Hyakujo’s Wild Ducks teishos 1049-2006 & 995-2005

Everything in the universe reveals Buddha nature.   We see the activity of Buddha nature in everything.

The empty and infinite world cannot be perceived by the five senses because it is empty and there is nothing for the senses to apprehend.   But do not think it does not exist because it is empty.   Mind it empty, yet you speak, hear, stand up and sit down – it possesses limitless capabilities. There is a total openness, no differentiation, nothing is fixed in a permanent way.

Not to see things in terms of being or not being, is or is not, is true deliverance. Remaining free of any thought of achievement is to not perceive anything as existing. Reaching the state where no thoughts arise or persist, without being conscious of their absence, is to not perceive anything as non existent. Perception that there is nothing to perceive is Nirvana. Being able to see men and women and all appearances while remaining free of liking and disliking comes from the perception that there is nothing to perceive.

Once when Hyakujo and Ma-tsu were walking together, some wild ducks flew by. The master asked ‘what is it?’ Hyakujo replied, ‘wild ducks’. The master asked, ‘where is it?’ Hyakujo replied, ‘they have flown away’. Ma-Tsu twisted Hyakujo’s nose. He cried out in pain – OUCH! There were no wild ducks, coming or going.

Thus a teacher endeavored to open the eye of his pupil. The pupil is out with his teacher, but his attention is on ducks and he takes Ma-tsu’s questions at face value. The Dharmakaya is far from his thoughts. When Ma Tsu asks ‘what is it?’ he is questioning being.   Hayakujo replies ‘wild ducks’ and it is as though he had shot them dead. Ma Tsu tries again and asks ‘where are they?’ But Hyakujo replies ‘they have flown away.’   They can only fly away if you have made yourself the centre of the universe. If you are not the centre, nothing comes or goes, and you never leave home.

We usually experience in a self reflecting way. One is looking at oneself as if in a mirror. To act spontaneously is to act without reflection, unobstructed by the mirror of ‘I’.   This is the work that has to be done – breaking up the concrete of the mirror of ‘I’.   Everything you see is an idea, but you are not an idea. To see something as an idea is to see it from outside, as an object, but you are not an object, you are the subject. This is your treasure. It is that flip around that is at issue. As long as you see yourself as an object, you need the mirror to know you exist. You are existence, you are knowing, you don’t need a mirror.

We have forgotten our true nature and established a false centre, the ‘I’, in relation to which everything comes and goes, everything is or is not.   Ma-Tsu is trying to remind Hyakujo of his true nature, and of the true nature of what we call reality.

What is there? Where are you? Let go of that sense of I am here, I am this, I am that.

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