The Lighthouse in the Ocean of Chan


Chapter 10 A Frank and Sincere Talk on Chan

At the beginning of learning about Chan School, many questions stick in the heart. Seeing many great Upasakas such as Pang Yun and Gan Zhi, with such great wisdom, practiced at home without the need to retreat in solitude on a mountain. However, there were many great Chan masters such as Pu Yuan who did not leave Chi Yang for thirty years, Da Tong who did not come down from Tou Zi Mountain for thirty years, Li Zong who did not come down from Zi Hu for forty-five years, and Hui Zhong who did not emerge from Dang Zi Valley for forty odd years. After all should I now renounce, or should not I renounce?

Some say need to stop all virtuous deeds, and wholeheartedly practice meditation; some say not to practice meditation; some say need to die a great death; some say not to sit in stagnant water. Now whose advice should I follow?

Some say need to eradicate illusive thoughts; some say no need to. Some say even Bodhidharma's "mind like a wall" and the Sixth Patriarch's "not to think good, not to think evil" were all incorrect. Now which attitude should I adopt?

To the same koan, this Chan teacher replied in this way, that Chan teacher replied in that way. If both were correct, how come they were different? If both were incorrect, why were they selected by editors of Chan records? If there are correct ones and there are incorrect ones, after all which one is correct and which one incorrect?

Some say that only value your view, not value your activities; some say that need to have heels on the ground in order to become thorough. How is true view? How is genuinely on the ground?

Some say that there is no need to employ a tile chip to knock on the door - before the days of the five schools of Chan, no Hua Tou was ever used. Some say that small doubts lead to small comprehension, large doubts lead to large comprehension, and no doubt leads to no comprehension. Hence, need to ponder on some Hua Tou and raise some doubts. Now should or should not I ponder on some Hua Tou?

Suppose that it is necessary to ponder on some Hua Tou. Some say to ponder on, "All things return to one; where does one return to?" Some say to ponder on, "Who was I before I was born of my parents?" Some say that I was a body in the intermediate state between death and rebirth; that seems reasonable. Then could there be any doubt? Some say to ponder on, "Who is repeating the name of Buddha?" Some say, "I don't like to hear the word 'Buddha'," how to ponder on it then? Some say to ponder only on the word "Wu" [naught]. After all, how should one follow?

The ancients again taught people to obtain an entrance; after all, how would count as having entered? They again said to exit from here; where shall we exit from? where shall we exit to? how do we exit? They again said that there should be great opportune use. How would count as great opportune use? Again it is often seen that the ancient virtuous ones answered "how is the ultimate matter?" by breaking this or breaking that; after all, what were they fooling around about?

Some say to walk in a boiling cauldron; how to do that? With what attainment could one only then do it?

Questions as raised above have been written down by me, and stuck in the minds of beginning practitioners of Chan. Therefore, in addition to caning, shouting, picking and pecking, the ancient virtuous ones exhibited otherwise a frank and sincere discussion. Just as the so-called "sincere chanting of Buddha's name" in the Pureland School, how should we sincerely ponder on Chan? Now I do not mind carrying mud and water, clumsily accumulate all these, even though I am well aware that it resembles the long and stinky stocking of Grandma Wang, could hardly escape ridicules from virtuosos. In order to benefit beginning practitioners, I could not help myself.

