(See Original Chinese text below)


Certainly! I will translate the provided Chinese text into English, ensuring precision and clarity. Each sentence or dialogue line will be distinctly separated for ease of understanding.

Title: "Non-Duality of phenomena and self"

Author: Yuan Yin Lao Ren

Source: Original


A monk asked Zen Master Da Sui (a Dharma successor of Master Wei Shan Ling You): "When the great thousand worlds perish, does the Dharma body also perish?" Da Sui replied, "The Dharma body perishes too." This statement confounded people all over the world. However, when Zen Master Tou Zi Qing heard this, he immediately prepared incense and bowed in respect, declaring that Da Sui was an ancient Buddha reincarnated.

The true Dharma body, being the marvellous substance of true suchness, is neither born nor destroyed, neither comes nor goes, is unshakable and unchanging, a wondrous body that is eternally fresh throughout the ages. How could it be destroyed when the great thousand worlds perish? This statement seems to contradict the Buddha's teachings, possibly leading to confusion and misleading people. Could it result in falling into the Vajra Hell? But if it is a true mistake, why would Tou Zi Qing, a great Zen practitioner, pay respects and praise him as an ancient Buddha reincarnated?

In reality, what we call the world, regardless of its phenomena, is all a manifestation of the Buddha-nature — the Dharma body — of all sentient beings. Without the Dharma body, nothing exists. The Lotus Sutra says, "This Dharma remains in its realm, and the appearance of the world is ever-present." It means everything in the world is established through the manifestation of the Dharma body. "This Dharma" refers to any phenomena, and "realm" refers to the true Dharma realm, meaning the appearance of the world is the Dharma body, and the Dharma body is the appearance of the world.

We know that principle are revealed through phenomena, and phenomena are actualized through principle. Principle and phenomena are inseparable. Thus, the scriptures state: "Nature and appearance are non-dual; mind and environment are one." Since the mind — the Dharma body — is ever-present and indestructible, the appearance of the world naturally remains as well.

From the surface, the world appears as ever-changing and transient, but the essence of things is never destroyed. When something perishes here, it arises there, merely shifting places. Su Dongpo said in "Ode to the Red Cliff": "Do you also know about water and the moon? The passing is like this, yet it never truly leaves; the waxing and waning are like that, yet they never really increase or decrease. If observed from the perspective of change, even heaven and earth cannot last a moment; from the perspective of the unchanging, everything and I are endless." He used water and the moon to illustrate that the apparent nature of all things changes, but their essence never does. He also pointed out that those who cling to appearances see the world as constantly changing, while those who are open-minded and wise, recognizing the true essence of things and beings, understand that everything in the world is ever-present and unchanging.

Master Zhao also discussed the unchanging truth of things in "The Discourse on the Immobility of Things," which I won't list in detail here; interested readers can consult it themselves.

The reason why things do not change or perish lies in the fundamental nature that manifests and establishes them — the Dharma body — which is eternal and unchanging.

The monk's question, "When the great thousand worlds perish, does the Dharma body perish too?" implies that if the great thousand worlds truly perish, wouldn't the Dharma body perish as well? The monk asked this due to a lack of understanding of the non-duality of phenomena and self. Master Da Sui, a great master, did not engage in lengthy discussions about Buddhist principles. Instead, he directly responded to the monk's line of thought, leading him to an awakening at the point of his doubt. He simply replied, "The Dharma body perishes too." This answer, weighty like a thunderbolt, challenges the common knowledge that the Dharma body is indestructible and unchanging. How could it be said to perish? Could it be a drunken ramble? But Da Sui was a respected contemporary master. Why would he say this? This sudden shock shakes off the conventional interpretations and delusions of the practitioner.

At that moment, swift as lightning, when not a single thought arises, the monk feels as if blood surges beneath his skin, soon to receive a message that will allow him to return home and sit in stability.

