THE ETERNAL BUDDHANATURE
At the very start,
before heaven and earth came into being, there weren't any people. There was no
earth, no living beings, or anything called a world. Basically, none of these
things existed at a11. And then, at the onset of the kalpa when things were coming
into being, people gradually came to exist. Ultimately, where do they come from?
Some say that people evolved from monkeys. But what do the monkeys evolve from?
If people evolved from monkeys, then why are there no people evolving from monkeys
right now? This is really strange. People who propagate this kind of theory basically
don't have any understanding. They are just trying to set up some special theory.
So there's the theory of evolution which says that people came from monkeys, why
couldn't it be the case that people evolved from mice? Or caterpillars? Why couldn't
we say that mice evolved from people or caterpillars evolved from people? In general,
there can be said to be four kinds of beings - flying, swimming, walking, and
plants. Those with blood and breath are called animals, and the plants refers
to all kinds of grasses and trees and flowers. Where do all of those four kinds
of beings come from? What is their origin? Their origin is the Buddhanature. If
there was no Buddhanature, everything would be annihilated. The Buddhanature is
the only thing that passes through ten thousand generations and all time without
being destroyed. From the Buddhanature comes Bodhisattvas, Sound Hearers, Those
Enlightened to Conditions, gods, asuras, people, animals, ghosts, and hell beings.
Those are the beings of the Ten Dharma Realms, and the Ten Dharma Realms are not
apart from a single thought of the mind. This single thought of the mind is just
the seed of the Buddhanature. It's just another name for the Buddhanature-the
one true thought.
So, people are transformed from the Buddhas and animals are
those who have fallen from the realm of humans. This is all explained very clearly
in the Ten Dharm Realms. Stupid people say that the origin of humans is the monkey
and there are others who say that people came from pigs. For example, some cultures
still worship animal gods. They are a result of only knowing a little bit and
not understanding the complete picture, with such ideas, the world catapults in
confusion and chaos. People who believe in such things write books and set up
theories, they categorize everything to fit into their theories, claiming this
to be this and that to be that. So we have science and philosophy - everything
is put in its own little niche. But ultimately, what's this all about? It's a
case of not having anything to do and looking for something to do. People like
that are not able to simply sit around, so after they eat their fill, they go
about setting up their own theories to confuse people by. This is why most people
are so perplexed.
Ultimately, where did humans come from? How did they come
about? In investigating this question, we might consider how chickens came about.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? If you don't have a chicken, then there's
no way you can have an egg, and if you don't have an egg, how can a chicken hatch?
So this problem has no solution. As far as people are concerned, were there women
first, or were there men first? If you claim that the men came first, how do you
explain that men are born from women? And, without women, how can there be any
men? If you claim that the women were first to appear, how can you explain that
both men and women are required to produce more people? Without a man, how can
another woman be conceived? In investigating this question, it is impossible to
come up with a clear solution. This is because all of this began so very long
ago, we've all forgotten.
Ultimately, what's the answer? Well, ultimately,
everything comes from the Buddhanature. Everything comes into being naturally:
from nothing something manifests and that something transforms once more into
nothing. This happens without end, over and over again; an infinite on-going series
of production and transformation.
For example, the bugs that appear in the
dry rice: basically, the rice just sits there in the bag without any worms, but
suddenly they appear. You may ask how they come about, if originally there weren't
any worms. Rice is not sentient, it's not alive, so how is it the case that it
can produce bugs since bugs are creatures with feeling? Here is a case of something
devoid of feeling producing something that has feeling. Investigate this problem
to its ultimate point. Consider how it will be when heaven and earth are destroyed
by the "death ray" (laser), to the point that the world and all of humanity
are completely annihilated. There will still be the spiritual souls of those living
beings who once dwelled in the world. The Buddhanature will continue to exist.
And it is the Buddhanature that can make things appear from nothing, for it can
create mankind and all living beings. And so, even if you insist this is not the
case and say, "It's certain that people evolved from monkeys," your
theory just won't stand.
Take a look at Americans. They have their own habit
patterns. And so do the people of Russia. And the same goes for the French, English,
and so on. "But," you say, "In America, there are all kinds of
people." Yes, that's true, they branch out into many sub-cultures. Since
there are so many kinds of people, how can you say that mankind evolved from only
one particular kind of creature? The people of each and every country have a generally
different appearance. There are yellow people, white people, black people, red
people, and brown people, where did the black people come from? Where did the
white people come from? Where did the yellow people originate from and where did
the red people and the brown people come from? If you discuss this back and forth
you won't be able to pin-point a particular origin. But you can explain it all
by returning it to the Buddhanature: from nothing comes something and something
returns to nothing. The transformations continue endlessly, over and over again.
