Book of Moon-directing
Lecturer: Shang-te Chang
Translator: Wei Sheng
Lecture 1, Part II
Verses of Seven Buddhas
To rest is the Great and Deep Wisdom of Life.
Absence of Unhappiness
is True Happiness
What I lectured in our previous class an hour ago is not just an oral presentation. It is not only trustworthy and receivable, but also the natural fact. The body is insubstantial and mind is impermanent in essence. Once you believe in that, you have to achieve that. How to achieve that? In life. How to achieve it in life?
One could achieve it it in face of people, events and things. What are people, events and things?
The conditioned dharmas of the Conventional Truth is 'like a dream, an illusion, a bubble or a shadow', while the Absolute Truth is quiescent and majestic, acquired of nothing. Therefore we have to cultivate the attitude of:
I am actually indifferent to anything, what harm is there surrounded by everything?
We should be in real peace and smile:
To live one day as long as one gets the amount of food for one day, and to stay for a few days as long as one has the fate for some days.
We should be on the way of Bodhisattva.
If you truly believe in what is lectured just now, you should practice to do that. Do not always repeat that you want to know your desire, anger and ignorance, or the hindrance of karma. What are you doing? Don't deceive yourself. What is the result once you truly believe in? An immediate result is: it doesn't matter that there is no happiness, as there is no unhappiness.
If you truly understand that there is no such happiness or unhappiness, there will be no grief in your eyes facing yourself, facing everything and everybody. Like me, truly I have no happiness, but absolutely I have no unhappiness. The happiness and unhappiness of ordinary persons are relative. However, I have to point out that:
Bodhisattva and Buddha are in the Sublime Bliss.
The 5th Buddha, Kanakamuni Buddha, said:
The Buddha doesn't perceive his body, thus identifies himself as Buddha.
Taken the identity as truth, there is no Buddha.
The wise man has identified the emptiness of sins,
And is calm and fearless of life and death.
To make life a good
Fearless of life and death, not afraid of life and death, this is Buddha Mind. Not afraid of life and death, fearless of life and death, this is beyond life and death. Then what is the true Buddha Mind? The true Buddha Mind: Bodhisattva in the Eighth Stage. Only Bodhisattvas above the Eighth Stage are really fearless of life and death. Why Bodhisattvas in the Eighth Stage are fearless of life and death? Only Bodhisattvas in the Eighth Stage have realized the non-arising nature of all existences. Men are all afraid of life and death, and are ignorant of the essence of non-arising. The essence of non-arising, the same to non-ceasing, is beyond the fear of life and death, as said in the Heart Sutra:
When Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara was practicing the profound Prajna Paramita, he illuminated the Five Skandhas and saw that they are all empty, and he crossed beyond all suffering and difficulty.
(tr. by the Buddhist Text Translation Society)
Only when illuminated the Five Skandhas and saw that they are all empty, he crossed beyond all suffering and difficulty, and was fearless of life and death. The problem is:
How to illuminate the Five Skandhas and see that they are all empty?
That is lectured in the Shurangama Sutra, to achieve and transcend the skandha-demons of fifty classes.
Next, the Buddha doesn't perceive his body, thus identifies himself as Buddha. Taken the identity as truth, there is no Buddha.
The Buddha doesn't perceive his body. Once you transcend the body, you identify yourself as Buddha.
The Buddha doesn't perceive his body, thus identified himself as Buddha. Taken the identity as truth, there is no Buddha. Having identified the emptiness of sins, the wise man is calm and not afraid of life and death. This verse gives a clear account of the Shurangama Sutra.
What is lectured in the Shurangama Sutra?
Creating knowledge within enlightened perception is fundamental ignorance. To be devoid of perception within enlightened perception is the non-outflow true purity of Nirvana.
When you see your seeing, the seeing is not that seeing . Since the former seeing is beyond the latter, the latter cannot reach it.
(tr. by the Buddhist Text Translation Society)
This verse gives a clear account of the conditions of body and mind and the condition of perception at the moment of enlightment in the Shurangama Sutra.
At this moment, the Master talked about his headache lasting over ten years. He was helpless and mindful of Buddha following the vibration of headache. He watched the headache disappearing slowly. The headache should be due to the blockage in blood vessels by blood clots. When hosting the Zen retreat at Xiangtan this summer, he threw up blood streaks and clots, the cause of which was unknown without analysis. To host the Zen retreat at Taiwan at the beginning of the year, he didn't implant cardiovascular bracket as prescribed. Now it's Mid-Autumn and eight more months have been past. Today the Master went to see the doctor for injection, accompanied by Dr. Huang. The Master said that he didn't know what to do with his body, and the doctor didn't know either. The Master asked Dr. Huang what to do, and Dr. Huang answered: not to do. The Master said: right, not to do. It is dispensable to take care of and think high of oneself too much. It's alright. Once die, boom! You turn alive again.
