The Sutra of Hui-neng, Grand Master of Zen: With Hui-neng's Commentary on the Diamond Sutra [NOOK Book]

Overview

Hui-neng
(638–713) is perhaps the most beloved and respected figure in Zen
Buddhism. An illiterate woodcutter who attained enlightenment in a flash, he
became the Sixth Patriarch of Chinese Zen, and is regarded as the founder of
the ...

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The Sutra of Hui-neng, Grand Master of Zen: With Hui-neng's Commentary on the Diamond Sutra

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Overview

Hui-neng
(638–713) is perhaps the most beloved and respected figure in Zen
Buddhism. An illiterate woodcutter who attained enlightenment in a flash, he
became the Sixth Patriarch of Chinese Zen, and is regarded as the founder of
the "Sudden Enlightenment" school. He is the supreme exemplar of the fact that
neither education nor social background has any bearing on the attainment of
enlightenment. This collection of his talks, also known as the Platform or
Altar Sutra, is the only Zen record of its kind to be generally honored with
the appellation sutra, or scripture.

The
Sutra of Hui-neng is here accompanied by Hui-neng's verse-by-verse commentary
on the Diamond Sutra—in its very first published English translation ever.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834825413
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/15/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 693,289
  • File size: 325 KB

Meet the Author

Thomas Cleary holds a PhD in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law. He is the translator of over fifty volumes of Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian, and Islamic texts from Sanskrit, Chinese, Japanese, Pali, and Arabic.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter
6:
Repentance

At
that
time, seeing the gentry and peasantry of the regions of Kuang, Shao, and the
four quarters gathered on the mountain to listen to the teaching, the Great
Master took the high seat and said to the crowd,

Welcome,
good friends. This thing must come from your own essential nature. At all
times, moment to moment, purify your own mind. Cultivate yourself, work on your
own, see your own reality body, see the buddha in your own mind, liberate
yourself, regulate yourself—only then will you attain realization.

You
have not come here for no reason. Since you have come from far away to gather
here as one, all of you have affinity together. Now let each of you kneel:
first I will transmit the perfumes of the five-part reality body in our own
essential nature; then I will pass on formless repentance.

The
crowd kneeled, and the Master said,

First
is the perfume of morality: when there is no error in one's own mind, no evil,
no envy or jealousy, no greed or hatred, no robbery or injury, this is called
the perfume of morality.

Second
is the perfume of stability: seeing the good and bad characteristics of objects
without disturbance in one's own mind is called the perfume of stability.

Third
is the perfume of wisdom. When one's own mind has no obstruction, and always
observes one's own nature with insight, one does not do anything bad. Even when
one does good, the mind does not cling to it. Respectful of elders while
considerate of the young, one is sympathetic and compassionate to the orphaned
and the impoverished. This is called the perfume of wisdom.

Fourth
is the perfume of liberation. When one's own mind does not fixate on objects,
does not think of good, does not think of bad, is free and unobstructed, that
is called the perfume of liberation.

Fifth
is the perfume of liberated knowledge and vision. Once one's own mind is not
fixated on anything, good or bad, it will not do to sink into vacuity and keep
to quiescence; one should study broadly and learn a lot, recognize one's own
original mind and master the principles of the buddhas, harmonize enlightenment
to deal with people, free from egotistic personality, unchanging right up to
the attainment of the true nature of enlightenment. This is called the perfume
of liberated vision and knowledge.

Good
friends, these perfumes are inner effects within each individual—do not seek
them externally. Now I will transmit formless repentance to you, to annihilate
the sins of past, present, and future, enabling you to attain purity of
thought, word, and deed.

Good
friends, let each of you repeat after me, in unison:

"From
the preceding moment of thought, the present moment of thought, and the
following moment of thought, from moment of thought to moment of thought I will
not be affected by folly or delusion; I repent of all previous folly and
delusion, and other faults due to them, and pray that they disappear all at
once and never occur again.

"From
the preceding moment of thought, the present moment of thought, and the
following moment of thought, from moment of thought to moment of thought I will
not be affected by any conceit or deceit. I repent of all previous misdeeds
associated with malignant conceit and deceit, and pray that they disappear all
at once, never to occur again.

"From
the preceding moment of thought, the present moment of thought, and the
following moment of thought, moment of thought to moment of thought I will not
be affected by jealousy and envy. I repent of all previous misdeeds associated
with malignant jealousy and envy, and pray that they disappear at once and
never occur again."

Good
friends, the foregoing constitutes formless repentance. Why is it called
repentance? Repentance means repenting of former errors, previous bad actions,
faults like stupidity, delusion, conceit, deceit, jealousy, and envy, repenting
of them all so they don't ever recur. That is being penitent. Repentance
further means regretting later mistakes, from now on being aware of bad
behaviors and faults like stupidity and delusion, conceit and deceit, jealousy
and envy, and stopping them forever, not acting them out any more. This is
called repentance.

