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Chapter Five: The Enlightenment of the Heart and True Nature

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001. The true teachings of truth are intended to show the way to correct understanding and correct vision, and thereby attainment of perfect enlightenment.

002. All the methods of cultivation in this world finally must all return to the point initiated by the Enlightened Master-- the true teachings of the truth. For when Heaven and earth are at peace, the entire universe is at peace, and when our hearts and minds are aligned with the principles governing the universe, Utopia can truly be realized right here on earth.

003. The ultimate goal of dharma is to awaken all beings to their true selves.

004. The key to dharma is refining the heart to its true essence, and holding steady thought.

005. The heart and true nature spring from the same source. If distinctions must be drawn between the two, then true nature is the essence and the heart is the manifestation of true nature. Just as the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch states: "One Buddha transmits to his successor the quintessence of the dharma, and patriarchs transmit the esoteric teaching from heart to heart."

006. Adhering your mind to the Heavenly Portal can bring control over the six gunas. Thus, when the mind is refined and concentrated in one completely pure heart, fanciful thoughts are subdued and tranquillity is achieved.

007. Adhering one's mind to the Heavenly Portal is the foundation for attaining enlightenment.

008. Adhering the mind to the Heavenly Portal enables control over birth and rebirth. By steadying the mind, one can transcend the 18 levels of hell.

009. When the six gunas return to the Heavenly Portal, escape from the six transmigrations is immediate. This is, in essence, a victory engendered by seeking and obtaining the Dao.

010. Awakening to one's true nature (enlightenment) brings about unity between Heaven and man. This is the ultimate stage reached by practitioners of the Dao.

011. If you desire to attain enlightenment, you should have a fearless spirit and never allow the mind to waiver, despite changes in the surrounding environment.

012. If you realize the dharma of attaining the sudden enlightenment of birthlessness, the Western Pure Land will be perceived for an instant. As long as your true self is at peace and revealed to you, the six roots and six gunas will be cast away immediately, and your own Buddha nature revealed.

013. Heaven teaches: "You do not need to practice Dao very hard in order to attain enlightenment, for as long as you relinquish atma-grahai, abhimanaii, social status, body and mind, you will naturally attain enlightenment.

014. Strive to attain true self-knowledge, not to become a tool of others or a record player for others' thoughts and words.

015. Examine the roots of your true self and become enlightened through awakening, rather than metaphysical debate and study.

016. An unenlightened thought is ignorance itself. For our spirits are weak and fickle, and liable to change with our surroundings, preventing us from strengthening the heart and stabilizing the true self. Therefore, we must focus our mind on the Heavenly Portal at all times in order to hold onto every awakened thought and never lose ourselves.

017. To return to the Root and acknowledge Heaven is to attain the state of nothingness.

018. The core of the mind is the foundation of your being, and the basis of physical and spiritual well being. It is said, "Realize the true self, and awaken to the Buddha in your own mind and spirit."

019. Above all else, you must awaken to your true self. Everything else is secondary.

020. Too many external influences and distractions prevent awakening to the true self. Only you can awaken yourself, and only you can set yourself free from worldly cares.

021. The purpose of practicing the Dao is to awaken to the true self. Thus, it is useless to sit still in meditation if you cannot realize your true self.

022. Lao-Tzu said: "Effect emptiness to the extreme," meaning achieving absolute nothingness. "Keep stillness whole," or total stillness. "Myriad things act in concert," refers to total unity between man and Heaven. "I therefore watch their return," refers to everything returning to the origin of all things.

023. The emptiness and solitude of true nature is the origin of all dharmas. Thus, all dharmas that do not return to the void are not true dharmas; the heart that does not return to the void is not the true heart.

024. Those lacking inner assurance will suffer constant distraction from external elements and attachments to mundane things.

025. The Jigong living Buddha said: "Pay no heed to myriad things, but only about enlightenment; mind not mundane affairs, focus only on true nature." In other words, forget about all conditions outside your true self, and turn all your attention to your true heart and true self. Care not for that which does not concern your true nature; disregard that which falls outside your own abilities; and heed not those matters that fall outside your responsibility. "Awakening to your true self " means attaining enlightenment as soon as you can. "Mind not mundane affairs" means severing yourself from the causes and conditions of suffering including gratitude, hatred, affection and revenge. "Focus only on true nature" means you should always reflect upon your true self.

