http://books.google.com.sg/books?id=H6A674nlkVEC&pg=PA21&lpg=PA21

From Bendowa, by Zen Master Dogen

Question Ten:

Some have said: Do not concern yourself about birth-and-death. There is a way to promptly rid yourself of birth-and-death. It is by grasping the reason for the eternal immutability of the 'mind-nature.' The gist of it is this: although once the body is born it proceeds inevitably to death, the mind-nature never perishes. Once you can realize that the mind-nature, which does not transmigrate in birth-and-death, exists in your own body, you make it your fundamental nature. Hence the body, being only a temporary form, dies here and is reborn there without end, yet the mind is immutable, unchanging throughout past, present, and future. To know this is to be free from birth-and-death. By realizing this truth, you put a final end to the transmigratory cycle in which you have been turning. When your body dies, you enter the ocean of the original nature. When you return to your origin in this ocean, you become endowed with the wondrous virtue of the Buddha-patriarchs. But even if you are able to grasp this in your present life, because your present physical existence embodies erroneous karma from prior lives, you are not the same as the sages.

"Those who fail to grasp this truth are destined to turn forever in the cycle of birth-and-death. What is necessary, then, is simply to know without delay the meaning of the mind-nature's immutability. What can you expect to gain from idling your entire life away in purposeless sitting?"

What do you think of this statement? Is it essentially in accord with the Way of the Buddhas and patriarchs?



Answer 10:

You have just expounded the view of the Senika heresy. It is certainly not the Buddha Dharma.

According to this heresy, there is in the body a spiritual intelligence. As occasions arise this intelligence readily discriminates likes and dislikes and pros and cons, feels pain and irritation, and experiences suffering and pleasure - it is all owing to this spiritual intelligence. But when the body perishes, this spiritual intelligence separates from the body and is reborn in another place. While it seems to perish here, it has life elsewhere, and thus is immutable and imperishable. Such is the standpoint of the Senika heresy.

But to learn this view and try to pass it off as the Buddha Dharma is more foolish than clutching a piece of broken roof tile supposing it to be a golden jewel. Nothing could compare with such a foolish, lamentable delusion. Hui-chung of the T'ang dynasty warned strongly against it. Is it not senseless to take this false view - that the mind abides and the form perishes - and equate it to the wondrous Dharma of the Buddhas; to think, while thus creating the fundamental cause of birth-and-death, that you are freed from birth-and-death? How deplorable! Just know it for a false, non-Buddhist view, and do not lend a ear to it.

I am compelled by the nature of the matter, and more by a sense of compassion, to try to deliver you from this false view. You must know that the Buddha Dharma preaches as a matter of course that body and mind are one and the same, that the essence and the form are not two. This is understood both in India and in China, so there can be no doubt about it. Need I add that the Buddhist doctrine of immutability teaches that all things are immutable, without any differentiation between body and mind. The Buddhist teaching of mutability states that all things are mutable, without any differentiation between essence and form. In view of this, how can anyone state that the body perishes and the mind abides? It would be contrary to the true Dharma.

Beyond this, you must also come to fully realize that birth-and-death is in and of itself nirvana. Buddhism never speaks of nirvana apart from birth-and-death. Indeed, when someone thinks that the mind, apart from the body, is immutable, not only does he mistake it for Buddha-wisdom, which is free from birth-and-death, but the very mind that makes such a discrimination is not immutable, is in fact even then turning in birth-and-death. A hopeless situation, is it not?

You should ponder this deeply: since the Buddha Dharma has always maintained the oneness of body and mind, why, if the body is born and perishes, would the mind alone, separated from the body, not be born and die as well? If at one time body and mind were one, and at another time not one, the preaching of the Buddha would be empty and untrue. Moreover, in thinking that birth-and-death is something we should turn from, you make the mistake of rejecting the Buddha Dharma itself. You must guard against such thinking.

Understand that what Buddhists call the Buddhist doctrine of the mind-nature, the great and universal aspect encompassing all phenomena, embraces the entire universe, without differentiating between essence and form, or concerning itself with birth or death. There is nothing - enlightenment and nirvana included - that is not the mind-nature. All dharmas, the "myriad forms dense and close" of the universe - are alike in being this one Mind. All are included without exception. All those dharmas, which serves as "gates" or entrances to the Way, are the same as one Mind. For a Buddhist to preach that there is no disparity between these dharma-gates indicates that he understands the mind-nature.

In this one Dharma [one Mind], how could there be any differentiate between body and mind, any separation of birth-and-death and nirvana? We are all originally children of the Buddha, we should not listen to madmen who spout non-Buddhist views.

..................

Chinese translation:

道元禅师《办道话》-洪文亮老师(日中)翻译 (12/11/2009)
问:有人说不要怕生死,因为有一种很快可以出离生死的方法。这就是说只要知道心性常住就对了。此身有生有灭,可是心性却不灭。假如知道不生不灭的心性在我们的身中,就是我们本性,而身体是一个假相,死此生彼不定,心却常住在过去现在未来而不变,如能这样了解便永远解脱生死。此生死时,即入性海,入性海自然就有诸佛如来的妙德,现在虽然已经明白这个道理,因为被前世的妄业所成的身体还在,所以还不能和诸圣一样。如果还不知道此理,那就永远会在生死海中头出头没。因此之故,只要你赶快明了心性的常住,何必闲坐空过一生,等待空花结果?这样的说法,是诸佛诸祖正传的法吗?

答:现在你所说的完全不是佛法,是仙尼外道之见。这个外道之见是说,我们身体里有个灵知,这个知,遇缘就能分别善恶是非、痛痒苦乐。而此灵性当此生灭时,离此生彼,看来似乎此灭彼生,所以认为常住不灭,这是外道之见。他们以为这是佛法,简直是把瓦砾当金宝,这种痴迷真可羞,无以为喻。大唐国的慧忠国师深诫这个说法,计著心常相灭的邪见,以为是诸佛的妙法,起生死的本因,而以为能离生死,非愚为何?可叹可伶!要知道这是外道的邪见,不可听!事到如今不得已,为了伶悯这些人,救救此邪见,我再来申说一番。

佛法本来说明身心一如、性相不二,印度中国都知道这个道理,哪能违背?何况若要说常住,万法都是常住,不分身与心;要说寂灭,诸法都是寂灭,还要分心与相吗?说身灭心常,不是违背正理吗?不只这样,应该要了解生死就是涅槃,不可以在生死之外说涅槃。再说,以为心离开身体而常住,以这样的了解,妄计为解脱生死的佛智,要知道这个了解知觉之心,还不是在生灭中而不常住吗?这个见解便不攻自破。仔细体会身心一如是佛法的要旨,怎么说此身生灭时,唯独此心离身而不生灭!假如有时一如,有时非一如的话,佛所说的自然都是虚妄不可信。又认为生死必须要厌离,难免就犯了谤佛之罪,可不慎哉?要知道佛法有心性大总相法门,包括一大法界,不分性相,不说生灭,菩提涅槃也都是心性。一切诸法万象森罗都是一心,这些诸法皆平等一心,毫无差别,这是佛家所说的心性。可以在一法上分身心,分生死涅槃吗?既然我们都是佛的学生,不要去听狂人胡言乱语、这些外道之见。
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