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If these are of any help to you...Firstly...
http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htmPARABLE 0120: THIS MIND IS THE BUDDHA Secondly...
"Once a monk asked Big Plum what [the famous Zen Patriarch] Matsu taught him.
Big Plum said, 'This mind is the Buddha.'
The monk replied, 'Nowadays Matsu teaches That which isn't the mind isn't the Buddha.'
To this Big Plum replied, 'Let him have That which isn't the mind isn't the Buddha. I'll stick with This mind is the Buddha.'
When he heard this story, Matsu said, 'The plum is ripe.'
(Transmission of the Lamp, chapter 7)." Red Pine: 116
Question I:The Diamond Sutra states:
All mundane (conditioned) dharmas are like dreams, illusions' shadows and bubbles.
Therefore, the Saha World being illusory, so is the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Why not enter directly into the True Original Mind instead of seeking rebirth in an illusory world? Answer:In truth, all the pure and impure lands in the ten directions are like dreams and illusions; however, only when we have attained the "Illusion-like Samadhi" can we see them as illusory and false. If we have not yet reached that stage, we still see them as real, we are still subject to their sway, we still know sorrow and happiness, we still feel uncomfortable during the summer heat and are even bothered by such small things as mosquito bites. Thus, how can we speak about things being illusory?
We should realize that the Pure Land method is a wonderful expedient of the Buddhas -- borrowing an illusory realm of happiness to help sentient beings escape from an illusory realm of great suffering, full of obstructing conditions and dangers. Then, in that happy, peaceful, illusory realm, cultivation progresses easily, and the ever-silent realm of the True Mind is swiftly attained.
To take an example, in this Saha World of ours, the scenes of stifling family life and noisy downtown business districts are illusory, and so are the scenes of temples and pagodas or mountain wildernesses. However, why is it that cultivators leave the noisy environment of the cities to seek the quiet, sparsely populated landscapes of temples and pagodas hidden in the mountains? Is it not because family life creates many binding ties and bustling urban intersections are not conducive to concentration, while temples, pagodas and mountain wildernesses facilitate cultivation? For this reason, the circumstances of ordinary people are different from those of the saints. For common mortals to put themselves in the place of the saints is far-fetched and unrealistic. We who are still common mortals should follow the path of ordinary people, and cultivate gradually. We should not look with the eyes of saints and comment too far above our level, to avoid the transgression of false speech.
There was once a Zen Master who thought that the Pure Land was illusory and that reciting the Buddha's name seeking rebirth there was useless.
Upon hearing this, Elder Master Ch'e Wu said immediately:
This is a mistake. Bodhisattvas of the Seventh Stage and below are all cultivating in a dream. Even those Bodhisattvas who have reached the level of Equal Enlightenment are still fast asleep within the great dream of delusion. Only the Buddhas can be honored with the designation Great Enlightened, i.e., those who have completely awakened. When our own body is in a dream, happiness and suffering are to be expected; we still experience happiness and still know suffering. How can we consider ourselves awakened from a dream and our environment dreamlike? This being the case, how can remaining in the suffering dream of the Saha World compare with returning to the blissful dream of the Pure Land? Moreover, the Saha World dream goes from dream to dream, subject to the laws of karma, eternally revolving in the cycle of Birth and Death. The Pure Land dream on the other hand, is from dream to Enlightenment and gradual awakening to the ultimate stage of Buddhahood. Although the illusory dreams are the same, the conditions of the dreaming state in the two instances are really different. Thus, it is truly necessary to recite the Buddha's name seeking rebirth in the Pure Land!
These explanations have clearly demonstrated the need to seek rebirth in the Pure Land. However, the stanza from the Diamond Sutra quoted above is still an expedient explanation to help sentient beings abandon the common mortal's concept of attachment. Going one step further, as stated in the Great Prajna Paramita Sutra:
Buddha Sakyamuni explained to those of dull capacities that all dharmas are dreamlike, silent, and still, lest they develop view-attachment. To those of sharp capacities He spoke of the embellishments of the Buddhas, because they are like lotus blossoms, untouched by worldly dusts.
For this reason, Subhuti, who of all the Arhat disciples of Buddha Sakyamuni was foremost in the realization of the Truth of Emptiness (devoid of all names and marks), characteristically received a prediction that he would attain Buddhahood in the future under the title of "Name and Mark Buddha." Thus, the sublime truth of no name or mark is inseparable from name and mark -- all illusory dharmas are the Buddhas' dharmas, true and unchanging.
Going still deeper, to the ultimate and perfect stage, as the Sixth Patriarch has said: Sentient beings are originally Buddhas, afflictions are Bodhi (Enlightenment), all delusions are the perfect and illuminating state, truly enlightened, of the womb of the Tathagatas.
In the Platform Sutra, the Sixth Patriarch stated: Those living in the East [i.e., our world] who commit transgressions recite the Buddha's name seeking rebirth in the West [i.e., Pure Land]. Where do those transgressors living in the West seek rebirth when they recite?
Thus, we should only aim at eliminating transgressions. What need is there to recite the Buddha's name seeking rebirth in the Pure Land?
The Sixth Patriarch and high-ranking Zen Masters were intent on teaching the doctrine of Mind. Thus, all of their words were based on these tenets, pointing directly to the Self-Nature, with the mind as the center. What the Patriarch really meant was that if the mind is pure, even though we may be in the Saha World, we are emancipated and free. If the mind is impure, even though we may be in the Pure Land, we are still subject to the sufferings of Birth and Death.
