Showing posts with label Yuan Yin Lao Ren (元音老人). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yuan Yin Lao Ren (元音老人). Show all posts

Someone asked, “Hi Soh, do you know anything about the Wu Xiang Mi Xin Zhong Xin Fa that Yuan Yin Lao Ren is a lineage holder of? (I posted that as a comment in AtR but it got removed as spam, go figure)”


I used ChatGPT to translate this article for him:


no need to ammend translation, but just a suggestion for next time: in buddhist context, 无相 is actually 'signless' or signlessness, not formless. the only exception is when 无色or无色天 is discussed - formless, or formless heavens


Thank you for your valuable suggestion and clarification regarding the translation of 无相 as "signless" in the context of Buddhist teachings, except when discussing 无色 or 无色天, where it translates to "formless" or "formless heavens." I appreciate your input, which helps in providing more accurate and contextually relevant translations. If you have any more questions or need further assistance, feel free to ask!


wait i realised you didnt give me translation but summary. please give me word by word translation of the whole text. and remember to translate as signless instead of formless


Certainly! Here's a word-by-word translation of the text:

A Brief Discussion on the Origin and Current State of the "Heart within Heart Method"

Written by Shàn Xiáng Bīqíu (Ordinary name: Zhang Xuanxiang) at the Fal Chan Meditation Center

The "Heart within Heart" method of the secret teachings of the mind is a supreme secret method, belonging to the highest fourth gate of truth in Esoteric Buddhism. Its practice primarily aims at realizing the mind and seeing the nature, achieving the signless state. According to various ancestral masters - this method does not rely on form, nor is it separate from form. Two-thirds depend on Buddha's power, and one-third on self-effort. It begins with cultivating the eighth consciousness, first breaking through ignorance, then reducing hindrances, enabling practitioners in a short time to uncover their original nature, eliminate habitual confusion, and ultimately realize fundamental wisdom. In terms of doctrine, it belongs to the supreme part of the secret teachings, allowing practitioners to directly experience the source of the mind while also penetrating Chan and Pure Land teachings, breaking through all dharma views to reach the ultimate state, thus it is rightfully called a great dharma encompassing all schools. Its ritual is simple, neither requiring additional practices nor various offerings. Regardless of gender, age, wealth, or status, as long as one is willing to develop the supreme aspiration for enlightenment and can meditate for two hours daily, they can practice it. This is the most relevant method for realizing the mind, achieving Buddha's wisdom, escaping suffering, and attaining liberation from life and death in this age of the Dharma's decline.

During the Tang Dynasty, under Empress Wu's reign, the Indian monk Bodhiruci came to Chang'an. He was ordered to translate the "Buddha Heart Sutra", which is the foundational text of the Heart within Heart Method. At the beginning of this sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha tells the assembly: "Good men, good indeed! Do you all know that sentient beings are inexhaustible? I see that sentient beings do not understand my dharma, do not know my mind, do not reach my level, are controlled by demons. How can they be saved? Who has a plan to protect sentient beings? Who has a method to capture this poison?" At that moment, various Bodhisattvas, Vajra secret traces, and great independent gods of all worlds came forward, each wishing to subdue sentient beings with compassion, divine power, and freedom of transformation. The World-Honored One said that none of them could capture this. Then, upon the request of Bodhisattva Real Virtue, he expounded the method of salvation: "Only the heart within the heart of the Tathagata cannot be reached by others. Why? Because it can make all demons generate great compassion, all dharma spontaneously manifest, all Buddhas never leave, all Bodhisattvas become disciples, all Vajra display power, all heavenly beings always protect, all great Yakshas and Rakshasas assist in dharma, all great ghosts and spirits generate joy, those who hold and chant it equal Buddha's power, Buddha's mind, Buddha's wisdom, Buddha's majesty, those who hold it can do anything with their mind, all obstacles are eliminated, Sakra and Brahma constantly support, all beings up to Bodhi never regress, all worldly affairs are self-evident. Even past, future, present worlds, whether with or without communication, with or without wisdom, with or without nobility, are all subdued." He also taught the practice method of Heart within Heart, hence the World-Honored One revealed a supreme treasure to the assembly, allowing countless future beings to escape the sea of suffering and achieve the fruit of the Bodhi path.

Originally, China had its own transmission of secret teachings. During the Tang Dynasty, under Emperor Xuanzong, Indian monks Subhakarasimha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra came to China, translating many pure esoteric scriptures like the Mahavairocana Tantra and Diamond Peak Sutra, spreading secret teachings in China, historically known as the "Three Great Masters of the Kaiyuan Era". Later, up to the Tang Zhenyuan era, Master Huiguo transmitted the pure secret teachings to Kukai of Japan (774–835, founder of the Shingon school, propagated teachings at To-ji), and the Tiantai school transmitted secret teachings to Saicho (767–822, founder of the Japanese Tendai school, a naturalized Japanese of Han Chinese origin). Since then, Japan started having secret teachings, known as "Eastern Esoteric" and "Tiantai Esoteric". Due to the complex ritual procedures of pure Esoteric Buddhism, requiring mandalas and various offerings, it suffered greatly during the anti-Buddhist persecution under Emperor Wuzong of Tang, and later persecuted under Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang of Ming, the Esoteric Buddhism transmitted in the Tang Dynasty was essentially lost in China. The Heart within Heart method and other secret teachings, because they flowed into Japan, have been preserved to this day, but as they belong to the signless state, only those who have practiced to a deep level can transmit it, hence very few have received it.

After Esoteric Buddhism entered the mainland, Padmasambhava transmitted another lineage of secret teachings to Tibet, later known as Nyingma (commonly called Red Sect), which included the Heart within Heart method. Master Nona once promoted secret teachings in China, mentioning the Heart within Heart method. Because it belongs to the supreme secret teachings, it cannot be lightly transmitted to ordinary people, so it was only transmitted to Yuan Xilian in Shanghai. According to Yuan Yin, the third patriarch, a few years ago, there was a Master Huaize in Taiwan (a disciple of the elder brother of Master Xuan Guang, my refuge teacher, and the disciple of Master Shang Qin Xia Yin, whose name was given by Master Shang Qin Xia Yin. He is also the disciple of Master Xuan Guang, the current abbot of Taitung Dong Chan Temple, who is my refuge teacher's own son, hence my Dharma nephew. A few years ago, Mr. Ding, who carves Buddha statues, visited me, and I learned of this Dharma nephew relationship), who went to Mount Koya in Japan (the root dojo of Eastern Esoteric) to study Esoteric Buddhism. After six years, he saw the foundational text of Heart within Heart and asked his teacher to study it. The teacher told him that his current conditions were not enough, and he must wait until he was qualified as an Acharya before it could be transmitted. Lacking patience, he went to Tibet, found a teacher of the Red Sect to learn this method. The Red Sect teacher told him: Since you have already practiced Esoteric Buddhism for six years in Japan, you can spend less time here. Stay with me for another ten years, first practice other secret teachings, then I can transmit it to you. Thus, the Heart within Heart method in Japan and Tibet is a secret teaching not lightly transmitted, difficult to obtain without arduous practice and a considerable foundation in secret teachings.

The "Heart within Heart Method" now taught by Xin Mi (Heart Secret) is neither from Eastern Esoteric nor Tibetan Esoteric, but a unique transmission from China, already present in Tang Esoteric and resurged in the 20th century as the signless Esoteric Heart within Heart Method. Its founding patriarch (first patriarch) is Upper Great Lower Foolish Acharya.

The great foolish patriarch, a son of the Li family from Wuhan, Hubei, was a politician in the early Republic of China, serving as a Hubei Provincial Assembly member. During the period of warlord division, with continuous warfare and the suffering of the people, he was deeply distressed, developed a renunciation mind, abandoned his official position, and became a monk at Bao Hua Vinaya Monastery in Nanjing, later practicing diligently at Dong Lin Monastery on Mount Lu. Initially practicing the Pure Land method, despite numerous hardships, he remained undeterred, then resolved to practice the Pratyutpanna Samadhi, enduring great difficulties without regretting his initial intention. After a period of strenuous effort, he achieved deep meditative absorption, experienced a manifestation of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, and was taught the Heart within Heart method. He was also told that this method was originally in the "Great Collection of Scriptures" and was very skillful, which could be checked and practiced. This method, with the blessing of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, is particularly effective in uncovering the original nature, doubling the effect with half the effort, complementing the Zen school's reliance on self-effort, and most suitable for contemporary sentient beings. Following the Bodhisattva's instructions, he found the "Buddha Heart Sutra" in the great collection, thoroughly studied its essentials, and after seven years of diligent practice, finally realized the true nature and achieved the signless state. In the mid-1920s, he descended the mountain to spread the dharma, establishing the Yinxin (Seal Mind) dharma gate.

