Posted by: Wei Yu

Recently I've been watching snippets of dharma talks by one of the most famous Chinese Mahayana master around today (though probably not popularly known in the west due to the absence of English translations) who lives in Taiwan, Ven. Hui Lü (慧律法師; pronounced as Hui Lyu). He is so popular among the Chinese (especially in Taiwan, China, as well as South East Asia) that sometimes up to 200,000 people would fill the stadium to attend his lectures. Thusness and I thinks his speeches are very good. He is a lineaged Ch'an/Zen master (48th generation lineage holder of the Caodong/Soto school and the 42th generation lineage holder of the Linji/Rinzai school) and his wisdom is exceptional. Not only is he deeply enlightened, he is also very knowledgeable (he read through the whole of Tripitaka at least thrice over a period of 15 years, sleeping only one or two hours at night).

Decided to do some English translations.

p.s. to our Chinese readers, this video is also great but I did not transcribe it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_1TeV5y8eE

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4O-gAYr5k0

大 悟之人不见法。他没有任何东西,因为法法本空,法法不相到。也不见身。为什么?四大本空,五阴本来就没有“我”。所以,什么叫做照见五蕴皆空?色即是空, 受想行识即是空。为什么讲色即是空?色即是空,空就是佛性,色就是佛性的展现。所以,真正的悟道的人,他的心性流露在一切缘起法里面,即于生灭,即得不生 不灭的无为法,也没有所谓有为跟无为,刹那即见永恒,永恒就是刹那,平等不二。 因此我们要了解:不见法,也不见身。身,地水火风所构成的,四大本来就空,五蕴——色受想行识,本来就是不可得。一切法,智者了知一切法,本来就无我。这无我里面,当下就是佛性。所以,佛法讲否定的时候,凡所有相,皆是假相。讲肯定的时候,尘尘都是真心,每一个颗粒微尘都是真心的影现,一切法全部都是真。 当他破除无明烦恼、破除执着、破除分别的时候,完全都是真心展现的,尘尘尽是真,没有一法不是真心,这个是站在肯定的角度。站在否定的角度,是凡所有相不 可得。站在本体界的角度,凡所有相,都是本体界的展现,都是清净心的影现,没有一法不是真实。

Those who are greatly realized do not view/conceive of dharmas. They do not have anything at all, because every dharma is fundamentally empty, every dharma is disjointed. They also do not conceive of a body. Why is this so? The four great elements are also fundamentally empty, the five aggregates have always been without a 'self'. Therefore, what does it mean to illuminate/see that the five aggregates are empty? Form is emptiness, feelings, perception, volition and consciousness are also empty. Why do we say that form is emptiness? Form is emptiness, emptiness is buddha-nature, form is the display of buddha-nature. Therefore, for those who are truly realized, [it is seen that] his nature of mind is outpouring within all dependently arisen dharmas, and within the arising and ceasing [dharmas], one attains that not-born and not-ceasing unconditioned dharma, and there is no such thing as [a dichotomy of] 'conditioned' or 'unconditioned'. One sees within a split instant, eternity, and eternity IS this split instant, they are equal without duality.

Therefore we should understand: not conceiving of dharmas, not conceiving of body. Body is composed of [the four great elements of] cohesion (water), solidity or inertia (earth), expansion or vibration (air) and heat or energy content (fire). These four great elements are fundamentally empty, the five aggregates - form/matter, feelings, perception, volition and consciousness, are originally ungraspable/unobtainable. Every single dharma, the wise knows that every single dharma, has originally been without a self. And in this very instant moment of no-self, that itself is Buddha-nature. Therefore, when the Buddhadharma talks about negation/deconstruction, all appearances are illusory false appearances. When talking from the standpoint of affirmation, dust after dust [phenomena] is the True Mind, every single bit of micro-dust is the shadows [appearance/display] of True Mind, every single dharma is entirely True. When it has removed all our ignorance and suffering, broken apart our attachments, removed our discriminations, everything in its completeness is the display of True Mind, every dust turns out to be True, there is not a single dharma that is not True Mind, this is speaking from the standpoint of affirmation. Standing from the perspective of negation/deconstruction, all appearances are ungraspable/unobtainable. Standing from the perspective of the world of fundamental body, every appearance is the display of the world of fundamental body [i.e. dharmadhatu], it is the pure mind's appearance/manifestation, there is not a single dharma that is not true.


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大悟之人,真妄无别,生佛不二,能所皆泯,心境双忘。

Those who are greatly realized [understands] that Reality and Falsity/Illusion are without difference, life and Buddha are not two, subject and object vanishes, mind and state/situation are both forgotten.

