the issue is whether one recognizes the 'original person.' If recognized, the consciousness-spirit, directed by the master, accomplishes all magnificent and vast wondrous uses; if not recognized, then it is like a wicked servant overpowering its master, betraying and causing chaos."





The tenth verse: 'Where the mind's conditions cease, one instantaneously realizes the unborn.'

The sutra says: 'Subduing the wild mind is Bodhi.' This principle is similar to what we have discussed earlier about shadows and mirrors, water and waves. Just as shadows cannot be separated from mirrors and waves from water, delusional minds are not apart from Bodhi, the true awakening. Because they are inseparable, removing the delusional mind means there is no true awakening. Thus, practitioners must personally realize the true nature of Suchness, which is neither born nor dies. One should not seek to remove delusional thoughts by any means, but only practice the technique of 'cessation', bringing the mind that clings to conditions to a halt. Just as waves cease to exist independently of water, the wonderful and clear true mind becomes vividly apparent.




If practitioners truly understand that all external phenomena are like sun flares or empty flowers, having no substantial existence, and thus do not cling to them, nor give rise to delusional thoughts, then their spirit becomes serene and their wisdom clear, their inner light shines uniquely. The heart is pure and bright, reflecting things like a mirror, without attachment or rejection, without love or hatred. Although clearly aware, not a single thought arises; without a single thought arising, still clearly aware. In that very moment, they personally realize the true nature of the unborn. There is no need for any clumsy efforts beyond calming the mind.



All methods, whether it's chanting Buddha's name, mantra recitation, or Zen meditation, are merely tools and means for the practice of 'calming' the mind. They teach you to calm the restless mind through these practices, thereby revealing the true nature and clearly perceiving the true heart. It is not about obtaining anything special or mysterious from chanting, reciting, or meditating. The ancient sages said: 'In Buddhism, there is no place where effort of mind is needed!' And also: 'Eating and dressing are it; the moment you raise a thought, you deviate!' As all sentient beings inherently possess the Buddha nature, it is not to be obtained from outside, there is no need to seek or grasp it, hence no effort is required. On the contrary, exerting effort to seek externally, to acquire from others, only leads to further distance and harder it is to obtain. Thus, Buddhism is the ultimate effort-saving undertaking, unlike worldly matters which require dreary planning and painstaking efforts to achieve. Laozi said: 'In pursuing the Tao, one reduces daily.' If a practitioner can let go of all their knowledge, understanding, and everything they have, then the restless mind calms down, and the state of no birth is suddenly realized. There is truth in the saying, 'No need for effort where the search ends, the iron shoes are worn through in vain.'





Verses 11 and 12: 'The true aspect of non-birth is not visible to the eye; in the profound and obscure, there is essence.'

This non-arising and non-ceasing, non-coming and non-going, unincreasing and undiminishing nature of Suchness is a great and equal true aspect, vast without exterior, minute without interior. The "Diamond Sutra" states: 'All phenomena are illusions.' The aspects of phenomena, being dependent on causes and conditions, have no self-nature, thus they are illusory and unreal; the true aspect is the great and pure aspect without characteristics. This great aspect is signless, thus not visible to the eye. But when the practice reaches the point where the bottom of the barrel falls out, and subject and object are both gone, the eye of the mind can see the Way. However, this 'seeing' is not seeing with the eyes, but understanding, realizing, experiencing, and comprehending. Although it is profound and obscure, with no characteristics to be seen or flavors to be smelled, it is not annihilation or empty nothingness, but has 'true essence' and 'wonderful body.' This 'true essence, wonderful body,' in other words, is 'the spirit of wisdom beyond thoughts.' When your practice reaches the point where all attachments to roots and dust fall away, and both self and Dharma are forgotten, spontaneously comes the divine knowledge, instantly realizing and verifying this pure, unadorned, and bright true essence, which is your original nature.