Ordinary
people who are ignorant and confused only know to repent of their former errors
and do not know to repent of future faults. Because they do not repent of
future faults, their past errors do not disappear, and later faults also arise;
if the former errors do not disappear and later faults also arise, how could
this be called repentance?

Good
friends, once you have repented, I will make the four universal vows for you.
Each of you should be careful to listen accurately.

"The
beings in my own mind are infinite; I vow to liberate them.


"The afflictions in my own mind are infinite; I vow to end them.

"The
teachings in my own nature are inexhaustible; I vow to study them.

"The
buddhahood in my own nature is supreme; I vow to attain it."

Good
friends, doesn't everyone say, "Beings are infinite; I vow to liberate
them"? Speaking this way doesn't mean I am going to do the liberating.
Good friends, the beings in the mind are delusion, deception, immorality,
jealousy, malice—states of mind like this are all beings. Each of you must
liberate yourselves through your own essential nature; that is called true
liberation.

What
is meant by liberating yourself through your own essential nature? That means
the beings in false views, afflictions, and ignorance are liberated by accurate
insight. Once you have accurate insight, you get the wisdom of prajna to break
through the beings in folly and delusion, so each one is self-liberated. When
falsehood occurs, truth liberates; when delusion occurs, enlightenment
liberates. When folly occurs, wisdom liberates; when evil occurs, good
liberates. Liberation like this is called true liberation.

What
is more, "Afflictions are infinite; I vow to end them" means using
the prajna wisdom in your own essential nature to get rid of false ideas. And
"Teachings are inexhaustible; I vow to study them" requires you to
see your own essential nature and always act on right principle; this is called
true learning.

As
for "I vow to attain supreme buddhahood," once you are able to humble
your mind and practice straightforwardness at all times, you always produce
prajna, beyond delusion and awakening; setting aside both reality and
falsehood, you see buddha-nature. Then you attain buddhahood at a word. Always
thinking of practical application is the principle of the power of vowing.

Good
friends, having made the four universal vows, now I will transmit to you the
precepts of the formless three refuges.

Good
friends, we take refuge in the most honorable of two-legged beings, the
awakened one. We take refuge in the honorable one correctly detached from
desire. We take refuge in the pure honorable one in the midst of the crowd.
From this day forth we call awakening our teacher, relying no more on demonic
cults, always witnessing ourselves through the Three Treasures in our own
essential nature.

Good
friends, I urge you to take refuge in the Three Treasures in your own essential
nature. "Buddha" is awareness, "Dharma" is truth,
"Sangha" is purity.

When
your own mind takes refuge in awareness, error and confusion do not occur. One
who has few desires, is content, and able to be aloof from materialism and
sensuality, is called the most honorable of two-legged beings.

When
your own mind takes refuge in truth, you have no false views from moment of
thought to moment of thought. Because you have no false views, you have no
personal selfish pride, craving, or clinging. This is called the honorable one
detached from desire.

When
your own mind takes refuge in purity, your own essential nature is not affected
by all mundane toils and objects of desire. This is called the honorable one in
the midst of the crowd.

This
is taking refuge in oneself. Ordinary people who do not understand this take
the Three Refuge Precepts from morning to night. If you say you take refuge in
Buddha, where is Buddha? If you do not see Buddha, where can you take refuge?
The words would then be falsehood.

Good
people, let each of you examine yourself. Do not use your mind mistakenly.
Scripture clearly says to take refuge in the buddha in oneself, not to take
refuge in another buddha. If you do not resort to your own inherent buddha, you
have nothing to rely on.

Now
that you are self-realized, each of you should take refuge in the Three
Treasures in your own mind. Inwardly tame the nature of mind, outwardly respect
other people: this is called self-refuge.

Good
friends, once you have taken refuge in the Three Treasures in yourself, let
each of you focus your mind, and I will explain to you the buddha of our own
nature as three embodiments of one substance, to enable you to see the three
embodiments and clearly realize your own essential nature by yourself.

Let
everyone follow me in saying:

"I
take refuge in the Buddha as the pure body of reality in my own physical body.

"I
take refuge in the Buddha as the fulfilled body of reward in my own physical
body.

"I
take refuge in the Buddha as thousands of hundreds of hundreds of millions of
projected bodies in my own physical body."

Good
friends, the physical body is a house; it cannot be called a resort or a
refuge. The aforementioned Buddha in three embodiments is in our own essential
nature; everyone in the world has it, but because of confusion in their own
minds they do not see their inner nature, and so they seek a three-bodied
Tathagata externally, not seeing that they have buddha in three embodiments
within their own bodies.

