Everything that appears in the three
realms comes from the mind. Hence Buddhas of the past and future
teach mind to mind without bothering about definitions. But if they
donít define it, what do they mean by mind? You ask. Thatís your
mind. I answer. Thatís my mind. If I had no mind how could I answer?
If you had no mind, how could you ask? That which asks is your mind.
Through endless kalpas" without beginning, whatever you do, wherever
you are, thatís your real mind, thatís your real buddha. This mind
is the Buddha" says the same thing. Beyond this mind youíll never
find another Buddha. To search for
enlightenment or nirvana beyond
this mind is impossible. The reality of your own self-nature the
absence of cause and effect, is whatís meant by mind. Your mind is
nirvana. You might think you can find a Buddha or enlightenment
somewhere beyond the mindí, but such a place doesnít exist.
Trying to find a Buddha or
enlightenment is like trying to grab space. Space has a name but no
form. Itís not something you can pick up or put down. And you
certainly canít grab if. Beyond mind youíll never see a Buddha. The
Buddha is a product of the mind. Why look for a Buddha beyond this
Buddhas of the past and future only
talk about this mind. The mind is the Buddha, and the Buddha is the
mind. Beyond the mind thereís no Buddha and beyond the Buddha
thereís no mind. If you think there is a Buddha beyond the mindí,
where is he? Thereís no Buddha beyond the mind, so why envision one?
You canít know your real mind as long as you deceive yourself. As
long as youíre enthralled by a lifeless form, youíre not free. If
you donít believe me, deceiving yourself wonít help. Itís not the
Buddhaís fault. People, though, are deluded. Theyíre unaware that
their own mind is the Buddha. Otherwise they wouldnít look for a
Buddha outside the mind.
Buddhas donít save Buddhas. If you use
your mind to look for a Buddha, you wonít see the Buddha. As long as
you look for a Buddha somewhere else, youíll never see that your own
mind is the Buddha. Donít use a Buddha to worship a Buddha. And
donít use the mind to invoke a Buddha." Buddhas donít recite
sutras." Buddhas donít keep precepts." And Buddhas donít break
precepts. Buddhas donít keep or break anything. Buddhas donít do
good or evil.
To find a Buddha, you have to see your
nature." Whoever sees his nature is a Buddha. If you donít see your
nature, invoking Buddhas, reciting sutras, making offerings, and
keeping precepts are all useless. Invoking Buddhas results in good
karma, reciting sutras results in a good memory; keeping
precepts results in a good rebirth, and making offerings results in
future blessings-but no buddha. If you donít understand by yourself,
youíll have to find a teacher to get to the bottom of life and
death. But unless he sees his nature, such a person isnít a tea6er.
Even if he can recite the Twelvefold Canon he canít escape the Wheel
of Birth and Death. He suffers in the three realms without hope of
release. Long ago, the monk Good Star 21 was able to recite the
entire Canon. But he didnít escape the Wheel, because he didnít see
his nature. If this was the case with Good Star, then people
nowadays who recite a few sutras or shastras and think itís the Dharma are fools. Unless you see your mind, reciting so much
prose is useless.
To find a Buddha all you have to do is
see your nature. Your nature is the Buddha. And the Buddha is the
person whoís free: free of plans, free of cares. If you donít see
your nature and run around all day looking somewhere else, youíll
never find a buddha. The truth is thereís nothing to find. But to
reach such an understanding you need a teacher and you need to
struggle to make yourself understand. Life and death are important.
Donít suffer them in vain.
Thereís no advantage in deceiving
yourself. Even if you have mountains of jewels and as many servants
as there are grains of sand along the Ganges, you see them when your
eyes are open. But what about when your eyes are shut? You should
realize then that everything you see is like a dream or illusion.
If you donít find a teacher soon,
youíll live this life in vain. Itís true, you have the buddha-nature.
But the help of a teacher youíll never know it. Only one person in a
million becomes enlightened without a teacherís help. If, though, by
the conjunction of conditions, someone understands what the Buddha
meant, that person doesnít need a teacher. Such a person has a
natural awareness superior to anything taught. But unless youíre so
blessed, study hard, and by means of instruction youíll understand.
People who donít understand and think
they can do so without study are no different from those deluded
souls who canít tell white from black." Falsely proclaiming the
Buddha-Dharma, such persons in fact blaspheme the Buddha and subvert
the Dharma. They preach as if they were bringing rain. But theirs is
the preaching of devils not of Buddhas. Their teacher is the King of
Devils and their disciples are the Devilís minions. Deluded people
who follow such instruction unwittingly sink deeper in the Sea of
Birth and Death. Unless they see their nature, how can people call
themselves Buddhas theyíre liars who deceive others into entering
the realm of devils. Unless they see their nature, their preaching
of the Twelvefold Canon is nothing but the preaching of devils.
