Transmission of light

Keizan. Transmission of light.


Jayata said, “I do not seek the Way, yet I am not confused. I do not pay obeisance to Buddha, yet I do not disregard Buddha either. I do not sit for long periods, yet I am not lazy. I do not limit my meals, yet I do not eat indiscriminately either. I am not contented, yet I am not greedy. When the mind does not seek anything, this is called the Way.”

When Vasubandu heard this, he discovered uncontaminated knowledge.

[. . .]

In this story in particular we find the most essential secret of study of the Way. If you think there is buddhahood to attain and a Way to find, and if you fast and do ascetic exercises with that thought, or sit for periods of time without lying down, or do prostrations and recite scriptures, trying to build up merits for attaining the Way, all of this is raining flowers from a flowerless sky, making holes where there are no holes. Even if you pass eons in this way, you will never have a bit of liberation. Indeed, not craving anything is called the Way, so even if it is contentment you want, this is still based on greed.

If you must indulge in sitting for a long time, this is the error of attachment to the body. If you would eat only once a day, this is still seeing food. And if you would do prostrations and recite scriptures, this is making flowers in the eyes. Therefore every one of these practices is based on illusion; it is not your original self.

[. . .]

What further buddhahood to attain do you see? What sentient beings do you see who can be deluded? There is no one who is deluded, no doctrine to realize. For this reason, though we speak of overturning delusion to attain enlightenment, or of transforming ordinary people into sages, all this is talk for people who are not yet enlightened. What ordinariness is there to transform? What delusion is there to awaken from? This is why Zen master Jiashan said, “Clearly there is no phenomenon of enlightenment; the doctrine of enlightenment deludes people. Stretch out your legs and sleep –there is no falsehood and no reality.” The essence of the Way is truly like this.

[. . .]

Do not hope for enlightenment on another day far in the future. Just look within your own heart, examining carefully –do not seek from another. If you can do this, hundreds of thousands of teachings and boundless buddha works all flow from here, covering the heavens and the earth. Just don’t seek the Way –all you need to do is maintain your true self.

If you do not know of the existence of your true self even though it has always been with you, you are like someone holding something in his hands while at the same time looking for that very thing. What a mistake this is! This is just forgetting one’s true self.

Now as we look at the matter closely, the sublime path of the Buddhas and the pure tradition of the Zen masters too are in this one thing alone. You should not doubt this. When you reach this stage you will not doubt what the Zen masters say.

In the forgoing story it says that when Vasubandu heard this he realized uncontaminated knowledge. If you want to realize uncontaminated knowledge, you should maintain your true self, you should know that from birth to death it is just this. There is not a single mote of dust to reject, not a single doctrine to grasp. And don’t particularly think of realizing uncontaminated knowledge either.

As usual I have a humble saying to explain this story:

The wind traverses the vast sky,

clouds emerge from the mountains;

feelings of enlightenment and things of the world

are of no concern at all.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s