First of all, should make up one's mind to practice renunciation. Not to practice renunciation is the root source of arrogance. He who talks about high ideals, scorns Hinayana, and advocates red lotus in fire and walking in a boiling cauldron, indeed has not a bit of the measure of realization; all his talks are pretentious masks to excuse his lack of renunciation. Let us ask ourselves, after all what kind of potential do we have? How do we compare with Teacher Wang? Even he did not exit from Chi Yang for thirty years. In Chapter One, "Redundant Talks," most of the ancients' precedents of renunciation cited were set by great Chan Masters, who are with great wisdom and great accomplishment, of the Tang Dynasty. They still had practiced renunciation to such an extent. Do we have wisdom comparable to a hair of what they had? Upasaka Pang cast family possessions into the Heng river, and relied only on doing bamboo work to support the family livelihood. Both his son and daughter remained unmarried. Everyone in his family was able to speak in terms of non-birth talks. Is our family like this or not? Suppose it is indeed like this, it is approved that although you are with family and yet are the same as having renounced; why? Day and night carving, polishing, and mutually encouraging on nothing except this great matter. Practitioner Gan Zhi, his wife and their daughter, were also like this. Although with family, and yet not hindered by worldly affairs. This kind of renunciation is much more thorough. It is not intended for you to leave the world, but rather that you could obtain an environment in which to devote all your efforts of a lifetime toward thorough examination of this sole great matter; not to be distracted by worldly matters, and disrupt the pursuance of this great matter. If at home you and your wife and children can daily encourage one another on this great matter, then your home would be a Dharma Hall of the Chan School, and you have been counted as having renounced. If you cannot follow the model as set by Pan and Gan, unable to discern upon matters of firewood, rice, oil and salt, and unable to penetrate through quarrels over trivialities, then upon hearing your wife's angry roar, the cane in your hand would fall. Madam Wang closed the door; I understand her intention. Buried alive under women's big red skirts! Serve as ox and horse to pay back the debts owed to your sons and daughters! Muddle along as a clothes hanger and a rice bucket! Bustle about as a moving corpse and walking flesh! Much too unworthy! Definitely need to reflect urgently!

Now that you do not renounce the worldly, what do you ultimately cherish and are lingering for? If worldly windings of fame and ties of wealth could not be untangled, then how could there be any share in engaging in thorough examination? As to the suffering of transmigration, the immediacy of impermanence, the scarcity of attaining human birth, and the rarity of learning Buddha Dharma, you definitely have not recognized clearly. Or you are buried in favorable environments, daily amidst others' praises, flattery, and other worldly gains and pleasures you muddle along laughing, without any desire to be on a bit of alert. Thus you definitely have no share in the Chan School. Should realize that this favorable circumstances is indeed the devil to you. Just as an ox being led to the slaughterhouse thinks that it is being led to the pasture for grazing, not until the knife reaches its neck or throat it would not know the fact. Why don't you pity yourself? Before you reached twenty or thirty years of age, you have muddled along and wasted precious time, floating hither and thither in the eight winds of worldly ups and downs. Human life is sustained between exhaling and inhaling; how many days do you still have to walk back and forth in hesitation? During this last period of the Dharma conditions of death are even more than ever before. World War could break out at any instant, with a burst of atomic or hydrogen bombs. Even your beloved wife and children who are inseparable to you for even an instant, your cherished properties and real estates of which you would not part with even a bit, your dear relatives and friends whom you could not leave an inch away, and your cherished societal careers which you have not failed to attend for even a second, all would not be difficult to be extinguished instantly. Leaving behind your intermediate state [between death and rebirth] body with heavy sins, floating about alone in the intermediate state, fully experiences the threats of wind, rain, and thunders, the dangers of steep cliffs and perilous rocks, and the pursuit by ghost kings and Yaksas; much too difficult to endure!

Eventually you would attain a place of downfall, King Yan [of hell] asks you, "Why didn't you practice renunciation in your previous life, ponder on Chan, and learn to become a Buddha?" Could you still use as excuses the worldly matters such as, charming wife was young, children were still in their tender ages, parents were still living, family properties were scant? If you reply, "Although I did not renounce the worldly, and yet I did take refuge in Buddhism, that should be sufficient for receiving pardon." King Yan thereupon says, "Didn't you say that you would knock down the old fellow Sakyamuni to feed dogs?" How would you reply? After judgment King Yan has you thrown into a cauldron of seething oil. Seeing you suffer and wail, King Yan again asks you, "You were arrogant all your life and advocated 'walking in a boiling cauldron'; now is just the right moment to display your attainment?" How would you reply? Or King Yan has you thrown between two mountains to be squeezed to the brink of death, and seeing you wail incessantly, he again asks you, "Why don't you display the ability to let the eastern wall hit the western one?" How would you reply? Or King Yan has you thrown into Freezing Ice Hell, where, up and down and in all directions, it is chilling white. Seeing you wail incessantly, King Yan again asks you, "Why don't you display the ability, the so-called 'silver bowl containing snow'?" How would you reply? At that time, the wife you left behind has married someone else; your sons and daughters love their own sweet-hearts; the fields and gardens are no longer yours; those who used to speak highly of you, are all disparaging you. Even if there are one or two relatives or friends who burn a paper house for you, can you then dwell in it? They burn some hell-bank notes for you, can you still use those? The evil Karma accumulated in the most favorable circumstances of your life are the most painful causes of the present bad fruit of suffering. However, regret then is already too late. Therefore, now you are advised to renounce the worldly in time. Are you willing to follow my advice?

