Dharma Talks

 Pojo: Golden Teaching of the Mind Cultivation


XIII. Re-explanation of Gradual Cultivation after Enlightenment

Student: One already enlightened to the truth and since there are no castes or priorities, why should one need to cultivate gradually in order to reach that same goal?

Pojo: I have already explained explicitly but you have not yet broken through the confusion. It is not difficult to explain again. Just listen very carefully with an open mind.

From the beginningless beginning to now, ordinary-beings have wandered in five karmic realms; Hell, Asura, Animal, Human and Heaven during the time of birth-coming and death-going they have firmly attached to the form of the 'I' and have molded the self-nature by converted delusion and habitual unenlightened darkness. Even though one has realized that our self-nature is originally void and tranquil and nothing different from Buddhas, still, the old habit is extremely difficult to nullify immediately.

Therefore when they are faced with progressive and regressive situation, the anger-pleasure and right-wrong will arise and disappear haphazardly. So, the rough and delicate bewilderments are not different, but if one does not re-examine them with wisdom, how can he possibly eliminate the habitual darkness and attain the Great Calm-and-Rest?

According to the old saying,

Enlightenment itself, when it is completed suddenly is the same as the Buddha's, but, habitual tendencies from several lifetimes are still deeply congested.

Or again,

Wind has ceased, waves still climbing over,

Truth came before, delusion still assaults.

Also, the Venerable Master Chong Ko (Ta Hui Tsung Kao) said,

Some brilliant ones might be enlightened without putting in great endeavor and give up further cultivation, raising a thought, saying, 'it is easy'; suddenly they return to the land of Karmic-wheel, as thay were wandering days and months after.

How possibly can anyone overlook their cultivation after only the initial glimpse of awakening?

Therefore, after the awakening you should care-fully re-examine and study it for a long time. And you should not chase delusion whenever it arises.

The gradual decrease of delusion will lead you to the time where there is no more delusion; then, it will become perfect. This is the reason all the wise sages have practiced the ox-herding (cultivation) after enlightenment.

We are discussing the later cultivation; since the nature of delusions is originally void, and the nature of the mind, itself, is originally pure, severing the evil-doing is to have nothing to sever, and practicing the good is to have nothing to practice. Now it can be called true severing and true practice. This is the reason it has been said,

Each and every cultivation is completely rooted in no-mindedness.

Kyu Bong (Kuei Feng) made a clear distinction of primary-enlightenment before cultivation:

The nature of sudden enlightenment originally has no defilement; and the self-gnostic-nature without be-wilderment is originally completed: if one practices by this understanding, it is called the highest vehicle meditation (Son). It is also called Tathagata's immaculate Meditation.

Cultivating one thought after another will, without a doubt, result in one hundred-thousand samadhis, which is the same dharma that has been transmitted since Bodhidharma.

After sudden enlightenment, one should cultivate oneself gradually; the relationship between these is like two wheels of a vehicle, one cannot exist without the other.

Some people insist that mind cultivation could be best accomplished by immovable sitting; by controlling body and mind, like a stone and a weed; they call this cultivating the mind. But this is a very wrong concept, and they do not understand the fact that the nature of the good and the bad is originally void. Therefore, it is said,

Sravakas try to cut out their confusion in every thought.

But the mind which is trying to cut is a thief.

Killing, stealing, adultery, and deluded speaking are raised from our self-nature. As long as you contemplate this rising with great awareness, then rising is not the rising since the one in itself who raises a thought is already void-and-tranquil. What else can you cut? Therefore it has been said:

Do not be afraid of the coming of delusion,

Rather be alert for your tardiness of awakening.

And further said,

Awaken as soon as thought comes;

As soon as awakened, immediately no thing remains.

Therefore, for the enlightened man, all various unnatural bewilderments become the most marvelous dessert.

As long as the confusion is rootless, the three-empty-space-flowered-worlds are like smoke before the wind and the illusory six sense-roots are like the melting ice in hot water.

If you cultivate and contemplate every thought in this way without negligence, while upholding serenity and wisdom equally, then like and dislike will finally be diminished, and instead the compassionate wisdom will be naturally augmented. And also, the sins and karma-chamber will vanish, re-placed by the steady and consistent appearance of virtue, merit, and spiritual exercise. When bewilderments have ended, birth-and-death will come to an end.

If even a tiny bit of bewilderment is permanently cut off and the great wisdom of fulfilled awakening is alone bright, then immediately a thousand-billion bodies will be manifested according to each and every character of the roots in all of the world through all of the ten directions.

Like the moon shining the middle of the sky and appearing in each and every pond, immeasurable applications will follow each and every indigent-being. Thus we call him who liberates all indigent-beings equally, with gladness and without worry, the Great-Enlightened-World-Honored-One.


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