24
Sep
06

The Zen Teachings of Mazu


(Mazu Daoyi, 馬祖道一, 709-788 CE)
The Normal Mind:
The Way does not require cultivation – just don’t pollute it. What is pollution? As long as you have a fluctuating mind fabricating artificialities and contrivances, all of this is pollution. If you want to understand the Way directly, the normal mind is the Way. What I mean by the normal mind is the mind without artificiality, without subjective judgments, without grasping or rejection.
The Root:
The founders of Zen said that one’s own essence is inherently complete. Just don’t linger over good or bad things – that is called practice of the Way. To grasp the good and reject the bad, to contemplate emptiness and enter concentration, is all in the province of contrivance – and if you go on seeking externals, you get further and further estranged. Just end the mental objectivization of the world. A single thought of the wandering mind is the root of birth and death in the world. Just don’t have a single thought and you’ll get rid of the root of birth and death.
The Oceanic Reflection:
Human delusions of time immemorial, deceit, pride, deviousness, and conceit, have conglomerated into one body.That is why scripture says that this body is just made of elements, and its appearance and disappearance is just that of the elements, which have no identity. When successive thoughts do not await one another, and each thought dies peacefully away, this is called absorption in the oceanic reflection.
Delusion and Enlightenment:
Delusion means you are not aware of your own fundamental mind; enlightenment means you realize your own fundamental essence. Once enlightened, you do not become deluded anymore. If you understand mind and objects, then false conceptions do not arise; when false conceptions do not arise, this is the acceptance of the beginninglessness of things. You have always had it, and you have it now – there is no need to cultivate the Way and sit in meditation.
The Tao:
Right this moment, as you walk, stand, sit, and recline, responding to all situations and dealing with people – all is the Tao. The Tao is the realm of reality. No matter how numerous are the uncountable, inconceivable functions, they are not beyond this ealm. If they were, how could we speak of the teaching of the Mind-ground, and how could we tell of the inexhaustible lantern?
The Mind:
All phenomena are mental; all labels are labeled by the mind. All phenomena arise out of mind; mind is the root of all phenomena. A sutra says, ‘When you know mind and arrive at its root source, in that sense you may be called a devotee.
The Dharmakaya:
The Dharmakaya is infinite; its substance nethier waxes nor wanes. It can be vast or minute, angled or smooth; it manifests images in accordance with things and beings, like the moon reflected in a pool. Its function gushes forth yet does not take root; it never exhausts deliberate action nor does it dwell in inaction. Deliberate action is a function of authenticity; authenticity is the basis of deliberate action. Because of no longer having fixation on this basis, one is spoken of as autonomous, like empty space.
Suchness:
The true Suchness of mind is like a mirror reflecting forms: the mind is like the mirror, and phenomena are like the (reflected) forms. If the mind grasps at phenomena, then it involves itself in external conditions & causes; this is what ‘the birth and death of mind’ means. If it no longer grasps at such phenomena, this is what ‘the true Suchness of mind’ means.
All dharmas are Buddhist teachings; all dharmas are liberation. Liberation is true Suchnes, and not one thing is separate from this true Suchness. Walking, standing, sitting, and reclining are all inconceivable actions.


