Essentials of Listening to Dharma

June 1, 2021

The Patriarch from West passes on Dharma
through one lineage,
Why distinguish South from North and West from East?
When Mind-dharma matches that place is revealed,
Confused one grasps phenomena aimlessly creating a mess,
Disputes right and wrong, the Way is missing,
When listening mind is pure that is the seed of right Dharma,
Upholding precepts of cultivation is decreasing habits from long time past,
Realizing the Mind, where are flowers not red? 

All beings possess intrinsic nature, so they can listen to Dharma. However, the mind listening to Dharma differs in thousands of ways, so the results are completely different. If one listens to Dharma with a grasping mind, one’s mind will certainly cling to phenomena all the time and not return; this mind floats up and down without strength to return. Listening to Dharma with the will to the Way, the dharma will definitely merge into the Way; one can gradually break illusions and eventually achieve the Way. If one listens to Dharma with an intention to dispute right and wrong, the dharma for sure will tangle with vexations. Thus one becomes distracted and absent minded, as well as anxious for personal gain and loss. After all, one surely will be detracted from the Way and virtues. Even with good deeds and a good root, there is no way for one to liberate. Hence, it is inevitable for one to enter the cycle of reincarnation! 

If one had a strong will to seek the Way, despite listening to the right Dharma with habitual behaviors and attachment, the pure seed entering the ear-root will become the seed of the Way forever. This is like the chilly winter close to warming; the glowing sun will finally break the ice peak; the river is cleared from obstruction. So one will naturally be enlightened to the intrinsic Bodhi nature and achieve the state of Nirvana. One must know that different causes lead to different results. Therefore, how one uses the mind to listen to Dharma decides whether going up or down in one’s life and death. How can we not be mindful and prudent! 

Why does the World Honored One descend to Earth?
Just because sentient beings encounter sufferings.
If one sets one’s mind on practicing, why worry about not achieving the Way?
Disputing right and wrong like deep winter, undoubtedly the Way is poor.
Plum flowers blossom when their leaves fall,
Plucking branches and looking for leaves, the grasping mind flutters.
Words cannot express enough what the Mind is,
When raising a thought, the thought disappears,
Mahakasyapa smiles showing his understanding of Chan.
The head of walking stick shines when speaking Dharma,
Toss it before you all to see.
Turning head and thinking, one loses the opportunity,
Every patriarch directly takes responsibility at the present moment.