張簡嘉乃 講於2008年11月13日星期四晚 萬佛城大殿
A talk given by Amy Chang-Chien on November 12, 2008
Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Venerable Master and fellow cultivators, good evening. My name is Amy Chang-Chien. Today I will report on what I learned in the summer Shurangama Sutra class.
We learned that there are two roots or two kinds of mind, that of the false and that of the true. The Buddha said “the first is the mind that clings to the conditioned world—the mind that is the basis of birth and death, which has no beginning. It is the mind that you and all living beings now make use of, taking it to be the self-nature. The second root is the original pure reality of Nirvana. It is bodhi, which also has no beginning; it is the original understanding, the essence of consciousness. It is this that has brought forth all conditions, yet living beings lose track of it among those conditions.”
Besides learning that the false consciousness is not the true mind, we also learned how the false consciousness is without a location and without a substance. During the class we spent some time on the Seven Locations of the False Mind and the Ten Aspects of Seeing, which we got about half way through. Tonight I want to introduce the Seven Locations of the False Mind.
The Shurangama Sutra started out with Ananda in trouble – enraptured by Mantagi’s Kapila mantra, Ananda was on the verge of breaking his precept substance when he was rescued by the Shurangama mantra. Ananda regretted his excessive learning and requested samadhi. The Buddha asked Ananda what caused him to leave home. He replied that he saw the Tathagatha’s wonderful and incomparable thirty-two characteristics. The Buddha then asked him “what was it that saw those characteristics and who delighted in them?” Ananda answered that he used his eyes and mind; that is he saw with his eyes the Tathagatha’s outstanding characteristics and his mind gave rise to delight.
The Buddha then asked him where his mind and eyes are located? Just as a king whose country is invaded by thieves and he sends out his troops to suppress and banish them, the troops must know where the thieves are.
In trying to answer the Buddha, Ananda postulated one location after another, each one of which the Buddha struck down. The seven locations are 1) inside the body 2) outside the body 3) in the eye faculty 4) divided between light and dark 5) comes into being in response to conditions 6) in the middle and 7) has no specific location.
1. Inside the body
Ananda’s first response to the Buddha’s question of where his mind and eyes are was that the mind dwells within the body and eyes are on the face.
The Buddha responded with an analogy “Sitting inside the lecture hall, you can see inside the hall first, then outside the hall. If your mind is located within the body, why aren’t you aware of what’s inside (heart, liver, pulse etc.)? Why can’t you see your internal organs and why don’t you know how many fractions of an inch your nails and hair grow each second for instance. If you cannot perceive what’s inside how can you perceive what is outside? Therefore you should know that you state the impossible when you say that the aware and knowing mind is in the body.”
2. Outside the body
Ananda then made his second postulation. He said “A lamp located indoor can illumine inside first, then outwardly. A lamp placed outdoor can illumine outside but not within. Similarly for those who do not see within, their minds are outside.”
The Buddha then asked him “When one person eats, does everyone get full?” The answer is obviously no, how can one person eating causes everyone to be full. If your mind is outside, the body would be unaware of what the mind perceives & the mind would not perceive the awareness within the body. In other words, the body and the mind are mutually exclusive.
Therefore you should know that you state the impossible when you say that the mind which knows, understands, and is aware is outside the body.”
3. In the eye faculty
Based on the Buddha’s answers to the first two, Ananda then said since the mind can see outside but does not perceive what’s inside and is not separated from the body because the body and the mind have common awareness, the mind must be concealed in the organ of vision or hidden in the eyes. Why hidden in the eyes? One can see out but not in, and yet the eyes are not separate from the body. Ananda gave an analogy: similar to someone wearing glasses and that the eyes are able to see through the glasses without obstruction, the mind has sight awareness through the use of the eyes.
To refute him, the Buddha said according to your analogy, does one see his glasses when he looks out? The answer is of course. Then he asked how is then that you do not see your eyes?
4. Divided between light/dark
Ananda: Viscera and bowels lie inside the body and are dark while orifices are open to the exterior and have light there. Opening one’s eyes, one sees light, which is to see outside. Closing one’s eyes, one sees darkness, which is to see within.