All the patriarchs out of an urge from a grandma's heart said many words of alert for us; that is needless to say. Now I, this insignificant fellow, have stayed in solitary retreat for ten years, twenty years for your sake. Dwelled on cliffs or in caves also for your sake; lived on wild fruits and drank from mountain streams also for your sake; offered incense and lighted lamps also for your sake; prostrated and prayed also for your sake; was broken-hearted and wept bitterly also for your sake.

Up to now I am still in retreat in my hermitage in India, and have shed not few tears for your sake. Now, against my will, I am writing this long essay just to provide a good condition for you. "Hiring others to wail at father's funeral would not be the way of filial children." You should pity and love your own self. If you say that to renounce the worldly also takes timely occasion and suitable conditions, please allow three or five years to put in order family affairs, and then could put renunciation into practice. Please ask yourself, what assurance do you have that you would live three more years? Could King Yan grant you a leave of absence for three years or five years? Definitely should not make any more excuses for yourself, with years and months wasted in vain. Ancients said, "Right now give it up, it is given up; when you want to find a time to finish it, there is no time when it will be finished." Here I also make the final sincere advice to you:

Making up one's mind, that would be the timely occasion;
Mindful of impermanence, no longer wait for causal conditions.
Are you willing to renounce suddenly?
All worldlings are getting old in bustling about;
Who would renounce before death?
All good advices have exhaustively been stated by the patriarchs;
Now for your sake my tears are flowing down the cheeks..

If one has thoroughly and actually renounced, then mind will be pure, head clear, time ample, and inclination toward Tao ardent. Having these virtuous characteristics, foundation will be stable, and evil disturbances could be free from. Then one could seek Tao and look for a teacher. At this time all good deeds cannot be do without, and yet one by one the merits should all be dedicated toward this great matter of comprehension. As a person who has renounced already, one no longer dedicates the merits toward wife, wealth, posterity, or prosperity. Unless an entrance has been attained, one should not relax on doing good deeds. Once entered, do not be afraid of sitting in stagnant water; all good deeds may temporarily be stopped until use is attained, then resume performing good deeds. This is so-called "this side having comprehended, practice on the other side." As to glancing koans, before comprehension and meeting a virtuoso teacher, there is no harm pondering thoroughly through them. At least one should be able to believe that there is other transmission outside the doctrinal teachings and that inanimate objects preach the Dharma. Knowing the transmission outside doctrinal teachings, only then recognize that the grace of the patriarchs' teaching through setting examples themselves is superior to the grace of Buddhas' teaching through speeches. This enables one to bear blows and to receive roars. Knowing that inanimate objects preach the Dharma, only then recognize that everywhere there is the opportunity for knocking or colliding onto sudden great comprehension. Seeing the real examples of conditions for attainment as cited in the previous stages, one would thereupon understand this. Furthermore, one need to know the style of the ancients which is characterized as: "Sentences do not retain meanings; meanings do not retain mysteries; uses do not retain opportunities." Then, glancing koans would not be deluded by koans, and comprehending Hua Tou would not be hindered by Hua Tou. As to which Hua Tou is good to ponder on, there is no definite formula to follow. It all depends on which Hua Tou you feel could easily inspire your own spirit of enquiry. Pondering on a Hua Tou is not to look for answers, but to arouse the spirit of enquiry, which is where your emphasis should be. Holding up a Hua Tou and concentrating the spirit of enquiry; during the twenty-four hours of the day, while walking, standing, sitting or reclining, throughout the body there is only one spirit of enquiry. All the time the spirit of enquiry should remain whole, without mixing other thoughts. As a clear thought arises, strike it out; as a vague thought arises, strike it out; as delusions arise from all directions, strike them out in all directions. When the empty space arises, fight it to the finish. When nothing would arise, just keep on enquiring. Suddenly, upon one startle or one swat, the so-called "white ox on open ground" would naturally emerge. Definitely should not anticipate it. You simply remain in the state as if you had just lost both parents, and thought after thought as if trying to put out the fire on your head. One day without comprehension, one day without rest. Just keep doing the ploughing and weeding, without caring about the crop to be reaped. If perseverance is sustained, naturally success will come in time.

