● Song Of Enlightenment

10/10/201012:00 SA(Xem: 8215)
● Song Of Enlightenment

Tác giả: Thiền sư Huyền Giác
Dịch giả: Cư sĩ Trúc Thiên 
Nhà xuất bản Lá Bối ấn hành lần thứ nhất tại Saigon năm 1970

Yung Chia’s Song of Enlightenment

Ch’an Master Hsuan Chueh of Yung Chia joined the Sangha order when he was still young and began to study the T’ien T’ai (Japanese, Ten dai) teaching which he practiced with great success. Then he called on learned masters for instruction. After reading the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, he was awakened to the Buddha Dharma and his later study of the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra enabled him to realize his mind. Since his major awakening had, not yet been confirmed by an enlightened master, he proceeded to Ts’ao Ch’I where he called on the Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng who sealed the visitor’s enlightenment after a short and very skillful probe related in the Altar Sutra. He was retained at the monastery for a night and was then known as “The Overnight Enlightened One.”

After his thorough understanding of the Buddha’s expedient teaching in the sutras and his complete awakening to the Transmission outside the Scriptures, he wrote Yung Chia’s Ch’an Collection (Yung Chia Ch’an Tsung Chi) and the Song of Enlightenment (Yung Chia Ta Shih Cheng Tao Ko) for the benefit of those practicing the Buddha Dharma. In one of his meditations, while entering the state of samadhi, he saw the golden words of his Song filling the whole of space. Since then, it became well known in all monasteries in China and was widely read all over the country. It was later translated into Sanskrit by an Indian master who took it to India for the benefit of his fellow countrymen.

Yung Chia was a successor to T’ien Kung, the seventh Patriarch of the T’ien T’ai School and was also a Dharma successor to Hui Neng, the Sixth Patriarch of the Ch’an Sect.

…The immortal Song of Enlightenment is now presented in this volume with full notes so that readers can comprehend it from end to end. Its beauty is incomparable and, its vigorous style and stirring appeal to indecisive and wavering devotees are reminiscent of “La Marseillaise” as the two famous songs of the East and of the West are both calls to the colors with different goals, the former for the salvation of all living beings and the latter for the defense of the fatherland.


