Treasury of the Eye of
the True Dharma
Not Doing Evils
Ancient buddhas say:
Not doing evils,
devoutly practicing every good,
purifying one's own mind:
this is the teachings of all buddhas.
This, the universal precept of
the seven buddhas, our founding ancestors, is properly transmitted
by earlier buddhas to later buddhas and is inherited by later
buddhas from earlier buddhas. It is not just of the seven buddhas;
it is the teaching of all buddhas. This truth must be investigated
with concentrated effort. This so-called seven buddhas' dharma
instruction must be as dharma-instructed by the seven buddhas.
Intimately transmitting, intimately inheriting: yea, it is each
one penetrating the situation. It is already the teaching of
all buddhas: hundreds, thousands, ten thousand buddhas' teaching,
practice, and realization.
* * * * *
In the above quotation the term
"evils" refers to [what is called] morally evil among
the categories of morally good, morally evil, and morally undefined.
Its moral nature, however, is uncreated. The natures of morally
good and morally undefined likewise are uncreated. They are untainted,
they are the real aspects, which is to say that these three categories
of moral nature encompass manifold varieties of dharmas. [The
category of morally] evil encompasses: similarities and dissimilarities
among evils of this world and evils of other worlds, similarities
and dissimilarities among evils of former times and evils of
latter times, as well as similarities and dissimilarities among
evils of heavenly realms and evils of human realms. Even greater
still is the divergence between the buddha path and the secular
realm in terms of what is called evil, what is called good, and
what is called morally undefined. Good and evil are temporal,
but time is neither good nor evil. Good and evil are dharmas,
but dharma-ness is neither good nor evil. Sameness of dharmas
is sameness of evil. Sameness of dharmas is sameness of good.
This being so, learning of anuttara
samyak sambodhi -- hearing teachings, cultivating practices,
and realizing results -- consists of the profound, the remote,
and the marvelous. Some hear of this unsurpassed bodhi from friends,
and some hear of it from scriptures. What one hears first is:
"Not doing evils." If one does not hear "not doing
evils," one is not hearing the buddhas' true dharma but
the talk of devils.
Know that hearing "not doing
evils" is hearing the buddhas' true dharma. The [meaning
of the] phrase "not doing evils" is not like what commoners
first construe. Hearing this teaching as bodhi talk is hearing
it like it is. Hearing it like it is means [hearing it] as expressing
words of unsurpassed bodhi. Because it is already bodhi talk,
it talks bodhi. As unsurpassed bodhi's speaking turns into its
hearing, one moves from the aspiration for "not doing evils"
toward the practice of "not doing evils." As evils
become something one is unable to do, the power of one's practice
suddenly appears fully. This full appearance fully appears in
measure as [vast as] all the earth, all the universe, all of
time, and all dharmas. Its measure is [the same] as the measure
of "not doing."
At that very moment that very
person, regardless of abiding in or traveling in places where
evils are done or becoming involved in occasions for doing evils
or becoming mixed up with friends who do evils, nonetheless will
be unable to do evils. Because the power of "not doing"
appears in full measure, evils themselves do not express evil,
for evils lack fixed proportion. This is the truth of "one
holding, one releasing": at that very moment one knows the
truth that evil cannot transgress people and clarifies the truth
that people cannot violate evil.1
Whenever you uplift your entire
mind through practice and uplift your entire body through practice,
before the first move, eight or nine [moves] are completed, and
"not doing" lies behind your head.2
When you bring your own body and mind to practice or bring whoever's
body and mind to practice, the power of practicing with the four
great elements and five heaps instantly appears in full, and
your own individual self consisting of the four great elements
and five heaps is not defiled. Thus you will be able to practice
with today's four great elements and five heaps. The power of
each moment's practice by the four great elements and five heaps
causes the aforementioned four great elements and five heaps
to practice. When the mountains and rivers, stars and planets
also are caused to practice, then the mountains and rivers, stars
and planets in turn cause us to practice. This is not a momentary
insight but living vision at all times. Because this insight
of living vision spans all times, it causes the buddhas and ancestors
to cultivate practices, to hear the teachings, and to realize
the results. Because not a single one of the buddhas and patriarchs
has ever defiled the teachings, practices, and realizations,
the teachings, practices, and realizations have never obstructed
the buddhas and ancestors. For this reason, when causing the
buddhas and ancestors to practice, no buddhas or ancestors, whether
in the past, present, or future, both before and after the first
move, have ever avoided [practices]. In the synchronicity of
humans doing buddhas doing ancestors, even though you do not
obstruct [your own status as a] currently existing buddha and
ancestor, you must carefully consider the truth of doing buddhas
and doing ancestors throughout the twenty-four hour day as you
walk, stand, sit, and sleep. In the practice of doing buddhas
and ancestors, one's humanity is not violated, is not stolen,
is not lost. This being so, sloughing off finally comes.
