3. Bloodstream Sermon, part 2
If you don’t find a teacher soon, you’ll live this life in vain. It’s true, you have the buddha-nature. But without the help of a teacher you’ll never know it. Only one person in a million becomes enlightened without a teacher’s help. If, though, by the conjunction of conditions, someone understands what the Buddha meant, that person doesn’t need a teacher. Such a person has a natural awareness superior to anything taught. But unless you’re so blessed, study hard, and by means of instruction you’ll understand.
Without an authentic teacher of the Buddhadharma, one goes through this existence in vain hopes of ever discovering their true Buddha-nature. This passage reinforces the realization that only one-in-a-million stand a chance of awakening to this Noble self-realization without this teachers help. Only one who is meritoriously blessed enough with innate-bodhi-gnosis—like a shining beloved mani-pearl—is able to proceed without the aid of a teaching-vehicle; yet, this is a very rare occurrence and therefore one’s diligent openness to authentic teachers of the Buddhadharma needs to be reinforced through hard study and disciplined dhyana.
People who don’t understand and think they can do so without study are no different from those deluded souls who can’t tell white from black.” Falsely proclaiming the Buddha-Dharma, such persons in fact blaspheme the Buddha and subvert the Dharma. They preach as if they were bringing rain. But theirs is the preaching of devils not of Buddhas. Their teacher is the King of Devils and their disciples are the Devil’s minions. Deluded people who follow such instruction unwittingly sink deeper in the Sea of Birth and Death. Unless they see their nature, how can people call themselves Buddhas? They’re liars who deceive others into entering the realm of devils. Unless they see their nature, their preaching of the Twelvefold Canon is nothing but the preaching of devils. Their allegiance is to Mara, not to the Buddha. Unable to distinguish white from black, how can they escape birth and death?
If this essential discipline is not adhered to, if one foolishly thinks they can navigate the turbulent samsaric seas alone without proper Buddha-gnosis and guidance, then they are deluded and slanderous and subvert the Buddhadharma…even leading others down the garden path of adharma. Unbeknownst to their deluded nature, they are disciples of Mara, the evil one; anyone who follow these ignominious disciples of darkness will sink ever-deeper into the mire of endless dukkha, never escaping from the endless diurnal spin of samsara.
Whoever sees his nature is a Buddha; whoever doesn’t is a mortal. But if you can find your buddha-nature apart from your mortal nature, where is it? Our mortal nature is our Buddha nature. Beyond this nature there’s no Buddha. The Buddha is our nature. There’s no Buddha besides this nature. And there’s no nature besides the Buddha.
But suppose I don’t see my nature, can’t I still attain enlightenment by invoking Buddhas, reciting sutras, making offerings, observing precepts, Practicing devotions, or doing good works?
No, you can’t.
If you attain anything at all, it’s conditional, it’s karmic. It results in retribution. It turns the Wheel. And as long as you’re subject to birth and death, you’ll never attain enlightenment. To attain enlightenment you have to see your nature. Unless you see your nature, all this talk about cause and effect is nonsense. Buddhas don’t practice nonsense. A Buddha free of karma free of cause and effect. To say he attains anything at all is to slander a Buddha. What could he possibly attain? Even focusing on a mind, a power, an understanding, or a view is impossible for a Buddha. A Buddha isn’t one sided. The nature of his mind is basically empty, neither pure nor impure. He’s free of practice and realization. He’s free of cause and effect.
The act of attaining anything on the mortal plane of karmadhatu is merely spinning the skandhic-karma wheel. A Buddha is devoid of any karmic defilement and is not akin to dependent origination; a Buddha is in no way linked to any causal apparatus.
A Buddha doesn’t observe precepts. A Buddha doesn’t do good or evil. A Buddha isn’t energetic or lazy. A Buddha is someone who does nothing, someone who can’t even focus his mind on a Buddha. A Buddha isn’t a Buddha. Don’t think about Buddhas. If you don’t see what I’m talking about, you’ll ever know your own mind. People who don’t see their nature and imagine they can practice thoughtlessness all the time are lairs and fools. They fall into endless space. They’re like drunks. They can’t tell good from evil. If you intend to cultivate such a practice, you have to see your nature before you can put an end to rational thought. To attain enlightenment without seeing your nature is impossible. Still others commit all sorts of evil deeds, claiming karma doesn’t exist. They erroneously maintain that since everything is empty committing evil isn’t wrong. Such persons fall into a hell of endless darkness with no hope of release. Those who are wise hold no such conception.
This passage can be misleading to those who mindlessly assert that they are above and beyond the Buddhadharma, like present-day neo-advaitists. As this passage states, anyone who mindlessly entertain notions of thoughtlessness are liars and fools and open the door to nihilism. Instead of realizing their Buddha-nature, they fall victim to their own erroneous zones and run headstrong into the fools-gold of their own clouded no-self—Bodhidharma pulls no punches here…they are in danger of condemning themselves (and others) into the darkest cavity of hell—thus becoming, in turn, hell-dwellers.