※〈有一個故事，說有一個人很有功夫，很頑皮，大家要他表演死。怎麼表演法？頭朝地腳朝天的死去，他說：好啊，轟咚一下，他就頭朝地腳朝天，死了。平常說 入定了，敲引罄可以叫醒，但對他敲了半天還是不醒。沒有辦法只好去通知他姊姊，跟她說你弟弟死了！怎麼死了？頭朝地腳朝天定死在地上，醒不過來，活不過 來，不知怎麼辦，你快去救他吧！他姊姊也是有功夫的，去了，笑嘻嘻地叫：
There is a story about a man who was cultivated but naughty. People asked him to perform death. How to perform? To die in the pose of headstand. He agreed, and at one blow he died with head toward the ground and feet into the air. Strucking of the chime stone could usually wake one up from the Samadhi (concentration), but couldn't wake him up at that time. Someone informed his sister of his death: 'Your brother died with head toward the ground and feet into the air, and didn't wake up or revive. We don't know what to do. Please go to save him!' His sister was also a Zen cultivator. She went there, smiled and called:
'Brother! You are always naughty, this and that, even at death! Turn around!'
Boom! The brother turned around. Whatever to be conceited? This is a true story, sure enough.
Man comes from the 'tract where there is nothing else', and dwells in the illusionary existences of arising and ceasing before the achievement of Bodhisattva and Buddha, which is non-arising and non-ceasing in essence. Our Alaya-vijnana, namely the seed consciousness, out of control at the moment of reincarnation except the salvation of Bodhisattvas to the sentient beings, is open and non-impedimentary. Therefore,
It is non-arising and non-ceasing in essence, and the body and mind are illusionary, and independent of evil and good.
Having identified the emptiness of sins, the wise man is calm and fearless of life and death. Fearless of life and death, and beyond life and death.
Death itself is life, and life itself is death.
What makes my life a good makes my death also a good.
(tr. by James Legge)
The verse of the 5th Buddha is: to make life a good.
The 6th Buddha, Kasyapa Buddha, said:
The nature of all creatures is pure,
which is non-arising and non-ceasing in essence.
The body and mind are manifested as illusion,
in which there is no sin or rightness.
Pure in essence
Kasyapa Buddha, preceding Sakyamuni Buddha, was born and enlightened in the era when the life span of people was twenty thousand years. His Holiness said:
The nature of all creatures is pure. The Sixth Patriarch (Hui-neng) said:
How unexpected? The self-nature is originally pure in itself.
(tr. by the Buddhist Text Translation Society)
The true purity is lectured in the Diamond Sutra:
quiescence and majesties
That is the true characteristics of true samadhi. How to achieve the true purity, purity of the Paradisiacal Land? Don't deceive yourself, you should give up truly. Abandon of anything including your life via truly giving up, namely forsaking your body for the sake of Buddhism, you can return to quiescence and majesties. This is from the power of Charity. As the first of the Six Paramitas, Charity of life and even brain is all right, as long as we can realize the purity in ourselves. The true Charity is uncomplaining and pure. From the true Charity, the other five of the Six Paramitas will emerge and radiate automatically.
The true Charity of Buddhism is called the arousal of the thought to attain enlightenment:
The arousal of the thought to attain enlightenment equals to the achievement of Perfect supreme enlightenment. The significance of the true Charity is thus in evidence.
The 7th Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha, said in the Entrusting Verse:
All beings conform to non-being in essence;
Non-being is in accordance with beings.
Now I entrust the teaching of non-being to you,
That both beings and non-being are dispensable.
The aforementioned Entrusting Verse of the 7th Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha, means:
In this verse, the first dharma (beings), comprises all existences including ourselves, while the second dharma indicates the origination of existences, the evolution of process, and the reversion (conforming, following) of existences. Non-being indicates the ontological entity, the One which is not arising or ceasing, not defiled or pure, not increasing or diminishing. That is, transforming of existences into emptiness, and transforming of emptiness into existences.
The second sentence, non-being is in accordance with beings. Non-being is neithter arising nor ceasing, neither defiled nor pure, beyond existences and emptiness. Though being beyond existences and emptiness, non-being is in accordance with beings, which indicates the unity of Conventional Truth and Absolute Truth. This is dialectic process of existences, or dialectics of process. The last dharma (in accordance with) means:
All existences (beings) conform to non-being, while non-being is in accordance with beings.
