The Myriad Dharmas Returning to the One, Attaining the Liberation from Birth and Death
At this point, if I wanted to discuss this Dharma, the meanings would be infinite and boundless. Those few words of Dharma that Patriarch Bodhidharma spoke to Dharma Master Shen Guang were ineffably wonderful. Let these few sentences suffice to describe the event:
The myriad dharmas return to the one;
the one returns to unity.
Shen Guang, having not yet understood,
ran after Bodhidharma.
At Bear's Ear Mountain he knelt before him for nine years,
Seeking a little something to escape King Yama.
The myriad dharmas return to the one; the one returns to unity. Ten thousand dharmas return to one. It's said that:
A single source disperses into myriad differences.
Myriad differences return to a single source.
Well, if the myriad dharmas return to one, where does the one return? And how does one become unity? The character for unity (合) is composed of a person (人), the number one (一), and a mouth (口). Beneath the person is a one, and beneath the one is a mouth. Put together, they make unity. In cultivation, we should cultivate one Dharma door. The myriad dharmas return to the one; the one returns to unity. Unity can also be equated to zero (○).
Shen Guang, having not yet understood, ran after Bodhidharma. At first, Dharma Master Shen Guang did not understand the meaning of unity, and so he pursued Patriarch Bodhidharma.
At Bear's Ear Mountain he knelt before him for nine years. He knelt for nine years at Bear's Ear Mountain. Not to speak of nine years, we can't even manage to kneel for nine hours.
Seeking a little something to escape King Yama. All he wanted was for Patriarch Bodhidharma to point out something to him; he wanted to know how to cultivate, how to be able to end birth and death and get out of the cycle of rebirth. He wanted to know how to get beyond King Yama's jurisdiction. That's what he wanted.
This has been a description of some of the events that transpired when Dharma Master Shen Guang encountered Patriarch Bodhidharma.Once before when I spoke this public record, a child who heard it was delighted and asked me, "During the nine years Dharma Master Shen Guang knelt, did he eat or not?"
The child thought up a question about eating probably because he liked to eat and was afraid of getting hungry. If he didn't fear getting hungry, he could also try kneeling for nine years. Anyway, he first had to ask if the Dharma Master got to eat while he knelt for nine years.
I replied, "Of course he ate! How could anyone go nine years without eating and still live? When it was time to eat he could get up and eat. When he needed to relieve himself, he could get up and relieve himself. When the Patriarch ate, he ate, too. When the Patriarch meditated, he knelt. It's true he knelt for nine years seeking the Dharma. It's just that the records don't give all the details of his lifestyle."