The Patriarch Bodhidharma's Advent in China
菩提達摩祖師來中國


One flower blossoms with five petals, and the fruit will come ripe all by itself.
一華開五葉,結果自然成。

In a.d. 520 in China, during the ninth month of the initial year of the Putong reign-period of the Emperor Wu of the Liang Dynasty, the first Patriarch of the Chan School, Venerable Bodhidharma, arrived in Canton by boat from India. He traveled to Jinling, which is modern Nanjing, and had an interview with Emperor Wu. But the two of them had a misunderstanding, and he left Jinling, heading north to Luoyang. En route, he passed by Dharma Master Shen-guang's (Holy Light) Sutra-lecture gathering. Since time allowed, the Patriarch stopped in to listen. He heard the Dharma Master's eloquence and appreciated that he could make celestial flowers fall from the sky and inspire the earth to send forth golden-hued lotuses. He recognized in Master Shenguang the capacity to be a vessel of the Dharma. Master Shenguang saw the Indian Patriarch Bodhidharma walk into his assembly, and he could not restrain a feeling of superiority and pride. When his lecture was finished, he caught the eye of the Patriarch.
梁武帝普通元年(西元五二○年)九月,菩提達摩祖師(中國禪宗初祖)從印度乘船來到中國,抵達廣州豋岸,來到金陵(南京),和梁武帝問答。因不契機,離開金陵,北往洛陽。路過神光法師講經處,順便進來,發現神光法師辯才無礙,有天華亂墜、地湧金蓮的境界,知道是載法之器。此時,神光法師見一位印度和尚來聽經,不禁生起我慢之心。講完經之後,就在達摩祖師面前打個招呼。

Patriarch Bodhidharma asked him, "Excuse me, Dharma Master, what exactly are you doing here?"
達摩祖師提出問題:「請問法師,你在這裏做什麼?」

Master Shenguang replied, "I'm explaining Sutras."
神光說:「正在講經。」

"What Sutra are you explaining?" asked Patriarch Bodhidharma.
達摩又問:「你講的是什麼經?」

Master Shenguang impatiently retorted, "Where are you from?"
神光不耐煩地說:「你從什麼地方來?」

"I'm from India," answered the Patriarch Bodhidharma.
達摩說:「從印度來。」

"Do you mean to tell me they don't explain Sutras in India?"
神光又問:「難道印度不講經嗎?」

"Of course they do, but the Sutras they explain are the wordless, true Sutras," replied the Patriarch.
達摩說:「當然要講經。不過,講的是『無字真經』。」

"And what is a wordless, true Sutra?"
神光又問:「什麼是無字真經?」

The Patriarch replied, "It's simply a piece of blank paper. In the Sutra you're explaining, what's black are the words and what's white is the paper. What in the world are you explaining that for?"
達摩說:「無字真經,就是一張白紙。你所講的經,黑的是字,白的是紙,你講它做什麼?」

This question angered Master Shenguang, and he replied, "My Sutra lectures teach people to put an end to birth and death!"
神光一聽,心裏不高興,就說:「我講經,教人了生死。」

Patriarch Bodhidharma asked, "How are you qualified to teach people that? You haven't put an end to your own birth and death yet!"
達摩說:「你憑什麼教人了生死?你自己的生死還沒有了呢!」

Master Shenguang reflected, "This dark-skinned monk must certainly be a demon-king who's transformed to come slander the Triple Jewel. I had better put his Dharma-power to the test!" At that, he pulled out his iron recitation beads, which served as a suitable weapon for quelling demons, and swung them hard against the Patriarch Bodhidharma's face. The Patriarch was caught unprepared, and the sudden attack knocked out two of his front teeth. Bodhidharma was a sage who had realized the fruition of the spiritual path, and he reflected, "Whenever a sage's teeth fall to the ground, that place will have a drought for three years." Therefore, out of compassion, he swallowed the two teeth instead of spitting them out. This event was commemorated in the proverb, "One just swallows his loose teeth, blood and all." Bodhidharma said nothing, but simply turned on his heel and left the monastery. He stepped on a reed to ford the Yangtze River and went to Shaolin Monastery on Sung Mountain in Henan Province. There he sat facing a wall for nine years, contemplating the subtleties of Chan principles.
神光一想,這個黑和尚一定是魔王化身,來毀謗三寶,我要試一試他的法力如何?於是用念珠(鐵製,作為降魔武器)朝達摩祖師臉上打去。此時,達摩沒有防備,不幸被擊中,門牙被打掉兩顆。菩提達摩一想,聖人(達摩祖師是證果聖人)的牙齒如果落在地上,那裏就會大旱三年。為慈悲眾生起見,於是他將兩顆門牙吞到肚中,所以留下「打落門牙和血吞」的成語。達摩一言不發,轉身走出道場,踩一蘆草,渡過長江,來到河南嵩山少林寺,面壁九年思禪機。

Meanwhile, Master Shenguang felt in rare high spirits, since he considered himself the victor. He had no idea that Patriarch Bodhidharma was cultivating the perfection of "patience under insult." As soon as Patriarch Bodhidharma departed, the Ghost of Impermanence arrived, and said to Master Shenguang, "Are you Shenguang?"
神光洋洋得意,以為自己是勝利者,不知達摩修忍辱波羅蜜行門。菩提達摩剛走,無常鬼就來了,對神光法師說:「你是神光嗎?」

Master Shenguang replied, "That's me. What's up?"
神光說:「我是神光,有什麼事情?」

The ghost answered, "I'm under orders from King Yama to invite you to a tea party. King Yama wants to discuss with you how many Sutras you have lectured on, how many you have recited, and how many Sutras you haven't yet explained and recited."
無常鬼說:「我奉閻羅王的命令,請你去喝茶,談談你講了多少經?念了多少經?還有多少經沒有講、沒有念?」

At that, Master Shenguang was scared out of his wits; he knew he was at death's door. He pleaded with the ghost, "Who can put an end to birth and death, and escape King Yama's jurisdiction?"
神光一聽,嚇得魂飛九霄雲外,知道壽命將終,乃懇求地問:「誰能了生死,不受閻王所管?」

The Ghost of Impermanence answered, "That bushy-bearded, dark-skinned monk whose two front teeth you just knocked out a moment ago." The answer sparked a feeling of deep regret in Master Shenguang, because he had lost his temper in ignorance and thereby driven away an enlightened sage.
無常鬼說:「就是剛才那個滿臉大鬍子,被你打掉兩顆牙齒的黑和尚。」

He made a further request of the Ghost of Impermanence, "Would it be possible for me to go find that monk and learn how to put an end to birth and death?"
神光一聽,後悔自己不應該發無明火,將證果聖人打跑了。於是乎向無常鬼要求:「能不能讓我去找那個和尚,學學了生死之法?」

The Ghost of Impermanence answered sympathetically, "Very well, but do hurry a bit and get the business done and return so that I can turn in my duty-sheet. Otherwise I won't be able to cover for you."
無常鬼同情地說:「可以!不過速去速回,我好交差,否則我擔待不起。」

Master Shenguang lost no time in pursuing Patriarch Bodhidharma, travelling by day and by night. He finally reached Sung Mountain and, looking from a distance, saw the Patriarch sitting in meditation facing a wall. Overwhelmed with joy, he rushed up to Patriarch Bodhidharma and bowed with deep reverence. He repented humbly, "Venerable One, please be compassionate and forgive your brash disciple. I didn't know you were a sage who has realized the fruition of the Path. Your disciple made a mistake. Won't you please confer on me the method for resolving the matter of birth and death?"
神光日夜趕路,急追達摩,追到嵩山,遠見達摩祖師面壁而坐。他欣喜若狂,急忙來到達摩祖師面前,恭恭敬敬地頂禮,懺悔地說:「請和尚慈悲,寬恕弟子魯莽,不知和尚是證果聖人,多所冒犯,請和尚賜我了生死之法。」

Patriarch Bodhidharma turned his head around to look at him, then resumed his meditation without saying a single word. Master Shenguang knelt before Patriarch Bodhidharma and did not rise. Thus he knelt for nine years.
達摩回頭一看,沒有說話,繼續打坐。神光跪在達摩面前不起來,一跪就是九年。

Now as we meditate here, investigating Chan, our backs get sore and our legs start to hurt, and we feel we can't take it after only two hours have passed. We may indulge in idle thoughts of food, or something sweet to drink. To sum it up, we can't control the monkey-like thoughts or the "wild stallion of the mind." We'd like nothing better than to jump up and run out the door. Dharma Master Shenguang's sincere request for Dharma led him to forget himself in that search and inspired him to kneel for nine years. I doubt that any of you could kneel for even nine hours, much less nine years.
我們參禪打坐,坐不到兩小時,腰也痠了,腿也疼了,就受不了。或者打吃飯的妄想,或者打喝蜜水的妄想。總而言之,心猿意馬,控制不住,時時刻刻想往外跑。神光法師為法忘軀的求法精神,一跪就是九年,我們現在誰能跪九個小時,恐怕辦不到!

One day after heavy snow fell two feet deep, Master Shenguang was kneeling as usual in front of Patriarch Bodhidharma. The Patriarch looked up at him, and, impressed by his sincerity in seeking the Dharma, asked him, "What are you doing kneeling here?"
有一天,天降大雪,神光仍然跪在達摩面前,雪厚約有兩尺之深。此時,達摩抬頭一見,深受神光這種求法的精神所感動,便問:「你跪在這裏做什麼?」

Master Shenguang replied, "I sincerely hope the Venerable One will be compassionate and transmit to me the method for getting free from King Yama."
神光說:「懇求和尚慈悲,傳授躲閻王之法。」

Patriarch Bodhidharma said, "It's no simple matter to seek the Dharma. Wait until the snow falls red, and then I'll transmit it to you."
達摩說:「求法不是容易事,等天降紅雪時,再傳法給你。」

Master Shenguang reflected, "Shakyamuni Buddha, while culti-vating the Bodhisattva path in the past, gave up his life in exchange for only half a verse of Dharma." As soon as this thought occurred to him, another idea dawned, and seeing a precept knife hanging on the cliff wall, he seized it and slashed off his left arm. Blood gushed out like a fountain, staining the snow on the ground bright red. He scooped up a handful and took it to show Patriarch Bodhidharma and requested him to transmit the Dharma.
神光一想:「釋迦牟尼佛在往昔作菩薩時,為求半句偈,寧捨身命。」這念一起,他福至心靈,見石壁上掛了一把戒刀,乃取下來,砍斷自己的左臂,血湧如泉,於是將雪染成紅雪。他捧紅雪來到達摩面前,請求傳法。

Patriarch Bodhidharma said, "Since you can cut off your own arm for the sake of the Dharma, your sincerity must be genuine." There-upon, he transmitted to Master Shenguang the method of "seeing the nature and becoming a Buddha," the method that points directly to the mind, the special transmission apart from the teachings, the Dharma that words cannot contain. He then changed Master Shen-guang's name to Huike (Wise and Able).
達摩說:「你為法斷臂,求法真誠。」於是將不立文字,教外別傳,直指人心,見性成佛之法傳授於神光,並改其名為慧可。

Master Huike said, "My mind is not at peace. Can the Master please quiet it for me?"
慧可又問:「我心未寧,乞師與安。」

Patriarch Bodhidharma answered, "Fetch your mind, and I'll quiet it for you."
達摩祖師說:「將心來,與汝安。」

Master Huike thought this over for a long time and then said, "I've looked, but my mind cannot be gotten at anywhere."
慧可沉默良久,然後才說:「覓心了不可得。」

Patriarch Bodhidharma replied, "I've already quieted it for you!"
達摩祖師說:「我與汝安心竟。」

Master Huike suddenly experienced a great awakening and became the Second Patriarch of the Chan School. Later, he transmitted the robe and bowl and the Mind Dharma to the Third Patriarch, Great Master Sengcan (Sangha Gem), who then passed it on to the Fourth Patriarch, Great Master Daoxin (Faith in the Path), who further passed it on to the Fifth Patriarch, the Great Master Hungren (Vast Patience). Then it was transmitted to the Sixth Patriarch, the Great Master Huineng (Kind and Capable). At that point, the Chan School divided into two regional groups. It was represented in the North by Venerable Shenxiu (Divine Talent). He advocated "sweeping away the dust and observing the remaining purity," and this was called "the gradual enlightenment method." He wrote the verse:
The body is a Bodhi-tree,
The mind a mirror-stand bright.
Time and again wipe it clean;
Let no dust alight.
慧可豁然大悟,成為禪宗第二祖。後將衣缽心法傳授於三祖僧璨大師,三祖又傳四祖道信大師,四祖再傳於五祖弘忍大師,五祖傳於六祖惠能大師,此時禪宗分為兩派。北宗以神秀為代表,主張「拂塵看淨,成為漸悟」,他的偈頌:
身是菩提樹,
心如明鏡臺;
時時勤拂拭,
勿使惹塵埃。

The Southern School's representative was Great Master Huineng, who advocated immediate awakening, and this was called "the sudden enlightenment method." His verse says:
Originally there is no Bodhi-tree,
Nor any mirror-stand bright.
Originally there is nothing at all.
Where could the dust alight?
南宗以惠能為代表,主張「立即開悟,成為頓悟」,他的偈頌:
菩提本無樹,
明鏡亦非臺;
本來無一物,
何處惹塵埃?

