Friday, 30 April 2021 11:52

The Golden Rock, the immovable Buddha-nature

The Golden Rock, the immovable Buddha-nature

The Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo) is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Myanmar. A huge rock perched at the summit of the mountain for hundreds of years. Yet, it remained still without falling off the cliff. It is such a wonder. The Burmese people believed that the rock is standing on a strand of the Buddha’s hair,

The Golden Rock, the immovable Buddha-natureAfter the Buddha attained enlightenment, two Burmese merchants offered him some food. The Buddha gave them eight strands of hair in return. They dispersed the hair in different places, including the one at the Shwedagon Pagoda. There are two strands at the Golden Rock. It is said that a lay practitioner who practiced asceticism guarded the hair by setting challenges. Another saying is that the rock is a magical display of an arhat. He intended to inspire the faith in people to practice Dharma. The rock was floating in the air, but it got heavier due to the karma of sentient beings. It is said that a thin thread could still pass through the rock today.

The floating rock is a manifestation of the Buddha’s teaching on emptiness. The view of emptiness is very important for Dharma practice. Everything is impermanent and nothing is everlasting. This is emptiness. For instance, the Earth that we inhabit and the tangible world follow the principle of creation, duration, dissolution, and the state of being dissolved. This human body undergoes birth, aging, illness, and death. Our minds and thoughts arise, abide, change, and cease. 

Our mind is like a video recorder that takes in all the outer events to create a film. This is a film of continual thoughts. Our mind is not part of the film. The images that we perceive are merely a type of projection. Our mind is like a mirror that reflects these phenomena, or the "compounded". We could also describe these as "matters" that further generate attachments. At last, the concept is termed, "materialism". People go after the indulgence of materials and all sorts of the delusional display. The Buddha told us explicitly that – these are impermanent and transient.

The Golden Rock, the immovable Buddha-natureHence, we must meditate that "the body is impure, the perceptions are suffering, all that is conditioned are impermanent, and nirvana is peace”. Chan practice allows our mind to become serene instead of clinging to defilements. With non-abidance, such a mind comes forth – this is the "path". If we are not on the path, we are conditioned by the changes. Should we not generate attachments towards phenomena, we'd be free from materialism.

When the Buddha attained enlightenment, he said, "all beings possess the wise qualities of the tathagata, yet, they do not realize it due to delusions". ThroughChan practice, we can observe serenity through contemplative analysis. Gradually, "non-abidance, such mind comes forth". Human beings are troubled by habitual tendencies and other habits. With ignorance, there come afflictions. Hence, I'd encourage you to go on pilgrimages often to cleanse our conceptions. Let us get used to and appreciate Dharma practice. At last, we should strive for Buddhahood, the ultimate liberation. 

Extended reading
Turning the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination
Awaken from suffering, walk the right path in joy