09 Jul No Attachments
(Excerpt from the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, expounded by Master Shen-Long, Chapter 1 Cultivation Cause, pg. 72)
After Hui-Neng took leave of the Fifth Patriarch, he set out on foot for the South. In two months, he reached the Da-Yu Mountains.
The Fifth Patriarch returned and did not enter the hall for several days. The assembly was concerned and asked: “Does the venerable monk have some illness or afflictions?”
“There is no illness,” came the reply, “the robe and the teaching of immediate attainment has already gone South.”
“Who received the transmission?” they asked.
“Hui-Neng obtained it,” said the Patriarch. The assembly then knew, and afterwards several hundred people took up the chase, all intended to snatch the robe and bowl.
There was a bhikshu, Hui-Ming, a coarse-natured man whose lay name was Chen and who was formerly a fourth grade General with a rough and sloppy temperament. He eagerly anticipated to join the chase and search, and ran ahead of the others. When he had almost caught up with Hui-Neng, Hui-Neng tossed the robe and bowl onto a rock and said: “This robe and bowl are tokens of Tathagata’s faith. How can it be taken by force?” Hui-Neng was hidden in a thicket.
When Hui-Ming arrived, he tried to pick them up but found he could not move it.
He calls out: “One who pursues cultivation practice, I have come for the teaching, not for the robe!”
Hui-Neng then came out and sat cross-legged on a rock.
Hui-Ming paid obeisance and said: “I hope that you who has practiced cultivation will explain the Dharma to me.”
Hui-Neng said: “Since you are after the teaching, you need to turn off and extinguish all of the natural affinity, let no thought arise; then I will explain it to you.”
After a long pause by Hui-Ming, Hui-Neng then spoke: “No good thinking, no bad thinking; right at this moment, which one is Senior Hui-Ming’s true feature?” With these words, Hui-Ming was greatly enlightened.
Explained by Master Shen-Long:
Hui-Neng bid farewell to the Fifth Patriarch and started walking toward the South, and arrived at the Da-Yu Mountain after two months. The Fifth Patriarch returned to the monastery, for a few days he did not give lessons. The people there raised questions and asked: “Did the venerable monk fall ill or are there worries?” The Patriarch responded: “I have no sickness. Because the robe and the teaching of enlightenment attained at once has already gone to the South”. Then they asked: “Who obtained the teaching?” The Fifth Patriarch said: “Hui-Neng obtained it.” The people there knew and afterwards several hundred people came with desire to take away the cassock and alms bowl forcibly.
There was a monk with secular surname of Chen Hui-Ming, formerly he was a fourth grade General, and had a rough and sloppy temperament; which means his personal nature’s aspect was boorish and his behavior did not pay attention to details. He eagerly anticipated to join the chase and search, and ran ahead of the others. He found Hui-Neng first.
Hui-Neng tossed the robe and bowl onto a rock and said: “This robe and bowl are tokens of Tathagata’s faith. How can it be taken by force?” Hui-Neng was hidden in a thicket. When Hui-Ming arrived, he tried to pick it up but found he could not move them. All of this was the blessing power of Tathagata and Protector of Buddha teachings, so he was unable to lift it.
He called out: “The one who pursues cultivation practice, I have come for the teaching, not for the robe!” Hui-Ming was indeed coming for the purpose of teaching.
Hui-Ming paid obeisance and said: “I hope that you who has practiced cultivation will explain the Dharma to me.” He presented himself with full sincerity.
Hui-Neng said: “Since you are after the teaching, you need to turn off and extinguish all of the natural affinity, let no thought arise; then I will explain it to you.” This is the crucial point; this is the importance!
When we go to meet with a good and virtuous friend to lead us to the Buddha way, we all bring with us our own worries. Monk Hui-Ming was not this person; he came for the teaching. He chased and ran to be the first one, he did not come for the robe and bowl, which means he had no interest in fame and benefits. For what reason did he come? He came for the Buddha teaching and to become Buddha. Therefore, the Sixth Patriarch explained the Buddha teaching to him.
You need to turn off and extinguish all of the natural affinity; all of the natural affinity means all of the delusional thoughts and attachments. Let no thought arise; no other thought in mind, no distracting thought arises.
After a long pause by Hui-Ming, he lets his mind calm down. Hui-Neng then spoke: “No good thinking, no bad thinking; right at this moment,” what moment is it? You have to let go all of the good thoughts of discrimination and attachment, you have let go all of the bad thoughts of discrimination and attachment in the mind, right at this moment; which one is Senior Hui-Ming’s true feature? In this moment what is one’s condition? What is your [Hui-Ming] inherent Buddha-nature?
This is also a gong-an (public study case). Many gong-an have been left by the Patriarchs of Zen Buddhism as: Who is your true feature? Which one is your true feature? All sourced from here. No good thinking, no bad thinking; let no thought arise, to turn off and extinguish all of the natural affinity, this moment is what moment?
With these words, Hui-Ming was greatly enlightened, at this moment what had he comprehended? Without being bound by any tie and to initiate the mind naturally and use freely. He was enlightened with non-birth and non-extinction of all phenomena.
What does “to be greatly enlightened at these words” mean? The answer is in the question, and the question is the answer, question and answer are one and not in duality.
No good thinking, no bad thinking; what is that? It is purified of defiling illusion. At the moment you have purified of defiling illusion, it is precisely your true feature; it is exactly to let go of all predestined affinities, let no thought arise, and it is your absolute immovable inherent quality.
我們去見善知識都是有煩惱去見。惠明這個人, 他不是,他為法而來。他跑第一個來追到, 他不是為衣缽。他對衣缽名利沒有興趣。他為什麼,他為佛法成佛而來。所以六祖替他講法。屏息諸緣;屏是屏障,息是熄滅,諸緣是一切妄想執著。勿生一念;一念不生,一切雜念不生。吾為汝說；我為你說法。
「明良久」;惠明停了一段時間,讓自己心定下來。惠能曰：「不思善，不思惡，正與麼時」;善念放下了,惡念也放下了,就在這個時候；那個是明上座本來面目？這個時候是什麼時候呢?到底是什麼樣個狀態是你惠明本來的佛性?這也是個公案。我們看禪宗祖師留下來很多的公案: 本來面目是誰? 那個是你的本來面目? 都由這裡來的。不思善，不思惡; 一念不生, 屏息萬緣, 這個時候是什麼?
「惠明言下大悟」; 這時候他悟到什麼?無住生心。他悟到不生不滅。為什麼叫言下大悟? 問在答中。答在問中。問和答是一不是二。不思善，不思惡;是什麼?清淨。清淨的時候就是本來面目, 就是萬緣放下, 一念不生, 就是你的如如本性。