và như hai cánh chim bay lượn.Như Đồ long đao phải có Ỷ thiên kiếm!Như Ỷ thiên kiếm phải có Đồ long đao! Khi lấy được giấu trong Đồ long đao,dẹp được giặc ngoại xâm rồi thì Trương Vô Kỵ về…vẽ lông mày cho Triệu Minh! Khi xong giặc Nguyên Mông rồi thì rửa tay gác kiếm, một ngựa Yên Tử!
Cái “đối cảnh vô tâm” ở đây mới thật làđó vậy!
Lại nói về,sau khi đã hỏi rõ tên kinh, sau khi đã , cảm thán bao nhiêu năm theo Phật mà bây giờ mới được dạy thế này, bỗng đứng lên lặp lại câu hỏi lần nữa, cứ chưa hề nghe gì cả! Lạ thật! Chẳng lẽ đã “lẫn”, đã “lẩm cẩm” đến độ vậy sao? Điều đáng là Phật không hề “Ông chớ nói vậy!” mà còn một cách hơn! Chắc phải có ở đây!
Học, tôi cứ rơi từ này sang khác, từ bỡ ngỡ này sang bỡ ngỡ khác. Chắc hông phải mà Phật chọn để dạy cũng như chọn để dạy Tâm kinh! Ở đây một thầy một trò đã tung hứng, sắm vai (role playing) rất khéo để hướng dẫn một lớp mới, những người dấn thân, sẵn sàng xuống núi chớ không im lìm dưới những tàn cây cho riêng mình.
Cho nên suốt, Phật nhắc đi nhắc lại, động viên các hãy “vị nhơn diễn thuyết”, hãy “quảng vị nhơn thuyết” dù chỉ đẳng, dù chỉ một câu một chữ! Một câu “Ưng nhi sanh kỳ tâm” đủ khiến , một chữ “từ bi hỷ xả” đủ để mang lại cho mình, cho người! Xuyên suốt , ta thấy muốn , làm cho bánh xe pháp mau lăn đi, kịp cứu người ra khỏi “căn nhà lửa”! lửa cháy mà nhẩn nha, rù rì hoài sao được.Phải hành động.
Phải nhanh chóng.lửa. Cứu người. Thậm chí có kẻ nào vì cứu người mà bị cháy xém, bị , bị , chế giễu, sỉ nhục… thì cũng nên hiểu rằng ấy là “nghiệp” xưa phải trả, nợ xưa phải đền.Cứ . Cứ . Không nản chí. Không . Thế nhưng cái nguy cơ vẫn còn rình rập ở đó, bởi lại dễ có khuynh hướng xây nên những bức tường mới ngăn chặn mọi mầm móng phát triển do chấp bám, , tự mãn.
Cho nên mặc dù đã dạyở phần trước rồi, không quên nhắc đi nhắc lại rằng “pháp” mà Phật dạy là , bất khả thủ, là vô thực vô hư, là chiếc bè qua sông, là ngón tay chỉ trăng! Nhưng trong cái không khí , sôi nổi của buổi truyền trao “gươm báu” này không khéo lại nảy sinh những mới!
Có lẽcái “tâm” chưa an, chưa trụ chút nào của , đành phải nhắc lại câu hỏi lần nữa! Không hề có chuyện “lẫn”, chuyện “lẩm cẩm” ở đây!
Nhưng, thật ra, cả phần đầu của nửa, Phạt mới chỉ dạy…một nửa!Còn một nửa nữa!Phần nửađầu đến việc có một thứ “pháp” để hành, nếu muốn được . “Bồ tát ư pháp, hành ư…”. Nghĩa là pháp đã dạy đó mà . Nào , nào , nào nào nhẫn nhục…cứ thế, làm theo một cách mới. “Bố thí mà không phải bố thí”. , vượt lên, không vướng, không kẹt vào tướng, không trụ vào đâu cả! Còn tướng là còn “hư vọng”. Phải thấy tướng chẳng phải tướng mới thấy đúng , , .
