Tag Archives: Bodhi

Preliminary Reflection: The Surangama Sutra

Cultivation of the Bodhi-mind is impossible without having a Sambodhic-Spirit that is first nurtured through Deep Samadhis; likewise Samadhis never reaches maturity without determined penetration through layers of accumulated habit energy leaking incessantly from the Alaya-receptacle. The Surangama Sutra is a Mind-manual that best delineates the process wherein both cultivation and Samadhi are procured and then employed to mine the Prajña-storehouse of Noble Wisdom. The procurement is initiated via a careful, meticulous, and precise surgery that peels back layer after layer of defiled garbha that clings like a cancerous scab across the face of Pure-Mind. Ānanda serves as the patient and the Tathagata is the brilliant surgeon who operates on his clouded-Alayic-clogged-mind thus healing and revealing the pure tissues of one’s inherent Buddha-nature. At times the surgery will appear tedious and boring for any rabid-reader who tries to skim through the Sutra without slowing-down their monkey-mind that interminably yearns for immediate sensate gratification. The Buddhadharma is not some kind of cheap-grace that offers instant enlightenment. It demands proper cultivation along the way and years of devoted Sutra study and disciplined dhyana. Like one mining for pure-gold it takes effort and a determined spirit that will not buckle under the least sign of difficulty, but resolutely works hard to win the dharma-prize of the marvelous mani-pearl of Noble Wisdom. read more

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Proclamation of the Bodhi-Dharma

(Wong Mou-Lam) 

Learned Audience, when we use Prajñā for introspection we are illumined within and without, and in a position to know our own mind. To know our mind is to obtain liberation. To obtain liberation is to attain Samādhi of Prajñā, which is *’thoughtlessness’. What is ‘thoughtlessness’? ‘Thoughtlessness’ is to see and to know all Dharmas (things) with a mind free from attachment. When in use it pervades everywhere, and yet it sticks nowhere. What we have to do is to purify our mind so that the six vijnanas (aspects of consciousness), in passing through the six gates (sense organs) will neither be defiled by nor attached to the six sense-objects. When our mind works freely without any hindrance, and is at liberty to ‘come’ or to ‘go’, we attain Samādhi of Prajñā, or liberation. Such a state is called the function of ‘thoughtlessness’. But to refrain from thinking of anything, so that all thoughts are suppressed, is to be Dharma-ridden, and this is an erroneous view.  read more

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A Spiritual Affair

Part 1: Autobiography 

(Wong Mou-Lam)

Once, when the Patriarch had arrived at Pao Lin Monastery, Prefect Wei of Shao Chou and other officials went there to ask him to deliver public lectures on Buddhism in the hall of Ta Fan Temple in the City of Canton. In due course, there were assembled in the lecture hall Prefect Wei, government officials and Confucian scholars, about thirty each, and bhikkhus, bhikkhunis, Taoists and laymen to the number of about one thousand. After the Patriarch had taken his seat, the congregation in a body paid him homage and asked him to preach on the fundamental laws of Buddhism. Whereupon, His Holiness delivered the following address: Learned Audience, our Essence of Mind (literally, self-nature) which is the seed or kernel of enlightenment (Bodhi) is pure by nature, and by making use of this mind alone we can reach Buddhahood directly. read more

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Wake-up Sermon, part 4

If you’re looking for the Way, the Way won’t appear until your body disappears. It’s like stripping bark from a tree. This karmic body undergoes constant change. It has no fixed reality. Practice according to your thoughts. Don’t hate life and death or love life and death. Keep your every thought free of delusion, and in life you’ll witness the beginning of nirvana and in death you’ll experience the assurance of no rebirth. read more

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Mark against Evil

For this study of the Vimalakirti Sutra I have been referring to four different translations. My primary source has been Robert Thurman’s text; the root base of his text is akin to another, truly marvelous, translation by the renowned Belgian scholar and Indologist, Étienne Lamotte; Lamotte’s translation was difficult to come by. It was long out of print and the surviving available hard-copies were too astronomical in price. Fortunately, I was able (finally, just two weeks ago) to get a recently released softbound copy from the Pali-Text Society (being more than willing to become a member to do so). Lamotte’s version is fantastic in the depth of its scholarly impetus and encyclopedic footnote material. The other translations utilized are by Charles Luk and Burton Watson. Thruman’s text has been magnificent, although he incorporates the remaining chapters into one (naming it epilogue), basically to guarantee the apparent original 12 chapter text, in league with Lamotte. Both Luk and Watson have broken it up into two—and for salient reasons I am following their lead, since the last chapter is basically ascribed to Maitreya, which is as it should be. read more

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Are You Enlightened?

4. The Reluctance of the Bodhisattvas

Then, the Buddha said to the bodhisattva Maitreya, “Maitreya, go to the Licchavi Vimalakirti to inquire about his illness.” Maitreya replied, “Lord, I am indeed reluctant to go to that good man to inquire about his illness. Why? Lord, I remember that one day I was engaged in a conversation with the gods of the Tusita heaven, the god Samtusita and his retinue, about the stage of non-regression of the great bodhisattvas. At that time, the Licchavi Vimalakirti came there and addressed me as follows: “‘Maitreya, the Buddha has prophesied that only one more birth stands between you and unexcelled, perfect enlightenment. What kind of birth does this prophecy concern, Maitreya? Is it past? Is it future? Or is it present? If it is a past birth, it is already finished. If it is a future birth, it will never arrive. If it is a present birth, it does not abide. For the Buddha has declared, “Bhikshus, in a single moment, you are born, you age, you die, you transmigrate, and you are reborn.” “‘Then might the prophecy concern birthlessness? But birthlessness applies to the stage of destiny for the ultimate, in which there is neither prophecy nor attainment of perfect enlightenment. “‘Therefore, Maitreya, is your reality from birth? Or is it from cessation? Your reality as prophesied is not born and does not cease, nor will it be born nor will it cease. Furthermore, your reality is just the same as the reality of all living beings, the reality of all things, and the reality of all the holy ones. If your enlightenment can be prophesied in such a way, so can that of all living beings. Why? Because reality does not consist of duality or of diversity. Maitreya, whenever you attain Buddhahood, which is the perfection of enlightenment, at the same time all living beings will also attain ultimate liberation. Why? The Tathagatas do not enter ultimate liberation until all living beings have entered ultimate liberation. For, since all living beings are utterly liberated, the Tathagatas see them as having the nature of ultimate liberation. read more

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