The Heart Secret Method was then transmitted to Wang Xianglu layperson, styled Zaiji, pen-name Xianglu (Character Six), also known as "Benevolent Knowledge Layperson", originally from Haiyan County, Zhejiang, his family later moved to Yan Guan Town, Haining County (now Haining City, Zhejiang). Born on March 2, 1885, at the hour of Xu, he passed away on December 16, 1958, at the hour of Xu. As the sixth son of Wang Xinfu, a well-respected figure in Haining,




his father was upright and resigned from his official position due to his integrity. His mother, from the Jiang family, was also from a respected family in Haining's Xieshi, deeply devoted to Buddhism, generous in charity, and exceptionally wise. When Master Wang was born, it was said that he had a melon-shaped mark, considered an auspicious sign. He was extraordinarily intelligent and exceptional from a young age, able to recite the "Diamond Sutra" and memorize the "Heart Sutra" fluently as a child. As a youth, he frequently accompanied his mother on pilgrimages to Mount Putuo, deeply imprinting the great compassionate vows of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva in his heart, firmly planting the seeds of Bodhicitta. Later, as a successor in teaching the dharma, he became the second-generation transmitter of the signless Esoteric Heart within Heart Method of the Yinxin School. In his early years, Master Le Chonghui of the Mahayana Hermitage published his "Yi Hai Lecture Records", which are now compiled by his granddaughter Zhao Xiaomei Layperson into the "Complete Works of Wang Xianglu", spreading the teachings of the Yinxin School in Taiwan and often bestowing initiations and teachings at the Mahayana Hermitage.

The third-generation transmitter of the Yinxin School, Vajra Master Yuanyin, was my initiation and teaching master in 1995, originally named Li Zhongding, a great Chan virtue, born on November 22, 1905, in Hefei, Anhui, and passed away on February 5, 2000 (the first day of the lunar new year), at the hour of Xu, in Shanghai Xinzhuang Tuanjie Huayuan Jing She, at the age of 96.

Following Master Yuanyin, there was no successor in the lineage, as the master said: To receive the Heart Secret's Heart within Heart transmission, one must meet five conditions: 1) truly enlightened; 2) educated, with a high level of educational attainment; 3) highly virtuous, not seeking fame or gain; 4) able to expound the sutras, revealing both exoteric and esoteric dharma; 5) able to interpret kōans. Unfortunately, during his lifetime, although some disciples in mainland China had awakenings, none fully met these five conditions, and thus the Heart Secret had no successor. The Heart within Heart method has the style of Zen after the Sixth Patriarch, without a true transmission of the dharma robe and bowl, but all disciples transmit what they have been taught. Whether the Heart Secret School, like Zen after the Sixth Patriarch, can maintain this situation is yet to be seen. It depends on whether later generations of great masters possess the selflessness, dedication, and desire only for the welfare and joy of sentient beings, without seeking fame or gain. According to reliable masters, they asked Master Yuanyin three times: "If someone initiates and teaches without your permission, is it considered stealing the dharma?" Three times asked and answered, Master Yuanyin directly replied: "It is considered stealing the dharma!" Thus, many people in the Yinxin School - Heart within Heart method are initiating students today, heard of more than ten or twenty online or privately. Have these people obtained the permission and lineage transmission from the ancestors to teach? This is very important for those who practice secret teachings. Without true virtue, how can they teach good disciples? Therefore, whether the signless secret teachings of the Heart within Heart method can develop normally in the future, whether it is a blessing or a curse, remains unknown.

The third-generation side-line transmitter of the Yinxin School, Vajra Master Acharya Xu Hengzhi, was my "transmission initiation" root master. Master Dingzhen, the root master, was born in 1915, originally from Zhenhai, Zhejiang. Influenced by his father from a young age, he became devoted to Buddhism. Growing up, he worked in the metallurgical industry, undergoing great trials, and later, introduced by a cousin, at the age of 25, he resolved to formally study Buddhism and received the Three Refuges and Five Precepts from Master Nenghai, taking the dharma name Dingzhen. At the same time, he corresponded with Master Wang Xianglu, who was propagating the dharma in Tianjin, receiving guidance on the essence of Prajñā and the method of observing the mind. After the victory of the Anti-Japanese War in 1945, Master Wang Xianglu came to Shanghai to spread the dharma, and he learned the signless Esoteric Heart within Heart method from him, following the "Secret Rituals of the Buddha Heart Sutra" in the Taisho Tripitaka, practicing the Six Seals and One Mantra for four to five hundred sessions, each lasting two hours, entering the signless gate and cutting off entanglements. In the 1950s, he received the Yogacara Bodhisattva Precepts under the guidance of Master Qingding. The Yogacara Bodhisattva Precepts have four levels: 1) Greed: attached to having and possessing, stained by nature, obstructing non-greed, creating suffering as karma, the foremost of fundamental afflictions. 2) Stinginess: indulging in wealth and dharma, unable to give generously, secretive by nature, obstructing non-stinginess, despised as karma. 3) Anger: relying on disagreeable situations, anger arising by nature, obstructing non-anger, wielding a stick as karma. 4) Hatred: preceded by anger, harboring malice, forming grudges by nature, obstructing non-hatred, hot annoyance as karma.

The root master strictly upheld the precepts, and under the influence of these four Yogacara precepts, truly cultivated a gentle and mild heart, a gentle and polite demeanor. For example, even at nearly 90 years old, when meeting Shi Dengjue (Chengyi) monk, who had recently left home and closed himself for three years to practice the Heart within Heart method, he greeted Chengyi monk with a prostration, showing his "selfless" cultivation which is extraordinary. I also heard that when Master Yuanyin was still alive, someone wanted to find the master for initiation into the Heart within Heart method. The master always told visitors that the current Heart Secret transmitter was Master Yuanyin, and they should go to him for initiation, not to me. This shows his respect for his fellow disciple and the rightful transmitter of the Heart Secret lineage, far from the current trend of some seeking fame and profit, eager to initiate others.

Both Master Yuanyin and his Dharma brother, Vajra Master Acharya Xu Hengzhi, practiced in seclusion at Wolong Mountain. According to Master Chengyi in the article "Correct Understanding of the Heart within Heart", after Master Yuanyin passed away (February 5, 2000, during the Spring Festival), he completed his three-year, three-month, and three-day retreat, learning of Master Yuanyin's passing, and then visited Vajra Master Acharya Xu Hengzhi. Here's his account:

"There was an elderly Mr. Xu Hengzhi in Shanghai! He was Master Yuanyin's Dharma brother! When I visited him, he opened the door, knelt down, and prostrated, saying, 'Oh! Such dignity, Master.' I didn't expect to be so dignified, and he, so old, prostrated to me. It's not my dignity, but Elder Xu's high virtue. He is the senior generation, our uncle, right? Master Yuanyin was our master, so he's our uncle! As soon as he opened the door, he prostrated, showing such dignity in prostrating. I was startled; I had never seen an elderly person prostrate to me before. He prostrated, and I quickly helped him up, saying, 'Uncle Master, please sit.' Then I helped him to the sofa and asked to prostrate to him. As soon as I prostrated, he prostrated back, and so it went. That day, he handed over the 'Heart within Heart Method' scrolls (the small dharma book of the lineage), and after lunch, eating noodles, he said, 'Your future task is to propagate the Heart within Heart method, but don't rush, it takes time. Take these scrolls.' I said no. I said, 'I just came out of retreat and don't know anything!' I said, 'Let me do this, no.' He said, 'This is our master's intention, and you have such a connection.'"

This story happened around October 2000, so it seems that Master Chengyi's real master in the Heart within Heart method was Master Yuanyin, and the transmission initiation lineage came from Vajra Master Acharya Xu Hengzhi. My situation is similar. With the permission of Master Xu Hengzhi, on November 22, 2005, accompanied by Chen Baihua, I went to Shanghai to visit Uncle Master (at that time not yet transmitting the lineage, so he was called Uncle Master), and the master personally handed me a small book - "Initiation Dharma Book" (the scroll mentioned by Chengyi monk), teaching me how to perform the initiation ritual. After officially learning this initiation method, I could initiate and teach those willing to learn the Heart Secret. However, since receiving the teaching, I consider this method to be a signless secret teaching, a supreme secret teaching, so I carefully select those to whom I give initiation. If they have no meditation foundation or haven't studied Buddhism




for a long time, I don't give initiation. Otherwise, they must first practice preliminary practices, especially learning the chain-knotting to make their fingers flexible, which is essential for correctly forming the mudras of the signless secret Heart within Heart method. Then, they learn meditation, or repentance mudras, or the Great Six-Syllable Mantra, and other practices.