Nói khác đi, tướng vẫn còn là cái gì đó rất “vật chất”, là cái thấy nghe, nếm ngửi,được.Cái đó nói chung, “ly” không khó, rời bỏ không khó. Cứ trốn vào , trốn vào rừng sâu là xong. Tắt cái đài (TV) thì hết chuyện, bấm cái nút thì hết nghe…dù đang ở trong giới phẳng! Giả mù, giả điếc, giả câm, không khó! Chuyện dễ òm lâu nay sao nó vẫn làm khổ ta, hớp hồn ta, quay ta như quay dế, làm ta thất điên , để rồi khi “nhìn lại mình” thì “đời đã xanh rêu”, để rồi khi “chiều hôm , ngồi ôm tóc dài” thì giật mình”chập chờn lau trắng trong tay”(TCS)!
“Ly tướng” dễ ư? Vậy có cái gì “ly” khó hơn nữa chăng? Có đó!Mối tình đầu bao giờ cũng đẹp. Người xưa bao giờ cũng…( đừng gặp lại!). Một của bao giờ cũng sôi sục. Mười năm quân tử…trả thù chưa muộn! ”Thù trả chưa xong đầu đã bạc”! Cái gì làm ta sôi? Cái gì làm ta sục? Cái gì làm ta thấy đẹp hơn xấu hơn? Không phải là tướng nữa rồi mà là tưởng, là tâm, là niệm.
Lá cái không hình, không , chẳng âm thanh…Nó “núp” ở trong ta, từ một kho chứa “vô hình” nào đó, sẵn sàng bùnh lên ngọn lửa phừng phừng trong ta với đủ thứ phép màu đó vậy? “Ngày xưa mưa rơi thì sao, bây chừ nghe mưa lại buồn…” là không phải tại mưa mà là tại ta.Căn gặp trần mới là cảnh, là tướng, khi có tâm vào mới thành tưởng, mới sinh chuyện! Chữ Hán tượng hình viết rất khéo! Dính tám vào đâu thì nó dính cứng ngắt, ngủ cũng chiêm bao! Nhớ thương biết bao giờ nguôi!” (CT).
Trốn chạy nó cách nào,nó cách nào, trụ nó cách nào, cái tâm “sinh sự” đó? Câu hỏi quá hay chớ? Đáng hỏi cho rõ chớ! mộ nữa trước dạy ta cách “ly tướng”, một nửa cuốn kinh sau dạy cho ta cách “ly niệm” (ly tâm). Cái trước, cái khó dạy sau!
cách là không giống nhau cho một câu hỏi giống nhau! Lúc mới thì phải làm , bây giờ đã “đương sanh tâm” rồi, dễ tưởng mình có “pháp” để truyền, có “pháp” để thuyết nên còn dễ vướng bận hơn xưa, dễ dính mắc hơn xưa, dễ vác bè khi đã qua sông, dễ bắt nhìn ngón tay mình..!
Phật dạy gì? Chả có pháp gì để đắc cả đâu! Cái gọi là “A-nậu-đa-la-Tam-miệu-Tam-bồ-đề” gì đó nó đã sẵn có đó rồi, ai cũng sẵn có rồi, chẳng qua bịđi mà thôi. một món sẵn có sao gọi là “đắc”? Thế nhưng cũng không phải là không có. Nó có mà là không. Nó không mà là có. Vô thật vô hư. là khi thấy được điều ẩn tàng bên trong mọi “pháp”, tướng để thấy “thật tướng” thì pháp nào cũng là pháp Phật cả : “Nhất thiết pháp giai thị Phật pháp”. Pháp ở đây không còn khu trú ở nghĩa một cách thế, mộ nữa mà đã là sự của tâm, nội dung của tâm.
Và như vậy,cũng như nhân vô ngã!
, nhược , thuyết danh chơn thị . phải thông cũng như thông , mới xứng danh là Bồ tát! và như hai cánh chim bay lượn.