026. Take awareness as your teacher and develop a clear concept to truth, and your affinity to the truth will become stronger.

027. Where the Enlightened Master is concerned, complete faith comes forth and a pure heart is revealed, giving rise to complete understanding of the truth. The Diamond Sutra says, "Hearing these passages, even for a single recitation, they shall give birth to a pure faith."

028. The true self is not created by mankind but bestowed by Heaven, for where there is creation there is birth and destruction. If you are not at ease with your true nature, you will be beset with fear, anxiety and reversal. Therefore, you should minimize desires, and when you seek for nothing, you will enjoy a free and leisurely life.

029. Most of the ancient saints attained enlightenment in a very short time. So if this universe of wisdom is not understood, one must practice diligently, working to pass this particular "course" in many successive lifetimes, and unable to return to the Western Pure Land with each failure. All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have gone through the same process.

030. Have regard for yourself and frequently turn your attention inwardly. Ask yourself, 'What are the differences between the Buddhas and myself? Why am I different?' Find the answers to these questions. Diseases of the mind must be cured by mind medicine. When you have healed your mind, plus engaged in deep practice, you will soon attain enlightenment.

031. An awakened person has a mind as expansive as the great void, and is thus unfettered by attachments. Their minds empty, unenlightened beings waver helplessly.

032. The enlightened mind comes from one's illusion, for worries can turn into wisdom. Lotuses grow from out of the silt, and Buddhas reveal themselves in this sinful world full of evils.

033. When one achieves a state of no distinction between the self and others, enlightenment may be achieved. Generally speaking, advanced practitioners of Dao appear as moralists on the surface yet harbor strong possessiveness and like to compare themselves with others. Therefore, despite their experience, they remain hopelessly distant from enlightenment.

034. The Doctrine of the Mean says, "Practice the Dao sincerely and you shall attain enlightenment." For sincerity means dedication to one thing and concentrating your mind on one thing is sincerity. Thus, sincerity is the key to awakening.

035. Human beings are finite creatures, but the true self can expand into the infinite.

036. The teachings of the world's five great religions mainly elucidate the heart and true self, but people digress; they leave behind the heart and true self and behave indiscriminately.

037. You must attain enlightenment as soon as possible so that you can obtain perfect wisdom.

038. The origin is untainted. Freedom comes from non-possession. If you allow fanciful thoughts to distract from your practice of the Dao, you stray from the true meaning of truth. But while you abide in nothing and have an honest heart, then you will return to your original Buddha nature.

039. The souls of all those who fail to achieve self-awakening are destined to be controlled by the power of karma after death.

040. All earthly things are ephemeral, but the infinite is eternal.

041. Focus the light of your being and return to the great void.

042. All the wisdom of the ancient texts is harbored within. Awaken to your true nature at the root of the heart.

043. Who is Amitabha? One's own true nature. So when you chant the Buddha's name, reflect on your own inner Buddha, not on others'.

044. The meaning of abandonment is to abandon completely all attachments, and "obtain" self-awakening to the Buddha-nature that is in you.

045. Continually turn your light inward to let the spiritual light of Heaven dwell in your mind always.

046. Good moral character, resolve to save all beings, and refined effort are all essential to attaining enlightenment; lack one of these elements and enlightenment shall not come.

047. The four characteristics of our true selves include compassion, willingness to give alms, a tranquil heart, and equitableness. If you are ensnared by worldly worries and carnal pleasures in this life, you will experience the four types of birth: birth from an egg; birth from a womb; birth from heat and moisture; and miraculous birth. Therefore in your practice of Dao, hold no conception of ego or personality, throw away all evil thought, and with nothing to worry about the waves of anxiety will become calm. It is written in the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, "Within the domain of our mind, there is a Tathagataiii of Enlightenment who sends forth a powerful light that illumines externally the six gates (of sensation) and purifies them. This light is strong enough to pierce through the six Kama Heavens (heavens of desires). When it is turned inwardly to the Essence of Mind, it eliminates at once the three poisonous elements, purges away our sins which might lead us to the hells or other evil realms, and enlightens us thoroughly within and without, so that we are no different from those born in the Pure Land of the West. Now, if we do not train ourselves up to this standard, how can we reach the Pure Land?"

