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17816Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners

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  • medit8ionsociety
    Aug 14, 2011
      By Master Hanshan Deqing [1546-1623]

      I. How to Practice and Reach Enlightenment

      Concerning the causes and condition of this
      Great Matter, [this Buddha-nature] is intrinsically
      within everyone; as such, it is already complete
      within you, lacking nothing. The difficulty is
      that, since time without beginning, seeds of
      passion, deluded thinking, emotional conceptualisations,
      and deep-rooted habitual tendencies have obscured
      this marvellous luminosity. You cannot genuinely
      realize it because you have being wallowing in
      remnant deluded thoughts of body, mind, and the
      world, discriminating and musing [about this and
      that]. For these reason you have been roaming in the
      cycle of birth and death [endlessly]. Yet, all Buddhas
      and ancestral masters have appeared in the world
      using countless words and expedient means to expound
      on Chan and to clarify the doctrine. Following
      and meeting different dispositions [of sentient being],
      all of these expedient means are like tools to
      crush our mind of clinging and realize that originally
      there is no real substantiality to "dharmas" or
      [the sense of] "self."

      What is commonly known as practice means simply
      to accord with [whatever state] of mind you're in
      so as to purify and relinquish the deluded thoughts
      and traces of your habit tendencies. Exerting your
      efforts here is called practice. If within a single
      moment deluded thinking suddenly ceases, [you will]
      thoroughly perceive your own mind and realize that
      it is vast and open, bright and luminous, intrinsically
      perfect and complete. This state, being originally
      pure, devoid of a single thing, is called enlightenment.

      Apart from this mind, there is no such thing as
      cultivation or enlightenment. The essence of your
      mind is like a mirror and all the traces of deluded
      thoughts and clinging to conditions are defiling
      dust of the mind. Your conception of appearances is
      this dust and your emotional consciousness is the
      defilement. If all the deluded thoughts melt away,
      the intrinsic essence will reveal in its own accord.
      It's like when the defilement is polished away,
      the mirror regains its clarity. It is the same
      with Dharma.

      However, our habit, defilement, and self-clinging
      accumulated throughout eons have become solid and
      deep-rooted. Fortunately, through the condition of
      having the guidance of a good spiritual friend,
      our internal prajna as a cause can influence our
      being so this inherent prajna can be augmented. Having
      realized that [prajna] is inherent in us, we will be
      able to arouse the [Bodhi-] mind and steer our
      direction toward the aspiration of relinquishing
      [the cyclic existence of] birth and death. This task
      of uprooting the roots of birth and death accumulated
      through innumerable eons all at once is a subtle matter.
      If you are not someone with great strength and ability
      brave enough to shoulder such a burden and to cut
      through directly [to this matter] without the
      slightest hesitation, then [this task] will be
      extremely difficult. An ancient one has said,
      "This matter is like one person confronting ten
      thousand enemies." These are not false words.
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