Như Đồ long đao phải có Ỷ thiên kiếm! Như Ỷ thiên kiếm phải có Đồ long đao! Khi lấy đượcCái “đối cảnh vô tâm” ở đây mới thật là giấu trong Đồ long đao, dẹp được giặc ngoại xâm rồi thì Trương Vô Kỵ về…vẽ lông mày cho Triệu Minh! Khi xong giặc Nguyên Mông rồi thì rửa tay gác kiếm, một ngựa Yên Tử! đó vậy!
10. “So in this way…”
In the final part, while the Sutra was discussing elaborated, profound topics from particles of dust to world systems, then “unity of appearances” and so forth, suddenly the same question was repeated: “How to expound this Sutra to others?” which was the main subject throughout the whole ceremony of “handing down the precious sword” to the good men and women which would become the future Bodhisattvas! The answer was very firm: “By not grasping at appearances and being in unmoving Thusness”. This means: it is very easy, don’t cling to the phenomena or attach to appearance and you will see the unmoving Thusness since time immemorial! But how to “not grasping at appearance”, and remain in “unmoving Thusness” when we are surrounded by intertwining and meshing [relationships]? While we were still busy mulling over and sweating out, we heard “why so?” and the conclusion: “Contemplate them thus”.
“Contemplate them thus?” “Them”? What must one contemplate? How to contemplate? What is the use of contemplating? The answer is to go on “contemplating” (observing, watching) what is happening right under our very eyes, things that are known to everybody, that were always discussed again and again! So we are totally on the wrong track! We had thought of grand things, remote, unfathomable things. But surprisingly, it was about “contemplating” very ordinary things around us and consider them as dreams, a rainbow, morning dew, lightning flash… Nothing new, nothing mysterious there! So simple? As simple as that and it can absolutely solve the key problem, which is how to establish one mind, how subdue it, and from there to “receive and retain and clearly expound (this Sutra) to others”? Quite so, the Diamond Sutra agrees. Nothing else is necessary! All you have to do is to act according to your “contemplating them thus” and you are done! [Hearing that], how can one not being puzzled or baffled!
I recollect that at the beginning, when I first approached the Diamond Sutra, I also thought that it must be about something awfully tremendous and fabulous. I didn’t expect that it was only about the Buddha being hungry, took his bowl to collect alms, went back home, sat down on the seat arranged for him, ate, put away his bowl and cloak, then crossed his legs and… breathed! Only that! Then at this final part, I also expected something scholarly erudite and highbrowed, but there is nothing more than observing very ordinary daily things that are known to everybody, that all can see and know. What for? To experience impermanence, illusion, chimera…? But it is common knowledge!
We all cried loudly at birth
If life was happiness, why didn’t we laugh then?
(Thoạt sinh ra thì đà khóc chóe
Trần có vui sao chẳng cười khì)
Or life is “as floating clouds, blowing wind, dreams…”
“như mây nổi, như gió thổi, như
(Nguyễn Công Trứ)
“How provoking is the dream of,
when my eyes popped open, I realized that I am as destitute as ever!”
(Giấckhéo bất bình,
Bừng con mắt dậy thấy mình tay không)
(Nguyễn Gia Thiều)
But how is it that the 6th Zen Patriarchonly eavesdropped one sentence in the Diamond Sutra and attained enlightenment? Why someone like Nguyễn Du who pondered the Diamond Sutra thousands of times and in the end discovered that only “wordless sutras are genuine teachings”!
Wordless Sutras? Why, is it possible that the Diamond Sutra that we are perusing, studying is only… the shell of a Sutra that was only borrowed to be expressed in human language, where words were being assembled to become a raft to cross the river? Why not? Otherwise, why in the Diamond Sutra, as soon as a word was uttered it was immediately erased, for fear that people would take it as The Truth and cling to it? It was not without reason thatsaid he did not know a single word, he only knew the meaning of it. To know the meaning is to know beyond words and not attached to words. But also said that one must not mistake even one single word or miss even one single sentence when study Buddhism. How very interesting!