1. Have you not seen a man of Tao[31]at his ease.
In his non-active[32]and beyond learning[33]states.
Who neither suppresses thoughts nor seets the real? To him.
The real nature of ignorance is Buddhata[34].
And the non-existent body of illusion is Dharmakaya[35].
2. After his awakening, his Dharma body owns not anything,
For each thing in essence comes from his true self-natured Buddha;
The five aggregates[36]are just floating clouds that aimlessly come and go,
While the three poisons[37]are but bubbles that appear and vanish.
3. When the real is attained, neither ego nor dharma exist.
And in a moment the avici[38]karma[39]is eradicated.
If knowingly I lie to deceive living beings, my tongue.
Will be pulled out for aeons uncountable as dust and sand[40].
4. When at once awakened, the Tathagata’s Ch’an is perfected in self-substance,
By any of the six paramitas[41]or myriad methods of salvation[42].
When dreaming, clearly there are six worlds of existence,
When awake, not even the great chiliocosm[43]can be found.
5. There’s neither weal nor woe and neither gain nor loss
Try not to find something in nirvanie nature[44].
It is like a mirror never rubbed clean from covering dust.
Today all this must be ripped open and solved with decision.
6. Who is free from thoughts and birth? The uncreate can,
Be realized without destroying the created.
Ask a wooden puppet when it will retain
Buddhahood by self-cultivation?
7. Lay down the four elements, cling not to anything,
Keep on with food and drink within nirvanie nature.
To perceive that all phenomena are not lasting nor existent,
Is to realize the complete enlightenment of all Tathagatas.
8. I must speak with decision to set a true monk’s example
To answer those who disagree and frankly ask me questions,
I go to the root according to the Buddha’s sealing
As to the search for twigs it is beyond my competence.
9. The mani pearl[45]is unknown to men. But is found in the Tathagatas store,[46]
All its six fold function, which neither “is” nor “is not”, derives.
From one perfect light that is neither with nor without form.
10. To purify five kinds of eyes[47]perfects the powers five[48]Only after
Personal experience can the inconceivable be understood.
‘Tis easy to perceive (one’s) image in a mirror,
But who can grasp the moon (reflected) in the water?
11. It is always a lonely saunter, for one always goes alone
Only experienced men can be companions on nirvana’s path.
By following old tradition, your spirits will be high.
But your wild mien and hardened bones will remain unnoticed.
12. A disciple of Buddha who is poor admits it. Truly his body is poor but not his Tao.
His poverty is clear with his body wrapped in rags
His Tao means his mind which possesses a priceless gem.
13. It is a priceless gem for use without the least hesitation.
In looking after others or in response to ripening,
Potentialities. The three bodies[49]and four wisdoms[50]in their substance.
Are perfected. While the six powers[51]and eighth form of liberation[52]
Are sealed.
14. Superior men to one of them awakened are to all.
Medium and inferior men are mostly sceptical when they hear
(This Dharma) which destroys their dirty inner garments.
How can one then be boastful of zeal for external things?
15. Let them criticize and wrong you (if they like)
In trying to scorch heaven they but tire themselves.
When I hear them, it is to me (like drinking nectar, enabling
Me to enter in an instant (that state) which cannot be conceived.
16. Thus offensive words are blessings (in disguise)
And the speaker’s my helpful friend.
This universal mind digesting slander and abuse,
how can
The uncreate compassionate endurance manifest?
17. So by penetrating both the Transmission and (expedient) Teaching
Samadhi and wisdom are to perfection brought
unhindered by the void[53].
I am not the only man to have attained this stage
Which Buddhas countless as the sand have realized.
18. Speak without fear and like a lion roar[54]. At the sound all beasts take fright and tremble,
As the fragrant elephant[55]strolls by losing its awe-inspiring air,
The heavenly dragon[56]in silence listens and is filled with joy.
19. In days gone by I crossed many hills and rivers
in My search for teachers and instruction in Ch’an practice, But since I have known the path of Ts’ao and Ch’i[57], I have realized it is past birth and death.
20. Stray not from Ch’an[58]whether you walk or sit, you will then be
At ease whether you speak or keep silent, move or stay still.
Serene when facing a sharp weapon.
Even poison will not worry you.
21. My teacher (Sakyamuni) only met Dipamkara
Buddha after. He had been a ksantyrsi[59]for
many alons.
How many births and many deaths have succeeded
One another without interruption?
22. Since my Instantaneous awakening to the law of
the uncreat. Vanished are my joy in glory and
my sorrow in disgrace.
I would stay at some hermitage, deep in
The hills beneath the first on some high peak.
Carefree I would meditate in some wanderer’s but
Enjoying with light heart the stillness of a tranquil life.
23. Once enlightened, that is all: no efforts are needed;
There is nothing common between this and the worldly way.
Alms[60]given with attachment earn rewards in heaven
It is like shooting an arrow high up in the air.
With force expended; a spent arrow’s bound to fall and cause
Distasteful things to follow in the next incarnation.
How can it then compare with the wu wei reality.
Which ensures a leap straight to the Tathagata stage?
24. Get at the root, do not worry about the twigs.
It is like a crystal enclosing a bright moon.
Since you have understood this cintamani jewel
Use it for ever for your own and others welfare.
A bright moon in the stream, a breeze fanning the first,
Where’s all the bustle in this pure and endless night?
25. After realizing the Buddha nature, the sila gem,
And sealing the mind-ground, fog, dew and clouds are garments now.
The dragon subduing bowl[61]and the staff that tigers separates[62]
With clear sounds from its two hangers of metal rings[63]
Are not the fabled relics of some groundless tales
But symbols of the Tathagata’s precious mace.
26. Neither search for the real nor destruction of the false
(Are needed since) both in themselves are void
