Monthly Archives: February 2015

Mistaking One Mind for No Mind

The mirror of mind reflects without interference;

Its vastness and clarity radiate through countless worlds.

Various phenomena all manifest themselves;

To a perfectly illumined one there is neither inside nor outside.

The verses above describe the “no mind” state of Ch’an. If you still feel there is an inside and outside, it is not Ch’an. If you feel everything is within you, that is not Ch’an either. When the mind is not moving, it only appears that there is no mind, but this is not the case. When the mind is not moving, it is still focused on one thought. Therefore, it would be better to call the unmoving mind the “one mind” state. A person who reaches the point where the mind is not moving may feel as if he has no mind, but he is mistaken.

When only one thought remains, the movement of the mind is not noticeable. This is the “one mind” state. In the “no mind” state there is no discrimination ─ no inside or outside, no near or far, no good or bad. A person in the “no mind” state is aware of phenomena, but he is not attached to phenomena. If he were not aware that he was in a “no mind” state, then he would be a fool.

“No mind” is equal to wisdom; “one mind” is not. Similarly, the lower levels of samadhi are not equivalent to wisdom. A person experiencing samadhi may feel he does not discriminate, but in fact he is unaware of a steady stream of subtle discriminations. At the shallowest level of samadhi ─ the first dhyana level ─ one can experience a dozen or so discriminations in one ksana. A ksana is the length of time it takes for one wandering thought to arise, and is equivalent to one sixtieth the time it takes to snap your fingers. In the same span of time, roughly sixty discriminations pass through the ordinary mind.

Only a person in deep samadhi can tell if another person is in samadhi; he can also determine the depth of that person’s samadhi. Samadhi practice is gradual. A practitioner must enter the shallowest level and then slowly deepen his samadhi through practice. As samadhi deepens, the person is able to discern the number and frequency of discriminations that occured at the previous levels. A practitioner in shallow samadhi cannot discern his own state. He may think he has attained “no mind, ” but he is wrong.

The Sword of Wisdom by Master Sheng Yen (page 141)

悲智雙運破除煩惱

有一次我去爬山,遇見有人帶著一隻狗,狗看到我這個老和尚,也許是陌生吧,就對著我猛吠,一面虛張聲勢,一面又害怕地往後退,身體不停顫抖,因為牠不曾見過身著僧服的出家人,便起了煩惱。為了安撫這隻狗,我輕聲地對牠念聲阿彌陀佛,並說:「不用怕!不用怕!狗寶寶你乖。」這隻狗就不吠了。
人類有煩惱的時候,往往也和這隻狗相仿。煩惱,來自於自我中心的膨脹和沒有安全感,兩者互為因果。因為覺得遇到了危險,為了加強自己的安全感,所以要虛張聲勢、先發制人,看來是自我膨脹,其實是膽小懦弱,驚恐害怕。
不論是金錢、愛情、事業、地位、名望和觀念,都是形塑自我中心的元素;人類在失去保障時,便會以攻擊的方式來保護自己,在這個過程中,他必須挖空心思和自然戰鬥、和人搏鬥、和周遭一切的情況拚鬥。很多人以為一旦占居高位,就可以安全無虞、高枕無憂,所以拚命往高位爭取。追求社會名位向上攀升的手段,現在人稱為「卡位」;但當你卡到高位時,想要扯你後腿、將你從高位上拉下的人卻又多得數不清,所以一旦登上高位的人,也沒有絕對的安全感。
近來發生全球性的景氣蕭條,人們不論有錢沒錢,都失去了財富的保障,導致人心惶惶。雖然現代化的社會有保險制度,不少人也申辦壽險、產險,但當大災難降臨時,這些保險也無法讓人的生命財產失而復得。投保火險,卻無法保障家園免於大火的肆虐;保了壽險,也必須在你死亡的身後才能使家人受益。保險其實意味著不保險,這是人們沒有安全感的佐證。
事實上從古至今,任何時代都有大災難發生,也不可能沒有意外事件,戰爭、疫疾、天災、人禍更是未曾停歇。人類就是在與大自然的適應及掙扎中代代相傳下來的,所以生命中的自我只是一個過渡的現象,要遠離煩惱,就要認清這項事實。先撇開身外之物不談,人的身體本就是過渡的現象,《心經》上說:「觀自在菩薩,行深般若波羅蜜多時,照見五蘊皆空,度一切苦厄。」
「觀自在菩薩」就是觀世音菩薩,菩薩能以超越的智慧,因應身心問題。凡是不受環境困擾的人,就是觀自在,就能擁有觀世音菩薩的大智慧。以這種智慧,覺照到我們的身心,發現色、受、想、行、識這五蘊都是過渡的現象,不論在物質面或精神面都是空的;換言之,自我中心也是過渡的,也是空的。如果人們能具備這種智慧,洞察這些現象,觀察到身與心的現象都是幻有的,就能從所有的痛苦危難中,獲得煩惱的解脫。
為何一般人體會不到這種空慧?因為人們執著「我」的存在,認為自己的身體很重要,自我所擁有的東西最重要,一旦遇到利害得失的考驗,自我中心便受到困擾。倘使人們能將身體以及所有的財物名位,視為生命過程中的現象,本來沒有,未來也會消失,巧妙地運用這付幻有的身心所構成的自我,以此來修福修慧、自利利人,那就是悲智雙運的菩薩了。
摘自聖嚴法師 《人間世》