It must be very difficult to read between the lines of a Sutra, to read a “wordless Sutra”! Each person would read it differently. That is why it is said that there are 84 000 Dharma doors to fit each being’s aptitude. Therefore clearly it is not appropriate to divide the Sutra into sections and attach a sub-title to each of them. People would feel they must grasp the idea [of the sub-title] to work with and cling to it in order to study then to “expound it to others…” Where is the Diamond Sutra’s unconventional, unconstrained spirit then?
I cogitated and practiced the Diamond Sutra in my own fashion. Sometimes I assembled pieces together as I would for a puzzle, and at other times I would turn them over and over as for a rubik’s cube… When facing a problem in my daily life, I use to wonder how the Diamond Sutra would say in this situation. Oh yes, here it said that we must discard the forms or the appearance. [Grasping] forms would lead us to the wrong way. And there, it said that to discard the forms is not enough, we must also discard the thoughts. Not dwelling anywhere to give rise to a mind. At this place things are said to be this but actually they are not! And at other places, things appear not to be the way but in fact they are! “A is not A, therefore it is called A”! Ah yes, we must not be attached to, grasp or doggedly hold on to things. If we doggedly hold on to and grasp and attach to things, we’ll only drive ourselves headlong to suffering. We must not “dwell on any form” to, with a bit of luck, perceive the Truth. But do not think that forms don’t exist! Don’t be so innocent as to “abolish” form. Mountains are still a mountains and rivers, rivers. The elephant still is the elephant, will all of its head, tail and trunk. But it’s also a rubik’s cube, a puzzle. It is impermanent. Interdependent. It has no inherent existence. Don’t let us fight over our own way of feeling an elephant. Let’s behold with all of the 5 eyes in order to look. Look in details at each dust particle then look at the immense delusive realm of the billion-galactic-world universe, to see the “unity of appearances”. Let’s look with the wisdom eye of every ksana (: shortest moments) and then with that of the eternity or of thousands of years, we’ll see so many funny things that should make us smile with amusement instead of suffering and giving rise to negative emotions ! And then one day one realizes that “Suddenly I feel compassion”(lòng chợt bất ngờ) (Trịnh Công Sơn). Yes, we must feel compassion toward ourselves and toward others, and toward all those ego, personality, being, life-spans… too!
If we enlarge a picture of someone to the utmost size, even if this person was very close to us, we still cannot recognize him because we can only see bright points and blurred colours. Those scattered bright, blurred colours are no one’s characteristics. When they gather together under certain conditions, we then recognize the picture of someone whom we know or not…
The modern physics also perceive that the nature of fundamental particles is the lacking of consistency, they only interact and combine together to create matter and the spiral structure of time and space. Matter and space-time are one. If matter ceases to exist, space and time would also disappear. The nano-world is an ever vibrating universe…
The Diamond Sutra starts by a so very commonplace story: eating, sleeping, walking, standing up, lying down, sitting, breathing… and also end by so very much everyday life’s things such as a dream, a fault of vision, a lighting flash or a cloud… So it’s those things just under our eyes, those so commonplace things that precisely make up life and living. It’s those “present realities” that make up a human’s life. The Buddha declined to speak about convoluted metaphysics or supernatural powers. Let’s attend to that man’s arrow injuries. Let’s pull out the arrow, clean the lesion, remove the venom, dress the wound… first! Happiness is not far away, it does not fall down from the sky nor is it meted out by someone else. Happiness is inside us and around us. Happiness or suffering, paradise or hell are things that we self-create for ourselves, so they also must be managed by ourselves. Those “inexhaustible defilements” also are the “immeasurable Bodhi”!
What makes the difference (as used in modern language)? Why in the same situation, there are some who are relax and carefree, and other who suffer agonising torments?
The answer is, to understand the truth of Paramitas, one cannot stop at words but has to meditate, to work on it, to “practice deeply the Paramita”. The purpose of the Diamond Sutra is to teach us how to practice that way. To cure diseases one has to take medications and not restrict oneself to reading the prescriptions at the risk of …going nuts!
