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Thread: 菩提树

  1. #1

    Default 菩提树

    菩提本无树,
    明镜亦非台,
    本来无一物,
    何处惹尘埃

    A tree is not a tree
    A mirror is not a mirror
    And if there is nothing/empty
    So how is dust collected?

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

  2. #2
    Moderator Francis247's Avatar
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    Default Re: 菩提树

    Quote Originally Posted by Yappy View Post
    菩提本无树,
    明镜亦非台,
    本来无一物,
    何处惹尘埃

    A tree is not a tree
    A mirror is not a mirror
    And if there is nothing/empty
    So how is dust collected?

    Please correct me if I am wrong.
    Do you understand how these lines came about?
    莫问前程有愧,只求今生无悔. Time pasts, Places changed, Beauty faded, what is left are Photos of Memories…

  3. #3
    Moderator Francis247's Avatar
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    Default Re: 菩提树

    In fact, there are two poems in total. One from Venerable Shenxiu and one from Venerable Huineng whose poem is in replied to the one from the previous. Here is goes :

    身是菩提树 (Shen Shi Pu Ti Shu)
    心如明镜台 (Xin Ru Ming Jing Tai)
    时时勤拂试 (Shi Shi Qin Fu Shi)
    莫使惹尘埃 (Mo Shi Re Chen Ai)

    The body is the Bodhi tree
    The mind is like a bright mirror stand
    Moment to moment, diligently wipe
    To let no dust alight

    This first verse by Venerable Shenxiu reflects conventional or relative truth as it speaks of form. ‘The body is the Bodhi tree’ because just as the Buddha depended on the tree for shelter during the quest for enlightenment, we too depend on the body to practise and realise the Dharma. The Buddha once said that “Within this fathom long body [i.e. entire length of the body] is the world [that we experience with our senses], the origin of the world, the cessation of the world and the path leading to the cessation of the world.” In other words, we depend on this body as a vehicle or instrument to realise enlightenment. (‘The cessation of the world’ can be seen as ‘the cessation of suffering’. The above quote can be seen as another way of stating how the Four Noble Truths can be realised by mindfulness of all that rises and falls within one’s body.)

    ‘The mind is like a bright mirror stand’ because the mind shows us whatever is reflected onto it. Our perception of reality is clouded when there is the dust of defilements (attachment, aversion and delusion) on the mind. Hence, we should be mindful from moment to moment, to not let this dust pollute the mind, to mar our vision of truth. Only with a dust-free mind can the mirror of the mind reflect perfectly, letting us perceive reality completely.

    菩提本无树 (Pu Ti Ben Wu Shu)
    明镜亦非台 (Ming Jing Yi Fei Tai)
    本来无一物 (Ben Lai Wu Yi Wu)
    何处惹尘埃 (He Chu Re Chen Ai)

    Bodhi originally has no tree
    The bright mirror also has no stand
    Originally there is not a thing
    Where can dust alight?

    This second verse by (the later) Venerable Huineng reflects ultimate or absolute truth as it speaks of emptiness (of substantiality). Although the path towards enlightenment (Bodhi) is conditioned by practice, the actual essence of Bodhi is not based upon any tree or any body – because Bodhi is unconditioned. Because the true nature of the liberated mind does not abide anywhere, it has no stand. It is due to attachment that the mind dwells upon physical and mental things, including the idea that ‘The body the Bodhi tree’ and that ‘The mind is like a bright mirror stand’. As long as there is attachment to these forms, even in the mind, Bodhi is not realised.

