Thursday, October 22, 2015

Bodhidharma and the great hall of mirrors

Illustration by Clay Hickson, via Juxtapoz

MANY roads lead to the Path, but basically there are only two: reason and practice.

To enter by reason means to realize the essence through instruction and to believe that all living things share the same true nature, which isn’t apparent because it’s shrouded by sensation and delusion. Those who turn from delusion back to reality, who meditate on walls,’ the absence of self and other, the oneness of mortal and sage, and who remain unmoved even by scriptures are in complete and unspoken agreement with reason.

Without moving, without effort, they (we all) enter, we say, by reason.

To enter by practice refers to four practices:

Suffering injustice,
adapting to conditions,
seeking nothing, and
practicing the Dharma.

First, suffering injustice. When those who search for the Path encounter adversity, they should think to themselves: "In Countless ages gone by, I’ve turned from the essential to the trivial and wandered through all manner of existence, often angry without cause and guilty of numberless transgressions.

Second, adapting to conditions. I say, be a blade of grass.

Third, seeking nothing. People of this world are deluded. They’re always longing for something-always, in a word, seeking. The wise wake up. They choose reason over custom. They fix their minds on the sublime and let their bodies change with the seasons. All phenomena are empty. They contain nothing worth desiring. Calamity forever alternates with Prosperity!

To dwell in the three realms is to dwell in a burning house. To have a body is to suffer. Does anyone with a body has peace? The more reason to have it! Those who understand this detach themselves from all they have and stop imagining or seeking. The sutras say, To seek is to suffer.

The Way:

The Way is wordless. Words are illusions. They’re no different from things that appear in your dreams at night, be they palaces or carriages, forested parks or lakeside ‘lions. Don’t conceive any delight for such things. Don’t cling to appearances, and you’ll break through all barriers.

Your real body is pure and impervious. But you’re unaware of it. And because of this you suffer karma in vain. Wherever you find delight, you find bondage. Feel it. But once you awaken to your original body and mind," you’re no longer bound by attachments.

Using the mind to look for reality is delusion. Not using the mind to took for reality is awareness.

Freeing oneself from words is liberation. No appearance of the mind is the other shore.


When you’re deluded, this shore exists. When you wake tip, it doesn’t exist. Mortals stay on this shore. But those who discover the greatest of all vehicles stay on neither this shore nor the other shore. They’re able to leave both shores.

Delusion means mortality. Awareness means Buddhahood. They’re not the same. And they’re not different.

When we’re deluded there’s a world to escape. When we’re aware, there’s nothing to escape.

Limit of paradox:

If you use your mind to study reality, you won’t understand either your mind or reality.

If you study reality without using your mind, you’ll understand both.

Those who don’t understand don’t understand understanding. And those who understand, understand not understanding.

People capable of true vision know that the mind is empty. They transcend both understanding and not understanding. The absence of both understanding and not understanding is true understanding

When you don’t understand, your wrong. When you understand, you re not wrong. This is because the nature of wrong is empty. When you don’t understand right seems wrong. When you understand, wrong isn’t wrong, because wrong doesn’t exist.

The sutras say, Nothing has a nature of its own.


Don’t question. When you question, you’re wrong. Wrong is the result of questioning.