This ceremony of “handing down the precious sword” is precisely to prepare the good men and women – the future Bodhisattvas – to actively engage themselves in the mundane world. This also means that they still have to eat, do the laundry, brush their teeth and change their clothes…, they still have to see what others see, hear what others hear and tell what others tell. But they also have to practice the 6 paramitas and all other virtues, their bearing must be dignified, their speech must not be confused, their view must not be blurred. In short, they have to live a true “paramita” life to be a true Bodhisattva! That is the reason why they must practice joyous effort and forbearance! Throughout the Diamond Sutra, the Buddha had insisted very severely on those mandatory conditions. What teaching is better than the lessons learned from reality of life…. so that students can attain happiness, above all can know how to share their happy life with everybody. To share not as if one would share a cookie, but to teach how to make that cookie!
The Diamond Sutra demands practicing. We must personally “deeply practice the paramita” first, and then we can expound, can teach at will! Our mind must be clear to give a clear teaching.
Samatha and Vipassyana. That was the path that the Buddha had trodden. “Just come. Taste it. See it”. No need to engage into dogma or idle talks. Like the experimental science, it is precise and universal. One must try it out for oneself.
One person who saw dream, rainbow, morning dew, lightning flash… as dream, rainbow, morning dew, lightning flash, would only perceive the perishing, illusory side full of delusion and suffering [of the world]. But the other one who was conferred the “precious sword” would be able to look with the 5 kinds of eye, and would see that behind decay and illusion, there is interdependence, emptiness, no-self, something essential, the Suchness, Thusness… The rainbow is what it is, it isn’t more brilliant because we’re in love, and it fades out independently of our being out of love. The dream, rainbow, morning dew, lightning flash do have something wonderful, as well as the cycle of formation, continuation, destruction and extinction. Then one can, unflappably, stroll into the bustle of the market place of the world, immune to any affliction. To live in the @ time and not get into delusion, isn’t that nice?
You should “thus” subdue your mind. This is Samatha; you should “thus” look deeply into the nature of every phenomenon. This is Vipassyana. Those are the only way to “By not grasping at appearances and being in unmoving Thusness”…
Nguyễn Du read the Diamond Sutra thousands of times, and it was worth it. He not only read but had really “deeply practiced”!
Emptiness is omnipresent: where are forms?
My mind permanently in concentration, I’m closed to (dhyana) absorption!
Thử tâm thường định bất ly thiền)
Suchness – the Truth – never changes. Only our mind does. “The peach-blossoms are still smiling at th’ Spring breeze!” (Hoa đàocòn cười gió đông)
No matter how much Thôi Hộ, the poet, suffered because the last year’s “blushed face” was gone, “but where?” Where? Nowhere! Because it also came from nowhere.
To discard the form is different than “not rely upon forms”. To discard means also to stay away from. One goes up to the mountain or down to the river in order to stay away from mankind and seek comfort in nature… “Not rely upon” means that one is not stuck once engaged to, participate and bear hardships in this world here below. To discard is something that manifests on the outside, but to rely upon occurs on the inside, in the mind. That’s why “not relying upon” is more difficult. It also is Trần Nhân Tông’s “empty-mind” of and Huệ Năng’s “no-thought”. Grasping (tanha) is the result of Craving (upadana). And Grasping will generate the Karmic Force (bhava). Craving, grasping and Karmic Force… bring troubles into life! That is the reason why “not relying upon forms” is more difficult that “discarding forms”. The practitioner who can “discard all the forms” is called Buddha, but he who “doesn’t rely upon forms” is named “unmoving Thusness,” “Tathagata”, “Ultimate Truth”!
But in spite of the principle of “emptiness”, of “no-self”, everything still has its form. “Worldly dharmas continuously abide” (Lotus Sutra). ”
“Whatever is the situation, my heart is steadfast; although steadfast, it still can adapt itself to every situation” (mà , mà ). Isn’t that interesting?
