Tuesday, 26 March 2019 10:45

Spring Term Retreat: Moon-like Mind, Chan-like Nature

One cloudless night during the retreat, the moon was bright and silver. I shared a story of Hanshan and Shide.
Hanshan was the manifestation of Manjushri who appeared as a poor man living in a remote cave. Shide was the manifestation of Samanthabhadra who was fostered in a temple. While Shide did all kinds of chores and errands at the temple, Hanshan would come to visit often. Shide would always pack up some leftovers for Hanshan to take home.
20190326-spring-term-retreat-moon-like-mind-chan-like-nature-2Sages often manifest in the form of ordinary people to prompt our discovery of “mindful clarity and seeing nature”. It is attainable for everyone, nothing impossible.



Hanshan once made a poem,

My mind is like an autumn moon,

An emerald pool, clear and pure.

Nothing will afford comparison.

Tell me, how should I explain?

My mind is like an autumn moon” is analogizing Hanshan’s mind as the silver moon in autumn. “An emerald pool, clear and pure” reflects the clear and bright image of the moon. “Nothing will afford comparison” means there’s nothing in the world that can be compared against such mindset. “Tell me, how should I explain?” Hanshan couldn’t find a way to describe such a clear and pure mind.

20190326-spring-term-retreat-moon-like-mind-chan-like-nature-3Hanshan used the autumn moon to symbolize our mind. When moonlight shines on the cool, emerald water, it is bright and crisp. Such a moon-like mind cannot be expressed with words. As we see the hanging moon, which is beautiful? Our mind or the moon? It is our mind that’s marvelous and crisp. It’s even more glistening and luminous than the moon.
Sitting meditation, what are we sitting for?
It is to “sit to realize”. Sit to see our Buddha nature or original face.
Why can’t we see our original face?
It’s because we’re fixated on the phenomena we perceive. We’re attracted by the outer phenomena and therefore become attached. Do not put make-up over our mind. Otherwise, we’ll lose ourselves in the end. When all the elaborations are removed from the mind, we can see its true nature. Our primordial awareness is devoid of appearances and forms. It does not depend on anything. Reflect often and recognize the luminosity of mind. It is free from phenomena.