Now we come to the year of 1976.The multitudes gather from the ten directions to investigate Chan.Every hour, minute, and second must be cherished.While walking, standing, sitting, and lying down,Investigate deeply and carefully.Empty space is shattered, and you understand the Mind's Ground.The Dharma Realm remains the same, yet you see the Nature's Sky.Where can you find your original face?Right here at Gold Mountain Monastery!
Today is December 15, 1976, and people endowed with good roots have come from the ten directions to the great smelting furnace (Gold Mountain Monastery) to investigate Chan. Investigating Chan is not a very fun affair; you must take a lot of suffering. Meditation starts at 2 a.m. and goes until midnight, at which time people can sleep. During the day there is only one hour of rest. That's the traditional practice at the Gold Mountain Monastery.
During the Chan session, you must forget the body, the mind, and the world. You must forget everything, which means you must have no “self” and see everything as empty. When you reach the state of true emptiness, wonderful existence comes forth. Everyone, pay attention! In cultivation, you must not chatter casually or have random thoughts. Even less should you be lazy and try to take it easy. Every minute and second must be cherished. It is said,An inch of time is an inch of life.
Therefore, you should be investigating Chan while you are walking, standing, sitting, and lying down. In all of these modes, you should be investigating Chan. Your investigation should be penetrating and thorough, so that the deeper you go, the more you understand, and the more you look into it, the clearer you become.
This refers to investigating the meditation topic. Don't ever stop. Constantly investigate “Who is mindful of the Buddha?” or “What was my original face before my parents gave birth to me?” You must enter deeply and investigate in detail. One day, you will be able to shatter empty space, and at that time you will understand the mind. Even though empty space is shattered, the Dharma Realm remains intact. The ten Dharma Realms are still in order and not mixed up. At that point you will see your own nature, which is like the sky. Where can you go to search for your original face? You can come to Gold Mountain Monastery to look for it. If you go elsewhere, you won't find it.
This is an explanation of the eight lines of verse I spoke today. I hope each of you will remember it well, and cultivate according to it. Don't just swallow it without digesting it. That would be useless. Don't let it just go in one ear and out the other, without retaining any impression. That would be as useless as not hearing it at all.
A talk given on December 15, 1976, during a Chan Session at Gold Mountain Monastery in San Francisco