048. Heaven and ignorance both dwell in your heart. There is no distinction between the two. As the Platform Sutra states, "Enlightenment and ignorance are divided into two by common people, but the wise man realizes that one's true self is all the same. And when one's true self cannot be divided into two, that is true reality."

049. Confucius said: "The superior man, even in his thoughts, practices his righteousness from his place in society. When Righteousness is not being done, he is the one who is aware of it." Thus, do not leave the primal awareness behind, for an unenlightened thought fosters ignorance.

050. An awakened person is one who has banished learning and ended vexations, and for whom all actions are revealed from the enlightened true self. For learning belongs to things external, focused on finite subjects and not on inner things. Therefore one who loses his inner peace will always desire to posses external things, setting the cycle of birth and rebirth into motion.

051. Mind not whether you can live a long life, but only whether you can attain enlightenment during this lifetime.

052. The power of self-awareness is the only way to self-salvation. One who fails to become aware of mistakes and correct them will always make mistakes. Therefore, awareness of mistakes is crucial, for anger and hate cloud awareness. Confucius said of the superior man, "When angry, he is aware of the consequences." Therefore, if he does not want to change his mind and return to the way of truth, he will always be caught in the cycle of the four types of birth and the six migrations.

053. The 60,000 year epoch of karma is like a giant wheel, difficult to change. And with consciousness as tiny as a mantis, how can you resist its spell? Resist it with your faith, with your stamina, and with your wisdom. Although it is a difficult job, you must exert your utmost strength to conquer it.

054. He who practices Dao sincerely and diligently will attain enlightenment some day. If one cannot look deeply enough to the true self, innate sincerity can compensate.

055. Since you are born on earth, the most important thing for you is to transcend birth and death, and to attain enlightenment

056. To awaken to each thought you give rise to is the key to transcending birth and death. Transcending birth and death means freedom from attachments physically and mentally, and have attained a state of ease wherever you go in life or death.

057. To resurrect is to be born again, and to be born again is to enlighten and to restore the brightness of the true self. If one does not know how to follow the path of the true self, the brightness of the true self cannot be restored. This is very important for each practitioner of Dao.

058. If you do not know where your heart is, then how can you find the origin of the heart? It is said, "The Great Dao is clearly in the origin of the heart," so if you forget the way you have come, your return home shall remain perpetually out of reach.

059. One's true heart is the fertile ground of dharma. Nothing about social conventions can be relied upon, so look no further than your own dharma nature.

060. He who seeks eternal life must find the origin of the heart first. He must also not abide in the Three Minds (the past, the present and the future minds) and must empty the heart. For a tranquil heart is Buddha himself.

061. Those who do not adjust their hearts will deviate from the truth while accumulating bad karma.

062. Encouraging people to reveal their awakened minds is useless. For encouragement requires an object of action, and one must awaken to one's true nature through individual practice, not through admonition.

063. Buddhas dwell in tranquillity but people dwell in fantasy. This is called perverse knowledge and vision. As Confucius said, "He who maintains the innocent heart of a child and seeks the great Dao sincerely approaches the destination while not having quite arrived there."

064. Examine your heart and conduct, and you will know where you stand. Maintain a constant state of inward reflection.

065. Whenever fanciful thoughts arise physical and mentally torment follow. Cultivate yourself in this life, for it is too late to start after you die.

066. We keep all the implements and tools of daily life in good condition, so why not nourish and cherish your heart and true self in the same way?

067. Lao Qianren said: Practitioners of Dao must fulfill three conditions in order to escape calamity.

(1)Receive initiation of the Heavenly Portal by an Enlightened Master. In the Bible, such people are referred to as those with the seal of God on their foreheads.

(2)Become a vegetarian, for blessed are those who observe the rules of morality and perform good actions.

(3)Maintain a peaceful mind.

068. Although the essence of the great Dao cannot be traced, the human being has an awakened mind. Thus if you practice Dao sincerely, you can communicate with the Great Dao. As the Great Learning states: "An honest person will obtain the Dao; a dishonest person will lose it."