真,也不立一个真,妄心本空,真心也不立,这个叫做真正地进入绝对的如来‘常乐我净’的境界。

[With regards to the] Real, there is also no establishment of something Real, false mind is fundamentally empty, true mind is also not established, this is called truly entering into Tathagata's absolute state of "Eternal, Bliss, Self and Pure".

什么是如来的境界?妄,体会妄心本空,绝对不可以 立一个真心,立一个真心就是知见立知。

What is the state of the tathagata? [With regards to] False, [one] experiences that the false mind is fundamentally empty, [but] we absolutely cannot establish a real mind, to establish a real mind is to establish a concept/notion on top of [pure] knowing.

妄心本空,如是体会!法受益就好,仅止于此,进入绝对的智慧,绝对的平等,绝对的自在,这个时候不可以立一个真。若 立一个真,这个真就是妄。所以,不可以头上安头。法受益,仅止于此,内心相应就好,不可以再动一个念头,对法上的执着。所以,真妄无别,生佛不二。我们色身,这个就是佛!为什么?即于五蕴身,就是佛身。诸位!五蕴当体即空,就是如来藏性,就是佛,因此佛也不可以离开当下。

False mind is fundamentally empty, we should come to understand it as such! It is enough to benefit from this dharma, it [should] ends here, entering into absolute wisdom, absolute equality, absolute freedom. At this point in time we must never establish something Real. If we establish something to be Real, this Real will turn out to be [another] illusion. Therefore, we should never "put another head on top of a head", we cannot move another thought or have attachment towards dharma. Gentlemen! Five aggregates in its immediate essence is empty, just that is the nature of the Treasury of Thus Come One, just that is Buddha, therefore Buddha cannot be separated from this instant moment.

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所 以我们修行就是要开悟,证悟到一切法本空,归无所得,当下销归自性,了无所得。本来无生,何其有灭?生灭是对世间讲的,当下就是不生不灭。而不是生灭里面 有一个不生不灭。我们修行人看经典经常误会,以为生灭法里面有一个不生不灭的本性,错啦!而是生灭法当下就是无自性,是这样在体悟本性无生的。要讲生灭当 下缘起、性空、无自性,所以说它是不生、是不灭。要好好地去参悟。

Therefore the purpose of cultivation is to attain enlightenment, to realize that every dharma is fundamentally empty, returning to no-attainment/ungraspability, returning to the nature of self in its immediacy, realizing that there is nothing to attain/grasp. Originally there is no birth, how could there be a cessation? Birth and cessation are spoken to worldly beings, [in actuality] in this instant moment there is already no birth and no cessation. It is not the case that within birth and death, there is something that is unborn and undying. We practitioners that read the sutras are often mistaken about this, thinking that inside the birth and cessation of dharmas there is an unborn and undying basic nature, that is wrong! Actually it is the case that with regards to arising and ceasing dharmas, in that instant moment, there has never been a self-nature, and through this one realizes the basic nature that is not-born. We are saying that the birth and ceasing's very instant is dependently originated, empty in nature, without self-nature, therefore they are without birth, without cessation. We should very well go and ponder and realize this.


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From (for those that can watch Chinese): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDVQVq0UM6U&feature=related

Commentary on the Shurangama Sutra by Ven Hui Lu, on the chapter that discusses "All dharmas are Buddha-nature"

第二章,一切法本如来藏,哪一切法呢?五阴、六入、十二处、十八界,本如来藏,这个作如何解释呢?

Second chapter: Every single dharma is fundamentally the Treasury of the Thus Come One [tathagatagarbha/Buddha-nature], what are the dharmas? Five aggregates, six entries, twelve sense bases, eighteen elements, are all fundamentally the Treasury of the Thus Come One. How do we explain this?

众生位叫做色、受、想、行、识;当第八意识转成大圆镜智的时候,这五阴的名相统统消失,但转其名,不转其体,这个假名转掉了,叫做大圆镜智,色就是佛性;受就是佛性;想就是佛性;行就是佛性;识就是佛性。

What sentient beings call Form/Matter, Feelings, Perceptions, Volition, and Consciousness; when the eighth consciousness transforms into the Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom, the labels/conventional images of these five aggregates completely disappears. Although the names are transformed, its body is not transformed. This false name is being transformed into what is being called the Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom, [hence] Form IS Buddha-nature, feeling IS buddha-nature, perception IS buddha-nature, volition IS buddha-nature, consciousness IS buddha-nature.