and matterless.
That which is neither void nor matterless nor yet
Not voidis the Tathagata’s true reality.
27. The mind mirror is bright, reflecting all without obstruction,
Its vast brightness pervades worlds uncountable
as Gange’s sand.
The universe in its diverse variety appears
Inside one brightness which is neither within or without.
28. Grasp not the void, reject not the law of cause (and of effect)
Such confusion and recklessness bring trouble and misfortune.
Rejection of what is and grasping what is not are also wrong.
For both are like jumping into a fire to escape from drowning.
29. To reject falsehood while accepting the true principle is wrong
And artful because of the accepting and rejecting mind,
If a student does so in his training
He will mistake a thief for his own son.
30. Damage to Dharma wealth and destruction of spiritual merits
Are caused solely by the eighth, seventh, and sixth consciousnesses,
Into these, therefore, Ch’an followers are always looking to realize
Instantaneously the uncreate and win the Buddha’s wisdom.
31. A virile man uses his wisdom-sword.
Whose point of prajna shines with vajra light[64]
It both destroys the heterodox mind
And scares away all heavenly demons.
32. Roll the Dharma thunder and beat the Dharma drum[65],
Spread clouds of compassion and rain nectar down[66].
Dragons and elephants[67]come to help countless living beings
Arousing all of five natures in the three vehicles[68].
Milk in the snow mountains[69]is pure and nourishing,
It makes the refined butter that I enjoy. One nature pervades perfectly all others.
One Dharma embraces all other Dharmas,
One moon appears (reflected) in all waters
Wherein all moon from the One Moon derive.
The Dharmakayas of all Buddhas pervade My nature which unites with all Tathagatas.
33. When this stage is completed, so are the others (realized)[70]
Being neither matter, mind, nor any act of karma.
Eighty thousand doors[71]are perfected in a finger snap
And three endless kalpas[72]are destroyed in a moment.
Figuring or expressing and not doing either
Have nothing in common with transcendental bodhi.
34. It cannot be praised or censured,
Its substance is like boundless space,
It is serene and always present,
You will fail if you search for it.
It can neither be grasped or dropped, only
When unobtainable can it be won.
Its silence preaches (yet) silent is the sermon,
Its dana opens wide the door (to enlightenment).
35. If asked about what doctrine I interpret,
I call it the strong Mahaprajna[73]
No man knows whether I am right or wrong.
No deva whether I agree or not.
36. Since in self-cultivation I have passed
Long aeons, I talk not loosely to deceive.
Hoist the Dharma banner, proclaim the object of our Sect,
Clearly this was the Buddha’s command to Ts’ao Ch’i.
37. In Indian records Mahakasyapa was the first
To transmit the Lamp to Twenty-eight succeeding generations.
Moving east, the Dharma reached the Middle Kingdom.
Where Bodhidharma was the First Patriarch
It is well known that six generations inherited
The robe and countless were those who later realized the Tao.
38. If the real is not established, the false is void in essence,
If “is” and “is not” are eradicated[74], so is the not void.
The teaching of twenty (types of) voidness means disentanglement (from “is”)[75]
Because in the one natured Tathagata all substance is the same.
39. Mind is a sense organ with things for its object,
Both are like the dust which settles on a mirror
Which becomes bright (quickly) when the dust is rubbed away.
Self-nature is realized when mind and Dharma vanish.
40. Alas, in this Dharma ending age and this evil world
Living beings of ill fortune are hard to discipline,
The holy period’s long passed and perverted views are deep,
With demon strong and Dharma weak both hatred and harm prevail.
When they hear the Tathagata’s Instantaneous Dharma Door
They hate not having swept. It like broken tiles.
41. While their minds so act their bodies will then suffer;
They cannot accuse or blame their fellow men
If you would avoid the retribution of continuous
Karma[76]speak no ill of the Tathagata’s Right Dharma Wheel.
42. No other trees can grow in a sandal forest,
A lion lies usually in a thick bush and strolls
Alone at ease in quiet and familiar
Haunts from which all other beasts and birds have fled.
43. A lion cub, with all others lagging slow behind,
When it is three years old can give a frightening roar
A jackal, even followign after the Monarch of the Law,
Will vainly open its strange mouth after a hundred years.
44. The teaching of instantaneous perfection is beyond all worldly
Feelings: all doubt and indecisions should be examined and ironed out.
It is not because this monk is clinging to selfness and otherness
Practicers should beware of traps set by permanence and its opposite.
45. Neither right is right nor is wrong wrong the slightest
Deviation means a thousand miles away.
The believing Naga maiden attained the Buddha stage at once
While the unbelieving Sunaksatra was reborn in hell.
46. I amassed much learning in my youth, searching
Sutras and sastras and their commentaries.
Endlessly I discriminated between names and forms,
A task as vain as counting sandgrains on the ocean beds
I was severely reprimanded by the Buddha
Who asked what gain derived from counting others’ gems.
I realized how futile were my dreary journeys
When I traveled without aim for so many years.
47. It is due to perverse nature and wrong
interpretation that the Tathagata’s instantaneous
perfection is not understood.
Hinayana men are zealous but neglect their Tao mind,
(while) the heterodox have no wisdom though intelligent.
In their ignorance and folly they interpret
Wrongly the pointing finger of the empty hand
Mistaking finger for moon they practice aimlessly the Teaching
And fabricate absurdities in the realm of sense and objects.
48. When not a single thing can, be perceived this is Tathagata
And only then can one be called a Sovereign Regarder.
When truly understood, all karmic obstructions in their essence
Exist not: when there’s no realization, all debts must be paid.
49. It is like a hungry man who cannot attend the royal feast,
Or the sick refusing medicine prescribed by the physician king.