As to ultimately how would be counted as having entered, the ancients would not say; here I pour the whole vase out for you. First should know the reasons why the ancients would not say. This matter, once you indeed come cross, would naturally be known to you; whatever is said about it in advance is only a semblance, and yet that might cause you to imagine into confusions. Now it is revealed to you; what are the reasons for so doing? It is because in this last period of the Dharma, enlightened teachers who could verify it for you are very few, while arrogant Chan people are too many. Although this matter should not be revealed beforehand, and yet there is the necessity to verify it afterwards. If you should come across some arrogant Chan people who arbitrarily certifies for you, then you get a bit of cognitive view and, following their examples, become excessively arrogant. That would be doing harm all your life. Therefore, rather than avoid saying about it, it would be better to say a semblance. In this last period of the Dharma, many beginning practitioners are lazy and lack perseverance. If there are no conditions for verification, then they would easily get disheartened, or feel satisfied with scanty attainment. Therefore, here I am not afraid to go against the style of the patriarchs and become a laughingstock to virtuosos in giving you a semblant condition. Although the pointing finger is not the moon, but through the finger the moon is recognized. For those who have truly attained comprehension and entrance, there is yet no mutual interferences.

First, Bright Appearance - Compared with the mountains, rivers, and the great earth you saw before attaining entrance, everything appears to be extraordinarily clean and white, as if seen through a pair of crystal eyeglasses. What the ancients called as "white ox on open ground" is rightly this; what was referred to as "shining bright, completely naked, undressedly clean" is likewise this; the so-called "silver bowl containing snow" is also just this. For ordinary practitioners it is not never the case that brightness emerges. Either as a flash in a corner of the eye, or a layer, or confined to a room, or only for a while. This bright appearance is omnipresent and everlasting. As time goes on, it varies only in degrees. When thick, it is like sitting in a crystal palace; when thin, it is like the clear sky right after the rain has just stopped, extremely clean and white. There is no one place where it is not so; there is no time when it is not present.

Second, Absence of Thoughts - Originally, either having thoughts or having no thoughts is a dualistic way of speaking; as a matter of view, it is not the case that only absence of thoughts is right, while having thoughts amounts to being wrong. Nevertheless, when beginning to enter, definitely there are no thoughts at all. Why? At the beginning of entrance, the strength of comprehension is not strong, hence only when there are no thoughts can it have an opportunity to emerge. While thoughts are present, it is not easy to emerge. Until the stage of use is attained, only then can it emerge on all occasions of having thoughts, such as illusive thoughts, scattered thoughts, or evil thoughts, etc. Therefore, people who have just entered should pay constant attention to getting rid of illusive thoughts. It is only after attaining the stage of use that one could do without getting rid of illusive thoughts. Hence, the Sixth Patriarch said, "Hui Neng [the Sixth Patriarch] has no tricks, does not cut off all thoughts." However, this is not what people who has just entered could achieve.

Third, Mind without the Subject and Object Distinction - At the beginning of entrance, although the mind is fully conscious, and yet there is no sense that my mind is that which can enter, and the Bright Appearance is that which being entered. The mind at this time has returned to the nature of all things; one only feels clear and bright everywhere. One feels comfortable, at ease, tranquil, open and relaxed. For details the readers may refer to the article on Suchness in my clumsy [Chinese] work entitled "Record of Introspections."