Having realized this wondrous nature, looking back, since the reflection cannot be apart from the mirror, everything that is seen, heard, or touched - the myriad forms and phenomena - are none other than its—true essence—manifestation, its wonderful use, its commentary. For the practitioner at this stage, they constantly hear and see the Dharma, everywhere realizing the true nature. The Sixth Patriarch said: 'A true seer of nature, even in the midst of battle, is still seeing nature.' Dazhi said: 'A fully enlightened person can even see the Way with the naked eye.' The wonderful principle of non-duality of nature and characteristics is thoroughly revealed in a single phrase.




Verse 13: 'Those who realize and enlighten are called seers of nature.'

The term 'understanding the mind and seeing the nature' is often viewed by modern practitioners as an unattainable feat, reserved for saints and sages, far beyond the reach of ordinary people. To be liberated from life and death, they feel compelled to constantly recite Amitabha Buddha's name, aspiring for rebirth in the Western Pure Land. However, what they do not realize is that understanding the mind and seeing the nature is not an insurmountable task, nor is it unattainable (the rationale for this has been elaborated in my article "A Brief Discussion on Understanding the Mind and Seeing the Nature," which I will not repeat here). We simply follow the aforementioned method, quieting the restless mind, not attaching to external circumstances, not extinguishing right mindfulness, and not seeking the extraordinary or mysterious. In this state of clear and unobstructed awareness, no thoughts arise; although no thoughts arise, awareness is clear and distinct, not falling into obscurity or oblivion. This is the 'true essence' mentioned in the previous section as 'profound and obscure, within which there is essence,' also what Master Yongjia referred to as 'serenely alert, alertly serene.' Practitioners should seize the moment, in this critical instant of clear and thought-free awareness, to grasp it, which is called seeing the nature. If one pauses to contemplate, they will be deluded by its shadows; if one abandons this in search of something else, or doubts its profundity, it will be unattainable.




Master Dongshan's "Five Ranks of Master and Servant," in the verse of 'Right in the Middle' states: 'Right in the middle, like a woman encountering an old mirror, seeing face to face, there is nothing else true. Do not be further confused and recognize only the reflection!' This serves as a crucial admonition for us at critical moments to focus sharply, understand intuitively, and not miss the opportunity. In this light, understanding the mind and seeing the nature is not so difficult.

After initially seeing the nature, a practitioner is not yet complete. Continuous reflection, encountering and practicing with various circumstances, diligent cultivation, and eradicating habitual tendencies are needed to truly transcend life and death. Otherwise, encountering circumstances creates a mind of delusion, with ceaseless wandering thoughts, leading to confusion even after enlightenment, and life and death remain unresolved. Therefore, the ancients often engaged in the 'herding the ox' practice after enlightenment, diligently maintaining it to achieve maturity. Instant enlightenment, instant cultivation, and instant verification do occur, but they are rare and cannot be generalized. After the stage of 'Right in the Middle,' Master Dongshan further emphasizes the stage of 'Arriving at the Middle,' teaching us that after seeing the nature, we must not be complacent but continue practicing amidst various circumstances, thoroughly removing delusions and progressing to ultimate realization. Regarding this, there is a saying in our lineage about three barriers: first, breaking through initial understanding to see the true nature—cutting off all streams; second, diligently nurturing and protecting the holy embryo, being unobstructed in all circumstances, to the point of no longer needing protection—encompassing the universe; third, letting go of everything, capable of entering both the Buddha and demon realms, where the path is the home, and the home is the path—flowing with the current.






The fourteenth verse: 'Therefore, without seeking, the mind naturally finds peace.'

The ancients said: 'One reaches a high state when there's no seeking!' Seeking is merely a reflection of clinging to circumstances and appearances. If the heart is truly empty, not seeing anything, what is there to seek? Some might say: 'It's not about seeking other things, but seeking rebirth in the Western Pure Land, achieving Buddhahood.' To this, it's replied: 'We are originally Buddhas, there's no need to seek; seeking makes it invisible.' As mentioned earlier, calming the restless mind is itself enlightenment; just calm it, there's no need to seek. Master Fazang said: 'Every night, embracing the Buddha in sleep, every morning, rising together.' The Buddha's light is always shining at the door of your six senses, not missing a bit. What else is there to seek?