In the Zen tradition, responses come in various forms: straightforward explanations, direct pointing, indirect hints, or even provocative challenges. The purpose is to enable the inquirer to grasp the essence and awaken through the words. Therefore, responses are tailored to the seeker’s state, providing appropriate guidance or harsh shocks, to eradicate the learner’s attachments and enable them to personally realize the truth. This is what is meant by 'great capacity, great function' in our tradition.

Take, for example, when the venerable Yan Yang asked Zhaozhou, 'What should be done when nothing is brought forth?' Zhaozhou replied, 'Put it down.' The venerable asked, 'Since nothing is brought forth, what should I put down?' Zhaozhou said, 'If you can’t put it down, carry it away.' At these words, the venerable had a great awakening.

The phrase 'carry it away' often sparks debate. Some say it’s a provocative method: if you don’t realize your mistake and can’t let go, you're told to carry it. This makes you reflect; if there's nothing to carry, why bear the burden? This forces you to recognize what you can’t let go of, leading to enlightenment.

Others interpret 'carry it away' as a scolding. You ask what to do when nothing is brought forth, but clearly, you’re holding on to the idea of 'nothing being brought forth,' which is akin to having an empty space in your mind. Having an emptiness still implies attachment. It should be let go of entirely. When you insist on asking 'what to put down?' and refuse to acknowledge this, you’re metaphorically doused with cold water, scolded to 'carry it away!' This is similar to Yunji visiting Nanquan, who, despite repeated teachings, didn't awaken until Nanquan scolded him, saying, 'Go! You don’t understand my words,' prompting him to realize and return on his own.

Still, others say this is direct pointing. Our true nature is empty and unattached, free from even a thread or a speck of dust. At the moment when 'nothing is brought forth,' this is when true nature manifests. With nothing to mind or to let go of, this is where one should firmly stand. Hence, he’s told to 'carry it away,' essentially instructing him to take responsibility without hesitation. Therefore, the venerable Yan Yang awakened immediately.

Each of these interpretations has its logic and refuses to concede to the others, each holding its merit. It’s like a single drop of ink creating three dragons. But in my opinion, whether it's a challenge, scolding, or direct pointing, as long as one understands, they can use any method, all leading to profound truth. However, if one clings to the idea of 'nothing being brought forth,' holding onto an empty realm, then they are far from the truth.

Master Da Sui’s response to the monk's question was intended to make him reflect on what he had yet to understand, based on what he already knew. Every Buddhist practitioner knows that the Buddha said the Dharma body is eternal and indestructible. Hearing 'the Dharma body perishes too,' which contradicts the Buddha’s teachings, how could it be accepted? This compels one to doubt."

At the moment when he is unable to advance and yet unable to withdraw, suddenly, like a spark from cold ashes or a bean bursting open, he profoundly realizes that the entire universe in all ten directions is his own body, the entire universe in all ten directions is his own light. The great thousand worlds and the Dharma body are one, inseparable. If the great thousand worlds perish, so does the Dharma body. But since the Dharma body is eternally indestructible, so are the great thousand worlds. This monk, through a reverse approach, confirms the truth. In a single statement, Master Da Sui enables the realization of the profound truth of the Lotus Sutra. His skill in guiding others is subtle and admirable, truly deserving of respect.

The ancient sages praised the eternal nature of the worldly phenomena in the Lotus Sutra: "The appearance of the world is ever-present, like an oriole singing in the green trees; truly pitiable are those who are moved and fly away!" Our Dharma body is so splendid and free, encompassing everything, omniscient. Yet, this endless, magnificent scenery is indescribable. As the Zen masters say, "What a charming scene that cannot be painted!" This great Zen master merely used "an oriole singing in the green trees" to depict the endless beauty of this scene, a masterstroke indeed.