Fourth, Breath without Exhaling and Inhaling - Originally, the Chan school does not talk about even the mind, not to mention talking about the breath. Nevertheless, as a matter of fact, this person who is still alive, definitely has not ceased breathing; it does not happen that, because you practice Chan, consequently you have no breath. With respect to activities and achievements it is improper to cling to the breath; with respect to verification of attainment the breath could serve as a condition for checking. Hence, Bodhidharma also said, "Speech without panting"; is this not talking about the breath? The breath at the beginning of entering the state of comprehension will all of a sudden stop, neither breathing out nor in. This state of comprehension occasionally emerge for not a long while. Right during that period the person would not know what has become of the breath. For people who have long abided in the state of comprehension, when they recall later that experience, they would naturally know that the breath at the time had ceased going out or in. While I am writing up to this point, I recall the ground-beating monk who demonstrated well a deep abiding in the entrance stage. Whenever someone asked him as to what was the intention of Bodhidharma's coming from the west, he would beat the ground with the cane in his hand. One day someone first hid the cane and then asked him that same question. He simply opened his mouth. At this time he was deep in the state of comprehension, the breath ceased moving, he could only resort to beating the ground to awake others; now that the cane was not at hand, and the breath could not travel, all that he could do was merely to open his mouth. This kind of state also demonstrates that Chan teachers teach others only through measure of realization, but not speech. In other cases even though they did exhibit words and sentences, those belong to personal demonstration of realization, but not to oral teachings. The ground-beating monk taught by demonstrating the stage of entrance; while others with the style of belching breath taught by demonstrating the stage of exit, as in the case of Shi Tou's teaching Yin Feng. Further, because the breath ceases going out and in, the sense of bodily weight is completely lost, one feels extremely light and at ease.

The four conditions above do not arise in sequence, but simultaneously. It is not only true for an individual, but is valid to each and every one.

Of the above four conditions, except the first one, bright appearance, which does not disappear easily, the remaining three are apt to disappear. Therefore, after entering comprehension, in order to maintain the state of entrance, it is necessary to practice meditation. Those ancients who did not allow the practice of meditation, only referred to the time before attaining comprehension and the time after attaining use. Before attaining comprehension it would be unsuitable; after attaining use it would be unnecessary. Some people misunderstood this reasoning, thought that once comprehended it would be eternal attainment, and hence no need to practice meditation. In addition, they could not sustain comprehension in daily activities. What a pity! Why not consider the fact that there were ancient virtuous ones who, after forty odd years of remaining in retreat from society, sometimes still would lose touch with comprehension. What ability do you have to do away with maintenance? As for diligent people, after entrance into comprehension, it is an opportune time to go into retreat. The ancients said, "Do not go into retreat before breaking the first pass; do not dwell in a mountain before breaking the second pass." Those who have just entered comprehension are rightly the ones who have broken the first pass. They would do well to undergo with earnest effort a great death. In the meantime they had better completely stop doing good deeds. The so-called "not to do away with good deeds" refers to matters after having attained the great use.

Those having really undergone a great death at the stage of entrance would have profound attainment in meditation, have attained a state of comprehension which advances daily, and consequently have developed supernormal powers to some extent. At this time definitely should not be lured by supernormal powers to engage in worldly businesses that are not ultimately beneficial to others, such as healing diseases or exorcising demons. Right then should proceed to cultivate the attainment of the second stage.

Why is the second stage called "exit"? Once having entered comprehension, and through ten years or twenty years of dying thoroughly, during all this time there is often a mind grasping this state of comprehension. What is called by the ancients as "indistinctly there seems to be something" or "faintly there is a ruling master" is the root of [the cycle of] life and death, and it should be utterly eradicated. Therefore, the ancients taught us "not to sit in the shell of no matters," or "not to sit in stagnant water," or "no to sit in the den of ghosts." They also mentioned the so-called "releasing the master of the pass," and "the second pass"; rightly they are referring to this matter.

How could one exit? After entering the state of comprehension in sitting meditation, having stabilized the comprehension, let go, and definitely died thoroughly, then reflect carefully upon this state of meditation to find whether or not there is a mind faintly grasping. If found, then let go of this mind completely; definitely make sure that there is not even half an iota remains; make sure that the True Suchness nature is blank, luminous, and revealing by itself, without the grasping of my mind. The previous state of comprehension, due to the letting go of even this subtle grasping mind, not only will not be lost into oblivion, but rather thereupon will be enhanced: the bright appearance becomes more extensive and stable, the mind field feels more comfortable, the weight diminishes more, the breath and even the inner breath ceases, the pulse and blood circulation stops, and the process of metabolism also comes to a standstill. The associated effects of prolongation of life and driving away of diseases are thereby attained, and supernormal powers are developed even further.