The Southern School later divided into five sects: the Weiyang, the Linji, the Caodong, the Yunmen, and the Fayen.
The Venerable Bodhidharma wrote a verse about this that goes,
My purpose in coming to this land,
Was to transmit the Dharma and rescue confused beings.
One flower blossoms with five petals,
And the fruit will come ripe all by itself.
南宗後來分為五宗,就是溈仰宗、臨濟宗、曹洞宗、雲門宗、法眼宗。
根據達摩的偈頌說:
吾本來玆土,
傳法救迷情;
一華開五葉,
結果自然成。

And as it turned out, when the Sixth Patriarch's era came, the School did divide into five sects. The Dharma was transmitted in China from generation to generation, and now it has come to America. No one has to kneel to request it, however. All you need to do is to cultivate sincerely, and the essential teachings of this Dharma can be yours.
果然到了六祖時,分為五宗。這種法在中國一代一代傳承下來,現在又把這法傳到美國來,但是不需要跪求,只要誠心修行,就可以得到這種法要。

A talk given in December, 1980, during a Chan session
一九八○年禪七 十二月開示


The Secret to Controlling Random Thoughts
控制妄想的祕訣


Sitting in the lotus posture can eradicate karmic obstacles gathered over limitless eons, end birth and death, and generate limitless merit and virtue.
結雙跏趺坐,能消滅無量劫的業障, 能了生死,生出無量功德。

The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas holds several Chan Meditation Sessions each year, each session lasting seven days. Every year when it's time to celebrate Amitabha Buddha's Anniversary, we first hold a seven-day Buddha Recitation Session, and then we hold a Chan Meditation Session for three weeks in a row, lasting a total of twenty-one days. Every year, those who take part come at the start and stay till the finish, so that their merit and virtue is complete. I hope this year's participants will plan to stay for the duration of the session, and not quit halfway through and leave the Chan Hall, or else they'll lose the virtue they have amassed. Having wasted their time, they'll gain no benefit at all.
萬佛聖城每年都有幾個禪七,每次七天。每年在彌陀聖誕時,先打一個佛七,然後連著又打三個禪七,為期二十一天。每年參加者,都是有始有終,功德圓滿。今年希望參加者,也要貫徹始終,不可半途而廢,退出禪堂;否則前功盡棄,浪費時間,一無所得。

The posture of meditation is to sit up straight and erect. Straighten your back, hold your head up properly, and don't tip forward or tilt backwards. Lean neither to the left nor to the right. Cross your legs into the full-lotus position, that is, put your left foot on top of your right thigh, then your right foot on top of your left thigh. This is the standard posture for meditation. Because the full-lotus posture makes it easier to enter samadhi, it's known as the "demon-quelling posture" or the "vajra posture." It's also known as the "lotus posture." Sitting this way can eradicate limitless karmic obstacles gathered over eons; it can put an end to birth and death, and generate a limitless amount of merit and virtue.
打坐的姿勢,要端然正坐,腰要直,頭要正,不可前俯,不可後仰,不可左斜,不可右歪,然後結雙跏趺坐,就是把左腳放在右腿上,再把右腳搬到左腿上,這才合乎標準。因為結雙跏趺坐容易入定,所以叫「降魔座」,又叫「金剛座」,又叫「蓮華座」,這種姿勢能消滅無量劫的業障,能了生死,生出無量功德。

It's necessary to practice this posture when you first begin to meditate. When the body has been arranged this way, let your nose contemplate your mouth, and let your mouth contemplate your mind. This is the essential secret for controlling your idle thinking. Finally, make your breath harmonious and balanced, neither hurried nor suppressed; let it be natural. Then use the meditation topic of "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" and after a suitable period of time, your meditation will start to take effect.
在一開始打坐時,必須練習這種基本的坐姿,再調整身體,眼觀鼻,鼻觀口,口觀心,這是控制妄想的祕訣。然後將呼吸調勻,不急不緩,使其自然。這時再參「念佛是誰?」時間久了,就會起作用。

The work of Chan meditation resembles a mother hen sitting on her nest. As the mother hen is thinking of her eggs, she never leaves the nest; she simply concentrates and keeps the eggs warm. She wouldn't sit on the eggs for five minutes, then run away to do some other business, and later return to sit on the eggs once again, only to run away again five minutes later. The chicks would never hatch at that rate.
參禪,好像「母雞孵蛋」一樣用功夫。母雞雖在想雞子,可是體不離蛋,專心致意在孵蛋。不是孵了五分鐘,就跑出去,過了一個時候,又回來孵蛋,不到五分鐘又跑了,這種情形,永遠孵不出小雞來。

The principle we observe in Chan meditation is the same. We must concentrate in each successive minute. Don't fear an aching back or sore legs. Don't be afraid of difficulty or pain. Simply concentrate with single-minded effort. Why? We investigate "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" until "The mountains topple, the waters dry up, the tides recede, and the rocks appear," and it is at that moment that we can get enlightened.
我們參禪打坐也是這樣,要念玆在玆,不怕腰痠,不怕腿疼,不怕苦,不怕難。一心一意在參,參為什麼?參「念佛是誰?」參到山窮水盡、水落石出的時候,便是開悟時。

Investigating Chan is also similar to the way dragons nurture their pearls. Dragons watch over their precious pearls at all times; they carefully attend to them at every moment. Therefore these precious pearls glow brighter each day, as the dragons guard them attentively day and night. People who practice Chan meditation are just the same, in that they never allow their minds to ramble with scattered thinking. An ancient worthy said, "When not even a single thought arises, the entire substance comes into view." We can rephrase it to say, "When idle thoughts no longer arise, the entire substance comes into view." When one is free of idle thoughts, then one can have some success.
參禪,又像「龍養珠」一樣用工夫。龍時時刻刻保護牠的寶珠,沒有不注意、不謹慎的時候。所以這個寶珠,一天比一天光明,牠晝夜六時精心地保護。參禪的人,也是這樣,時刻不能生雜念。古德說:「一念不生全體現」,可以說妄念不生全體現。沒有妄想,就會有所成就。

Meditators don't think about becoming Buddhas, getting enlightened, or gaining wisdom. They simply work hard and cultivate vigorously. When the time comes, they naturally become enlightened. You can't think about when you will get enlightened. If you think like that, you can think to the ends of time, but you'll never get enlightened. If you stay in the Chan Hall, and sit and walk, walk and sit, then after a long time, you'll have a chance to get enlightened. As it's said, "Chan comes with long-time sitting."
參禪的人,不想成佛,不想開悟,不想得智慧,只是努力用功,勤加修行,到時候自然會開悟。不要去想什麼時候能開悟?如果這樣一想,想到無量劫,也不會開悟。在禪堂裏,行行坐坐,坐坐行行,時間久了,自然會有成功的機會,所謂「久坐有禪。」

Investigating Chan is done the way a cat stalks a mouse. The cat concentrates its energy and focuses its attention, patiently sitting beside the mousehole, waiting for the mouse to appear. As soon as it comes out, the cat pounces on it. The cat cannot slack off; once it becomes distracted, it will no longer be able to concentrate. Chan meditators are the same: at all times, they maintain proper thoughts and avoid idle thoughts. This is basic knowledge for beginners in Chan meditation.
參禪,又好像「貓捕鼠」一樣用工夫,要聚精會神守在老鼠洞旁,等待老鼠出來,就一爪捕之,不可以懈怠,一散亂其心就不能注意了。參禪的人,亦復如是,時時刻刻要提起正念,不生妄念,這是參禪初步入門的知識。

Cultivators should not go running off to the mountains in the south or to the ocean in the north to seek the Way. The Way is right with you at all times. If you can sit in full lotus and concentrate your mind as you investigate Chan, just that is the Way. Don't let your mind hanker after remote mysteries, running outside in search of the Way, for you'll never find it there. You'll be forsaking what's near to search afar; and everywhere you go, you'll be searching for trouble. You'll be causing yourself needless hassle and making your life miserable.
修道人,不要到南山去找「道」,也不要到北海去找「道」。道,就在你的身邊。你能結雙跏趺坐,專心致意參禪,這就是道。不要有好高騖遠的心,向外馳求去找道,那是永遠找不到。捨近求遠,到處找困難的事,這就是自找麻煩,自討苦吃。

A talk given during a Chan Session in December, 1980
一九八○年禪七 十二月開示


On Investigating a Meditation Topic
參話頭


To "investigate" means to look, to look for the one who is reciting the Buddha's name.
參就是找,找這個念佛是誰?

When we investigate a meditation topic, we examine the question, "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" back and forth. It's said that,
When one has a large doubt, then one's enlightenment can be large.
When one has a minor doubt regarding this topic, one's enlightenment will be small;
When one has no doubts about this topic, one will have no enlightenment.
參話頭,就是研究「念佛是誰?誰在念佛?」這句話的來龍去脈。所謂:
大疑大悟,
小疑小悟,
不疑不悟。

A thoroughgoing investigation of this topic, "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" acts as an adamantine sword which can mow down and sever every thought of desire. All that remains is the single thought of the meditation topic; no other thoughts are left. At that moment the resolve for the Way can come forth.
參透「念佛是誰?」,就是金剛王寶劍,能斬斷一切欲念,只留有參話頭的念,別的念一概沒有了,這時道心就生出來了。

Before a Chan Meditation Session, we always have a Buddha Recitation Session. After the recitation session, we hold the Chan Session; this way we can expect better results. First we recite the Buddha's name, and then we investigate the question, "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" To "investigate" means to look, to look for the one who is reciting the Buddha's name. Is it a ghost? Which ghost is it? Is it a person? Which person is it? Is it me? After I die will I still be able to recite? After I'm put in the coffin, no one will be reciting. Find the final answer to the question "Who?" How about the asker of "Who"? Can you tell who is reciting the Buddha's name? Who is asking? You can't find out. No matter how long you look, you won't find out who it is. If you actually find out "Who?" then you won't have the least bit of idle thinking left. Why do you still have idle thoughts? It's because you haven't found out "Who?"
「念佛是誰?」在沒打禪七之前,先打個佛七。打完佛七之後,再打禪七,比較有功效。先念佛,後參「念佛是誰?」參就是找,找這個念佛是誰?是鬼,是哪個鬼?是人,是哪個人?是我,我死了,還會不會念?裝在棺材裏,就沒有人念佛。找究竟對「誰」念佛?念「誰」呢?找念佛是「誰」?「誰」在念佛?找不到。永遠地找,也找不到。這個「誰」如果找到了,什麼妄想也沒有了。為什麼還有妄想?因為沒有找到「誰」的緣故。

This question of "Who" can be sought for a great eon. When you see those meditation adepts sitting absolutely still, it's because they are working on finding the "Who." Their search for this one word brings them to a state of concentration where not even one idle thought arises. Suddenly at that point, they can get enlightened and, in the midst of darkness, bring forth bright light that shows them absolutely everything. It's said,
When one is confused, an entire library of books is too few;
But when one is enlightened, even a single word is too many.
這個「誰」字,可以找上一個大劫。老修行坐在那裏不動,就是在定中找這個「誰」字。因為專參這個「誰」字,一切妄想沒有了,豁然開悟,在黑暗中現出光明,什麼都看見了。所謂:
迷時千卷少,
悟時一字多。

This expresses the principle we use to investigate the meditation topic. Anyone who can be entirely free of idle thoughts is a person with skill. Anyone who entertains idle thoughts is someone whose spiritual skill is still immature. This is the central idea underlying the practice of Chan meditation.
這就是「念佛是誰?」的道理。所以,誰能不打妄想,誰就有功夫;誰要是打妄想,什麼功夫也用不上,這就是參禪的中心思想。

The skill of Chan meditation comes from concentrating the mind and looking into the topic, so that when walking, sitting, and reclining, you are investigating at all times. To sum it up, you must work at it constantly. Don't pass up this opportunity to investigate. This is why during the Chan session no one bows to the Buddha, recites Sutras, does ceremonies, or eats in the formal style. At lunchtime we take our meal, then we hurry back to the meditation hall and continue to meditate. When one has to go to the bathroom, one takes care of business and then returns immediately to the hall to continue to meditate. We don't want to waste even one minute or second of the session, because who knows in which minute or second we'll become enlightened? This is why we treasure every moment of time.
參禪的功夫,就是專一其心來參,行也參,住也參,坐也參,臥也參。總而言之,時刻在參,不放棄參的機會。所以在打禪七的期間,不拜佛、不念經、不上殿,也不過堂。到時候去吃飯,吃完飯立刻回到禪堂,繼續參禪;到時候去廁所,方便後即刻回禪堂,繼續參禪。不浪費一分一秒,因為不知在哪一分、哪一秒就會開悟了?所以要分秒必爭。

As it's said, "Do not depart from this!" Don't depart from what? Don't depart from the question, "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" This "Who" is a wisdom-sword that cuts through the seven emotions and six desires. Once you've gotten rid of your faults and habits for good, your fundamental nature can appear. Once your fundamental nature appears, the fruition of Bodhi will be accomplished.
所謂「不離這個」。不離哪個?不離「念佛是誰?」不離念佛是誰,那就是智慧劍,斬斷七情六欲。這種習氣毛病一除盡,本性就現前;本性現前,菩提道果就成就了。

As we work at Chan, we must maintain a practical attitude regarding the surrounding states. We must not lose sight of our principles. Bear in mind that pain is the forerunner of pleasure. As I often tell you,
To endure suffering is to end suffering;
To enjoy blessings exhausts blessings.
我們在參禪期間,要面對現實,克服一切環境,抱定宗旨。苦就是快樂的開始,我常對你們說:
受苦是了苦,
享福是消福。

The ancients said,
Disasters bring blessings along;
Blessings usher in catastrophes.
古人說:
禍兮福所依,
福兮禍所附。

This means that following a run of bad luck we often encounter very lucky events. Disasters often follow lucky events. The phenomena of the world come in pairs of opposites.
就是說在不吉祥的事情後面,會有吉祥的事來;在吉祥的事情後面,會有不吉祥的事來。世間法都是相對待的。

Who knows how much evil karma we've created in the past? For this reason, we must endure the retribution. If we can work hard at our meditation and courageously advance, then when we've patiently endured our karmic retribution to its end, we can accomplish our work in the Way. Pay heed to this, all of you! No matter whether we encounter states that please us or states that go against the grain, we must patiently endure them all. Even the ones we can't endure, we still need to endure.
我們在往昔不知造了多少業?所以要受果報。若能努力用功,勇猛精進,把業果受完,就會成就道業。各位要注意!無論遇到「順」的境界或「逆」的境界,都要忍受,忍受不了也要忍受。

