The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs
Secrets on Cultivating the Mind
It is the buddha-nature that exists in your body right now; why in vain do you search for it outside?
In case you cannot accept this, I will mention some of the events surrounding a few of the ancient sages’ entrances onto the Way. These should allow you to resolve your doubts. Listen carefully and try to have faith.
Once long ago, a king who held heterodox views asked the Venerable Bharati:
“What is the buddha?”
The venerable one answered, “Seeing the nature is the buddha.”
The king asked, “Has the master seen the nature yet, or not?”
The venerable one answered, “Yes, I have seen the buddha-nature.”
“Where is the buddha-nature?”
“This nature is present when we’re acting.”
“During which actions? I don’t see it now.”
“It appears in this present action, but your majesty just doesn’t see it.”
“But do I have it too, or not?”
“If your majesty performs actions, there are none in which it is not present. If your majesty were not acting, its essence would be very difficult to see.”
“But when one acts, at how many places does it appear?”
“It appears in eight different places.”
“Would you describe these eight places?”
“In the womb it is called a fetus. On being born it is called a person. In the eyes it is called seeing and in the ears it is called hearing. In the nose it smells, in the tongue it talks, in the hands it grasps, and in the feet it runs. When it is expanded, it contains worlds as numerous as grains of sand. When it is compressed, it exists within one minute particle of dust. Those who have recognized it know that it is the buddha-nature; those who have not call it spirit.”
As the king listened, his mind opened into awakening.
In another case, a monk asked the master Guizong:
“What is the buddha?”
The master answered, “I’ll tell you now, but I’m afraid you won’t believe me.”
“How would I dare not believe the sincere words of the master?”
The master said, “It’s you!”
“How can you vouchsafe it?”
“If there is the slightest bit of dust in your eyes, flowers in the sky will fall profusely.”
The monk heard this and understood.