Ch’an practice is smost effective in this world of desires, because
A lotus blossom growing in a fire is indestructible.
Pradhanasura broke gave prohibitions and awoke to the uncreate.
There by long ago achieving his realization of the Buddha state.
50. (After) the fearless sermon, like a lion’s roar, to be pitied
Are the stupid, the perverse, obstinate and wavering
Prone are they to break important precepts thereby impeding bodhi
(And) ignoring the Tathagata’s disclosure of profound secrets.
51. There were two bhikkus, once committed
carnalsin, the other kille. Both confessed
To Upali who “firely” knowledge exaggerated
the retribution.
Mahasattva Vimalakirti wiped out the doubts
of both
Like a hot sun that easily dissolves both frost
and snow.
52. His power to free all living beings is inconceivable
And its functions are uncountable as the Ganges’s river sand.
Who dare to refuse to offer (a monk’s) four necessities.
To one who is entitled to ten thousand ounces of gold?
To have bone and body reduced to dust is still inadequate
Repayment for words ensuring a leap over countless aeons.
53. It is the unsurpassed King of all Dharma that has been
Experienced by Tathagatas countless as the sand.
I have interpreted correctly this cintamani stone,
Those who believe and who observe my words will unite with it.
54. To him who sees clearly that there is not a thing,
There is not a man and also not a Buddha.
Countless worlds in the great chiliocosm are only bubbbles
In the sea, (while) all saints and sages are but lighting flashes.
55. Even a hot wheel of iron turning one one’s head
Cannot disperse perfect samadhi-prajna.
Though demons can cool the sun and heat the moon,
They can never hinder truthful speaking.
56. When a stately cart drawn by an elephant advances
Slowly, will a praying mantis try to bar its passage?
As a huge elephant steps not in a bare’s track,
A great awakening cannot be circumscribed.
Rely not on your narrow views to abuse the infinite.
Since you are not yet clear (minded), this Song gives you the key.

