X. The True Mind Does Not Perish
Student; We have heard before that one who has seen the self-nature is free from birth-and-death.
But all the past patriarchs have died, and people today who cultivate their Tao also experience
birth-and-death. How can we be free from birth-and-death?
Pojo: Originally there is no birth-and-death. It exists because delusion exists because exists because delusion exists; like one, whose eyes are infected, seeing flowers in the space. If one who has no infection were to tell him that there is no flower in the space, he would not believe it. And after the eye infection heals, the space-flower will also automatically disappear. Now he believes there is no space-flower.
But even before that flower disappeared, the space-flower was void. It did not exist all all. But the one with an infected eye was attached to the flower.
Even though one without birth-and-death says there is no birth-and-death, the man of illusion,
mistakenly believing birth-and-death, will finally realize that there is originally no birth-and-death.
Even before birth-and-death were nullified by resting delusory speculation, there is really no
birth-and-death, simply one's misjudgement.
It is said in the sutra,
Good man, all indigent-beings are topsy-turvy, from the beginningless beginning;
Think four elements as their true bodies, as if one has confused the four directions.
'Tis like infected eye seeing space-flower; as if space-flower disappears, it cannot be said there is definite place for flower to disappear.
Why? Because there is no place for it to happen. Because the indigent-being sees the illusory
birth-and-death from the place, where life-and-death do not exist at all. That is why it is
called 'the wandering in the life-and-death'.
If one understood the true mind of complete enlightenment, there would not be any birth-and-death. The reason we cannot be free from birth-and-death, although we understand it, is because the cultivation of Tao (study) is not yet fully deep-ened.
Once Ambapoli asked Manjusri: 'I have understood cleary that birth-and-death is originally no
birth-and-no death, but why am I still not free from birth-and-death?
Because your strength of the mind is not fully developed.
Later, Master Jin asked Master Soo the same question.
I have understood clearly that birth is originally no-birth, but why am I still not free from birth-and-death?
Bamboo shoot will eventually become bamboo; if raft is made from bamboo shoot, could it be
used right now?
Therefore, knowing birth-and-deathlessness is less than experiencing no-birth and no-death; experiencing no-birth and no-death is less than being in accord with birth-and-deathlessness; but, being in accord with birth-and-deathlessness is less than operating the life with birth-and-deathlessness.
People today do not even know birth-and-deathlessness; do you think they are able to experience it, be in accord with it, or operate their life with it?
One who misunderstands birth-and-death necessarily would not believe the birth-and-deathless
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