Cultivating the Way is simply a matter of gaining the ability to endure. As it's said, "Patience is a priceless jewel." You can experience true happiness only if you can bear up under all situations. As martial artists know, when an inexperienced fighter steps onto the mat to spar, he often forgets the moves he has just learned. Once the match is over, he recalls his techniques, but it's too late. Cultivating Chan is the same way. When a situation comes up, you have to endure it; you have to be willing to suffer a loss. Grit your teeth, and when you make it through the gate of difficulty, you'll gain a bit of self-mastery.
修道,就是修忍受。所謂「忍是無價寶」,能忍受得住,才能得到真正的快樂。好像練過武術的人,沒有經驗,等打架的境界來了,就把所學的招式忘了;等境界過去了,想起招式,已經太晚了。參禪也是這樣,等境界來了,要忍受,要吃虧,咬緊牙根,度過難關,便得到自在。

Chan meditation requires that you cultivate this same way morning and evening. In the morning you should practice Chan meditation, and in the evening you also must practice Chan meditation. When you cultivate long enough, you'll naturally succeed. But you must be patient. If your back aches, pay it no mind. If your legs hurt, pay them no attention. Simply turn your thoughts to single-minded investigation of "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" This method will prevent you from indulging in random thoughts, and it will help you gather back your body and mind. You must make them pure, until not even one idle thought arises. When your mind no longer leaves the topic, "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" and you can bring up these words over and over, when you don't forget them for even an instant, then you'll have realized the aim of your effort.
參禪要朝於斯,夕於斯。在早晨也修這個禪定,在晚上也修這個禪定,修得時間久了,自然就有成就。要能忍耐,腰痠不要管它,腿疼不要管它,一心一意參「念佛是誰?」這樣就時刻不會打妄想,能攝受身心,令其清淨,一點妄念不生。心不離「念佛是誰?」四個字,時時提起來,刻刻不忘記,這就是用功的目標。

To investigate the meditation topic is one idle thought; our scattered thoughts are a great many idle thoughts. Employing the method of fighting fire with fire, we use one idle thought to stop the many idle thoughts. Slowly, one by one, we bring these random thoughts under control and eradicate them, so they no longer arise. At that time, no matter what situation appears, you won't be deluded by it. You will discriminate clearly and not become possessed by demons. The ancients said,
It would be better to go without enlightenment for a thousand lifetimes,
Than to be possessed by a demon for even a single day.
參話頭是一個妄想,雜念是多個妄想。用以毒攻毒的辦法,所以用參話頭的妄想來控制多個妄想,慢慢將妄想一個一個消滅,不再起作用。這時候,無論什麼境界來了,都不會迷惑。你分析清楚,就不會走火入魔,古德說:
寧可千生不悟,
不可一日著魔。

As we cultivate Chan meditation, we must be cautious and circumspect, and not get carried away. We must be proper, magnannimous, and forthright, so that demons have no chance to trouble us. Idle thoughts open the door to demons, but the meditation topic is the Dharma-treasure that exorcises those demons.
修禪定要謹慎小心,不可偏差,要正大光明,不要給魔找機會。你有雜念,就是替魔開門;而參話頭,就是驅魔的法寶。

A talk given during a Chan Session in December, 1980
一九八○年禪七 十二月開示


The State of Chan Meditation
參禪的境界


Sit in meditation until "Inside you have no body and mind, and outside there is no world."
坐禪,坐到內無身心,外無世界。

If you can sit in meditation until your state is such that "inside you have no body and mind," outside you have no world, and afar there are no objects," then you can realize the state of "no trace of self, no trace of others, no trace of living beings, and no trace of life spans." This state is also described as, "Thoughts of the past cannot be obtained, thoughts of the present cannot be obtained, and thoughts of the future cannot be obtained." Even if you reach this level of attainment, it still cannot be considered actual skill; it's not really very special. Suppose you can sit still for one hour, ten hours, one month, or ten months. That's only a sign that you have had a bit of response in your work, that you've attained a state of "lightness and ease." You must keep up your practice of meditation continuously, past the stage of "lightness and ease," to actually reach the level of the First Dhyana concentration.
坐禪,坐到內無身心,外無世界,遠無其物的時候,就能無我相、無人相、無眾生相、無壽者相。這就是「過去心不可得,現在心不可得,未來心不可得。」到這種境界,並不是得到真功夫,怎麼樣了不起了。你或者坐一個鐘頭,或者坐十個鐘頭,或者能坐一個月,甚至能坐十個月,這不過是功夫有點相應的現象,得到一點輕安的境界而已。經過輕安境界之後,繼續參禪,便到初禪的境界。

The Heaven of the First Dhyana is known as "the stage of happiness that leaves living beings behind." It means that you have reached a stage of happiness beyond that which living beings enjoy. When you are at this stage in your meditation, you quickly enter samadhi-concentration. In this samadhi, your breathing stops, and you no longer inhale nor exhale; the breath neither comes nor goes. You're like a turtle hibernating in the winter, with its head drawn back into its shell. The external breathing come to rest, while the internal breathing comes alive; this is a phenomenon experienced by creatures in winter hibernation. When Chan meditators enter samadhi, their breath stops, but as soon as they leave samadhi, their breathing returns to normal. Please attend to this point, everyone! When you reach this stage, you cannot have the false thought, "Oh! I believe my breath has stopped!" As soon as that thought occurs to you, your breath starts right up again, immediately. You can't be careless, or else you'll lose your chance and have to start all over again.
初禪天名叫「離生喜樂地」,就是離開眾生所喜歡的境界。在離生喜樂地打坐時,很快入定,在定中,呼吸停止,不入不出,不來不去。好像烏龜在冬季的時節,把頭縮回殼內,外邊停止呼吸,可是內部呼吸活動起來,這是冬眠現象。參禪的人,在定中停止呼吸,出定時照常呼吸。各位注意,如果到這種境界的時候,不可以打妄想:「哦!沒有呼吸了!」這個妄念一生,馬上恢復呼吸,所以不可不慎;否則失去機會,必須再重來。

From the stage of the First Dhyana, if you can make vigorous progress, you enter into the stage of the Second Dhyana Heaven. This stage is known as "the stage of happiness that brings concentration." When one is constantly in this samadhi, it brings along a quality of happiness which is completely unparalleled and indescribable. It's known as "taking the joy of Chan as your food, and being filled with the bliss of the Dharma." When you meditate at the stage of the Second Dhyana, "the stage of happiness that brings concentration," not only does your breathing stop, but your pulse stops as well. Please note that "stop" does not mean it's cut off for good,; when you leave this state of concentration, the pulse returns to normal.
由初禪天精進修禪定,進入二禪天的境界。二禪天名叫「定生喜樂地」,就是常在定中生出一種快樂,這種快樂無法形容,所謂「禪悅為食,法喜充滿」的境界。在定生喜樂地坐禪時,在定中不但呼吸停止,而且脈搏也停止。要注意,停止不是斷絕,出定時,又會恢復正常。

If you continue to vigorously cultivate Chan concentration past the Second Dhyana, then you may enter the stage of the Third Dhyana Heaven. This is known as "the stage of bliss beyond happiness." That is to say, you leave coarse happiness behind and reach a level of subtle bliss that is most wonderful. In this stage of bliss beyond happiness, when you enter the state of concentration, not only do both breath and pulse stop, but also the thoughts in your mind stop, and you appear to be just like a dead person. When your thoughts stop, then you obviously have no more idle thinking.
由二禪天精進修禪定,進入三禪天的境界。三禪天名叫「離喜妙樂地」,就是離開粗的歡喜,尚有細的歡喜,得到微妙的快樂。在離喜妙樂地坐禪時,在定中不但呼吸和脈搏停止,而且心念也停止,真像死人一樣。這時念停止了,沒有一切妄想。

Your breathing comes to rest, and your blood receives no more oxygen, so it stops circulating. When your heart no longer beats, then your pulse stops. At this time you entertain no further scattered thoughts. It's as if the breath were the wind, the pulse were the waves, and the thoughts of the mind were the water. If there is no wind, then there are no waves, and the water is naturally calm. As the saying goes, "The wind is calm and the waves are still." This is a temporary experience which occurs in samadhi. It's not as final as death. You can recover your normal breathing and pulse any time you please.
呼吸停止,血液沒有氧氣,停止循環,所以心臟不活動,沒有脈搏。這時,一切雜念都沒有了,譬如呼吸是風,脈搏是浪,心念是水。沒有風,就無浪,水自然平靜,所謂「風平浪靜」,就是這個道理。這種情形是在定中暫時的作用,並不是死亡的斷氣,隨時隨地都可以再恢復呼吸和脈搏的正常活動。

When you continue to apply vigorous effort in Chan meditation past the Third Dhyana Heaven, you can enter the stage of the Fourth Dhyana, known as "the pure stage free of thoughts." You have now left behind the wonderful bliss of the Third Dhyana, and the mind is pure. With the breath, pulse, and thoughts stopped and left behind, the pure, inherent, wonderful Nature of True Suchness manifests. This state should not make you feel special; it is only the Fourth Dhyana and not a sign of having realized the fruition of the Way. It is still the state of an ordinary person. Because you have not cut off all desire, if you make vigorous progress in cultivating the deviant concentration of externalist sects, you will enter the Heaven of No-thought and enjoy a state of bliss. If instead you cultivate proper concentration, then you can enter the Five Heavens of No Further Return. Only then have you actually reached the state of certifying to Sagehood.
由三禪天精進禪定,進入四禪的境界。四禪天名叫「捨念清淨地」,就是捨去三禪的妙樂,心念清淨。氣停止,脈停止,念停止,而且也捨了,這時清淨本然的妙真如性現前。有這種境界,不可以自認為了不起,這不過是四禪的境界而已,並不是證果的現象,仍然是凡夫地位,因為還沒有斷欲。如果勇猛精進,修外道邪定,則進入無想天,享受快樂的境界;修正定正受,則進入五不還天,這才是證果的境界。

As an Arhat of the First Fruition, you are free of idle thoughts not only when you are in samadhi, but also when you are walking, standing, sitting, or reclining. You have no attachments left. When you attain the First Fruition, you have merely cut through eighty-eight levels of Delusions of Views in the Triple Realm. You must still pass through seven more births and deaths. Don't assume that the First Fruition brings one to Nirvana. The minds of Arhats of the First Fruition are not swayed, no matter what sight meets their eyes. They are free of all thoughts when facing situations. They have only the thought of the Way as they cultivate Chan single-mindedly. Even if very attractive states appear to them, such as a lovely woman or a handsome man, their minds will not be moved. At this level, they experience no greed for wealth, sex, fame, food, or sleep. They are indifferent to all of these desires. Only when one reaches this level of skill can he be called, "One who has realized the fruition." An Arhat of the First Fruition makes no sound with his feet as he walks. His feet are an inch or so above the earth. Why? People who have attained the fruition are possessed of kindness and compassion. They are extremely concerned about not harming small insects as they walk, so they prefer to travel in the air.
證初果的羅漢,不但在定中沒有妄念,就是在行住坐臥之中,也沒有妄想,沒有執著。到初果的境界,只是斷了三界八十八品見惑而已,還有七番生死;並不是證到初果,就入涅槃了。到初果時,無論見到什麼境界,也不能動搖其心,所謂「對境無心」,只有道心,專一修禪。即使外邊境界如何莊嚴,如何美好!或者是美女,或者是俊男,也不能動搖其心。這時候,不貪財、不貪色、不貪名、不貪食、也不貪睡,一切無所謂。到這種境界,才可以說是證果。證初果的羅漢,走路沒有聲音。因為腳離開地面總有三分高,為什麼?證果的聖人心懷慈悲,深恐踩死小蟲等,所以在虛空裏走路。

Pay special attention to this point, everyone! Don't say that you've realized what you haven't realized, or that you've obtained a state you haven't actually obtained. To say such things breaks the precept against false speech. In the future, people who say such things will fall into the hells where tongues are ripped out. Whether or not you believe my words is up to you. I'm simply giving you advance warning. In Buddhist circles you can find people who claim to be already enlightened. To make this claim is wrong! Even if you're enlightened, you can't boast, "Did you know that I'm enlightened? I have the Five Spiritual Eyes and the Six Psychic Powers!" Don't advertise yourself. It's totally meaningless.
各位注意!不可以未證言證,未得謂得,這是犯了妄語戒,將來要墮到拔舌地獄的。我已事先說明了,信不信由你。在佛教中有人沒有開悟,就說自己開悟,這種行為真要不得。就是真地開悟,也不要對人講:「我開悟了!得五眼六通了!」不要自我宣傳,自賣招牌,那就沒有意思了。

Even Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not advertise themselves. When it becomes known that a certain person is a Bodhisattva, or that a certain person is a Buddha who has come into the world by transformation, those people will promptly leave. During the Tang Dynasty there were two such Great Masters: Hanshan (Cold Mountain) and Shide (The Foundling). Great Master Hanshan was Manjushri Bodhisattva's transformation, and Shide was Samantabhadra Bodhisattva's transformation. The two were the best of friends. Great Master Shide was an orphan, found on the roadside by the Abbot Fenggan of Guoqing (National Purity) Monastery and raised in the monastery. He worked in the kitchen boiling the water. He would pack leftover rice and vegetables into a bamboo crock and save them for Great Master Hanshan, who lived in Moonlight Cave behind the monastery. Great Master Hanshan came down to Guoqing Monastery every day to get the offering of leftovers. Since the two fellow-cultivators constantly joked and laughed together, the other monks thought they were fools and left them alone. Nobody knew they were actually Bodhisattvas' transformations who had come into the world playfully to take across living beings who were ready to be saved.
就算是佛菩薩,也不會自我宣傳的,如果有人知道某某人是菩薩、某某人是佛化身來到世間,那時候,他們就走了。在唐朝有兩位大師,一位是寒山大師,一位是拾得大師。寒山是文殊師利菩薩的化身,拾得是普賢菩薩的化身。原來寒山和拾得是最好的道友。拾得(是豐干和尚在路旁拾來的嬰兒,在國清寺養育成人)他在廚房管理燒水的工作,每天將殘餘的飯菜裝在竹筒內,供養寒山。寒山住在天臺山月光岩洞中,每天到國清寺來取殘餘的飯菜。因為兩人志同道合,常在一起說笑,全寺僧人都認為他們兩個人是瘋子,所以也不理他們。誰也不知道他們兩個人是菩薩化身,遊戲人間,來度應度的眾生。