Translated by LU KUAN YU
(Ch’an and Zen teaching, series three,
Part II, Rider & Co, London 1962)

[1]665-731 đời nhà Đường

[2]Tức là tỉnh Chiết Giang, huyện Vĩnh Gia, nay là một bến tàu nhỏ tại phía Nam thành Thượng Hải.

[3]Tâm địa: Đất tâm. Tâm là căn bản muôn vật, là nguồn gốc của tất cả suy niệm, hành động, pháp môn, tất cả hột giống, nên gọi là đất tâm. (Tam giới duy tâm, tâm danh vi địa.)

[4]Huyền Sách, người đất Kim Hoa, Châu Vụ, vốn là một đạo sĩ du phượng.

[5]Phương Đẳng :Một trong năm bộ kinh Đại Thừa theo lối xếp loại của sư Trí Húc, là Hoa Nghiêm bộ, Phương Đẳng bộ, Bát Nhã bộ, Pháp Hoa bộ và Niết Bàn bộ. Ở đây, Phương Đẳng có nghĩa chung là Đại thừa.

[6]Phật giáo có hai tông chánh là: Phật tâm tông, tức là Thiền tông, và Phật giáo tông (hoặc Phật ngữ tông). Tâm tông lấy tâm Phật làm tông chỉ, trực tiếp vận dụng cái tâm sáng mà thành Phật tức thì, còn các pháp môn khác gián tiếp cầu đạo xuyên qua chữ nghĩa, lời nói, kinh điển, nên gọi là Phật giáo tông, nghĩa là pháp môn lấy lời dạy của Phật làm tông chỉ.

[7]Oai Âm Vương. Tên một vị cổ Phật ra đời từ vô số kiếp về trước chép lại trong các bộ kinh Pháp Hoa, Lăng Nghiêm. Vị Phật này tượng trưng cho cái mà Phật giáo gọi là “không kiếp chi thời” (thời đại của kiếp không). Trước đó không có Phật, nên không có ngôn ngữ, văn tự, sắc tướng. Sau đó, có Phật ra đời, và có ngôn ngữ, văn tự, sắc tướng, nên chân lý bị che lấp. Không trước đó, không sau đó, là cảnh giới tâm chứng.

[8]Đi quanh là “nhiễu”, như nói nhiễu Phật, nhiễu Tổ, nhiễu Tháp, tỏ dấu cung kính.

Ba vòng biểu thị cho ba món tôn quý (Tam tôn) có công năng điều giải ba độc tham, sân, si: Phật, Pháp, Tăng. Phật thì Giác, Pháp thì Chánh, Tăng thì Tịnh, nên nói: Phật Giác tôn, Pháp Chánh tôn, Tăng Tịnh tôn.

[9]Ba ngàn oai nghi:oai nghicốt cách của người tu hiện ra trong cử chỉ, và do giới luật rèn đúc nên. Giới luật qui định tỳ khưu phải giữ 250 giới, con số này nhân cho bốn oai nghi (đi, đứng, nằm, ngồi), rồi nhân cho ba đời (quá khứ, hiện tại, vị lai) thành 3.000 oai nghi.

[10]Mười muôn Tế hạnh. Tế hạnhoai nghi vô hình ẩn trong người. Nói đủ là 84.000. Con số 8 chỉ tám quan năng hiểu biết (Bát thức: nhãn, nhĩ, tỉ, thiệt, thân ý, mạt na, a lại da) thuộc thế giới tinh thần, con số 4 chỉ bốn phần tử cấu tạo vật chất.(Tứ đại : địa,thủy,hỏa,phong) thuộc thế giớI vật chất. Cả hai con số ấy tượng trưng cho không gian. Còn ba con số không tượng trưng cho thời gian (quá khứ, hiện tại, vị lai).

[11]Ý nói sống chết là việc lớn, cần giải quyết ngay, còn nghi lễ là việc nhỏ.

[12]Đàn kinh: Ta chẳng hiểu pháp Phật.

[13]Đạo Phật chỉ có một thừa duy nhấtPhật thừa, các thừa khác (Thinh Văn, Duyên Giác…) đều là quyền biến mà đặt ra.

[14]Tam thế cầu tâm tâm bất hữu, thốn tâm mích vọng vọng nguyên vô, vọng nguyên vô xứ tức Bồ đề, thị tắc danh vi chân đắc đạo.

[15]Súc: bất động

[16]A.W. Watts: The way of Zen, p. 123.

[17]Tăng Xán: Tín Tâm Minh

[18]Như dao năng cắt bất tự cắt, như nhãn năng kiến bất tự kiến.

[19]Watts: the way of Zen.

[20]Hy Vận: bổn lai vô thứ đệ Phật. Bác sĩ Hubert Benoit cũng nóí: On est Bouddha ou on ne l’est pas, on ne peut être plus ou moins Bouddha.

[21]Đạt Ma: Tâm như tường bích khả dĩ nhập đạo.

[22]Thiền sư Tổ Nguyên: Vạn pháp qui tâm lục.

[23]Discrimination non discriminante.

[24]Kinh Duy Ma: Thiện năng phân biệt nhất thiết pháp tướng, u đệ nhất nghĩa nhi bất động, đệ nhất nghĩa bất động tức phi ý dã.

[25]Năm cũ hoa cười hoa năm mới/Đêm nay nguyệt sáng nguyệt đêm qua.

[26]Ví hỏi rồi sao là cứu cánh/Ma ha Bát nhã tát bà ha.

