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Speaking and Not Speaking

misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a HinduIndia Veteran
edited May 2018 in General Banter

Hi All,
I was reading the Layman Pang's pdf file at'ang.pdf
In that below dialogue is mentioned:

20. Speaking and Not Speaking
One day Pai-ling asked the Layman, “Both speaking about it and not speaking about it are unavoidable. So can you tell me simply, how do you not avoid speaking about it?” The Layman winked at him. Pai-ling said, “Nothing could be more sublime than that.” The Layman said, “So the teacher is someone who gives false compliments, is he?” Pai-ling said, “Who doesn’t? Who doesn’t?” The Layman bowed and left.

My theoretical understanding says the 'it' mentioned above refers to the ultimate reality or suchness or just-thisness of the present moment. So the question posed above is even though speaking and not speaking has to be done for suchness, can you tell how to speak about it? The Layman winked at him - I think any gesture which the Layman would have done at that moment, would be equally complete - like raising of his staff or even hitting Pai-ling. Then Pai-ling said it is awesome and nothing could be a more awesome way to explain ultimate reality. Then Layman Pang said is the teacher giving false compliments. The answer which Pai-ling gave to Layman saying that who doesn't give false compliments - this I think is very profound - it indirectly says that since in reality there is no thing, but still we have this Samsara going and thereby creating Nirvana - in other words creating ignorance and wisdom - isn't all these false compliments to praise wisdom/awakening when initially there is no ignorance to begin with.

Dharma is not complicated. It is simple, rather so simple that nothing can be simpler than it. But simple does not mean easy. As the Chan teacher says - it is right in front of you. Then the below story regarding easy or hard at :
Another time at the hermitage someone asked the layman if the practice of the Way was difficult or easy.
“Difficult, difficult,” said the layman, “like trying to cover a tree in sesame seeds.”
“Easy, easy,” said Pang's wife, “just like touching your feet to the ground when you get out of bed.”
“Not difficult, not easy,” said Lingzhao, “On the hundred grass tips, the ancestor's meaning.”

What Lingzhao (daughter of Layman Pang) says is similar to the saying - In every situation, there is wisdom - or as I read/heard somewhere - on the tip of each grass, there is a Buddha sitting on a lotus throne - meaning in every situation, there is an opportunity to realize the dharma or the suchness or the ultimate reality or our true self.

Mazu's teachings at :

The Master continued: "Those who seek for the Truth should realize that there is nothing to seek. There is no Buddha but Mind; there is no Mind but Buddha. Do not choose what is good, nor reject what is evil, but rather be free from purity and defilement. Then you will realize the emptiness of sin. Thoughts perpetually change and cannot be grasped because they possess no self-nature. The Triple World is nothing more than one's mind. The multitudinous universe is nothing but the testimony of one Dharma. What are seen as forms are the reflections of the mind. The mind does not exist by itself; its existence is manifested through forms. Whenever you speak about Mind you must realize that appearance and reality are perfectly interfused without impediment. This is what the achievement of bodhi is. That which is produced by Mind is called form. When you understand that forms are non-existent, then that which is birth is also no-birth. If you are aware of this mind, you will dress, eat, and act spontaneously in life as it transpires, and thereby cultivate your spiritual nature. There is nothing more that I can teach you. Please listen to my gatha:

Anytime you wish to speak about Mind, speak!
In this way, bodhi is tranquil.
When appearance and reality are perfectly interfused without impediment,
Birth is simultaneously no-birth.

A monk asked why the Master maintained, "The Mind is the Buddha." The Master answered, "Because I want to stop the crying of a baby." The monk persisted, "When the crying has stopped, what is it then?" "Not Mind, not Buddha," was the answer. "How do you teach a man who does not uphold either of these?" The Master said, "I would tell him, 'Not things.'" The monk again questioned, "If you met a man free from attachment to all things, what would you tell him?" The Master replied, "I would let him experience the Great Tao."

More teachings from Mazu:

The Way needs no cultivation, just don't create defilement. What is defilement? When, with a mind clinging to birth and death, one acts in a contrived way, then everything becomes defilement. If you want to know the Way directly – ordinary mind is the Way! What is meant by ordinary mind? No contrived behavior, no clinging to ideas of right and wrong, no grasping or rejecting, free of “temporary” or “permanent,” free of “worldly” or “sacred.” The Vimalakirti Sutra says, “Neither the practice of ordinary people, nor the practice of sages; that is the bodhisattva's practice.” Just now, whether walking, standing, sitting, or lying down – responding to situations and dealing with people as they come – everything is the Way.


Self-nature is originally complete. If you are no longer hindered by ideas of good and evil, then you are one who practices the Way. Chasing after benefits and rejecting the unattractive, philosophizing about “emptiness” and pursuing special blissful states, all of these are simply worldly, deluded activity. If you seek outside, you move away form it. Just put an end to all mental struggling and figuring...when you no longer grasp a single thought, then the root of birth-and-death is dissolved, and the unexcelled treasury (of the Dharma King) is revealed.

So it seems that it all comes down to realizing just one thing - which Bodhidharma taught in his bloodstream sermon at - the first sentence of it - Everything that appears in the three realms comes from the mind. - I think once this is realized, the great matter of life and death may get settled automatically.

Unfortunately I do not have access to a physical Chan teacher here at my native city and also I think there is no Chan/Zen monastry in my native city. I think what is also needed is something like trust or belief in something which governs everything - call it nature or Tao or universe or even God or any other name for it. There is a saying in Layman Pang's verses which says - Trusting in the flow, what's needed comes. Whatever happens, was needed to happen. When the time comes, the fruit becomes ripe by itself.

I think the basis of Shikantaza or just sitting zazen meditation as Dogen taught in Fukanzazengi at is to just sit and do nothing. Also I think this is similar to Mahamudra meditation in this URL: which has instructions like - "Don't control. Let what binds you let go and freedom is not in doubt." Does these meditations help in realizing that everything is mind? Any information here please. Thanks.

May all sentient beings be peaceful, happy, safe, protected, healthy, strong, have ease of well-being and accept all the conditions of the world.

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