'Where is this Anger? Show it to me and I Will Cure it For You'.

A monk said to Bankei: I was born with a short temper. It’s always flaring up. My master has remonstrated with me time and again, but that hasn’t done any good. I know I should do something about it, but as I was born with a bad temper, I’m unable to rid myself of it no matter how hard I try. Is there anything I can do to correct it? This time, I’m hoping that with your teaching, I’ll be able to cure myself. Then, when I go back home, I’ll be able to face my master again, and of course I will benefit by it for the rest of my life. Please, tell me what to do.  

Bankei: That’s an interesting inheritance you have. Is your temper here now? Bring it out. I’ll cure it for you.

Monk: I’m not angry now. My temper comes on unexpectedly, when something provokes me.

Bankei: You weren’t born with it then. You create it yourself when some pretext or other happens to appear. Where would your temper be at such times if you didn’t cause it? You work yourself into a temper because of your partiality for yourself, opposing others in order to have your own way. Then you unjustly accuse your parents of having burdened you with a short temper. What an extremely unfilial son you are!

Each person receives the Buddha-mind from his parents when he’s born. His illusion is something he produces all alone, by being partial to himself. It’s foolish to think that it’s inherent. When you don’t produce your temper, where is it?

All illusions are the same; as long as you don’t produce them, they cease to exist. That’s what everyone fails to realize. There they are, creating from their own selfish desires and deluded mental habits something that isn’t inherent but thinking it is. On account of this, they’re unable to avoid being deluded in whatever they do.

You certainly must cherish your illusions dearly for you to change the Buddha-mind into them just so you can be deluded. If you only knew the great value of the Buddhamind, there’s no way you could ever be deluded again, not even if you wanted to be. Fix this clearly in your head: When you are not deluded, you are a Buddha, and that means you are enlightened… Once you’ve realized this and you stop creating that temper of yours, you’ll find that you won’t have any other illusions either, not even if you want to, for you’ll be living constantly in the unborn Buddha-mind. There is nothing else.

 

Norman Waddell, Bankei Zen

Luke Farren