One day the Magistrate Lu Qiuyin visited Abbot Fenggan (who was the transformation of Amitabha Buddha) and asked, "Venerable Sir, in the past, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas often sent their transformations into the world. Do they still come to the world or not?" Abbot Fenggan said, "Yes, they do! It's only that we don't recognize them. Right now, the monk who boils water in the kitchen at Guoqing Monastery on Tiantai (Heavenly Vista) Mountain is the transformation of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva. His fellow cultivator is Hanshan, who in reality is Manjushri Bodhisattva. Who claims that they no longer appear in the world?" Lu Qiuyin was delighted by this news, and took his leave. He headed directly for Guoqing Monastery, intending to pay sincere homage to the two Bodhisattvas, Hanshan and Shide.
有一天,閭丘胤太守見到豐干和尚(彌陀化身)便問:「禪師,過去諸佛菩薩常常化身來到世界,現在諸佛菩薩是不是也化身到這世界來呢?」豐干和尚說:「有啊!不過你不認識而已。現在在天臺山國清寺廚房燒水那個和尚,就是普賢菩薩,他有位道友寒山,就是文殊師利菩薩,怎麼會沒有呢?」閭太守聞之大喜,拜別而去,急往國清寺,專誠拜訪寒山、拾得兩位菩薩。

When he arrived at Guoqing Monastery, the guest prefect recognized him as an honored guest and received him with all due courtesy. When he heard that the Magistrate wished to see Hanshan and Shide, the prefect thought it quite strange. He couldn't understand why the Magistrate was interested in meeting those two fools. Although he was puzzled, he led the Magistrate into the kitchen, where Hanshan and Shide were talking and laughing hysterically, looking truly comical. The Magistrate Lu Qiuyin, nonetheless, made very sincere bows to the two of them, and then stated with utmost reverence, "Disciple Lu Qiuyin asks the two Bodhisattvas for their compassionate regard; please give instructions to this confused mortal."
來到國清寺,知客僧見太守光臨,便殷勤招待一番。聽到太守想見寒山、拾得,知客僧覺得很奇怪,不知為什麼太守要見兩個瘋人?雖然覺得莫名其妙,他還是引導太守來到廚房。此時寒山、拾得二人正大說大笑,一幅瘋瘋癲癲的樣子,令人好笑。可是閭太守卻恭恭敬敬地給二人頂禮,必恭必敬地說:「弟子閭丘胤請兩位大菩薩慈悲,指示迷津。」

Great Master Shide asked him, "What are you doing?" The Magistrate replied, "Abbot Fenggan said that you two are the transformations of Manjushri and Samantabhadra Bodhisattvas. I came out especially to bow to you and to earnestly seek your instructions." Great Master Shide heard this reply and stepped backwards. He said, "Fenggan has been prattling. Fenggan is a tattletale! He's the transformation of Amitabha Buddha! Why didn't you bow to him instead of coming to bother us?" As he spoke, he continued to walk backwards out the door of the temple and all the way to the front of Moonlight Cave in the face of Tiantai Mountain. The two men vanished right into the rock wall of the mountain.
拾得大師說:「你在做什麼?」太守說:「我聽豐干和尚對我說,兩位是文殊和普賢二大菩薩的化身。所以特來參拜,懇乞開示。」拾得一聽,向後倒退而說:「豐干饒舌!豐干饒舌!豐干是彌陀化身,你不去拜彌陀,來麻煩我們做什麼?」說完便退到寺門之外,到天臺山月光岩,退隱石壁中。

The Magistrate watched in amazement as the two Bodhisattvas hid themselves, and he felt deep disappointment. He thought, "I must quickly go bow to Amitabha!" But by the time he returned to the Abbot's place, Abbot Fenggan had already entered the stillness of Nirvana. The Magistrate had mistaken what was before his very eyes. This is known as "Being face to face with Guanshiyin, yet failing to recognize him." Guanshiyin Bodhisattva is also here in the Chan Hall with us now, but I don't want to tell you who he is, for fear that once you know, you'll drive him away.
太守一看,大失所望,二位菩薩隱藏起來了,所以心中就想:「回去拜彌陀吧!」等他回來時,豐干和尚已經圓寂了。這是當面錯過,所謂「對面不識觀世音。」我們禪堂中也有觀世音菩薩,可是我不能告訴你們,免得被你們給攆跑了。

A talk given during a Chan session in December, 1980
一九八○年禪七 十二月開示


How Chan Meditation Can Halt the Process of Birth and Death
坐禪能控制生死


You can go off to rebirth at any time you choose; you are free to come and go as you please.
願意何時往生,就何時往生,來去自由。

In the final years of the Northern Song Dynasty in China, there lived a great hero named Yue Fei. His father passed away when he was young. His mother was worthy and wise. Mother and son had only each other to rely upon for support. She taught her young son to read and practice penmanship. Since the family was too poor to afford pens, ink, and paper, he practiced writing characters in the sand, and eventually became an accomplished calligrapher. Yue Fei entered military service at an early age. His mother tattooed on his back the slogan, "Give your all in service to the country." He never forgot his great vow to save his country's people.
在北宋末年,中國有一位民族英雄,名叫岳飛。他幼年喪父,母親很賢慧,母子兩人相依為命。幼年時,他母親教他識字、練字,因為家貧無錢買筆、紙等,所以他在沙堆上練字,而成為書法家。青年時,他去投軍,母親在他背上刺「精忠報國」四個字,以提醒他時時不忘救國家民族的大志願。

This was the era when the Tartars (the Jin Dynasty) invaded the Song Dynasty and captured the capital of Bianjing (Kaifeng). They kidnapped the two Emperors Hui and Qin and took them to the North. The King of Kang set up his capital at Hangzhou and named it the Southern Song Dynasty, calling himself Emperor Gao. He appointed Qin Kuai as Prime Minister. At that time, the literati advocated peace while the military advocated going to war with the Tartars. General Yue Fei gave the Tartars a devastating defeat at the town of Zhuxian (close to Bianjing) and planned to attack their capital towards Yellow Dragon (near Jilin Nongan). Unfortunately, Qin Kuai was jealous and so issued twelve false summonses commanding him to return to the capital. Yue Fei's credo was "loyal subjects are patriots to the end." Thus he led the army back to the capital. En route he passed by Gold Mountain Monastery, in the middle of the Yangtze River, where he stopped to pay his respects to Chan Master Daoyue (Joy of the Way).
此時金人侵宋,佔領汴京(開封),執徽、欽二宗北去。康王構在杭州建國,成為南宋,稱為宋高宗,用秦檜為相,當時文人主和,武人主戰。岳飛大破金兵於朱仙鎮(離汴京很近),有直搗黃龍(吉林農安)的壯志,不幸被秦檜嫉妒,用十二道假金牌召他回京城。岳飛有「忠君愛國」的思想,於是奉命班師回京。他過長江時,經過江中的金山寺,乃去拜訪道悅禪師。

The monk urged him not to return to the capital, but to leave the home-life and cultivate the Way at Gold Mountain Monastery in Zhenjiang. That way he could avoid all political scandals and conflict. Yue Fei did not take the matter of birth and death seriously, feeling instead that the duty of a military man was to follow orders. He did not follow the philosophy that, "When the general is in the field, he can choose not to follow the emperor's commands." Thus he rejected Master Daoyue's wise suggestion. Before he left, Master Daoyue wrote him a verse that said,
Before New Year's day,
be very cautious of heaven's tears;
A gift with two dots beneath it will harm you grievously.
道悅和尚勸他不要回京城去,在金山寺(鎮江)出家修行,可以免是非。岳飛將生死置之度外,認為軍人的天職,就是服從命令,沒有「將在外,君命有所不受」的思想,所以拒絕道悅和尚一番盛意。臨行時,道悅和尚就作一首偈頌,說:
歲底不足,
謹防天哭;
奉下兩點,
將人害毒。

Yue Fei returned to Hangzhou, and Qin Kuai sent a message reading "No grounds necessary," which was a command to imprison both Yue Fei and his son. As he approached the executioner's block, Yue Fei suddenly realized the meaning hidden in Master Daoyue's verse. On New Year's eve, which fell on the twenty-ninth day of the twelfth lunar month that year, the heavens poured forth a heavy rain. Hearing the rain as he sat in jail, Yue Fei knew his death was at hand; the prophecy in the Chan Master's verse was about to be fulfilled. When you write two dots beneath the word "gift" you get the word "Qin," the name of Prime Minister Qin Kuai. Yue Fei was executed at Fengbo Pagoda.
岳飛回杭州,秦檜用「莫須有」三字,使岳飛父子下獄。等到臨刑的時候,他才了悟道悅和尚這首偈頌的意思。那年的過年是十二月二十九日,同時天降大雨,岳飛在獄中聽到雨聲,知道大難臨頭,想起道悅和尚的讖言終於應驗了。「奉下兩點」,就是「秦」字。他果然被斬於風波亭。

Qin Kuai asked the executioner what Yue Fei's final words had been. The executioner said, "I heard him say, have met my end today, only because I didn't heed the advice of Chan Master Daoyue of Gold Mountain.'" Qin Kuai flew into a rage and ordered Heli to hurry to Gold Mountain Monastery and arrest Master Daoyue. But the day before, while in Chan samadhi, Master Daoyue had foreseen this situation and had written another verse, which said,
Heli is coming from the South,
but I am going to the West.
If my strength in the Dharma were not sufficient,
I would surely have fallen into the villain's hands.
秦檜問監斬人:「岳飛臨刑時,說些什麼話?」監斬人說:「只聽他說,悔不聽金山寺道悅和尚的話,所以有今天的下場。」秦檜一聽大怒,派何立去金山寺,捉拿道悅和尚。道悅和尚頭一天在定中就曉得這段因緣,乃留下一首偈語:
何立自南來,
我往西方走;
若非佛法大,
豈不落他手。

After he wrote this verse, he entered the stillness of Nirvana. When Heli reached the temple the next day, Master Daoyue had already entered Nirvana.
寫完之後,即刻圓寂。第二天,何立來到金山寺,老禪師已經圓寂了。

This story proves that when you have perfected the skill of Chan meditation, you can control your own birth and death. You can go off to rebirth at any time you choose. You are in control of the process, and it is a very natural matter. Chan Masters of the past all possessed this ability. They could be born and die as they wished. In the Tang Dynasty there was a Chan Master named Deng Yinfeng (Hidden Summit) who entered Nirvana while standing on his head. The contemporary monk, the Living Buddha of Gold Mountain, entered Nirvana while standing up. Due to their skill in Chan meditation, they could come and go as they pleased, without any restrictions.
這證明坐禪的功夫到了極點,便可控制生死,願意何時往生,就何時往生,都操縱在自己的手中,那是很自然的現象。古時禪師都有這種功夫,生死自如,遂心如意。在唐朝有位禪師,名叫鄧隱峰,可以倒立而圓寂;近代金山活佛可以站立而圓寂。這都是由於禪定的功夫,所以可以來去自由,不受一切的限制。

A talk given during a Chan session in December, 1980
一九八○年禪七 十二月開示


Cultivation Requires Patience
修行要忍耐


For cultivators, it's important to be able to endure cold and heat, wind and rain, hunber and thirst,
and insults and beatings.
修行人,主要能忍罵忍打、忍冷忍熱、忍風忍雨、忍飢忍渴。

In the past, when Shakyamuni Buddha was cultivating blessings and wisdom, he passed through three great asamkhyeya (a limitless number of) eons before he accomplished Proper Enlightenment. As the saying goes, "Don't assume a good deed is too small to do and fail to do it; don't assume a bad deed is too small to matter and do it." When Shakyamuni Buddha was practicing the Bodhisattva Path, he didn't overlook a good deed even as small as a strand of hair, nor did he do an evil deed as tiny as a mote of dust. Therefore his merit and virtue and his blessings and wisdom were made perfect, and he became known as the Doubly Perfect Honored One.
釋迦牟尼佛,在往昔修福修慧的時候,經過三大阿僧衹(無量數)劫,才成正覺。所謂「勿以善小而不為,勿以惡小而為之。」釋迦牟尼佛在行菩薩道的時候,像頭髮那樣細的善,也不放棄;像微塵那樣小的惡,也不去做。所以他福慧功德圓滿了,成為兩足尊。

Please pay attention to this, all of you! Although a good deed may be small, you should still make a point of cultivating that deed, because "Grains of sand accumulated over time can grow into a pagoda." Over time you will have created a great deal of goodness. If one does evil deeds, even trivial ones, they can also accumulate from few to many and can become great evil. In such a case, one will never succeed in cultivating the Way. Cultivation is nothing more than "doing no evil and respectfully performing all good deeds." If you can avoid doing any evil deed, then your blessings will increase daily. If you can do all good deeds, then your wisdom will increase daily. Even though it increases, you still must continue to cultivate without cease; only then can you meet success.
各位注意,善雖然小,也要修,聚沙成塔,便成大善。惡雖然小,若去做,積少成多,便成大惡,永遠不會成就道業。修行就是「諸惡莫作,眾善奉行。」如果能諸惡莫作,那麼福報會一天比一天增加。若能眾善奉行,那麼智慧會一天比一天增加。雖然在增長,但還要繼續修行,而不間斷,才能有所成就。

Here in the Chan Meditation Hall, as we walk and sit, sit and walk, using our method of cultivation, we are doing precisely that: cultivating both blessings and wisdom. How are we cultivating blessings? We do so by refraining from all manner of evil deeds. How are we cultivating wisdom? We do so by offering up all manner of good deeds. In these ways our blessing-reward is made perfect, and our wisdom is also made perfect. Once this is done, very quickly we accomplish Buddhahood, without having to pass through three great asamkhyeya eons until the work reaches completion.
我們現在行行坐坐,坐坐行行,在禪堂裏用功修行,這就是修福修慧。如何修福?就是「不作諸惡」。如何修慧?就是「眾善奉行」。在這種情形之下,福報也圓滿,智慧也圓滿,然後很快會成就佛道,不需要經過三大阿僧衹劫。