Now I entrust the teaching of non-being to you. Sakyamuni Buddha is expressing what is not increasing or diminishing, beyond existences and emptiness, which is then summarized in the fourth sentence:
That both beings and non-being are dispensable. That is to say, the interpretation of existences and emptiness in the transcendence of existences and emptiness, the interpretation of existences and emptiness in what is not increasing or diminishing. Therefore, the sentence 'That both beings and non-being are dispensable' indicates: there is no Buddhism.
So Sakyamuni Buddha himself stated:
During forty-nine years’ lectures, I did not say a word. That's it.
Appendix: Master Ming-bian
Instant Abandoning of Perception
Tiling in with the topic of the Verses of Seven Buddhas and Zen , the story of a little-known Master Ming-bian is introduced as follows.
The Book of Moon-directing, Vol. 30:
Master Ming-bian went to Shao-lin from temple at An-ji State. He heard a monk talking about Fo-yan's classic poem on the story that the King of Kophen beheaded the Venerable Simha:
Along the Yangtze River there is a ferry crossing with willows,
where the ferryman is depressed with the catkins.
Leaving the pavilion in fluting at night,
you go to Hunan and I go to Qin.
The King of Kophen beheaded the Venerable Simha. The 24th Zen Patriarch in India, the Venerable Simha, evangelized Kophen. At that time the King demolished Buddhism, and beheaded the Venerable Simha with sharp sword, due to bad causes in previous lives. It is on such a story.
Fo-yan wrote such a poem, which revealed the killing and no killing in the aforementioned Verses of Seven Buddhas. Along the Yangtze River there is a ferry crossing with willows, where the ferryman is depressed with the catkins. Leaving the pavilion in fluting at night, you go to Hunan the south and I go to Qin the north.
The Yangtze River is the Changjiang River. Along the Yangtze river there is a ferry crossing with willows, which depressed the ferryman. Leaving the pavilion in fluting, and being separated far apart, you go to Hunan in the south and I go to Qin in the north. Each man has his own retributions and causes. The whole poem represents the helplessness of subject and object.
Quietly the Master (Ming-bian) was in accord with the poem, and he went straight to Long-men for direct mentorship. Fo-yan said: 'I recognized your understanding of the causes of the Patriarchs' stories.' All of a sudden he raised his fist and asked: 'why is this called fist?' The Master intended to reply, while Fo-yan clapped a hand over his mouth and said: 'No reasoning.' Instantly the Master abandoned the perception.
Fo-yan said: 'I recognized your understanding of the causes of the Patriarchs' stories.' All of a sudden he raised his fist and asked: 'why is this called fist?' What is this? Why is this called fist? What is this?
The Master intended to reply, while Fo-yan clapped a hand over his mouth and said: 'No reasoning.'
The moment Master Ming-bian intended to reply, Fo-yan clapped a hand over his mouth and said: 'No reasoning.' What is this? We can explain this with the principle of Jiejie Sutra and the feat of Boatman-Cheng, which share an emphasis upon:
Inexplicability. Zen in the true sense is inexplicable. Nothing is worthy to be explicated. It is always to shut up to realize what is inexplicable.
All chapters in the Vimalakirti-Nivdesa Sutra are pretty important, in which the 9th Chapter discusses the doctrine of Nonduality. True and False are two, Right and Wrong are two, Long and Short are two. What is the Nonduality beyond wo? Of course it is not within One. Someone spoke of this as nonduality, someone spoke of that as nonduality, and in Vimalakirti's turn, he replied:
The Bodhisattva Manjusri applauded Vimalakirti: 'This is indeed the doctrine of nonduality.' However, despite silence, true trainees in Zen, Buddhism and Taoism with true wisdom are:
He who knows other men is discerning; he who knows himself is intelligent.
(Tao-te Ching, tr. by James Legge)
When a man may be spoken with, not to speak to him is to err in reference to the man. When a man may not be spoken with, to speak to him is to err in reference to our words.
(Confucian Analects, tr. by James Legge)
Master Ming-bian, very smart, instantly abandoned the perception, i.e., casted off himself immediately.
(The Master) Inquired in the room: 'why do cats enjoy catching mice?' Again, 'why do dogs bark at the sound of ferula?' Again, 'why do earthworm change into lilies?'