Regarding seeking rebirth in the Western Pure Land, one only needs to single-mindedly recite the Buddha's name. Apart from recitation, there should be no other thoughts. It's said that all of the Buddha is in the mind, and all of the mind is the Buddha. The paths of mind and Buddha intersect, becoming one. Thus, one will certainly be reborn in the Pure Land. Amitabha Buddha is the Buddha within each person's mind, and the Pure Land is the ultimate bliss inherent in one's own mind. Reciting the Buddha's name awakens the Amitabha within one's own heart, leading to rebirth in the inherent Pure Land of one's own heart. Why seek it elsewhere? In recitation, valuing single-mindedness, which is no-mind. Since it is no-mind, what else is there to seek? If one focuses on a Buddha outside the mind, seeking a land beyond one's heart, that strays far from the path. Moreover, those who achieve the Samadhi of Buddha-recitation do not see distinctions between mind, Buddha, sentient beings, East, and West. Even in birth, there is no birth; in non-birth, there is nothing that is not born. Why then seek rebirth? Moreover, in seeking to the extreme, there is no seeking. Thus, those who engage in seeking, when taken to the extreme, return to a state of no seeking, no grasping. Rebirth in the West is inseparable from faith, aspiration, and practice. With diligent practice, constantly reciting the Buddha's name, faith and aspiration are inherent in it.






If we can truly achieve a state of no seeking and no grasping, then the heart, without seeking, finds peace and, without desire, becomes unified. When one's practice reaches this state, one can return home and sit steadily, cease learning and doing, live leisurely, and enjoy freedom and ease.

The fifteenth verse: 'No mind to be deluded, that is great concentration.'

Regarding concentration, people usually think there is a distinction between entering and leaving concentration. Sitting here motionless, without thinking, eating, or urinating is entering concentration; any movement or speech is leaving concentration. In fact, this misunderstands the meaning of concentration. Sitting motionless here is 'dead concentration,' not 'great concentration.' Great concentration has no entry or exit. It is about being undeluded by any circumstances, spontaneously responding to conditions without attachment. This is not merely sitting motionlessly and entering a state. As Confucianism illustrates: 'Unchanged in face of the collapse of Mount Tai; unmoved by the prancing of a deer.' Just sitting motionlessly, suppressing thoughts and extinguishing perceptions, is not true liberation. No matter how long one achieves such concentration, once the period passes, thoughts and attachments arise, and karma is created, leading to rebirth. Such 'dead concentration' is not ultimate. It's like placing a rock on grass: when the rock is removed, the grass grows back. Nanyue's act of 'grinding a brick to make a mirror' for Mazu was to save him from such dead concentration.

Practitioners of Mahayana Buddhism do not seek this kind of dead concentration, as it's not ultimate and does not lead to true benefit. In the past, Emperor Liang went hunting and found an ancient stump that had been in concentration for five hundred years. Astonished and admiring it, he wanted to compare it with Master Zhi Gong and arranged for court ladies to bathe naked with them. Initially, the ancient stump could see and hear freely, but then had to close its eyes and eventually had to push away the ladies and flee. In contrast, Zhi Gong remained composed and unflustered, a sign of true active concentration. Thus, true concentration is not about sitting motionlessly or for a long duration but about training the mind in various circumstances, remaining undeluded by them, and responding greatly without being affected.

Shall I continue translating?





Furthermore, regarding the truth of concentration without entering or exiting, the case of Chan Master Zhihui's entry into the path and the recorded case of the woman in concentration in the "Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch" are clear proofs of this, leaving no room for doubt.

Verses 16 to 18: "Those who achieve great concentration are unmoving and still, without gain or loss, free from joy or anger, their original position unwavering, responding to myriad situations."

