Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Mind is the matter.

It is because beings have lost touch with our own true mind that we are bound to the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.

We take the ordinary thinking mind, the sixth consciousness, to be the true mind. Or we think the subconscious mind, the seventh consciousness, where the polarizations of consciousness arise, such as self and other, observer and observed, to be the true mind.

Great Master Huineng said "no thought" is the nondual thought of true suchness. Ordinary thinking mind is itself the true mind, but is thinking in terms of outflows and not realizing the seat, basis, or source of those outflowing thoughts. To turn the light of awareness around to the very seat of awareness is the practice of zen-samadhi.

To purify our minds doesn't mean to turn something that is impure into something pure, but to remind that which has always been pure that the confusion of "impurity and purity" is an illusion. What is it that has always been pure but does not know it? You. But then, thinking about yourself is illusion, Knowing your true self beyond self and other is insight. Thinking relies on the bifurcation or polarization of consciousness; knowing relies on the inherent underlying unity of mind. 

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Wonhyo's One Vehicle Commentaries

From "Introduction to the Commentary on the Root Karmas Sutra"
An Exegesis by Wonhyo

"The original Master's Two Truths and Middle Path are consequently a ford of an impossible path. The weighty and profound Dharma Gate passes beyond the principle of an impossible gate. Because it's an impossible path, one can't use having mind to walk it. Because it's an impossible gate, one can't use having walking to enter it. So by this usage, the great ocean has no ford, yet with a floating boat and oars one is able to ferry across. The empty sky has no ladder, yet with fluttering feathered wings one soars high. So it is known, with the Path of the pathless, as such there is nothing that is not the Path; with the Gate of the gateless, then there is nothing that isn't a gate. Because there are none that are not a gate, every matter in all cases becomes an entry to the gate of the profound. Because there are none that aren't the path, every place entirely is a road of return to the source.  The road of return to the source is quite level, yet there is no person to walk it. Entry to the gate of the profound is leisurely just so, yet there is no person able to enter it."

Note: The phrase "the original Master" refers to the Buddha.

The Korean Dharma Master Wonhyo (元曉法師, 617–686) is among the most well known and venerated Buddhist Masters in the history of Korea.  Like any good legendary hero figure, Wonhyo's life included wonders and portents such as a falling star entering his mother's womb at her pregnancy and a five-colored cloud covering the earth at his birth.  After his awakening, the stories of his behavior were very much like those told of the Chinese Zen Masters. For example, one day while lecturing in Korea, Wonhyo suddenly interrupted his talk, fetched a bottle of water, and spat the water to the west, saying that there was a fire in Shengshansi in China.  On one occasion he was singing in the street: “Who will lend me a handle-less axe, so that I can cut away the heaven-supporting pillar?”
Wonhyo is most famous for his enlightenment story of stopping in a cave shrine on a rainy night on his way to China to seek out a true master of the teachings, and while sheltering, he drank delicious rainwater from a bowl and had a restful sleep. Then the following morning he discovered that the cave was a tomb and the bowl was a maggot riddled skull cap. He was so disturbed by his revulsion on learning what he had been drinking, yet knowing that when he was drinking it, the water was deliciously thirst quenching, that he could not sleep the following night as he and his traveling companion Uisang, (625–702) were visited by ghosts from the tomb. With the contrast of the two nights contending in his mind, a line from the Treatise on the Great Vehicle's Arousing of Faith came to memory ("By being born in the mind every kind of thing is born" 以心生則種種法 T32n1666_p0577b22), and he had an awakening expericnce grounded in his own realization and proclaimed "the three realms are only mind" (cittamatra)(三界唯心) and "outside of mind there are no things" (dharmas) (心外無法).  
Wonhyo specialized in the One Vehicle texts and teachings. Wonhyo's commentarites include those on the Root Karmas Sutra, Queen Srimala's Lion's Roar Sutra, The Lankavatara Sutra, The Flower Garland Sutra, The White Lotus Sutra, The Sutra of the Diamond Samadhi, The Sutra of Union With Deliverance, The Brahma's Net Sutra, and The Mahaparinirvana Sutra. and on the One Vehicle related treatises the Ratnagotravibhaga and Treatise on the Mahayana Arousing of Faith. Wonhyo was famous for his emphasis on the harmonization of doctrinal disputes (和諍 K. hwajaeng), which is the signature move of the One Vehicle approach to the Buddha's teachings, and he received the posthumous title "National Master of the Harmonization of Disputes." (和諍國師)
In my studies for my translation of Queen Srimala's Lion's Roar Sutra I learned that Wonhyo's commentary to that sutra is no longer extant, but that he had the emphasis on the One Vehicle texts as listed above. Wonhyo has the only extant early commentary focusing on the One Vehicle sutra with the full title Sutra of the Root Karmas of the Bodhisattva’s Gem Necklace (菩薩瓔珞本業經, T24n1485) which has a direct relation to Queen Srimala's Sutra in regards to the description of the four basic Abiding State Afflictions and the underlying beginningless Abiding State of Ignorance.  In his "Introduction to the Commentary on the Root Karmas Sutra" Wonhyo says the teachings of this sutra are extremely subtle and, with a characteristically One Vehicle description, called them the "Path of the pathless" and the "Gate of the gateless." It is the first paragraph of his Introduction that is translated above. Wonhyo viewed the meaning of "root karmas" to be the karmas from the combinations of virtuous merits and wisdom used as the two oars to cross the ocean of the Buddha Dharma, and the meditation practices of calming (samatha) and contemplation (vipassyana) used as the two wings allowing one to fly high in the vast space of the Dharma-nature.


For reference, see also the translation by Jin Y. Park, "
Preface to the Commentary on the Sūtra of the Primary Activities of Bodhisattvas," pp. 62-66, in Collected Works of Korean Buddhism,Volume 1 Wonhyo: Selected Works, © 2012 by the Compilation Committee of Korean Buddhist Thought, Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism.