29 Mar Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 31
[Series of Master Shen-Long expounding on the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom) Heart Sutra]
(Last week we ended with, “If you want to widen your breadth of mind, it is very simple: you accept all living beings, have no more divide, and no more ideas of I, you, or him; and then you will be happy.)
To have perfect insight of being master of one’s self Bodhisattva, you all should think attentively about this. If you want to be the master of yourself then you need to concentrate your efforts. At the time your mind activates with arising thought, put aside your distracting thoughts and delusional thoughts, concentrate to make the effort. Either you are preparing for a rainy day or you are worrying about this and that, remove them for the time being, and after a while, you will naturally benefit. This so-called benefit is precisely so that you can be in control.
The other importance to have perfect insight of being master of one’s self, it means one integrates with all living beings harmoniously. In the past, there was a gong-an (a study case in Dhyana (Zen) Buddhism) of a conversation between Su Dong-Po (1037-1101, a writer and calligrapher during the Northern Song dynasty in China) and Dhyana (Zen) Master Fu-Yin:
One day Su Dong-Po asked Dhyana (Zen) Master Fu-Yin: “What do I look to you?”
Zen Master Fu-Yin replied: “I see you like a Buddha.”
Fu-Yin also asked: “What do I look like to you?”
Su Dong-Po replied arrogantly: “I see you like stool.”
Later when Su Dong-Po returned home he told his younger sister what had happened. His younger sister was very smart.
She said to his brother: “Brother, this time you have lost.”
Su Dong-Po said: “I did not, he looked like stool to me, why would you say I lost?”
His younger sister replied: “The Master has a wide breadth of mind see you as a Buddha, because he is a Buddha. Your breadth of mind is that of a stool, so you see others like stools.”
After Su Dong-Po heard this, he felt very ashamed.
We all know Su Dong-Po was a Patriarch of a certain Dhyana (Zen) Buddhism school – the fifth Patriarch Zen Master Jie. So, he once had attainment to be a Patriarch, thenreincarnated next to become Su Dong-Po, and he forgot everything he had learned.
That conversations of his were pet phrases, and he acted recklessly out of instant pleasure. He received the answer and thought he had the upper hand, and thus, his younger sister hit the nail on his head with one word. We also are the same way, where you think “I have done all these good deeds, I am almost like a Buddha Bodhisattva”; you are having a dream. Or “I am atrocious and hopeless”, and you have these concepts which means you are imposing restrictions on yourself. Because these things are ways of behaving and looking at things in daily life. Or “I am an ordinary unenlightened one, this has nothing to do with me, I only need to be a good person and have a good heart and that is enough”; this is the source of your living afflictions. If you cannot see past them, then you will increase your afflictions and delusional thought, so your life will be lived awfully and without choice.
You say one’s life is good; one is also not living too badly.
You say one feels happy or not happy? One is unhappy and without happy feeling.
Since you are without any happiness, this means the whole day you are in all obstruction caused by suffering and misfortune.
What suffers the most? The internal spirit (soul) suffers the most.
The unpleasantness of the internal spirit (soul), one’s spirit is unhappy, there is truly no greater sorrow than a heart that never rejoices. We say, a true sadness is when the heart of a person dies and lacks the strength to live on. However, the ancients of Dhyana (Zen) Buddhism have addressed:
Striking your minds down to let your Dharma (true nature) Body show.
Everybody knows this. This can be explained when your thoughts no longer indulge in flights of fancy, and the brightness of your life is recovered.
We often mention this matter of “brightness”, where truthfully speaking, very few people can see this brightness. Most people are unclear about what this brightness is. They mistakenly think that a little bit of happiness is this brightness.
What is this brightness? It is when you no longer have any worries at all and includes no more worry about the fate of life and death, and then you will have brightness. We originally have the condition of non-birth and non-extinction, and there was no transformation of birth and death. We made ourselves believe that these things happen. If you can change to having perfect insight of being the master of yourself, then you can release yourself from all the obstruction caused by suffering and misfortune.