Their allegiance is to Mara, not to the Buddha. Unable to
distinguish white from black, how can they escape birth and death?
Whoever sees his nature is a Buddha;
whoever doesnít is a mortal. But if you can find your buddha-nature
apart from your mortal nature, where is it? Our mortal nature is our
Buddha nature. Beyond this nature thereís no Buddha. The Buddha is
our nature. Thereís no Buddha besides this nature. And thereís no
nature besides the Buddha. But suppose I donít see my nature, cant I
still attain enlightenment by invoking Buddhas, reciting sutras,
making offerings, observing precepts, Practicing devotions, or doing
No, you canít. Why not?
If you attain anything at all, itís
conditional, itís karmic. It results in retribution. It turns the
Wheel. And as long as youíre subject to birth and death, youíll
never attain enlightenment. To attain enlightenment you have to see
your nature. Unless you see your nature, all this talk about cause
and effect is nonsense. Buddhas donít practice nonsense. A Buddha
free of karma free of cause and effect. To say he attains anything
at all is to slander a Buddha. What could he possibly attain? Even
focusing on a mind, a power, an understanding, or a view is
impossible for a Buddha. A Buddha isnít one sided. The nature of his
mind is basically empty, neither pure nor impure. Heís free of
practice and realization. Heís free of cause and effect.
A Buddha doesnít observe precepts. A
Buddha doesnít do good or evil. A Buddha isnít energetic or lazy. A
Buddha is someone who does nothing, someone who canít even focus his
mind on a Buddha. A Buddha isnít a Buddha. Donít think about Buddhas.
If you dont see what Iím talking about, youíll ever know your own
mind. People who donít see their nature and imagine they can
practice thoughtlessness all the time are lairs and fools. They fall
into endless space. Theyíre like drunks. They canít tell good from
evil. If you intend to cultivate such a practice, you have to see
your nature before you can put an end to rational thought. To attain
enlightenment without seeing your nature is impossible. Still others
commit all sorts of evil deeds, claiming karma doesnít exist. They
erroneously maintain that since everything is empty committing evil
isnít wrong. Such persons fall into a hell of endless darkness with
no hope of release. Those who are wise hold no such conception.
But if our every movement or state,
whenever it occurs, is the mind, why donít we see this mind when a
personís body dies?
The mind is always present. You just
donít see it.
But if the mind is present, why donít
I see it?
Do you ever
When you dream, is that you?
Yes, itís me.
And is what youíre doing and saying
different from you?
No, it isnít.
But if it isnít, then this body is
your real body. And this real body is your mind. And this mind,
through endless kalpas without beginning, has never varied. It has
never lived or died, appeared or disappeared, increased or
decreased. Its not pure or impure, good or evil, past or future.
Itís not true or false. Itís not mate or female. It doesnít appear
as a monk or a layman, an elder or a novice, a sage or a fool, a
Buddha or a mortal. It strives Ďfor no realization and suffers no
karma. It has no strength or form. Itís like space. You canít
possess it and you canít lose it. Its movements canít be blocked by
mountains, rivers, or rock walls. Its unstoppable powers penetrate
the Mountain of Five Skandhas and cross the River of Samsara." No
karma can restrain this real body. But this mind is subtle and hard
to see. Itís not the same as the sensual mind. Every I one wants to
see this mind, and those who move their hands and feet by its light
are as many as the grains of sand along the Ganges, but when you ask
them, they canít explain it. Theyíre like puppets. Itís theirs to
use. Why donít they see it?
The Buddha said people are deluded.
This Is why when they act they fall into the river of endless
rebirth. And when they try to get out they only sink deeper. And all
because they donít see their nature. If people werenít deluded why
would they ask about something right in front of them? Not one of
they understands the movement of his own hands and feet. The Buddha
wasnít mistaken. Deluded people donít know who they are. A Buddha
and no one else know something so hard to fathom. Only the wise
knows mind, this mind call nature, this mind called liberation.
Neither life nor death can restrain this mind. Nothing can. Itís
also called the Unstoppable Tathagata," the Incomprehensible, the
Sacred Self, the Immortal, the Great Sage. Its names vary but not
its essence. Buddhas vary too, but none leaves his own mind. The
mindís capacity is limitless, and its manifestations are
inexhaustible. Seeing forms with your eyes, hearing sounds with your
ears, smelling odors with your nose, tasting flavors with your
tongue, every movement or state is your entire mind. At every
moment, where language canít go, thatís your mind.
The sutras say, "A Tathagataís forms
are endless. And so is his awareness." The endless variety of forms
is due to the mind. Its ability to distinguish things, whatever
their movement or state, is the mindís awareness. But the mind has
no form and its awareness no limit. Hence itís said, "A Tathagataís
forms are endless. And so is his awareness." A material body of the
four elements" is trouble. A material body is subject to birth and
death. But the real body exists without existing, because a
Tathagataís real body never changes. The sutras say, "People should
realize that the buddha-nature is something they have always had."
Kashyapa only realized his own nature.
Our nature is the mind. And the mind
is our nature. This nature is the same as the mind of all Buddhas.
Buddhas of the past and future only transmit this mind. Beyond this
mind thereís no Buddha anywhere. But deluded people donít realize
that their own mind is the Buddha. They keep searching outside. They
never stop invoking Buddhas or worshipping Buddhas and wondering
Where is the buddha? Donít indulge in such illusions. Just know your
mind. Beyond your mind thereís no other Buddha. The sutras say,
"Everything that has form is an illusion." They also say, "Wherever
you are, thereís a Buddha." Your mind is the Buddha. Donít use a
Buddha to worship a Buddha.
Even if a Buddha or bodhisattva"
should suddenly appear before you, thereís no need for reverence.
This mind of ours is empty and contains no such form. Those who hold
onto appearances are devils. They fall from the Path. Why worship
illusions born of the mind? Those who
worship donít know, and those who know donít worship. By worshipping
you come under the spell of devils. I point this out because 1
afraid youíre unaware of it. The basic nature of a Buddha has no
such form. Keep this in mind, even if something unusual should
appear. Donít embrace it, and donít fear it, and donít doubt that
your Mind is basically pure. Where could there be room for any such
form? Also, at the appearance of spirits, demons, or divine conceive
neither respect nor fear. Your mind is basically empty. All
appearances are illusions. Donít hold on to appearances. If you
envision a Buddha, a Dharma, or a bodhisattva" and conceive respect
for them, you relegate yourself to the realm of mortals. If you seek
direct understanding, donít hold on to any appearance whatsoever,
and youíll succeed. I have no other advice. The sutras say, "All
appearances are illusions." They have no fixed existence, o constant
form. Theyíre impermanent. Donít cling to appearances and youíll be
of one mind with the Buddha. The sutras say, "íThat which is free of
all form is the Buddha."
But why shouldnít we worship Buddhas
Devils and demons possess the power of
manifestation. They can create the appearance of bodhisattvas in all
sorts of guises. But theyíre false. None of them are Buddhas. The
Buddha is your own mind. Donít misdirect your worship.
Buddha is Sanskrit for what you call
aware, miraculously aware. Responding, arching your brows blinking
your eyes, moving your hands and feet, its all your miraculously
aware nature. And this nature is the mind. And the mind is the
Buddha. And the Buddha is the path. And
the path is Zen. But the word Zen is one that remains a puzzle
to both mortals and sages. Seeing your nature is Zen. Unless you see
your nature, itís not
Even if you can explain thousands of
sutras and shastras, unless you see your own nature yours is the
teaching of a mortal, not a Buddha. The true Way is sublime. It
canít be expressed in language. Of what use are scriptures? But
someone who sees his own nature finds the Way, even if he canít read
a word. Someone who sees his nature is a Buddha. And since a
Buddhaís body is intrinsically pure and unsullied, and everything he
says is an expression of his mind, being basically empty, a buddha
canít be found in words or anywhere in the Twelvefold Canon.
The Way is basically perfect. It
doesnít require perfecting. The Way has no form or sound. Itís
subtle and hard to perceive. Itís like when you drink water: you
know how hot or cold it is, but you canít tell others. Of that which
only a Tathagata knows men and gods remain unaware. The awareness of
mortals falls short. As long as ,theyíre attached to appearances,
theyíre unaware that their minds are empty.
And by mistakenly clinging to the
appearance of things they lose the Way. If you know that everything
comes from the mind, donít become attached. Once attached, youíre
unaware. But once you see your own nature, the entire Canon becomes
so much prose. Its thousands of sutras and shastras only amount to a
clear mind. Understanding comes in midsentence. What good are
doctrines? The ultimate Truth is beyond words. Doctrines are words.