换句话说:照见五蕴皆空,当体即空,佛性就显现。也就是说,色就是身,受想行识就是心,身心看得破、放得下的人,而且要完全彻底,那么就是佛,照见五蕴皆空,度一切苦厄。

To put it in another way: by illuminating/seeing that the five aggregates are empty, that its essence is empty, Buddha-nature reveals itself. Therefore it is saying, form/matter is body/matter, feelings, perceptions, volitions, and consciousness is mind. Those who are able to see through/be disillusioned with Body and Mind, are able to let them go, and furthermore are able to be complete [in disillusionment/letting go], precisely that is Buddha, being able to illuminate that the five aggregates are empty, and thus liberate all sufferings.

所以,佛转这个五阴身为金刚不坏身,是指涅磐妙性,而不是指相,释迦世尊在这个相上示现,也有生、有老、有病、有死,那是从相上里面来讲。

Therefore, the Buddha transforms this body of five aggregates into the Indestructible Diamond Body, that is refering to the Marvellous Nirvanic Nature, it is not refering to appearance. Shakyamuni Buddha manifests in appearance birth, ageing, sickness and death, that is speaking from the perspective of appearance.

所谓佛,是离一切相,即名诸佛;如来者,即诸法如义。换句话说:色受想行识无论怎么变化,他的心都是如如不动,起心动念,没有我执,也没有法执,所以叫做五阴本如来藏,妙真如性。

What is termed Buddha, is to leave [all conceivings with regards to] all appearances, that is named as all Buddhas; the Thus Come One means being 'such' with regards to all dharmas. In other words: no matter how form, feelings, perceptions, volition and consciousness changes, his mind is always unmoving in suchness, whenever his mind arises and thought moves, there is no attachment to self, nor attachment to dharmas, therefore it is said that the aggregates are fundamentally the Treasury of the Thus Come One, the marvellous nature of True Suchness.

这个六入:眼、耳、鼻、舌、身、意,对这个色、声、香、味、触、法,意思是说:这六入,其实也是如来藏性所在缘起上里面建立的,如来藏性,它看不到、摸不到、嗅不到;但是,它可以起作用。

These are the six entries: eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind, being correlated with form, sound, smell, taste, touch, thought, which means: with regards to these six entries, actually they are also manifested through the dependent arising of the Treasury of the Thus Come One. It cannot be seen, cannot be touched, cannot be smelled; however, it can give rise to functions.

凡夫是眼耳鼻舌身意在造业,所以,从这六个地方,来染污我们的清净心;而佛陀这六个地方刚好放光动地,妙用无穷。

Ordinary beings' eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind are creating karma, therefore, from these six entries, it (deluded karmic tendencies) pollutes our pure mind; on the other hand these six entries are for the Buddha exactly the place that illuminates light and moves the earth, its marvellous activities are inexhaustible.

所以,在圣人的角度来讲,叫做六尘不恶,还同正觉,「恶」就是善恶的恶。

Henceforth, from the viewpoint of saints, it is known that "when you are not prejudiced with regards to the six sense-objects, you in turn are in union with true enlightenment."

六尘没有所谓的好和不好,但看你的起心动念,叫做六尘不恶,还同正觉,眼入,就如来讲,入无所入,何以故?

The six sense-objects are absent of what is known as good or bad, however it depends [or is conceived based] on your arising mind and moving thoughts, therefore it is known that the six sense-objects that are not prejudiced is to be in harmony with true enlightenment. As for the entry of eyes, it is as said by the Buddha, what is known as entry has in reality no entry, why is it so?

清净自性没有出和入,没有出和入。

Pure self-nature does not have an exit or an entry, [repeat:] it does not have exit or entry.

我们在中国的大乘佛教,很多,多少,后来的人的注解,因为没有大悟,所以,扭曲了佛陀的意思。

Within our China's Mahayana Buddhism, there are many, in fact the majority of those latter-day commentators, due to not having attained Great Realization, have distorted the Buddha's meaning.

譬如说:释迦牟尼佛从来没有讲过随缘不变,不变随缘,而我们大乘佛法的法师,一直引用这一句话,这一句话是无始无明,是错误的,佛陀从来没有讲过这一句话;佛陀也没有讲过说:真空出妙有,妙有真空,释迦世尊,找遍三藏十二部,佛从来没有讲过这一句话。

For example: Shakyamuni Buddha has never said anything like "while following conditions one is unchanged, one is unchanged while following conditions". That [saying] actually came from our Mahayana venerables, they keep on spouting such saying, such a saying is actually [based on] beginningless ignorance, it is a false understanding, the Buddha has never said such a saying; the Buddha has never said: from true emptiness comes marvellous existence, marvellous existence true emptiness, [I have] searched throughout the entire Tripitaka [the three textual collections of sutras, vinaya and abhidharma] and Shakyamuni Buddha has never ever said such a thing.