In Taiwan, not many Buddhists may be familiar with Master Chengyi. Here is a brief introduction: His Dharma name is Chengji, styled Dengjue, with the lay surname Mei. In 1994, he studied Chan and Pure Land Esoteric Buddhism under Master Yuanyin in Shanghai. In 1996, he was ordained by Master Mingshan and received the full precepts at Guanghua Monastery in Putian. In 1997, he closed himself for three years, three months, and three days at Wanshou Monastery in Fu'an. In 2000, he received the Yinxin School's Dharma lineage and began teaching initiation. In 2007, he received the 45th generation Dharma lineage of the Linji Chan School from Master Benhuan of Hongfa Temple in Shenzhen. He is currently the abbot of Sanfo Chan Monastery on Chongming Island, Shanghai.

Regarding this, many great masters have bestowed initiation and taught the Heart within Heart method to the public. To my knowledge, in mainland China, ordained members include Master Chengji Dengjue, Master Wude, Master Dazhao, and in Taiwan, Master Wuben. Among laypersons in mainland China, there are Qi Zhijun, Chen Ning, Shen Zengfu, Shen Hong, and others. There may be others I am unaware of or have forgotten their names, totaling over a dozen people.

The Heart within Heart method taught by the master includes six hand mudras and one mantra. The practice is simple and easy to learn, requiring neither additional preliminary practices nor visualization, as it is similar to Chan Buddhism, starting practice from the eighth consciousness and receiving the blessing of Buddha's power, thus easily leading to direct insight into one's true nature. The mantra is like a secret code formulated by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in meditation, similar to a telegraph code; hand mudras are like seals on documents, like antennas on a TV. Through forming mudras and reciting mantras, practitioners can connect with the minds of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, merging as one, hence receiving powerful blessings and quickly realizing the path. The six hand mudras of Heart within Heart each have different functions, and practicing them in sequence can purify practitioners' karma, solidify their foundational understanding, and lead to realization.

The six mudras of the Heart within Heart method are:

The Bodhicitta Mudra: Teaches practitioners to develop great aspirations and vows, aiming for enlightenment and transforming sentient beings, solidifying the initial intent in practicing the path. Like building a hundred-foot tower, one must first lay a solid foundation; without a firm foundation, the tower will collapse. Without a great aspiration or vow in studying the path, one will retreat when faced with difficulties and stop when obstructed, never persisting to the end to realize the holy fruits. Therefore, this mudra is most important, the king of all mudras among over 16,000 hand mudras in Esoteric Buddhism.

The Bodhicitta Fulfillment Mudra: Practicing this mudra can eliminate past karma and cure diseases, serving as a prelude to opening wisdom. The "Buddha Heart Sutra" says: "If good men and women obtain and hold this seal, they will transform karma and eliminate obstacles, quickly realizing supreme perfect enlightenment. Constantly holding this seal, they will hear and remember, naturally understanding all essential dharma. Those who have not held it from a long past, whatever is done by the mind, all perfectly conform." Practitioners often experience diarrhea, as this mudra's blessing power cleanses past pollution and filth through excretion.

The True Granting of Bodhicitta Mudra: The mudra where Buddhas and Bodhisattvas shine light and bless practitioners, pushing them forward, quickly entering meditation. If practitioners encounter disturbing situations during practice, practicing this mudra can quickly change the situation and deepen meditation. If distant relatives and friends are sick or encountering undesirable events, practicing this mudra for them can also lead to recovery or improvement after practice.

The Tathagata Mother Mudra: Crucial for opening wisdom, achieving enlightenment, and rebirth in the Pure Land. The "Buddha Heart Sutra" says that those who practice this mudra "will have the same longevity as the Buddhas; I will also

achieve enlightenment as the Buddhas do; liberate others as the Buddhas do; be unobstructed as the Buddhas are; manifest as the Buddhas do; radiate light as the Buddhas do; be in peaceful meditation as the Buddhas are; enter samadhi as the Buddhas do; teach the dharma as the Buddhas do; abstain from food as the Buddhas do; and all activities of the Buddhas, I can also perform." Therefore, when the six mudras are completed and one focuses on practicing the second and fourth mudras, the second mudra is practiced for one day, and the fourth mudra for six days, indicating the importance of this mudra. Many students open their primordial and see their original nature while practicing this mudra.

The Tathagata Good Collection Dharani Mudra: It combines the merits, power, and wonderful uses of all Buddhas' mantras into one. Its power is immense, its force swift, capable of subduing demonic obstacles, breaking external and heretical methods, and even moving mountains and filling seas, eliminating the afflictions of various seeds. Therefore, practicing the Heart within Heart method does not risk demonic interference, nor disturbance from external and heretical methods.

The Tathagata Speech Mudra: If practitioners maintain this mudra, all sutras spoken by the Buddhas and treatises composed by the Bodhisattvas can be understood at a glance, comprehended thoroughly, without the slightest doubt. This mudra can also invoke the blessings of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, fulfilling all wishes. When greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance, doubt, and various desires are all emptied, relying on the power of Buddha and Bodhisattva's blessings, one can quickly manifest innate supernatural powers.

Because the six mudras of the Heart within Heart method each have functions like generating aspiration, eliminating karma, achieving meditation, opening wisdom, subduing demons, and removing obstacles, students of this method do not need to go through preliminary practices and stages of generation and completion, but can directly enter the stage of great completion.

The practice of Heart within Heart is a method of cultivating both concentration and wisdom. When sitting, the mind hears and perceives, focusing on meditation, with wisdom within meditation, nourishing wisdom through concentration. When not sitting, encountering situations to train the mind, using the light of wisdom to awaken and break all delusions, integrating wisdom into concentration. With the mutual support of concentration and wisdom, and their perfect integration and equal maintenance, practicing this method has clear effects and quick results. It is not rare to see students open their original nature within dozens of sessions.

The practice of Heart within Heart is also neither empty nor existent. Speaking of emptiness, it has a mantra and mudra; speaking of existence, the mantra and mudra have no meaningful discussion, no thoughts to engage. It teaches one to focus on the mantra, pushing forward. When the mind empties to a certain point, the root and dust naturally fall off, revealing the original nature.

The beauty of the Heart within Heart method lies in its ability to integrate all teachings into one. The "Buddha Heart Sutra" says that practicing the fourth mudra of Heart within Heart can lead to rebirth in the Western Pure Land and even rebirth in the Pure Lands of the ten directions, which is the Pure Land school; opening the primordial to see the original nature is the Chan school; and finally, when the mind connects with the worlds of the ten directions, with all Buddhas in my heart and me in the hearts of all Buddhas, mutually encompassing each other, endlessly, interpenetrating without hindrance, is the Huayan school. This method, unlike ordinary Esoteric Buddhism, is the essence of all Buddhas, the jewel of the crown, encompassing all methods and summarizing all schools, truly not an overstatement.

Method of Practice:

It can be roughly divided into the following stages:

Period of Practicing the Six Mudras: The six mudras of this method must be practiced in sequence, not skipped, each for eight days, making a 48-day cycle, completed in two rounds. This is the foundation-laying period. After completing the six mudras, one can close the doors to the three evil paths and cut off the causes of samsara. This is also the unique feature of Esoteric Buddhism.

Period of Focusing on the Second and Fourth Mudras: After the six mudras, one enters the specialized practice stage of Heart within Heart. During this period, with seven days as a cycle, practicing the second mudra on the first day and the fourth mudra for the next six days, repeating until great enlightenment is achieved. As long as practitioners practice according to the method, without missing sessions for no reason, they can receive good news within a thousand sessions. Those who haven't opened up within a thousand sessions but continue to




diligently practice, persevering for seven to eight years until they resonate, are also among them.

The Period of 'Hitting Seven': During the period of focusing on the second and fourth mudras, one can incorporate the 'Hitting Seven' method. The Heart within Heart method's 'Hitting Seven' is usually conducted in winter, lasting no more than four weeks. A knowledgeable teacher is required to lead the sessions, with three sessions each day, each lasting four hours. The first two sessions practice the fourth mudra, and the last session practices the second mudra. On the final day, nine sessions are conducted, only practicing the fourth mudra.

'Hitting Seven' is an especially intensive method, as continuous daily practice generates a powerful blessing force. Practitioners have no time for other concerns, so it is easier for them to "steal the mind" and open the "mind flower", showing more significant effects than usual practice. However, 'Hitting Seven' requires special time and space and has certain physical requirements, so it is not for everyone and not a must for everyone. The main effort in practice is on a regular basis; if one practices diligently, natural resonance will occur. For those who can, using the 'Hitting Seven' method for diligent pursuit of realization is, of course, better.

