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August 1, 2012 Volume 2, Issue 29

Wondrous Dharma

Activities at the International Translation Institute, Burlingame, CA are free to the public:
Sixth Patriarchs Sutra lecture Fridays 7:45pm to 8:45pm Repentance ceremony Saturdays 1pm to 2pm Chan meditation Saturdays 2pm to 3pm Buddhism for beginners Saturdays 3pm to 4pm

Wondrous Dharma is the newsletter on the dharma events at the premise of the International Translation Institute, 1777 Murchison Drive, Burlingame, CA 94010 Telephone (650) 692-5912 E-mail: wondrousdharma@gmail.com; www.wondrousdharma.org

The universe is like a bubble in a sea


The Bodhisattva Manjusri of great wisdom describes the universe as like a bubble in a sea of enlightenment. The sea of enlightenment is our original mind and yet the Bodhisattva says that the universe is like a bubble. How small this universe is and how enormous our mind is! How fast a bubble is formed and disappear; how quick is zillions of years! The reality is that this universe is ultimately empty and unmoving because when the bubble of confusion burst, when you return to the sea of enlightenment, did this universe exist? to mean change that is changing from form (atom) into emptiness (sub-atoms) This emptiness must be distinguished from space as the Buddha said, In fact, when perceived objects are aggregated or merged, they do not become part of space, and when space is accumulated, it does not become a perceived object. (Subatomic particle) form. Ultimately what is form and emptiness? Dharma Master (DM)Tao Sheng replied, The totality of mass of fine dust motes is called form. The mass of fine dust motes, devoid of self nature, is called emptiness. CM Bhadra: When a mass of fine dust motes is not collected together, what is that called? DM Tao Sheng was speechless. CM Bhadra:You only know the result that form is emptiness; you do not know the cause of form and emptiness. Because one fine mote of dust is empty the mass of fine motes are empty. Because the mass of fine motes are empty, each motes of dust is also empty. In the emptiness of one fine mote of dust, there is no mass of fine dust motes. In the emptiness of a mass of fine dust motes, there is not a single fine mote of dust essentially implying that when confusion ceases no emptiness, no form just absolute nothingness returning to the source where all dharmas are empty of characteristics. Venerable Elder Master Xu Yun said, Emptiness is pulverized, the mad mind ceased. What a confusing dream it has been to the Venerable Elder!

Individual Highlights:
Interpreting the Vajra Sutra with the 6 Patriarchs Sutra..2 Meditation simplified lesson 28..3 Buddhism made easy Lesson 28....3 Patiently cease the mad mind......4 Holding the Mantra part 13....4
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Yet space in the universe exists only in the minds of the confused as the Buddha said, But their thinking is deluded and they have a confused view of the truth, so they stubbornly cling to emotional attachments. Recently, science confirms that As a result, space appears, and as they become more and more the subatomic particles gave confused, worlds come into the atoms its mass. The lowest unit of form is an atom; beingYou should know that the subatomic particles would space is created within the mind.If you discover your true be emptiness. The Buddha said, In its most subtle aspect, reality by returning to the source, space throughout the the primary element earth ten directions will disappear. appears as particles (atoms) Another interpretation of form that are so fine that they can is emptiness is that form is the hardly be distinguished from perceptible particles of atoms space itself. If these minute and sub atoms whereas particles were divided into emptiness is the space. The seven parts, they would then ultimate interpretation is that be as small as perceived form is the entire universe objects can be (that is being empty in nature because subatomic particles) Therefore, form is emptiness it came from true emptiness as form (atoms) is a collection whilst confusion exists. of subatomic particles because Chan Master (CM) Bhadra said: the Buddha continues to say, Form does not differ from If they were divided further emptiness; emptiness does not nothing would be left but differ from form. Whatever is space. The division of seven form, that is emptiness; parts is taken as a metaphor whatever is emptiness that is

Wondrous Dharma
Vajra Sutra extracts
S 4 Subhuti, the blessings and virtues of a Bodhisattva who does not rely on appearances when giving are just as inconceivable and immeasurable. Subhuti, a Bodhisattva should rely only on the teachings.

