Hui Neng

I ran across more categories of opposites in rereading the Sutra of Huineng in the Cleary translation (on page 71.)

Huineng said, “If you know how to apply these 36 pairs, this is the Way, pervading all the teachings of the scriptures. Exiting and entering, merging and detaching, on both sides, inherent nature actively functions.”

“When you talk with people, outwardly be unattached to appearances while in the midst of appearances; inwardly be unattached to emptiness while in the midst of emptiness. If you totally fixate on appearances, then you increase false views; if you totally cling to emptiness, then you increase ignorance.

The 36 opposites from Huineng:

In the external world of relative objects:
1. Sky and earth,
2. Sun and moon
3. Light and dark
4. Yin and yang
5. Water and fire

In characteristics of phenomena and language, there are 12 pairs of opposites:
1. Words and things
2. Being and nonbeing
3. Physical and nonphysical
4. Perceptible and imperceptible
5. Contaminated and uncontaminated
6. Matter and emptiness
7. Motion and stillness
8. Purity and pollution
9. Ordinary and holy
10. Clergy and lay
11. Old and young
12. Great and small

Our essential nature produces functions in nineteen pairs of opposites:
1. Strengths and weaknesses
2. Perversion and rectitude
3. Ignorance and insight,
4. Folly and wisdom
5. Disorder and stability
6. Kindness and viciousness
7. Morality and wrongdoing
8. Honesty and crookedness
9. Truth and falsehood
10. Bias and fairness
11. Affliction and malevolence
12. Permanence and impermanence
13. Compassion and malevolence
14. Delight and anger
15. Generosity and stinginess
16. Progress and regression
17. Origination and destruction
18. Reality body and the physical body
19. Projection body and the reward body

Can we possible have the fluidity of a pearl in a bowl? The pearl moves without resistance along the sides of the bowl following the movement of the bowl. Can I radically accept the moment as it is? All the while, my reaction to the moment tries to plant wholesome seeds for the future. Even the smallest mustard seed of patience will do.


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