069. Chant your own Buddha (your true self) as you chant Buddha's name. For when you keep tranquillity in your heart the essence of the true self will be steady and still.

070. Do not deviate from your true heart or true self, and always maintain an easy heart and regard all worldly phenomena as inconsequential.

071. People's hearts are changeable, so do not expect someone to always love you or understand you. You should know that Lord Heaven always loves you, for He is always with you.

072. When you practice Dao very hard, you repay a favor to the almighty in heaven.

073. Your past sins arose from greed, hatred and ignorance, and came out of action, words and thoughts. Now that you know this, be doubly careful to commit the same mistakes again.

074. Karma is revealed in times of adversity. At such times, prostrate yourself, concede your transgressions, and give thanks.

075. Self-examination is the prerequisite and cornerstone of progress and diligence.

076. Maintain an empty mind and you will always be able to see with clarity and bear correct consciousness.

077. Becoming a monk or a nun is not about external appearance or lifestyle, but deviation from the six roots and the six gunas.

078. The key to Dao cultivation is to correct yourself from the heart; that is to quell greed, hatred, ignorance and desire before it manifests in yourself, and to banish evil motives before putting them into action. This is what you must strive to attain and how you will reach nirvana.

079. Those who dedicate themselves to their careers are capable of great achievement. Similarly, those who dedicate themselves to enlightening their hearts and true selves shall attain enlightenment. Therefore, concentrate your mind on your true nature to awaken to your true self and ultimate wisdom.

080. The five skandhas (aggregates)--form, sensation, the functioning of the mind in discrimination, the functioning of mind in its processes, and mental faculty in regard to perception and cognition--are as illusory as clouds. They are merely reflections of the transience of the mind. But mundane people cling to form and think all things that are seen are real.

081. The best way to eliminate the consequences of karma is to summon your emotions and turn into your true self. When all attachments to the six roots and six gunas are broken, consciousness of karma will disappear.

082. Do not notice whether odors are pleasing or foul; do not discuss right and wrong, and do not comment on good or bad. All you need to do is to concentrate your heart to the Heavenly Portal and the six roots will have no place to dwell. Remain impassive to the six roots and the six gunas.

083. "Purity" means lack of contamination, "tranquility" means lack of fanciful thought.

084. Transcending worldly fatigue caused by the six gunas allows one to transcend the passions and delusions of desire, anger, stupidity, pride, and doubt. If you allow yourself to become ensnared in the ups and downs of joy, sorrow, anger, and delight, how can you achieve peace with yourself?

085. Put forth your greatest effort to practice Dao. When you reach unity of heart and intention, that's when you will greatly advance your spirit.

086. All the Buddhist laws and codes are intended to bring about realization of the essence of truth.

087. The teachings of the world's five great religions are guidance leading us to harmony with the truth of the cosmos.

088. Your current plight is the accumulated result of all previous lives. Thus, you should remember to turn from external causes and conditions and return to the way of truth.

089. Confucius said: "The Superior Man acts accepting his own situation. He does not hope to be somewhere else." Today, our position calls for awakening ourselves and enlightening others.

090. All dharmas embrace all beings and are accommodating, but we resist them. Thus, we are truly lost in our ignorance.

091. Dao is made of righteousness and sins are made of egotism. Where there is ego, there is human nature, because ego combines with form. But ego is in fact transient and will vanish very soon. On the other hand, the void is one with Dao, so it can exist forever. Thus, a passing thought of desire to possess leads to the land of torment and transmigration, while a passing thought free of desire to possess creates the Western Pure Land. Desires cause you fall into the cycle of birth and rebirth, but keeping your mind empty lets you become one with the Dao.

092. We must take good care of ourselves now and take live lightly before we have attained enlightenment. As we are born to awaken our true selves, we must use our bodies to cultivate ourselves and attain enlightenment.

093. If you desire to change yourself, Heaven will help you. Thus the orientation of your heart determines your ultimate destination.

