Book 246 Chatting with Oneself: A Gust of Wind

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‧Written by Sheng-yen Lu‧
A US Daden Culture Publication

  Have you heard of this story? A monk had been seeking enlightenment, but after racking his brain he was still baffled.
  He took a walk in the courtyard. After strolling back and forth, he became extremely bored. Spotting a piece of gravel on the path, he kicked it. That piece of gravel flew in the air and “smack!”
  The stone hit a bamboo pole.
  The “smack” awakened him.
  He was enlightened!
  Also, have you heard of this one? There was another monk who had similarly pondered for a long time the path to enlightenment.
  He picked up a cup of water.
  He took a sip.
  The water was scalding hot.
  What a shock!
  His hand dropped the cup which fell onto the hard floor.
  With a “smack,” the cup broke into pieces.
  At that moment, he was enlightened!
  I will tell you a small secret.
  In the first story, the key is the sound “smack”!
  In the past there was no “smack”!
  The “smack” lasted only a few seconds and was gone.
  In the future, there will be no “smack”!
  It is neither in the past, present, nor future. Hence he became enlightened. This “smack” sound appeared out of thin air when it had previously been non-existent. Existence is also non-existence. Isn’t this enlightenment then?
  In the latter story, the key is the broken cup.
  Before the manufacturing of the cup, there was no cup.
  After dropping to the floor and breaking into pieces, the cup is no more!
  In the future, that cup will not exist!
  Upon realization that the cup did not exist in the past, does not exist in the present, and will not exist in the future, he attained enlightenment!
  One day, I went mountain climbing.
  After climbing for a while, sweating all over, I encountered a sudden gust of wind that was cool and soothing. But, it was only a gust.
  Then the wind was gone!
  I again was covered in sweat!
  It suddenly dawned on me –
  Without the wind, I was covered in sweat.
  With the wind, I was cool and refreshed. But, it only lasted a moment long.
  When the wind was gone, I again was covered in sweat.
  Hence, life is like a gust of wind.
  Before the wind, it does not exist.
  The wind comes and goes, and is also non-existent.
  When the wind passes, it is gone.
  Let me tell you a truth:
  The Great Perfection Dharma of Tantrayana and the Zen practice of Zen Buddhism are connected.
  The sound emitted by striking bamboo.
  The breaking of a cup.
  A gust of wind.
  All can lead you to the true essence of ultimate reality. Upon understanding this true essence, confusion, emotional afflictions, and suffering will dissipate like wisps of smoke.
  “What are you grasping onto?”
  “I am not grasping onto anything!”
  “Why not?”
  “Because, I see nothing to grasp onto!”

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