The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma (English and Chinese Edition)
Bodhidharma, Red Pine
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A fifth-century Indian Buddhist monk, Bodhidharma is credited with bringing Zen to China. Although the tradition that traces its ancestry back to him did not flourish until nearly two hundred years after his death, today millions of Zen Buddhists and students of kung fu claim him as their spiritual father.
While others viewed Zen practice as a purification of the mind or a stage on the way to perfect enlightenment, Bodhidharma equated Zen with buddhahood and believed that it had a place in everyday life. Instead of telling his disciples to purify their minds, he pointed them to rock walls, to the movements of tigers and cranes, to a hollow reed floating across the Yangtze.
This bilingual edition, the only volume of the great teacher's work currently available in English, presents four teachings in their entirety. "Outline of Practice" describes the four all-inclusive habits that lead to enlightenment, the "Bloodstream Sermon" exhorts students to seek the Buddha by seeing their own nature, the "Wake-up Sermon" defends his premise that the most essential method for reaching enlightenment is beholding the mind. The original Chinese text, presented on facing pages, is taken from a Ch'ing dynasty woodblock edition.
from a tree. This karmic body undergoes constant change. It has no fixed reality. Practice according to your thoughts. Don’t hate life and death or love life and death. Keep your every thought free of delusion, and in life you’ll witness the beginning of nirvana,65 and in death you’ll experience the assurance of no rebirth.66 To see form but not be corrupted by form or to hear sound but not be corrupted by sound is liberation. Eyes that aren’t attached to form are the Gates of Zen. Ears that
like a fragrance in a tree. The buddha comes from a mind free of suffering, just as a fragrance comes from a tree free of decay. There’s no fragrance without the tree and no buddha without the mind. If there’s a fragrance without a tree, it’s a different fragrance. If there’s a buddha without your mind, it’s a different buddha. When the three poisons are present in your mind, you live in a land of filth. When the three poisons are absent from your mind, you live in a land of purity. The sutras
releases are said to pass through the three asankhya kalpas. But people of this final age86 are the densest of fools. They don’t understand what the Tathagata really meant by the three asankhya kalpas. They say enlightenment is only achieved after endless kalpas and thereby mislead disciples to retreat on the path to buddhahood. But the great bodhisattvas have achieved enlightenment only by observing the three sets of precepts87 and practicing the six paramitas. Now you tell disciples merely
mouth, and mind. All such actions turn the Wheel of Rebirth and result in suffering. Even when an action is good, it still turns the Wheel. The goal of Buddhist practice is to escape the Wheel, to put an end to karma, to act without acting, not to achieve a better rebirth. 28 Skandhas. Sanskrit for the constituents of mind or one’s mental body: form, sensation, perception, impulse, and consciousness. 29 Samsara. Sanskrit for constant flow, the round of mortality, the endless flux of birth and
without knowing, to be happy without being happy, to walk without walking, to stand without standing. And the sutras say, “Go beyond language. Go beyond thought.” Basically, seeing, hearing, and knowing are completely empty. Your anger, joy, or pain is like that of a puppet. You can search, but you won’t find a thing. According to the sutras, evil deeds result in hardships and good deeds result in blessings. Angry people go to hell and happy people go to heaven. But once you know that the nature