When Shakyamuni Buddha was a cultivator in ages past, he often went down dead-end roads without realizing it. He was very patient, however, and never gave up. He maintained his vigorous advance, continuing to diligently cultivate precepts, concentration, and wisdom and put to rest, greed, hatred, and stupidity. Finally, he arrived at Buddhahood.
釋迦牟尼佛在往昔修行時,走錯很多冤枉路,可是他很有耐性,不灰心,繼續精進,勤修戒定慧,息滅貪瞋癡,最後成就佛果。

As we now cultivate the Buddhadharma, we are luckier than Shakyamuni Buddha was, because we have the example of the Proper Path that he set for us. We need only walk the Way as he did, and we can quickly realize our goal: The Pure Land on the Other Shore.
我們修行佛法,比釋迦牟尼佛幸運。他老人家給我們留下正道,只要按照目標前進,就可以很快達到目的地––彼岸的淨土。

In one of his past lives, Shakyamuni Buddha was "Never Slighting Bodhisattva," who cultivated the ascetic practice of patient endurance. Whenever he met someone, he would always bow to him and say, "I don't dare slight you, for you will one day become a Buddha." Some people detested this behavior, so on occasion he had to endure curses and beatings while he bowed.
釋迦牟尼佛前生是常不輕菩薩時,修一種忍耐的苦行,見人就頂禮,口中還說:「我不敢輕視汝等,汝等皆當作佛。」有人討厭他的行為,所以他向人家叩頭時,還要遭受人罵他或打他。

One time, as he practiced the Bodhisattva Path, he bowed to a person who promptly kicked out two of his teeth. He still was not disheartened, however, but continued to persevere in his ascetic practice of bowing. After this experience, he grew a bit more prudent and moved off to a discreet distance before making his bow and shouting out, "I don't dare slight you, for you will one day become a Buddha!" His bow done and his speech made, he would then quickly depart, and those who wanted to beat him up wouldn't be able to catch him.
有一次,他行菩薩道,向人叩頭,被人踢掉兩顆門牙;但是他不灰心,還是再接再勵,行叩頭的苦行。不過這回他學到經驗,見到人來,他在遠處就先叩頭,還說:「我不敢輕視汝等,汝等皆當作佛。」叩完頭,說完話,即刻就走,想打他的人也追不上了。

Never Slighting Bodhisattva used the spirit of "having no sense of self" to cultivate blessings and wisdom. Who told him to cultivate in that way? Nobody told him to, he simply enjoyed cultivating this practice. Although it brought him curses and beatings, he never felt anger or hatred in return. Thus he illustrates the method used to cultivate the Dharma-door of the Perfection (Paramita) of Patience under Insult.
常不輕菩薩,以「無我相」的精神來修福修慧,誰教他這樣修行呢?沒有人教他這樣修叩頭行,是他自己心甘情願這樣修行。被打、被罵,也不生瞋恚,這就是修忍辱波羅蜜法門。

Patience is the most important Dharma-door for cultivators. When you encounter a situation that doesn't go your way, you must bear up under it and yield to it. Don't fight with anyone. If you can cultivate, but you can't be patient and you freely let your temper go at any time, you'll burn to ashes all the merit and virtue that you cultivated through such painstaking, bitter effort.
修行人最要緊的法門,就是忍耐。遇到不如意的境界,要忍要讓,與世無爭。若是不能忍,隨時發脾氣,把辛苦所修的功德,統統都燒光了。

We should ask ourselves honestly, "Do I have the patience required to bow to others, then get a beating in return, and still not feel hatred?" If you can do this, you count as a true disciple of the Buddha. If you can't, then by all means, collect your body and mind, and make vigorous progress in your cultivation. Otherwise, you have simply wasted all your precious time without gaining anything from your work.
我們自己捫心自問,有沒有這種忍耐力––向人叩頭,反被人打,還不生瞋恨?若能做到,就是佛弟子。若是做不到,就要趕緊守攝身心,向前勇猛精進修行。否則浪費光陰空虛度,還是一無所得。

For cultivators, it's important to be able to endure cold and heat, wind and rain, hunger and thirst, and insults and beatings. Imitate the spirit of Never Slighting Bodhisattva: "No matter who treats me badly, I will not feel anger or hatred towards them. I will treat all people sincerely and influence them naturally with that sincerity. In this way their hostility will be transformed into friendliness, their swords changed to plowshares."
修行人主要能忍冷忍熱、忍風忍雨、忍飢忍渴、忍罵忍打。我們要學常不輕菩薩的精神,無論誰對我不好,也不生瞋恨心,以誠待人,對方自然被感化,化干戈為玉帛。

Cultivators are working to get rid of all traces of self. When one is free of all traces of self, then one can endure any state whatsoever; and when situations arise, one's mind will not be disturbed. We want to regard ourselves as not different from empty space. We cultivate alike through both favorable and adverse situations. In other words, favorable situations do not make us happy, and adverse situations do not make us sad. We want to clearly recognize the arising of both favorable and adverse states. If we can remain "Thus, thus, unmoving," then situations will not disturb us. If we can "understand and be constantly clear," then we will be able to turn around the situations that arise.
修行人,就是修無我相。如果無我相,一切能忍受,境界來了,也不動心。自己把自己看成虛空一樣。順境來了,也是修行;逆境來了,也是修行。換句話說,順境來了,也不生歡喜心;逆境來了,也不生憂愁心。無論順逆,要認識清楚。若能如如不動,就不會被境界所轉;若能了了常明,就能轉境界。

When Shakyamuni Buddha cultivated in ages past, he specialized in the Dharma-door of patience, so he became known as the Patient Immortal. One day, without provocation, he was dismembered by King Kali. Even so, he felt no hatred towards the king. Instead, he pitied the king for his ignorance. He said, "In the future when I become a Buddha, I will take you across first." Upon hearing those words, King Kali felt deep remorse and requested to take refuge with the Patient Immortal. In a later reincarnation, he was the Venerable Ajnata-kaundinya, one of the first five Bhikshus who realized the fruition of Arhatship upon hearing the Buddha expound the three turnings of the Dharma-wheel of the Four Noble Truths.
釋迦牟尼佛在往昔修行時,專修忍辱法門,所以稱為忍辱仙人。有一天,無緣無故被歌利王割去四肢,可是他不生瞋恨心,反而可憐歌利王的無知,所以對歌利王說:「等我成佛時,第一個先度你修道。」歌利王聞之,生大懺悔心,皈依忍辱仙人,後來就是憍陳如尊者(五比丘之一)。佛成道後,為他們五人說四諦法,三轉法輪,他就都證得羅漢果位。

Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, cultivated the skill of patience to the ultimate point, so that there was absolutely no way to stir him to anger. As the Buddha's disciples, we should learn the skill of patience from our teacher. In short, patience is the most important of all methods of cultivation, and cannot be ignored or overlooked.
釋迦牟尼佛是我們佛教的教祖,他的忍辱功夫修到極點,怎樣也不會生瞋恚心。我們都是佛的弟子,應該向本師釋迦牟尼佛學習忍耐的功夫。淺言之,忍耐是修行法門最主要的,不可忽略。

The ancients said, "Be patient for a moment, and the storm will subside. Retreat a step backward, and the sea and sky will open up in all their vastness." That is why we say that "patience is a jewel beyond price." I don't care who tears down the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, I still won't be attached, get angry, or feel hatred. If everyone could think the same way as I do, then the world would know peace.
古人說:「忍片刻風平浪靜,退一步海闊天空。」所以說:「忍是無價寶。」誰把萬佛聖城打碎了,我也不執著,無所謂,絕對不生瞋恨心。人人這樣想,天下就太平了。

Patience is something cultivators cannot be without. Only with the power of patience can we cultivate. Without patience, all talk of cultivation is in vain. The principle I discussed today is quite ordinary-sounding and very flavorless. However, it is true Dharma, proper Dharma, wonderful Dharma, the rarest of Dharma. Although it is quite ordinary, the Way comes forth from the most ordinary places. The Way is something that people walk on with their feet. This unconditioned Dharma is difficult to encounter even once in a million eons, so don't overlook what's right before your eyes. If you mistake it for the sound of the wind blowing by your ears and pay it no heed, then you'll regret it later, but to no avail. If you can use the message that I have given to you today, then no matter what state appears, you won't get afflicted or upset. If you can use wisdom to judge the situation, then no matter what kind of problem comes your way, you'll sever it with a single stroke of the sword, like a knife cutting through butter. You won't ever feel troubled. Finally, I hope all of you will truly work hard, investigate Chan, and find out, "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" If you haven't found out yet, don't rest until you do!
忍耐是修行人不可缺少的。有忍耐力,才能修行;沒有忍耐力,一切都免談。今天所講的道理,非常平凡,淡而無味,可是這是真法、正法、妙法、稀法。雖然平常,但是道是從平常中生出來的,道是人用腳走出來的。這種無為法,是百千萬劫難遭遇的,不可當面錯過。如果當耳邊風,過而不留,那就後悔莫及了。今天對你們所講的話,你若會用時,無論什麼境界來了,都不生煩惱。若能用智慧來判斷這個境界,不管什麼事情,都能迎刃而解,不會有什麼麻煩。最後希望各位努力參,參「念佛是誰?」不找到「誰」字,不休息。

A talk given during a Chan session in December, 1980
一九八○年禪七 十二月開示


Chan Meditation Is the Method for Attaining Enlightenment
參禪是開悟的方法


To reach success with the method of investigating the meditation topic, we must work at it for a long time.
參話頭的功夫,需要經過長時間,才能有所成就。

When Buddhism spread to China, it developed into the Five Schools: the Chan School, the Teachings School, the Vinaya School, the Pure Land School, and the Secret School. The Chan School investigates Chan samadhi (meditative concentration); the Teachings School studies the doctrines; the Vinaya School studies the moral precepts; the Pure Land School practices Buddha recitation; and the Secret School recites mantras. We are now holding a Chan session, so for the time being, we discuss only the principles of Chan meditation and not the other four schools.
佛教傳到中國之後,演變成五宗,就是禪、教、律、淨、密。禪是禪定,教是教理,律是戒律,淨是淨土,密是持咒。現在是打禪七期間,只講禪的道理,其他四宗,暫且不談。

Chan translates as "thought-cultivation," because one is always contemplating the matter of meditation. What matter is that? It is simply the meditation topic one is investigating. We look into the question, "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" This single sentence is the topic in our investigation of Chan. In fact, investigating this topic is another kind of idle thinking. This method is known as "fighting fire with fire." We set one idle thought in action to wipe out many idle thoughts. To reach success with this method, we must work at it for a long time. A saying goes, "After long-term cultivation, there will be Chan."
禪那,譯為「思惟修」,就是常想這件事。什麼事?就是話頭。研究「念佛是誰?」這句話,這叫參禪。其實參話頭也是妄想,不過這是以妄制妄,以毒攻毒的辦法,用一個妄想來消滅多個妄想。參話頭的功夫,需要經過長時間才能有所成就,所謂「久參有禪」。

"Investigation" is similar to drilling wood: you don't stop until the drill bit makes a hole all the way through the wood. If you stop halfway, then your earlier efforts will all have been in vain. The first priority in Chan meditation is patience. When you can be patient to the extreme point, then you can reach a state of "not even one thought arising." When not even one thought arises, you can get enlightened. As the saying goes, "Take one more step from the top of the hundred-foot pole." At that time, when you can take yet another step from the very top of a hundred-foot pole, "the worlds throughout the ten directions manifest in their entirety." To gain success, however, you must apply yourself constantly, in thought after thought, without any laziness or slacking off. A verse in the Song of Enlightenment says:
When you suddenly awaken to the Chan of the Tathagatas,
Then the Six Paramitas and the Myriad Practices are complete within your substance.
In a dream, very clearly, you perceive all the Six Realms of Rebirth.
When you awaken, then you see all as empty and void, and not one bit of the universe exists at all.
「參」好像用錐子來錐木頭一樣,不透不停止,不可半途而廢,否則就前功盡棄了。參禪,第一要忍耐,忍耐到最高峰,就能一念不生。一念不生,就能開悟,所謂「百尺竿頭,更進一步」,在百尺竿頭上,再向前邁進一步,這時十方世界現全身。可是這個法門,要念玆在玆才有效,不能放鬆,不能放逸。在《證道歌》上說:
頓覺了,如來禪,
六度萬行體中圓;
夢裏明明有六趣,
覺後空空無大千。

"Suddenly" here means that you immediately understand a principle. As it's said, "We may awaken to the truth of a principle suddenly, but we must cultivate the specifics gradually." The specifics must be cultivated one step at a time, yet the principle may be awakened to all of a sudden. For instance, after enlightenment, we know there is a well nearby from which we can draw water. Before our enlightenment, we may have heard the sound of the wellpulley and rope for a long time, and yet not have known where the well was located. This analogy explains where the Buddha-nature comes from. How do we realize this Buddha-nature? There is no other method to realize it: it can only be realized through Chan meditation.
頓,就是立刻覺悟一個理,所謂「理可頓悟,事須漸修。」在「事」上要一步一步修,在「理」上要立刻就明白。頓悟的時候,知道井在那裏,可以去取水。沒有頓悟的時候,常聽轆轤(汲水的工具)響,但不知井在何處?這個譬喻,是說明佛性從什麼地方來的?怎能證得佛性?證佛性別無二法,唯一的方法,就是參禪打坐。