As previously mentioned, great concentration is about the heart being undeluded, not about sitting motionless. This further describes how one should behave when undeluded by circumstances. Often, practitioners can maintain concentration in stillness but lose it in motion; they can be concentrated while sitting but lose it when they get up. Some are happy when they get what they want and troubled when they don't; pleased when things go their way and angry when they don't. Those who can only remain still and become agitated by circumstances are not truly concentrated. Those who truly achieve great concentration are the same in motion and stillness, in busyness and tranquility, unaffected by success or failure, gain or loss, love or hate, joy or anger, perception or cognition. Their minds are as clean as washed, lively and freely following circumstances, responding appropriately without being confined in a clean mountain forest or disordered in a bustling city; they are not lost or change their original position in any situation. Thus, great concentration transcends the superficial aspects of things and wanders beyond the dust of emotions, unaffected by any circumstances, and achieves true benefit, not like being chained and locked, dead in one place.

In our daily interactions, we practice responding to things and circumstances with an unattached, unanchored heart, which is maintaining our original position. This position is the position of the One Vehicle Dharma realm, or the Buddha position. The "Lotus Sutra" says, "This Dharma abides in its position, and the appearance of the world remains constant." Simply put, it means doing everything without thinking of doing, speaking without thinking of speaking, displaying myriad forms without thinking of displaying. In this way, though acting, speaking, and displaying, it is as if one has not acted, spoken, or displayed anything, and yet it is not that one does not act, speak, or display. This is maintaining the original position and responding to myriad situations, which is the constant appearance of the world. (To further explain the constant appearance of the world: 1. All appearances of things arise from the true mind, which is said to abide in its position, and since the true mind is constant, so are the appearances. 2. There are changes in the appearances of things, like the sea turning into mulberry fields, but they are continuous and not annihilated. For example, although water and the moon have their ebb and flow and waxing and waning, there is never an end to the flow or changes. 3. All appearances of things are illusory and unarisen, so they are also unceasing.) The "Avatamsaka Sutra" says, "From past to present, never departing from the current thought; across the boundless sea of worlds, no separation between self and others at the tip of a hair." As the aspects of time and space arise and perish due to deluded thoughts and distinctions, if no thought arises, one transcends the three times vertically and pervades the ten directions horizontally. Any event from the distant past is clearly present before you. For example, when Master Zhi Zhe recited the "Lotus Sutra" up to the "Medicine King" chapter and entered the expedient means before the samadhi of the Lotus Flower, he personally verified the undispersed assembly at Vulture Peak, which is the ironclad proof of the constant appearance of the world.







Verse 19: "Unchanging according to conditions, there is no birth and death."

It is well known that learning Buddhism and practicing the path is for the sake of liberation from birth and death. But how can one truly be liberated from birth and death? This question might not be clear to every Buddhist practitioner. There are two kinds of birth and death: one is the segmented birth and death, and the other is the changing birth and death. Segmented birth and death, the cycle of the six realms, is relatively easy to understand. Changing birth and death is a formless birth and death outside the cycle of the six realms, a barrier of incomplete practice, and is more difficult for ordinary people to comprehend. Let me explain briefly: Although Arhats and other Hinayana sages have severed the two defilements of view and thought and are free from the suffering of the cycle of segmented birth and death, they lean towards the emptiness doctrine, thinking that there is something to practice, a path to achieve, birth and death to be liberated from

and nirvana to be realized. They cling to the pure lands beyond the known barriers, dwelling in dharma, not thinking of changing their form or adapting to conditions to liberate beings, and their ignorance of the unknown is not yet exhausted. This is a form of birth and death due to clinging to dharma, a form of birth and death in the absence of birth and death.

