What is “Frustrations are Enlightenment”?

Mountains are mountains, water is water

Because the mind originally had nothing to be got rid of originally such as stain or dirt, frustrations do not exist separately. It is just because subject and object were divided and ‘cleverness’ produced that frustrations and wisdom, or samsara and nirvana appeared to be separate.

Deluded sentient beings divide I and objects. Therefore that is relativistic. That all things are not one but are seen as two is because of this. Because one thus divides into and sees and thinks and acts on (things) as two, there is war and strife, trouble and opposition.

If this cleverness is enlightened to conditional production and no-self, it will achieve a release in which life is equal and free, and know that samsara and nirvana, frustrations and wisdom are not two. This is called mountains are mountains and water is water.

Let us look at such a realm through the hall Dharma talk of Qingyuan Weixin:

    Thirty years ago, before I meditated, I saw “mountains are mountains and water is water.” Later I met an excellent Seon master, and when I sought out the truth, (for me) “water was not water and mountains were not mountains.” But now, having seen and attained enlightenment in a restful place, “mountains are truly mountains and water is truly water.” (Xu Chuandenglu, fascicle 22)

Here, before he practiced, the stage of “mountains are mountains and water is water” again became mountains are mountains and water is water after enlightenment, which is the same as the reason why frustrations and wisdom and samsara and nirvana are not two.

The practical field of “frustrations as they are are enlightenment”

Those who are enlightened are Buddha. The Buddha is our mind. Because the mind and the Buddha are not different, the mind is the Buddha. There is no fixed Buddha apart from the mind. Seon Master Huangbo in his Chuanxin fayao clarified the phrases “frustrations are bodhi” and “delusions are enlightenment” as follows:

    Pei Xiu asked, “Now just when false thoughts arise, where is the Buddha?”
    Seon Master Huangbo said, “Now when you are aware that false thoughts have arisen, that awareness is the Buddha. If the false thoughts do not arise, the Buddha likewise does not exist. Why is it like this? You give rise to thought and create the view of a Buddha, and as soon as you do so you think there is a Buddha to be achieved, and making the view of sentient beings think there is a sentient being to be saved. But the disturbances of thought that give rise to the mind are all only your discriminating views. If all the views do not exist, where can the Buddha be? It is just as when Mañjuśrī temporarily made a view of Buddha that suddenly he was chased out to the two surrounding mountain ramparts of iron.” (Chuanxin fayao)

Seon Master Huangbo said, “When you are aware that false thoughts have arisen, that awareness is the Buddha.” Likewise, delusion and enlightenment do not exist separately. Since the moment one is aware of delusion transforms into awakening, one must not create the view that delusion and awakening exist separately.

Mountains are mountains and water is water. Frustrations as they are are enlightenment. All things of the world and all events and functions are the appearances of the Buddha. The moment the cleverness that (holds that) they are separate appears is the moment pain is born. One must know this principle well.

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