|Preface Text a b I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X Gatha previous next Contents|
I. PRESENTATION OF THE SUBSTANCE OF THE DOCTRINE
What does the Preface say? It begins:
Going and returning with no border,
Movement and stillness have one source;
Embracing multitudes of wonders, more remains;
Overstepping words and thought by far:
Going and returning with no border. "Going" represents going out, arising, movement, and change. Therefore it is said:
With movement there is change;
With change there is transformation;
In the universe, only those who with total sincerity can effect transformations.
If you are totally sincere, then you can bring about change; but without total sincerity, you cannot. "Returning" represents coming back, extinction, and stillness. What this refers to is movement not obstructing stillness, and stillness not obstructing movement. Movement is stillness, and stillness is movement. Movement and stillness are one suchness. That is why it says, with no border. No border means no boundary, no trace, no path. It is also as is described by:
The mouth wants to speak but words are lost;
The mind wants to think but reflection perishes.
The mouth wishes to talk, but words fail. There is no way to speak. In the mind there is the intention to do some climbing on conditions, but there is no way to climb on conditions. Reflection perishes. All that kind of deliberation is gone, which is to say:
No consciousness, no knowing;
No deliberation, no reflection.
This is the Greatness of the Functioning to the Flower Adornment Sutra. The use of the Flower Adornment Sutra is great, which is why it says, Going and returning with no border:
Going, yet not going,
Returning, yet not returning.
Going and returning are not dual.
They are not two. Going comes from returning, and returning comes from going, and so going and returning have no border. There is no path:
Just as a bird flies through space,
and space has no track;
When a bird flies back and forth in the air, there is no path. If you attempt to find the path followed by a bird flying in space, you won’t be able to find it.
Just as a knife cuts through water,
and the water has no trace.
It is also similar to using a knife to cut through water: after you cut it, in just a little while, there is no trace at all. That’s how the saying goes, but in actuality it’s not the case that there is no track after a bird has flown through the air. A track is left behind, and it takes twenty-four hours for the track left behind by a bird’s flying through the air to disappear. After the passage of a day and a night, no path remains. It’s just that our eyes of flesh are unable to perceive that path, so even though nowadays we have x-rays and microscopes, we don’t see it. But all you have to do is obtain the Five Eyes, and you can see, “Oh, a bird has flown through that area, so there is no fine dust in that space. Ah, it is truly empty!”
And if you cut water with a knife, although it is said that the water has no trace, no scar, still, if you look with the heavenly eye, the cut of the knife is traced out. It takes twenty-four hours for the wound made by a knife in water to heal. Now you may object, “Do you mean to say that water is wounded when cut through by a knife?” Well, why would you say that, when a knife cuts through it, the water is not injured? When someone cuts into another person’s body, that person’s body bleeds. When someone slices through water, the water lets air through. There is a stream of air within the water.
But this is not something that modern-day science can research. Perhaps one or two thousand years from now science will be able to “prove” this. As for now, probably very few who hear this will believe it. However, very many people will believe it... in the future, after they have understood the principle.
That is Going and returning with no border, and it is the Greatness of the Functioning.
Movement and stillness have one source. This is the Greatness of the Substance. The source of movement is there, and the source of stillness is also there. This original substance basically has neither movement nor stillness. Movement and stillness change into each other. As was just quoted:
With movement there is change.
Once there is movement, then there will be change. As with the sixty-four hexagrams of the Book of Changes, before movement takes place, there is the original hexagram; but as soon as you have a moving line, it changes into the other hexagrams. This basic substance of movement and stillness is one. The basis of movement is stillness, and the basis of stillness is movement. The two are two, and yet not two. Although they are described as dual, basically they are one. They have one source.
There is another simple analogy for the relationship between movement and stillness. The basis of movement and stillness is like a mother who gives birth to two children, one called “Movement” and the other called “Stillness.” The one named “Stillness” calls its mother “Mama,” and the one named “Movement” also calls its mother “Mama.” That describes their production from one substance. In Lao Ts’u it says:
The Way has purity and defilement;
It has movement and stillness.
Purity is the source of defilement;
He did not say that purity and defilement had one source, but said that purity was the source of defilement, and he said:
Movement is the foundation of stillness.
He said that movement acts as a foundation for stillness, and that;
If people can constantly be still,
If people can constantly be clear and still,
Heaven and earth completely return.
What he was saying was, “Heaven and earth are all with me. They all return and come back to me.” Furthermore, he said,
Heaven is pure, earth is defiled.
Heaven is pure, while earth is defiled and turbid.
Heaven moves, earth is still.
