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Book 246 Chatting with Oneself: Skillful Means

By on 01/05/2018


‧Written by Sheng-yen Lu‧
A US Daden Culture Publication

  A student, an analytical thinker, once said to me:
  “Grand Master Lu! I know now the reason behind your writing every day. It is a skillful means to guide sentient beings to the road that leads to enlightenment.”
  I nodded.
  He also said:
  “The contents of your books focus on wisdom and compassion. Although publications such as Remembrance of the Moon River, Intimate Talk with Moon, and The Dreamland Diary seem to describe emotions, they are still inherently about wisdom and compassion. Am I right in saying so?”
  I again nodded.
  He said finally:
  “I understand that wisdom and compassion are of utmost importance. I don’t think one can attain enlightenment without either. Wouldn’t you agree?”
  I said:
  “Please listen very carefully. Wisdom and compassion are still skillful means. Both are methods to access enlightenment.”
  He asked:
  “Is Grand Master Lu saying that wisdom is not enlightenment, and neither is compassion?”
  I replied:
  “If the Buddha’s enlightenment is the hilltop, wisdom is just a path leading to the hilltop, and so is compassion.”
  “So what is the hilltop?”
  I replied:
  “The hilltop is the hilltop!”
  “Can you reveal a little bit of the enlightenment experience?”
  I gave him the following analogies:
  A Cloudless Sunny Sky.
  Inside the Sun Cake There Is No Sun.
  Inside the Moon Cake There Is No Moon.
  Inside the Wife Cake (lao po bing) There Is No Wife.
  A Riftless Stupa.
  A Black Barrel.
  Moon in the Water.
  Flower in the Mirror.
  Etc.
  “I don’t understand!”
  I replied:
  “There is nothing to understand.”
  “Can it be seen?”
  “It cannot be seen!”
  “Can it be heard?”
  “It cannot be heard!”
  “Can it be touched?”
  “It cannot be touched!”
  “Can it be felt?”
  “There is nothing to be felt!”
  “If one cannot see, hear, touch, or feel, then how does one know if one has attained enlightenment?”
  I replied:
  “In the awareness that there is no seeing, hearing, touching, or knowing, one is enlightened!”
  “I still don’t understand!”
  Thus I said:
  “Did you sleep?”
  “I did sleep.”
  “Did you wake up?”
  “I did wake up.”
  “Did you have any dreams last night?”
  “I did.”
  “Was the dream real?”
  “When I woke up, I realized everything in the dream had been unreal.”
  I said:
  “A little awakening!”

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