Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Elusiveness of Buddha-nature (Page 164)

The Dharma body of all Buddhas enters my nature,

Which is the same as the Tathagata’s.

One stage encompasses all stages,

Not form nor mind nor karmic act.

Eighty thousand doors are completed in the snap of the fingers,

In a flash three kalpas are extinguished.

What do numbers, expressions, and their negations

Have to do with my spiritual awakening?

 

Even though we speak of unlimited Dharma gates, innumerable Buddhas, and infinite manifestations of Buddha-nature, if in a single moment you realize your true nature, then you come face to face with all the Tathagatas and Buddhas. It means that you are not separate from them.

The realization of Buddha-nature is the same no matter what stage of practice you are at. The essence of Buddha-nature is always the same. You might drink coffee, but you would not drink someone else’s spit; however, the water in them is the same. What you attain at one stage of realization is the same as what you attain at any other stage. At the first stage, perhaps you attain a cup of spit. Be happy, it’s a start. At least at base it is water. At the next stage you might get a glass of plain water, and at a later stage, perhaps a pot of freshly brewed coffee. One person might use a little cup, and receive only a few drops of water. Another person might use a barrel. The water is the same but the vessel is different. What each person obtains is the same, yet different.

Remember, true nature is the essence, not the amount. You may experience true nature without a long period of practice; it is possible to acquire everything in a single instant of your life. It is the same as equating all of King Solomon’s treasures with a single grain of sand. The nature or essence of a grain of sand is inherent in everything else. It would be wrong to say that a grain of sand has a small Buddha-nature whereas a mountain has a large Buddha-nature. If I yank your finger, I can say it is only your finger, but I am pulling all of you. Your hair is still you. If I were to pull only a few strands, I bet you would agree with me.

My explanations, as well as this poem, are unsatisfactory. It may help you to understand Buddhadharma a little, but once you experience the principle, you will realize how inadequate words are. The last lines in the stanzas above remind us of this. Debates, disputes and discourses have nothing to do with the genuine experience. The most eloquent speech comes from a moving mind. Only when your mind is unmoving does wisdom manifest.

 The Sword of Wisdom by Master Sheng-Yen (page 164)

The Elusiveness of Buddha-nature (page 163)

The Dharma body of all Buddhas enters my nature,

Which is the same as the Tathagata’s.

One stage encompasses all stages,

Not form nor mind nor karmic act.

Eighty thousand doors are completed in the snap of the fingers,

In a flash three kalpas are extinguished.

What do numbers, expressions, and their negations

Have to do with my spiritual awakening?

 

Seeing dog shit as Sakyamuni, or treating Sakyamuni like dog shit, is wrong. You cannot express the Dharma body or Buddhadharma in any form, shape, or matter, nor can you express it in any kind of behavior. This does not mean that Dharma nature is separate or different from these things. You cannot view Dharma nature apart from matter and behavior, but you also cannot say that form, matter, mind, or behavior is the Dharma body. All of these things are illusory and impermanent. Every internal and external dharma perfectly accords with the Dharma body, but no single, isolated phenomenon can account for the totality of the Dharma body.

When Yung-chia says that the Dharma body of all Buddhas enters his nature, he is correct, because his nature is in no way different from the nature of all Buddhas. But if you were to say, “I am identical with the Dharma body of all Buddhas, ” or, “All the Dharma bodies of all Buddhas are within me, ” then you are mistaken. To say that you are never apart from the Dharma body of all the Buddhas is correct, but you cannot claim that you are the Dharma body of all the Buddhas.

Your nature, my nature, and the nature of the Buddhas are one ─ combined and never apart ─ so it is impossible to point to something in yourself and say, “This is my own nature, ” and point elsewhere and say, “That is the nature of the Buddhas.” You cannot separate them.

Mist and ice may be in different physical states, but they are still water. The water in milk is the same as the water in tea, and it is the same as the water in my body and in the ground outside. It can manifest in infinite ways, amounts, and places, but its basic nature is water. In the same way, the Tathagata’s nature is the same as your nature.

 The Sword of Wisdom by Master Sheng-Yen (page 163)