The Second Day
This is the second day of the second Ch’an week. The increasing number of those who come to this meeting shows how really good-hearted are the people of Shanghai and the excellence of their blessed virtues. It also indicates every man’s aversion to disturbance (caused by passions) and longing for the quiet (found in meditation), and every man’s desire to escape from sorrow and to seek happiness. Generally speaking, there is more suffering than happiness in this world and, as time passes very quickly, the short space of several decades slips away in the twinkling of an eye. Even if one can live 800 years like Peng Tsu, this space of time is (still) short in the eye of the Buddha Dharma. However, worldly men who can reach the age of seventy are rarely seen. Since you and I know that this short length of time is like an illusion and a transformation, and is really not worth our attachment (to it), we have come to this Ch’an week and this is certainly due to our having grown good roots in our former transmigrations.
This method of (self-) cultivation requires an enduring mind. Formerly, all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas reached their goal after spending many aeons in self cultivation. The Surangama Sutra’s chapter on Avalokitesvara’s Complete Enlightenment says:
“I remember that long before the elapsing of as uncountable a number of aeons as there are sandgrains in the Ganges, a Buddha by the name of Avalokitesvara appeared in the world. At that time I developed the Bodhi mind and for my entry into Samadhi was instructed by Him to practise (self-) cultivation through (the faculty of) hearing.”
From the above statement, we can see that Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva did not achieve his goal in one or two days. At the same time, he clearly told us about the method of his training. He was head (of the group of) twenty-five “Great Ones” who attained complete enlightenment. His method consisted of (self-) cultivation of the ear which enabled him to transmute the faculty of hearing into perfection which led to (the state of) Samadhi. Samadhi means the (state of) undisturbedness. Therefore, he continued:
(I)”At the start, by directing the hearing (ear)Into the stream (of meditation), this organ became detached from its object.”
This method consists in turning the hearing inwards (on the self-nature) to hear the self-nature so that the six senses will not (wander outside to) be in touch with the six external objects. This is the collection of the six senses into the Dharma nature. Therefore, he continued:
(II)”By wiping out (the concept of) both sound and stream-entry, both disturbance and stillness became clearly non-existent.”
(III) “The advancing step by step,Both hearing and its object came to an end. But I did not stop where they ended.”
He meant that we should not allow our training, by turning our hearing inwards (on the self- nature) to come to a halt; he wanted us to move forward little by little and to make additional efforts to reach (another stage about which he said as follows:)
(IV) “When the awareness (of this state) and this state itself (were realized) as non-existent,The awareness of voidness became all embracingAfter the elimination of both subject and object relating to voidness.Then the disappearance of both creation and annihilation(Resulted in) the state of Nirvana becoming manifest.”
This state results from the training which consists in turning the ear inwards to hear the self- nature and after all kinds of creation and annihilation are realized as non-existent, the true mind will manifest itself. This is the (meaning of the saying:) “When the mad mind is brought to a halt, it is Bodhi (i.e. perfect wisdom).”
After attaining this stage, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva said:
“Suddenly I leaped over both the mundane and supramundane and realized an all-embracing brightness pervading the ten directions, acquiring two unsurpassed (merits). The first one was in accord with the fundamental Profound Enlightened Mind of an Buddhas high up in the ten directions, possessing the same merciful power as the Tathagata. The second one was in sympathy with all living beings in the six realms of existence, here below in the ten directions, sharing with them the same imploration of pity.”
Today, in our study of the Buddhist’s doctrine for our (self-) cultivation, we should first succeed in our training by liberating all the living beings of our self-nature such as concupiscence, anger, stupidity and arrogance and by realizing the fundamentally pure and clean Profound Enlightened Real Mind. Only then can we perform the Buddha work high above for the salvation of living beings here below, as did Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva who could manifest in thirty-two different forms, each being suitable for the liberation of the corresponding individual, and only then can we possess the required (transcendental) powers. Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (can) appear in the world as a boy or a girl, but worldly men do not know that he has already attained Buddhahood, has no sex and is neither an ego nor a personality, making a (particular) appearance only in response to each individual potentiality. When worldly man(in China) hear the Bodhisattva’s name, thoughts of devotion and reverence for him arise. This is due to the fact that in their former lives, they had repeated his name so that the seeds previously sown in the field of their store-consciousness (alaya-vijnana) now develop in them. For this reason, the sutra says:
“After entering through the hearing,The Bodhi-seed is sown for ever.”
Today, as we come here for our self-perfuming and self-cultivation, we should rely on the Dharma of the Supreme Vehicle practiced and experienced by all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. This Dharma consists in clearly recognizing the fundamental Profound Enlightened Mind; that is to say, the perception of the self-nature leading to the attainment of Buddhahood. If this mind is not recognized, Buddhahood can never be attained. In order to recognize the mind, we should begin with the performance of virtuous deeds. If every day, from morning until evening, we perform all good actions and refrain from committing evil deeds, we will accumulate merits and if in addition we hold a hua t’ou constantly (in our minds), we will be able to realize, in a moment’s thought, the state of no-birth and will (thereby) attain Buddhahood instantaneously.
Dear friends, please make a profitable use of your time and do not give rise to wrong thoughts in your minds. Now is the time to give rise to a hua t’ou for your self-cultivation.
When the Buddha expounded the Surangama Sutra, he ordered the twenty-five “enlightened ones” who were present, to talk about the various means by which they had attained enlightenment, so that the assembly could learn something from them. After the statements by twenty-four of the “enlightened ones” of their realization of the real by means of the six gunas:
(1) sound, (2) sight, (3) smell, (4) taste, (4) touch and (6) idea; the five sense-organs: (7) the eye, (8) nose, (9) tongue, (10) body, and (11) mind; the six perceptions of (12) sight, (13) ear, (14) nose, (15) tongue, (16) body, and (17) faculty of mind; and the seven fundamental elements of (18) fire, (19) earth, (20) water, (21) wind, (22) space, (23) knowledge and (24) perceptibility, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva declared that he had attained enlightenment by means of (25) the organ of hearing. In order to teach Ananda and the assembly, the Buddha asked Manjusri for his opinion on these twenty-five methods. Manjusri praised the method used by Avalokitesvara saying that he himself had also used it for his own enlightenment and that it was the most suitable one for human beings.