Saturday, December 13, 2008
Bankei Buddha Mind
Zen Master Bankei (1622-1693)
"Because of the wonderful illuminative nature of the Unborn Buddha-mind, it reflects everything before it and transforms itself into them. In this way the Buddha-mind becomes thought. I want you all to listen carefully now, laymen and priests. Not one of you is unenlightened. Right now, each one of you is sitting before me as a Buddha"!
"Only sit up with the Buddha-heart, be only with the Buddha-heart, sleep and arise only with the Buddha-heart, and live only with the Buddha-heart."
When we look back on this life, we see that when people are born, no one has thoughts of joy, sadness, hatred, or bitterness. Are we not in the state of the buddha mind bequeathed by our parents? It is after birth that intelligence develops, and people learn bad habits from others in the course of seeing and hearing them. As they grow up, their personal mental habits emerge, and they turn the buddha mind into a monster because of biased self-importance.
People are born with nothing but the unconceived buddha mind, but because of self-importance they want to get their own way, arguing and losing their temper yet claiming it is the stubbornness of others that makes them mad. Getting fixated on what others say, they turn the all-important unique buddha mind into a monster, mulling over useless things, repeating the same thoughts over and over again. They are so foolish they will not give up on things even if getting their own way would in any case prove to be futile. Folly is the cause of animality, so they are inwardly changing the all-important unique buddha mind into a paragon of animality.
Everyone is intelligent, but through lack of under- standing they turn the buddha mind into all sorts of things — hungry ghost, monster, animal. Once you've become an animal, even if you hear truth you don't listen, or even if you do listen, being animal-like, you can't retain what you've heard.
Going from one hellish state to another, from one animalistic state to another, from one ghostly state to another, from darkness to darkness in an endless vicious cycle, you go on experiencing infinite misery for the bad things you have done, with never a break.
This can happen to anyone, once you've gone astray. Just understand the point of not turning the buddha mind into something else.
As soon as a single thought gets fixated on some- thing, you become ordinary mortals. All delusion is like this. You pick up on something confronting you, turn the buddha mind into a monster because of your own self-importance, and go astray on account of your own ego.
Whatever it is confronting you, let it be. As long as you do not pick up on it and react with bias, just remaining in the buddha mind and not transforming it into something else, then delusion cannot occur. This is constant abiding in the unconceived buddha mind.
Everyone makes the mistake of supposing that acquired delusions produced by selfish desire and mental habits are inborn, and so they are unable to avoid confusion....
As I listen to the people who come to me, all of them make the mistake of turning the buddha mind into thoughts, unable to stop, piling thoughts upon thoughts, resulting in the development of ingrained mental habits, which they then believe are inborn and unalterable.
Please understand; this is very important. Once you have unconsciously drifted into delusion, if your state of mind degenerates and you flow downward like a valley stream in a waterfall, there is no way back after you have fallen into vicious cycles.
Again, suppose that you have developed mental habits based on selfish desires. When people criticize things that suit your selfish mentality, you become angry and defensive — since they are, after all, bad things — and you rationalize them as good. When people praise things that do not suit your selfish mentality, you reject them — being, of course, good things — and you retort that they are bad.
Everything is like this. Delusion can make a defect seem like a virtue. Having fallen into ignorance, you go through all sorts of changes, degenerating further and further until you fall into hell, with precious little chance of regaining your humanity.
The most important thing is not to be self-centered; then you cannot fail to remain in the buddha mind spontaneously.
To want to be at least as good as others in every- thing is the worst thing there is. Wanting to be at least as good as others is called egotistic pride. As long as you don't wish to be superior to others, then you won't be inferior either.
Also, when people mistreat us, it is because we have pride. When we consider mistreatment from others to be due to our own defects and so we exam- ine ourselves, then no one in the world is bad.
When angry thoughts arise, they turn the buddha mind into a monster. But anger and delight both, being self-centered, obscure and confuse the lumi- nous buddha mind, so that it goes around in vicious circles. Without subjective bias the buddha mind remains unconceived, so it does not revolve in circles. Let everyone understand this.