No student yet has grasped this saying.
Seeing the Flowers of Emptiness
Because one fails to know emptiness, one does not know “the flowers of emptiness”; because one does not know the flowers of emptiness, one neither knows, sees, nor meets the “dim-sighted person”; nor does one become the “dim-sighted person” oneself. An encounter with the dim-sighted person should make one know and see the flowers of emptiness as well; after seeing the flowers of emptiness one should also see that “they dissappear in emptiness.”
It is the Hinayanist view that once they know
flowers disappear they no longer exist.
When the flowers of emptiness are not seen,
what should they be like?
Those who hold this view only know that the sky flowers are discarded, not the great matter subsequent to [the discarding of] the sky flowers: they do not know that the seeds of the flowers of emptiness are sown, ripen, and harvested.
[Ordinary students today] are altogether unaware,
that the four elements, in both their active and passive
aspects, as well as all the dharmas of the physical world,
original enlightenment, original nature, and so forth,
are all regarded as the flowers of emptiness. Nor are they aware that the four elements in the active aspect exist by virtue of all dharmas, or that the physical world abides in its dharma-situation by virtue of all dharmas; they think only that all dharmas exist by virtue of the physical world.
Dimness Exists Because of the Flowers of Emptiness
Since they understand only that the sky flowers exist
because of the eye’s dimness, they do not understand
the truth that the eye’s dimness exists because of the
flowers of emptiness.
We should know that the dim-sighted person
in the tradition of the Buddha-way is the person of
original enlightenment and the person of wonderful
enlightenment; s/he is the person of buddhas,
the person of the triple world, the one who goes
beyond the Buddha.
Dimness Is Not Unreal, Reality Is Not Outside Of It
Never foolishly misconstrue “dimness” as the unreal
and thereby look for the real outside of it. To do so
is a narrow-minded view. Were a “flower of dimness”
an unreal dharma, both the subject that misapprehends
it as unreal and its object would be unreal dharmas.
All being unreal, there would be no way whatsoever
to establish truth. Without being able to establish truth,
it cannot be established that the flower of emptiness is
an unreal dharma.
When Enlightenment Is Dimness
When enlightenment is dimness, all the dharmas of enlightenment are invariably the dharmas adorned by that dimness; When illusion is dimness, all the dharmas of illusion are invariably the dharmas adorned by that dimness.
We must now declare that because “dim eyesight” is equal [in essence], the “flowers of emptiness” are equal [in essence]; that because “dim-eyesight” is birthless,
the “flowers of emptiness” are birthless, and that because all dharmas are real nature, the “flowers of emptiness” are real nature.
Not Obstructed By Arising Or Perishing
These do not concern themselves with past, present, or future, nor do they have anything to do with the beginning, the middle, or end. Because they are not obstructed by arising or perishing, they freely cause arising and perishing to arise and perish.
They arise in “emptiness” and perish in “emptiness”;
they arise in “dimness” and perish in “flowers.”
They do this at all times and in all places.
Different Ways of Studying the Flowers of Emptiness
There are indeed a number of ways to study the flowers of emptiness: seeing with dim eyesight and seeing with clear eyesight; seeing with a buddha’s eyesight and seeing with an ancestor’s eyesight; seeing with the Way’s eyesight and seeing with the blind’s eyesight; seeing with three thousand years and seeing with eight hundred years; seeing with a hundred kalpas and seeing with immesuable kalpas.
Though each one of these ways sees the “flowers of emptiness,” the “emptiness” is intrinsically variegated,
and the flowers are also manifold. (108-11)
The Sky Flowers Falling Furiously In Dim-eyesight
In the great Sung China, when Ch’an Teacher Linghsün
of Mt. Fu-yung in Fu-chou studied under Ch’an Teacher
Kuei-tsung Chih-chen for the first time, he asked: ‘What is the Buddha?’
Kuei-tsung said: “I’ll tell you the answer, but will you believe it? The master replied, “Why wouldn’t I believe your sincere word, Reverend? Kuei-tsung said: “It’s you yourself!”
The master asked: “How shall I maintain it? Kuei-tsung replied: “If your eyesight has the slightest dimness, [You will see] the sky flowers falling furiously.
Maintaining the Buddha
In Kuei-tsung’s statement “If your eyesight has the slightest dimness [you] will see the sky flowers falling furiously,” he speaks of “maintaining the Buddha.” We must know, therefore, that the “furiously falling of the flowers of dimness” is the realization of “buddhas,” and that the “flowers and fruits of eyesight’s emptiness are what the “Buddhas maintain.”
They bring “eyesight” to realization through dimness.
They realize the “flowers of emptiness” in eyesight;
they realize “eyesight” in the “flowers of emptiness.”
If the “flowers of emptiness” are in your “eyesight”
[you will see] the “slightest dimness fallling furiously”;
If the slightest dimness is in “emptiness” [you will see] the immense dimness falling furiously.
For this reason, “dimness” is the presence of total dynamism; “eyesight” is the presence of total dynamism; “emptiness” is the presence of total dynamism; and “flower” is the presence of total dynamism. “Falling furiously” are a thousand eyes—the eyes that are the whole body (of Avalokiteshvara).
All in all, whenever and wherever these is even the slightest eyesight, there are always both flowers of emptiness and flowers of eyesight. The flowers of eyesight are called the flowers of emptiness; and the flowers of eyesight, in giving expression to themselves, always yield lucidity.