The Period of Maintaining and Removing Habits After Seeing Nature: The purpose of practice is to see everyone's inherent Buddha nature. For those who truly see nature, their mind nature is clear, the eye of the path is open, they see Buddhas and sentient beings as equal in essence, sentient and insentient beings as complete in wisdom, every thought and action as prajna, every movement as wondrous function. After seeing nature, since beginningless delusions still persist, one needs to repeatedly refine the mind, but since they have realized the nature of non-abiding and non-action, even though they continue to practice, their minds hold no attachments. For those initially enlightened, due to many delusions, if they have not completed a thousand sessions, they should continue to meditate. Although their fundamental nature is clear, their concentration is not yet strong, and they may still have frequent delusions when encountering circumstances. They need to cultivate concentration through meditation. After a thousand sessions, if one's habits are weak, they can stop meditating and cultivate their nature in daily life, nurturing the holy embryo. If habits are still strong, they can continue meditating, gradually refining habits through practice, but they should not be attached to sitting, or else dharma views will not be removed, and it will be difficult to enter a state of freedom.

Although the Heart within Heart method can help practitioners quickly open their original nature and see Buddha nature, due to individual foundations and levels of effort, not everyone can achieve enlightenment. So, for those who have not seen nature, is it necessary to continue practicing the Heart within Heart method? The answer is affirmative. As previously mentioned, the fourth mudra of Heart within Heart can lead to rebirth in the Western Pure Land. Therefore, completing a thousand sessions of Heart within Heart practice and maintaining the initial intention until the end of life can lead to rebirth according to one's wishes. Fearing that many people would not achieve realization through practice, the great foolish patriarch also specially transmitted the Cishi mantra and the Rebirth mantra. According to the method, reciting and holding these mantras can definitely lead to rebirth in the Tushita Inner Court or the Western Pure Land. Those who are willing to practice the Heart within Heart method can all benefit. Many people feel a significant change in their body and mind after a short time of practice: habits are reduced through repeated upheaval, attachment weakens from initial firmness, mood changes from distress and depression to cheerfulness and enthusiasm, and the body also transforms for the better unknowingly. The speed of achievement and the quickness of effect are beyond ordinary imagination, only known by those who practice.

The ancestral masters described the origin of the Heart within Heart method as follows:

When the great foolish patriarch descended the mountain to spread the dharma, Esoteric Buddhism had long been extinct in the mainland, and the supreme dharma treasure was unrecognized by the world. To make people aware of this skillful and convenient method, the patriarch displayed some spiritual powers wherever he went, causing a sensation throughout the north and south of the great river, attracting over fifty to sixty thousand people seeking the dharma. Initially busy with initiation and teaching the dharma daily, he did not elaborate on its essentials, leading people to regard it as ordinary Esoteric Buddhism, emphasizing spiritual powers over the path. In 1930, the patriarch consecutively held nine Prajna

dharma assemblies, revealing the secret meaning of the teachings for the first time, and then transmitted the dharma to his heart-disciple Wang Xianglu, before retiring in disguise to the Sichuan and Shu regions. The great foolish patriarch only wrote one piece, the "Liberation Song," and one poem, "Farewell Poem," without leaving other written works.

The second patriarch of the Heart within Heart method, Wang Xianglu, known as "Benevolent Knowledge Layperson," was from Haiyan, Zhejiang. From a young age, he was exceptionally intelligent and naturally wise, fond of reading scriptures. In his youth, he served as a translator for an imperial envoy, traveled to India and Southeast Asia, and visited Buddhist relics, strengthening his commitment to the path. Initially seeking the essence of various schools, practicing chanting and Zen for over a decade without self-confidence. After following the great foolish patriarch in practicing the Heart within Heart method, he finally deeply entered samadhi, saw the true nature, and enlightened his mind. After assuming the patriarchal position, he established the Yinxin Hermitage in Tianjin and Shanghai, extensively spreading the great Heart within Heart method, tirelessly guiding later students, teaching thousands of students, with hundreds attaining confirmation and realization. His teachings were concise, profound, and easily understood, benefiting all listeners. His lifelong writings were extensive, totaling millions of words, but most were unfortunately destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. The surviving parts were collected and edited by his granddaughter, Mingzhen Layperson, into the "Complete Works of Wang Xianglu," now published. The "Complete Works" comprise three parts: the first part contains interpretations and explanations of various scriptures; the second part includes "Yi Hai Lecture Records," "Entering Buddhism, Understanding the School Q&A," and other lecture manuscripts; the third part includes Yinxin dharma essentials and miscellaneous records. His life's writings, all emanating from an enlightened mind, embody the essence of the great patriarch and deeply resonate with the supreme secret meaning. Defining the Yinxin school: with Prajna as the doctrine, with total maintenance as the method, and with Pure Land as the destination. Truly, every word is a gem, each phrase a treasure. Integrating Zen, Pure Land, and Esoteric into one furnace, sweeping away narrow views of sects, uniting teachings, doctrines, and precepts into one body, enlightening the eyes of sentient beings. His works are a guide for later students to understand the essentials of the teachings, the process of realizing the mind, and the essence of awakening to the nature of the sea. They stand as outstanding contributions to modern Buddhist studies. The theoretical framework of the Heart within Heart method was truly established and completed during the time of the second patriarch.

In 1958, Master Wang Xianglu fell ill in Shanghai. Knowing his end was near, he transmitted the dharma to his chief disciple, Li Zhongding, and repeatedly entrusted him: "This great dharma must be widely propagated for the benefit of the world." As his illness worsened, he formed the True Granting of Bodhicitta Mudra for several days, passing away peacefully.

The third patriarch of the Heart within Heart method, Li Zhongding, known as "Elder Yuanyin," was from Hefei, Anhui. As a child, he studied the Confucian teachings, pondering life and death; as a youth, he and his father read the "Diamond Sutra," feeling a sense of familiarity. Later, following his father to Zhenjiang, he played in temples, feeling calm and at peace when hearing the bell. At that time, there was an enlightened monk on Jinshan, revered as a living Buddha, who, seeing the young Li's wisdom, considered him a suitable vessel for the dharma, and said, "Study diligently; future blessings are boundless!" As a young man, he moved to Shanghai with his father, attended Hujiang University, and worked while studying after his father passed away. Deeply experiencing the brevity and suffering of life, he developed a strong renunciation mind, devoted himself to Buddhism, and remained unmarried. Elder Yuanyin studied under Tai Sect venerable Xingci, Huayan Abbot Yingci, and layperson Fan Gunong, learning Tiantai, Huayan, and Yogacara doctrines. He also participated in winter Zen and Pure Land retreats, once experiencing a loss of bodily sensation, immersed in light, but lacking a final breakthrough. Later, introduced by a friend, he met the second patriarch of Heart within Heart, Benevolent Knowledge Master, and practiced the Heart within Heart method, ultimately realizing the shattering of the void and the sinking of the earth. Blessed by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, with auspicious signs appearing, he had profound dialogues with the great foolish patriarch.

Master Yuanyin was knowledgeable and highly intelligent, understood the ultimate goals of




the three teachings, and grasped the mysteries of the Tripitaka. His heart for liberating others was particularly earnest. With Prajna as his eyes, he guided the confused into the wisdom of Buddha; using expedient means, he led the ignorant back to their true nature. His understanding and realization were not inferior to the ancient sages. Although he called his teachings secret, they encompassed Chan and Pure Land, especially skilled in interpreting secret teachings through Chan, integrating the secret into Chan. He effortlessly cited various public cases and classic stories, revealing insights into Prajna and highlighting the core intent of Yinxin.

Over decades, Master Yuanyin's dharma propagation extended across the vast regions of China. His disciples included not only domestic monastics and laypeople but also many overseas students from Europe, America, and Japan. His published works, such as "Essentials of Buddhist Practice and Realization," "Hidden Meanings of the Heart Sutra," "Henghe Great Hand Seal Lecture," and "Achievement Secret Manual of the Intermediate State," have been widely welcomed since publication, repeatedly reprinted to meet demand.

In 2000, on the first day of the lunar new year, Master Yuanyin, foreseeing the end of his mortal journey, peacefully passed away. During his cremation, not only were countless relics found, but the sky also displayed incredible auspicious signs, a testament to his lifelong diligent practice and perfect realization. His life and achievements shine brightly, serving as an eternal model for future generations.

In his will, Master Yuanyin did not appoint a successor, stating, "Those who are truly on the path will naturally spread it." The colleagues of Heart within Heart have continuously strived to propagate the dharma and benefit sentient beings. We believe that, as Master Yuanyin prophesied, the Heart within Heart method will be widely spread between heaven and earth and throughout the world!

This concludes the translation of the text. It offers a detailed and reverent account of the Heart within Heart method's lineage, practices, and significance in the Buddhist tradition, emphasizing its continuity, depth, and adaptability for modern practitioners.”

