The Shurangama Sutra:

Pure in its origin, it pervades the dharma-realm.

Venerable Master Hsuan Hua:

The nature of water is pure at its origin and pervades the dharma-realm. You should know that within it there is wonderful existence. Within true emptiness there is wonderful existence. If you contemplate these principles, you can come to understand them.

The Shurangama Sutra:

The Pure Youth Moonlight arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “I remember that long ago, beyond kalpas as many as there are sands in the Ganges, there was a Buddha in the world named Water-God, who taught all the Bodhisattvas to cultivate the contemplation of water and enter samadhi."

There are different forms of water...

Lao Zi said,

“The highest goodness, like water, benefits all things and yet does not contend. It goes to places men despise and so it is close to the Way."

Venerable Master Hsuan Hua:
Water benefits all things, but doesn’t struggle. It would never say, “Hey, flower! Fortunately for you there is me, water, and so you have grown so big and bloomed so beautifully. Without me, flower, would this day have come for you? You really should be grateful.” It doesn’t think in this way and it doesn’t wrangle. Travellers will notice that water gathers in the lowlands, in places where men do not like to go. It lives where no one else wants to live and so it is close in its nature to the Way.


The Avatamsaka Sutra:
Just as reflected images do not come or go within clear, pure water.

Venerable Master Hsuan Hua:
By way of analogy, when there is something that can be reflected, the image appears in water that’s pure and when there is nothing to reflect there is no image. Yet it is certainly not the case that the reflected image come into the water, nor do they depart from the water. And so, You should know it is just the same way With the Dharma body, which is like the reflected image, as it pervades the world, which is like the clear water. The same principle applies.

Venerable Master Hsuan Hua:

“When false thoughts do not arise, then everywhere is peaceful.” If you don’t have any false thinking, then your mind is as composed as still water. It is like water without any waves—like pure still water. When your false thoughts don’t arise, every place is peaceful.

White Universe

Ice in the sky, snow on the ground.
Numberless tiny bugs die in the cold or sleep in hibernation.
In the midst of stillness you should contemplate, and within movement you should investigate.
Dragons spar and tigers wrestle in continual playful sport;
Ghosts cry and spirits wail,their illusory transformations strange.
Ultimate truth transcends words;
Not thought about or talked about, you ought to advance with haste.
With great and small destroyed, with no inside or out,
It pervades every mote of dust and encompasses the Dharma Realm,
Complete, whole, and perfectly fused, interpenetrating without obstruction.
With two clenched fists, shatter the covering of empty space.
In one mouthful swallow the source of seas of Buddhalands.
With great compassion rescue all,
Sparing no blood or sweat, and never pause to rest!

--Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

The Shurangama Sutra:

Ananda, the process is like water becoming ice and ice becoming water again.

Venerable Master Hsuan Hua:

Ananda, you should know that the true suchness of the self nature accords with conditions yet does not change; it does not change, yet accords with conditions. How is that explained? The true suchness of the self nature, which is also the treasury of the Thus Come One, and also the real appearance, and also our true mind, is like water becoming ice and ice
becoming water again.

It is like water which becomes ice: that is, it accords with conditions, just as water can turn into ice. But the ice can also melt and become water again. I have often explained this principle to you. People’s Buddha-nature is the true nature. Bodhi enlightenment is water; affliction is ice. Your Bodhi is like water, useful to everyone; it cannot harm people. Everyone needs water...

...The Buddha’s sutras say, “Affliction is just Bodhi.” The ice is just water. There is no ice in addition to the water, and no water in addition to the ice. The ice is in the water, and the water is in the ice. Thus, the sutra says, “Ice becoming water again.” But in order to turn your ice into water, you have to develop a certain amount of skill. What is required? You have to use yang light to illumine it. And then the ice can turn into water. This refers to our daily practice of sitting in meditation and investigating Chan. That illumines our afflictions so that they turn into water...