After coming out of the state of meditation, do not descend from the seat in a hurry. First, look to the right and stay in the state of comprehension; the bright appearance remains the same as before. Second, look to the left and it is also like that. Each action lasts two minutes. Then, release the mudra of meditation, extend forward the right hand to perform the mudra of granting fearlessness, and stay in the state of comprehension for two minutes, and the bright appearance remains as before. Then likewise for the left hand. Then release the right leg and rest the right hand on the right knee; remain in meditative state for one minute, and the bright appearance remains as before. Then likewise for the left leg and hand. Afterwards, slowly descend from the seat, slowly walk about in a meditative mood. Even without intentional efforts, constantly feel that the bright appearance does not fade away, and that the mind field is thoroughly vacuous. Thereafter, in the four bearings of walking, standing, sitting and lying, one naturally stays in harmony with Tao. At this time, to practice sitting in meditation or not are both allowed. At this time one may simply dwell on a mountain, and no longer need to stay in retreat. Previously, in order to concentrate on meditative states, engagements in all good deeds were suspended. At this time it is appropriate to immediately resume doing all good deeds; let each good deed be coming forth from the state of comprehension, without any attachment. At this time one could get in touch only with ordinary good knowledgeable persons, and may not plunge into sorrows. It is still premature to talk about the so-called "walking in a boiling cauldron." It is necessary to dwell on a mountain for ten years, twenty years so that the meditative force penetrating the four bearings of walking, standing, sitting, and lying, and the meditative state accompanying the arising of delusive thoughts will grow and accumulate. Only then is the time to approach the third stage of use.

The stage of use is to make use of sorrows to cultivate Bodhi. First, make use of the sorrow of anger by starting to work on horror which is a delusion of nature born of it. Definitely make sure that the state of comprehension attained at the second stage and the psychology of being horrified can simultaneously coordinate. At this time one should go to cemeteries where ghosts and demons are numerous, inside haunted houses, under huge trees, or into forests where monsters of the hills and spirits of woods and rocks dwell, to walk alone and sit alone. Right when the ghosts and monsters are disturbing and horror arises, definitely make sure that it coordinates with the Blank Nature [Sunyata] of the state of comprehension. At this time the state of comprehension would certainly become more penetrating and bright, while those ghosts and demons would benefit from the brightness of the state of comprehension. Under these adverse circumstances it is easier to practice; under favorable circumstances it would be much more difficult. Therefore, after trainings and adjustments in the midst of the sorrow of anger, one should approach and enter into the sorrow of greed. While gambling or playing mahjong, definitely make sure that while concerns over gain and loss, or benefit and injury arise, they are coordinated with the meditative force of the state of comprehension. As a result, the strength to apply expedient methods to salvage sentient beings would increase. Then go through trainings and adjustments in theaters and cinemas where forms and sounds are profound. Thereafter, train and adjust upon forms and sounds in a brothel, and then train and adjust further upon internal and external contact; that would be the attainment intended in the story about the old woman who burned the hut she built for a Chan practitioner [Cf. Section 1, Chapter IV]. What the Second Patriarch said as, "I am only adjusting my mind," was also this matter. Herein is a very hot cauldron of boiling water, unless one's attainment has reached home, one would rather suffer the insult of having one's hut burned down, than to fall into the snare. However, if the attainments at the foregoing stages have indeed been accomplished and reached home, and yet still unwilling to proceed one step further, that would be an inconsequential fellow, and rightly one whose soles have not touched the ground. At this time it would be suitable to leave native land for a distant, unfamiliar area, acting like a madman to go on a visit to frontier countries such as Tibet or Xi Kang where manners and etiquette are not emphasized and opportunities abound. One would not encounter the punishment of government nor be criticized by the elite of the society. At this time one has long since possessed supernormal powers, and women in these regions would know themselves to make offerings by surrendering their bodies. Therefore, the attainment will advance considerably. At this time definitely should not stay within the confines of societal rules, only concern with formal rules of conduct in order to preserve a hypocritical mask, but unwilling to apply efforts toward confronting sorrows. In ancient times as well as nowadays, how many manly fellows would often stop here, and consequently would fail to achieve great accomplishment; what a great pity! If the attainment has not reached home, [just as] where a lion jumps a puppy also jumps, certainly would lose the body and the life. Greatly need to reflect carefully upon oneself! Should not cheat oneself!