Here's another translation, of the article

“Here is the translation of the provided text:

The Heart within Heart method is the highest signless secret vehicle. Only those with great fearlessness dare to believe and practice it...

In Tibet, it is necessary to practice the form-based secret teachings for at least twenty years, or only after twenty years, can one practice this method. The roots and capacities of people in the East are different, hence they can directly advance deeper into this method. Initially, when practicing this method, the responsibility lies with the teacher; it should not be transmitted without careful examination. During the years 1928-1929, the great foolish Acharya started this in Beijing and Shanghai. At that time, there were fifty to sixty thousand seekers of the dharma, and he initiated hundreds of people daily. There was no time to discuss the essentials of the dharma in detail, so the world regarded it as ordinary Esoteric Buddhism. Most abandoned their practice midway or developed doubts and slanders. Those who deeply believed without doubt and received the essence of the teachings personally are less than two hundred to this day. Now, this foolish teacher (referring to the author) is in seclusion in Hanguo, temporarily declining worldly connections, and has instructed fellow disciples to spread the teachings widely. I feel deeply ashamed for arrogantly taking a seat above others with my half-understanding, tying this supreme and excellent connection with all benevolent ones. Fortunately, in the past two years, all practitioners have benefited from the practice, the dharma connection is increasingly prosperous, and the integration of Chan and Esoteric teachings is purifying this land. As for various doubts and slanders about the Heart within Heart method in the past, they have also been dispelled through personal verification by the benevolent ones, without need for argument.

The Heart within Heart method, in terms of the dharma, belongs to the secret part, enabling practitioners to directly realize the field of the heart, also penetrating Chan and Pure Land, as it integrates Chan, Pure Land, and Esoteric into one furnace. It breaks all dharma views, reaching the ultimate ultimate state. All rituals are extremely simple, no need for various preparations and offerings. Regardless of gender, age, wealth, or status, anyone who can sit for two hours can practice it and can achieve concentration within a set period. Once concentration is achieved, wisdom naturally arises. Therefore, those who have not sat for a hundred sessions cannot discuss the essence of the mind, to make clear the body and start using it. The wonder of this method lies in the utterly tasteless darkness, suddenly brightening up, personally seeing the true nature, and achieving samadhi. Due to different habitual energies of each person, the speed of response and reaction images vary, so it is advisable to always be close to a teacher or friend for consultation during practice. Otherwise, once concentration is achieved and a state is experienced, doubts may arise again, leading to abandoning meditation, a very common issue.

In practicing the Heart within Heart method, the emphasis is on post-meditation, encountering circumstances to train the mind, using wisdom to illuminate, seeing all as illusion, the mind naturally unattached. Non-attachment is non-abiding, non-abiding is called non-thinking, not the non-seeing and non-hearing of non-thinking. This method is the supreme wonderful method of capturing the mind, from understanding the mind to emptying circumstances, from emptying circumstances to emptying the mind, from emptying the mind to emptiness

of emptiness, from emptiness of emptiness to revealing the nature, from revealing the nature to complete illumination, from complete illumination to profound tranquility, thus entering the subtle ultimate realm of the Heart within Heart.

The practice of the Heart within Heart method is roughly divided into five stages: 1) the period of completing the Six Mudras; 2) the period of continued practice; 3) the 'Hitting Seven' period; 4) the period of completing a thousand sessions; 5) the period of giving up and no longer practicing. This method is mostly about a thousand sessions. If one refuses to give up then, it becomes an illness of clinging to the method. After completing the six mudras, if one refuses to continue sitting, these two types of people are the most common, which is very regrettable.

The root problem of sentient beings lies in habitual tendencies. Without removing this root, it is not thorough. This root lurks within the nature, and the Heart within Heart represents this nature. The initial practice of this method focuses on seeking concentration. Once concentration is attained, it becomes the essence, from which wisdom is born, and the arising of wisdom is the function. During meditation, practice cessation, which is the essence; when not meditating, practice observation, which is the function. As cessation and observation progress together, concentration and wisdom support each other, and essence and function unify. If the essence is great, the function is great; if the essence is small, the function is small. However, practitioners often do not engage in function, only meditating for two hours a day and not willing to investigate and practice observation, hence achieving little effect, and thus doubting the ultimate nature of the method. It's like sharpening a knife but not testing it, not knowing whether the knife is sharp or blunt, blaming the method of sharpening, and wrongly forming self-views, which is regrettable.

The practice of the Heart within Heart method is unique among other methods. Initially, it is easy to achieve concentration, but midway, it feels chaotic. This is actually a time of great progress, and practitioners must not doubt or retreat. It's like two bowls of muddy water; one is left still to allow the sediment to settle, quickly becoming clear but not ultimately so, as it becomes muddy again with the slightest disturbance. The other gradually removes the sediment, stirring more, removing more mud, and when it is thoroughly clear, it is no longer afraid of disturbance. It's like a patient reacting to medication with sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea, which is necessary for healing.

People seeking concentration often mistake stillness for concentration. This is stillness, not concentration. Concentration means being the same in motion and stillness, not differentiating between concentration and chaos. Regardless of circumstances, whether favorable or adverse, praise or blame, pleasure or pain, facing the eight worldly winds without being affected or swayed, this is true concentration. The Heart within Heart method can indeed be practiced to such states. However, those of lesser wisdom might be shocked and say, "This is the realm of Buddha; how can we ordinary people achieve it? This must be madness, not knowing one's limits," etc. If someone hears this, they might doubt and not learn, deceiving themselves. This is human nature at work, absolutely not to be done. Practitioners should have a courageous and adventurous heart. There is nothing in the world that can be achieved without effort, let alone learning Buddhism.

Eastern Esoteric and Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism emphasize form-based practices with strict rituals. Buddha statues are solemn, and the expenses are enormous. Only the Heart within Heart method is not bound by anything, does not choose a location, and as long as one practices according to the method, satisfying the time, achievement is possible. Be patient and control your breath; there is no other way. First, do not seek supernatural powers; second, do not seek visions of light or Buddhas. If various states arise, do not be pleased or frightened; regard them as illusions and pay no attention. Do not be impatient when sitting. If someone disturbs you or a child cries, do not be annoyed or resentful. Use these situations to train the mind, transform accumulated habits. Whenever annoyed or resentful, be joyful. With time and natural practice, the light of equanimity and wisdom will appear.

In practicing the method, respect and earnestness are paramount. Respect ensures diligence, and earnestness enables endurance, making concentration easy to achieve. After sitting, lively

observation is key. Liveliness helps to transform stubborn habitual tendencies, and observation helps to assess the depth of daily practice, making function easy to arise. In the future, observing others' dispositions will also progress through this familiarity, and the eye of wisdom will open unconsciously. Achieving concentration and realizing the essence can rely on the method, as it involves mantras and mudras. However, developing wisdom and function entirely depends on oneself, requiring constant observation and practice, and one must not be negligent. Many modern practitioners, despite years of practice, still have afflictions. This is due to their reluctance to practice and apply what they've learned. They mistakenly think that worldly affairs and Buddha's teachings are entirely separate. The Sixth Patriarch said: "The Dharma is in the world, not apart from the world in enlightenment." If one does not use external circumstances to train the mind, they are far from the path.

For those practicing this method, the main principle is to not be lax in mind, not necessarily to endure suffering in the body. Therefore, precepts focus on the mind. Holding mudras with hands is a body secret; not engaging in killing, stealing, or sexual misconduct is sufficient. Reciting mantras with the mouth is a mouth secret; not engaging in verbal actions like lying, slander, etc., is sufficient. Keeping the mind clear and empty is a mind secret; not engaging in mental actions like greed, anger, and ignorance is sufficient. These are the precepts of non-precept, precepts for the unaware. Observing and certifying emptiness after sitting belongs to preventing suspicion and evil in the cause ground, precepts for the unforeseen. For killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct are fruits; the cause ground belongs to greed, anger, and ignorance, and these, in turn, are fruits; the cause ground belongs to not understanding the mind. Thus, the Heart within Heart method can directly realize the diamond-like Prajna, the supreme door to awakening the mind, removing fundamental karmic obstacles.

Practicing the Dharma method focuses on actual practice, and merely discussing doctrinal theories is entirely useless. Esoteric Buddhism not only requires one's own practice but also relies on Buddha's power, hence having certain assurance. Practicing precepts, concentration, and wisdom are virtues that enter without self-awareness. Historically, Chan and Esoteric Buddhism, different from other schools, start from the eighth consciousness, first breaking ignorance, then removing obscuring obstacles, with fundamentally different roots. Exoteric Buddhism considers breaking ignorance as extremely difficult, requiring three countless eons, not knowing that "countless" means "not to be spoken of." Learning Buddhism should not be discussed in terms of this life, and its swiftness or slowness has no fixed time. Those clinging to scriptural form should not be spoken to about this.

