Chapter 8: Delusion
Enlightenment and Delusion
“Buddha” is the medicine for sentient beings; once the disease of sentient beings is removed, the medicine has no further use.
If you want to attain oneness, just give up both buddhas and sentient beings at once!
An ancient worthy said, “Just perceive nothingness in the midst of things.”
“I formed the repository of thusness with subtle illumination that is neither destroyed nor born; and the repository of thusness is only the illumination of sublime enlightenment shining throughout the whole cosmos.”
Nevertheless, both are ultimately empty falsehoods. If one abandons the power of actions to grasp the power of the path, then I would say that this person does not understand the skill in means of all the buddhas in expounding the truth as is appropriate to the occasion. Why? Have you not read how old Shakyamuni said, “If you cling to the truth aspect, you are attached to self, personality, living beings, and life; if you cling to the non-truth aspect, you are attached to self, personality, living beings, and life.” Thus it is said, “The Buddha only uses provisional terms in guiding sentient beings.”
As soon as the source of the sickness was pointed out to him by an old adept, Chang Ch’o, the famous scholar in the old days understood enough to say:
Trying to eliminate passion aggravates the disease; rushing towards true suchness is also wrong. There is no obstruction in worldly circumstances according to one’s lot: “nirvana” and “birth and death” are equally illusions.
Be like the stillness of water, like the clarity of a mirror, so that whether good or bad, beautiful or ugly approach, you don’t make the slightest move to avoid them. Then you will truly know that the mindless world of spontaneity is inconceivable.
Ta Hui in these sutras comes very close to truth. But even to be close to truth is not to attain it. Even the closeness is a distance.
Whatever he is saying could have been said by an enlightened being, and then its meaning would be totally different. He is repeating very cleverly the statements of ancient enlightened people, but they sound phony, they don’t sound alive. It seems something is dead inside them. He does not show that what he is saying is his own experience; there is no authority in it.
But we will try to understand, because the statements that he is quoting from others are significant in themselves. Alas that he himself has not experienced them! And experience makes such a great difference. A blind man can describe all the qualities of light; he can describe all the beauties of a rainbow, but in his description something essential will be missing. And anybody who knows light and knows the colors of the rainbow will immediately feel that the man is blind. Perhaps he has heard about light, but he has not seen it. And I will tell you how different would be the same statement from a man of enlightenment.