佛陀也从来没有讲过说:从假入空,从空出假;不著两边,谓之中道。

The Buddha has also never said: from the illusory one enters into emptiness, from emptiness the illusory is produced; not attaching to either side is known as the middle way.

释迦世尊从来就没有讲过这种话,没有的!

Shakyamuni Buddha has never said such a saying, never!

翻遍三藏十二部经典,没有讲过不变随缘,随缘不变;也从来没有讲过:真空出妙有,妙有出真空;也从来没有讲过说:从假入空,从空出假,不著两边,谓之中道,有出有入,哪里是佛性呢?

I have flipped through the Tripitaka's twelve sections of sutras, it has never ever said anything with regards to "being unchanged while following conditions, following conditions while being unchanged"; it has never said: "true emptiness produces miraculous existence, from miraculous existence comes true emptiness"; and it has never said: "from the illusory one enters into emptiness, from emptiness comes the illusory, not attaching to either side is known as the middle way". Having an exit and entry, how could that be Buddha-nature?

所以,第一句话应该改成:随缘显现。

Therefore, the first saying should be changed into: Appearing according to conditions.

说:不变随缘,随缘不变,我们一般有自性见,认为如来藏性,就是如如不动,如如不动,好像是一潭死水一样。错了!

Those who say: being unchanged by the flow of conditions, the flow of conditions does not change/affect us - we usually have the view of a self-nature, conceiving that the Treasury of the Thus Come One is always unchanging in suchness, unchanging in suchness, like a pool of dead water. Wrong!

它会起妙用的,所以,它随缘可以显现,佛陀说法也在定中,行住坐卧,统统运用,之妙存乎一心,哪有一种东西是不变的东西?

It can give rise to marvellous function, therefore, it manifests according to conditions. When the Buddha preaches the dharma he is also in Samadhi, in movement, standing, sitting and sleeping, the ingenuity in varying usage depends on natural intelligence, how could there be an unchanging thing?

这个随缘不变,会让人家落入:有一种东西不变,一直在找寻有一种东西不变,认为有一种东西叫做永恒。

This "being immutable in the midst of conditions" will cause people to fall into (the conclusion of): there is a kind of "something" that is unchanging, and one constantly seeks after a kind of "something that is not changing", mistaken that there is a kind of "something" that is called "eternal".

他所谓永恒是永远不执著,充满智慧心叫做永恒,不是有一种东西叫做永恒。

[In actuality] what is known as eternal is eternally non-abiding, filled with wisdom-mind - that is called eternal, it is not that there is a kind of "thing" that is called eternal.

要了解,有为法就是无为法,有为法就是缘起生灭无常法;彻底空就是无为法,当体即空,二话不说。

We have to understand, conditioned dharma IS precisely unconditioned dharma, conditioned dharma is the dependently arisen, arising and ceasing, impermanent dharmas; it is completely empty and hence unconditioned dharma, its immediate essence is empty, we do not speak of any dualities.

所以说:随缘显现,才是完全大悟的人讲的话,你随缘不变,哪一种东西不变呢?

Therefore we say: manifesting according to conditions, is what completely and greatly realized people would say, for if you talk about "being immutable in the face of conditions", what is the thing that never changes?

大悟的人知道,佛性像摩尼宝珠,胡来胡现,汉来汉现,它会变的,不变就是一潭死水了,它怎么起作用呢?

Those greatly realized mind knows that Buddha-Nature is like the Wish-Fulfilling Gem, when the Hu man arrives Hu man is made manifest, when the Han man arrives Han man is made manifest, it will always change, if it were unchanging it would be like a pool of dead water, how could it manifest functions?

是不是?如果如来藏不变,那释迦牟尼佛怎么讲经说法呢?

Isn't that the case? If the Treasury of the Thus Come One never changes, then how would Shakyamuni Buddha expound the sutras and preach the dharma?

它不变,一潭死水,释迦牟尼佛讲经说法就是妙用现前,怎么会不变呢?

[If] it is unchanging, [it would be like] a pool of dead water, when Shakyamuni Buddha expounds the sutras that would be the coming forth of marvellous activities, how could it have been that it never changes?

是不是?所以说:佛性是无常的,所谓佛性是无常,是站在妙用的角度讲的;佛性讲常,是站在体的角度讲的,对不悟的众生,只有这样讲。

Isn't that the case? Therefore: Buddha nature is Impermanence. What is known as Buddha-nature is Impermanence, is spoken from the point of view of marvellous activities; when Buddha-nature is spoken as permanent, it is spoken from the perspective of [fundamental] body, when speaking to those who have not realized, this is the only way we can explain.