    As all mind (symbolised by the mirror) and matter (symbolised by the tree) change from moment to moment, there is no substantial ‘thing’ – which is why ‘Originally there is not a thing’. Yet, it is because there is not a fixed thing, that there can be ‘everything’ – in the constant change (other than the unconditioned) of phenomena. As there is no fixed mind and matter, the unsubstantial (also changing) dust of defilements has no substantial ‘place’ to alight or collect. Only when we have the delusion of fixed mind and matter do we seem to accumulate defilements. But because we accumulate defilements this way, we would need to, from ‘Moment to moment, diligently wipe to let no dust alight’. The first verse thus has to be practised till the second verse is realised. To function as a practicing Bodhisattva, one has to relate to the unenlightened using conventional truth (taught in the first verse), while trying to realise the ultimate truth (taught in the second verse). This is the Middle Path of the Bodhisattva that leads to the liberation of one and all.
    莫问前程有愧,只求今生无悔. Time pasts, Places changed, Beauty faded, what is left are Photos of Memories…

  4. #4

    Default Re: 菩提树

    一踏湖涂, 朽木不可雕也

    Quote Originally Posted by Yappy View Post
    菩提本无树,
    明镜亦非台,
    本来无一物,
    何处惹尘埃

    A tree is not a tree
    A mirror is not a mirror
    And if there is nothing/empty
    So how is dust collected?

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

  5. #5
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: 菩提树

    Quote Originally Posted by spheredome View Post
    一踏湖涂, 朽木不可雕也
    No lah... it is just different people different level of understanding la!

  6. #6
    Senior Member limwhow's Avatar
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    Default Re: 菩提树

    Francis247, wah you are most knowledgeable.
    In fact, history has it that Huineng was not formally educated.
    Thus his said response to Shenxiu's verses was so impressive that his wisdom was recognised by the Sangha.

  7. #7
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: 菩提树

    Quote Originally Posted by Francis247 View Post
    In fact, there are two poems in total. One from Venerable Shenxiu and one from Venerable Huineng whose poem is in replied to the one from the previous. Here is goes :

    身是菩提树 (Shen Shi Pu Ti Shu)
    心如明镜台 (Xin Ru Ming Jing Tai)
    时时勤拂试 (Shi Shi Qin Fu Shi)
    莫使惹尘埃 (Mo Shi Re Chen Ai)

    The body is the Bodhi tree
    The mind is like a bright mirror stand
    Moment to moment, diligently wipe
    To let no dust alight

    This first verse by Venerable Shenxiu reflects conventional or relative truth as it speaks of form. ‘The body is the Bodhi tree’ because just as the Buddha depended on the tree for shelter during the quest for enlightenment, we too depend on the body to practise and realise the Dharma. The Buddha once said that “Within this fathom long body [i.e. entire length of the body] is the world [that we experience with our senses], the origin of the world, the cessation of the world and the path leading to the cessation of the world.” In other words, we depend on this body as a vehicle or instrument to realise enlightenment. (‘The cessation of the world’ can be seen as ‘the cessation of suffering’. The above quote can be seen as another way of stating how the Four Noble Truths can be realised by mindfulness of all that rises and falls within one’s body.)

    ‘The mind is like a bright mirror stand’ because the mind shows us whatever is reflected onto it. Our perception of reality is clouded when there is the dust of defilements (attachment, aversion and delusion) on the mind. Hence, we should be mindful from moment to moment, to not let this dust pollute the mind, to mar our vision of truth. Only with a dust-free mind can the mirror of the mind reflect perfectly, letting us perceive reality completely.

    菩提本无树 (Pu Ti Ben Wu Shu)
    明镜亦非台 (Ming Jing Yi Fei Tai)
    本来无一物 (Ben Lai Wu Yi Wu)
    何处惹尘埃 (He Chu Re Chen Ai)

    Bodhi originally has no tree
    The bright mirror also has no stand
    Originally there is not a thing
    Where can dust alight?

    This second verse by (the later) Venerable Huineng reflects ultimate or absolute truth as it speaks of emptiness (of substantiality). Although the path towards enlightenment (Bodhi) is conditioned by practice, the actual essence of Bodhi is not based upon any tree or any body – because Bodhi is unconditioned. Because the true nature of the liberated mind does not abide anywhere, it has no stand. It is due to attachment that the mind dwells upon physical and mental things, including the idea that ‘The body the Bodhi tree’ and that ‘The mind is like a bright mirror stand’. As long as there is attachment to these forms, even in the mind, Bodhi is not realised.