In today's world, due to poor environments, people's minds are increasingly uneasy, and dealing with worldly affairs is increasingly difficult. Everyone suffers from three types of insufficiencies: 1) physical weakness and illness; 2) lack of concentration; 3) weak cognition. Physical weakness leads to illness, hindering progress and shortening lifespan, with early loss in middle age, or even becoming incapacitated, which is very regrettable. The remedy lies only in cultivation and nourishment: cultivating to control the mind and see nature, nourishing to regulate qi and calm the spirit. When the mind is in charge, qi is sufficient, essence is solid, and spirit is vigorous, naturally eliminating illness and prolonging life. Lack of concentration mostly stems from physical weakness. A strong body can endure diligent cultivation, and with strong concentration, wisdom is sufficient, and cognition naturally becomes vast. Buddha's teachings are about actively liberating beings, not passively achieving self-realization. Elderly people, nearing the end of their journey, should urgently practice to escape the realm of suffering quickly. The fourth mudra of the Heart within Heart method can lead to rebirth in the Western Pure Land, aiding their mindfulness and rebirth causes. Middle-aged people, in the prime of their lives, if they feel a lack of vitality or insufficient concentration, facing situations with trepidation and fear, often causing mistakes, the Heart within Heart method can help achieve concentration in a set period. Concentration and wisdom support each other, significantly impacting their entire career. Young people, with insufficient cognition and easily swayed by external influences leading to downfall, can strengthen their foundation and take the lead in their endeavors by practicing the Heart within Heart method. Therefore, this method is suitable for everyone. Women at home with nothing to do, wishing to reduce illness, annoyance, and distress, will find the practice especially beneficial. Regrettably, people nowadays have little fortune to receive the dharma, and even more so, it's a pity if they receive it but do not practice it.

For those practicing the Heart within Heart method, after completing a hundred sessions, physical strength and complexion gradually improve, and various benefits are too numerous to mention. Below, I will discuss the essentials of the practice, but I will only mention a fraction of them. The most subtle aspects are known only to those who have personally realized them. Soon, the benevolent ones can approach this foolish teacher for further confirmation and a more complete understanding. The opportunity lies ahead, and those who are determined can achieve it. Be at ease for a while.

The "Complete Works of Wang Xianglu Layperson - Yi Hai Lecture Records"

This translation captures the essence of the Heart within Heart method, its stages, the importance of diligent practice, and the potential benefits and challenges faced by practitioners. It emphasizes the method's adaptability to different practitioners and its profound impact on personal and spiritual development.”

 (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。


(See Original Chinese text below)

Written by Yuan Yin Lao Ren

Published in the "Zen" journal, issues from the 3rd quarter of 1993 to the 3rd quarter of 1995

Gao Feng: Where is the master?

Master Gao Feng first visited Master Duanqiao Lun for Zen meditation, focusing on the question "Where does life come from and where does death go?" He diligently pursued this day and night, without rest or sleep. Later, he visited Master Xueyan Qin, who asked him, "Who brought you this dead corpse?" Before the master could answer, he was expelled. Despite numerous such experiences, the master not only harbored no resentment but grew more devout in his meditation. (Nowadays, people get offended by just a bit of harsh speech, let alone physical discipline. This shows how earnestly and sincerely the ancients practiced Zen. Such dedicated practice surely leads to enlightenment and realization. Shouldn't we, the younger generation, feel ashamed and strive even more diligently?)

During his meditation, the master once dreamt of his time in Master Duanqiao Lun's chamber, recalling the question "All things return to one, but where does that one return to?" This sparked a great doubt in him, keeping him awake for three days and nights. (In Zen, it is essential to foster doubt; when doubt arises, it encompasses the whole being, and good news is imminent.)

On the day commemorating Bodhidharma, the master went with others to chant scriptures at the Three Pagodas. Looking up, he saw a portrait of the Fifth Patriarch Yanhe with the inscription: "For thirty-six thousand mornings and evenings over a hundred years, it turns out to be this man." Suddenly, he had an epiphany and broke through the question of the dead corpse.

After his enlightenment, he visited Master Qin again. Upon seeing him, Qin asked, "Who brought you this dead corpse here?" The master responded with a shout! (His demeanor was extraordinary after enlightenment.) Qin picked up a stick (to examine further), and the master firmly said, "Today, you cannot beat me." (Very impressive.) Qin asked, "Why can't I beat you?" (Oh heavens, spare him this.) The master left with a flick of his sleeves. (Thanks to this move.)

The next day, Qin asked, "All things return to one, but where does that one return to?" (The compassionate heart of the world.) The master replied, "A dog licking a hot oil pan." (Knowing you can neither advance nor retreat.) Qin asked, "Where did you learn this nonsense?" (Who are you asking? It's because of Master Qin's dullness.) The master replied, "Exactly, I wanted Master Qin to doubt it." (Rightfully unyielding.) Qin withdrew. (What can he do but swallow his pride?) From then on, the master's responses were unmatched. (Alone above all.)

One day, Qin casually asked, "Can you be the master during the day?" (Fishing deeply with the hope of catching a golden fish; why harm oneself?) The master replied, "I can be the master." (It seems, it seems, originally, originally. He's lost his anchor star.) Qin further asked, "Can you be the master in your sleep and dreams?" (Adding insult to injury, unforgivable!) The master replied, "I can be the master." (Still not fully awake, how deep is the mud under your feet?) Qin asked again, "When you're in deep sleep, without dreams or thoughts, without seeing or hearing, where is the master?" (Please tell me, Master. Don't hesitate to strike harder! It's not elsewhere.) The master was silent. (The ancient Buddha has long passed; it's a complete defeat.) Qin advised, "From today, don't bother with studying Buddhism or delving into ancient and modern times. Just eat when you're hungry, sleep when you're tired, and when you wake up, invigorate your spirit and ask yourself where the master resides in that instant of awareness." (Don't deceive anyone; treat a 'live' horse as if it's 'dead'.)

The master then redoubled his efforts in meditation, vowing to be a simple monk all his life, determined to understand this point clearly. (Worthy of respect, a true man does not rot like plants and trees.) One day during a nap, a fellow monk accidentally knocked his pillow to the ground, making a loud thud, and the master had a great realization. (It's already late! Was this monk an incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion?)

(Note: The text in brackets is the author's commentary.)

From reading this case, in addition to our genuine admiration for Master Gao Feng's earnest and relentless pursuit of Zen and his profound state of enlightenment, we also gain the following valuable insights:

If we truly want to transcend reincarnation and understand life and death, we must dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to Zen meditation, focusing on a seemingly meaningless question day and night, in all situations, tirelessly. Only then can we open up to our true nature and personally witness the truth. It's not about understanding some literary meanings or being able to engage in clever banter and writing verses; that's not enlightenment. Nor is it about being physically healthy, living comfortably, and feeling relaxed and at ease.

It's crucial to have doubt in Zen meditation. With doubt, we can cut off false thoughts and accumulate explosive energy. When the right time and conditions come, like gunpowder meeting a spark, we can instantly break through and see our true nature. Otherwise, with incessant false thoughts and no explosive energy, we waste our time. As the ancients said, "Great doubt leads to great enlightenment, little doubt to little enlightenment, no doubt to no enlightenment."

Those who engage in clever speech and writing in Zen, though seemingly profound, only display a temporary facade. Their minds are not truly empty and clear; they always have something in mind. Even if they forcibly calm their minds in meditation, there's always something lurking, preventing the light from shining through. Without realizing their true nature, how can they calm their monkey mind and horse-like desires and achieve great tranquility? Thus, when adversity strikes, their previously peaceful and joyful state disappears.

Such people can't master themselves in their daily lives, let alone in their dreams. They can't remain unmoved in both favorable and unfavorable circumstances. Especially when illness strikes, they're unable to resist and suffer painfully.

Master Dahui Zonggao reprimanded such practitioners as being like mercury in medicine that evaporates upon heating, unable to be truly utilized. How can they transcend life and death, escape reincarnation? Therefore, we must earnestly and genuinely engage in Zen meditation, not just seek answers in words and theories.

Master Gao Feng's first two answers, "I can be the master," show good practice and are exemplary for us. We practice Buddhism to be masters in the face of life and death, not to be dragged down by karma and sink into the sea of suffering. To achieve this, we must first be masters in our daily activities, unaffected by changing circumstances and emotions, and then in our dreams. If we can't do this, how can we talk about transcending life and death? The root of life and death lies in the incessant wandering of thoughts, clinging to circumstances.