Buddha: Does the darkness you see when closing your eyes lie before your eyes? If it is in front, then why do you say it is within? If it is within, how can it be seen, with inward seeing?
If there is inward seeing such that closing eyes you see darkness, why is it that opening your eyes you can’t see your own face?
The fifth, sixth and seventh locations of the mind that Ananda postulated are:
5. Comes into being in response to conditions
Ananda:Because the mind arises, all kinds of phenomena arise. Because phenomena arise, every kind of mind arises. The mind exists in response to whenever joining together with causes and conditions.
6. In the middle
Ananda: It’s not inside (since one cannot see within) and not outside (since there is a common perception). It is in the middle.
7. Has no specific location
The nature of the mind which perceives, makes discriminations, and is aware is located neither within nor outside nor in the middle; it is not located anywhere at all. The very non-attachment to anything is what is called the mind.
To find out how the Buddha answered Ananda, please read the Shurangama Sutra.
When I read the part about the Buddha questioning Ananda what caused him to totally disregard everything except following the Buddha and leaving the home-life, it made me reflect upon my own motivations for leaving my job behind and volunteering for DRBA, DRBU and DRBY. I also began to question where my mind is located. The Buddha pointed out that we cannot overcome the wearisome dust if we do not know where our mind is.
After some thought, I came up with several locations for my false mind.
1) I saw that my mind is on money. How can I make more money? Where should I invest my money? How much money should I save each year? Where should I spend money to have a great vacation? How much money am I willing to donate? Where will be the source of my money when I am old? That’s one location where my mind was at.
2) I saw that my false mind is located in societal expectations. I am expected to hold down a job from the time I graduate until I retire so my conscious mind toils away day after day to be an accountable and respected engineer. My mind would think about how to overcome technical issues all day long, even after work when I’m driving home and often when I shower my mind would keep thinking about solutions. When I’m driving to work in the morning, my mind would plan out the day in my head. The mind never stops! The society also expects that I have a career so my mind plans out a career path and is constantly strategizing ways of getting to the end of that career path.
3) I saw that my mind is located in cultural expectations. That I am suppose to be married and have a mortgage by now and if not, then my mind worries that I will be too old to have a family or that I am behind everyone else and may be priced out, and will never be able to become a property owner.
4) I saw that my mind is located where my friends’ minds are located. Whenever I have ideas for doing something, I get influenced by ideas that my friends have. For instance I wanted to go jogging after work, instead they say “hey, you wanna go to a movie? I want to go, would you go with me?” So I would say “hmm… okay, I guess why not.” Or they would invite me to BBQ’s, birthday parties, hiking trips, video game nights etc.
5) I saw that my mind is located where my habits are — habits of enjoying the comforts of life and not letting the physical body suffer for the least bit, having delicious, fancy meals, or visiting beautiful places in the world. The habit of trying to stand out by being the best, the smartest one, and always ready to impress. The habit of taking good care of myself before taking care of others. The habit of pursuing whatever I want just because I can.
6) I also saw that my mind is located in the senses: sights, sounds, smells, taste, and touch. The sense organs, eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body, are always charged, full of energy and ready to go out to meet whatever sense objects that come their way such as a new pair of good looking shoes that are comfortable or a new computer that’s lighter, has more memory, and runs faster and more reliably.
Why do I know that the dwelling of my mind on money, societal and cultural expectations, friends, habits and senses belong to the false and not the real mind? Because apart from the conditions that they exist in, they are mental shadows that do not have any substance or permanence. They pass in and out of existence and are no more real than a turtle with hair or a rabbit with antlers.
However I realized that all these things had kept me busy day in and day out for so many years. It truly is the case that to the end of our days we living beings make use of the false mind which causes us to enter birth and death repeatedly. I only hope that by slowly leaving the only life and mind that I know of behind, I can eventually turn the tide of consciousness and uncover my true, everlasting mind.
Time’s up. I welcome any corrections or thoughts to what I have said tonight. Amitabha