English | Vietnamese

 

October 28, 1973, Sunday noon

On Various Interpretations of the Text

Ven. Master Hsuan Hua

 

Master: Who else has an opinion?

Bhikshu Heng Jing: I do. I see a bit of a contradiction in Bhikshu Heng Shoouís [Editorís note: Guo Huís ordained name.] explanation just now. If I understand correctly, what he said was, ďShe enters into nonattachment to everything.Ē But if nonattachment were something you could enter into, then there would still be a place which is entered. However, if there is a place, then an attachment still remains, and the nonattachment becomes an attachment. So I think it should not be explained that way, but another way.

Master: Tell us how you would explain it. Both of you are sheng ren, one a Sage, and the other a left-over [Editorís note: pun on Chinese homonym].

Bhikshu Heng Jing: Universal entry into everything is one meaning, indicating there is no place she is unable to enter. Being without attachment refers to how even though she can enter into every mode of dwelling, each and every location, every single spotóeven though she universally enters every single one, she is not attached to that ability. Another possible interpretation is that she doesnít become attached to any place even after she has entered it. The words ďstrength of blessings and virtueĒ come before that in translating into English. She has that kind of ability, and it is because she has such blessings and virtue that she possesses the ability to enter into everything universally. Not only does she enter into everything, she does so without any attachment. Itís not entry into nonattachment. If there were entry into some ďnonattachment,Ē that ďnonattachmentĒ would be an attachment still remaining. Itís a minor problem, but nonetheless a problem, although he says it isnít a problem.

Master: [to Bhikshu Heng Jing] Explain it in English, [Editorís note: The previous exchange had been in Chinese] and let them evaluate. [To the assembly] Iím notifying all of you in advanceóget ready to judge the two of them. Best would be to bring one of them to his knees with your critiques. Now Iím giving you a chance to stand up and present a rebuttal, to bring up objections and evaluate the way the two of them spoke. Itís impossible for both of them to be right. One must be right and the other wrong.

Bhikshu Heng Jing: He says he was wrong. [Editorís note:Bhikshu Heng Shoou indicates that he wants to speak.]

Master: You may speak, but do so quickly.

Bhikshu Heng Shoou: Okay, I didnít express my point very well.

Master: Donít be evasive!

Bhikshu Heng Shoou: As to ďStrength of blessings and virtue for universal entry to everything without attachment,Ē just now I was explaining ďuniversal entry to everything without attachment.Ē Now here it is talking about the kind of power from blessings and virtue to enter universally into nonattachment to anything. Since she has no attachments, she has a state of nonattachmentósuch blessings. And such blessings and virtue are uniquely supreme. Furthermore, the kind of power she has is unobstructed, and so she has the power of blessings and virtue to universally enter into nonattachment to anything.

Bhikshu Heng Jing: That explanation is somewhat problematic.

Master: On what grounds are you objecting?

Bhikshu Heng Jing: On grammatical grounds.

Master: Did you ever hear a principle similar to this before?

Bhikshu Heng Jing: Which principle?

Master: The liberation doors which Iím talking about are doors to liberation without doors. If there aren't any, then there canít be liberation. Thatís how I explained it before. Did you hear that interpretation before?

Bhikshu Heng Jing: If I heard it, I didnít think of it.

Master: You didnít think of it? What you said today is not bad. All three interpretations are acceptable, but there are still limitless and boundlessly many interpretations. If we tried to present them all, we would never finish. However, the literal interpretation which ResultingProtection just gave was in you Westernersí English. To English speakers it might sound as if there were problems in the way it was expressed. But the Chinese sounded fine. Also, without having heard this lectured before, for him to be able to lecture it that way was not bad. If you have never heard it lectured and, upon starting to lecture it, are still able to explain it like that, for others to critique you is a victory for you. The victory is yours. And you, the sage, from start to finish are a leftover.

Bhikshu Heng Jing: As to this question, I have aÖ

Master: A judgment?

Bhikshu Heng Jing: No. In Chinese, we see that every phrase can be interpreted in many ways. But when translating, itís not easy to express that many meanings in a single English phrase. Therefore if, in translating, some meanings are lost, what can one do? Thatís because sometimes when the text is changed during translation, the meaning is also changed.

Master: When you donít understand, and there are places you canít make sense of, Iíll give you a secret method. But youíre not allowed to tell them. The secret is, donít think.

Bhikshu Heng Jing: What was that?

Master: Donít think. The myriad things, when contemplated in stillness, are all revealed of themselves. Do you understand? It all depends on whether you can be still or not. Do you understand?

Bhikshu Heng Jing: I understand.

Master: Do the rest of you understand? Guo Hu, do you understand?

Bhikshu Heng Shoou: Is xiang the word for thinking? [Editorís note: The Master stated his secret in Chinese; no English translation has been made at this point.]

Master: Donít ask what it is! Do you understand or not?

Bhikshu Heng Shoou: I understand.

Master: Really? What is it?

Bhikshu Heng Shoou: Not to translate according to that meaning.

Master: You didnít get it. I can tell by what you answered. [to Bhikshu Heng Jing] So I transmitted the method directly to you, and you received it directly. Not one of you understood the method.

Bhikshu Heng Jing: Okay!

Master: Youíre all lazy. Your eyes are lazy, so are your hands, and your minds are even lazier. They think, ďIt doesnít matter if we sleep.Ē This tape recorder [Editorís note: being used to record the sutra lecture] is the worst thing there is. The tape makes all of you lazy. If the lecture werenít being tape-recorded, then all of you would be taking your own notes. Now youíre not writing notes, so you donít keep your attention on whatís being lectured, but just go to sleep. So wouldnít you agree that the tape recorder is the worst thing? Because of it, your eyes are lazy, so are your hands, and your minds are even lazier.

Disciple: What if we take notes and listen to the tape?

Master: Thatís good. But the way it is now, your minds get lazy and think, ďIt doesnít matter if we sleep.Ē

 

Timely Teachings, page 334 - 338.