094. It is difficult to transcend ignorance. Change from this situation necessitates much hardship, and most important is understanding of the truth and sincere cultivation. When one leaves ignorance behind, no beings dwell in the triloka (three realms). Only wisdom can shatter ignorance and allow insight beyond the passions and delusions of birth and rebirth.

095. Give rise to evil thought, and evil spirits will immediately descend upon you. Therefore always maintain correct thought, lest you invite wicked monsters and evil ways.

096. Revelation of miracles enlightens you to understanding that people have a true self in them, and everyone should recognize the importance of self cultivation and awakening in order to transcend the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

097. Routine meditation upholds peace of mind by day and night; that is true meditation. Anything deviating from this rule is evil meditation.

098. People cannot give accumulate Heaven in the heart, because the self-awareness is the conscience and Heaven is all you have. Conscience is present from the beginning, and transcendence of birth and rebirth is impossible with a guilty conscience.

099. Peace of mind must be maintained in order to prevent the encroachment of illness.

100. Thought that deviates from the true heart and tranquillity and gives rise to illusion and attachment is called fanciful thought.

101. Whatever things you have known and have kept in mind will form your concepts and control your life. As it is not easy to erase these concepts since they have taken root in your mind for so long, they become your karma.

102. Every attachment you have had, everything you have intentionally done, spills forth from the subconscious as you sit in meditation.

103. All you have in your lifetime is the revelation of the power of karma, so a life practicing the Dao opposes the power of karma. Therefore, you should realize that emptiness is the origin of all causes and conditions whenever the causes and conditions are manifest or concealed.

104. Develop your life now and lead the life of a Buddha. For a Buddha's life is a life of reason, and the lives of the celestial beings are pure and light, directed entirely by morality.

105. You will be able to control everything and take charge over the direction of your life when you have awakened your heart to the truth.

106. When you empty your mind, the power of karma will have no bearing over you. But when you allow fanciful thoughts, karma will surely take hold. Karma does not come unless you call it, so you must be fearful and watchful.

107. Introspection means scrutinizing and discussing your everyday behavior, while reflection means correcting your thinking and mind. Therefore, maintaining mindfulness through all daily activities, including walking, standing, sitting and sleeping, is a matter of effort.

108. Do not allow yourself to become angry because can make up for the illness that anger generates. If you die from anger, you will be doomed to frustrate yourself to death through endless lifetimes. Therefore, maintain a tranquil mind and do not surround yourself with things you like; the less the better. Never abide in anything, and you will not discriminate between love and hate.

109. Those who know the gravity of karma maintain a fearful mind. When you understand the seriousness of the retribution of karma, you will not nor dare not act improperly.

110. People make different mistakes at different stages of life. But when you elevate your spirit, you can change and make fewer and fewer mistakes.

111. When one's mind is calm and at peace, it is as if a spare part has been changed and newness completely restored.

112. Before Heaven engages in the ultimate rectification, if beings refuse to change themselves heaven and earth will shake and all beings will suffer.

113. If you do not possess the conditions for Buddhahood, there is no place for you in the Kingdom of Buddha.

114. People are inflicted with "the karma of inertia." We get ourselves into patterns of speech, thinking, and the machinations of everyday life, and we become attached to all of it. Do not let your habits become a matter of course. As long as you enlighten your true self, you can awake to the power of karma and attain enlightenment following deep cultivation.

115. Look frequently within yourself and examine your attachments and you will improve in your practice. Look at your face and you will know that your mouth is only one hole, and others have two. This means that you should pay more attention to observation and listening, and taking care to speak less. You can certainly speak, but only what is necessary. Quiet observation and introspection is the key to successful cultivation.

116. Repentance means relinquishing the ego, for ego is the root of myriad sins and transgressions.

117. It takes tremendous strength and expenditure to erase the karma that arises from fanciful thoughts. However, fail to recompense and your life will end in regret. But fail to compensate, and you will feel sorry till you die.

118. A critical is hell and to suffer from the punishment of hell is to afflict oneself. Thus, when one does not transgress one's good conscience, one is free of the anguish of hell.

119. The Zen master Yongjia said: "The heterodox person is smart but lacks wisdom, and practices the two vehicles diligently yet lacks compassion to deliver all beings." When you practice Dao as all Bodhisattvas do, you will be able to obtain both wisdom and compassion and to deliver all beings.

