The Blood is the Life

Bloodstream Sermon, part 6

The concluding verses of Bodhidharma’s Bloodstream Sermon highlight that one comes face to face with two choices: the Law of Karma and Mind-Only…

I only talk about seeing your nature. I don’t talk about creating karma. Regardless of what we do, our karma has no hold on us. Through endless kalpas without beginning, it’s only because people don’t see their nature that they end up in hell. As long as a person creates karma, he keeps passing through birth and death. But once a person realizes his original nature, he stops creating karma. If he doesn’t see his nature, invoking Buddhas won’t release him from his karma, regardless of whether or not he’s a butcher. But once he sees his nature, all doubts vanish. Even a butcher’s karma has no effect on such a person.

Karma—mindless action—is a road traveled wide with perdition. Many end up in a hell of their own making—devoid of the clear-light of Mind. Ruled by their skandhic shackles, most are blinded along the path and are easily absorbed in the quicksand of their own desires—devoid of the clear-light of Reason. The clear-light of Mind is quicksilver—lightning-fast in all ten-directions and cannot be grasped by the carnal-mind because It’s like boundless-space—impervious to any karmic activity. Once one’s Original Unborn Buddha-Nature is self-realized, the Law of Karma is neutralized. Without this noble self-realization all is lost—invoking gods and buddhas in the external-arena is like trying to wash-away blood with mud—totally useless. Mind-only is an internal-affair and is not dependent on the rigid norms of societal status; Its clear—Translucent Light—shines through both sage and butcher alike and thus renders all former karmic-associations null and void.

Mind-only also has nothing to do with sex or abstinence:

I only talk about seeing your nature. I don’t talk about sex simply because you don’t see your nature. Once you see your nature, sex is basically immaterial. It ends along with your delight in it. Even if some habits remain, they can’t harm you, because your nature is essentially pure. Despite dwelling in a material body of four elements, your nature is basically pure. It can’t be corrupted.

In this sense, being sexually-active or remaining celibate has no bearing on one’s Unborn Buddha-nature. It is Unborn and Uncreate and is impervious to all carnal-affairs in the realm of sensate phenomena. It is NOT phenomena. This is a realization that has been lost even within many schools of Zen that have become materially-scarred. Phenomena is corruptible whereas one’s Buddha-nature is pure and incorruptible. How one can possibly equate the corruptible with That which IS ALWAYS incorruptible defies the clear-light of Reason.

What Moves can be corrupted; what UNmoves is not corruptible but nevertheless utterly dynamic:

Language and behavior, perception and conception are all functions of the moving mind. All motion is the mind’s motion. Motion is its function. Apart from motion there’s no mind, and apart from the mind there’s no motion. But motion isn’t the mind. And the mind isn’t motion. Motion is basically mindless. And the mind is basically motionless. But motion doesn’t exist without the mind. And the mind doesn’t exist without motion. There’s no mind for motion to exist apart from, and no motion for mind to exist apart from. Motion is the mind’s function, and its function is its motion. Even so, the mind neither moves nor functions, the essence of its functioning is emptiness and emptiness is essentially motionless. Motion is the same as the mind. And the mind is essentially motionless.

All this sounds like a conundrum. This is akin to the Heart sutra wherein it states, “Form is emptiness and emptiness is form”. Motion’s impetus is not apart from Mind—hence the birth of function; but In-Itself, Mind is not function but motionless-emptiness. Thus the True-Essence of Motion’s function is emptiness in Motion but the Essential Mind is non-the-less UnMoving and motionless.

In conclusion of this section, the Bloodstream Sermon is aptly named. The Blood is the Life and Mind-only is the very life-blood of Zen Buddhism. Apart from Mind there is no life—only synthetic images passing by in the dark night of phenomena. True life is the life-blood of the Buddhas (Buddha-nature) themselves and is brought to life through the clear-light of Bodhi.

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