圖 / 教育院編繹室文 / 文獻中心
Treasury of the Eye of True Dharma
Chan finds its origin in the Buddha’s lifting up of a golden Lotus flower on Vulture Peak without saying a word. The great assembly that was eagerly awaiting his sermon could not understand the meaning of the Buddha’s lifting up of the flower. It was only Kāshyapa who smiled, and thereby a heart to heart, mind-to mind transmission occurred. At that very moment, Kāshyapa understood the Buddha’s heart/mind, and he also understood his own heart/mind. Smiling at the Buddha`s lifting up of the flower, Kāshyapa beheld the flower, and beheld his own heart/mind. When Buddha Shākyamuni saw Kāshyapa`s smile, he said: “I have the treasury of the eye of true dharma, the marvelous mind of Nirvana, the true formless form, the subtle gate of dharma. It does not depend on letters, and is especially transmitted outside of the teachings. This I have entrusted to Kāshyapa.”
In fact, everyone has this treasury of the eye of true dharma, but it has been covered up. We need the Buddha`s guidance to discover that our own mind is the wonderful heart of Nirvana, that it is without any shape or form, and that it is unborn and never dies. Now that we want to recover our original face which is without form or shape, how shall we go about it?
Chan is the method to recover our original face. If there is a person with sudden realization, that person can immediately grasp the wonderful heart of Nirvana that is unborn and never dies, in a direct experience. But if we cannot come to a sudden realization, what shall we do? In that case we need a method for practice. The four steps of our peace meditation is a method that can help us attain the realization of our original nature through constant practice, over and over again.
Our present societies are so over-flooded with information that most people no longer have a clear value system in their lives. In their confusion, they don’t know where life is going or where it is coming from. Our Chan practice is the way home: it lets our heart return home. What is the meaning of returning home? Our heart/mind constantly rushes to the outside world and gets entangled with it, so that we cannot get a hold of our heart and simply let it return home. Most often we don’t even know what we are so busy with. If we practice of Chan we will discover that letting the heart return home is the greatest joy, the greatest comfort, that it gives us the greatest peace. This does not mean that we have to throw and empty everything out. It only means that if our heart has ample inner space, it can embrace everything. When our heart has ample inner space, we will feel content in the moment. Without this ample inner space, we will engage in dualistic thinking and bickering.
The myriad things of the world of phenomena and Emptiness can be likened to the waves and the ocean. All the waves are brought forth by the ocean, and all of the phenomena are brought forth by Emptiness. The waves are our deluded thoughts, and all of the waves want to return to the ocean, since this is their true from. All things without exception, all things that exist, want to return to emptiness, which is the only place of true peace and stability. Our Chan practice is a method to let the waves of our deluded thoughts return to the ocean. Chan is the way home – it lets the heart return home.
Dharma Master Hsin Tao
(Translated by Maria Reis Habito)