Bodhisattvas use the Six Paramitas as their method of cultivation. They are: (1) giving, which takes stinginess across; (2) moral precepts, which take across transgressions; (3) patience, which takes across hatred; (4) vigor, which takes across laxness; (5) Chan concentration, which takes across scatteredness, and (6) wisdom, which takes across stupidity. Only when these Six Paramitas have been cultivated to perfection can one become enlightened.
六度,是菩薩修行的法門。布施度慳貪,持戒度毀犯,忍辱度瞋恚,精進度懈怠,禪定度散亂,智慧度愚癡。這六度修行圓滿,才能開悟。

We are all now living in the midst of a dream. A verse goes,
In life it's all a dream;
In death, a dream as well.
Dreaming, we enjoy glory and wealth;
Awake, we're back in the gutters.
We dream every day,
Unaware that the dream takes no longer than a quick supper.
If we fail to wake up to our present dream,
Then we've dreamt through it all in vain.
我們都在作夢,所謂:
人生一場夢,
人死夢一場;
夢裏身榮貴,
夢醒在窮鄉。
朝朝是作夢,
不覺夢黃粱;
夢中若不覺,
枉作夢一場。

In the dream, we see very clearly there are six paths of rebirth, (which are the heavens, the realms of humans, asuras, animals, and hungry ghosts, and the hells). Once we awaken, however, and get enlightened, then the entire trichiliocosm no longer exists. Why not? Because we are no longer attached to it. When we are no longer attached, then all the myriad creatures in existence completely return to their origin. How could any further trace of self exist? How could any traces of others, of living beings, or of a life span remain? None of these exist any longer. Some people, after they learn that the four traces can be made to disappear, won't dare cultivate any longer. They get upset at the idea of there being no more people, living beings, or life spans. They exclaim, "If there is no more work left to do, I will be out of a job!"
在夢中明明有六趣(天、人、修羅、畜生、餓鬼、地獄),等覺悟之後,三千大千世界也化為烏有了。為什麼?因為沒有執著。沒有執著,把萬事萬物都返本還原,又怎能有我相、人相、眾生相、壽者相?統統都沒有了。有人聽到這四相沒有了,就不敢修行,誤認修到極點,人也沒有了,眾生也沒有了,壽者也沒有了,怎麼辦呢?那什麼工作也沒有了,成為失業的人。

Is it certain that you need to go to work? That idea only insures that you will continue to be upside-down forever. If you can cultivate to the state of being free of the four traces and you can actually "Sweep out all dharmas, and leave all traces behind," then you'll certify to the realization of a principle, which is the ultimate reality of all dharmas. It's called,
Don't set up even a single dharma;
Empty out all the myriad things.
一定要有工作嗎?那就繼續顛倒吧!修行到了無四相的境界時,就能掃一切法,離一切相,證得諸法實相的道理,所謂:
一法不立,
萬法皆空。

This does not refer to glibly discussing this principle on an intellectual level. Rather, you must actually certify to and attain this state. At that time, for you, there will be no further suffering; there will be only happiness.
不是說我明白這個道理,而是要真正證得這種一法不立,萬法皆空的境界,那時候,無有眾苦,但受諸樂。

For those of us here in the world, if we aren't attached to fame, then we're attached to profit. If we aren't attached to wealth, then we're attached to sex. So we find ourselves unable to see through things, unable to put things down. We may want to do so, but in the end, we still can't let them go. Why can't we let them go? Because our smart bugs and our intellectual cleverness are acting up. Due to them, we miss many prime opportunities. We let them slip through our fingers, and, before our very eyes, we fail to recognize Guanshiyin Bodhisattva. Even though Guanshiyin Bodhisattva is right before our eyes, we still go running all over looking for him elsewhere; thus we are controlled by our upside-down, idle thinking.
我們在世界上,不是執著名,就是執著利,或者執著財,或者執著色,所以看不破,放不下。想看破,想放下,又捨不得。為什麼捨不得?因為有精細鬼和伶俐蟲在作怪,所以把很多事情當面錯過,失之交臂,對面不識觀世音。觀世音菩薩就在我們的對面,我們還要到處去找,這就是受顛倒妄想所支配。

The word "investigation" in the phrase "investigating Chan" means "to contemplate." What is there to contemplate? We use contemplative Prajna. This means to contemplate our own presence in thought after thought. It does not mean to contemplate others' presence. We should contemplate whether or not we are fully here. If we are, then we have the ability to investigate Chan and meditate, and we can use our skill in cultivation. But if we are not here, and are indulging in idle thoughts instead, our mind scatters to the wind. Then even though our body may be present in the Chan hall, our mind has run off to New York for a bit of sight-seeing, or perhaps run off to Rome for a holiday. Our mind has gone out to climb the social ladder, so, as a result, we lack self-presence; we are "not here."
參禪的「參」,就是觀。觀什麼?觀照般若。教你念玆在玆觀自在,不是觀他在。觀觀自己在不在?自己在,就能參禪打坐,用功修行。若是不在,在那兒打妄想,想入非非,那就身在禪堂,心跑到紐約去觀光,或是到義大利去旅行,到處去攀緣,所以就不自在了。

When we learn to contemplate with self-presence, we can become Bodhisattvas. When we contemplate without self-presence, we are only ordinary humans. When we contemplate with self-presence, we are in the heavens. If we contemplate without self-presence, then we are in the hells. But if we can contemplate with self-presence without our thoughts running away, then we can practice the profound Prajna Paramita. Being here, with our bodies present in the Chan hall, our minds continue the investigation without cease. We investigate without interruption. Only this counts as "practicing the profound Prajna Paramita" and finding wisdom. Only after we have attained great wisdom can we really reach the other shore.
觀自在,就是菩薩;觀不自在,就是凡夫。觀自在,是天堂;觀不自在,是地獄。如果我們觀自在,心沒有跑出去,才能行深般若波羅蜜。參禪的時候,身體在禪堂,心繼續不斷地參,綿綿密密地參,這才算是行深般若,找到智慧了。得到大智慧,才能到達彼岸。

The secret formula for investigating Chan is to stick to it day and night. Keep thinking it over. Think about, "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" We contemplate today and contemplate tomorrow, and every day we are in the Chan Hall, practicing the profound Prajna Paramita. We cannot expect to taste the actual flavor of Chan in a short period of time. Only after long practice can we know its real taste. When we have the skill of practicing the profound Prajna Paramita, then we can contemplate the Five Aggregates (Skandhas) as empty.
參禪的祕訣,就是「朝也思,夕也思。」思什麼?思「念佛是誰?」今天也參,明天也參,天天在禪堂裏行深般若波羅蜜多時,不是在短期能嘗到禪的味道,要經過長時間才可以。有了行深般若波羅蜜多時的功夫,才能照見五蘊皆空。

The Five Aggregates are also called the Five Shadows. Aggregates means "heaps" or "gatherings." "Shadows" means "blockages" or "coverings." Why have we failed to obtain self-mastery and liberation? Because we are covered over by the Five Aggregates, which are form, feelings, thoughts, activities, and consciousness.
五蘊,又叫五陰。蘊是集聚的意思,陰是遮蓋的意思。我們為什麼得不到自在?得不到解脫?就因為被五蘊所覆的緣故。五蘊,就是色、受、想、行、識。

1. The Aggregate of Form. "Obstructing objects" are forms; things with shape and features are forms. Before we have emptied out the form aggregate, we are likely to see forms and be confused by them, or hear sounds and be confused by them, or smell scents and be confused by them, or taste flavors and be confused by them, or feel sensations and be confused by them. If we can empty out the Aggregate of Form, then we can realize a state of there being "no mind inside, no body outside, and no things beyond."
Forms include the many colors, all of which can dim our eyes, so that we can't see clearly. They make us just like blind people. In the Classic of the Way and Its Virtue, it is said,
The five colors blind the eyes;
The five musical notes deafen the ears;
The five flavors dull the palate.
(一)色蘊:有障礙為色,有形相為色。色蘊不空,見到色被色塵所迷惑,聞到聲被聲塵所迷惑,嗅到香被香塵所迷惑,嚐到味被味塵所迷惑,覺到觸被觸塵所迷惑。如果把色蘊空了,就是內無其心,外無其形,遠無其物的境界。 色,有種種的顏色,能令你眼花撩亂,認識不清楚,迷迷茫茫,好像瞎子一樣。在《道德經》上說:
五色令人目盲,
五音令人耳聾,
五味令人口爽。

All such states result from being confused by the Aggregate of Form. If we can break through the Aggregate of Form and see that the mountains, the rivers, the earth itself, and all the buildings on it are empty, then none of these troubles will exist. Thus we say that before the Aggregate of Form has been emptied out, one will still be attached to forms. As long as one is attached to forms, one has not broken through the Delusions of Views.
這些都是被色蘊所迷惑,若能破了色蘊,山河大地、房廊屋舍都空了,就沒有這些麻煩了。所以說,色蘊不空,便執著在色上;若著在色上,見惑就不能破。

Delusions of Views refers to experiencing greed and love for the states we encounter. States here refer to pretty forms. When beautiful things appear before us, we may experience feelings of love and craving for them and become attached to them. There are eighty-eight categories of Delusions of Views, and if one severs them completely, one then realizes the first stage of Arhatship. Cultivators of the Way first sever these eighty-eight categories of Delusions of Views in the Triple Realm, and then continue to sever eighty-one categories of Delusions of Thoughts in the Triple Realm.
見惑,就是對境起貪愛。境界就是色,對著境界生起一種貪心和愛心,就執著了。見惑有八十八品,如果斷盡,就證初果羅漢。我們修道人,要先斷三界八十八品的見惑,然後再斷三界八十一品的思惑。

Delusions of Thoughts refers to letting confusion over certain principles lead us to discriminating thinking. That is, we don't clearly understand certain principles. When one severs the eighty-one categories of Delusions of Thoughts within the Triple Realm, one then realizes the Fourth Stage of Arhatship.
思惑,就是迷理起分別,也就是對一切理認識不清楚。如果斷盡三界八十一品思惑,就證四果阿羅漢。

2. The Aggregate of Feelings. This refers to the feelings that we experience. For instance, a certain situation may arise; we accept it without even thinking about it, and we feel it's a comfortable state. An example would be when we eat some delicious food and its flavor makes us feel quite pleasant. This is what we mean by feelings. Or if we wear a fine piece of clothing and it makes us feel quite attractive, this is also a typical feeling. Or if we live in a nice house that we feel looks quite handsome, this is a feeling. Or if we ride in a fancy automobile and we feel quite comfortable, this is also a feeling. In general, all experiences that the body accepts and enjoys are considered to be the Aggregate of Feelings at work.
(二)受蘊:就是領納的意思。境界來了,不加考慮,就接受了,有舒服的感覺。譬如吃一種好東西,覺得很自在,這就是受。穿一件好衣服,覺得很舒服,這就是受。住一間好屋子,覺得很漂亮,這就是受。坐一輛好汽車,覺得很舒服,這也就是受。乃至一切身所接受的,覺得不錯,這都是受。

3. The Aggregate of Thoughts. This refers to our thinking processes. When our five sense organs perceive the five sense objects, a variety of idle thoughts arise. Many ideas suddenly come to mind and then are suddenly gone: ideas of forms, ideas of feelings.
(三)想蘊:就是思想的意思。因為五根領受了五塵的境界,就生出種種的妄想,種種的念頭,忽起忽落,起了作用,去想色,去想受。

4. The Aggregate of Activities. This refers to a process of shifting and flowing. The Aggregate of Activities leads us to come and go, to go and come without end in a constant, ceaseless, flowing pattern. Our idle thoughts compel us to impulsively do good or do evil, and such thoughts then manifest in our actions and our words.
(四)行蘊:就是遷流的意思。隨來隨去,隨去隨來,沒有停止,川流不息。作善作惡的動機,由妄心所支配,而反應於身口的行為。

5. The Aggregate of Consciousness. This refers to the process of discrimination. As soon as a situation appears, we begin to discriminate in our thoughts about that situation. For example, when we see something beautiful, we have thoughts of fondness towards it; and when we hear ugly sounds, we have thoughts of dislike for those sounds. All such discriminations are part of this Aggregate.
(五)識蘊:就是分別的意思。境界來了,就生起分別心。例如:見到美色,生歡喜心;聽到惡聲,生討厭心等等。

If someone can break through these Five Aggregates, he can then cross beyond all suffering and difficulty. Such a person will undergo no further disasters and troubles. Why do disasters and troubles beset us? Because we are still attached to a self and to dharmas; because these two attachments have not been emptied out.
若能把五蘊破了,才能度一切苦厄,也就是沒有一切的災難。我們為什麼有災難?就因為有我執、有法執,二執不空的緣故。

The Song of Enlightenment by Great Master Yongjia says,
The Five Aggregates are mere floating clouds, aimlessly drifting back and forth.
And the Three Poisons are only bubbles of foam, rising and sinking on the tides.
《永嘉大師證道歌》上說:
五蘊浮雲空去來,
三毒水泡虛出沒。

The Five Aggregates, in fact, have no nature of their own, just like clouds floating in space. Very spontaneously they appear, and spontaneously they disappear. If we fail to understand this principle and let ourselves be covered over by the Aggregates, we will be neither free nor liberated. We should be skillful in cultivation, so that when the Five Aggregates arise, we can break through them. When they come, they come on their own, and when they go, they are free to leave on their own. We need not pay attention to them. Nor do we need to attach to them. Greed, anger, and stupidity are just like bubbles of foam on the water; they basically have no real substance. Born of themselves, they vanish of themselves; and if we don't attach to them, they cease to exist. The Song of Enlightenment by Great Master Yongjia also says,
Realize Ultimate Reality, and people and dharmas no longer exist.
In that instant we eradicate the karma of the Relentless Hells.
If I am deceiving living beings,
May I fall into the hells where tongues are ripped out, for endless eons.
五蘊本來沒有自性,猶如空中的浮雲,自然而有,自然而無。不明白這個道理,就被五蘊所覆,不得自在,不得解脫。我們修道,就是破五蘊,好像浮雲,來,隨它來;去,隨它去,不需要注意它,不需要執著它。貪瞋癡好像水中的泡沫一樣,本來沒有實體,它自己生,自己滅,不執著就沒有了。在《永嘉大師證道歌》又說:
證實相,無人法,
剎那滅卻阿鼻業;
若將妄語誑眾生,
自招拔舌塵沙劫。

