18 Jun Transmitting the Dharma Between Buddha Minds
(Excerpt from the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, expounded by Master Shen-Long, Chapter 1 Cultivation Cause, pg. 67)
[Sutra Text] He received the Dharma (teaching) in the middle of the night and no one knew about it. The Fifth Patriarch transmitted the immediate teaching and the robe and bowl, saying: “You are the Sixth Patriarch. Be perfect and skillful to safeguard your pure thoughts. Liberate all living beings universally, circulate and spread this one undivided truth to the future, do not let it break off.”
Listen to my (the Fifth Patriarch) gatha:
The enlightened sentient comes to plant the seed,
The fundamental cause ripens and the effect will grow;
Neither sentient nor seed exists,
Neither self-nature nor the phenomena of non-birth and non-extinction exists!
Explained by Master Shen-Long:
He received the Dharma (teaching) in the middle of the night and no one knew about it, in the middle of the night, the Fifth Patriarch passed on Bodhidharma’s cassock robe and bowl to the Sixth Patriarch, but nobody knew.
The Fifth Patriarch transmitted the immediate teaching and the robe and bowl, this showed that the Patriarch Bodhidharma foretold this event with the statement: “A flower (the Bodhidharma-the 1st Patriarch) blooms with five petals (there are five Patriarchs after him), the fruit (result) will naturally ripen”; this has finally come true. The immediate teaching of enlightenment may be attained at once, that is the teaching of “unbound by any tie, the mind initiates naturally and uses freely”. The robe and bowl were left by Bodhidharma and have been passed on thereafter.
You are the Sixth Patriarch, the Fifth Patriarch predicted the future glory of Hui-Neng to be the Sixth Patriarch. Be perfect and skillful to safeguard your pure thoughts is to have each pure thought flow into the sea of complete knowledge, all pure thoughts are under the state of non-birth and non-extinction called safeguarding your thought. Liberate all living beings universally, is to save all living beings. Circulate and spread this one undivided truth to the future, is to circulate and spread this absolute unconditional teaching of the 《Diamond Sutra》:
There is not a single thing originally, where can there be any dust.
Do not let it break off, you need to turn the Dharma wheel and transmit the Buddha’s teaching, and have lasting Buddha wisdom.
The Fifth Patriarch composed a gatha:
The enlightened sentient comes to plant the seed, Buddha Bodhisattva is the enlightened sentient who has come to save all beings like planting seeds in a field,
The fundamental cause ripens and the effect will grow, the seed is the cause and after planting when the natural affinity arrives, the fruit (effect) will grow.
The prior two phrases speak about external phenomena, the next two phrases describe fundamental essence.
Neither sentient nor seed exists, there exists no sentient being and also no seed, no birth and also no annihilation, no cause and also no effect; let go of everything.
Neither self-nature nor the phenomena of non-birth and non-extinction exists, there is no Buddha-nature, no birth and also no death, let go of the realization of non-birth and non-extinction of all phenomena, and let go of Buddha-nature, one will have thoroughly attained supreme enlightenment.
This has truly corresponded with the four verse gatha by the Sixth Patriarch:
Bodhi originally has no tree, a clear mirror is also not a stand;
There is not a single thing originally, where can there be any dust!
*Bodhi: the enlightened mind.
*clear mirror: wisdom.
【經文】三更受法，人盡不知，便傳頓教及衣缽。云：「汝為第六代祖，善自護念，廣度有情，流布將來，無令斷絕。」聽吾偈曰：「有情來下種，因地果還生; 無情亦無種, 無性亦無生 。」
「汝為第六代祖」,五祖給他受記,說你是第六代祖師。「善自護念」，善是善巧。自護念是念念清淨, 念念流入如來娑婆若海, 念念不生不滅。
「廣度有情」, 有情是眾生；廣是廣大, 普是普度, 廣大普度一切含靈。「流布將來」; 流布:流是流通,布是行布;流通行布這「本來無一物,何處惹塵埃」,這金剛經的不二法。「無令斷絕」, 要讓法輪常轉。
「因地果還生」, 種子是因, 今天有了果; 當種子種下去, 因緣時節到它就生出來果。
「無情亦無種」, 情也沒有, 種也沒有; 生也沒有是滅也沒有, 因也沒有是果也沒有, 全部放下。
這真是應了: 「菩提本無樹, 明鏡亦非檯; 本來無一物, 何處惹塵埃。」