The Essential Scripture...

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The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs

Secrets on Cultivating the Mind

Section 35

Why is this? Although during the cultivation prior to awakening [a person following the gradual approach] does not forget to be diligent and thought-moment after thought-moment suffuses his cultivation [with these practices], he still gives rise to doubts everywhere and is not yet able to be unconstrained (muae). It is as if he had something stuck in his chest: he is constantly uncomfortable. As the days lengthen and months deepen, the work of counteraction matures and then the adventitious afflictions of body and mind might weaken. Although [the afflictions] seem lighter, the root of doubt has yet to be eradicated. Like a rock crushing grass, he is still not autonomous in the realm of birth and death. Therefore, [Zongmi] said, “Cultivation prior to awakening is not true cultivation.” In the case of a person who has awakened, although he employs the expedients of such countermeasures, each and every moment he is free of doubts and does not become tainted. As the days lengthen and the months deepen, he naturally conforms to the nature that is impeccable and sublime. Naturally, he is calm and aware naturally in all situations. Moment by moment, as he becomes involved in sensory experience in all the sense-realms, thought after thought he always eradicates the afflictions, for he is never separate from the self-nature. By maintaining samādhi and prajñā equally, he perfects supreme bodhi and is no different from those of superior faculties mentioned previously. Thus, although the [relative] samādhi and prajñā that adapts to signs is a practice for those of inferior faculties in the gradual school, for the person who has had an awakening it can be said that [this is a practice in which] iron has been transmuted into gold. If you understand in this wise, then how can you have this doubt, namely, the discriminative view that a sequence or progression is involved in the practice of these two approaches to samādhi and prajñā?