This is the source behind it all.
Now this is a theory that can hold up. But
although this theory is one that holds true, very few people have the wisdom to
reach an understanding of it. People are transformed from nothing; we manifest
from out of nothing. That is the nature of all living beings. They appear from
nothing. Originally, living beings did not exist, but then they came about through
transformation. In cultivating the Way, we want to get back to the place where
from something we become nothing. This is called "going back to the origin
and returning to the sources" -returning to the original Buddhanature. "What
good is there to this?" you ask. Well, what good is there in being a person?
If you return to the original nature you can quickly accomplish the Buddha Way.
Even if heaven and earth were to no longer exist, the Buddha-nature would still
be ever-present. And even if all of mankind were finished off by the "death
ray," the Buddhanature would still abide, be forever indestructible.
did I bring this up tonight? Today is Earth Store Bodhisattva's birthday and his
vow power has spurred me on to speak a bit of true principle for all of you. So
don't think that everything I say is very ordinary. Don't think that what I tell
you is commonplace, because I am outlining the basic principles that explain what
people and living beings are all about. This is the principle of transforming
something from nothing, and transforming back to nothing again. If you don't believe
this, how can you explain that bugs can grow from rice? You may say,"Well,
there are certain causes and conditions that bring this about." People in
this world are just like those bugs, except that our attachments are stronger
and our magical nature is greater. But we cannot begin to compare ourselves with
the Buddha. We are just as far from being Buddhas as those bugs are from being
people. Compared to the Buddha, we are just like those bugs. When people look
at those bugs which grow from the rice we think of them as being really pitiful,
that they don't have any purpose in life. Well, the Buddha sees us as just as
pitiful. We see that these bugs go through life without knowing anything; they
are born unaware of anything and then they die. This principle holds true for
us as well. You should all look into this. It's really quite interesting. If you
understand this principle, then you can cultivate the Way. So in your cultivation,
every day you should be very level and balanced in everything you do.
does it mean to be balanced? For instance, when you read in the Sutras that "afflictions
are just Bodhi and birth and death are just Nirvana," you may find it easy
to understand this principle and think this is an easy thing to do. But you can't
actually realize this truth. For example, when you read that afflictions are just
Bodhi, you think, "afflictions are just Bodhi and since I have afflictions,
that's just Bodhi; if I didn't have any afflictions then I wouldn't have any Bodhi."
This is not what is meant here. You must change those afflictions and then they
will become Bodhi. When you have afflictions, if you can recognize them, then
you won't have any afflictions anymore. That's Bodhi. It's not that you put down
your afflictions and look for something else that is Bodhi. If you don't have
any afflictions, then basically there is nothing whatsoever, so where can the
dust alight? When riding on a donkey, don't go looking for the donkey. You need
to be balanced. You need to remain level and quiescent at all times so that you
don't stir up the slightest wave in your self-nature, and this is the state where
afflictions are just Bodhi and birth and death are just Nirvana. If you aren't
worried about birth and death and don't see them as a problem, if you feel that
if you live you live and if you die you die, that if there's food to eat you eat,
and if there's clothes to wear you wear them, and otherwise, it doesn't matter
whether or not you eat or wear clothes-if you are not attached to any of this-that
is the state of birth and death just being Nirvana. So don't be so attached and
drag around those fetters and chains on your body. What fetters and chains? All
your bad habits and faults. Those are your fetters. If you hold on to those fetters,
you can't lift up your legs and you can't get to the other shore. The words I
am speaking now are very simple, but the meaning is very profound. Don't think
that you are so clever and think, "I understand everything that you are saying."
If you really understand it all then I can speak Buddhadharma to you and we can
investigate how to cultivate the Way. But only if you truly understand. If you
don't truly understand, then you still have problems with regard to fame and benefit.
You still can't put them down. You can't put down name and you can't put down
gain. You see everything as being too important, so how can I talk to you about
true Buddhadharma? How can I investigate with you the cultivation of the Way?
You should all wake up from your dream! Wake up from your dream!