You
have heard an explanation that will enable you to see, in your own body, that
in your own essential nature is a buddha with three embodiments. This buddha
with three embodiments comes from your own essential nature, and is not
attained from outside.

What
is the buddha as the pure body of reality? The essential nature of human beings
is originally pure. All things come from essential nature; when you think about
all evil things, it produces bad behaviors; when you think about all good
things, it produces good behaviors. Thus all things are in your own essential
nature. It is like the sky, which is always clear, and the sun, which is always
shining: when they are covered by drifting clouds, there is light above but
darkness below. Suddenly a wind blows away the clouds, so above and below are
both light, then myriad forms are visible.

The
nature of worldly people is always drifting, like the clouds in the sky. Good
friends, wisdom is like the sun, insight is like the moon: knowledge and
insight are always light, but when you fixate on objects outside, you get your
own essential nature covered by the drifting clouds of errant thoughts, so you
cannot have light and clarity. If you meet a spiritual benefactor and hear
truly authentic teaching, you get rid of confusion so that inside and out are
thoroughly clear, and myriad things appear within your own essential nature.
This is how it is with people who see essential nature. This is called the
buddha as the pure body of reality.

Good
friends, your own mind taking refuge in your own essential nature is taking
refuge in the real Buddha. Self-refuge means getting rid of bad states of mind
in your own nature—jealousy, flattery, selfishness, deceptiveness, disregard
for others, disrespect for others, false views, conceit, and any bad behavior
that might take place at any time. Always seeing your own faults and not
discussing others' good or bad is self-refuge. One should always be humble in
mind and be respectful toward everyone. This is mastery of seeing essential
nature, without any more obstruction. This is self-refuge.

What
is the fulfilled body of reward? Just as one lamp can obliterate a thousand
years' darkness, one insight can annihilate ten thousand years' ignorance.
Don't think about what has already passed, and don't keep thinking about what
is yet to come. Perfectly clear moment to moment, see original nature yourself.
Though good and bad differ, the original nature is not dual. The nondual nature
is called the true nature. When your own nature produces a single thought of
good, it can achieve the ending of countless evils, all the way to unsurpassed
enlightenment. Seeing yourself in every moment of thought, not losing basic
mindfulness, is called the embodiment of reward.

What
is the embodiment of thousands of hundreds of hundreds of millions of
projections? If you don't think of myriad things, your nature is basically like
space. A single moment of thought is called a projection. If you think of bad
things, you produce hell. If you think of good things, you produce heaven.
Viciousness produces dragons and snakes; compassion produces bodhisattvas.
Wisdom produces higher states, folly produces lower states. The projections of
our nature are very many; confused people are unable to be alert to them, and
so create evil thought after thought, constantly going in bad ways. If they
would turn a single thought to good, wisdom would thereupon be born; this is
called the Buddha as embodiment of projection of our nature.

Good
friends, the body of reality is originally there. Spontaneously seeing your own
nature in every moment of thought is the buddha as the embodiment of reward.
Thinking from the embodiment of reward is the embodiment of projection.

Self-realization
and self-cultivation of the virtues of one's own nature is true refuge. Skin
and flesh are the material body; the material body is a house, and cannot be
called a resort or refuge. Just realize the three embodiments in your own
nature, and you will know the buddha in your own nature.

I
have a formless hymn: if you can memorize it, the impact of the words can cause
your accumulated eons of confusions and errors to dissolve away all at once.

Confused
people cultivate blessings, not the Way;

They
simply say blessings are themselves the Way.

The
blessings of charity and alms may be boundless,

While
in the mind the three poisons are created all along.

If
you try to cultivate blessing to annihilate sins,

Though
you gain blessings in the coming life, the sin is still there.

Just
get rid of conditions of sin within your mind—

That
is called true repentance within your own nature.

Suddenly
realizing the true repentance of the Great Vehicle,

Getting
rid of falsehood, acting on truth, you're then impeccable.

In
studying the Way, always observe your own nature,

And
you'll be of a kind with all the buddhas.

My
spiritual ancestors only transmitted this teaching of immediacy,

Wishing
all to be one in seeing nature.

If
you want to seek the reality body in the future,

Detach
from the appearances of things, and clean the mind.

Strive
to see for yourself; don't waste time—

When
the following moment is cut off, a whole lifetime's over.

If
you understand the Great Vehicle, you'll see essential nature:

Reverently
and respectfully, seek with all your heart.

The
Master said,

Good
friends, everyone should memorize this, cultivate your behavior in accord with
it, and see essential nature under the impact of the words. Then even if you
are a thousand miles away from me, it is as though you are always with me. If
you do not awaken at these words, then you are a thousand miles away even when
we are face to face—why bother to come so far?

Take
care; go well.

Everyone
in the
crowd
heard
the teaching and opened up in understanding. Joyfully they put
it
into
practice.



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