04 Jun Behold Your Pure Self-Nature to Become Enlightened
(Excerpt from the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, expounded by Master Shen-Long, Chapter 1 Cultivation Cause, pg. 64)
[Sutra Text] The Fifth Patriarch knew of Hui-Neng’s enlightenment to his original pure nature. He said to him: “Studying the Dharma without recognizing one’s original pure mind is of no benefit. If one recognizes their own original pure mind and beholds their pure self-nature, then one is called a great man, teacher of the world of the gods and man, and a Buddha.”
Explained by Master Shen-Long:
This is an extremely important point.
The Fifth Patriarch then tells Hui-Neng:
“If a person learns to become Buddha and realize there is not a single thing originally, where can there be any dust,
If a person does not recognize that self-nature is inherently pure, immovable and immutable and that it can manifest myriad phenomena,
If a person is unable to recognize the non-birth and non-extinction of all phenomena; then learning to become Buddha is of no benefit.”
With this point, his words have truly enlightened people with perfect wisdom, like thunder from a clear sky especially during this period of degeneration and extinction of the Buddha Dharma. He is letting you understand what is the Buddha Dharma (teaching). What is learning to become Buddha.
Common people like us, when we think of learning to become a Buddha, we think of the Three Jewels “Buddha, Dharma, Sangha (the monastic community)”. We need to practice perfectly “giving, keeping moral precepts, patience under insult, dhyana (zen) meditation, and unadulterated progress”; this is the normal way of thinking. The abnormal way of thinking is: the school of Buddhism grants whatever one appeals. We should donate more money and the future return of good fortune will be tremendous, just like throwing in $1 and expecting to receive $10,000 in return. This is a heterodox way of thinking. There are too many heterodox ways of thinking. There are people who activate their minds with incorrect thought arousal by using the Buddha Dharma to make money, or have many kinds of heterodox understandings and views; the numbers are too many to describe.
For a person who truly wants to practice cultivation, the first thing you need to do is to rectify your root and purge the source. How to do this? The first thing to do is to completely turn around your profane concepts.
Recently, I (Master Shen-Long) am in contact with some people and they all say they are in the process of learning to become Buddha. Strangely, while engaging in conversation with them, their heads are fully filled with methods of dichotomy that are in opposition to each other. To speak unpleasantly to the ear, they had various concepts mixed together.
You ask one: “How long have you studied Buddhism?”
He replies: “Since he was young and for quite a long while.”
But as soon as you listen to the conversation, you immediately know it is not the Buddha teaching, it contains his habits of “greed, resentment, ignorance, arrogance and doubt”. Thus, within his concepts he shows that he did not rectify the root and purge the source. This means he has not realized that his mind is inherently pure, and that “greed, resentment, ignorance, arrogance and doubt” fundamentally do not exist. Learning the Buddha teaching in this manner, whatever he learns will turn to be the evil way. Even presenting him with high level Buddha teachings, he will turn the Buddha Dharma into evil teaching, that is not how Buddha teaches.
If you realize that the universal matrix is inherently pure without defilements and that is where all phenomena manifests from, then you will be known as a great man, world of the gods and man, and a Buddha. What is the meaning of a great man? Heroes, strong and courageous people, the world has them all. But when talking about a “Great Hero”, the meaning is totally different. Adding the word “Great” before “Hero”, means one can put an end to all afflictions.
There is the saying: “Even for a hero, it is hard to pass the test of a beautiful woman”, because one cannot put an end to his afflictions. It is hard even for a hero to pass the test of “fame, benefit, food, sex, sleep”; he cannot cut them off completely. Therefore, he can only be called a “hero”, one cannot be referred to as a great man.
In regards to being a teacher of world of the gods and man, that is a model of the world of the gods and humans who must have the ability to put an end to all affliction. Buddha is the teacher of the nine states of existence (the hells, hungry ghost, animals, Azuras, men, Devas (gods), Sravakas, Pratyekabuddhas, Bodhisattvas).
最近我接觸一些,都是所謂學佛的人,很奇怪和他講起話來,滿腦子世俗的二分法,對立法。講得不好聽,各式各樣的雜染在一起。問他學佛多久了?他答:很久了,我年青時就學了。但你一聽他講話你就知道那不是佛法。那是什麼呢?是貪、瞋、痴、慢、疑。所以表示說他的觀念當中,他沒有正本清源。這個就是說他不知道自心本來清淨,根本就沒有貪、瞋、痴、慢、疑。這樣學佛則怎麼學都學成魔。再高的佛法 他學成魔法, 不是佛法。
英雄難過美人關,煩惱不能斷！英雄也難過名利關，名利不能斷；名利食色睡,他不能斷, 所以只是英雄, 他不能叫大丈夫。