Before and After


Before and After

To Ku Kuang-yin from Master Chu-Hung

Question
The ancients already had [Zen], the direct pointing of the special transmission. Later they practiced Pure Land methods, wishing to be born in the Pure Land. Were the Pure Land practices created by vows after enlightenment? Or are [Zen and Pure Land] practices done together before enlightenment?
If they are cultivated together, this means a dishonest mind, a mind on a path that diverges [from the selflessness of enlightenment]: how could this meditation work be unified?   If [Pure Land methods are used] after enlightenment, by that time all sensory realms are the Flower Treasury World, all places are the Lotus Land, everything is alright everywhere: so why would there be bliss only with birth in the Western Paradise?

Answer
True faith in the Pure Land and determination to be born there are not a matter of after enlightenment or before enlightenment. Though they make studying Zen their task, nothing prevents those who devote themselves to Zen, without managing to awaken, from making a vow to be born in the Pure Land. Because they cannot avoid being subject to future existence, and in the end will be born again, [for them to seek birth in the Pure Land] is not dishonest mind or mind on a divergent path.
As for those who have already awakened, an ancient said, “Do you imagine that with a single awakening you can equal the buddhas?” This is why Samantabhadra still makes vows, even as one of the protagonists of the Avatamsaka Sutra,for whom all sensory realms are the Flower Treasury World and all places are the Lotus Land. This is why even Samantabhadra will surely persevere, seeking birth in the Land of Peace and Bliss.
Since even those who are already awakened act like this, it is obviously also the way to act for those who are not yet awakened.

 

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No-self, Impermanence, Nirvana

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