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Slicing Off His Arm, Dharma Master Shen Guang Solves the Problem
神光斷臂 考題交卷

The problem was stated and Dharma Master Shen Guang solved it. He wrote the essay. How did he solve the problem? He thought, "What a mess I'm in now! The falling snow is white. How could it turn red?" Aha! He raised his head and saw a knife hanging from a rock. That knife was a cultivator's precept blade. It hung there in readiness in case the time ever came when the cultivator faced a situation in which he would be forced to break the precepts.
In that case, he would rather use the knife to cut off his own head in order to preserve the integrity of his precept substance than to violate the precepts. When Dharma Master Shen Guang saw the knife, he had an idea. "Great! Since you want red snow, I will show you red snow." He took down the knife. Now, what do you suppose he was about to do? Was he going to kill Patriarch Bodhidharma? No. He grabbed the knife and with one swing cut off his own arm. That was how he solved the problem. He completed his essay.

出了這樣一個題目,可是神光法師就把這文章給作成了!文章怎麼作的呢?他一看:「這回糟糕了,雪都是白的,怎麼會有紅的?」一抬頭,哦!看見石壁上掛著一把刀,這把刀是修道人的戒刀,就是預備在逼不得已,一定要犯戒時,寧可把自己的頭割下來也不犯戒,保持戒體,預備這樣用的。 神光法師一看,啊!福至心靈了:「好!既然您要紅雪,我就給您紅雪看看!」就 將這把戒刀拿下來,你說他幹什麼?是不是想要殺達摩祖師?不是的。他拿了戒刀,就一刀砍斷了一隻臂;這是他對這樣的考試題目,所作成的文章。

The Snow that Falls from the Sky Turns Red; He Presents It to the Patriarch
天降紅血 呈示祖師

He cut off his arm. What happened then? Well, blood gushed out of the wound, dyeing the snow red. A lot of blood flowed and he mixed the blood with the snow, dyeing the originally white snow red. Dharma Master Shen Guang took something, perhaps a bamboo basket, scooped up a basketful of red snow, and said, "Patriarch, please take a look: now the snow is red."


He Seeks the Dharma with a True Mind; the Patriarch Transmits It to Him
真心求法 祖師傳法

Patriarch Bodhidharma took a look, "Really? Ah! It really is red snow." Actually, the Patriarch had the intention of helping him, he just wanted to test his true mind.
Well, the Patriarch was moved and said, "I did not come to China for nothing, after all! I have met someone who seeks the Dharma with a true mind, to the point he could cut off his own arm for the sake of Dharma. He truly has a bit of sincerity! All right! I will transmit the Dharma to you."
Thus, the Patriarch taught him with the Dharma door of a mind-to-mind seal and certification. He taught him with a direct pointing to the human mind that would allow him to see the nature and realize Buddhahood. He taught him how to cultivate it and how to apply effort. He said, "In China, you are the second patriarch," and transmitted to Dharma Master Shen Guang the Proper Dharma Eye Treasury, the Wonderful Mind of Nirvana.

達摩祖師一看,「真的嗎?啊!這真是紅雪!」這本來早就在意料之中,就是要考驗他的真心。br> 一見這個,達摩祖師就很感動了:「噢!我這趟到中國還真是沒有白來,還遇著你這麼一個真心求法修道的人,能為法斷臂,連自己的臂膀都不要了,這是真有一點誠心。好啦!就傳法給你。」

Searching for His Mind, He Cannot Find It; His Mind Is Already Calmed
覓心不得 安心已竟

After Dharma Master Shen Guang listened to the Dharma, his arm began to hurt. A while ago, he hadn't thought about his arm; he only thought about how he could get the snow to turn red. He forgot all about the pain in his arm. But after Patriarch Bodhidharma had finished explaining the Dharma to him, his discursive mind became active again. "Oow! The stump of the arm I just cut off really hurts!" Then he said to Patriarch Bodhidharma, "Ouch! My mind is in pain. I can't stand it! Please, Patriarch, quiet my mind."
"Your mind is in pain?" said Patriarch Bodhidharma. "Bring out your mind and show it to me. Then I will help quiet it for you and you won't feel any more pain."
Dharma Master Shen Guang searched for his mind. Where was his mind? He looked in the north, east, south, west, in the intermediate points, and up and down. It was simply not to be found anywhere! At last he said to Patriarch Bodhidharma, "I can't find my mind! It is nowhere to be found."
"I have already finished quieting your mind!" said the Patriarch. "You can't find your mind; I have already calmed it for you."
Upon hearing that, the Second Patriarch suddenly became enlightened. Those few words brought him to a great awakening. Having achieved a profound awakening, his mind no longer hurt, his liver did not hurt, nor did the tips of the hairs in his pores. From that time on, he cultivated the Dharma door taught by Patriarch Bodhidharma, known as "a direct pointing to the human mind that leads to seeing the nature and realizing Buddhahood; a special transmission beyond the teaching that is not set forth in words or language."
The Second Patriarch transmitted this Dharma door to the Third Patriarch, who in turn passed it to the Fourth Patriarch. The Fourth Patriarch transmitted it to the Fifth Patriarch. The Fifth Patriarch then transmitted that Dharma to the Sixth Patriarch. That Dharma has been passed down from generation to generation in China. Now it has come to America. But here in America, no one has knelt for nine years, and no one needs to. All you have to do is to bring forth a true mind to cultivate; then you will be able to attain this Dharma.

達摩祖師就說:「你心痛?把你的心拿來給我,我才可以幫你把心安好,這才不會痛。」br> 神光法師就找自己的心,心在什麼地方?東西南北四維上下,所有的地方都找遍了,覓心了不可得!於是對達摩祖師說:「我找不著心,沒有。」

The Myriad Dharmas Returning to the One, Attaining the Liberation from Birth and Death
萬法歸一 死生自由

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."

萬法歸一一歸合 神光不明趕達摩
熊耳山前跪九載 只求一點躲閻羅

“To Find a Buddha,     You have to See your Nature.    Whoever Sees his Nature is a Buddha.”


Bodhidharma’s Bloodstream Sermon / 《達磨大師血脈論》
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