21 May Monk Hui-Neng Became Enlightened
(Excerpt from the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, expounded by Master Shen-Long, Chapter 1 Cultivation Cause, pg. 59)
[Sutra Text] Next day the Fifth Patriarch secretly came to the threshing floor, where he saw Hui-Neng pounding rice with a stone tied around his waist; he said: “A seeker of the Way would forget his very life for the Dharma (teaching). Is this not the case?”
Then the Fifth Patriarch asked: “Is the rice ready?”
Hui-Neng replied: “The rice has long been ready. It is now waiting only for the sieve.”
The Patriarch rapped the pestle three times with his staff and left. Hui-Neng then knew the Patriarch’s intention, and at midnight (the hours of the third watch is between 11 pm to 1 am) he went to the Patriarch’s room. The Patriarch covered the window with his cassock so they could not be seen, and he explained the Diamond Sutra to him to the line, ‘regardless of any situation, the mind is not bound by any tie, so the mind initiates naturally and uses freely’. At the moment he heard those words, Hui-Neng experienced great enlightenment and he knew that all myriad phenomena are not separated from his self-nature.
Explained by Master Shen-Long:
The next day the Patriarch secretly came to the threshing floor where he saw Hui-Neng pounding rice with a stone tied around his waist; so he said: “A person who is continuously and diligently working, the passage of time is just like the flow of water which goes on all day and night; with thought after thought successively for enlightenment he becomes forgetful of himself. A person who diligently cultivates and forges ahead vigorously at unsurpassed enlightenment will definitely let go of the phenomena of “birth, aging, sickness and death.”
If ‘the rice’ was not ready it was to say that one is still immature, meaning one’s effort has not reached the state of beholding the Buddha-nature within oneself. ‘The rice has long been ready’ means he has already seen the absolute fundamental reality of the universe. Still he needs to filter out his habits and to remove impurities.
‘The mind is not bound by any tie, so the mind initiates naturally and uses freely’, is the core of all Buddha dharma (teaching).
‘The mind is not bound by any tie’ means the mind does not attach to any phenomenon, and there is no phenomenon can lay hold of.
‘The mind initiates naturally and uses freely’ means to initiate measureless and all-pervasive expedient methods to save all sentient beings.
The mind is not bound by any tie, so the mind initiates naturally and uses freely, it is the core of all Buddha Dharma (teaching).
For example, when we dress, eat meals, live daily, and so forth; the mind is completely unbound by any tie, but we can still dress, eat and not detach from our daily life. You can do everything without the impression of doing, eating without the impression of eating, practice without the impression of practicing – this way of employment shows that regardless of any situation, your mind is unbound by any ties so it naturally initiates and is free. Hui-Neng achieved supreme enlightenment immediately.
Previously he opened his mind and brought enlightenment; now he has attained supreme enlightenment. This means he has witnessed the true facts of neither production (rebirth) nor annihilation (dying), like the nirvana condition.
All myriad phenomena are not separate from self-nature, this sentence is very important!
Where is all myriad phenomena from? All myriad phenomena manifests from the self-nature.
What is self-nature? Self-nature is real, and eternal and unmoved by anything. It is the eternal, impersonal, unchangeable reality behind all phenomena that produces all phenomena. The myriad phenomena belongs to the true nature of all things. Using modern language, no matter what concepts you have for living, you will experience the same kind of karmic-retribution. If we consider the ideas of ‘being disillusioned with’ and ‘letting go’ of all in life, then everyday living is being disillusioned with all and letting go of all. However, if you apply the thinking of constant unduly worrying over minor matters, or your own plans supersede God’s, then your daily living becomes unbearable. However you think, is how you will lead your way of life.
隔天五祖親自來到碓坊看見惠能在磨米,他說:一個人不停持續勤奮的工作,如日月 如斯, 如水一般不停的流,念念相續在覺悟忘了自身。一個人勤求精進於無上法,絕對放下生老病死。如果米是生的,表示說還未煮熟,工夫還不到，還沒見性。如米已熟,他已見性他早見到宇宙的實相；但尚需把習性去掉和雜質去掉。他是全部見到, 只需去掉習性.