Sunday, November 6, 2011

Zen Master Ta Hui: Present and Comparative Awareness

To Tseng Shu-Chih

30 "Yen T'ou said, "In the future, if you want to propagate the Great Teaching, it must flow out point by point from within your own breast to cover heaven and earth; only then will it be the action of a man of power." Not only did these words of Yen Tou's bring to light Hseuh Feng's basic capacity, but also they should serve for ten thousand generations as a standard for those who study the Path. That which flows out from one's own breast, as he calls it, is one's own beginningless awareness*, fundamentally complete of itself. As soon as you arouse a second thought, you fall into comparative awareness. Comparative awareness is something gained from external refinements; present awareness is something gained from before your parents were born, something from the other side of the Primordial Buddha. Power gained within present awareness is strong; power gained from comparative awareness is weak. If one's power is weak, he can enter the realm of enlightenment, but in the realm of delusion he always beats the drum of retreat---such people are countless."...from Swampland Flowers, The Letters and Lectures of Zen Master Ta-Hui (1088-1163), translated by J.C. Cleary, pg 57

*"Present Awareness" means the immediate direct apprehension of the real nature of things, without affixing names and categories, without assessment, without giving rise to discrimination, without holding to them as external, according to the Conscious Only Treatise......Turning against present awareness, you lose the essence of your own mind; pursuing comparative and wrong awareness, you falsely recognize external sense-objects. All day long you use mind to grasp mind, use illusion to take illusion as an object.
The chef who orders the food at the Bethleham Retreat Center has requested that no more people be booked. The retreat is fully booked.


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