To liberate from this kind of birth and death, one must first understand that practicing dharma is like taking medicine, and should not be clung to; then, one must realize that birth, death, nirvana, etc., are like empty flowers, with no birth and death to be liberated from, no nirvana to be realized, no dharma to stand on, no wisdom to be obtained. Furthermore, one must comprehend, activate great functions and adapt to conditions, broadly liberate beings while maintaining the original position unchanged, not just remaining unmoved in dharma. The "Heart Sutra" is about first emptying the delusions of ordinary beings’ roots, dust, and consciousness, then emptying the dharma delusions of the four noble truths and the twelve links of dependent origination of the Hinayana sages, and finally emptying the wisdom delusions of bodhisattvas, activating great functions, returning to the state of no attainment, and thereby realizing Anuttarā-Samyak-Saṃbodhi.

The truly liberated from birth and death is characterized by no dharma to obtain and unchanging according to conditions. Even though wandering through the six realms without seeing any difference in birth and death, adapting to conditions, transforming the form, and liberating all beings, the original position remains unchanged, and no being is seen as liberated. Once, a monk asked Master Dazui, "Where will the respected teacher be reborn after entering nirvana?" Dazui replied, "I will be a horse in the east and a cow in the west." The monk praised his complete enlightenment, the state of no dharma, adapting to different kinds of beings, with his true nature unchanged.

The final verse of Dongshan Chan Master's "Five Ranks of Sovereign and Minister," "Jian Zhong Dao," says: "Who dares to harmonize with the existence and nonexistence; everyone desires to escape the eternal flow, yet they return to sit in the coal heap." This verse praises the last position, where the truly liberated from birth and death is regarded as not liberated; it is not about leaving the six realms or dwelling in the pure land. Thus, the term "nirvana without remainder" refers to nirvana that cannot be realized, a nirvana with no place of abode.

Unchanging according to conditions, activating from the essence; adapting to conditions without changing, integrating function into essence. Essence and function are just as they are, without dwelling, without contamination, without moving, without difference, thus truly liberated from birth and death.










The twentieth and final verse concludes: "The key to becoming a Buddha is just this."

The above thirty-eight verses fully reveal the secrets and key points of becoming a Buddha. Some may say that these words seem ordinary and not particularly mystical or marvelous. Isn't becoming a Buddha about boundless dharma power and great supernatural abilities? There is no mention of supernatural or mystical abilities here! Little do they know that the Buddha-dharma originally has no special aspects, nor can it be understood through reasoning, and one should not create disputes. We should live our lives unattached to conditions, being a person of the Way without affairs, and to become a Buddha of complete six supernatural powers, one must first understand the nature on the causal ground. After seeing the true nature, one diligently removes habitual tendencies, breaks through ignorance, and then manifests supernatural powers. It is not that one can instantly realize the complete three bodies and six supernatural powers of a Buddha.

Regarding the realization of the true nature, some people use supernatural powers as a standard, thinking that manifesting supernatural powers signifies the realization of the true nature, otherwise, it is not. This is the bad habit of ordinary people clinging to existence and being fascinated by the mystical. Those who cling to this bad habit not only deceive themselves but also mislead others. Because the so-called true nature is not elsewhere, it is in the light emanating from the six sensory organs of each person. The tradition says, "The child in the eyes, the person in front of the eyes, the golden crow at the bottom of the sea, the sun in the sky." If you do not recognize it and do not know how to nurture it to grow and become a Buddha, you blame the recognizer as wrong and ask them not to take responsibility. How pitiful and laughable is that!

Speaking of supernatural powers, every movement, step, word, smile, spit, cough of ours is the wonderful use of supernatural powers. As layman Pang said, "Supernatural powers and marvelous uses are carrying water and chopping firewood." Aren't all these actions, speech, coughing, and behaviors the wonderful use of the true mind? Can the hands, feet, mouth, and tongue of a dead person speak and act? One spends the whole day in the midst of supernatural uses without knowing it, yet seeks supernatural powers elsewhere. Isn't this what the tradition means by "sitting next to a rice pot, starving countless people"?