"Ultimate Reality" here means the state wherein "there are no traces, yet nothing lacks traces"; a state wherein we can "sweep out all dharmas and leave all traces behind." One is said to have "returned to the origin and realized the purity of his inherent nature." In such a state, there are no further people or things that can be known: both of these are gone for good. One no longer maintains attachments to people or to dharmas. Then one is said to have realized the principle and substance of Ultimate Reality. Then in a split second one can wipe away completely all the karma that destines one for the Relentless Hells. Karma gathered from countless eons in the past can be wiped away completely, without a trace. Great Master Yongjia says, "If I am deceiving people with lies, then I am perfectly willing to fall into the hells where tongues are ripped out and suffer for an eternity of time."
實相就是無相,無所不相,也就是掃一切法,離一切相;可以說返本還原,證得自性清淨。到這種境界,也無人,也無法,人法雙亡;也沒有人執,也沒有法執,這就證得實相理體。在這剎那之間,能將無量劫以來,所造的無間地獄的罪業,統統消滅無餘。永嘉大師說:「如果我用誑語來欺騙眾生的話,我心甘情願到拔舌地獄,去受塵沙劫那樣多的苦。」

As we sit in the Chan hall, we must actually go and cultivate. Our work is just like reeling silk off a cocoon. We must be patient and proceed gradually. Only then can we avoid tangling the thread. We may not try to get clever and invent shortcuts, nor use a scientific, improved method to get enlightened. That amounts to mere idle thinking. If science could bring us enlightenment, then the scientists would not forever be painting themselves into corners, but would long ago have become enlightened; and nobody else after that would ever get a chance at it! We needn't build castles in the air, but need only follow the tried-and-true procedures: cultivate hard and look into "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" Be patient when your back aches and your legs hurt. When your patience has reached maturity, you will spontaneously become enlightened. A saying goes,
If they hadn't endured the bone-chilling cold,
How could the plum blossoms smell so sweet?
我們在禪堂裏,要實實在在來修行,好像抽絲剝繭一樣,要有忍耐性,一點一點來抽絲,才不會亂了。不可自作聰明找捷徑,想用科學方法來開悟,那是妄想。如果科學能開悟,那些科學家不會在牛角尖裏亂鑽,早就開悟了,不會有你的分的。不要異想天開,還是按部就班來參「念佛是誰?」吧!腰痠要忍耐,腿疼要忍耐,忍耐到時候了,自然會開悟。所謂:
不經一番寒徹骨,
怎得梅花撲鼻香?

Please attend to this, everyone! Don't be so clever that your cleverness obstructs you. Don't be too smart for your own good. Know that each bit of work yields a bit of skill. Cultivation requires true skill, not mere lip service. To be able to talk about cultivation without really being able to do it is useless. Paying lip service not only does not advance your enlightenment, it becomes an obstruction instead. Thus a saying goes, "Only in silence is it actually Chan."
各位注意!不要聰明反被聰明誤。要曉得一分努力,便有一分功夫,修行要講真功夫,不是口頭禪,能說不能行,是無用處的。口頭禪不但對開悟沒有幫助,反而成為障礙,所以說:「不說話,才是禪。」

A beam of spiritual light flashes throughout heaven and earth, illuminating it totally. You become identical with all Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time. Why have we failed to realize the Buddha's Three Bodies, Four Modes of Wisdom, Five Eyes, and Six Spiritual Powers? Because our worldly idle thinking is simply too dense. It obstructs our wisdom. Idle thinking takes our light away and turns it into ignorance. All day long we do nothing but indulge in delusion, create bad karma, and receive the retribution of unending rounds of birth and death.
一念靈光能徹照天地,與十方三世一切諸佛無二無別。為什麼我們不能證得佛的三身、四智、五眼、六通?因為我們凡夫的妄想太多,所以把智慧遮住,沒有光明,成為無明。整天起惑、造業,所以受生死的苦報。

The Three Bodies are the Dharma-body, the Reward-body, and the Response-body. The Four Modes of Wisdom are the Wisdom That Accomplishes What Should Be Done, the Wisdom of Wondrous Contemplation, the Wisdom of Equal Nature, and the All-Encompassing, Mirror-like Wisdom. The Five Eyes are the Heavenly-eye, the Flesh-eye (which is not our human eyes), the Dharma-eye,the Wisdom-eye, and the Buddha-eye. The Six Spiritual Powers are the Power of the Heavenly-eye, the Power of the Heavenly-ear, the Power of Knowing Others' Thoughts, the Power of Knowing Past Lives, the Power of Spiritual Travel, and the Power of the Ending of Outflows. When someone puts an end to all idle thinking, he or she can realize states such as these. In fact, this is not an esoteric principle, but a very natural phenomenon that arises from actual spiritual skill. We need not consider these states strange or unusual, for they are quite natural.
三身,就是法身、報身、應(化)身。四智,就是成所作智、妙觀察智、平等性智、大圓鏡智。五眼,就是天眼、肉眼(非人眼)、法眼、慧眼、佛眼。六通,就是天眼通、天耳通、他心通、宿命通、神足通、漏盡通。若沒有一切的妄想,就能證得這些境界。這並不是玄妙的理論,而是自然現象,是從實踐功夫中得來的,一點也不為奇,這是平常事。

From beginningless time in the past until now we have been covered over by ignorance and have not heard the instructions of a Good and Wise Advisor. We don't know the meaning of "understanding the mind and seeing the nature." Nor do we know the meaning of "returning to the origin." The purpose of cultivating Chan meditation is to understand the mind and see the nature, to return to the origin and go back to the source. We can then obtain liberation and be free of impediments and obstructions. We can leave distorted dream-thinking far behind and attain Ultimate Nirvana.
我們從無始劫以來,就被無明所覆,遇不到善知識的指引,不知什麼是明心見性(明悟自心,徹見本性)?什麼是返本還原(恢復童子身)?我們參禪就是要明心見性,返本還原。我們若得到解脫,那就無罣無礙,遠離顛倒夢想,得到究竟涅槃了。

A talk given during a Chan session in December, 1980
一九八○年禪七 十二月開示


We Won't Be Enlightened Until Our Idle Thoughts Stop!
妄想不斷不能開悟


Not even a single minute or second should be wasted; we must cultivate vigorously at all times.
一分一秒也不可空過,時時刻刻用功修行。

The goal of investigating Chan meditation is to develop wisdom and to seek liberation. We must concentrate our minds and investigate the question, "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" When we can investigate this question to the ultimate point, then we forget all idle thoughts whatsoever. We forget about eating, sleeping, and dressing, even to the point of forgetting to go to the bathroom. At this stage, the wind may blow, but it won't touch us; the rain may fall, but it won't get us wet; we are intensely and unceasingly asking the question "Who?"
參禪的目的,就為著開智慧,求解脫。要專心致志來參「念佛是誰?」參到極點,就把一切妄想都忘得一乾二淨,吃飯、穿衣、睡覺都忘了,甚至大小便也忘了。這時候,風也吹不透,雨也打不漏,只是綿綿密密地念「誰」字。

This single thought is just like vajra; it is so durable and solid that nothing can break it up. We are not aware of the heavens above, the earth below, or the people in between. Our state is free of the traces of self, others, living beings, and life spans. Then we reach the point of there being "no body or mind inside and no world outside." We have united in substance with the entire universe and have become one with all things.
這一念,猶如金剛一樣堅固,什麼也破不了。這時上不知有天,下不知有地,中不知有人,到無人、無我、無眾生、無壽者的境界;也就是內無身心,外無世界的地步,與宇宙合為一體,打成一片了。

In ancient times there were lofty Sangha members of great virtue whose cultivation reached a level where "not even a single thought arose." A saying captures that state: "They eat all day long, yet don't know they have consumed a single morsel; they get dressed each day, but aren't aware of having put on a single stitch." They've arrived at a state of "no self and no others." Where is there any time left for them to indulge in idle thinking? They felt that if they wasted even a single moment, they could miss their chance to become enlightened. For this reason we must give our very lives to the investigation of "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" We should never rest until we find out who it is. Finding out "Who" is the very best method for controlling our idle thoughts.
古時高僧大德,他們修到一念不生的程度,所謂「終日吃飯,未吃一粒米,終日穿衣,未穿一縷紗。」到無人、無我的境界,哪有時間去打妄想呢?他們認為浪費一分鐘的時間,就會把開悟的機會錯過了,所以拼命地參「念佛是誰?」找不到「誰」字,就永不休息。找「誰」字,就是控制妄想最佳的辦法。

In China's Yangzhou County, at Gaomin Monastery, there lived an elder monk named Miaodu, who cultivated Chan meditation to the point that, "When walking, he wasn't aware of walking; when sitting, he wasn't aware of sitting; when standing, he wasn't aware of standing; when reclining, he wasn't aware of reclining." He thought of nothing at all, except "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" One day, he needed to relieve himself. Because he was unceasingly investigating the question of "Who?" he walked by mistake into the Hall of the Heavenly Kings and assumed that the seat in front of Weitou Bodhisattva was the toilet. Just as he was about to relieve himself, he looked up and saw the image of Weitou Bodhisattva glaring at him with his Jewelled Pestle raised up high, and it scared him awake. Aware that he had made a mistake, he quickly bowed to Weitou Bodhisattva to repent and seek forgiveness from the Bodhisattva.
在揚州高旻寺有一位妙度老和尚,當初他在參禪時,參到「行不知行,住不知住,坐不知坐,臥不知臥」的程度,什麼也不想,只想著「念佛是誰?」有一天,要去小便,因為專心參「誰?」綿綿密密地參,所以誤走到天王殿,在韋陀菩薩座前,當作廁所。正要小便時,抬頭一見韋陀菩薩瞪著眼睛,舉起寶杵,把他嚇得清醒了,知道自己走錯路了,急忙向韋陀頂禮,懺悔過錯,祈菩薩原諒。

Why did this happen? Because Chan Master Miaodu had concentrated his mind and devoted his entire attention to investigating the word "Who." That was his sole concern, and as a result, he mistook the Hall of the Heavenly Kings for the bathroom. Someone may think, "I should imitate Chan Master Miaodu and not go to the bathroom to relieve myself, but instead go in front of Guanyin's altar." If you did that intentionally, you would be 108,000 miles away from the Way. You should know that Chan Master Miaodu was not imitating anyone else. Rather, he was single-mindedly contemplating, "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" Because his attention was devoted entirely to this question, he committed such an error. If you, on the other hand, set out deliberately to make that error, you are making a grave mistake. You shouldn't even think about doing such a thing.
為什麼會有這種情形呢?因為妙度禪師用功專心,一心一意參「誰」字,別的一概不知,所以把天王殿誤做廁所。有人在打妄想,我也學妙度禪師,不去廁所小便,來到觀音臺上小便。你故意這樣做,那就離道十萬八千里了。要知道妙度禪師不是學某某人的行為,他是一心在想「念佛是誰?」精神集中在一個問題上,所以才有這種現象。你想故意學走錯路,那是大錯特錯的,連這種想法也不可以有的。

It's said that "Being off by a hairsbreadth at the start will lead you astray by a thousand miles in the end." Some people are sitting in the meditation hall having idle thoughts: "How come the bell still hasn't been rung? When it rings, I'm going to stretch my legs and rest my back." Or we may wonder, "Isn't it lunchtime yet? I'm hungry as can be." Someone may even be counting the remaining time: "Twelve days have gone by, and we have nine more days to go until the merit and virtue is complete. I hope the time will pass quickly, so we can get this suffering over with." When people join a Chan Session, they ought to wish that the time would last, to give them more chances to get enlightened. Another person, as he sits, looks like someone sitting on a pincushion. He can't be still for a minute, but either changes his legs around or stretches them out to rest his back. Other people may be entering samadhi, but this guy is thinking up a storm; his idle thoughts are several layers thick. If one carries on like this, then what is the point of joining a Chan Session in the first place? Why maintain this pretense? It would be better off simply not coming in the first place; one would save oneself a lot of trouble that way.
所謂「差之絲毫,謬之千里。」在禪堂裏不用功修行,卻坐在那裏打妄想:「引磬怎麼還不響呢?開靜可以伸伸腿,直直腰。」或者打吃飯的妄想:「怎麼還不到吃飯的時候?肚子餓得受不了了。」甚至有人在數時間:「已經過去十二天,還有九天就功德圓滿了,快點過去吧!免得受罪。」人家打禪七,希望時間越長越好,能有開悟的機會;他坐在禪凳上,好像坐在針墊上,時刻不安寧,不是換腿,就是伸腰。人家在入定,他在想入非非,妄想重重。既然是這樣,何必來打禪七,裝模作樣做什麼?乾脆不要來參加,免得自找苦吃。

Know, however, that we should hang the question of birth and death right between our eyebrows, so that when our eyes are open we are looking directly at it, and even with our eyes closed we cannot forget this question. We must work and cultivate in each consecutive thought; only then can we end birth and death. You, on the other hand, are not thinking about birth and death in each consecutive thought as you sit in the Chan hall. You're constantly indulging in idle thinking. You fear only that if your idle thoughts are too few, you'll take a loss! How pathetic!
可是你要知道,想了生死,應該把「生死」二字掛在眉梢上,睜眼看見生死問題,閉眼不忘生死問題。要念玆在玆用功修行,才能了生死。你在禪堂不是念玆在玆想了生死,而是念玆在玆打妄想,唯恐妄想打少了不夠本,這是多麼可憐啊!