In our practice, once we recognize this infinitely beautiful scenery and initially perceive our true nature, we must be good at maintaining it. We should always observe and reflect, not be dragged by external circumstances or tainted by perceptions and knowledge, remaining empty, pure, and unattached. Never be arrogant, thinking we have reached the destination. Initially perceiving our true nature is like a newborn baby, unable to stand and function on its own. We must train in various circumstances, diligently eliminate old habits, and nurture the sacred embryo until it matures and becomes functional. Otherwise, arrogance and indulgence can lead to its premature demise. Therefore, after the phrase "an oriole singing in the green trees," it is said: "Truly pitiable are those who move and fly away." Without proper care and restraint, even if one has initially perceived the true nature, they may fall back into delusion.

Some ask if Buddhist practitioners need to practice Qi Gong as a supplement to their practice. I have composed a verse addressing this, including the issue of maintaining post-enlightenment, which I record here:

"The mind-ground Dharma gate births kings, not relying on Qi Gong for its edge.

Seeking Dharma outside the mind, seeking gains, only leads to laborious emptiness.

When the root and dust are shed, true nature appears, carefully maintained, not to be forgotten;

Standing firm, not biased, seeking nothing, the Way is ever true."

Master Da Sui's response to the monk aims for him to reflect and realize the non-duality of phenomena and self. If the master had not fully understood the unity of nature and appearance, how could he have responded so aptly, guiding the monk to an awakening? Thus, Tou Zi paid respects and acknowledged him as an ancient Buddha reincarnated.

If a Zen practitioner's skills are not yet at the level of non-duality of phenomena and self, their words might inadvertently become a joke.

Here's an example:

Once a Zen practitioner, Feng Ji Chuan, saw a skull painting in Ming Yue An and wrote a verse beside it: "The corpse is here, where is the person? It is known that the spirit does not dwell in the skin." This verse shows that he only understood the common principle that the physical body is not the true self, and the spirit is the true self, eternal and able to leave the body, not confined by it. Hence, "the spirit does not dwell in the skin." He had not yet realized the secret of the non-duality of phenomena and self, the unity of nature and appearance.

When Great Wisdom Master Gao came to the hermitage and saw this, he did not agree and wrote another verse: "This very skeleton is the person; the spirit is the skin, the skin is the spirit." A true enlightened person understands that one is all, and all is one, without distinction between self and others, phenomena and self. Hence, it is often said, "Holding a blade of grass becomes a six-foot-tall golden body," which is the same idea.

The same case, under the guidance of an enlightened person, shows a completely different perspective. In the past, State Minister Pei Xiu, while attending Master Huangbo, saw a portrait of Bodhidharma on the wall and asked the master, "The image is here, where is the person now?" The master called Pei Xiu, who responded. The master said, "Not elsewhere." Pei Xiu had an awakening at that moment. How fortunate to have the guidance of an enlightened master! This is why it's precious to have a renowned teacher's guidance in Zen practice.

From this, we understand that enlightenment is realizing the non-duality of phenomena and self. If one still harbors the intent of seeking externally, hoping for gains, constantly contemplating how the Dharma body should be, thinking about how to achieve the Sambhogakāya and Nirmāṇakāya, then one is still playing with shadows, not truly enlightened, and not a true practitioner. Linji Yixuan said: "Your one thought of pure mind




is your house's Dharma body Buddha; one thought of non-discriminative mind is your house's Sambhogakāya Buddha; one thought of non-differentiating mind is your house's Nirmāṇakāya Buddha." In the teachings, these three bodies are considered ultimate, but in my view, they are mere concepts, illuminations of understanding, all just reflections of light and shadow. Great practitioner, recognize that the one who plays with shadows is the source of all Buddhas. Realizing this person, every place becomes your abode. It's clear that everyone inherently possesses these three bodies: the pure and unstained is the Dharma body; the bright and illuminating is the Sambhogakāya; the transformative and unattached is the Nirmāṇakāya. There's no need to seek externally; recognizing what is inherently ours and then ceasing delusion and habitual tendencies, constantly remembering this true person, is to be a Buddha or patriarch.

