Friday, September 30, 2016

Bassui: An Arrow Flies Straight to Hell

"The mind is host, the body is guest."

Zen master and historical figure, Bassui was born in Japan in 1327. Rejected by his mother at birth, Bassui is recorded to have been raised by a family servant. At age 29 he became a monk, but he did not shave his head or wear robes; he did not recite Sutras, like other monks. His practice was the most simple practice. It can be called the practice of no practice. This was to be Bassui's Way throughout his life.

As a Zen master, Bassui was often questioned; often he gave reply. In one instance he was asked: "The spirit is this skin, this skin is the one spirit. Is this correct?"

Bassui replied affirmatively to the question.

"If so,' continued the questioner, 'who will become buddha after the body's dispersed to the four winds? Who will sink into the sea? What will be the reason for keeping the precept that prevents crime?"

To this Bassui replied, "If you continue holding this view, in which you deny cause and effect [karma], like an arrow, you will fly straight to hell. Do you have dreams?

Questioner: Yes.

Bassui: What do you usually see in your dreams?

Questioner: It's not always fixed. I usually see things that occur in my mind and through my body.

Bassui: The rising and sinking after death are also like that. All thoughts that come are by way of the four elements that comprise the physical body. Dreams in the night follow suit and appear in accordance to the good or bad thoughts of the day... An ancient said, 'You receive a body according to Karma, and your body in turn produces Karma. You should realize the continuity of the body in this life and in the next... If you truly understand this, then you cannot doubt the statement that the one spirit in this skin is the one spirit in that skin.

Questioner: Now I realize that the body and the mind are not separate. This being the case, the significance of 'seeing into one's Buddha nature' is relegated to the leaves and branches [of a tree]. If you simply stop doing bad deeds concerning your physical body, practice various good deeds, practice the precepts, and eliminate evil thoughts, will you then become a Buddha?

All thoughts are born of deluded ideas feelings [disordered thinking]. If you do not see penetratingly into your own nature, though you try to eliminate evil thoughts, you will be like the one who tries to stop dreaming without waking up. All evil deeds are rooted in deluded thoughts. If you cut out the roots, how can the leaves grow?... If he were a man who penetrated his own nature, how could he even think of committing a sin in which he breaks precepts?

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