One must practice through good
and evil, causes and effects. This is not, as commonly said,
a case of altering causes and effects, nor a case of creating
them. Causes and effects on occasion cause us to practice. This
occurs because the original face of causes and effects is already
clearly discerned: it is "not doing," it is uncreated,
it is impermanent, it is not obscuring, it is not falling, it
is sloughing off. By studying in this way, the fact that evils,
in one strip, all have been "not doing" fully appears.
The occurrence of this full appearance is facilitated by completely
seeing through "not doing evils" and by eliminating
them through sitting.
At that very moment, in the beginning,
middle, and afterwards, as "not doing evils" fully
appears, evils are not produced through casual conditions, for
there is only "not doing." Evils are not extinguished
through causal conditions, for there is only "not doing."
If evils are undifferentiated, then all dharmas are undifferentiated.
How pitiful are those people who merely know that evils are produced
by causal conditions but who fail to see that those causal conditions
in and of themselves are "not doing." [How can they
fail to realize that] if "buddha seeds sprout in accordance
with conditions," then "conditions sprout in accordance
with buddha seeds."3
It is not that evils do not exist,
but that there is only "not doing." It is not that
evils do exist, but that there is only "not doing."
Evils are not emptiness; it is "not doing." Evils are
not form; it is "not doing." Evils are not "not
doing," for there is only "not doing." For example,
spring pines are neither non-existent nor existent; they just
are not done. Autumn chrysanthemums are neither existent nor
are they non-existent; they just are not done. The buddhas are
neither existent nor non-existent; they are "not doing."
Pillars, lamps, candles, whisks, staffs, and so forth, are neither
existent nor non-existent; they are "not doing." One's
own self is neither existent nor non-existent; it is "not
This kind of study is the kôan
that has appeared fully and is the full appearance of the kôan.
[Study this kôan with] concentrated effort from the position
of host and concentrated effort from the position of guest. Since
things already are so, there is no escape from regrets of having
done what cannot be done. This too is [a result of] the power
of concentrated effort on not doing.
Because this is so, to act on
the assumption that "if [evil already] is 'not doing,' then
I can just do as I please" would be exactly as [mistaken
as] walking north while expecting to arrive in Viet [i.e., in
a southern region]. "Not doing evils" is not just [Caoshan
Benji's] "wells looking at donkeys [or pulleys]" but
also wells looking at wells, donkeys looking at donkeys, people
looking at people, and mountains looking at mountains. Because
there is [Caoshan Benji's] "explain this principle of responsiveness,"
there is "not doing evils," which is [the truth expressed
in the following verse by Caoshan Benji]:
The buddha's true dharma body
resembles empty space;
responding to creatures it appears in physical form
like the moon reflected in water."
Because there is the "not
doing" of "responding to creatures," there is
the "not doing" of "appearing in physical form."
"Resembles empty space" is "left beat, right beat."
"Like the moon reflected in water" is "the water
and moon being obstructed." These "not doings"
are undeniably fully evident.
* * * * *
"Devoutly practicing every
good": the term "every good" refers to [what is
called] morally good among the three categories of moral nature
[mentioned above]. Within the category of morally good there
exists every good, but this does not mean that every good is
fully apparent beforehand just waiting for a practitioner. At
the very moment of doing good, every good comes [into existence].
The myriad variety of good may be invisible, but they accumulate
where one does good faster than a magnet attracts iron. Their
power exceeds that of a vairambhaka tornado. All the karmic
power generated [throughout] the great earth, the mountains,
and the rivers in all the lands of the universe could not obstruct
this accumulation of good.
This being so, [even though there
is] the principle that in accordance with each world system what
is recognized as being good will not be the same, because the
same process of recognition ascertains good, [this situation
should be understood in the same way as the Lotus Sutra
doctrine of] "like the manner in which all buddhas of the
past, present, and future, preach the dharma." It is identical
even though the dharma preached while they are in the world accords
with individual occasions. Because the lifespan [of the buddhas]
and measure of their bodies likewise accord with each occasion,
they preach the "indivisible dharma."