讲无常,是佛悲天愍人,让你觉悟万法生灭无常,空无自性,所以,释迦世尊不得不讲无常,让你觉悟,提早觉悟。

When speaking of Impermanence, that is due to the Buddha's bemoaning the state of the universe and pitying the fate of mankind, thus letting us realize that the ten thousand dharmas are arising and ceasing in impermanency, empty without self-nature, therefore, Shakyamuni Buddha cannot avoid speaking about Impermanence to let you realize it earlier.

讲常,是因为给二乘人有一个依靠,说我们的如来藏性是常乐我净,二乘人又执著有一种东西叫做常乐我净,又执著一个常。

When explaining Permanence, it is for the purpose of providing something to rely on for the practitioners of the two [lower] vehicles, wherefore we speak of our Treasury of the Thus Come One as Permanence, Bliss, Self and Purity, however the practitioners of the two [lower] vehicles then grasp after a kind of something that is 'Permanent, Blissful, Self and Purity', and thus again becoming attached to an eternal something.

(my personal comments: certainly this issue does not apply to the 'arahants' of Buddhism who have realized anatta or no-soul, maybe the comment is more appropriate for adherents of the non-Buddhist tradition, the term 'two vehicles' originally meant for the arahants and pratyekabuddhas have in latter days of Chinese Mahayana become a very loose term used to imply all and any kind of 'misguided practitioners')

释迦牟尼佛讲无常,是为了破除你的贪;讲常,是为了二乘人有一个依靠,二乘人却执著有一种东西叫做常。

When the Shakyamuni Buddha talks about impermanence, it is meant for severing your craving; when speaking about permanence, it is meant for providing a means of support for the practitioners of the two vehicles, yet the practitioners of the two vehicles then attached to a kind of something that is called 'permanent'.

释迦世尊又告诉我们:讲常乐我净,那是一种善巧方便,它要起变化,它就会无常。

Shakyamuni Buddha tells us: when talking about Permanent, Bliss, Self and Purity, that is just a kind of skillful means, [for] when it arises transformation, then it is impermanence.

讲经说法难道是常吗?

Could expounding sutras and preaching the dharma have been permanence?

它就会无常,无常当体即空,它就是常。

It will change/be impermanent, impermanence in its essence is empty, just that is permanence.

所以,性相本一如,何来常无常?

Therefore, nature and appearance are fundamentally one suchness, where could there be permanence or impermanence?

性相本一如,何来住无住?

Nature and appearance are fundamentally one suchness, where could there have been abidance or non-abidance?

到这个佛的境界,安上任何的知见,统统叫做错,不准你安上任何的知见,一法不立,这个才是正法。

When reaching the state of the Buddha, if we impute a view then it is completely wrong. Imposing any kind of view is not allowed, not one dharma is established, only then is this the true Dharma.

佛陀从来没有讲过真空出妙有,妙有真空,这一句话是中国的祖师注解所讲的。

Buddha has never talked about true emptiness producing marvellous existence, or marvellous existence [comes] true emptiness, this is a commentary from China's patriarchs.

佛陀也没有讲说:从假入空,从空出假,佛陀有讲:不二法门,你要搞清楚啊!

The Buddha has also never said: from the illusory enters emptiness, from emptiness comes the illusory, the Buddha has said: Not-two dharma door [the Dharma of Non-Duality], you have to be clear about this!

所谓不二法门,心境不二,是不是?

What is known as the dharma door of non-duality means Mind and Situation are not two, isn't it so?

缘起等於性空,不是缘起另外有一个性空。

Dependent arising is equivalent to empty nature, it is not that apart from dependent arising there is another empty nature.

缘起另外有一个性空,缘起就是随缘,另外有一个性空叫做不变。

Or that apart from dependent arising there is another empty nature, dependent arising is going in accord with conditions, and apart from that there is an empty nature that is known to be permanent.

是不是?那就打成二段了,这个就不是不二法门了。缘起当体即空,就是性空;生死当体即空,就是涅磐,生死涅磐无距离,菩提由来无一物。

Isn't it the case? Then that would be splitting it into two, then this is no longer the dharma door of non-duality. Dependent arising is fundamentally empty, just that is the empty nature; birth and death are fundamentally empty, just that is Nirvana, birth and death and nirvana is without distance, Bodhi [enlightenment] is originally not one thing.
2 Responses
  1. BuddhiHermit Says:

    I can see he is very knowledgeable, and enlightened only in the sense of being well informed.


  2. He is certainly enlightened as having direct gnosis of one's true nature.

    I wonder what made you think he is merely having some intellectual understanding?