Theyíre not the Way. The Way is
wordless. Words are illusions. Theyíre no different from things that
appear in your dreams at night, be they palaces or carriages,
forested parks or lakeside Ďlions. Donít conceive any delight for
such things. Theyíre all cradles of rebirth. Keep this in mind when
you approach death. Donít cling to appearances, and youíll break
through all barriers. A momentís hesitation and youíll be under the
spell of devils. Your real body is pure and impervious. But because
of delusions youíre unaware of it. And because of this you suffer
karma in vain. Wherever you find delight, you find bondage. But once
you awaken to your original body and mind," youíre no longer bound
Anyone, who gives up the transcendent
for the mundane, ill any of its myriad forms, is a mortal. A Buddha
is someone who finds freedom in good fortune and bad. Such is his
power that karma canít hold him. No matter what kind of karma Buddha
transforms it. Heaven and hell are nothing to him. But the awareness
of a mortal is dim compared to that of a Buddha who penetrates
everything inside and out. If youíre not sure donít act. Once you
act, you wander through birth and death and regret having no refuge.
Poverty and hardship are created by false thinking. To understand
this mind you have to act without acting. Only then will you see
things from a Tathagataís perspective.
But when you first embark on the Path,
your awareness wonít focused. But you shouldnít doubt that all such
scenes come from your own mind and nowhere else.
If, as in a dream, you see a light
brighter than the sun, your remaining attachments will suddenly come
to an end and the nature of reality will be revealed. Such an
occurrence serves as the basis for enlightenment. But this is
something only you know. You canít explain it to others. Or if,
while youíre walking, standing, sitting, or lying in a quiet grove,
you see a light, regardless of whether itís bright or dim, donít
tell others and donít focus on it. Itís the light of your own
Or if, while youíre walking, standing,
sitting, or lying in the stillness and darkness of night, everything
appears as though in daylight, donít be startled. Itís your own mind
about to reveal itself.
Or if, while youíre dreaming at night,
you see the moon and stars in all their clarity, it means the
workings of your mind are about to end. But donít tell others. And
if your dreams arenít clear, as if you were walking in the dark,
itís because your mind is masked by cares. This too is something of"
you know. if you so your nature,, you donít need to read sutras or
invoke buddhas. Erudition and Knowledge are not only useless but
also cloud your awareness. Doctrines are only for pointing to the
mind. Once you see your mind, why pay attention to doctrines?
To go from mortal to Buddha, you have
to put an end to karma, nurture your awareness, and accept what life
brings. If youíre always getting angry, youíll turn your nature
against the Way. Thereís no advantage in deceiving yourself. Buddhas
move freely through birth and death, appearing and disappearing at
will. They canít be restrained by karma or overcome by devils. Once
mortals see their nature, all attachments end. Awareness isnít
hidden. But you can only find it right now. Itís only now. If you
really want to find the Way, donít hold on to anything. Once you put
an end to karma and nurture your awareness, any attachments that
remain will come to an end. Understanding comes naturally. You donít
have to make any effort. But fanatics donít understand what the
Buddha meant. And the harder they try, the farther they get from the
Sageís meaning. All day long they invoke Buddhas and read sutras.
But they remain blind to their own divine nature, and they donít
escape the Wheel.
A Buddha is an idle person. He doesnít
run around after fortune and fame. What good are such things in the
end? People who donít see their nature and think reading sutras,
invoking Buddhasí, studying long and hard, practicing morning and
night, never lying down, or acquiring knowledge is the Dharma,
blaspheme the Dharma. Buddhas of the past and future only talk about
seeing your nature. All practices are impermanent. Unless they see
their nature people who claim to have attained unexcelled, complete
enlightenment" are liars. Among Shakyamuniís ten greatest disciples,
Ananda was foremost in learning. But he didnít know the Buddha. All
he did was study and memorize. Arhats donít know the Buddha. All
they know are so many practices for realization, and they become
trapped by cause and effect. Such is a mortalís karma: no escape
from birth and death. By doing the opposite of what lie intended,
Such people blaspheme the Buddha. Killing them would not be wrong.
The sutras say, "Since icchantikas are incapable of belief, killing
them would be blameless, whereas people who believe reach the state
Unless you see your nature, You
shouldnít go around criticizing the goodness of others. Thereís no
advantage in deceiving yourself. Good and bad are distinct. Cause
and effect are clear. Heaven and hell are right before your eves.
But fools donít believe and fall straight into a hell of endless
darkness without even knowing it. What keeps them from believing is
the heaviness of their karma. Theyíre like blind people who donít
believe thereís such a thing as light. Even if you explain it to
them, they still don t believe, because theyíre blind. How can they
possibly distinguish light?
