Dharma Talks


XI. Primary and Secondary Motives of the True Mind

Student: As we have mentioned, the true mind will be disclosed after the deluded mind is rested. Now, before resting the deluded mind, do we have to drop the outer delusion to be mindless, or is there another way to control the deluded mind?

Pojo: Primary and secondary motives are different things.

To rest the deluded mind with mindlessness is the primary motive.

To train yourself with all the good conducts is the secondary motive.

For example, if a bright mirror is covered with dust, you can remove the dust by hand, but still, you necessarily need a polishing cream to make it shine brightly; here, dust is defilement, handling it is a mindless-study, the polishing cream is all the good conducts, and the brightness of the mirror is the true mind.

In the Awakening of Faith:

Question: To accomplish the faithful mind effectively, what mind should we mobilize?

Answer: There are three different ways. The first, is by the straight mind, because it is thinking of Truth-as-it-is, righteously. The second is by the profound mind, because it gathers all good conducts. The third is by the great compassionate mind, because it tries to liberate all kinds of be wilderments by the indigent-being.

Question: As you mentioned moments ago, the dharma world has only one form; that is, the essence of Buddha cannot be divided. Then, instead of thinking one truth-as-it-is, why do we have to learn all kinds of good conduct?

Answer: As an analogy, even though the essence and self-nature of a great Mani Jewel has brightness and clarity, still it can have some flaws. So too, one can understand treasury self-nature, but it cannot be luminous if it is not cultivated and examined by various expedient methods. Although Truth-as-it-is of the indigent-being's nature is originally empty and pure in its essence and self-nature, still, immeasurable dusts of bewilderment remain. Even if one is aware of Truth-as-it-is, he must integrate it for himself by expedient methods to purify the self-nature. Dirt is immeasurable and ommipresent in all dharmas. By good conduct it should be removed. If you cultivate all good dharmas, naturally one will return to the dharma of Truth-as-it-is and become one with it.

That is what Awakening of Faith shows us about the primary motive of resting the deluded mind and the secondary motive of training by good conduct. When you cultivate good conduct, you should accord with mindlessness and not attach to cause-and-effect. As soon as you attach to cause-and-effect, the ordinary-being and heaven-being will fall into the next karmic sequence which means hard to attain Truth-as-it-is, and finally will not be free from birth-and-death.

If you accord with mindlessness, immediately you will experience the Truth-as-it-is; it is the expedient of that experience and the secret way of liberation from birth-and-death which will lead you to vast virtue and merit.

As the Diamond Sutra said,

Subhuti, if any Bodhisattva makes an offering

Without abiding in any form,

Then virtue and merit will be immeasurable.

Instead, people today who practice Ch'an (Zen) and just begin to see there is an original Buddha-nature, abruptly think they are divine Truth-holders. They do not exercise good self-conduct, so is it not impossible for them to enlighten their true mind? Rather, they become lazy. If they cannot even be free from the bad ways, how can they be free from life and death? What a terrible mistake it is!

XII. Virtue and Merit of the True Mind

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