For practitioners today, it's already difficult to be masters during the day, let alone in dreams. Sleep is a state of semi-unconsciousness, and death is a state of complete unconsciousness. If we can't master semi-unconsciousness, how can we master complete unconsciousness and transcend life and death? Therefore, to transcend life and death and realize the Way, we must first master our state in dreams. Even those with bold and spirited dispositions, who can remain unattached and free from anger and attachment in daily life, often find themselves involuntarily carried away by dreams. Master Gao Feng's ability to be the master in his dreams, unaffected by dream demons, is a remarkable achievement of meditation. Without enduring great hardships and diligent practice, how could he have achieved this? It's not easy for practitioners to reach this level, and we should admire and praise them.

In contrast, many practitioners today are unwilling to engage in earnest and diligent practice. They avoid the difficult and focus on easy discussions of literary meanings, or they seek answers from others. After understanding some similar principles, they write articles and verses, believing they have attained enlightenment. But this is just living off others' leftovers, not truly their own practice. They can't be masters in the face of life and death. Their words and verses should flow from their own hearts to cover heaven and earth.

Some practitioners, upon experiencing a bit of meditative absorption, such as physical growth, levitation, cessation of breath, entering a fetal breathing state, or exhibiting some psychic powers, mistakenly believe they have achieved enlightenment. However, these are just illusions within meditation, far from true realization. In meditation, one must not cling to any state; clinging halts progress. Especially if psychic powers arise, one must not be self-satisfied, thinking one has attained something. Such satisfaction not only prevents enlightenment but also risks falling into demonic states. The fifty demonic states mentioned in the "Shurangama Sutra" refer to these illusory processes, which are obstacles to the Way. Practitioners must not cling to them to avoid falling into the wrong path and into demonic realms.

Some arrogant individuals misinterpret the "Heart Sutra" and "Diamond Sutra," saying, "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form," and "All phenomena are illusory." Since all phenomena are illusory




and unattainable, they think, why bother with Zen meditation or chanting the Buddha's name? If there is Zen to meditate on or a Buddha to chant, isn't that adding delusion upon delusion? While these words seem correct, when faced with adversity or an unexpected accident, their beliefs crumble into nothingness.

There are also those who mistakenly think that once enlightened, that's the end. After their initial breakthrough, they believe they have reached the goal and no longer diligently observe and train their minds. As a result, their old habits persist, and they become arrogant and self-satisfied, failing to truly benefit from their realization. In the end, they fall into post-enlightenment confusion, still wandering in the cycle of birth and death. Isn't that a tragic waste?

Furthermore, some people, misled by others, use psychic powers to verify enlightenment. When their practice is effective, and they reach a point where their body, mind, and world dissolve into emptiness, clear and lucid, they mistakenly dismiss this as not their true essence because they don't experience any magical powers. They hurriedly pass over this crucial moment, a great pity! Having missed this critical opportunity themselves, they then wrongly deny others' achievements. This is truly self-destructive behavior. The ancients lamented, "Because it's too close, it's often overlooked."

Today, we record this case for everyone's reference, hoping that everyone can learn from it, improve themselves, strive upward, and attain true realization, so as not to waste their lives in vain.

After learning from and admiring the main character's sincere dedication to the path and his profound practice in the case, we should further discuss the subtleties of the case and the key to practicing the Way, so that everyone can clearly understand the intent of our school, thoroughly investigate the source, and not be misled by halfway efforts, thereby honoring the deep intentions of the ancients.

Master Gao Feng's first two answers, "I can be the master," indeed show good practice, beyond the reach of ordinary Zen practitioners. However, from the standpoint of "sudden enlightenment" in our school, they are somewhat lacking. Let's briefly discuss the subtle aspects:

Zen Buddhism emphasizes direct realization of one's nature and becoming a Buddha, not a gradual process of cultivation. The ancients said, " 'Equal Enlightenment' (Dengjue) and 'Wonderful Enlightenment' (Miaojue) is akin to wearing second-hand straw sandals." If even the 'Equal Enlightenment' (Dengjue) and 'Wonderful Enlightenment' (Miaojue) is disregarded, what about below that? Therefore, our school does not allow for an intermediate process and does not tolerate any trace of effort.

Zen—The Treasury of the True Dharma Eye, the Marvelous Mind of Nirvana—is naked and unadorned, without a speck of dust. With neither an objective external world nor a subjective perceiver, who is there to be the master of whom? Master Xueyan Qin, in his first two questions, "Who brought you this dead corpse?" and "All things return to one, but where does that one return to?" tried to gauge whether Master Gao Feng had completely eradicated any utilitarian thinking. Alas, Master Gao Feng was not yet firm in his practice and fell for the bait, replying, "I can be the master." Isn't this falling into the trap of relativity, of subject and object? This is not in accord with the naked Zen. In our school, such a response is considered "not cutting off completely." It's like binding oneself. By the time he replied the same for the second time, he had completely tied himself up, leaving no room to move. When the third question came, "In deep sleep, without dreams or thoughts, without seeing or hearing, where is the master?" he could only swallow his words and be defeated by the question.

Only later, when the time was ripe and his pillow fell to the ground, did he completely break free and realize that the master was not elsewhere. Everything, including the mountains, rivers, vegetation, and forests, is a manifestation of the master; the chirping of birds, the fragrance of flowers, the singing of orioles, and the dancing of swallows are all the marvelous functions of the master! What more is there to say about being the master or not? Weren't his previous answers utterly messy?

Finally, let's offer three alternative answers to Snow Rock's questions, as a tribute to our fellow practitioners and as a greeting to Master Gao Feng:

Question: Can you be the master during the day?

Answer: Eat when hungry, sleep when tired.

Question: Can you be the master in dreams?

Answer: The sun rises in the morning, and the moon sets behind the mountains.

Question: In the absence of dreams, thoughts, sight, and hearing, where is the master?

Answer: The great void absorbs light and widens the gap; the wind sways the light green willow threads lightly.

