One dharma is not different from another.
The deluded mind clings to whatever it desires.
In complete enlightenment, there are no different dharmas, or objects
of existence; there is only the one Dharma. But you cannot say that
this one, perfect Dharma either exists or does not exist. To exist, it
would have to be opposed to something else that does not, and vice
versa. Buddhism does not speak in terms of opposites or of the
absolute. Nothing can be absolutely affirmed or denied. When you attach
to or reject anything, you are in a position of duality with that
In most religions, if you reach a stage where you identify completely
with the universe, it would be considered the ultimate, or great
harmony. But, according to Buddha Dharma, this is not the highest
stage, since some thought still remains. After you concentrate your
scattered mind, you reach the stage of unified mind. There are various
levels of unified mind -- the unity of self and universe, the unity of
body and mind, and beyond this, just one mind remaining. The unity of
self and universe is a joyous experience. You feel at one with the
flowers and the trees and with everyone around you. You may feel
liberated. But this is still not Ch'an.
If there is only one Dharma, it is erroneous to seek the Dharma outside
or within yourself. That would create a duality. Some people imagine
that getting enlightened is seeing a Buddha nature within themselves. I
tell you that there is nothing to see. Whatever you see is an illusion.
Buddha nature is empty nature. If you seek something, how can you get
to emptiness? The Diamond Sutra says that there is no Dharma form and
also that there is nothing that is not the form of the Dharma. Thus we
should not become attached to either existence or emptiness.
Using mind to cultivate mind --
Is this not a great mistake?
When you practice, you are using your mind to work on your mind. You
use a deluded thought, the method, to reduce your other deluded
thoughts. But the real Ch'an is methodless. No-method is to practice
with nothing in your mind, and to be clearly aware that there is
nothing in your mind. Moment by moment, maintain the state of
no-thought. If a thought arises, just return to no-thought. If I ask
you a question while you were in this state you would answer
spontaneously. If you have to think about what to say, your mind is
already moving. Nowadays, it is impossible for most to maintain this
state of mind. In the past, practitioners were able to put in twenty or
more years of solid practice. It is difficult for one with a daily work
routine to do this. But you should still be aware that although you
rely on a method, whether it be breath counting, kung-an, or reciting
the Buddha's name, it is not the true Ch'an. The true Ch'an transcends
The erring mind begets tranquility and confusion;
In enlightenment there are no likes or dislikes.
Before enlightenment, people distinguish between a quiescent state,
which they call "nirvana," and a chaotic state, which they call
"samsara." They want to leave samsara behind and enter nirvana. But
seeking to leave the world of noise and confusion to get to a peaceful
place is like looking for a rabbit with horns. There is no Buddha
Dharma to be found outside of this world. In the Platform Sutra, the
Sixth Patriarch says that to leave the world is to be in the world.
The true practitioner does not despise a chaotic environment, nor does
he need to go deep into the mountains. He just flows with causes and
conditions. Wherever he is, that is his place of practice. He does not
feel cramped in a crowded place, nor does he feel lonely in an isolated
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