The following mondo are all taken the book "Sayings of the Ancient Worthies", fas. I (Ku tsun-hsiu yu-lu).], translated by D.T. Suzuki:
Someone asked Ma-tsu: "How does a man discipline himself in the Tao?"
The master replied: "In the Tao there is nothing to discipline oneself in. If there is any discipline in it, the completion of such discipline means the destruction of the Tao. One then will be like the Sravaka. But if there is no discipline whatever in the Tao, one remains an ignoramus."
"By what kind of understanding does a man attain the Tao?"
On this, the master gave the following sermon:
"The Tao in its nature is from the first perfect and self-sufficient. When a man finds himself unhalting in his management of the affairs of life good or bad, he is known as one who is disciplined in the Tao. To shun evils and to become attached to things good, to meditate on Emptiness and to enter into a state of samadhi–this is doing something. If those who run after an outward object, they are the farthest away [from the Tao].
Only let a man exhaust all his thinking and imagining he can possibly have in the triple world. When even an iota of imagination is left with him, this is his triple world and the source of birth and death in it. When there is not a trace of imagination, he has removed all the source of birth and death, he then holds the unparalleled treasure belonging to the Dharmaraja. All the imagination harboured since the beginningless past by an ignorant being, together with his falsehood, flattery, self-conceit, arrogance, and other evil passions, are united in the body of One Essence, and all melt away.
"It is said in the sutra that many elements combine themselves to make this body of ours, and that the rising of the body merely means the rising together of all these elements and the disappearance of the body means also merely that of the elements. When the latter rise, they do not declare that they are now to rise; when they disappear they do not declare that they are now to disappear.
So with thoughts, one thought follows another without interruption, the preceding one does not wait for the succeeding, each one is self-contained and quiescent. This is called the Sagaramudra-samadhi, "Meditation of the Ocean-stamp", in which are included all things, like the ocean where all the rivers however different in size, etc., empty themselves. In this great ocean of one salt-water, all the waters in it partake of one and the same taste. A man living in it diffuses himself in all the streams pouring into it. A man bathing in the great ocean uses all the waters emptied into it.
"The Sravaka is enlightened and yet going astray; the ordinary man is out of the right path and yet in a way enlightened. The Sravaka fails to perceive that Mind as it is in itself knows no stages, no causation, no imaginations. Disciplining himself in the cause he has attained the result and abides in the Samadhi of Emptiness itself for ever so many kalpas. However enlightened in his way, the Sravaka is not at all on the right track. From the point of view of the Bodhisattva, this is like suffering the torture of hell. The Sravaka has buried himself in emptiness and does not know how to get out of his quiet contemplation, for he has no insight into the Buddha-nature itself.
If a man is of superior character and intelligence he will, under the instruction of a wise director, at once see into the essence of the thing and understand that this is not a matter of stages and processes. He has an instant insight into his own Original Nature. So we read in the sutra that ordinary beings change in their thoughts but the Sravaka knows no such changes [which means that he never comes out of his meditation of absolute quietude].
"’Going astray’ stands against ‘being enlightened’; but when there is primarily no going astray there is no being enlightened either. All beings since the beginningless past have never been outside the Dharma-essence itself; abiding for ever in the midst of the Dharma-essence, they eat, they are clothed, they talk, they respond; all the functioning of the six senses, all their doings are of the Dharma-essence itself. When they fail to understand to go back to the Source they follow names, pursue forms, allow confusing imaginations to rise, and cultivate all kinds of karma. Let them once in one thought return to the Source and their entire being will be of Buddha-mind.
"O monks, let each of you see into his own Mind. Do not memorize what I tell you. However eloquently I may talk about all kinds of things as innumerable as the sands of the Ganges, the Mind shows no increase; even when no talk is possible, the Mind shows no decrease. You may talk ever so much about it, and it is still your own Mind; you may not at all talk about it, and it is just the same your own Mind. You may divide your body into so many forms, and emitting rays of supernatural light perform the eighteen miracles, and yet what you have gained is after all no more than your own dead ashes.
"The dead ashes thoroughly wet have no vitality and are likened to the Sravaka’s disciplining himself in the cause in order to attain its result. The dead ashes not yet wet are full of vitality and are likened to the Bodhisattva, whose life in the Tao is pure and not at all dyed in evils. If I begin to talk about the various teachings given out by the Tathagata, there will be no end however long through ages I may go on. They are like an endless series of chains. But once you have an insight into the Buddha-mind, nothing in Lore is left to you to attain.
"I have kept you standing long enough, fare you well!"
 
P’ang the lay-disciple’ asked one day when Ma-tsu appeared in the pulpit: "Here is the Original Body altogether unbedimmed! Raise your eyes to it!" Ma-tsu looked straight downward. Said Fang, "How beautifully the master plays on the first-class stringless lute!" The master looked straight up. P’ang made a bow, and the master returned to his own room. Fang followed him and said, "A while ago you made a fool of yourself, did you not?"
Someone asked: "What is the Buddha?"
"Mind is the Buddha, and there’s no other."
 
A monk asked: "Without resorting to the four statements and an endless series of negations, can you tell me straightway what is the idea of our Patriarch’s coming from the West?"
The master said: "I don’t feel like answering it today. You go to the Western Hall and ask Shih-tsang about it."
The monk went to the Western Hall and saw the priest, who pointing at his head with a finger said, "My head aches today and I am unable to explain it to you today. I advise you to go to Brother Hai."
[1. Ho-koji in Japanese. He was one of the greatest disciples of Ma, and for further quotations see my Essays on Zen, I, II, and III.]
The monk now called on Hai, and Hai said: "As to that I do not understand."
The monk finally returned to the master and told him about his adventure. Said the master: "Tsang’s head is black while Hai’s is white."
 
A monk asked: "Why do you teach that Mind is no other than Buddha?"
"In order to make a child stop its crying."
"When the crying is stopped, what would you say?"
"Neither Mind nor Buddha."
"What teaching would you give to him who is not in these two groups?"
"I will say, ‘It is not a something.’
"If you unexpectedly interview a person who is in it what would you do?" finally, asked the monk.
"I will let him realize the great Tao."
 
The master asked Pai-chang, one of his chief disciples: How would you teach others?"
Pai-chang raised his hossu.
The master remarked, "Is that all? No other way?"
Pai-chang threw the hossu down.
 
A monk asked: "How does a man set himself in harmony with the Tao?"
"I am already out of harmony."
 
Tan-yuan, one of Ma-tsu’s personal disciples, came back from his pilgrimage. When he saw the master, he drew a circle on the floor and after making bows stood on it facing the master. Said Ma-tsu: "So you wish to become a Buddha?"
The monk said: "I do not know the art of putting my own eyes out of focus."
"I am not your equal."
The monk had no answer.
 
One day in the first month of the fourth year of Chen-yuan (788), while walking in the woods at Shih-men Shan, Ma-tsu noticed a cave with a flat floor. He said to his attendant monk, "My body subject to decomposition will return to earth here in the month to come." On the fourth of the second month, he was indisposed as he predicted, and after a bath he sat cross-legged and passed away. 
 
