The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs
Secrets on Cultivating the Mind
Some people do not realize that the nature of wholesome and unwholesome [merit and demerit] is void; they sit rigidly without moving and suppress both body and mind, like a rock crushing grass. To regard this as cultivation of the mind is a great delusion. For this reason, it is said, “Śrāvakas eradicate their delusions thought after thought, but the thought to perform this eradication is a brigand.” If they would just correctly contemplate the fact that killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, and lying all arise from the nature, then the production [of these transgressions] would be the same as their nonproduction. Since at that point these would then be calmed, what else would need to be eradicated? As it is said, “Do not fear the arising of thoughts: only be concerned lest your awareness of them be tardy.” It is also said, “If we are aware of a thought at the moment it arises, then in that very awareness it vanishes.” In the case of a person who has had an awakening, although he still has adventitious afflictions, these have all been clarified into ghee. If he merely reflects on the fact that delusion is without basis, then all of these three realms of existence, [which are like] flowers in the sky, are like smoke swirling in the wind, and the six phantom sense-objects are like ice melting in hot water.