Whattsa Who'sa Bodhisattva? - (MORE) The Virtue of Mystical Powers

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More of the Bodhisattva Virtue of Miraculous, Mystical Powers (bala)

In the Tashin tsû (Penetration of Other's Minds) portion of the Shôbôgenzô, the subject is mental telepathy, one of the supernormal powers (abhijñâ) regularly said in Buddhist literature to be accessible to great meditators. Here, Dôgen takes up the famous story of a Zen master's test of the mind-reading powers of an Indian monk claiming such ability. Dogen expresses his doubts about such powers, while seeing the mind of self and the mind of others in a grander way ... :

"Tell me," said the [National Teacher, Master Dazheng Huizheng to the Indian Master], "where's this old monk right now?"
The [Indian] Master said, "Reverend Preceptor, you're the teacher to a nation;  [so, why are you thinking to] go off to Xichuan to watch the boat races?"
The Teacher asked again, "Tell me, where's this old monk right now?"
The [Indian] Master said, "Reverend Preceptor, you're the teacher to a nation; how could you be on the T'ianjin bridge watching the playing monkeys?"
The Teacher asked a third time, "Tell me, where's this old monk right now?"
The [Indian] Master said nothing for a while, not knowing where the Teacher had gone.
The Teacher said, "This fox spirit! Where's his penetration of other minds?"


[Dogen comments]:

[T]he National Teacher's basic intention in testing the Master [from India by] saying, "Tell me, where's this old monk right now?" is to test whether the [Indian] Master is an eye to see the buddha dharma -- to test whether the [Indian] Master has the penetration of other minds in the buddha dharma. ... The National Teacher's saying, "Where's this old monk right now?" is like his asking, "What is this old monk?" [To say,] "Where's this old monk right now?" is to ask, "What time is right now?" [To ask,] "Where?" is to say, "Where is here?" There is a reason [to ask] what to call this old monk: a national teacher is not always an "old monk"; an "old monk" is always a "fist." ... Do not think that those types who seek to get the penetration of other minds can know the whereabouts of the National Teacher ... If it cannot know the way of the buddhas and ancestors, what good is [such ability]? It is useless to the way of the buddha ...In the buddha dharma, if we are going to say that there is the penetration of other minds, there should be the penetration of other bodies, the penetration of other fists, the penetration of other eyes. If this is so, there should also be the penetration of one's own mind, the penetration of one's own body. And once this is the case, one's own mind taking up itself is at once the penetration of one's own mind. To express such a statement is the penetration of other minds as one's own mind itself. Let me just ask, "Should we take up the penetration of other minds, or should we take up the penetration of one's own mind?
 Speak up! Speak up!




(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)

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