120. The Catastrophe of the Great Wind will descend and sweep human nature away. Maintain a tranquil heart and attune yourself to Heaven and the Three Buddhas and salvation shall be yours. Remember this always.

121. Do not intentionally come in contact with anything that will give rise to fanciful thought, or enlightenment will remain out of reach. As Lao-Tzu observed: "Avoiding temptation retains presence of mind." Thus, only strong self-awakening can transcend external temptation.

122. Giving rise to fanciful notions is like boiling water: it takes longer to cool back down. Therefore, remain watchful and maintain peace of mind, paying particular care to the rise and fall of thoughts.

123. Do not worry excessively about your health. For paying more attention to elevating your spirit to the true heart and true self, and to caring about the suffering of people, indicates spiritual progress.

124. Only a transcendent spirit brings about transcendent behavior, and elevation of the spirit is the beginning of transcendence.

125. The process of practicing Dao strengthens your faith in the Dao. If you commit strongly to practicing the Dao always, one day you will achieve great results.

126. Steady your mind and do not let it be attracted to external matters, for someday you indeed cease all activities in death.

127. Attachment is the origin of illness; where thoughts accumulate cancer arises.

128. Maintain a tranquil mind, lest you be destroyed in the catastrophe caused by the power of karma and fail the test of temptation given by the devils. Know that the biggest crisis you face is not knowing yourself thoroughly.

129. Dao cultivation is designed to make you the master of yourself and take control of your thoughts. Just as with driving a car, if you do not control the steering wheel you will lose control and die.

130. A mind clouded with greed, hatred, ignorance, desire, alcohol, lust, wealth and anger has fallen into an abyss. Fail to keep these defilements at bay prevents escape from the abyss and certain drowning.

131. Keep your spirits at ease. Remain impassive, do not fear, fret, or take stock in gains and losses; take everything in stride.

132. Now is the time of selection and elimination. Uphold introspection, be clear in your thoughts so you will be ready for the test. Are your thoughts good or evil? There is no room for ambivalence.

133. He who practices the Dao sincerely will not be drawn into temptation, for a sincere heart can surpass everything and is blessed by Buddha. As the Platform Sutra states: "Resolve to enlighten the true self and become a Buddha immediately."

134. While other people persist in greed, hatred and ignorance, I abide in discipline, meditation and wisdom. While other people have an insatiable desire for acquisition, I know contentment. Therefore, only when you possess complete inner virtues (benevolence, justice, propriety, wisdom, and faith) can you attain enlightenment.

135. Do not allow your thoughts to run wild. As soon as you have completed a task, focus your mind back on the Heavenly Portal. Maintain equanimity and tranquility at all times, lest you disturb the peace of your true self. Keep this in mind always.

136. Always be at peace with yourself whether or not anyone else is nearby.

137. When things do not go your way, you ought to ask yourself why others succeed where you fail? Could your mind be distracted away by external matters?

138. Do not let fanciful thoughts impede your progress on the Way. Stop thinking so much, for you are unable to attain enlightenment because you are blocked by hindrances and anxieties.

139. If you are over sensitive to everything, then your heart will become agitated and give rise to daydreams. This produces bad karma.

140. You are an antique--the crystallization of 60,000 years of karma. A 3,000 year-old tree is called a "sacred tree. As the product of 60,000 years, you should be called a "celestial being." Take care of yourself, for you are indeed precious.

141. You are a transitory person, but you are also a perpetual Buddha.

142. Every Buddha is the essence of conscience.

143. Maintain purity of heart at all times, and allow your remarkable natural wisdom arise to handle all matters.

144. Appreciate the concept that all creatures are part of a whole, and you will realize the greatness of Heaven.

145. Treat people as Buddhas, but treat yourself as a sentient being. Make no distinctions and treat everything with equanimity and no unhappiness will result. Do not view everything through the lens of human nature and you will never have any cause for conflict with all "Buddhas."

146. The difference between what is innate and the acquired is thus: Stillness of mind is innate, while thoughts are allowed to run free over time.