僧问、如何是修道。      
曰、道不属修。若言修得、修成还坏、即同声闻。若言不修、即同凡夫。      
又问、作何见解、即得达道。      
祖曰、自性本来具足。但于善恶事中不滞、唤作修道人。取善舍恶、观空入定、即属造作。更若向外驰求、转疏转远。但尽三界心量。一念妄心、即是三界生死根本。但无一念、即除生死根本、即得法王无上珍宝。无量劫来、凡夫妄想、谄曲邪伪、我慢贡高、合为一体。故经云、但以众法、合成此身。起时唯法起、灭时唯法灭。此法起时、不言我起、灭时、不言我灭。前念后念中念、念念不相待、念念寂灭、唤作海印三昧。摄一切法、如百千异流同归大海、都名海水、住于一味、即摄众味、住于大海、即混诸流、如人在大海中浴、即用一切水。所以声闻悟迷、凡夫迷悟。声闻不知圣心本无地位因果阶级心量妄想、修因证果、住于空定、八万劫二万劫、虽即巳悟、悟巳却迷。诸菩萨观如地狱苦、沉空滞寂、不见佛性。若是上根众生、忽尔遇善知识指示、言下领会、更不历于阶级地位、顿悟本性。故经云、凡夫有反复心、而声闻无也。对迷说悟、本既无迷、悟亦不立。一切众生、从无量劫来、不出法性三昧、长在法性三昧中、着衣吃饭、言谈祗对。六根运用、一切施为、尽是法性。不解返源、随名逐相、迷情妄起、造种种业。若能一念返照、全体圣心。汝等诸人、各达自心。莫记吾语。纵饶说得河沙道理、其心亦不增。纵说不得、其心亦不减。说得亦是汝心、说不得亦是汝心。乃至分身放光、现十八变、不如还我死灰来。淋过死灰无力、喻声闻妄修因证果。未淋过死灰有力、喻菩萨道业纯熟、诸恶不染。若说如来权教三藏、河沙劫说不尽、犹如钩锁亦不断绝。若悟圣心、总无余事。久立珍重。      
  示众云、道不用修、但莫污染。何为污染。但有生死心、造作趋向、皆是污染。若欲直会其道、平常心是道。何谓平常心。无造作、无是非、无取舍、无断常、无凡无圣。经云、非凡夫行、非圣贤行、是菩萨行。只如今行住坐卧、应机接物、尽是道。道即是法界。乃至河沙玅用、不出法界。若不然者、云何言心地法门、云何言无尽灯。一切法皆是心法、一切名皆是心名。万法皆从心生。心为万法之根本。经云、识心达本源、故号为沙门。名等义等、一切诸法皆等、纯一无杂。若于教门中得随时自在、建立法界、尽是法界。若立真如、尽是真如。若立理、一切法尽是理。若立事、一切法尽是事。举一千从、理事无别、尽是玅用。更无别理。皆由心之回转。譬如月影有若干、真月无若干、诸源水有若干、水性无若干、森罗万象有若干、虚空无若干、说道理有若干、无碍慧无若干。种种成立、皆由一心也。建立亦得、扫荡亦得、尽是玅用、尽是自家。非离真而有立处、立处即真、尽是自家体。若不然者、更是何人。一切法皆是佛法、诸法即是解脱。解脱者即是真如、诸法不出于真如。行住坐卧悉是不思议用、不待时节。经云、在在处处、则为有佛。佛是能仁。有智能善机性、能破一切众生疑网。出离有无等缚、凡圣情尽、人法俱空、转无等伦、超于数量、所作无碍、事理双通。如天起云、忽有还无、不留碍迹。犹如画水成文。不生不灭。是大寂灭。在缠名如来藏。出缠名净法身。法身无穷。体无增减。能大能小。能方能圆。应物现形。如水中月。滔滔运用。不立根栽。不尽有为。不住无为。有为是无为家用。无为是有为家依。不住于依。故云如空无所依。心生灭义。心真如义。心真如者。譬如明镜照像。镜喻于心。像喻诸法。若心取法即涉外。因缘即是生灭义。不取诸法。即是真如义。声闻闻见佛性。菩萨眼见佛性。了达无二。名平等性。性无有异。用则不同。在迷为识。在悟为智。顺理为悟。顺事为迷。迷即迷自家本心。悟即悟自家本性。一悟永悟。不复更迷。如日出时不合于暗。智能日出。不与烦恼暗俱。了心及境界。妄想即不生。妄想既不生。即是无生法忍。本有今有。不假修道坐禅。不修不坐。即是如来清净禅。如今若见此理真正。不造诸业。随分过生。一衣一衲。坐起相随。戒行增熏。积于净业。但能如是。何虑不通。
Ma-tsu (Baso) whose posthumous title was the Zen Master of Great Quietude (ta-chi) was to be properly called Tao-i (Doichi). His family name was Ma, from the district of Han-chou. His teaching which was originally propagated in the province of Chiang-hsi proved of great influence in the Buddhist world of the time, and he came to be generally known as Ma the Father, that, Ma-tsu
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