Moreover, clinging to supernatural powers means having a dharma to obtain, which is clinging to dharma. In the future, not only will one not become a Buddha, but there is also a possibility of becoming a demon! It should be known that supernatural powers are the wonderful use of the true mind as the supernatural, unattached, unobstructed as the communication, and should not be understood in terms of mystical and marvelous aspects. Once you think of supernatural and special aspects, it is like poison entering the heart, obstructing the door of self-realization, with no chance of attaining the path.

Today, among those who practice the path, half of a hundred are obsessed with mystical and marvelous aspects, busy with eye-deceiving methods, performing minor supernatural powers, and complacently thinking that this is a sign of attaining the path. Little do they know that this is playing with the soul! Just as Xuan Sha scolded, "Those who learn the path do not recognize the truth, only because they have always recognized the spirit." Haven't they ever dreamed of the Buddha-dharma? These ignorant people waste their entire lives on insignificant branches and leaves without focusing on proper cultivation. Once the end of the year arrives, the so-called supernatural powers disappear, and they report confusedly to King Yama. Moreover, because they showed off their abilities and created karma in the world, they will suffer severe retribution!

These foolish people, not on the right track, not practicing the fundamental great dharma, still use supernatural powers to test and measure others. They don't know that learning Buddhism is about self-cultivation and self-realization. What does it matter to you whether others realize or not? If others realize, you cannot attain the path because of them; if others do not realize, it does not harm you, so why test them? Moreover, to measure others, you must first have superior vision, and if you use supernatural powers to measure people, you are already at a disadvantage. Because the essence of realization lies in not being deluded by circumstances, not in whether or not supernatural powers are manifested. If you are deluded by circumstances, no matter what great supernatural powers you manifest, they are of no real benefit and cannot liberate you from birth and death.

Those who have not understood the essence and are affected by circumstances when encountering situations, whether their practice communicates or relies on others—spirits, ghosts, or spirits—due to their attachment to circumstances and forms, their afflictions remain, and they are not free. In contrast, those who are not deluded by circumstances, with their minds as clean as washed, without any attachment, even if they are not yet communicated, will naturally manifest all five communications in due time. As being undeluded by circumstances is the same as the communication of leak exhaustion, the essence is solid, and there is no worry that the branches will not flourish. Therefore, we should constantly self-examine and self-test: are we unmoved in the face of circumstances? If we are not yet stable and are still moved, being able to move less and then not move is progressing upward, a sign of attaining the path. Do not focus on supernatural powers, mistaking the manifestation of supernatural powers for enlightenment, and do not use your own imagination to test others, to avoid losing your path due to the rise of deluded thoughts. Also, even if you have manifested supernatural powers, do not use them, as there is no dwelling and no attainment, and do not show them to others.

Finally, there is one important thing that learners must know. There were young people who thought that only when the body and mind were free and the environment was quiet could they practice the path. Therefore, they often did not seize the opportunity and strive to practice, waiting for the right time and place to come. Little did they know that ordinary people are burdened with obstacles and troubles, as the saying goes, "No sooner does one donkey's business end, another horse's business begins." When will there be a time of leisure and no affairs? As for the place, there is no need to worry about choosing, as learning Buddhism values practicing on the ground of the heart, not just sitting dead in the mountains and forests. As mentioned above, the real practice is to have a heart unattached to circumstances. To be unattached to circumstances, if you do not practice in the dust of circumstances, sitting dead in the mountains and forests, how can you cultivate an unmoved heart? Therefore, as long as you recognize that all colors, sounds, and other dust of circumstances are just images

manifested by the true mind, like mirror images manifested by mirror light, and do not cling to them; and at the same time, the true mind is not obtainable apart from the dust of circumstances, just as the mirror image is the mirror light, and the mirror light does not depart from the mirror image, hence there is also nothing to abandon. Continuously observing and practicing this way, with an empty heart and a leisurely mind, freely and naturally, without seeking or attaining, you are the true Buddha. Why wait for a better time or place? I advise everyone, while you are young and capable, seize the moment, strive hard, do not waste time, and lose the opportunity. Wait not until your youth fades away, only to lament in vain! Cherish it!

0 Responses