147. No matter the magnitude of a conflict, always maintain composure. Also maintain firm faith when you are in a hurry or suffering deprivations and hardships. Abiding by the point initiated by the Enlightened Master is not an easy task, so you should treasure Him.

148. As soon as you give rise to fanciful thought, you lose complete tranquillity of the true self. Therefore know where to rest your thoughts.

149. Be cautious before the products of mind--greed, hatred, ignorance and desire--manifest themselves, or you will lose yourself trying to contain them.

150. What is the correct dharma? It is the correct path of cultivation, leading to Buddhahood. It has six main characteristics: 1) It has no form or substance; 2) it involves no mystical powers or sorcery; 3) it does not deviate form the point initiated by the Enlightened Master; 4) tranquillity can be reached immediately when you follow the rules; 5) cultivation can be practiced any time, any place; 6) it conforms with the teachings of the world's five great religions.

151. As a practitioner of Dao, you should understand what that the correct dharma is the point initiated by the Enlightened Master. If you fail to understand this, you will never depart from the sea of suffering.

152. Follow the point initiated by the Enlightened Master to return to the "One" and return to the origin (the true self) to alter your consciousness of karma and fate.

153. The Heavenly Portal is the most important point for departing the realm of form and entering into the great void.

154. The Heavenly Portal is a filter which can sift away distracting and fanciful thoughts, letting you reach a state of non-intention, non-thought and non-form. Possessing these three characteristics, you have obtained the essence of nothingness.

155. To adhere your mind to the Heavenly Portal eliminate attachment to the external circumstances caused by the six roots. Upholding the emptiness of the true self wipes away the subconscious accumulated over many life cycles.

156. Fail to put forth profound effort to adhere your mind to the Heavenly Portal and you will float away on the powerful current of karma.

157. Return to the singular origin of all things prepares for return to nothingness. Therefore, the most effective and correct path of cultivation is to first return to the "one."

158. Adherence to the Heavenly Portal flattens the peaks and valleys of the mind into a small hill. If you can continue to flatten the mind out completely, turning it into a broad plain free from obstacles, your mind will become as tender as a baby who seeks and contends for nothing.

159. Adhering the mind to the Heavenly Portal and attaining a state of quiescence is called meditative stabilization.

160. An awakened mind is true nature; an unawakened mind is human nature.

161. The saying, "Concentrate your mind here while you have free time" means adhere your mind to the Heavenly Portal and not just sit and cross your legs.

162. Introspection requires holding to the emptiness of the true self and adhering the mind to the Heavenly Portal. Practice this deeply, and you will perceive the wisdom of reality.

163. Compel yourself to adhere your mind to the Heavenly Portal and return to the emptiness of the true self. Sit in meditation whenever you have time. The ancient saints said: "Sit still regularly and reflect on your faults, and refrain from criticizing others in conversation."

164. Fanciful thoughts do not arise out of nowhere; you must allow them to generate via thought. They arise imperceptibly when you lose vigilance, indicating that you have allowed your thoughts to wander too long. Therefore you should adhere your mind to the Heavenly Portal in order to subdue these fanciful thoughts.

165. The Enlightened Master initiated out your "heart," transforming your delusional human heart and returning it to its original stillness.

166. Sincerity is revealed directly from one's true self, and the point initiated by the Enlightened Master is intended to reveal to you your true self. You must make the journey yourself. Getting there by reading the scriptures or listening to the admonitions of others is not what is meant by "sincerity."

167. The way of transcendence is the path to becoming a Buddha, the means of identifying with the essence of the true self, and the point initiated by the Enlightened Master. Therefore the way of transcendence is the creed of the three religions (Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism), and the secret seal of the ancient Buddhas. The way of forced action means proceeding via human nature, such as using magic and sorcery to relocate mountains and oceans, turning dharma wheels and smelting elixirs.

168. You do not need to use your brain, inference, mind or knowledge when you sit down and meditate. As long as you embrace the primal void, contemplation and knowledge are unnecessary as you embrace all truth. True wisdom is not transmitted in language or words.

169. The path of the Heavenly Portal closes when you give in to human emotions, so how can Heaven take mercy on you and illuminate your spirit? Human nature is like insulation, separating you from Heaven.

