Buddha-nature

2. Bloodstream Sermon, part one

Everything that appears in the three realms comes from the mind. Hence Buddhas of the past and future teach mind to mind without bothering about definitions. But if they don’t define it, what do they mean by mind? You ask. That’s your mind. I answer. That’s my mind. If I had no mind how could I answer? If you had no mind, how could you ask? That which asks is your mind. Through endless kalpas” without beginning, whatever you do, wherever you are, that’s your real mind, that’s your real buddha. This mind is the buddha” says the same thing. Beyond this mind you’ll never find another Buddha. To search for enlightenment or nirvana beyond this mind is impossible. The reality of your own self-nature the absence of cause and effect, is what’s meant by mind. Your mind is nirvana. You might think you can find a Buddha or enlightenment somewhere beyond the mind’, but such a place doesn’t exist.

Trying to find a Buddha or enlightenment is like trying to grab space.

Space has a name but no form. It’s not something you can pick up or put down. And you certainly can’t grab if. Beyond mind you’ll never see a Buddha. The Buddha is a product of the mind. Why look for a Buddha beyond this mind? Buddhas of the past and future only talk about this mind. The mind is the Buddha, and the Buddha is the mind. Beyond the mind there’s no Buddha and beyond the Buddha there’s no mind. If you think there is a Buddha beyond the mind’, where is he? There’s no Buddha beyond the mind, so why envision one? You can’t know your real mind as long as you deceive yourself. As long as you’re enthralled by a lifeless form, you’re not free. If you don’t believe me, deceiving yourself won’t help. It’s not the Buddha’s fault. People, though, are deluded. They’re unaware that their own mind is the Buddha. Otherwise they wouldn’t look for a Buddha outside the mind.

Bodhidharma (as well as Huang Po) says that if you try to seek outside Mind for Mind you will not find it; there are no set-parameters—the one asking this in the first place is the skandhic-mind. The Mind of the Buddha is always prior to anything you can ask or imagine. If you think there is a Buddha outside the Unborn Buddha Mind, you do so in vain. It’s like trying to grab space…it can’t be done. People become deluded because they search for this buddha-thing outside the Unborn Buddha Mind.

Buddhas don’t save Buddhas. If you use your mind to look for a Buddha, you won’t see the Buddha. As long as you look for a Buddha somewhere else, you’ll never see that your own mind is the Buddha. Don’t use a Buddha to worship a Buddha. And don’t use the mind to invoke a Buddha.” Buddhas don’t recite sutras.” Buddhas don’t keep precepts.” And Buddhas don’t break precepts. Buddhas don’t keep or break anything. Buddhas don’t do good or evil.

This is an excellent example showing that phenomena can never, never be equaled with Buddha-nature. Buddhas do not save some nominally-conceived notion of a buddha; if you incessantly use your skandhic-infested mind to conceive of a buddha you will never find the Buddha. Don’t use a marble-chiseled buddha to worship a Buddha; using the skandhic-mind to invoke a Buddha is like trying to sculpt in smoke. You will never find a Buddha reading a sutra, or trying to overcome both good and evil.

To find a Buddha, you have to see your nature.” Whoever sees his nature is a Buddha. If you don’t see your nature, invoking Buddhas, reciting sutras, making offerings, and keeping precepts are all useless. Invoking Buddhas results in good karma, reciting sutras results in a good memory; keeping precepts results in a good rebirth, and making offerings results in future blessings-but no buddha. If you don’t understand by yourself, you’ll have to find a teacher to get to the bottom of life and death. But unless he sees his nature, such a person isn’t a teacher. Even if he can recite the Twelvefold Canon he can’t escape the Wheel of Birth and Death. He suffers in the three realms without hope of release. Long ago, the monk Good Star was able to recite the entire Canon. But he didn’t escape the Wheel, because he didn’t see his nature. If this was the case with Good Star, then people nowadays who recite a few sutras or shastras and think it’s the Dharma are fools. Unless you see your mind, reciting so much prose is useless.

To find a Buddha all you have to do is see your nature. Your nature is the Buddha. And the Buddha is the person who’s free: free of plans, free of cares. If you don’t see your nature and run around all day looking somewhere else, you’ll never find a buddha. The truth is there’s nothing to find. But to reach such an understanding you need a teacher and you need to struggle to make yourself understand. Life and death are important. Don’t suffer them in vain.

There’s no advantage in deceiving yourself. Even if you have mountains of jewels and as many servants as there are grains of sand along the Ganges, you see them when your eyes are open. But what about when your eyes are shut? You should realize then that everything you see is like a dream or illusion.

Whoever turns-about from sensate phenomena will invoke Unborn Light that shines on your true-nature—this is called climbing into the Dharma-womb; when the bodhi-seed is activated through bodhicitta—this is when the potential for Buddhahood arises. If one does not discover the dormant gotra (bodhichild with mystical familial ties with the Tathagatas), merely memorizing scripture or invoking mantras and engaging in soteriological practices will be a totally useless endeavor. Even if you find an erudite teacher, if he or she has not discovered the hidden bodhichild then their teaching is done in vain. Self-deception consists in taking the false fata morganas to be real; once one drinks those mystical waters from within the Dharma-womb one will never be subject to the diurnal wheel of samsaric life and death ever-again

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