People who know how to apply themselves don't indulge in idle thoughts for even an instant. It's said that, "Until we actually understand the great matter, we should be as if attending the funeral of our parents." Before we have resolved the important matter of birth and death, we should be as sorrowful as if our parents had died. In the meditation hall, we cannot let the slightest fraction of time slip by. We cannot let up for an instant. We must work hard at our cultivation at all times. When we apply effort to an intense level, there will naturally be a response. When there is a response, our skill will touch the Way. Even if you are already enlightened, you must continue to persevere and advance. Don't be lazy; don't get trapped at the "Transformation City" and stop making progress. Such ideas are the stumbling blocks of cultivation.
用功修道的人,一秒鐘也不可以打妄想,所謂「大事未明,如喪考妣。」生死大事沒有了,好像死了父母一樣地悲哀。所以在參禪的時候,一分一秒的時間也不可以空過,也不放鬆,時時刻刻用功修行。用功到了爐火純青的時候,自然就有感應;有了感應,功夫才能相應。就算已經開悟,也要再接再厲向前進,不可以躲懶偷安,化城自困,到此為止,不向前走了。有這種思想,就是修道的絆腳石。

If we know clearly that idle thoughts cannot be realized, why do we still indulge in them? If we know very well that they are merely idle thoughts, why don't we simply clean them up? Most people have this problem of knowing something is wrong but going ahead and doing it anyway. The truth is that we still can't see through things or put them down. We are attached to this and that, attached to men or to women, and as a result, we waste all our precious time.
明明知道辦不到,為何還要打妄想呢?明明知道是妄想,為何不收拾乾淨?這就是一般人的習氣毛病,明知故犯。說穿了,就是看不破,放不下,執東執西,著男著女,結果把寶貴的光陰都浪費了。

The time spent in the meditation session is most valuable; it is a rare opportunity that is hard to meet. During this retreat, I urge you to throw your idle thoughts out past cloud nine! Give your mind a chance to be clean and pure; concentrate on asking "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" without interruption. All of you should work hard and investigate! Investigate! Investigate!
打禪七的時間是最寶貴的,因為這是不容易遇到的良機。在這個期間,把一切妄想都拋到九霄雲外,讓心清淨一下,專想「念佛是誰?」不要打閒岔,大家努力來參!參!參!

A talk given during a Chan session in December, 1980
一九八○年禪七 十二月開示


Enlightenment Must Be Certified Before It Counts
開悟要印證才算數


People who claim enlightenment have to stand up to the test; otherwise, they are simply telling a great lie and will fall into the Relentless Hells.
開悟要經得起考驗,否則成為大妄語,要墮無間地獄。

Before the time of the Buddha Awesome Voice, any person could get enlightened, and he wouldn't need to be certified by another person. But after the time of the Buddha Awesome Voice, someone who feels he is enlightened must be certified by a Patriarch or an enlightened Good and Wise Advisor for it to really count. For example, The Shurangama Sutra lists the stories of twenty-five Sages who describe their perfect enlightenments and who request Shakyamuni Buddha to certify their attainments.
在威音王佛以前,人人能開悟,不需要有人印證。在威音王佛以後,自覺開悟的人,一定要經過祖師或善知識(已開悟)印可證明才算數。好像在楞嚴法會上,有二十五位聖人,各述圓通,請釋迦牟尼佛印證。

I'll now tell the story of such a certification. In the Tang Dynasty of China there was a Great Master called Yongjia (Eternal Excellence) who was born in Yongjia county of Zhejiang Province. Because he stayed in Yongjia all his life, people gave him the name Great Master Yongjia. After he left the home-life, he studied the teachings of the Tian Tai School and cultivated meditative contemplation. One day while reading The Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra, he suddenly got enlightened. Soon after, he met a disciple of the Sixth Patriarch named Chan Master Xuance (Mystic Law), and told him his story. Master Xuance suggested that he go to Tsao Creek to study under the Sixth Patriarch and to request certification of his enlightenment. To do otherwise, to claim that one has become enlightened by oneself, without benefit of a teacher, would make one a follower of the externalists who believed in spontaneity.
現在講一個印證的公案。在唐朝有位永嘉大師,他生於浙江省永嘉縣。因為他一生沒有離開永嘉縣,所以時人稱為永嘉大師。他出家之後,研究天臺教理,好修禪觀,曾閱《維摩經》,豁然大悟。後來遇到玄策禪師(六祖的弟子),永嘉大師就對他敘述此事。玄策建議他去曹溪參拜六祖,請求印證;否則無師自悟,乃是天然外道。

When he arrived at Nanhua Monastery in Tsao Creek, the Sixth Patriarch was meditating. Master Yongjia, full of pride, strode over to the front of the Patriarch's meditation seat. Without even making a half-bow or full-bow, he simply grasped his tin staff, walked three times around the Patriarch's seat, and then stood and rapped his staff on the ground.
他來到曹溪南華寺的時候,恰巧是六祖坐禪時間,他貢高我慢,來到六祖禪床前,也不問訊,也不頂禮,手執錫杖,右繞禪床三匝,振錫而立。

The Sixth Patriarch said, "Shramanas (monks) ought to possess the Three Thousand Modes of Awesome Deportment, and the Eighty Thousand Subtle Manners. Only when one's behavior is impeccable does one merit the name Shramana. [Shramana means "diligent and putting to rest." A Shramana "diligently cultivates precepts, concentration, and wisdom, and puts to rest greed, hatred, and stupidity."] Where do you, O Virtuous One, come from? And why are you so arrogant?"
Master Yongjia answered, "Birth and death is the only important thing, and impermanence comes with haste."
The Sixth Patriarch said, "Then why don't you embody birthless-ness; why don't you understand no-haste?"
Master Yongjia answered, "The embodiment originally was not subject to birth. When you understand, then there is no further haste."
The Sixth Patriarch said, "You have really grasped the idea of birthlessness."
Master Yongjia said, "Do you mean to say that birthlessness is an idea?"
The Sixth Patriarch said, "If it isn't an idea, then how can you distinguish it?"
Master Yongjia said, "Making distinctions is not an idea, either."
"You are so right! You are so right!" said the Sixth Patriarch, and thereupon certified him and made him his Dharma heir.
六祖說:「沙門應具三千威儀,八萬細行。行行無虧,名為沙門(譯為勤息:勤修戒定慧,息滅貪瞋癡)。大德自何方而來,生大我慢?」
永嘉答:「生死事大,無常迅速。」
六祖說:「何不體取無生?了無速乎?」
永嘉答:「體即無生,了本無速。」
六祖說:「汝甚得無生之意。」
永嘉說:「無生豈有意耶?」
六祖說:「無意誰當分別?」
永嘉說:「分別亦非意!」
六祖說:「如是如是。」乃授與印可證明,成為六祖的法嗣。

After Great Master Yongjia was certified by the Sixth Patriarch, he planned to return immediately to Kaiyuan (Primary Source) Temple in Yongjia. The Sixth Patriarch asked him to stay for one night, but the next morning he went right back to Yongjia. Because he had enlightened to the truth of the Buddhadharma in just a single evening, people of that time nicknamed him, "The Monk Who Became Enlightened Overnight." Afterwards, he energetically propagated the Sudden Teaching of the Chan School and is most noted for his Song of Enlightenment, which explains the state of sudden enlightenment. The Song is a masterpiece that will long endure and has become required reading for Buddhists.
永嘉大師得六祖大師印證之後,即刻要回永嘉開元寺。六祖留他住一宿,次日再下山回永嘉。因為在一宿的時間,便覺悟佛法的真諦,所以時人稱為「一宿覺和尚」。後來他極力宣揚「頓悟」的禪風,特作《證道歌》說明頓悟的境界。這是不朽的佳作,成為佛門必讀的功課。

Judging from the outside, we seem to be working hard at our cultivation here in the Chan Hall; but in reality, we are indulging in idle thinking and are not working hard at all. We may be thinking, "This is the Age of Science, and there ought to be a scientific way to get enlightened," and so we cogitate back and forth in a very unscientific way, like a fool prattling about dreams.
我們坐在禪堂裏,在表面看來,好像用功修行,其實坐在那裏打妄想,一點也不用功修行。心中想,現在是科學時代,應該用科學方法來開悟,想來想去,一點也不科學,這就是癡人說夢。 去十二天,還有九天就功德圓滿了,快點過去吧!免得受罪。」人家打禪七,希望時間越長越好,能有開悟的機會;他坐在禪凳上,好像坐在針墊上,時刻不安寧,不是換腿,就是伸腰。人家在入定,他在想入非非,妄想重重。既然是這樣,何必來打禪七,裝模作樣做什麼?乾脆不要來參加,免得自找苦吃。

People who claim enlightenment have to stand up to the test; otherwise, they are simply telling a great lie and will fall into the Relentless Hells. This retribution awaits any individual who advertises that he is enlightened and has realized sagehood. I hope that all of you will take careful note of this and not speak carelessly, or else you will undergo that kind of retribution.
開悟要經得起考驗,否則成為大妄語,要墮落到無間地獄的。凡是自我宣傳:「我開悟了!證果了!」都要受此報。希望各位謹慎再謹慎,不可以任意亂語,要受果報的。

We wake up very early and don't rest until very late. Why do we cultivate so arduously? Because one extra minute of meditation gives us an extra minute of opportunity to get enlightened. Even though we're gathered together in the meditation hall to concentrate on the question, "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" and we cannot say that no one is concentrating on his task, those who really want to get enlightened and obtain benefit are certainly in the minority. Most people are not serious or enthusiastic about meditation; they merely go through the motions and waste time. If you spend your retreat like this, you won't get enlightened even to the ends of the future. My hope is for many people to get enlightened in this country, so that they can help Buddhism in the future.
我們現在很早就起來,很晚才休息,為什麼要這樣苦修呢?因為多一分鐘的參禪,就多一分鐘開悟的機會。現在大家雖然都坐在禪堂聚精會神在參「念佛是誰?」其中不能說沒有人專心用功,可是真正想要開悟,得到受用的人,為數不多。多數的人都是對參禪不認真,也不熱心,敷衍了事,來混光陰。這樣打禪七,就是打到盡未來際,也不會開悟的。我希望在這個國家有多一些人開悟,對佛教前途才能有所幫助。

We must not talk during the Chan retreat, nor should we indulge in idle thoughts. Apply effort with sincerity; only then can you attain a response and uncover your wisdom. Once you have wisdom, you won't be upside-down. Only if you aren't upside-down can you teach living beings. If you yourself haven't yet figured out the true principles, how can you teach others? That would simply be a case of the blind leading the blind, which is very dangerous.
在打禪七期間,不要講話,不要打妄想,要拿出真心來用功,才會有感應,才能開智慧。有了智慧,才不會顛倒;不顛倒才能教化眾生。自己對道理還弄不清楚,怎能去教化他人,這豈不是以盲引盲嗎?這是很危險的。

Chan meditators are like farmers who sow in the spring; arduously weed, water, hoe, and fertilize in the summer; and harvest in the autumn, so that they can be full and warm in the winter. A farmer's year-long expectation is to be amply fed and warmly clothed. Investigating Chan is the same: we must carefully guard our thoughts and watch over ourselves at all times. As we walk and sit in the Chan hall, we should know whether or not we are applying effort. In general, whether walking, standing, sitting, or reclining, we should cultivate diligently. We can use whatever method we feel is right for us; there is no restriction. For example, if we feel that investigating the meditation topic is not suitable for us, we can recite the Buddha's name or cultivate the method of "stopping and contemplating." Only with a method that is appropriate for us can we succeed.
參禪,好像農夫在春天播種五穀的種籽,在夏天努力的耕耘、灌溉、除草、施肥,到秋天才可以豐收,到冬天才能得到飽暖,農夫一年的希望就是豐衣足食。參禪也是這樣,要兢兢業業守住念頭,時時刻刻管住自己。在禪堂裏,行的時候用功否?坐的時候用功否?總而言之,行住坐臥都要用功修行。覺得用什麼功相應,就用什麼功,沒有什麼限制。譬如,參話頭覺得不相應,可以念佛,或者修止觀。只要相應,就會有成就。

No matter which method we use, we must concentrate and get rid of all idle thoughts. When we concentrate to the ultimate point, there will be good news. If we have a profusion of idle thoughts, then no matter what method we use, it won't work for us. People who truly apply themselves don't even know when they are walking and sitting; how much less could they engage in idle thoughts? All they know is the question, "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" They keep investigating it in their minds without ever forgetting it. They're unaware of thirst, hunger, or feeling hot or cold. Why don't they know these things? It's because they are concentrating single-mindedly. They aren't aware of stiffness in their back or pain in their legs; they have no thoughts at all, except for "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" They are constantly raising the question and letting it go; dropping it, only to pick it up again. They use this skill ceaselessly, in thought after thought, at all times. When their effort reaches an extreme, they may bump into something and suddenly get enlightened.
無論用什麼功,心都要專一,沒有妄想,用到極點,便有消息。如果妄想重重,用什麼功,也不會相應。凡是真正用功的人,行不知行,坐不知坐,行坐都不知道,怎麼會打妄想呢?只知道「念佛是誰?誰在念佛?」這個疑問,要念念不忘,常在心中參。在這個時候,渴不知渴,飢不知飢。冷不知冷,熱不知熱。為什麼不知道?因為專一其心的緣故,腰痠不知痠,腿疼不知疼,什麼念頭都沒有了,只有唯一的念頭––「念佛是誰?」常提起來又放下,放下又提起來,時時刻刻,綿綿密密,接接連連而不間斷來用功夫。用到極點的時候,或者撞著,或者碰著,忽然間就開悟了。

Why haven't you been suddenly enlightened? It's because you aren't concentrated, and you don't know how to "understand your mind and see your nature." You don't know the state of returning to the origin. You don't know where your hometown is. You prefer instead to be the prodigal son who wanders adrift in foreign lands. In the end, I still say the same thing: investigate "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" until you reach a state where, "The mountains end, the waters dry up, and you fear there is nowhere left to go; there, beyond the dark willows and the bright flowers, you'll find another village."
為什麼你沒有豁然開悟?因為你沒有專心致志,你不知明心見性的道理,不知返本還原的境界,不知家鄉在何處?而願意做流浪異地的窮子。最後還是說這一句話:參「念佛是誰?」參到「山窮水盡疑無路」的時候,就會有「柳暗花明又一村」的境界。

A talk given during a Chan session in December, 1980
一九八○年禪七 十二月開示