    As all mind (symbolised by the mirror) and matter (symbolised by the tree) change from moment to moment, there is no substantial ‘thing’ – which is why ‘Originally there is not a thing’. Yet, it is because there is not a fixed thing, that there can be ‘everything’ – in the constant change (other than the unconditioned) of phenomena. As there is no fixed mind and matter, the unsubstantial (also changing) dust of defilements has no substantial ‘place’ to alight or collect. Only when we have the delusion of fixed mind and matter do we seem to accumulate defilements. But because we accumulate defilements this way, we would need to, from ‘Moment to moment, diligently wipe to let no dust alight’. The first verse thus has to be practised till the second verse is realised. To function as a practicing Bodhisattva, one has to relate to the unenlightened using conventional truth (taught in the first verse), while trying to realise the ultimate truth (taught in the second verse). This is the Middle Path of the Bodhisattva that leads to the liberation of one and all.


    Just to add on Hui Neng is also known as SIXTH PATRIARCH Master Hui Neng.

    " Bodhi is no tree,
    Nor stand of a mirror bright.
    Since all is void,
    Where can the dust alight? "



  8. #8
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: 菩提树

    Quote Originally Posted by Francis247 View Post
    In fact, there are two poems in total. One from Venerable Shenxiu and one from Venerable Huineng whose poem is in replied to the one from the previous. Here is goes :

    身是菩提树 (Shen Shi Pu Ti Shu)
    心如明镜台 (Xin Ru Ming Jing Tai)
    时时勤拂试 (Shi Shi Qin Fu Shi)
    莫使惹尘埃 (Mo Shi Re Chen Ai)



    菩提本无树 (Pu Ti Ben Wu Shu)
    明镜亦非台 (Ming Jing Yi Fei Tai)
    本来无一物 (Ben Lai Wu Yi Wu)
    何处惹尘埃 (He Chu Re Chen Ai)

    Sure you know why is there these 2 verse in the first place?

  9. #9
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: 菩提树

    Quote Originally Posted by limwhow View Post
    Francis247, wah you are most knowledgeable.
    In fact, history has it that Huineng was not formally educated.
    Thus his said response to Shenxiu's verses was so impressive that his wisdom was recognised by the Sangha.
    This is the difference between Knowledge 知识 and Wisdom 智慧. For Wisdom is not knowledge. Knowledge is from Education but u can educate Wisdom!

  10. #10
    Senior Member limwhow's Avatar
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    Default Re: 菩提树

    Quote Originally Posted by melvin View Post
    This is the difference between Knowledge 知识 and Wisdom 智慧. For Wisdom is not knowledge. Knowledge is from Education but u can educate Wisdom!
    Well said, melvin.
    As a modern human being, how I often wish I have more wisdom.

  11. #11
    Moderator Francis247's Avatar
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    Default Re: 菩提树

    Quote Originally Posted by melvin View Post
    Sure you know why is there these 2 verse in the first place?
    What 神秀 is trying to say is one word : 修
    What 慧能 is trying to say is one word : 無/空

    How many of us have really set the thought to find the Way and to cultivate oneself? How many of us can achieve ultimate emptiness? Think about it.
    莫问前程有愧,只求今生无悔. Time pasts, Places changed, Beauty faded, what is left are Photos of Memories…

  12. #12
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: 菩提树

    Quote Originally Posted by limwhow View Post
    Well said, melvin.
    As a modern human being, how I often wish I have more wisdom.
    Just use your wisdom more often and u will have more!

  13. #13

    Default Re: 菩提树

    For me, just a 俗人

    菩提称为树,
    明镜视为台,
    这皆是万物,
    到处是尘埃.

  14. #14
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: 菩提树

    Quote Originally Posted by Francis247 View Post
    What 神秀 is trying to say is one word : 修
    What 慧能 is trying to say is one word : 無/空

    How many of us have really set the thought to find the Way and to cultivate oneself? How many of us can achieve ultimate emptiness? Think about it.
    神秀 is all about cultivation oneself ie doing good deeds...etc... While 惠能 is more to cultivation of ones mind and heart and not to be too engross in the materialistic world!
    That is also how 南顿where惠能, 北渐where神秀 is, both are spreading their teachings to their disciple.

