10 Awareness of Vexations Object is object because of the subject; Subject is subject beca

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10 Awareness of Vexations ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Object is object because of the subject; Subject is subject because of the object. Know that the two Are originally one emptiness. In one emptiness the two are the same, Containing all phenomena. These lines describe a non-discriminating mind in which, nevertheless, there is perfectly clear discrimination. In the course of practice, the more negative things you discover about yourself, the clearer you will be as to the road you should walk. After leaving mainland China, I was conscripted into the Nationalist army in Taiwan. At that time, everything was in a state of confusion and the troops were crowded together in a warehouse. In this warehouse there were no windows or lights, and at night people couldn't see their way to the toilet so many just relieved themselves where they were. Others who decided to feel their way outside ended up stepping on the mess in the dark. However, at daybreak one could see the shit very clearly and avoid it. It was a mistake to imagine that just because you couldn't see it, there was no shit on the floor. Those who have never taken up the practice are like the people in that dark room. No matter where they walk, they step into shit. Coming to retreat is like putting a light into the room. Maybe the light will only stay on for a minute, but at least you can see some of the problem areas. Gradually, you will be able to tell exactly where the shit is and where it isn't. The more you know, the less likely you will step in it. But to get angry when you discover problems would just be adding trouble to trouble. It would be as if, after realizing you stepped on some shit, you did it again just to punish yourself. Retreats are like road repair. When there is a problem underneath the road, the workers break up the pavement in order to fix the cables, pipes, or whatever is faulty. After they finish the work, they pave over it again and everything is just as it was before. Likewise, in order to make our own repairs, we have to break up the road and mess things up temporarily. Thus discovering one's problems in the course of practice is very useful, but do these problems actually exist? Yes, the miseries of the retreat are quite real. You are truly tired and uncomfortable. You are definitely in this place and not some other. Yet you must look at non-existence from the point of view of existence. When you can't concentrate on the method, when you haven't gotten enough sleep, and when your legs are painful, it is all really happening. But originally your legs were not painful. It was only after you started sitting that they became painful. If you stretch out your legs they will no longer be painful. Thus when you experience pain you should keep in mind that it doesn't have a true existence. If it did, it would be there even when you were not meditating. Though some of you have trouble concentrating, it cannot be that during the entire retreat there has not been at least once when you could concentrate to some extent. If you can use your method even for a very short time, that already lets you know that your scattered mind does not have true existence. Do not be fearful when your mind is scattered; just recognize that it is temporary. But when you succeed in concentrating, is that mind real? Of course not. If the mind were truly concentrated, it could not become scattered again. Now if both the scattered mind and the concentrated mind are unreal, that means there is originally no mind. If this is so, it should be very easy to progress in the practice. To be aware that mind does not exist will strengthen your faith, even though you have not experienced no mind. So long as you have faith in the non-existence of mind you can keep on practicing without any anxiety or disappointment. A small setback does not mean that you have failed; it is just that the time has not yet arrived. If you climb half-way up a mountain, you cannot say that you have failed. You just need to continue climbing until you reach the summit. One time I was in a car with a few people, driving up a mountain. After two hours, I asked the driver, "What's going on? We don't seem to be getting anywhere on this mountain." He said, "Actually, we have reached the top. It was a very flat, gradual rise." Now let us look at existence from the point of view of emptiness. For example, a monk cannot say that women do not exist just because he does not have relationships with them. There is a story I often tell from the kung-ans. A monk who was practicing Ch'an was being supported by an old woman, who provided him with a hut and daily offerings of food. One day she decided to test his practice. She told her beautiful daughter to bring the monk his food, and then embrace him. The next day, the old woman asked the monk, "How did you find my daughter?" He replied, "Like dry wood leaning against a cold rock." With that, she grabbed a broom and shooed him away, saying, "All this time I thought you were a man of Ch'an!" Although this monk had reached a deep level of practice, he had not yet realized Ch'an. Being attached to emptiness, he denied existence. During a retreat, you can enter a state where you do not taste your food or know where you are walking. You do not recognize the person you are looking at. In this condition, your body follows the normal routine, but your mind is totally absorbed in the method. You have entered the great doubt sensation. Prior to this, when your mind is still scattered, I tell you to concentrate carefully on whatever you are doing, and to maintain a total awareness of every action. When you are completely focused, you may slip into the next stage, where you lose awareness of your body, even as it continues to function smoothly and automatically. The third level is a return to total awareness. However, unlike the first level, there are no scattered thoughts whatsoever. When you are eating, you are just eating. When you are sleeping, you are just sleeping. No more, no less. Originally you had to work very hard on your method, but when you get to the second level, everything flows naturally. The practice just keeps moving like a ball rolling down a hill. At that time, even though you are practicing very well, you would not think of yourself as practicing. This is called the true existence of emptiness. That is to say, you feel that nothing exists, but your mind is really there, working on the method. The experience of one's method and body disappearing can be due to two factors. On the one hand, one can slip into a kind of nebulous state out of pure laziness. On the other hand, a person using the method very well is just like someone so accustomed to riding a horse that they forget the horse beneath them. This is a good phenomenon. A person who has arrived at enlightened mind is looking at existence from the standpoint of emptiness. Once a Ch'an master was asked by his disciple, "If many calamities were to appear before you at once, what would you do?" The master answered, "Red is not white and green is not yellow. Whatever it is, that's what it is." But isn't seeing whatever a thing is how everybody sees things all the time? During the Sung Dynasty, China was invaded by the Mongols. When a band of warriors descended on a certain town, everyone fled, including the soldiers and the monks in the temples. When the Mongols entered the gates, they found that one Ch'an master had remained. Thinking that he stayed behind as part of a plot, they brought him before their general. When asked why he did not flee, he said, "Everybody has to die sometime. I could die here. I could die there. Why should I flee?" The general asked, "You are not afraid of death?" The monk replied, "I would not say that I am hoping to die. But if my time has come, then that's that." The general said, "I'm going to kill you." The monk replied, "All right. But I want to tell you something first. Don't think that you are killing me. Is your sword capable of killing wind or water? If you slice into water, you just separate it for an instant and then it comes together again. If you cut off my head, you just separate it from my body, but your killing me is your own business. It has nothing to do with me, because I neither desire nor fear death." That is to say, after enlightenment everything exists, but not the self. We have talked of emptiness from the point of view of existence and existence from the point of view of emptiness. Both existence and emptiness are existing and non-existing. Do you understand? Don't worry if you don't. If you truly grasp the meaning, you are already enlightened. * * * * * * * *


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