He said that heaven moves, and that earth is still. Now, however, science has “discovered” and maintains that the earth moves and that heaven is still. But this Movement and Stillness is not what science takes for movement and stillness. This “movement and stillness” is talking about the basic substance. If you look at the earth, while science claims to have proved that the earth moves, in actual truth heaven moves as well. You see heaven as unmoving. However, it also moves. The earth moves. However, it also does not move. Consequently this kind of principle is not something that ordinary people using words and language can clarify.
Lao Ts’u also said,
Men move, women are still.
Men are pure, women are defiled.
Men are clean and pure, women are defiled and turbid. Men move and women are still. By now some people are objecting, “I don’t believe that principle. It’s men who are defiled and turbid, and women who are clean and pure. Women daily apply rough and rub on power, and make-up their faces so they are one-doesn’t-know-how clear!” Well, why is it that they want to make up their faces? If they weren’t defiled and turbid, why would they want to make them up? It’s like sweeping the floor: if it weren’t dusty, why would you sweep it? The reason you want to sweep the floor is that it is dirty, that it is dusty. Why do you want to put on a false face? It’s because you yourself know your face is defiled. Now there are movie stars who go even further making false faces. They employ the beauticians’ art and face lifts. To start with they are old as in the line:
Chicken-skin and white crane hair...
The skin on their faces is like that of a chicken, and the hair on their heads is as white as a white crane. But they dye their hair, and have some of their flesh cut out, or else add a little, and smooth out the skin. It looks good on the outside, but underneath it’s very painful. Lao Ts’u was aware of this principle thousand of years ago, and so he said,
Men are pure, women are defiled.
Men move, women are still.
But we will not pay any attention that movement and stillness of his, or his defilement and purity, for what we are talking about now is Movement and Stillness have one source. Purity to the ultimate is defilement, and defilement to the ultimate is purity. Therefore there is no distinction between them: they all come from one basic source, one fountainhead. Movement to the ultimate becomes stillness, and stillness to the extreme again becomes movement. Someone may say, “I don’t understand that at all.” I can very easily teach you to understand it. My expedient dharmas are many. It’s my true and actual dharmas that are very few. What is that expedient dharma? In the daytime you do not sleep, isn’t that correct? You go to work. That is movement. In the evening you want to sleep, not work, and that is stillness. You cannot be still to the ultimate and say, “I’ll sleep day after day and not work.” That’s impossible. And you are even less able to say, “Day after day I’ll work and not sleep,” which is impossible as well. So, as to movement and stillness:
Movement is not separate from stillness,
Stillness is not separate from movement;
Movement and stillness have one source.
That is a substance, the substance of the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra. That is the Greatness of the Substance which being great, can include both movement and stillness.
He also said that heaven is pure while earth is defiled; that heaven moves and earth is still; that purity to the ultimate is defilement; that defilement to the ultimate is purity. Therefore there is no distinction between them. They all come from one basic source. Movement to the ultimate becomes stillness, and stillness to the extreme again becomes movement. The Greatness of the Substance of The Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra can include both movement and stillness.
Embracing Multitudes of Wonders, More remains. Embracing means including and containing, not just one kind of wonder, but multitudes of wonders. Although multitudes of wonders are many, still more remains. This is the Greatness of the Appearances. Going and returning with no border was the Greatness of the Functioning, Movement and stillness have one source was the Greatness of the Substance, while here Embracing multitudes of wonders, more remains is the Greatness of the Appearances. Those are the Three Greatnesses set forth in the Preface: of Substance, Functioning and Appearances.
Wonders, fundamentally, inconceivable kinds of states. Multitudes of wonders is a phrase from the opening lines of the Tao Te Ching, used by National Master Ch’ing Liang to illustrate the principles of the Buddhadharma. The Tao Te Ching begins:
The Way that can be spoken is not the Eternal Way;
The name that can be named is not the Eternal Name.
Nameless, it is the beginning of Heaven and Earth;
Named, it is the Mother of the myriad things.
Therefore, constantly without desire,
one contemplates its wonder;
Constantly having desire,
one contemplates its shell.
From sameness come forth different names.
All alike are called mysterious,
The mysterious within the mysterious,
The gateway to the multitudes of wonders.
The phrase in the Preface is a literal quote from the Tao Te Ching, but the context gives it a different meaning. The Tao Te Ching’s gateway to the multitudes of wonders has no remainder, that is, nothing more beyond, whereas the Flower Adornment Sutra embraces multitudes of wonders, yet more remains there is something more beyond and so this meaning differs from that in the Tao Te Ching.