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Chapter 4: Buddhas Don’t Practice Nonsense

But suppose I don’t see my nature, can’t I still attain enlightenment by invoking buddhas, reciting sutras, making offerings, observing precepts, practicing devotions, or doing good works?

No, you can’t.

And why not?

If you attain anything at all it’s conditional, it’s karmic. It results in retribution. It turns the wheel. And as long as you’re subject to birth and death, you’ll never attain enlightenment. To attain enlightenment you have to see your nature. Unless you see your nature, all this talk about cause and effect is nonsense. Buddhas don’t practice nonsense. A buddha is free of karma, free of cause and effect. To say he attains anything at all is to slander a buddha. What could he possibly attain? Even focusing on a mind, a power, an understanding or a view is impossible for a buddha. A buddha isn’t one-sided. The nature of his mind is basically empty, neither pure nor impure. He’s free of practice and realization. He’s free of cause and effect.

A buddha doesn’t observe precepts. A buddha doesn’t do good or evil. A buddha isn’t energetic or lazy. A buddha is someone who does nothing, someone who can’t even focus his mind on a buddha. A buddha isn’t a buddha. Don’t think about buddhas. If you don’t see what I’m talking about, you’ll never know your own mind.

People who don’t see their nature and imagine they can practice doing nothing all the time are liars and fools. They fall into endless space. They’re like drunks. They can’t tell good from evil. If you intend to practice doing nothing, you have to see your nature before you can put an end to rational thought. To attain enlightenment without seeing your nature is impossible.

Still others commit all sorts of evil deeds, claiming karma doesn’t exist. They erroneously maintain that since everything is empty, committing evil isn’t wrong. Such persons fall into a hell of endless darkness with no hope of release. Those who are wise hold no such conception.

But if our every movement or state, whenever it occurs, is the mind, why don’t we see this mind when a person’s body dies?

The mind is always present. You just don’t see it.

But if the mind is present, why don’t I see it?

Do you ever dream?

Of course.

When you dream, is that you?

Yes, it’s me.

And is what you’re doing and saying different from you?

No, it isn’t.

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