[27]Ta vẫn biết là trái, nhưng đành vậy để được là ta; người không ai là chẳng phải, hãy đợi xem người.

[28]Saint – John Perse: Éloge à la poésie (đọc trong buổi lễ tiếp nhận giải Nobel 1960)j.

[29]André Breton: Tuyên ngôn siêu thực.

[30]Vĩnh Bình Đạo Nguyên pháp ngữ

[31]Tao: Road, way,path, truth, self-nature, the transcendental.

[32]Wu wei: Asamskrta, anything not subject to cause, condition or dependence; out of time, eternal, inactive, transcendental. Here it means a state that is passionless and non-active.

[33]Asaiksa: No longer learning, beyond study, the state of arhatship, the fourth of the sravaka stages, the preceding three requiring study. When a man is free from all illusions, he has nothing more study. Here asaiksa means a state beyond all study.

[34]Buddhata: The Buddha nature inherent in all living beings.

[35]Dharmakaya: The essential body of the Buddha which is perceptible to Buddhas only.

[36]Pancaskandha: The five aggregates: form, feeling, ideation, reaction and consciousness.

[37]The three poisons: Desire or concupiscence, anger or resentment and stupidity.

[38]Avici: The last and deepest of the eight hells, where sinners suffer, die and are instantly reborn to suffer without interuption.

[39]Karma: moral action causing future retribution and either good or evil transmigration.

[40]This is another hell where the tongue of a sinner is pulled out as punishment for verbal sins.

[41]The six paramitas are the six methods of attaining enlightenment: dana (charity), sila (discipline), ksanti (patient endurance), virya (zeal and progress), dhyana (meditation), and prajna (wisdom).

[42]The Bodhisattas’s myrial modes of salvation.

[43]A great chiliocosm: tri-sahasra-maha-sahasra-loka-dhatu in Sanskrit. Mount Sumeru and rings of iron mountains form one small world: 1,000 of these form a small chiliocosm: 1,000 of these form a great chiliocosm, which consists of 1,000,000,000 small worlds.

[44]Nirvanic: is an adjective, derived from the Sanskrit word Nirvana which means cessation of reincarnation for entry into eternal bliss.

[45]The mani pearl, cintamani, is a fabulous pearl of the devas, capable of responding to every wish.

[46]Tathagata store, Tathagatagarbha, is the absolute in the mist of the delusion of passions and desires.

[47]The five kinds of eyes are (a) the human eye which should be free from delusion , (b) the deva eye or divine sight with unlimited vision, (c) the eye of wisdom which sees all things as unreal, (d) the Dharma eyes which penetrate all things to see the truth that releases from reincarnation and (e) the Buddha eye, the enlightened eye that sees all and is omniscent.

[48]The five powers, pancabalani, are faith (destroying doubts), zeal (destroying remissness), right thought (destroying falsity), samadhi (destroying wandering mind) and wisdom (destroying illusions).

[49]The three bodies of Buddha (Trikaya) are Dharmakaya, or essential body, perceptible only to Buddhas; sambhogakaya, or reward-body, perceptible only to Bodhisattvas; and nirmanakaya, or transformation body perceptible to men and devas.

[50]The four wisdoms of a Buddha are: the great mirror wisdom, the wisdom of equality, the profound observing wisdom and the perfecting wisdom. The first five consciousnesses are transmuted into the perfecting wisdom, the sixth consciousness into the profound observing wisdom, the seventh consciousness into the wisdom of equality and the eighth consciousness into the great mirror wisdom.

[51]The six supernatural powers (sadabhijna) are Divyacakus, deva eye or divine sight, unlimited vision; divyasrota, deva ear or divine hearing; paracittajnana, knowledge of the minds of all other living beings; purvanivasanusmrtijnana, knowledge of all forms of previous existence of self and others; rildhipada, power to appear at will in any place and to have absolute freedom, and asravaksayajnana, insight into the ending of the stream of birth and death.

