Dharma Talks


II. Confused Mind Cannot Be Free from Karmic Resrlt

Student: Is it possible to become Buddha without seeing the self-nature, if one endeavors the perfected practice of chanting, reading sutras, upholding precepts, and exercising great discipline?

Bodhidharma: It is impossible.

Student: Why is it impossible?

Bodhidharma: If one says there is some dharma to be attained, big or small, then this is the dharma of the form of doing, the dharma of the cause and effect, the dharma of the necessity of inevitable result, and the dharma of karmic result; since these dharma cannot avoid the life-and-death, at what point could the way of Buddha be attained? To attain Buddha, one must see the self-nature. Without seeing the self-nature, speaking of cause-and-effect, and those above mentioned, are all outsiders'-dharma. Buddha, himself, cannot operate outsiders'-dharma; Buddha is the non-karmic person and is without the cause-and-effect. As soon as someone says there is some dharma to be attained, big or small, then he is actually humiliating the Buddha. How can he attain Buddhahood?

Attaching to one-mind, one-functioning, one-opinion, even one-idea, results in no room for Buddha here. Buddha has nothing to uphold nor to violate. Mind-nature is originally void; there is neither pure-dharma nor impure-dharma. Nothing to be practiced, nothing to be attained, no cause and no effects.

Buddha neither upholds nor violates the precepts, neither practices the good nor causes the bad, and neither endeavors to practice nor is languid. Buddha is the one who does nothing. As soon as you raise the thought of mind abiding somewhere or attaching to something, there is no longer room for Buddha.

When Buddha is called Buddha, it is already not the Buddha.

Do not raise a thought of Buddha.

If you do not realize this at all times and places, original mind cannot be grasped.

If one continuously raises a thought of nondoingness without seeing the self-nature, he is a great sinner and of great ignorance.

Dwelling in blank-minded emptiness, blinded like a drunken man, he cannot distinguish the good from the bad.

If you want to practice the non-doing-dharma, see the self-nature first, and then rest the thoughts stemming from the outer perspectives. Before seeing the self-nature, there is no place to enlighten and no place to attain.

Someone who ignores the truth of the cause-and-effect, while causing all kinds of bad karma and demeanor, and says that, 'everything is originally empty', and 'there is nothing wrong even though I do some bad things'; without fail he will enter the Exitless Hell and the Lightless Hell eternally without a hope of getting out; because of this, a wise one would not raise this kind of thought.

Student: If there is already original mind in every listinction, in every movement, and at all times, Vhy can we not see it while this physical body is abnormal?

Bodhidharma: Original mind is always appearing in front of you; but just you, yourself, do not see it.

Student: If the mind is already there where I see what is the reason I cannot see it?

Bodhidharma: Have you ever dreamed?

Student: Yes, I have.

Bodhidharma: When you had a dream, was that your own body?

Student: Yes, that was my own body.

Bodhidharma: When you are talking, distinguishing, and moving, is this different from your self or the same as your self?

Student: It is not different.

Bodhidharma: If it is already not different, then this body, as it is, is your original dharma-body. This dharma-body itself is your original mind.

This mind, from the beginningless beginning, is nothing different from what it is now; it has never been born, it has never died; never perished, never increased, never decreased; never been dirty, never been immaculate; never been good, never been bad; has never come, has never gone; was never right, never wrong; never been a man. never been a woman's shape either; never been a monk, never been a layman; never been old, never been a young man's shape either; neither a saint, nor ordinary being; not Buddha, nor indigent-being; has had nothing to attain, has nothing to practice. Has had no cause, no effect, no energy, no form.

It is like empty space; it cannot be held nor dropped.

Even a mountain, river or great wall cannot obstruct this; whether entering or exiting, whether coming or going, it is free and divine.

It will cross over the ocean of the life-and-death and the mountains of five skandhas; all kinds of karma cannot even imprison this dharma-body.

Such a mind is so hard to see because it is deeprooted.

The mind is different from the physical material; that is, this mind is this Buddha.

Everyone wishes to see mind; yet, already he is in the midst of this bright light; moving his arms and legs in as many ways as the sands of the Ganges River; yet, as soon as he is questioned about what it is, he is absolutely silent, like a puppet. These movements are his own actions; why can it not be known?

Buddha said,

All indigent-beings are confused and from this,

They produce their future Karma,

Falling into the ocean of the life-and-death;

They are trying to escape from it,

But, instead, are falling back in.

Why? just because the self-nature was not yet seen.

If all indigent beings are not confused, why does no one see when they are questioned?