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Interpreting the Vajra Sutra with the Sixth Patriarchs Sutra (part 3)
Elaboration in the Sixth Patriarchs Sutra
The Master said, There actually was no merit and virtue. Do not doubt the words of a sage. Emperor Wu of Liangs mind was wrong; he did not know the right Dharma. Building temples and giving sanction to the Sangha, practicing giving and arranging vegetarian feasts is called seeking blessings. Do not mistake blessings for merit and virtue. Merit and virtue are in the Dharma body, not in the cultivation of blessings. Then how do we give such that our giving becomes merit and virtue? The Master further said, Seeing your own nature is merit and equanimity is virtue. To be unobstructed in every thought, constantly seeing the true, real, wonderful function of your own original nature is called merit and virtue. Inner humility is merit and the outer practice of reverence is virtue. Your self-nature establishing the ten thousand dharmas is merit and the mind-substance separate from thoughts is virtueIf you seek the merit and virtue of the Dharrma body, simply act according to these principles, for this is true merit and virtue. The act of giving is carried out with humility, impartially and reverentially and the mind no longer having any thought of a giver, a recipient and the gift. Giving per se is not cultivation; giving becomes cultivation depending upon the state of the mind of the giver. The aforementioned reminds us that cultivation hinges on the state of our minds. The Fifth Patriarch knew of Hui Nengs enlightenment to his original nature and said to him, Studying the Dharma without recognizing the original mind is of no benefit. If one recognizes ones original mind and sees ones original nature, then one is called a great hero, a teacher of gods and humans, a Buddha. What then is the original mind? The original mind is empty as the following verse says: Originally Bodhi has no tree, The bright mirror has no stand. Originally there is not a single thing: Where can the dust alight? Then, what are the world and the myriad phenomena that we know of? It came from the original mind that is empty and clear as the Great Master said: How unexpected! The self nature can produce the ten thousand dharmas meaning that the myriad phenomena come from the original mind. The reason why we see all appearances as no appearances is because Nothing can be established outside the mind, for the original mind produces the ten thousand dharmas. Therefore the Sutra says, The mind produced, all dharmas are produced; the mind extinguished, all dharmas are extinguished. The verse in the Vajra Sutra is telling is to wake up from confusion that ultimately everything is empty and false as the Great Master explained: You should know that deluded people mistook the union of five heaps for their own bodies and discriminated dharmas as external to themselves. The loved life, dreaded death and drifted from thought to thought, not knowing that this illusory dream is empty and false.

S 5 All appearances are empty and false. If one sees all appearances as no appearances, then one sees the Thus Come One.

Wondrous Dharma
Meditation simplified lesson 28
The method of investigating into a meditation topic Who is mindful of the Buddha? Part 2 Investigation into the meditation topic is to find out, to search for, or to look for the true self who is mindful of the Buddha. The practitioner begins by silently reflecting on the entire topic Who is mindful of the Buddha? for no more than five times and then refocusing the search into the single word Who?In his mind, the practitioner is asking himself who is it who is mindful of the Buddha with the focus on attention on the single word Who? It does not involve repeating the word Who? but rather dragging out the word who? into Whooooo? throughout the entire duration of the practice or sit. In the meantime, the mind is searching, searching and searching for this true self. The practitioner has no idea as to what and where this true self is but continues to investigate. Though a practitioner may have an idea of the true self through studying, this does not count. What matters is that he investigates into the topic until his mind is focused and calm to such an extent that he experiences the realization of his true self. On the other hand, it does not involve speculating into what the true self might be. Speculating whether the true self is green or yellow or oblong or shapeless is merely engaging in false thinking. Rather the intent of the investigation into a meditation topic is to put down the habit of false thinking by focusing the attention into the search for the true self. The search is not focused on any part of the body or mind or location because the practitioner is reminded of the principle of the mind that dwells nowhere When the practitioner investigates the meditation topic in his mind, it will be better if the practitioner also turns the light of attention of his hearing to the drawn out word of Whooooo? In doing so, the practitioner will not be distracted by any external sounds. Both the sense faculties of the mind and the ear are now being tied down so that the faculties are no longer engaged in pursuit of thought and sounds respectively. The mind that is not engaged in thought is the original mind. The ear that is not engaged in sounds is the original hearing nature; the Buddha-nature that is ever present rather than sounds that comes into being and ceases to be.

