Friday, December 05, 2014

The Unborn

Zen Master Bankei (1622-1693)

Your unborn mind is the Buddha-mind itself, and it is unconcerned with either birth or death. As evidence that it is, when you look at things, you're able to see and distinguish them all at once. And as you are doing that, if a bird sings or a bell tolls, or other noises or sounds occur, you hear and recognize each of them too, even though you haven't given rise to a single thought to do so.

Everything in your life, from morning until night, proceeds in this same way, without your having to depend upon thought or reflection. But most people are unaware of that; they think everything is a result of their deliberation and discrimination. That's a great mistake.

The mind of the Buddhas and the minds of ordinary people are not two different minds. Those who strive earnestly in their practice because they want to attain satori, or to discover their self-mind, are likewise greatly mistaken.

Everyone who recites the Heart Sutra knows that "the mind is unborn and undying." But they haven't sounded the source of the Unborn. They still have the idea that they can find their way to the unborn mind and attain Buddhahood by using reason and discrimination. As soon as the notion to seek Buddhahood or to attain the Way enters your mind, you've gone astray from the Unborn—gone against what is unborn in you.

Anyone who tries to become enlightened thereby falls out of the Buddha-mind and into secondary matters. You are Buddhas to begin with. There's no way for you to become Buddhas now for the first time.

Within this original mind, there isn't even a trace of illusion. Nothing, I can assure you, ever arises from within it. When you clench your fists and run about, for example—that's the Unborn.

If you harbor the least notion to become better than you are or the slightest inclination to seek something, you turn your back on the Unborn. There's neither joy nor anger in the mind you were born with—only the Buddha-mind—with its marvelous illuminative wisdom that enlightens all things. Firmly believing in this and being free of all attachment whatsoever...that is known as the "believing mind."

Excerpted from The Unborn The Life and Teachings of Zen Master Bankei translated by Normal Waddell 1984

From: DailyZen

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