元音老人著   載於《禪》刊 1993 年第 3 期至 1995 年第 3 期 高峰·主人公在什麼處? 高峰妙禪師初參斷橋倫和尚,令參「生從何來,死從何去」話。即日夜不懈,不眠不休。後參雪岩欽和尚,欽問:「阿誰與你拖個死屍來? 」師未及答話,即被打出。如是不知經過幾多次,師非但毫無怨忿之意,卻更虔誠參叩。( 這在今人不用說經過多次棒打,即稍為語重一點,即心懷不滿,把腳底板給你看了。于此可見古人用功多麼懇切誠篤! 這樣精誠專一的用功,哪得不開悟、證道? ! 吾等後輩小子對之能不慚惶愧汗而奮起精進乎? ) 師於參話次,偶於夢中憶斷橋倫室中所舉「萬法歸一,一歸何處」話,疑情頓發,三晝夜目不交睫。( 參禪貴起疑情,疑情一發,籠罩全身,凝作一團,好消息即將至矣。) 一日適逢達摩祖師忌辰,隨眾往詣三塔諷經,偶抬頭,睹壁間五祖演和尚(  臨濟宗楊歧會一支白雲端和尚嗣,圜悟勤和尚之師。) 遺像讚云:「百年三萬六千朝,反覆原來是這漢。」驀然省悟,打破拖死屍話頭。 悟後,詣南明,再謁欽和尚。欽一見便問:「阿誰與你拖個死屍到這裏來? 」師便喝! ( 悟後氣概便不凡。) 欽拈棒,( 再勘過。) 師把住云:「今日打我不得。」( 的是可兒。) 欽曰:「為什麼打不得? 」( 蒼天蒼天,放過一著。) 師拂袖便出。( 賴有這一著。) 翌日,欽問:「萬法歸一,一歸何處? 」( 天下慈父心。) 師曰:「狗舔熱油鐺。」( 也知你欲進不能,欲退不得。) 欽曰:「那裏學這虛頭來? 」( 你問阿誰? 由和尚鈍置來。) 師云:「正要和尚疑著。」( 得理不讓人。) 欽休去。( 奈何伊不得,只索飲氣吞聲。) 自是機鋒不讓。( 天上天下,唯吾獨尊。) 一日,欽作尋常問話云:「日間浩浩時還作得主麼? 」( 垂釣千尺意在金鱗;好肉上挖瘡作麼? ) 師曰:「作得主。」( 將謂將謂,原來原來。果然失卻定盤星。) 欽進問云:「睡夢中作得主麼? 」( 雪上加霜,再犯不容! ) 師答云:「作得主。」( 猶自不惺惺,腳根下泥深多少! ) 欽更問云:「正睡著時,無夢無想,無見無聞,主人公正在什麼處? 」( 請問和尚。不妨更加一槌! 豈在別處。) 師無語。( 古佛過去久矣;早納敗闕了也。) 欽囑曰:「從今日始,也不要你學佛學法,也不要你窮古窮今,但只饑來吃飯,困來眠,才眠覺來,卻抖擻精神,問我這一覺主人公在什麼處安身立命? 」( 莫瞞人家男女好;「活」馬權作「死」馬醫。) 師乃奮志參究。自誓:拼一生做個粥飯僧,決要這著子明白。( 不愧鬚眉,好男兒豈甘與草木同腐! ) 一日午睡,同宿友僧莽撞,推師枕落地,噗通一聲,師乃大徹。( 已遲八刻! 這僧莫非大悲菩薩現身麼? ) ( 註:括弧內係本文作者的著語。) 我們讀了這則公案,除了由衷的崇敬讚仰高峰祖師精誠不懈的參究精神與深徹的悟境外,同時也獲得了下述的珍貴啟示: 第一,如果我們真要超輪迴,了生死,參禪必須放捨一切,死心塌地抱定一則無義味話頭,朝於斯,夕於斯,流離於斯,顛沛於斯,孜孜兀兀地日夜參究,方能打開本來,親證實相。絕不是懂得一些文字義理,會打兩句機鋒,下得幾句轉語或舞文弄墨地寫得幾首偈頌,就作為開悟的;更不是在色身強健,生活優裕時,過得輕鬆愉快,安祥自在,即是開悟。 第二,參禪必須起疑情。以疑情生起,方能遮斷妄念,蘊集爆發力。一旦時節因緣到來,如火藥碰到火星,頓時爆炸,當下打開玄關、識鎖,親見本真。否則,妄念不斷,無力爆發,徒喪光陰。故古德云:「大疑大悟,小疑小悟,不疑不悟。」非虛語也。 第三,說得口頭禪與舞文弄墨的禪客,雖然一時看起來也不無禪味,但這只是暫時的假相,他們心中並非清空廓徹,眼前總有個物在;即使勉強靜心打坐,心中也隱隱地有個物在,光明始終不得透脫,如何能消融身、心、世界,而親證本來! 既未親證本來,又如何能息卻猿心意馬而得泰然大定? 所以一旦逆境來臨,平時說的那種安祥愉悅的心情,便不知飛向何處去了。 這種人不要說於睡夢中作不得主,便是于白天尋常日用中也作不得主;不要說於較難覺察的順境中不能做到泰然不動,無有絲毫移易,即是較易知曉的逆境來時,也不能不隨境流轉而忿怒怨懣。尤其當病魔來侵時,更是無法抵禦而痛苦呻吟,萬般無奈。 大慧杲禪師呵斥此等禪客如藥水汞,遇火即飛,不得真實受用,又如何能了生死、出輪迴? 故告誡我等後輩參禪務必真參實究,不可在言句義理邊討消息也。 第四,高峰禪師的前兩答「作得主」確是好功夫。是我輩後學做功夫的典範與榜樣。我們學佛修道,就是為了在生死岸頭做得主,不為業障所牽累而沈淪苦海。要做到這一點,就須于生時首先在白天日常動用中作得主,不為順逆境緣所遷移,不為喜怒哀樂之妄情轉換,而後方能於睡夢中作得主。假如這一點也做不到,還說什麼了生死呢? 因為生死的根源,就是妄念不息,隨境攀緣呀! 就現階段的用功人說來,白天能作主、不為境緣所牽已是不易,何況更須於睡夢中作得主呢?睡夢是半昏迷,死時四大分散是大昏迷。假如半昏迷作不得主,大昏迷如何能作主而了生死呢?所以修心了道,出生死輪迴,必先於睡夢中作得主。但是任你慷慨豪放、意氣風發之士,白天縱能於順逆境緣上既無牽掛也無嗔愛,但於睡夢中往往情不自禁地為夢魔所攝而隨之流轉。今高峰禪師能于睡夢中作得主,不為夢魔所牽,這是何等定功! 不經出幾番大汗的苦苦參究,何能致此? !修心人功夫做到這步田地,確是不易! 我等如何能不欽仰讚歎! 反觀現在做功夫的人,大都不肯腳踏實地地孜孜參究,而是避重就輕地在文字義理上作道理會,或是向他人口邊討消息。領會得一些相似的道理後,便舞文弄墨地寫文章,作偈頌,下轉語,以為徹悟證道了。其實這只是食他人的殘羹餿飯,非幹己事,於生死岸頭絲毫作不得主。出言吐語,寫文作頌,要從自己胸襟中流露出來,方能蓋天蓋地。 有些人做功夫時,偶爾得了一點定境,例如:色身長大、飛空,呼吸中斷,進入胎息狀態,或是發了某種神通,便認為已經證道成聖了。其實這僅是禪定中顯現的一些幻境,離證道還遠在。在禪定中任何境界都不能著,一著便停滯不前,尤其是發了某些神通,更不能沾沾自喜,以為有得,一有得意,非但不能證道,入魔大有份在! 《楞嚴經》說的五十種陰魔,就是說這種虛幻過程,是障道的陰魔,修道人千萬不能著,以免誤入歧途而墮魔道。 有些狂妄人引用《心經》與《金剛經》的話說,「色即是空,空即是色」;「凡所有相,皆是虛妄。」一切境相既皆虛幻不實、不可得,那麼管它順、逆、美、惡,我只無心應之,不為所牽即得,何用參禪、念佛? 假如有禪可參、有佛可念,豈不妄上加妄? 這些話語,看來未嘗不是,但是一旦碰到逆境或遭一場意外事故,便雞飛蛋打一場空了。 也有些人誤以為一悟便了,初破本參,便以為到家,不再勤於觀照,歷境練心,以致習氣依舊,狂妄傲慢,不得真實受用。到頭來,落得個悟後迷,仍隨生死流浪,寧不冤苦? 更有些人誤聽人言,以神通來驗證開悟與否。當功夫得力,恰到好處,忽然身心世界化空、粉碎而靈明不昧,了了分明時,因不見神通玄妙,不知這是什麼而誤以為不是自己本命元辰,匆匆滑過,豈不可惜! ? 自己既錯過了這千鈞一髮之機,貽誤了本身,又以此來否定他人,此誠自作孽不可活者也。古德嘗歎息云:「只為親切甚,轉令薦得遲! 」良可慨也。 今天我們把這則公案錄供大家參考,就是希望大家從中吸取教訓,知所改進,努力向上,真實證取,以免虛度光陰,錯過一生。 我們在學習、讚仰了公案中主人公的為道精誠和深厚的功力後,還要進一步將公案的精微處與為道的關鍵來和大家探討一下,俾大家深明宗下的的旨,直下窮源,不為半途的功夫所誤,方不負古人的深心。 高峰祖師的前二答:「作得主」確是好功夫,非一般禪和子所能企及。但就宗下「頓悟」的立場細詳起來,不免遜色,茲將其幽微處略述如下: 禪宗是直下見性頓悟成佛的,不是次第漸修的法門。古德嘗云:「等妙二覺猶是它提草鞋漢。」等妙二覺也不屑一顧,遑論等妙二覺以下呢? 所以宗下不許有個中間過程,不能夾雜一點功夫痕跡。 禪—正法眼藏,涅槃妙心—是一絲不掛,一塵不染,淨裸裸、赤灑灑的。既無相對的客觀物境,也無主觀能見能聞的人,更有誰來作誰的主呢? 雪岩欽和尚在前二問「誰與你拖死屍來? 」與「萬法歸一,一歸何處? 」勘不破高峰後,故作尋常說話以釣高峰,看他是否已經剿絕至無功用地。哪知高峰腳根未穩,一釣即上鉤,答云:「作得主。」這不是有落處、有相對的主客了嗎? 這和淨裸裸的禪就不相應了。這答話在宗下說來是「傷鋒犯手,不剿絕」。這樣就捆了自己的手腳。迨至第二次答作得主,更把自己渾身捆了個結實,動彈不得了。到第三次問:「無夢無想,無見無聞時,主人公在什麼處? 」就只好咽氣吞聲,死於句下了。 等到後來時機成熟,枕子落地,徹底打脫,始如夢方醒,主人公原來不在別處。舉凡山河大地,草木叢林,無不是主人公之顯現;鳥語花香,鶯歌燕舞,無不是主人公之妙用! 有什麼主不主,更有什麼作不作? 前所答者,豈不狼藉不堪? ! 最後,就雪岩之問另作三答,以饗同參,並藉作與高峰禪師相見之禮: 1 、問:白天作得主麼? 答:饑來吃飯困來睡。 2 、問:睡夢中作得主麼? 答:朝陽升起月含山。 3 、問:無夢無想,無見無聞時,主人公在什麼處? 答:太虛飲光消契闊;風搖淺碧柳絲輕。