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Investigate into, search for, find out, look for the true self

Buddhism made easy lesson 28


on Ananda and on everyone else assembled there. He spokeAll of you good people! I have often said that all phenomena with The Buddha said, We might describe physical form, all phenomena with physical the Dharma-body of the Thus Come mind, the conditions under which they One as endowed with right and allarise, as well as the phenomena they encompassing knowledge, and interact with the mind and all other ordinary peoples bodies as upsideconditioned phenomena, are mere down. But consider more carefully manifestations of true mind. Your bodies this comparison of the Buddhas and your minds appear within the body with your bodies, which are wondrous light of the true essence of that said to be upside-down. Where wondrous mind. exactly might the upside down be found? Venerable Master Hsuan Hua explains, Most people think the mind is within the The Buddha out of kindness took pity body. This is a great mistake. It is neither The relation between our skandha body and our Dharma body inside nor outside. It is not that our minds are within our bodies but that we are within the true mindOur mind encompasses empty space and the ten thousand things. It is not that empty space and the ten thousand things contain us. If you understand this doctrine, you have not lost track of your true mind. The skandha body comprises our false physical body and our false mind. The Dharma-body is our true body and our true mind. Cultivation is about putting down our attachment to the skandha body so as to return and unite with the Dharma-body.

Wondrous Dharma
Part of the contemplative narratives in the Great Compassion Repentance reads, From time without beginning, I have not known that all dharmas are in their fundamental nature empty and still and I have committed all manner of evil on a wide scale. Knowing now that all dharmas are empty and still, for the sake of Bodhi (awakening) and for the sake of living beings, I completely cut off every evil and cultivate all good on a wide scale. Therefore the basis why we create the karma that causes us to revolve in the cycle of birth and death is because we dont realize everything in its true nature is empty and still. Having a mistaken view that everything exists and in motion, we make distinctions of liking and disliking and the resultant speech and action becomes the karma for our birth and rebirth in the six destinies. everything is consciousness and that the myriad phenomena arose from the mind that is empty and unmoving. When the cultivator is able to convince himself that everything is empty and unmoving, he will be able to gain patience with the state of mind in which people and dharmas are seen to be empty. The basis for being patient is that everything in this world is just the mind when the Buddha said, The Thus Come One has often explained that all phenomena that come into being are nothing more than manifestation of the mind. All the things that are subject to the principle of cause and effect from the largest world to the smallest mote of dust come into being because of the mind.

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Patiently cease the mad mind through understanding


mind would necessarily have its own essential nature independent of its involvement with objects with visible objects, sounds, odors, flavors, and objects of touch. Yet now as you listen to my Dharma, it is due to sounds that you distinguish my meaning. Our random thought is also a dharma, though intangible, which comes from our distinction making mind when the Buddha said, Even if you were to withdraw into a state of quietude in which all seeing, hearing, awareness of tastes and tactile awareness ceased, you still would be making distinctions among the shadowy objects of cognition in your mind. The Buddha said, The reason why so many practitioners do not succeed in putting an end to outflows and becoming Arhatsis that they are attached to distorted mental processes that come into being and then cease to be, and they mistake these processes for what is real.

From time without beginning, I have not known that all dharmas are in their fundamental nature empty and still and I have committed all manner of evil on a wide scale.

When the cultivator is able to convince himself that everything is empty and unmoving, he will be able to gain patience with the state of mind in which people and dharmas are seen to be empty.

The basis for being patient is also because everything is just consciousness when the Buddha said, But if you insist From a cultivation perspective, that which makes distinctions it is imperative that the and is aware of them, which cultivator convinced himself knows and understands them about the reality that is indeed the mind, then that

How to hold the Great Compassion Mantra part 13


The efficacy of the Mantra comes from having faith in the Dharma as the Sutra says, There is one exception: If one has doubt with regard to this mantra, then even small offenses and light karma will not be destroyed, how much the less the heavy karma. Although heavy offenses are not destroyed, one may still plant the distant causes of Bodhi, In another section the Bodhisattva Guanyin says, But if the slightest doubt is produced, the result will not follow. Therefore it is clear that having faith in the Mantra is essential and doubt is an obstacle that blocks the full functioning of the wondrousness of the Mantra. With faith, any nagging thoughts are put to rest and that itself is the virtue to elicit response.

Emptiness is pulverized, the mad mind ceased. Confusion ends, the distinction-making mind stops. No form, no emptiness, no mind absolute nothingness