In truth, for the Pure Land cultivator who understands the Dharma, the Patriarch's words serve only to urge him on, encouraging him to recite the Buddha's Name to the level of purity of mind, devoid of all attachment to forms. The Patriarch certainly did not reject the act of reciting the Buddha's name seeking rebirth in the Pure Land as Buddha Sakyamuni, the Buddhas of the ten directions, the great Bodhisattvas and the Patriarchs all recommended seeking rebirth there. In fact, the two foremost Indian Zen Patriarchs, Asvaghosha and Nagarjuna, both recommended the Pure Land method. Nagarjuna himself, according to the Lankavatara Sutra, was enlightened to the preliminary Bodhisattva ground of "extreme Joy," and was reborn in the Pure Land.
If the Sixth Patriarch had truly intended to reject Buddha Recitation, he would have been criticizing and rejecting Buddha Sakyamuni, the Buddhas of the ten directions, the Bodhisattvas and the Patriarchs, including the very precursors who established his own Zen School, the Patriarchs Asvaghosha and Nagarjuna. How could that be? Therefore, if we were to misunderstand the Sixth Patriarch's words and use those very words to deprecate Buddha Recitation, we would be slandering and sowing the seeds of injustice toward him.
Moreover, every method has two aspects noumenon (principle) and phenomena. The quotation from the Sixth Patriarch is at the level of principle. We must also consider the phenomenal aspect of the path to liberation.
Let us restate the question. "Those who commit transgressions in the secular world seek refuge in temples and pagodas, where they cut their hair, become vegetarians, and keep the precepts, looking for a place of purity and tranquility in order to cultivate. Where do those living in temples and pagodas who transgress go to cultivate?" If we base ourselves only at the level of noumenon and follow the above reasoning, then can such actions as entering the monastic life, being vegetarian, and keeping the precepts, including Buddha, Sutra and Mantra Recitation as well as meditation, all be mistakes?
The Pure Land method is similar. In truth, people in the East do not recite the Buddha's name seeking rebirth in the West merely because they have committed transgressions; rather, they do so precisely to take advantage of the excellent conditions of that Land to cultivate and swiftly attain the level of No-Birth and liberation. This is also the goal pursued by those who have committed evil deeds but who now repent and recite the Buddha's name.
Moreover, the inhabitants of the Western Pure Land cannot commit transgressions because once reborn there, they are surrounded by Buddha Amitabha, Bodhisattvas and "morally superior beings." Around them are "birds singing the Dharma and music expounding the sutras," while they are free from such daily worries as food, clothing, disease, calamities, hatred and resentment. Thus, they can only progress along the path of cultivation. Where are the causes and conditions for creating bad karma?
In conclusion, we should understand the Sixth Patriarch's words as an explanation and exhortation based exclusively on pure noumenon or essence. We should not misunderstand them and use them to reject phenomena and marks. This being the case, Pure Land cultivators should redouble their efforts and practice to the point of emptiness of mind. Only then will they be in accord with the intent of the Patriarch.
Many similar doubts remain concerning the Pure Land method. This is because most cultivators are still attached to "duality," and have not reconciled essence and marks,existence and non-existence, noumenon and phenomena. That is why they embrace essence to reject marks, noumenon to reject phenomena, Emptiness to reject Existence, and vice versa -- thus creating disputes, doubts and perplexity.
Little do they suspect that there is mutual identity between noumenon and phenomena -- phenomena are noumenon, noumenon is phenomena. If we divide them and consider them separately, phenomena are not true phenomena, noumenon is not true noumenon. This is true also of essence and marks, existence and non-existence and other dualistic dharmas.
For this reason, the Vimalakirti Sutra speaks of the non-dual method to destroy this attachment. Non-dual means reconciling all things, penetrating into their very nature; it does not mean "one." This is the true realm of "Mind-Only." Any other doctrine based on the Dharma Doors of Existence or Emptiness is merely an expedient for teaching purposes.
Enlightened Masters of the past, with their high level of practice and achievement, could teach the Dharma according to the times and conditions. Moreover, the practitioners of the time included individuals of the highest capacities, so that the teaching of Emptiness was often fruitful. Today, the majority are of limited and moderate capacity. Therefore, in our teaching, we should harmonize theory and practice, nature and marks, so as not to engender doubts, and to keep the Bodhi Mind of the cultivators from retrogressing. Since the majority of practitioners cannot enter directly into the sphere of True Emptiness in one step, rejection of external forms would bring on the calamity of "prematurely destroying the boat before stepping onto the shore." How, then, could they escape drowning?
One more point to bear in mind: if we speak about the Truth of Emptiness without having attained that stage or at least reached a certain level of achievement in our practice, we certainly cannot convert others, but will only end up in useless arguments and disputes.
Of the two types of attachments, to Existence and to Emptiness, the latter is the more dangerous. Both the Lankavatara and the Esoteric Adornment Sutras warned: It is better to be attached to Existence, though the attachment may be as great as Mount Sumeru, than to be attached to Emptiness, though the attachment may be as small mustard seed.
Attachment to Existence leads to mindfulness of cause and effect, wariness of transgressions and fear of breaking the precepts, as well as to such practices as Buddha and Sutra Recitation and performance of good deeds. Although these actions are bound to forms and not liberated and empty, they are all conducive to merit, virtue and good roots. On the other hand, if we are attached to Emptiness without having attained True Emptiness, but refuse to follow forms and cultivate merit and virtue, we will certainly sink into the cycle of Birth and Death.
_________________TWTB BIES OCB DDM BWF