Total Abandonment



Yuanwu (1063-1135)

Yantou said, “Abandoning things is superior, pursuing things is inferior.” If your own state is empty and tranquil, perfectly illuminated and silently shining, then you will be able to confront whatever circumstances impinge on you with the indestructible sword of wisdom and cut everything off—everything from the myriad entangling objects to the verbal teachings of the past and present. Then your awesome, chilling spirit cuts everything off, and everything retreats of itself without having to be pushed away. Isn’t this what it means to be well endowed and have plenty to spare?

Being “well-endowed” in a spiritual sense is like having the indestructible Diamond Mind of Mañjuśhrī himself. Mañjuśhrī’s imageless-sword slashes through all phenomenal obstacles with the Illuminative Light of Noble Wisdom. No-thing in the created order of existence can withstand such a Resilient Spirit—becoming as it were chilled to the bone and crumbling away like a shattered icicle. Thus, being well-endowed with the self-realization of Noble Wisdom one becomes mindful that the superior way is total abandonment, rather than mindlessly pursuing all inferior states of defiled aggregated existence. Abandonment=No Aggregation.

If the basis you establish is not clear, if you are the least bit bogged down in hesitation and doubt, then you will be dragged off by entangling conditions, and obviously you will not be able to separate yourself from them. How can you avoid being turned around by other things? When you are following other things, you will never have any freedom.  

Instead of being “turned around” by any sensate aggregations (as well as by aggravations), there is always a need to “turn-about” and Recollect your constantly abiding tranquil-spirit in the Unborn. This also involves any unhealthy relationships that keep one bound to the aggregated affairs of samsara. If one follows the volatile whims of sentient-desires, then one remains a fellow inmate imprisoned with Skandhic Shackles, thus preventing emancipation from all dukkha.

The Ultimate Path is simply and easy—it is just a matter of whether you abandon things or pursue them. Those who would experience the Path should think deeply on this.

The Ultimate Path is an imageless one, with no-thing arising or cessating. The exact opposite is following an endless array of sensate phenomena, much like an obsessed dog unable to rear its nose from the stench it has encountered. There is no “encounter-ment” in the Unborn.

People in ancient times gave up their whole bodies for the sake of this one matter. They stood out in the snow, worked as rice pounders, sold off their hearts and livers, burned their arms, threw themselves into roaring fires, got dismembered and cut to pieces, fed themselves to tigers and birds of prey, gave away their heads and eyes, endured a thousand kinds of pain and suffering.

If you do not suffer hardships, you will not arrive at deep realization. Those with the will for the Path must certainly consider the ancients as their comrades and aspire to equal their standard.

It goes without question that the earnest one in quest of the other shore of emancipation will encounter many obstacles along the Way. One is only worth one’s salt in the sweat and toil of daily Recollection. One will find good and worthy company in the ancients who traversed such a Path. Being familiar with Huike is better than keeping company with those who choose the path to perdition. Abandon all save One.

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