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Mind the Mirror

May 12, 1998 06:57 PM
by Clare Povers

Fellow listers: This may be of interest:

The glint from the mirror, to dust or not to dust...The following is

a quotation from :Golden Jubilee Edition The Voice of the Silence:-
" Esoteric and Exoteric Schools

After the fifth Patiarch in the line of Bodhidharma, a schism
occurred, Shin-sieu becoming the sixth Patriarch of the North,
Hwai-neng (A.D. 637-713) of South China. In the Weilang Sutra, or the
Platform Sutra on the Treasure of the Law, containing a collection of
Hwai-neng's sermons, the teachings of the two Patriarchs are
contrasted in the following verses:


Our body is like the Bodhi-tree,
While our mind is like a brigh mirror in its case,
Carefully we wipe and sweep them hour by hour,
That dust may not fall on them.


Neither is there a Bodhi-tree,
Nor a bright mirror in its case.
Since intrinsically all is void (shunya),
How can dust fall on them ?

H.P.B.'s remark in the note to vs. 115 [ Voice of the Silence]
(...the verse 115 is 'For mind is like a mirror; it gathers dust while it
reflects. It needs the gentle breezes of Soul-Wisdom to brush away
the dust of our Illusions. Seek O Beginner, to blend thy Mind and
that Shin-sieu "taught the esoteric doctrine of Bodhidharma" shows
some confusion of the Northen with the Southern school. The
implication seems to be that Hwai-neng belongs to the exoteric
school. The true state of affairs is in fact the other way round,
Shin-sieu representing the common intellectual train of thought which
keeps fast to the difference between mirror and object, whereas the
mystically minded Hwai-neng, as a true follower of Nagarjuna's
Madhyamika, merges the two in the all -void (sarva-shunya) "
The above passage was chosen because it is the well known and often
quoted "difference of opinion" - or of insight. Both men were of a
certain standing. from two different regions. There was a schism.
Rather a parallel to the present day.

Can we accept either AND or according to the level from which we view.
Also the writer does not chastise HPB but indicates that her remark
shows some confusion. It is easy enough to be confused when writing
great "heaps" of pages. One could remark that each Patriach was
correct. Perhaps each was speaking to the needs of particular
listeners. and also ...down the ages. HPB is indicating that analogy is an
effective method to point the way to an aspect of learning to find
out about the process of thought or no thought.- with the addition of
AND - not giving thought a chance to be pondered..

The effects of the bright mirror and the dust are still give
us cause to verbalise usefully, ....

(of course, if one breaks a mirror it is seven (it would be woudn't
it) years bad luck.

Namaste Clare

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