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Where Is the Buddha

Emperor Shunzong of the Tang Dynasty once asked Master Ruman of Foguang Temple, “Where did the Buddha come from? Where did he go on entering Nirvana? Since it is said that he dwells eternally in the world, where is the Buddha right now?”
Master Ruman replied,“The Buddha came from the Unconditioned; upon Nirvana, he returned to the Unconditioned. His Dharma body is equivalent to space, eternally dwelling in the place devoid of mind. The state of thought returns to that of non-thought; the state of dwelling returns to that of impermanence.Since he came for the sake of living beings, likewise he departed for the living beings.The clear and pure ocean of True Suchness (Tathata) is where his pristine and perfect body eternally dwells. May all wise ones ponder this over carefully and not give rise to further doubts.”
Emperor Shunzong disapproved,“The Buddha was born in the Royal Palace; he entered Nirvana beneath the twin trees. He dwelled in the world for 49 years, yet said he had not spoken a word of Dharma.The mountains, rivers and great oceans; heaven and earth; the sun and the moon will all come to an end when the time approaches. Who says there is no coming into being or ceasing to be? For the sake of sentient beings who share my doubts, may the wise one explain with skillful reasoning?”
Master Ruman explained,
“The Buddha’s body is originally unconditioned. It is deluded beings who falsely make discriminations.The Dharma body is akin to empty space which neither comes into being nor ceases to be. With the right conditions, the Buddha appears in the world, when conditions cease, the Buddha enters Nirvana. He transforms living beings everywhere, just like the reflection of the moon in the water. Not constant, yet without interruption; not coming into being, yet not ceasing to be. He was born, yet did not come into being; he entered Nirvana, yet did not cease to be. Completely seeing the place devoid of Mind, naturally, there is no Dharma to speak of.”
Hearing that, Emperor Shunzong was very delighted and treated Master Ruman with more respect.
It is often asked that as Amitabha Buddha dwells in the western pure land and the Medicine Buddha in the eastern pure land, where Sakyamuni Buddha dwells now. It is said that SakyamuniBuddha dwells in the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light (changjiguangtu), but where exactly is it?
Answers to those questions given by people who practice Chan are thought invigorating. With a sentient mind, one sees only the uncertain world of both coming into being and ceasing to be, which is the transformation body of the Buddha; with a free mind, one sees the world of both non-coming-into-being and non-ceasing-to-be, which is theDharmabody of the Buddha. Free mind is Chan mind. Only with a Chan mind can one sees the dwelling of the Buddha.
“With the right conditions, the Buddha appears in the world;when conditions cease, the Buddha enters Nirvana.” “Cease” is not opposite to “come into being”, but the state of Nirvana. The Land of Eternally Tranquil Light is utterly free from all afflictions and discriminations but full of deliverance and joy.

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