Master Han Shan said, "The reason why prajna quickly concludes practice is because everyone inherently possesses this mind light." Master Gui Feng commented, "The truth can be realized instantly, but it's difficult to completely remove lifelong habits. Constant vigilance, reducing them further and further, is needed for full realization." It shows that enlightenment is not difficult; the challenge lies in post-enlightenment maintenance. People today are often too clever for their own good, lacking sincerity. I've seen those who have realized their inherent nature but, due to heavy habitual tendencies, are often swept away by circumstances, wandering aimlessly in delusion, unable to advance in their practice. They end up halfway enlightened or lost after enlightenment, a truly pitiable state. Not to mention those who haven't realized; those who have but don't constantly return to the truth, vigilantly protecting themselves, allowing themselves to wander and sink, are truly tragic.

If we can, after realization, constantly remember and care for this positionless true person, as the Amitabha Sutra says, single-mindedly and devotedly reciting the Buddha's name, whether for one day, two days, or even seven days, constantly protecting our true nature, then wisdom will grow daily. Let alone one or two years, it will surely become one with us.

In conclusion, if we fear not the hardships, dread not the long journey, hold correct views, and diligently practice, recognizing this mind devoid of thoughts as our true face, and then rigorously protect it, training tirelessly amidst various circumstances, diligently eliminating delusions, we will realize the non-duality of phenomena and self, the complete and holy fruit. This is not difficult. A proverb says, "Nothing is difficult for those who set their mind to it." Since any difficult task can be accomplished by a determined person, so can we. Why fear difficulties? I encourage everyone to strive together.