The same holds true for fools who end
up among the lower orders of existence or among the poor and
despised. They canít live and they canít die. And despite their
sufferings, if you ask them, they say theyíre as happy as gods. All
mortals even those who think themselves wellborn, are likewise
unaware. Because of the heaviness of their karma, such fools canít
believe and canít get free.
People who see that their mind is the
Buddha donít need to shave their head" Laymen are Buddhas too.
Unless they see their nature, people who shave their head are simply
But since married laymen donít give up
sex, bow can they become Buddhas? I only talk about seeing your
nature. I donít talk about sex simply because you donít see your
nature. Once you see your nature, sex is basically immaterial. It
ends along with your delight in it. Even if some habits remainí,
they canít harm you, because your nature is essentially pure.
Despite dwelling in a material body of four elements, your nature is
basically pure. It canít be corrupted.
Your real body is basically pure. It
canít be corrupted. Your real body has no sensation, no hunger or
thirstí, no warmth or cold, no sickness, no love or attachment, no
pleasure or pain, no good or bad, no shortness or length, no
weakness or strength. Actually, thereís nothing here. Itís only
because you cling to this material body that things like hunger and
thirst, warmth and cold, sickness appear Once you stop clinging and
let things be, youíll- be free, even of birth and death. Youíll
transform everything. Youíll possess Spiritual powers " that cant be
obstructed. And youíll be at peace wherever you are. If you doubt
this, youíll never see through anything. Youíre better off doing
nothing. Once you act, you canít avoid the cycle of birth and death.
But once you see your nature, youíre a Buddha even if you work as a
But butchers create karma by
slaughtering animals. How can they be Buddhas?
I only talk about seeing your nature.
I donít talk about creating karma. Regardless of what we do, our
karma has no hold on us. Through endless kalpas without beginning,
its only because people donít see their nature that they end up in
hell. As long as a person creates karma, he keeps passing through
birth and death. But once a person realizes his original nature, he
stops creating karma. If he doesnít see his nature, invoking Buddhas
wonít release him from his karma, regardless of whether or not heís
a butcher. But once he sees his nature, all doubts vanish. Even a
butcherís karma has no effect on such a person. In India the
twenty-seven patriarchs only transmitted the imprint of the mind.
And the only reason Iíve come to China
is to transmit the instantaneous teaching of the Mahayana This mind
is the Buddha. I donít talk about precepts, devotions or ascetic
practices such immersing yourself in water and fire, treading a
wheel of knives, eating one meal a day, or never lying down. These
are fanatical, provisional teachings. Once you recognize your
moving, miraculously aware nature.
Yours is the mind of all Buddhas.
Buddhas of the past and future only talk about transmitting the
They teach nothing else if someone
understands this teaching, even if heís illiterate heís a Buddha. If
You donít see your own miraculously aware nature, youíll never find
a Buddha even if you break your body into atoms.
The Buddha is your real body, your
original mind. This mind has no form or characteristics, no cause or
effect, no tendons or bones. Itís like space. You canít hold it. Its
not the mind or materialists or nihilists. Except for a Tathagata,
no one else- no mortal, no deluded being-can fathom it.
But this mind isnít somewhere outside
the material body of four elements. Without this mind we canít move.
The body has no awareness. Like a plant or stone, the body has no
nature. So how does it move? Itís the mind that moves. Language and
behavior, perception and conception are all functions of the moving
mind. All motion is the mindís motion. Motion is its function. Apart
from motion thereís no mind, and apart from the mind thereís no
motion. But motion isnít the mind. And the mind isnít motion. Motion
is basically mindless. And the mind is basically motionless. But
motion doesnít exist without the mind. And the mind doesnít exist
without motion. Theres no mind for motion to exist apart from, and
no motion for mind to exist apart from. Motion is the mindís
function, and its function is its motion. Even so, the mind neither
moves nor functions, the essence of its functioning is emptiness and
emptiness is essentially motionless. Motion is the same as the mind.
And the mind is essentially motionless. Hence the Sutras tell us to
move without moving, to travel without traveling, to see without
seeing, to laugh without laughing, to hear without hearing, to know
without knowing, to be happy, without being happy, to walk without
walking, to stand without standing. And the sutras say, "Go beyond
language. Go beyond thought." Basically, seeing, hearing, and
knowing are completely empty. Your anger, Joy, or pain is like that
of puppet. You search but you wonít find a thing.
According to the Sutras, evil deeds
result in hardships and good deeds result in blessings. Angry people
go to hell and happy people go to heaven. But once you know that the
nature of anger and joy is empty and you let them go, you free
yourself from karma. If you donít see your nature, quoting sutras is
no help, I could go on, but this brief sermon will have to do.