Because this is so, therefore,
the good [performed by] someone with the spiritual faculty for
faith practice and the good [performed by] someone with the spiritual
faculty for dharma practice will be vastly disparate even though
the dharma is not different. It is just like how an auditor's
observing the moral precepts would correspond to a bodhisattva's
violating the moral precepts.
Every good is neither produced
through casual conditions nor destroyed through casual conditions.
Even though every good consists of all dharmas, all dharmas do
not consist of every good. Causes and conditions, production
and destruction, every good -- all are alike in that, the head
being correct, the tail is correct. Even though every good is
devoutly practicing, it is neither oneself nor knowable by oneself.
It is neither other nor knowable by another. Because what is
known or seen by self and other consists of knowing [in terms
of] self and [in terms of] other and seeing [in terms of] self
and [in terms of] other, each one's living awakened vision is
found in suns and is found in moons.4
This is devoutly practicing. Even though at that very moment
of devoutly practicing the fully apparent kôan exists,
neither does the kôan newly appear nor does the kôan
abide eternally. Can it even be called devoutly practicing?
Doing good is devoutly practicing,
but it cannot be calculated. This devoutly practicing is living
awakened vision, but it is not calculating. It does not fully
appear for the purpose of calculating the dharma. Calculating
with living awakened vision is not the same as calculating in
other dharmas [i.e., other types of practice].
Every good is not existent, is
not non-existent, is not form, is not emptiness, nor anything
else; it only is devoutly practicing. Wherever it fully appears,
whenever it fully appears, it must be devoutly practicing. In
this devoutly practicing, every good will certainly fully appear.
The full appearance of devoutly practicing is itself the kôan,
but it is not production and destruction, it is not casual conditions.
The same is true regarding the
entering, abiding, and departing of devoutly practicing. Devoutly
practicing even one good among the every good causes the entirety
of dharmas, the whole body, and reality itself to devoutly practice
The causality of this good likewise
is the fully apparent kôan of devoutly practicing. It is
not a case of prior causes and subsequent results, but one of
causes being fully perfected and causes being fully perfected.
Sameness of causes is sameness of dharmas; sameness of results
is sameness of dharmas. Although causes engender results, it
is not a case of before and after. [We know this] because of
the truth of the sameness of before and after.
* * * * *
"Purifying one's own mind"
is not doing's "purifying," not doing's "one's,"
not doing's "own," and not doing's "mind."
It is devoutly practicing's "mind," devoutly practicing's
"own," devoutly practicing's "one's," and
devoutly practicing's "purifying." Because of these
reasons we say that "this is the teachings of all buddhas."
"All buddhas" might
refer to ones like the gods of freedom [Maheshvara]. While there
are similarities and dissimilarities with the gods of freedom,
every god of freedom is not all buddhas. Or, "all buddhas"
might refer to ones like the wheel-rolling kings [chakravartin].
While this is so, every wheel-rolling king is not all buddhas.
These kinds of truths must be investigated with concentrated
effort. Unless you study what all buddhas must be, you not only
will be suffering for nothing but you will be a suffering human
who is not even practicing the buddha path. "Not doing"
"devoutly practicing" is "the donkeys not having
left, the horses already arrive."
* * * * *
Bai Juyi [Haku Kyoi; a.k.a. Bai
Luoten; Haku Rakuten] (772-846) of the Tang dynasty was the lay
disciple of Zen teacher Fokuang Ruman [Bukkø Nyoman].
He was the grandchild of Zen teacher Jiangxi Daji [a.k.a. Mazu
Daoyi; Baso Døitsu] (709-788). While serving as governor
of Hangzhou, he visited Zen teacher Bird Nest Daolin [Dørin]
Thereupon Juyi asked: "What
is the Buddha dharma's great meaning?"
Daolin replied: "Not doing evils, devoutly practicing every
Juyi said: "If that is so, then even a three-year-old child
could say so."
Daolin replied: "A three-year-old child maybe could say
it, but even an elder in his eighties cannot practice it."
That being said, Juyi bowed and departed.
Truly Juyi was, even [by the
standards for judging] a descendant of General Bai [a.k.a. Bai
Qi; Haku Ki], a poet wizard the likes of which rarely exists.
People say that his is the literature of twenty-four lives, that
he was a Manjushri or a Maitreya. There is no one who has not
heard of his poetic style and sentiment. There is no [writing]
untouched by [the influence of] his poetic ocean. While this
is so, in the buddha path he was a beginner. He was a late starter.
