In the Sutra, it says,
Faith is the mother of enlightenment.
When you were a fetus, you had ears, eyes, mouth, and nose similar to those of an adult; but, they were sense-organs of limited functioning, You did not hear, see, talk, or smell as well as am adult, and you needed continuous nourishment and maternal protection until mature.
Likewise, when you begin to understand the core teaching of the Patriarchal Kong-an, by listening to the Good-and-Wise One, a spiritual transformation ensues, and you are no longer an ordinary humanbeing, but the fetus of enlightenment. This new fetus, however, is like a seed without soil or water.
As the seed of a saint, the understanding, thinking, speaking, and distinguishing are not as mature as those of an enlightened master. You need ceaseless practice with, great respect for, and careful help from your teacher(Master-Mentor) who is the mother of Tao and a necessary condition of the great enlightenment. Until you become a mature master, you need care. Continuous protection by the master, as well as constant re-protection by the master, as well as constant re-examination and respectful practice with the master, are all contents of the teaching of the Patriarchs.
When Chao-Chou was enlightened, for example, Ch’an Master Nam-Chon recommended that he leave and teach in the other mountain. But Chao-Chou said,
I will stay for a while and serve you just until you die.
When the master died, Chao-Chou was already eighty.
Having no teacher for the enlightened student is more critical than having no father for a son. This is the reason Chao-Chou, through his retreatless faith, turned down Ch’an Master Nam-Chon’s recommendation to complete his profound work.
One student asked a question of the master,
How is it when one has just been enlightened?
The Master said,
Before the wind of spring, flower didn’t bloom.
Naw it’s blooming season, unless the shoots are blown away.
There is no hope without continuous reexamination. The exercise of re-examination creates the master of wisdom. One should listen to the Good-and-Wise One very carefully. By this direct dialogue with the master, delivered from the beginning on through this moment, one’s becoming a master is as near and natural as the dawn following long night’s wandering. With ceaseless examination under your master, and because of this retreatless and strong faith, doubtlessly the flower of enlightenment and strong faith, doubtlessly the flower of enlightenment will bloom and brighten.
One will become a saint;
Because, when the night is fully dark.
The sun has to rise soon.
Without the seed of a saint,
Who could dare expect this wonder?
Therefore, to successfully become a saint, you must follow the dharma-words of the teaching as passed on directly by the Patriarchs. The Dharma-words you are examining are the revelation of the Self-nature. Hwa-du itself becomes a more utilized, faithful, and unique Study by examining through dharma-words because the ceaseless re-examination naturally requires the great faith, the great doubt, and the great provocation. But, without a sincere, primary examination, Hwa-du is merely a brain-game. Only by continuous re-examination does it become alive, dealing with the life and death question, and become a true mirror of Self-nature.
In order to become a saint, you must continuously protect this fetus to see the blooming season.
These are the words of the holy ones; shouldn’t we heed them?