Let the mind waver and bring troubles about, let our consciousness and perception mess up everything, and we only have ourselves to blame for! We are responsible for our “immeasurable inflictions”! Simply for the reason that we make a mess of everything, and cannot “be in unmoving Thusness”! ”
I was stupid all my life, I made myself miserable… Wake up in the night, I clutched my long hairs that dimly looked like white reeds ” (Đời tôi ngốc dại, tự làm khô héo tôi đây, Chiều hôm, ngồi ôm tóc dài, chập chờn lau trắng trong tay…)(Trịnh Công Sơn).
May be the Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi (Unsurpassed, Proper and Equal, Right Enlightenment) is the ultimate realization, not real nor unreal, while the Bodhi heart (Bodhicitta) is a real mind, which sprang from seeds that had been planted and nurtured.was right to enjoin us to diligently water and look after our “Bodhi tree”, protecting it from being parched and wilted, as we must diligently mind our own mirror and not let dust and cobwebs soil it. It isn’t easy to make joyful effort or to have a patient endurance! To benefit oneself and others. If one isn’t compassionate toward oneself, how can one be toward others? [Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva] must be “The Buddha of Carefree Observance” first and then the “Hearer of the Cries of the World” later. Therefore at the end, the Diamond Sutra only mentioned the “Bodhicitta” of the future Bodhisattvas and said nothing about that not real nor unreal Unuttara… That is the very realistic spirit of the Diamond Sutra.
If we observe Sakya Muni Buddha’s meditating path, we can see that He was beset by not a few difficulties. Despite that He mastered the 8 first Dhyana stages, He was still not awaken and still under the disturbance of the “perception”. He had to find a path of His own after a long time of hard ascetic practices. One can say that it was a break-through, from quantity to quality. It was the ninth Dhyana stage, the “extinction of Sensation and Perception”. Then Perception was no more to disturb, Sensation was also extinguished and can no longer “trigger off”. “Being in unmoving Thusness” was now possible. It was also possible to realize that “Yet of the immeasurable, boundless numbers of living beings thus taken across to extinction, there is actually no living being taken across to extinction”.
There was no more “coming to being”, and so no more “extinction”. Like someone who know how to remain fit, going to the works-out and so on, wouldn’t get sick and has no reason to take medicine. Disease and sickness can dwindle away, but “immeasurable inflictions” from greed – hatred and ignorance – are still there, so one must have a new vision, a new insight in order to go beyond, gate, gate, paragate… [one must practice] paramita to ultimately resolve them. This path is essential for future Bodhisattvas – the good men and women –, it’s a compulsory condition. The Samatha helps to liberate and the Vipashyana helps to go beyond. Only by expertly practicing profound paramita, then he can “discard at appearances and be in unmoving Thusness” then “expound it to others”.
When one recognize the principles of Impermanence, no-self and emptiness… it turns out that everything is precious, wonderful! No question to be negative or to let go here. Don’t speak of “extinction”. The Diamond Sutra was adamant. To uphold “eternalism” is wrong, but to uphold “nihilist” is worse. Seeing that things exist is wrong but to see that they don’t have any existence is worse. The Bodhisattva “do not destroy compounded things nor resting in the uncompounded” (bất trụ ) (Vimalakirtinirdesasutra). Without the compounded, the uncompounded can’t be seen! Mountains are always mountains and rivers are always rivers, the only difference lays in a long way of unrelenting staunch cultivation and practice to recognize that “form is emptiness and emptiness is form”, “True Emptiness is also Inherent Transcendental Essence”… The transformation can only come from inside. Samatha and Vipashyana. The path is traced. The preparation is completed. It’s not without reason that make joyous effort and patient forbearance are unavoidable paramitas on the progress into one’s inner journey.
When we have no more grasping or clinging, everything becomes light, serene and unencumbered.
The “precious sword” has been handed down since!
“And in this way I entered life
I loved this life with all my heart”
Và như thế tôi đến trong
Đã yêunày bằng trái tim của tôi…(Trịnh Công Sơn)
Author: Đỗ Hồng Ngọc
(Saigon 2008 May)
Translator: Giao Trinh
(Paris, 2015 April)