American director Edward A. Burger takes us on his unforgettable journey into the hidden lives of China's forgotten Zen Buddhist hermit tradition.
Amongst White Clouds is a look at the lives of zealot students, gaunt ascetics and wise masters living in isolated hermitages dotting the peaks and valleys of China's Zhongnan Mountain range. The Zhongnan Mountains have been home to recluses since the time of the Yellow Emperor, some five thousand years ago.
Many of China's most realized Buddhist masters attained enlightenment in this very range! And now? It is widely thought that this tradition was all but wiped out by the twists and turns of history. Amongst White Clouds shows us this is not the case.
One of only a few foreigners to have lived and studied with these hidden sages, Burger reveals to us their tradition, their wisdom, and the hardship and joy of their everyday lives.
With both humor and compassion, these inspiring and warm-hearted characters challenge us to join them in an exploration of our own suffering and enlightenment in this modern world. (Excerpt from amongstclouds.com)
The Dharma of Mind Transmission: Zen Teachings of Huang-po....
The disciple depends on the sound of the Dharma Teaching to attain the state of Perfect Awakening, but he still does not know the reality of unconditioned Mind. This is because he erroneously gives rise to thoughts concerning the Teaching, sounds, yogic power, auspicious signs, speaking and activity.
If such a person were to hear about Bodhi or Nirvana and then set about to practice in order to achieve Liberation ? even for the duration of three great Asankhyeya kalpas ? his practice would never, indeed, attain the Supreme Buddha Fruit. This cultivation belongs to the Sravaka stage and is called Sravaka Buddha. Suddenly awakening to one's own Mind, one finds real Buddha.
Nothing to practice, nothing to attain ? this alone is the Supreme Tao, the genuine Dharma. Without seeking the Mind, there is no birth; without grasping the Mind, there is no death. That which is neither birth nor death is Buddha.
The 84,000 Dharmas are useful for curing the ills of sentient beings, but they are merely expedients used to teach and convert and receive all sentient beings. However, only Original Emptiness, without defilement, is Bodhi.
If Dharma students wish to know the key to successful cultivation, they should know that it is the mind that dwells on nothing. Emptiness is the Buddha's Dharmakaya, just as the Dharmakaya is emptiness.
People's usual understanding is that the Dharmakaya pervades emptiness, and that it is contained in emptiness. However, this is erroneous, for we should understand that the Dharmakaya is emptiness and that emptiness is the Dharmakaya.
If one thinks that emptiness is an entity and that this emptiness is separate from the Dharmakaya or that there is a Dharmakaya outside of emptiness, one is holding a wrong view. In the complete absence of views about emptiness, the true Dharmakaya appears.
Emptiness and Dharmakaya are not different. Sentient beings and Buddhas are not different. Birth and death and Nirvana are not different. Klesa and Bodhi are not different. That alone which is beyond all form is Buddha.
True Nature is Mind; the Mind is Buddha; the Buddha is Dharma. One should not use the Mind to seek Mind, the Buddha to seek Buddha, nor the Dharma to seek Dharma. Therefore, Dharma students should suddenly realize no-mind and suddenly attain stillness and silence.
Stirring thoughts is wrong, but using the Mind to transmit Mind is right. Be careful not to search outside yourself. If you consider the Mind to be outside yourself, it is the same as mistaking a thief for your own son.
cybershamans (karmapolice) / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0