物我不二 作者:元音老人来源:原创时间:2015-12-15 分享: 僧问大随禅师(沩山灵佑禅师法嗣):“大千坏时,法身坏不坏?”随曰:“法身也坏。”此语疑煞天下人。但投子青禅师闻之,便装香作礼,称大随乃古佛出世。 法身真如妙体,乃不生不灭,不来不去,不动不摇,不变不易,亘古常青之妙体,如何随大千世界坏时而毁灭?此语与佛所说大相径庭,莫非错下名言,淆惑世人,要落金刚地狱么?但如真错了,投子青是大禅德,为什么要装香作礼,赞他是古佛再世呢? 原来所谓世间者,不论什么事物,都是我们广大众生的佛性——法身——所变化显现,离开法身,什么也没有。《法华经》说:“是法住法位,世间相常住。”就是说世间的一切事物无一不是依法身显现而建立的。以“是法”就是不论什么事物,而“法位”就是一真法界,也就是说世间相就是法身,法身就是世间相。 我们知道,理以事显,事以理成,理和事是分不开的。理事既无可分,故经云:“性相不二、心境一体。”既然心——法身常住不坏,那么世间相也就自然常住了。 从世间相的表面上看,似乎是沧海桑田,瞬息万变不久长的,但事物的本体实无坏灭,不过在这边坏了,到那边又生了,搬了一个场而已。苏东坡先生在《前赤壁赋》中说:“客亦知夫水与月乎?逝者如斯,而未尝往也;盈虚者如彼,而卒莫消长也。盖将自其变者而观之,则天地曾不能以一瞬;自其不变者而观之,则物与我皆无尽也。”他假水和月,说明万物的假相在变化,而实体未尝变易。同时又进一步说明,心情不豁达执假相的人,看世间是沧海桑田,瞬息万变的;而开朗明智之士,识得事物与众生一致的真体,就知道天地间的一切一切,皆是长住不变的了。 肇法师在《物不迁论》中,也举数例详论了事物毫无变迁的真理,就不一一列举,请诸仁自己去检阅吧。 事物之所以不变迁,不消灭,究其实际,就在显现、建立这些事物的根本——法身——是法尔不生不灭,亘古常存的。 今僧问:“大千坏时,法身也坏了吗?”大千若真个坏了,法身岂不也坏了吗?问话之僧,因不明物我不二之理,而有此问。大随乃大手笔宗师,不和你说长道短,大谈佛理,只顺其语脉上下搭,叫你知痛觉痒,于心念不行处,蓦然回首,瞥见本性。乃随声答曰:“法身也坏。”这一答,大有雷霆万钧之重,因尽人皆知,法身是不生不灭、不变不易的,怎么说法身也坏呢?难道是醉汉说胡话吗?但大随是当代大德呀,怎么如是说呢?这一突如其来的雷震,就将学人平时义解、妄想全盘震落。在这急如闪电的一念不生的刹那,这僧如皮下有血,即将于斯得个消息去归家稳坐。 禅师家答话有正说,有直指,有旁敲,有反激等等不同的手法。其目的不外使来问者于言下知机,语端省悟。故皆就来者之机,施以适宜的指示,或恶辣的钳锤,以剿绝学人粘缚,而亲证本来,此即宗下所谓大机大用也。 如严阳尊者参赵州问:“一物不将来时如何?”州曰:“放下着。”尊者曰:“既是一物不将来,放下个什么?”州曰:“放不下,担起去。”尊者言下大悟。 这“担起去”一语,常常使人发生争论。有人说,担起去是反激法,你不知过错,放不下,就让你挑着走,从而使你反省,没东西不用挑,挑着走还是有东西,逼你认识放不下的东西,放下而开悟。 有的说,担起去,是呵斥句。你问一物不将来时如何?你心中明明有一个“一物不将来”在,这等于心中还有个“空”在,有个空,还是有住,应该放下,空也不住才是。你强调“放下个什么?”不认账,就浇你一盆恶水,呵斥你,担起去!这等于云际参南泉,虽累经开示,而不开悟,南泉呵斥曰“去!你不会我话”一样,叫他言下知痛,回头自荐也。 更有人说:这是直指法。本性空灵,一丝不挂,一尘不染,这一物不将来,正是本性显现时。这个心无可心,放无可放的,正是当人安身立命处,故叫他担起去,也就是嘱咐他当仁不让,当下承当也。所以严阳尊者当下大悟。 这三种说法各说各有理,各不相让,各有千秋。真是一点水墨,三处成龙。但依拙见,反激也好,呵斥也好,直指也好,会得的,自可横弄竖拈,皆成妙谛,但如认着个“一物不将来”,有个空境在,则失之远矣。 大随答此僧之问,欲其在已明白的常理上,反省其未明之事理。因学佛者,人人都知道佛说法身常住不坏,今闻“法身也坏”之说与佛相违,何能接受?这就逼令其生疑。在他欲进不能,欲罢不得之际,蓦然冷灰爆豆,猛省尽十方世界是自己全身,尽十方世界,是自己光明。大千原与法身共一体,从不相离,大千若坏,法身岂不也坏!