Friday, March 06, 2009

My teaching

Shih t’ou

My teaching which has come down from the ancient Buddhas is not dependent on meditation or on diligent application of any kind. When you attain the insight as attained by the Buddha, you realize that Awareness Mind is Buddha and Buddha is Awareness Mind, that Awareness Mind, Buddha, sentient beings, enlightenment, and passions are of one and the same substance while they vary in names.

You should know that your own mind-essence (Awareness) is neither subject to annihilation nor eternally subsisting, is neither pure nor defiled, that it remains perfectly undisturbed and self-sufficient and is the same with the wise and ignorant, that it is not limited in its working, and this is not included in the category of mind, consciousness, or thought.

The stone path is slippery, a Shih t’ou Koan

Ch'an Master Yin-feng decided to take his leave of Ch'an Master Ma-tsu Tao-i. The latter asked, "Where are you going?"

Yin-feng answered, "I am going to study under the guidance of Master Shih-tou Hsi-chien of Nan-yueh."

Ma-tsu remarked, "The stone path is slippery."

Then Yin-feng said, "The bamboo pole and wooden stick are with me, and I will play them by ear."

Ma-tsu gave Yin-feng permission to leave, and Yin-feng went from Kiangsi to Hunan to pay his respects to Master Shih-tou.

Yin-feng walked around the Ch'an platform once, shook his monk's staff, and asked, "What is your teaching?"

Master Shih-tou ignored him. After a long time, Shih-tou said, "Good heavens! Good heavens!"

Yin-feng could not understand his meaning and had nothing to say in reply.

Having no other alternatives, Yin-feng returned to Master Ma-tsu and told him what had happened at his meeting with Master Shih-tou.

Master Ma-tsu told him, "Go back, and when Master Shih-tou says, 'Good heavens! Good heavens!' you should reply, 'Hiss, hiss.'"

Yin-feng went to Nan-yueh once more and again asked, "What is your teaching?"

Without any hesitation, Master Shih-tou exclaimed, "Hiss, hiss!"

Yin-feng was again at a loss for words and returned to report to Master Ma-tsu.

Master Ma-tsu consoled him by saying, "I told you that the stone path is slippery!"

Shih t’ou who lived from 700 to 790 A.D. was a disciple of the Sixth Patriarch, Hui-neng. And so he was part of the Sudden School of Chan teaching.

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