In Zen Buddhism: The Essential Teachings of the Buddha, Tulku Rinpoche explains how, in his practice, the koan (sutra) called Lotus means “my mind is clear, my heart is bright” and the dhamma (dhamma-sutta) “my mind is pure, peaceful, bright, bright, bright, and free. It is not a dark, full of doubt or anger, a dark, full of greed, torpor, and a full of sorrow.” And it is what is known as a “vacuous-hearted” meditation. The sutra “is the source of our whole life and our entire world” and it is so important and so sacred that the Buddha said, “When we recite that Lotus Sutra, I think ‘What is this?’ I think it is the most precious thing I have got, the most sacred of all things . . . the most noble and the most wonderful.”
You can understand these four main points to the degree that you can comprehend the koan, which is a meditation on doubt and is very different in every way from a sutra. So the koan teaches us all sorts of important principles, such as that the Buddha’s practice is really quite difficult, and that all the sutras come from one book called the Dhammapada. It is not just a very easy practice, but a very difficult one and it has to be followed carefully to the end and to the highest, so these principles can become very powerful.
Another important topic is the sutras, or commentaries of the Buddha. What does the Buddhist tradition have to say about them? Most of it says very little as far as commentaries go, but the commentary on the last three and a half hours of the Dhammapada is pretty intense. For example, one important passage is:
You cannot comprehend the Dhamma from the things you see and hear and touch and feel. But when someone sees a tree, how can he know that it is a tree? That was because he saw it as a sign, not as a tree. When you hear a word spoken, how can you know whether it is spoken by an individual or by a race of speech? If someone says, “This,” you must understand for the first time that this is someone who has received the message and understood the message. You cannot distinguish between one word and the other. This is why there is no difference when someone speaks and says
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