Chapter 7: The Source
See the Moon, Forget the Pointing Finger
You must see the moon and forget the fingers. Don’t develop an understanding based on the words.
An ancient worthy said, “The buddhas expounded all teachings to save all minds; I have no mind at all, so what’s the use of all the teachings?” If they can be like this when reading the scriptures, only then will people of resolve have some comprehension of the intent of the sages.
Stories and Sayings
These days, in the Ch’an communities, they use the extraordinary words and marvelous sayings of the ancients to question and answer - considering them situations for discrimination, and beguiling students. They are far from getting to the root of their reality.
When people engaged in meditation read the scriptural teachings, and the stories of the circumstances in which the ancient worthies entered the path, they should just empty their minds. Don’t look for the original marvel, or seek enlightenment in sounds, names, and verbal meanings. If you take this attitude, you’re obstructing your own correct knowledge and perception, and you’ll never have an entry.
P’an Shan said, “It’s like hurling a sword at the sky: no talk of whether it reaches or not!” Don’t be careless! Vimalkirti said that the truth goes beyond eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and intellect.
Te Shan would see a monk enter the door and immediately strike him with his staff; Lin Chi would see a monk enter the door and immediately shout! Venerable adepts everywhere call this “bringing it up face to face,” “imparting it directly,” but I call it first class trailing mud and dripping water. Even if you can take it up with your whole being at a single blow or shout, already you are not a man of power - in fact you have been doused over the head by someone else with a ladleful of foul water. How much more so, if at a shout or blow you are looking for marvels or seeking subtle understanding - this is the stupidest of the stupid.
Ta Hui is a strange fellow, but he represents all those people who try to find their self-nature by intellectual effort. The problem with these people is that they have a good intellect. They can grasp words from masters, they can repeat them; they can deceive people and they can be deceived themselves.
Now this is one of the most stupid sutras amongst all his teachings, and I will show you why I am saying that. As I go more and more into Ta Hui, I am wondering whether to call him a great teacher or just a pseudo teacher. A master certainly he is not; a teacher he may have been, but there are things which are even below the status of a teacher. He seems to be a pseudo teacher. He has not fulfilled even the qualifications for being an authentic teacher, just transmitting knowledge from the masters to the masses.