Why can one not know the one who moves arms and legs?

Even though the words spoken by all the sages were right, still, they just are unknown.

Therefore, you should know that it is difficult to comprehend the mind; Buddha being the only one who has completed it.

No other creature, except him; no one amongst human-beings or heaven-beings can do this. If the mind were understood clearly by wisdom; it might be called,

Dharma-nature or called, Complete Liberation.

Sometimes it is called, The-Great-King-of-Freedom Buddha; Because life-and-death cannot hinder(the mind) and even all dharma cannot control it.

Sometimes it is called, The-Unthinkable-On. Sometimes it is called, The True Body-of-the-Sage. Sometimes it is called, The-Eternal-Life-Without-Death. Sometimes it is called, The-Great-Sage.13

All the differentiations made by the divine-beings are not separated from the mind in itself; the mind has immeasurable size and it's function is limitless.

Acting with eye, it sees the color, with ear it hears the sound, with nose it smells the odors, and with tongue it distinguishes the taste; and, furthermore, all different actions are self-mind.

Here, word-and-utterance is for all time severed,

Thought and its abiding place, also annihilated;

It is our mind.

Thereafter it was said,

The Buddha's14 acts are uncountable and

So is his wisdom.

Uncountable acts are the mind in itself.

The conscious mind is the one that discerned everything and furthermore, since the mind is formless wisdom and is limitless, each and every functioning and movement is all it's wisdom.

Because of that it was said,

Buddha's acts are uncountable and so is his wisdom.

All acts by the four elements are the affliction-body which is working with life-and-death. On the other hand, there is the dharma-body which always abides nowhere. That is the reason why the dharma-body of Tathagata is perpetually changeless.

To support this, in the sutra, it is said;

Indigent-being should be understood as a substance Which originally embodied Buddha-nature.15

In the case of Mahakasapa, he just achieved a realization of the self-nature and nothing else.

Original self-nature is the mind; the mind is the self-nature.16 This Buddha's mind, the former Buddha and later Buddha, are all transmitting the same mind.

There is no Buddha to be found outside.

The confused indigent-being, without knowing his own mind is Buddha, searches outside, day and night, for the Buddha and recites(thinks of) Buddha, bowing to Buddha. But where is the Buddha? Do not produce such a thought; just know the mind.

There is other Buddha17 outside of the mind.

The Sutra says,

Whatever has a form, as a whole, is delusory.


Wherever being is, there is Buddha.

Since the mind in itself is this Buddha, do not bow to Buddha again, being already the Buddha.

Even if a Buddha or Bodhisattva were suddenly to appear, you must never bow to them, because the mind is void and serene, it originally cannot have these phenomena; if you follow what is seen, you will be immediately captivated by the devil and totally fall into the corrupted way.

If it is clear that these phantoms are raised by the mind, then there is no need to bow to them. One who bows, knows no thing. One who knows, does not bow. If you bow to them, immediately you will be captivated by the devil. I am explaining this to protect the students from such corruption.18

It is a most important thing to realize that all Buddhas,19 in their original self-nature, do not have any images. If some extraordinary outer perspectives should appear, do not try to grab it nor be afraid of it, nor raise a doubt; since mind in itself is already pure, where can that image be?

Furthermore, do not even raise a thought of respect to Heaven, Dragon, Yoksa, Goods, sovereign Sakra and Brahmin King etc20. Nor, be afraid of them. Your mind is originally void and serene; all appearance is delusory image; do not follow or try to grasp it.

By raising a thought of Buddha or dharma and a thought of respect toward Buddha or Bodhisattvas, you are making yourself an indigent-being.

If you want to understand clearly, just do not attach to any kind of form; there is nothing else to say.

That is the reason why sutra says,

Whatever has a form, as a whole, is delusory;

There is no definite reality; illusion does not have any definite form.

This is called the 'dharma of transitoriness.'

Just avoid grasping the form it will be at once with the divine truth. No wonder sutra says,

Detaching from all forms, is called lhe Buddhas.

13 Names are all different but the essence is one.

14 cf. 'Tathagata' instead of 'Buddha'.

15 cf. ibid., You should know that Buddha-nature is 'originally there with us' instead of 'originally embodied'.

16 cf. ibid., ......'is the same' all Buddha-mind.

17 Ibid., p.117. There is no 'other' Buddha.

18 cf. p.117 top-left. Instead of 'explain' 'lime to prove it' as above.

19 cf. Buddha and 'Tathagata'.

20 'The form' of the......

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