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Chapter 9: Dead Men Don’t Bleed

Bodhidharma’s “Wake-up Sermon”.

The essence of the way is detachment. And the goal of those who practice is freedom from appearances. The sutras say, “Detachment is enlightenment because it negates appearances.” .

The three realms are greed, anger and delusion. To leave the three realms means to go from greed, anger and delusion back to mortality, meditation and wisdom. . The sutras say, “Buddhas have only become buddhas while living with the three poisons and nourishing themselves on the pure dharma.” The three poisons are greed, anger and delusion.

The great vehicle is the greatest of all vehicles. It’s the conveyance of bodhisattvas, who use everything without using anything, and who travel all day without traveling. Such is the vehicle of buddhas. The sutras say, “No vehicle is the vehicle of buddhas.” .

The sutras say, “The cave of five aggregates is the hall of Zen, the opening of the inner eye is the door of the great vehicle.” What could be clearer?

Not thinking about anything is Zen. Once you know this, walking, standing, sitting or lying down, everything you do is Zen. To know that the mind is empty is to see the buddha. The buddhas of the ten directions have no mind. To see no mind is to see the buddha.

To give up yourself without regret is the greatest charity. To transcend motion and stillness is the highest meditation. Mortals keep moving while arhats stay still. But the highest meditation surpasses that of both mortals and arhats. People who reach such understanding free themselves from all appearances without effort and cure all illnesses without treatment. Such is the power of great Zen.

Bodhidharma is more clear and transparent than any other enlightened person. But the experience of enlightenment is such that you can still commit mistakes. This is something to be understood. People ordinarily think that the man of enlightenment cannot commit mistakes. That is their expectation, but it is not true to reality.

The same has been the expectation of other religions, that their prophets cannot commit mistakes. Although the Koran is full of mistakes, Mohammedans are not ready to accept that their prophet Mohammed can commit any mistake. The Bible is so full of mistakes, but still the popes go on declaring for twenty centuries continuously that they are infallible. And their fallibility is so apparent.

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