Phap Hien was a Vietnamese Zen master. He lived in the late 5th century and early the 6th century. When he was a young monk at the Phap Van Temple he met Vinitaruci (?-594) who was one of the successors of Seng-tsan, the Third Patriarch...
THE LAND OF TRUTH
"The land of truth is pathless. There is neither thing nor way to transmit at all. All the practitioners are just toiling themselves in vain. It is like the monkeys on trees trying to catch their shadows reflected on the water suface."
Visitor: When you are home, what path or thing you are looking at or exploring for, SIR?
When your monkey-mind is as bright as the sunlight, what kind of shadow are you looking at or exploring for, SIR?
Unlike you, for people like me, I always have to remind my home-map otherwise I tend to easily get lost! Is there any land of truth other than this creation earth?
CT: It's not so, not what you have thought and said here. It is like a mirror. When it's covered with some dust, its reflection is not clear. When it's not covered by dust, its reflection is clear. It's also like sunlight. When it is blocked by some clouds, it gets a little dark shadow. When clouds are gone, the light shines bright again. That's all.
Visitor: Yes, it is! How is the mirror look-like/situation these days? Any idea, dear friend?
CT: It is not a mirror.
Visitor: So it is not a mirror afterall; and or not even as mind's mirror reflection platform (as a tool)?
Then why & how it is 'like' a mirror as you once said? You are not another Hui-neng the once a great Zen Master? Could you clarify please, SIR?
CT: First of all, this is a deluded old man and not another Hui-neng, the once great Zen master.
Secondly, when using the words such as "mind is like a mirror" is just an analogue for easier understanding a little bit. They are not an identical thing. The following verse would do the same function:
"When a swan's flying alone through the blue sky; Its reflection is sinking deep down in the cold water. The swan does not intend to leave its shadow on the water; And the water does not intend to hold the bird's image."
Just read the words, get the meaning and go directly to what is indicated.
Visitor: Thank you, SIR! This is a good illustrative example. So live as carefree as a swan which is zazening almost of its times. The mind neither let go nor hold. It is just happening spontaneously, neither inside nor outside, yet it is a still delusion of phenomenal picture in our relative life. The water would even evaporate to no trace. Is this the pureland of truth on earth, yet we claim to be the greatest masters on earth?
CT: What we need is to get in, to experience, to live with... Is it necessary to name or call something "the pureland of truth" or to claim anyone "the greatest master" on earth?
Could we look at a tree or a flower without the word "tree" or "flower" in our mind or brain? If we could, the world inside and outside of us would appear totally different.
Visitor: A baby/kid looks at a tree with no word of tree in his or her mind. What is the difference & what would the world inside & outside of us appear then?
CT: What you have said here is about the kid and not yourself in the state.
Visitor: True! When one with functional memory, then one looks at a tree is always a tree reflecting from memory upon eye & object contact. More so, when I am looking at the tree & I know it is planted in my garden & it belongs to me etc etc.
But if one is mindful enough with proper burning of concentration flame, one's mind is always at its no more no less state which means the mind is always fresh, sensitive, clear & sharp. At that moment, seeing remains as seeing, there is no I or tree there. Everything is falling into the right place at the right moment. The nature just behave itself naturally without you me & he involved, in other word, without attachemnt or ego. Where are we? Where could we be? I think we are still on earth, don't we?
CT: If what you have said here are not only the concepts but actually happen and the transformation occurs inside and outside of you, then you are on the right track.
Visitor: Look like I have to go for more often meditation retreat to maintain the required momentum of discipline, concentration & effort. Even though at retreat with all those favoroble conditions, it is not easy to totally shake off the concept of ego which is so dominating in our habitual life. Anyway, thank you for your kind comment/advice, SIR.
CT & Visitor 05/2/03
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