    They both are of different level just like in the first chapter when he happen to overheard two guys talking about the flag, one says it is flag that is moving, the other says no it is wind that is moving but 惠能 tells them it is their heart and mind which is moving.

    Just to let you know why the 2 of them came out with the 2 verse is because
    五祖(their Master)一日唤诸门人总来:“吾向汝说,世人生死事大,汝等终日只求福田,不求出离生死苦海,自性若 迷,福何可救?汝等各去自看智慧,取自本心般若之性,各作一偈,来呈吾看。若悟大意,付汝衣法,为第六代祖 。火急速去,不得迟滞;思量即不中用,见性之人,言下须见,若如此者,轮刀上阵,亦得见之。”

    In short their master the Fifth PATRIARCH is looking for someone to take over as the Sixth PATRIARCH. The Fifth PATRIARCH wanted one who can come out with a verse to test their wisdom. Thats why this 2 verse emerge!

  15. #15
    Senior Member limwhow's Avatar
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    Default Re: 菩提树

    Quote Originally Posted by melvin View Post
    Just use your wisdom more often and u will have more!
    You are right.
    And with more introspection, one may cultivate wisdom.

  16. #16
    Senior Member limwhow's Avatar
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    Default Re: 菩提树

    Quote Originally Posted by ttiongch View Post
    For me, just a 俗人

    菩提称为树,
    明镜视为台,
    这皆是万物,
    到处是尘埃.
    Very good.
    You have attained one level higher than Huineng.

  17. #17

    Default Re: 菩提树

    Quote Originally Posted by ttiongch View Post
    for me, just a 俗人

    菩提称为树,
    明镜视为台,
    这皆是万物,
    到处是尘埃.
    菩提终弃树,
    明镜碎离台,
    万物使万物,
    终究变尘埃。

    couldnt resist it.. playing with words.. :X

  18. #18

    Default Re: 菩提树

    Yah, just can't help it.

    菩提若无树,
    明镜若非台,
    道不出何物,
    岂不很悲哀.

  19. #19

    Default Re: 菩提树

    Quote Originally Posted by melvin View Post
    Just use your wisdom more often and u will have more!
    wisdom can be used? How one can know they have wisdom? By knowing that, that's not wisdom.
    Dreams at Photoaid! Contact me, pls!

  20. #20

    Default Re: 菩提树

    Since you guys into Buddhism, here is the Chinese version of the story of 惠能.
    Source from here

    惠能父亲早亡,家境贫穷以卖柴为生。一次,惠能卖柴回家的路上听到有人读诵《金刚经》,便蒙生学习法之念。他去黄梅山拜谒五祖弘忍,由此开始了学佛生涯。
      其时弘忍年事已高,急于传付衣法,遂命弟子作偈以呈,以检验他们的修炼水平。神秀上座呈偈曰:“身是菩提树,心如明镜台,时时勤拂拭,莫【勿】使惹尘埃。”弘忍以为未见本性, 未传衣法。
      惠能听后亦诵一偈,请人代劳题于壁上:“菩提本无树,明镜亦非台,本来无一物,何处惹尘埃。”弘忍见后 ,招惠能登堂入室为其宣讲《金刚经》,并传衣钵,定为传人。此时六祖,受命南归。
      神秀偈 身是菩提树,心如明镜台。时时勤佛拭,勿使惹尘埃。
      惠能偈 菩提本无树,明镜亦非台。本来无一物,何处惹尘埃。
      惠能偈(其他版本) 菩提本无树,明镜亦无台。佛性常清净,何处有尘埃。
      心是菩提树,身为明镜台。明镜本清净,何处染尘埃。
      菩提本无树,明镜亦非台。本来无一物,何假拂尘埃。

    南无阿弥陀佛

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