The Cave

Wake-up Sermon, part 2

Using the mind to look for reality is delusion. Not using the mind to look for reality is awareness. Freeing oneself from words is liberation. Remaining unblemished by the dust of sensation is guarding the Dharma. Transcending life and death is leaving home.”

Not suffering another existence is reaching the Way. Not creating delusions is enlightenment. Not engaging in ignorance is wisdom. No affliction is nirvana. And no appearance of the mind is the other shore.

When you’re deluded, this shore exists. When you wake up, it doesn’t exist. Mortals stay on this shore. But those who discover the greatest of all vehicles stay on neither this shore nor the other shore. They’re able to leave both shores. Those who see the other shore as different from this shore don’t understand Zen.

When aligned with the proper spirit of Bodhi there is no longer any seeking—the Dharmadhatu is all pervasive but cannot be seen through discriminatory eyes. Beyond words and the accumulated dust of sensate phenomena lies the dustless-mirror of deathless suchness.

Shaking the dust from samsara off one’s feet and not looking-back again is shedding suffering in the pure light of parinirvana. Shadowed, delusional reality ends and enlightenment begins when the discursive thought process comes to an end as one turns-about and sees through the true Dharma-eye salvific Unborn Light.

The apparent samsaric shore appears to exist when projected on the shadowed-wall of delusion. Breaking free from one’s skandhic-shackles delivers one through the Dharma-gate into the pure-light of Zen wherein one discovers that there is no “this shore” or “that shore”; indeed, if one perceives some form of the other shore they remain delusional.

Delusion means mortality. And awareness means Buddhahood. They’re not the same. And they’re not different. It’s just that people distinguish delusion from awareness. When we’re deluded there’s a world to escape. When we’re aware, there’s nothing to escape.

Viewing life through the constricted lens of the skandhas one remains in the mortal-realm of delusion. Seeing through imageless eyes the Dharmadhatu one awakens as a living Buddha. And yet, in light of Deathless Suchness delusion and awareness are not the same, nor are they different. As the Lanka states, it’s when the discriminatory eye kicks-in that one perceives the delusional as being separate from the noumenal. In light of the Dharmadhatu, there’s nothing to escape from but our own discriminatory mind-projections.

In the light of the impartial Dharma, mortals look no different from sages. The sutras say that the impartial Dharma is something that mortals can’t penetrate and sages can’t practice. The impartial Dharma is only practiced by great bodhisattvas and Buddhas. To look on life as different from death or on motion as different from stillness is to be partial. To be impartial means to look on suffering as no different from nirvana,, because the nature of both is emptiness. By imagining they’re putting an end to Suffering and entering nirvana Arhats end up trapped by nirvana. But bodhisattvas know that suffering is essentially empty. And by remaining in emptiness they remain in nirvana. Nirvana means no birth and no death. It’s beyond birth and death and beyond nirvana. When the mind stops moving, it enters nirvana. Nirvana is an empty mind. When delusions don’t exist, Buddhas reach nirvana. Where afflictions don’t exist, bodhisattvas enter the place of enlightenment.

Delusional reality is “partial”—it can’t see the forest through the trees. The awakening of the Bodhi-mind is reminiscent of Yeat’s lines: “Something drops from eyes long blind…he completes his partial-mind.” The Dharma of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is “impartial” because they know that the nature of both Dukkha and Nirvana is empty. That’s why traditional Arthatship is insufficient as contrasted with Bodhisattvahood—they think that they have to escape from something to achieve something other; whereas no movement is necessary away from something or towards something—Mind is sufficient in Itself, with no-thing coming or going.

The following classic animated allegory (narrated by Orson Welles) of Plato’s Cave marvelously illustrates how one can transcend the shadow-nature of reality into the Pure Light of That which animates.

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