Regarding this "not doing evils, devoutly practicing every
good" and its meaning, it was as if he could not see it
even in his dreams.
Juyi thought that Taolin was
aware only of an existing mind's notion of saying that one must
not act evil and that one must devoutly practice good. As for
the buddha path's ancient, primeval "not doing evils, devoutly
practicing every good"-this truth which transcends past
and present-Juyi did not know it and did not hear it. It was
because he had not walked [i.e., practiced] the buddha dharma
and because he lacked strength in the buddha dharma. Even an
admonishment not to act evil and even a recommendation to act
good are fully apparent "not doing."
The entire buddha dharma, from
what one first hears from a friend to the ultimate attainment,
is consistent. This is called "head correct, tail correct"
or "marvelous causes, marvelous results," or "buddha
causes, buddha results." Because causality in the buddha
path lies not in theories of differing maturations, without buddha
causes buddha, results cannot be engendered. Because Daolin expressed
this truth, it is buddha dharma.
Even if evils completely filled
however many worlds or completely swallowed however many dharmas,
there is liberation in not doing. Because every good already
is "beginning, middle, and afterwards good," the nature,
the aspect, the embodiment, the power and so forth of devoutly
practicing are "suchliked."5
Juyi, as a result of his never having followed these tracks,
said that "even a three-year-old child could say so."
Because he lacked the power to properly say a saying, he spoke
Pitiful Juyi! You said what?
Since you had not yet heard the buddha winds, could you really
have known a three-year-old child? Could you really have known
the truth with which a child is endowed at birth? If you knew
a three-year-old child, then you must have known the buddhas
of the three periods [past, present, and future]. If you did
not yet know the buddhas of the three periods, then how could
you have known a three-year-old child? Don't imagine that facing
them is knowing them. Don't imagine that not facing them is not
knowing them. Knowing a single speck of dust is knowing the entirety
of realms. Penetrating a single dharma is penetrating the myriad
dharmas. Not penetrating the myriad dharmas is not penetrating
a single dharma. When you fully penetrate the study of penetration,
because you see myriad dharmas and you see a single dharma, the
study of a single speck of dust is the study of the entirety
of realms without omission.
It is the utmost stupidity to
think that a three-year-old child could not mention buddha dharma
or that whatever a three-year-old child mentions must be easy.
For this reason, to clarify birth, to clarify death, is the circumstances
of the buddha family's single great affair.
An ancient worthy said: "When
you first attained birth, [you possessed] a lion-roar allotment."
A lion-roar allotment is the virtue of the tathâgatas turning
dharma wheels. It is turning dharma wheels.
Another ancient worthy said:
"Birth, death, going, coming: the true-reality human body."
Because this is so, clarifying
the true-reality body, having the virtue of the lion roar certainly
is the single great affair. It cannot be easy. Therefore, to
clarify the circumstances and conduct of a three-year-old child
is an even greater event, since it has similarities and dissimilarities
with the conduct and circumstances of the buddhas of the three
Juyi foolishly, because he had
never listened to anything a three-year-old child could say,
without even suspecting that there could be something to it,
so spoke. He didn't hear Daolin's voice, which was as obvious
as thunder. As if to say "[you] cannot say it," he
said: "A three-year-old child could say so." This is
not hearing the lion roar of a child; it is totally missing the
Zen teacher's turning dharma wheel.
The Zen teacher, unable to restrain
his pity, spoke again: "A three-year-old child maybe could
say it, but even an elder in his eighties cannot practice it."
The meaning of this saying is
that there are words that can be spoken by a three-year-old child,
and you must carefully investigate them. There are sayings that
an elder in his eighties cannot practice, and you must concentrate
your efforts on them. What a child can say is entirely entrusted
to you. While this is so, it is not entirely entrusted to the
child. What an elder cannot practice is entirely entrusted to
you. While this is so, it is not entirely entrusted to the elder.
The buddha dharma finds truth
in discerning, explicating, and grasping the meaning in this
Treasury of the
Eye of the True Dharma
Not Doing Evils
En'ô era, senior
metal year of the rat (1240), night of the harvest moon,
presented to the assembly at the Kannon Dôri Kôshô
Hôrinji in Uji district, Yôshû province [a.k.a.
Kangen first year,
junior water year of the rabbit, seventh day of the final third
[i.e., 27th day] of the third moon, copied in the attendant's
quarters by Ejô (1198Ð1280).