Monday, August 01, 2005

More from Pai Chang...


A guest staying at the monastery said, ‘I do not know which of these three - a Vinaya master (upholder of monastic discipline), a Dharma master (skilled preacher), or a Ch’an master - is the greatest. I beg you, Master, out of compassion for my ignorance, to make the matter clear to me.’

M: ‘The Vinaya masters expound the discipline section of the scriptures and transmit the ancient tradition for preserving the infinite life of the Dharma (doctrine). Seeing clearly who are the upholders and who are the trans-gressors of the disciplinary rules, they know how to encourage the former and to restrain the latter. They know how to comport themselves in accordance with the rules and regulations in a manner which inspires respect. They officiate at the three kinds of confession which precede transmission of the Vinaya, and they teach the initial steps leading to the four grades of sainthood. Unless they have spent their lives virtuously up to the onset of old age, how will they dare take charge of those duties? The Dharma masters sit crosslegged upon their lion-thrones pouring forth rivers of eloquence to huge crowds, expounding means of chiselling a way through the Mysterious Pass, or of opening the marvellous Gates of Prajna by which the voidness of giver, receiver and alms is revealed."’ Who, unless they can trample all before them like a lion or an elephant, would dare undertake to be a match for all this? The Ch’an masters grasp at essentials and gain a direct understanding of the Mind Source. Their methods consist of revealing and hiding, of exposing and covering reality in a crisscross manner, which responds adequately to all the different grades of potentiality (for enlightenment).

They excel in harmonizing facts with the underlying principle, so that people may suddenly perceive the Tatha-

gata; and, by pulling up their deep samsaric roots, they cause their pupils to experience samadhi on the spot. Thus,

unless they are capable of achieving tranquillizing dhyana and imperturbable abstraction, they are certainly bound

to be flustered under such circumstances. Although the three methods of training - discipline, dhyana and wisdom differ in that they present the Dharma in a manner suited to the capability of each individual, once a disciple has awakened to their profound meaning by forgetting all about the wording, how do they differ from the One Vehicle?’O Wherefore it is written in a sutra: "In all the Buddha-realm-is of the ten quarters, there is only the Dharma of the One Vehicle" - there is neither a second nor a third, except in so far as the Buddha employed relative terms in his expedient teaching for the guidance of sentient beings.’...

7.Q: In the coming generation, there will be many followers of mixed beliefs; how are we to live side by side with them?

A: Share the light with them, but do not share their karmas. Although you may be staying with them, your minds will not dwell in the same place as theirs. There is a sutra which says: ‘Though it follows the current of circum-stances, its nature is unchanging.’ As to those other students of the Way, you are all studying the Way for the sake of that great cause - liberation; so, while never despising those who have not studied the Dharma, you should respect those who are studying it as you would respect the Buddha. Do not vaunt your own virtues nor envy the ability of others. Examine your own actions; do not hold up the faults of others. Thus, nowhere will you encounter obstruction and you will naturally enjoy happiness. I will summarize all this in the form of a gatha:

Forbearance is the best of ways;

But first dismiss both self and other.

When things occur, make no response

And thus achieve true Bodbikaya...

No comments: