Allegiance to the Real



Selections from The Bodhidharma Anthology

[As the classic theoretician of the practice of gazing at the topic states, in this method the trainee is not to employ discriminative understanding, doctrinal understanding, thinking or calculation, intuition, verbal strategy, absolute nonchalance, engagement, analysis of the words, or anything else; one should simply “twenty-four hours a day and in all four postures constantly raise up the topic and constantly be aware of it.”]

Now, in entering the path there are many roads. To summarize them, they reduce to two types. The first is entrance by principle and the second entrance by practice. Entering by principle means that one awakens to the thesis by means of the teachings, and one deeply believes that all living beings, common and sagely, are identical to the True Nature; that it is merely because of the unreal covering of adventitious dust that the True Nature is not revealed. If one rejects the false and reverts to the real and in a coagulated state abides in wall-examining, then self and other, common man and sage, are identical; firmly abiding without shifting, in no way following after the written teachings—This is mysteriously tallying with principle. It is non-discriminative, quiescent, and inactive; we call it entrance by principle.

I have always admired the former wise ones. I broadly cultivated all the practices. I have always esteemed the Pure Lands of the Buddhas and looked up to the teachings that have come down to us as a thirsty man longs for water. Those who have been able to meet Sakyamuni Buddha and realize the great path are in the millions; those who have obtained the four fruits are numberless. I really thought that the heavenly mansions were another country and the hells another place, that if one were to attain the path and get the fruit, one’s bodily form would change. I unrolled sutra scrolls to seek blessings; through pure practice I tried to produce karmic causes. In confusion I went around in circles, chasing my mind and creating karma; thus I passed many years without the leisure to take a rest. Then for the first time I dwelled upright in *dark quiescence* and settled external objects in the kingdom of mind. However, I had been cultivating false thought for such a long time that my feelings led me to continue to see characteristics. I came to the point where I wanted to probe the difficulties inherent in these illusionary transformations. In the end I clearly apprehended the Dharma Nature and engaged in a coarse practice of Thusness. For the first time I realized that within the square inch of my own mind there is nothing that does not exist. The bright pearl comprehends clearly and darkly penetrates the deep tendency of things. From the Buddhas above to the wriggling insects below there is nothing that is not another name for false thought.

Toppling the flag-pole of the linear and raising the flag-pole of the Real is the heart of the matter. One in a sense converts to coagulated wall-gazing (like a wall perceives) as the passing shadows of discriminative phenomena dissolve into the Unmoving Dark and Illuminative Principle (dark quiescence) cruxating (decisive one-pointedness) in the Nirvanic Mind. Dwelling now in the Realm of Thusness all is settled—from the Buddhas above to the wriggling insects below—in a Spirit of Equanimity. Yes, within the twenty-four hours of the day in this Dharma-field of no-birth, it is always High Noon. (Nirabhasagocara: the imageless realm of no-shadows)

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