170. People allow human sentiments to run free and fail to invest effort to practice Dao, so they are unable to transcend birth and death. Nothing in this world can help you transcend birth and death, so be vigilant at and adhere your mind to the Heavenly Portal at all times.

171. The test of the devil's temptations is close at hand, so stay close to your original mind and maintain a clear realization of the point initiated by the Enlightened Master.

172. All dharmas mean all minds, all forms and all thoughts. Return all dharmas to the one heart, and maintain pure thought and correct views.

173. As you proceed through life, never deviate from the point initiated by the Enlightened Master. Failure to preach the essence of truth while amassing souls accumulates evil deeds as well. Building a temple, chanting mantras, or sitting down in meditation are all meant to attain great wisdom. The point initiated by the Enlightened Master can help you restore an awakened mind, yet losing this awakened mind accumulates evil karma.

174. The distinctions between the saints and the sages are that the saints keep watch over the products of mind (greed, hatred, ignorance, and desire) before they arise, while the sages repel the products of the body (alcohol, lust, wealth, and anger) after they have taken effect. The saints use inaction and the sages use action. As the Diamond Sutra states, "All saints and sages are separated by the dharma of transcendence." Adhere one's mind to the Heavenly Portal is like cutting away weeds, but adhering to the essence of emptiness roots defilement away completely. Thus a practitioner of Dao must embrace nothingness, always observing the tranquillity of the true self, holding fast to the center, and abiding by the center.

175. Only wisdom can neutralize the power of karma, so wisdom is the best tool. If you do not have the power of wisdom, you will always come under the spell of karma. Reflect now upon your true self so that you can obtain wisdom and salvation.

176. The Diamond Sutra says: "Develop a mind which does not abide in anything." This means that you should gather the six roots and the six gunas, and return them to the Heavenly Portal to still your mind completely.

177. Maintain a state of mindfulness in all actions. Each step you take takes you further, so every effort counts.

178. Still your mind and steady the root. When your thought departs from external affairs, your mind will be quiet.

179. The best way to avoid getting debris on you as you cross through the forest is to return your mind to the Heavenly Portal.

180. Siting in meditation teaches the mind stability, so that it can transcend the power of karma and the consciousness, and let the true self become your master.

181. Adherence to the misleading sensations of our ears and mouths rather than fixing the mind to the Heavenly Portal is true adharma. It can only lead to abandonment by Buddha.

182. When your mind returns to the one from all dharmas, you will make no distinctions between things. When you treat things differently, you indicate that your mind has not returned to the one from all dharmas.

183. For a practitioner of Dao, returning to the point initiated by the Enlightened Master is correct awareness.

184. Whoever puts forth profound effort to adhere his mind to the Heavenly Portal can light his heart lamp and escape from calamity in the clouds. These achievements are exactly why we seek to obtain the Dao: to transcend birth and death, and to escape calamity.

185. You should cast away all previous concepts and views, and receive cultivation in the truth. This is the path of true wisdom.

186. Abide by the origin of true self; approach not problems with human emotion, lest you exacerbate the problems.

187. Those who attain enlightenment and escape destruction by calamity will be those individuals who can initiate people in the Kingdom of Buddha. As for those stricken by calamity, their souls will be crushed under the dark mountain for eternity. Therefore, your present state of mind decides your ultimate destination. Be careful!

188. Always, wherever you are, adhere your mind to the Dao and the truth.

189. A practitioner of Dao who does not discuss the Dao is just a blind, bumbling practitioner.

190. Different people have different karmas that have accumulated over many life cycles. These karmas are like pits of different depths, and must be filled according to their depth. For some people, their karma runs shallow, so they can fill it up quickly, while for others their karma is like a deep channel. But don't despair when you do not see instant results, because your karma pit will become filled over time as long as you seize the moment and practice the Dao at every available opportunity.

(1)Holding to the concept of the ego

(2)Also atma-mada: Egotism; exalting self and depreciating others; self-intoxication and pride.

(3)A Sanskrit and Pali word and the title given to a buddha. It usually means 'one who has thus (tatha) gone (gata) or one who has thus (tatha) arrived (agata). Tathagata is the thusness and represents the hidden buddha nature' in every being, which makes possible enlightenment.