Inquired in the room: 'why do cats enjoy catching mice?' Lions and tigers are born to eat animals, and therefore cats enjoy catching mice. This is natural appearance of things in their manifest aspect emerging from seeds, also upon karma.
do dogs bark at the sound of ferula?' The moment striking the ferule, the
Official consultant Ge and some visitors called on the Master. They sat chatting about 'The universe is as a finger, and all things are as a horse'. [(All things in) heaven and earth may be (dealt with as) a finger; (each of) their myriads may be (dealt with as) a horse. (Kwang-tze, tr. by James Legge)] The Master turned a deaf ear. Ge doubted and asked: 'How do you think?' The Master smiled without answer. After a long while the Master snapped at the Officer, and Ge answered hastily. The Master said: 'The universe is as a finger, and all things are as a horse.' Ge was agreeable: 'Nobody but you Lord (Abbot).'
'The universe is as a finger, and all things are as a horse' is from the philosophy of Kwang-tze. It implies the natural appearance of 'diversity in unity.' All the things transform unremittingly. Ge spoke impressively, while the Master was deaf to him, silent, and speechless. Ge doubted and asked: 'How do you think?' The Master smiled without answer. Ge asked Master Ming-bian: 'How do you think of my understanding of the philosophy of Kwang-tze?' Master Ming-bian smiled after a long while, and didn't answer.
Note that true eminent Masters, ancient eminence of Zen, neither gossip nor blab. So the Book of Moon-directing is abstruse, filled with occult of Zen and Zen of occult. Ge spoke so much, while the Master was silent. When asked, he smiled, and directed Ge.
After a long while the Master snapped at the Officer, and Ge answered hastily. At that time the Master snapped at Officer Ge, and Ge answered hastily.
The universe is as a finger, and all things are as a horse. This is tautology of 1+1=2, 2+2=4. It is natural that all things are comprehended in their unity, that the universe is as a finger and all things are as a horse.
Ge was agreeable: 'Nobody but you Lord (Abbot).' He got it.
True Zen Masters are all fully cultivated without exception. Pay attention to the following paragraph.
Before his death, the Master stepped on the lecture seat. He picked up the walking stick, knocked on the left, and said: 'This Form is beyond the Thirty-two Forms.' Then he knocked on the right, and said: 'This Mark is beyond the Eighty Marks. Seng-yao drew up at one stroke, once Zhi-gong revealed the draft.' Again he knocked, look around and told the audience: 'Do not be annoyed. Be responsible directly, nothing else.' He stepped down and returned to the Abbot's room, sat cross-legged with dignity, and passed away.
Before his death, the Master stepped on the lecture seat. He picked up the walking stick, knocked on the left, and said: 'This form is beyond the Thirty-two Forms.' There are Thirty-two Forms on the body of Sakyamuni Buddha, on bodies of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. He knocked on the left with the walking stick, 'This form is beyond the Thirty-two Forms.' The Thirty-two Forms are overruled and transcended by him. Moreover, there are Eighty Marks on the body of Sakyamuni Buddha, but Master Ming-bian knocked on the right again with the walking stick and said: 'This Mark is beyond the Eighty Marks.' He overruled the Eighty Marks of Sakyamuni Buddha, and even transcended Sakyamuni Buddha.
What is Zen?
A superman harbours his own towering ambition, instead of following Buddhas. To trample on the first peak of Variocana (i.e., Dharma Body), and further to transcend the first peak of Variocana. Such is Zen.
Everyone, if you could understand the Book of Moon-directing, the more you read the more you savour. It is brilliant in the following:
'Seng-yao drew up at one stroke, once Zhi-gong revealed the draft.' Again he knocked, look around and told the audience: 'Do not be annoyed. Be responsible directly, nothing else.' He stepped down and returned to the Abbot's room, sat cross-legged with dignity, and passed away.
He sat cross-legged with dignity, and said two words before his death:
'Do not be annoyed. Be responsible directly.'
Such! Such! Such! Such is:
Such is the Book of Moon-directing.
This evening's lecture is finished
I'd rather not say. I'd rather not say.
To Rest is the Great and Deep Wisdom of Life.
Note 1: Seng-yao. It is said that Emperor Liang-wu recruited painter Seng-yao Zhang to draw a portrait of Master Zhi-gong. Seng-yao was puzzled how to draw and was uncertained about the looks. Master Zhi-gong then ripped his face with finger, and revealed a Twelve-Faced Avalokitesvara with marvelous attributes of compassion and majesty, which Seng-yao was unable to draw.
Note 2: Zhi-gong revealed the draft.
Master Zhi-gong, a companion to Emperor Liang-wu, revealed his avatar (Transformation Body).