[52]The eight forms of liberation (asta-vimoksa) are eight stages of meditation leading to deliverance: (1) deliverance, when there is attachment to form (rupa) by examination of form and realization of its filthiness; (2) deliverance, when there is no attachment to form, by examination of form and realization of its filthiness. These two are deliverance by meditation on impurity; (3) deliverance by meditation on the pure and realization of a state free from desire; (4) deliverance in realization of boundless immateriality; (5) deliverance in realization of boundless knowledge, (6) deliverance in realization of nothingness, (7) deliverance in the state wherein there is neither thought nor absence of thought; (8) deliverance in the state wherein the two aggregate feeling (vedana and ideation) (sanjna) are entirely eliminated.

[53]This is relative voidness experienced when all illusions have been wiped out and is the last obstacle before absolute voidness appears. Many meditators think they have reached their goal which is still relative nirvana: Here the so-called Mahayana and Hinayana controversy (Which does not exist in the Far East) begins. While they claim that they have attained enlightenment and write poems and gathas praising their final achievement , their enlightened master urge them to wipe out this false illusion. This is called sitting on top of a hundred foot pole from which one should take a step forward to release the last hold and leap over this shore of suffering to reach the other shore of bliss.

[54]Lion’s roar (simhanada): a term designating authoritative and fearless preaching. As it makes all animals tremble and subdues even elephants, it stands for the Buddha’s preaching which subdues demons and heretics by proclaiming the truth.

[55]The fragrant elephant (gandhahasti) stands for one who follows the gradual method of expedient teaching.

[56]The heavenly dragon stands for one who follows the method of instantaneous enlightenment of the Transmission of Mind.

[57]The path of Ts’ao Chi is the Dharma of the Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng who confirmed Yung Chia’s enlightenment. (See “The Altar Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch”)

[58]Chan stands for the mind.

[59]A ksantyrsi was an immortal who trained in patient endurance, i.e. the Buddha who in a former life patiently suffered insult to convert Kaliraja.

[60]Dana: charity, almsgiving i.e. of money, goods or doctrine

[61]A reference to the Sixth Patriarch who caught a dragon with bowl and subdued it. See Fa Hai’s Preface to “The Altar Sutra”.

[62]An ancient Ch’an master was sitting in meditation when he saw two tigers fighting each other; he separated them with his staff and they ran away in opposite direcitons. Hence the “fighting tigers separating staff”.

[63]The two hangers symbolize the worldly way and the holy Path, each has three metal rings, or six in all which stand for the six perfections (paramita).

[64]“Prajna” is wisdom and “vajra” is the thunderbolt; wisdom is like the thunderbolt that destroys ignorance.

[65]“The rolling of the Dharma thunder” is a Buddhist term meaning the spreading of the teaching for the liberation of all living beings. “The beating of the Dharma drums” is also a Buddhist term meaning the convocation of living beings for their conversion and liberation.

[66]“The spreading of the clouds of compassion” is a Buddhist term meaning the compassion which causes the preaching of Dharma to cover and protect all living beings.

[67]“Dragons” stand for Bodhisattvas of the highest spirituality who are capable of instantaneous enlightenment and “elephants” for Bodhisattvas whose spirituality is good for gradual enlightenment.

[68]The three vehicles which carry living beings across the sea of mortality to the “other shore” of liberation are those conveying sravakas, pratyekabuddhas and Boddhisattvas. The five natures are those of the worldly, Hinayana, Boddhisattvas, uncertain and heterodox potentialities are defined in the Sutra of Complete, Enlightenment.

[69]The snowy mountains are the Himalayas which were so called in China in ancient times.

[70]The ten stages of progressive development of a Bodhisattva into a Buddha.

[71]80,000 is an abbreviation for 84,000. The digit 8 and 4 stand for the 8thconsciousness and the 4 elements. Both 8 and 4 symbolize space and the following 000 stand for time. Since there are so many klesas, the Buddha taught as many Dharma doors to enlightenment to deliver all living beings.

[72]Kalpa: the period of time between the creation, destruction, and recreation of a world or universe; aeons. “Three kalpas” stand for the past, present and future.

[73]Mahaprajna: great wisdom.

[74]Existence and non-existence which are a dualism.

[75]To wipe out the twenty kinds of atachment to existence, the Buddha to teach His, disciples, set up twenty kinds of voidness or non-existence of things.

[76]The Karma that causes our eventual rebirth in the avici hell, the last and deepest of the eight hells where sinners suffer, die and are instantly reborn to suffer without interruption.

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