|Contents Volume 1 Volume 2 < Previous Next >|
Listen to Yourself: Think Everything Over
Ch'an Dharma Talks
Day #3: December 25, 1972 (Evening)
Here in the Buddha-selecting Hall, the assembly is undergoing an examination. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are the certifiers. If you pass the test you become a Buddha or a Bodhisattva. If you fail, you have to begin again. The topic is “collecting garbage.” Some time ago I gave one of my disciples the nickname “The Garbage Collector.” I gave him this name because he volunteered to pay the temple’s garbage bills. Now we are collecting the garbage. What garbage? The garbage in our brains—the lust, jealousy, afflictions, greed, anger, and stupidity. Our investigation of dhyana is like using the vajra sword of wisdom to cut off our emotion and desires, ignorance and affliction.
When the Buddha was in the world he had a disciple named “Little Roadside” who had no memory whatsoever. Since he forgot everything, he was unable to cultivate. Shakyamuni Buddha taught him to recite “sweep clean,” and by using this method he finally obtained the Way. Investigating dhyana is like sweeping. The “Who?” of “Who is mindful of the Buddha?” sweeps our minds and clears away all mixed-up thoughts and false notions. If you can investigate the word “Who?” the heavenly demons and outside ways have no way to snare you.
You constantly grasp the wisdom sword to conquer all deviant beings, and use the white whisk to brush away the demons so they can’t find a place to worm their way in. If you forget the word “Who?” you have dropped your sword and whisk and the demons may wriggle their way in. This is why it is essential to maintain single-minded concentration when meditating. Those who truly work are unaware of hunger, thirst, cold, or heat. They reach the point where they know nothing at all and yet understand everything. No matter what, you must push it to the extreme, for it is at the extreme that the change will occur. At the ultimate, stillness is movement and movement is stillness.
Daytime is movement and nighttime is stillness. Arriving at the extremity of stillness, there is movement. When the darkest point of the night is reached, daytime begins. This cyclical pattern occurs over various lengths of time. For example, there is also the movement and stillness of the yearly cycle. The winter solstice is the beginning of yang, which is movement, and the summer solstice is the beginning of yin, which is stillness. In the daily cycle, stillness begins at noon, not at sunset. Movement begins, not at dawn, but at midnight when the first yang energies begin to rise. At noon, the yin energies arise. There are twelve divisions of time:
rat 11-1 a.m.
horse 11 -1 p.m.
rise of yang
rise of yin