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Resulted from Causality

Master Guichenpaid a visit to Master Xuansha on a study tour. Knowing that his guest used to study the doctrines of Faxiang School (or Dharma Characteristics School), Xuansha pointed at a bamboo chair and asked, “It is said that the whole world is but the projection of our mind, then how do you explain this?”
“As the doctrine goes, it is but the projection of our mind,” answered Guichen.
Xuansha disagreed,“The doctrine is true, but it refutes the phenomenal appearance, and the consciousness should not refute the universal being.”
“If so, Master, what would you call this?” asked Guichen, pointing to a desk.
“A desk!” answered Xuansha.
Guichen shook his head and said, “Master, you haven’t grasped the foresaid doctrine. This is no desk. The ‘desk’ is but a provisional name (prajñapti, jiaming), an illusion.”
“Indeed, this is no desk,” said Xuansha right away in a different tone, “What it really is should be wood, which isnamed ‘desk’ after it is shaped into a desk, and ‘window’ after it is shaped into a window. In essence, the desk and the window are wood.”
Just when Guichen kept nodding his head, Xuansha changed his mind again.
“This is neither wood nor a window, but a big tree in the mountain,” he said.
Guichen was about to refute when Xuansha signaled him to stop and went on, “This is also not a tree, but a seed, which growsinto a tree undersuch conditions as sunshine, air, moisture and soil. The tree is then cut into pieces of wood, which is shaped into windows and chairs. It is but the result of the universal law of causality (Nidana, yin yuan).”
“The universal being is still the projection of mind,” said Guichen.
“Or rather, the Chan mind, since you’ve come here to study Chan,” said Xuansha.
Though the discussion above involves various concepts, such as the doctrine of consciousness-only (Yogacara, weishi), emptiness (Śūnyatā, xingkong) and Chan--Master Xuansha would still conclude them with the Chan mind. Master Guichen,however, could hardly let go of what he had learnt in the past, so it was hard for him to make a fresh start in studying Chan. It is just like making tea. The residue left in the cup will affect the flavor. Take another example from daily life: although the bridges and roads can be connected, the distinctions between them should be made clear. In the study of Chan, we should treat various ideas as equal while reserving differences.

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