Personal Perfection of Being

Zen practice should make one perfect, shouldn't it?
Yet one's body consumes and excretes,
one's emotions reflect desires, anger, greed, and lust,
and one's mind frequently wanders, with deluded thoughts and wishful daydreams.

When in about 700 A.D. the fifth Zen Patriarch in China asked his disciples
for a poem or gatha, Shenxiu, his leading disciple, wrote
The body is a Bodhi tree,
the mind a standing mirror bright.
At all times polish it diligently,
and let no dust alight.
Hui Neng, an unschooled trainee, composed in response
Bodhi is no tree,
nor is the mind a standing mirror bright.
Since all is originally empty,
where does the dust alight?
Since Hui Neng became the Sixth Patriarch,
one is tempted to think his answer was right.
Much later in his lifetime of teaching
Hui Neng advised Hui Neng's advise seems to advocate Shenxiu's mirror polishing.
Shenxiu later founded his own branch of Zen
that addresses continuing problems and effort
and may be consistent with gradual enlightenment.

Hui Neng taught that the five elements of your own nature are
Commandment--it is inate within you that you do not wish to kill, steal etc
Tranquility--you do not wish to lead a bustling life or to make money
Wisdom--you do not wish to live in delusion
Emancipation--you do not wish to suffer the pangs of conscience, and you wish to live a life of sanction
Teaching--you know how you were emancipated, so you will teach it. This is the hardest.

Krishnamurthi once said

A poem by Meister Eckhart, a 13th century Catholic theologian, mystic, and abbot, ends with

After his great enlightenment, Buddha said


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