但法身是亘古常存永不败坏的,那么,大千也不坏了,使此僧从反面证得真理。一言之下,使人悟得法华真谛,大随真是狮子儿,接人之手段,微妙如此,真令人景仰赞叹之至。 古德颂法华世间相常住云:“世间相常住,黄莺啼绿树;真个可怜生,动着便飞去!”我们的法身,就是这么瑰丽潇洒,是无物不具,无所不知的。但这无尽的艳丽的风光,是无法将它描绘出来的。正如禅师家所说“好个风流画不成!”今这位大禅德,仅淡淡地用了“黄莺啼绿树”,就将这一派无尽风流的美丽春光,全盘勾勒出来,真不愧是画龙点睛之笔。 我们用功修法,识得这无限美好风光,初见本性后,务须善于保任。时时处处观照,外不为事境所牵,内不被见闻觉知所染,时时空净无住。万万不可轻狂,以为到家了事。须知初见本性,只如初生婴儿,不能自立起用,须在境上磨炼,勤除旧习,保养圣胎,迨其成长方能起用。否则,狂妄放纵,即将夭折于襁褓中。所以此颂于“黄莺啼绿树”后接下来就说:“真个可怜生,动着便飞去。”你不妥善保护,狂妄乱动,虽然已初见本性,也将落个悟后迷。 有人问,学佛者于修法外是否还须习气功以补助之?我曾赋一颂。其中也曾谈到悟后保任的问题,今录之如下: 心地法门诞生王,岂假气功助锋芒! 心外取法求有得,徒自辛劳落空亡。 根尘脱处自性现,绵密保任莫轻忘; 立定脚跟毋偏颇,一无所求道真常。 大随禅师答此僧问,是令其反躬自究,而悟物我不二之理,大师若不彻悟性相一体,焉能顺其语脉下搭,轻令此僧言下知归?故投子装香作礼,而称其为古佛再世也。 禅师家如功夫未到物我不二之地,出言吐语难免不闹笑话。 兹举一例: 昔禅者冯济川,见明月庵壁间画一髑髅,乃于旁题一颂云:“尸在这里,其人何在?乃知一灵,不居皮袋。”观其颂,彼只悟常理,色身不是真我,性灵乃真我。性灵是常住不灭,可以离开肉体自由来去,不为肉体所拘的。所以说:“乃知一灵,不居皮袋。”尚未悟物我不二,性相一体之秘。 大慧杲禅师来庵,见之不肯,另作一颂云:“即此形骸,即是其人;一灵皮袋,皮袋一灵。”真悟道人,深知一即一切,一切即一,无自他之分,物我之隔。故宗下常言“拈一茎草作丈六金身”,即此意也。 同样一个案例,在悟道人指授下,风光即迥不相同。昔裴休相国,随侍黄檗禅师次,见壁间达摩大师像,问禅师曰:“像在这里,人今何在?”师召裴休曰:“裴休。”休应诺。师曰:“不在别处。”休当下有省。在明眼大师指授下悟来,多少庆快!此参禅所以贵有名师指授也。 从此可知,悟道就是悟物我不二。如果尚存向外驰求之意,希望有得之心,常在揣摩法身如何才是,拟度报身、化身如何获得,那就还在弄影,未曾真悟本来,不名道人。不见临济祖师道:你一念清净心光,是你屋里法身佛;一念无分别心光,是你屋里报身佛;一念无差别心光,是你屋里化身佛。在教家论此三身为极则,在山僧见处则不然,此三种身是名言,亦是三种依明,都是光影。大德,你且认取弄影的“人”是诸佛之本源。识得此人,一切处是你归舍处。可见三身,人人本具,清净无染就是法身;光明朗照就是报身;事物变现无著就是化身。不需拟摸求取,只于识得本有后,息妄除习,念念不忘此真人,便是佛祖。 憨山大师云:“般若所以收功之速者,以人人本具此心光也。”圭峰大师云:“真理可以顿达,惟多生积习难以卒除,长须觉察,损之又损,方能圆证。”可见悟道不难,难在悟后不忘保任耳。今人聪明有余,老实不足。尝见已悟本有之人,以习气重故,往往为境所夺,随妄念流浪而不知止,以致功夫不能上进,落得个半青半黄,或者悟后迷的下场,诚可哀也。其未悟者固无论矣,已悟之人,不知念念归真,严密保护,任其流浪沉沦,不亦冤乎?! 吾人苟能于悟后,念念不忘照顾此无位真人,如《弥陀经》所说专心致志念佛一样,若一日,若二日,乃至七日,念念相续不忘地保护本真,则智慧日生。何况一年二年,必然打成一片。 综上所述,我们只要不畏艰难,不怕路遥,端正观念,精进修习,识得此离念的灵知,便是我人的本来面目,然后严加保护,在事境上不懈地锻炼,勤除妄习,则会万物归自己,亲证物我不二的圆满圣果,绝非难事。谚云:天下无难事,只怕有心人。既然不论什么难事,只要肯攀登的有心人,皆能成办,那么,彼丈夫,我亦丈夫;彼能成,我亦能成,何畏患之有哉?请与诸仁共勉。


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