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The Transmission of Tao (Dharma)

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The Transmission of Tao (Dharma)

Written by Tiandi 

May 19, 2006 at 05:35 AM

        About 1500 years ago, Bodhidharma went from India to China, where a form of Buddhism had already appeared some 300 years before. This form of Buddhism was not a "pure" Buddhism, it was only a  "praying Buddhism" -- "pray and get happiness, pray and get whatever you want" Buddhism. Many Indian monks went to China teaching this. 
        When Bodhidharma went to China, he saw that it was not correct Buddhism and began to change it. The correct “pure” Buddhism (or for that matter the pure essence of any religions) is the transmission of the Great Tao – the essence of mind to mind transmission. 
        There is a famous story about his first visit to the emperor in southern China, who told Bodhidharma that he had built countless temples, copied countless sutras, and given supplies to countless monks. So he asked Bodhidharma how great was his resulting merit. 
        Bodhidharma replied, "No merit at all." That was the beginning of the destruction of "praying Buddhism." 
        The emperor then asked, "What is your holy teaching?" 
        And Bodhidharma replied, "Vast emptiness with nothing sacred in it." (The Tao has no form and shape) 
        The Emperor was completely baffled. "Who are you?" he demanded.
        Bodhidharma replied, "Don't know." (Bodhidharma has attained complete emptiness and become ONE with the Tao)
        Then Bodhidharma went to northern China to its capital city, Chang An. At that time there were already many famous temples, but he did not stay in any of them. Instead he went to a holy cave near Shao-Lin and sat facing the wall for nine years. 
        After nine years Hui-Ko (the future second patriarch) went to Bodhidharma and said, "Please teach me what is dharma." Bodhidharma replied, "Even if I told you, you would not believe me."
        Then Hui-Ko reportedly cut off his own arm. "Oh Master, the pain is terrible! My mind is in awful pain! Please put my mind at rest." 
        "Give me your mind and I will put it at rest." 
        "I cannot find it." 
        "Then I have already given you 'rested' mind'." 
        Then Hui-Ko attained enlightenment. 
        Later on Bodhidharma transmitted the Tao to Hui-Ko and he became the second patriarch. This was the first Tao transmission - only mind to mind transmission, teacher's mind and student's mind becoming one. Transmission went from mind to mind. 
        Hui-Ko then transmitted the Tao to the third patriarch Seng T’san, who composed the classic poem “Hsin Hsin Ming”.
        The Great Tao is not difficult,
        Just don't pick and choose. 
        If you cut off all likes or dislikes
        Everything is clear like space. 
        Make the slightest distinction
        And heaven and earth are set apart. 
        If you wish to see the truth,
        Don't think for or against. 
        Likes and dislikes
        Are the mind's disease. 
        Without understanding the deep meaning
        You cannot still your thoughts. 
        The Tao is clear like space,
        Nothing missing, nothing extra. 
        If you want something
        You cannot see things as they are. 
        Outside, don't get tangled in things. 
        Inside, don't get lost in emptiness. 
        Be still and become One
        And all opposites disappear. 
        If you stop activity to become still,
        This very effort is also activity. 
        If you hold on to opposites,
        How can you know One? 
        If you don't understand One,
        This and that cannot function. 
        Denied, the world asserts itself. 
        Pursued, emptiness is lost. 
        The more you think and talk,
        The more you lose the Tao. 
        Cut off all thinking
        And pass freely anywhere. 
        Return to the root and understand. 
        Chase appearances and lose the source. 
        One moment of enlightenment
        Illuminates the emptiness before you. 
        Emptiness changing into things
        Is only our deluded view. 
        Do not go out to seek for the truth. 
        Only put down your opinions. 
        Do not live in the world of opposites. 
        Be careful! Never go that way. 
        If you make right and wrong,
        Your mind is lost in confusion. 
        Two comes from One,
        But do not cling even to this One. 
        When your mind is undisturbed
        The ten thousand things are without fault. 
        No fault, no ten thousand things,
        No disturbance, no mind. 
        No world, no one to see it. 
        No one to see it, no world. 
        This becomes this because of that. 
        That becomes that because of this. 
        If you wish to understand both,
        See them as originally one emptiness. 
        In emptiness the two are the same,
        And each holds the ten thousand things. 
        If you no longer see them as different,
        How can you prefer one to another? 
        The Tao is calm and wide,
        Not easy, not difficult. 
        But small minds get lost. 
        Hurrying, they fall behind. 
        Clinging, they go too far,
        Sure to take a wrong turn,
        Just let it be! In the end,
        Nothing goes, nothing stays. 
        Follow nature and become one with the Tao,
        Free and easy and undisturbed. 
        Tied by your thoughts, you lose the truth,
        Become heavy, dull, and unwell. 
        Not well, the mind is troubled. 
        Then why hold or reject anything? 
        If you want to be one with the Tao
        Do not despise the world of the senses. 
        When you do not despise the six senses, 
        That is already enlightenment. 
        The wise do not act. 
        The ignorant bind themselves. 
        In true Dharma there is no this or that,
        So why blindly chase your desires? 
        Using mind to stir up the mind
        Is the original mistake. 
        Peaceful and troubled are only thinking. 
        Enlightenment has no likes or dislikes. 
        All opposites arise 
        From faulty views. 
        Illusions, flowers in the air --
        Why try to grasp them? 
        Win, lose, right, wrong --
        Put it all down! 
        If the eye never sleeps, 
        Dreams disappear by themselves. 
        If the mind makes no distinctions, 
        The ten thousand things are one essence. 
        Understand this dark essence 
        And be free from entanglements. 
        See the ten thousand things as equal 
        And you return to your original nature 
        Enlightened beings everywhere 
        All enter this source. 
        This source is beyond time and space. 
        One moment is ten thousand years. 
        Even if you cannot see it, 
        The whole universe is before your eyes. 
        Infinitely small is infinitely large: 
        No boundaries, no differences. 
        Infinitely large is infinitely small: 
        Measurements do not matter here. 
        What is is the same as what is not. 
        What is not is the same as what is. 
        Where it is not like this, 
        Don't bother staying. 
        One is all, 
        All is one. 
        When you see things like this, 
        You do not worry about being incomplete. 
        Trust and Mind are not two. 
        Not-two is trusting the Mind. 
        Tao is beyond words and speech,
        It has no present, past or future. 
        Is this poem wonderful??
        The 10,000 Dharmas return to One. Where does the One return?
        Are you thinking of the answer??? The more you think, the farther away you are from the answer.

Article Written By:Roland Lim
Last Updated ( Jan 07, 2007 at 09:04 PM )

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