As to the way to apply efforts in practicing and adjusting when newly entered the stage of use, the "Hymn of Victorious King of Reflection" as contained in my clumsy work Collection of Hymns is introduced below for references:

The Hymn of Victorious King of Reflection

Salute before the indifferentiability of
Guru and my mind's Great Perfection

When cooperative unification is suddenly breaking up,
There is still on that branch the nectar of flowers;
O, bee! Pick it up,
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

When supernormal powers are desired,
Hoping someday to benefit others,
The strength naturally filled the body,
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

When sentiments are streaming,
Rushing one-way deeply and diligently;
In the same mutual understanding,
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

When working with one mind,
Still careful lest there be any omission;
It is just here,
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection.

When uneventful as usual,
Withered Chan is like a corpse;
Demeanor becomes alive,
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

When covetous scenes are present,
Iron dusts suddenly encounter magnet;
Go with the tide to enter the body,
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

When the mind of anger is agitating,
Wrath could not be limited;
Right away having joined together,
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

When engrossing dreams are lingering
In a stupor without awareness;
Suddenly in harmony with the truth,
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

When the mind of arrogance is surging high,
There is neither Buddha, nor Patriarchs;
Upwards step further,
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

When suspicion and envy are propagating,
As though shadows of ghosts are here;
Hitting on voidness and become joyful,
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

When worldly affairs are in a mess,
A corpse is torn apart by five horses;
Still, it is here;
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

When arguments are surging up,
Prejudiced and obstinate;
The analogy to echoes in a valley,
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

When wondrous pleasure is in abundance,
Repeatedly engage in fighting and repeatedly defeat it;
Chan unites with pleasure and joy,
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

When thoughts are absent and silence abides,
No threads of cloud in bright sky;
Spur oneself on to search into refined profundity,
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

When the joy of Dharma fully permeates,
Sing and dance to please oneself;
Got it! Got it!
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

When laughing and playing,
All manners of demeanor are displayed.
That is it! That is it!
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

When scenes are changing,
The trick assumes new posture;
In various ways enter the body,
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

When the eight winds of worldly concerns are blowing,
How could there be nothing to think about?
Inward and outward, both to tread on;
Recall to mind the Victorious Reflection!

The hymn above was composed for beginning practice of those approaching the yoga of one's own mind's advancement or the yoga of one taste. If the measure of one taste has been attained, this would not be needed. Chan teacher Da Tong said, "Wise ones would pick up when hinted." Why need to have said it in such cumbersome details! It was composed in lunar March of the year Yi You in the Tian Long Yan [Heavenly Dragon Cave] to the east of You County [in Hu Nan, China].

This is merely an expedience for beginning practice at the stage of use. Those who have truly and fully attained the first and second stages would, through the force of their measure of realization, naturally step into the stage of use. Just as what Xuan Sha said as: "Wise ones would pick up when hinted," there is no need to employ many expedient devices.

As to the stage of finish, this person has not attained the measure of realization at this stage, nor has experiences to offer. Nevertheless, at the level of view, it has been seen through. Novices should also first see through and up to this stage. However, seeing it through does not necessarily mean reaching it. To reach it, it could not be without having gone through the foregoing three stages. The finish without going through the first three stages is a false finish, and not a true finish. The main purpose is to familiarize application of the opportune uses of the third stage, so that it would become pure and natural, more and more pure until it is completely free from efforts and functional considerations. Then it would count as truly having finished. Carefully read the koans at the stage of finish, then one would know this.

Coveting fish at a deep pool is not comparable to retreating to knit a net. People who aspire to comprehend Tao should indeed start from practicing renunciation. Now I beg to ask, "Where is not Chan? Where to renounce to?" Try to ponder on these. If they could not be pondered through, even if renounced is still not there. If they could be pondered through, allow you to renounce without practicing renunciation. Pardon my chattering for so long.

Lunar December 10th, the year Ping Shen (1956-57)
Accomplished at the Five Locust Hermitage, Kalimpong, India

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