Dharma Talks


XII. Virtue and Merit of the True Mind

Student: There is no doubt that mindful cultivation will result in certain virtues and merits. Then from where did the virtue and merit come if cultivation is mindless?

Pojo: Mindful cultivation will result in the effect of the form of doing. Mindless cultivation will result in disclosing the virtue and merit of the self-nature. All these virtues and merits are originally completed, but because of delusion are not disclosed. But, if delusion were cut out, virtue and merit would naturally be disclosed. Young-Ka showed us the original perfection of virtue and merit in the self-nature by saying,

Three Bodies and Four Wisdoms are complete and fulfilled within this being:; eight karmec liberations and six magical works are carved in the bottom of mind.

A sage also said,

If one man sits quietly for even one second,

It is still superior to the merits of erecting.

As many seven-jeweled stupas as number the sands of the Ganges River;

Jeweled-stupa will finally perish to the dust,

While one thought from immaculate mind

Will attain the right Enlightenment.

The strength from the mindless study is far greater than the mindful study. When Suryo (Shui Liao) from Hong Ju (Hung Chou) went to Majo to ask, 'What is the reason Bodhidharma, the first patriarch, came from the West?' Instead of being given an answer, he was kicked out by Majo, but suddenly enlightened, and said: 'What a strange thing it is!

Thousands of samadhis with immeasurable sublime truths were completely disclosed at the end of the hair.

Then, he bowed to Majo and left, which proves that virtue and merit do not come from outside but are intrinsically sufficient in our self-nature in itself. The Fourth Patriarch said to Na Young (Fa Jung),

All dharma returns to one square inch of mind, virtue and merit, as many as the sands of the Ganges River, are all in the spring of mind.

Various precepts, tranquilities, wisdoms, magics and miraculous changes are complete and not separate from your original mind.

As Patriarch mentioned, mindless virtue and merit are already great; but one who attaches to the form of virtue and merit does not mobilize this kind of faith at all.

XIII. Experience and Re-examination of the True Mind

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