Friday, September 14, 2012

The Last Words of Huineng

As I was sharing with Elliston Roshi my sorrow at the passing of Shimabukuro Hanshi, he suggested I checked what Hui Neng had to say about his own passing, about 1200 years ago. I happened to be reading in Heinrich Dumoulin's “Zen Buddhism, a history – India and China.“ the part about Hui Neng, the 6th Patriarch of Chan (Zen) Buddhism, who was an extremely influential figure of the development of Buddhist Zen in China. 

As he knew his death was coming, Hui Neng addressed his disciples in this way :

" Good bye, all of you. I shall depart from you now. After I am gone, do not weep worldly tears, nor accept condolences, money, and silks from people, do not wear mourning garments, If you did so, it would not accord with the sacred Dharma, nor would you be true disciples of mine. Be the same as you would if I were here. And sit all together in meditation. If you are only peacefully calm and quiet, without motion, without stillness, without birth, without destruction, without coming, without going - this then is the great Way. After I have gone, just practice according to the Dharma in the same way that you did on the days that I was with you. Even though I were still to be in this world, if you went against the teachings, there would be no use in my having stayed here. "

The Cherry Blossom is to flowers, 
what the Samurai is to men.

1 comment:

Frederic Lecut said...

Posted by Elliston Roshi :
Just so. No one knows how they will meet death when it comes, but our practice does not divide life and death. O-Sensei's term, "Mokurai," means silence is thunder but it also means stillness in motion—motion in stillness. This is the essential instruction in Master Huineng's last teaching that we can actualize in our practice. Stillness is the gate to the "preaching of the non-emotional," but it is not the absence of motion. This is the nature of Samadhi, and it leads to the other insights that the Old Buddha describes.