...Affliction and Bodhi, Ice is Water

Affliction is bodhi. Therefore, both you and I have bodhi; everybody has bodhi because everybody has affliction. Everyone can use the affliction, but everyone has forgotten the bodhi. Forgotten, so they cannot use it.

What is this like? It is like ice, which originally is water; but water, because it has undergone cold, has frozen into ice. If you apply warm energy, the ice can still change back into water. What does this mean? Just this is the analogy for affliction and bodhi. When you are not able to use it, you have a kind of' cold energy; then it changes into affliction.

What is cold energy? Greed', anger and stupidity, these are cold energy. What is yang light? Precepts, samadhi and wisdom, just these are yang light. If you diligently cultivate precepts, samadhi and wisdom, and destroy greed, Anger and stupidity, just this is affliction turning into bodhi. And this ice then
changes into water...

...The Buddha-nature is found within our afflictions. Everyone has afflictions and everyone has a Buddha-nature. In an ordinary person it is the afflictions, rather than the Buddha-nature, that are apparent. Afflictions are like ice. Our wisdom is like water. Our Buddha-nature is like moisture, which is present in both ice and water. So, too, the Buddha-nature is found within both wisdom and affliction. But while moisture is common to both ice and water, their physical properties differ. A small piece of ice is hard and can harm people if you hit them with it; in the same way you can injure people by giving rise to afflictions...

...People can return to the original source if they can change their afflictions into wisdom. The change is analogous to the melting of ice. You can’t say that the ice is not water, for the ice melts into water. You also can’t say that the water is not ice, for water can freeze into ice. Their common quality is their moisture. In the same way, no one can argue that living beings are not the Buddha or that the Buddha is not a living being. The Buddha belongs to living beings, and living beings belong to the Buddha. You should understand this doctrine. You need only change and melt the ice...

...The pure mind is within the false, like water in the ice; the ice has the potential to become water.

Mist is made up of very fine droplets of water...

Venerable Master Hsuan Hua:

When you achieve the third, Real Mark recitation, even if you try, you cannot stop reciting the Buddha’s name. The recitation flows like water and lives within you. This is the state of the Buddha-recitation samadhi: reciting and yet not reciting, not reciting and yet reciting.

If you can recite so completely that you enter the Buddha-recitation samadhi, then hearing the wind, it’s “Namo Amitabha Buddha,” and hearing the rain, it’s “Namo Amitabha Buddha.” Every sound you hear recites the Buddha’s name.

The water flows,
The wind blows,

Proclaiming the Mahayana…

The Shurangama Sutra and Venerable Master Hsuan Hua's commentary:

Ananda, water is by nature unstable...

...The nature of water is unstable. It is said,

When the opening is to the east,
the water flows east;
When the opening is to the west,
the water flows west.

If you gouge out the bank of a pool, river, stream, lake, or sea, the water will flow out in whatever direction you make the cut. A body of water has no fixed boundaries, so the text says that water is by nature unstable. It may keep on flowing or come to a stop. It stops and goes; it is not constant or uniform.

Venerable Master Hsuan Hua:

Everything is really “a dream, illusion, bubble, shadow…” It’s not real. You shouldn’t get caught up in it all and take it all too seriously. Because as the Vajra Sutra says,  

     "All conditioned dharmas are like
     Dreams, illusions, bubbles, shadows,
     Like dew and like lightning flashes.
     Contemplate them thus." 

Song of Enlightenment:

The Three Poisons, like bubbles of water, rise and sink, unreal

Venerable Master Hsuan Hua:

The three poisons of greed, hatred, and stupidity are as strong as putrid meat, as poisoned wine, as opium, and every other poison; yet they too, have no inherent nature. In general, they come from defiled habits; they are like bubbles, produced of themselves and extinguished of themselves. Suddenly they are there; suddenly they are gone. Empty and false, they rise and sink--they are unreal.

The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra:

Form does not differ from emptiness; emptiness does not differ from form.
Form itself is emptiness; emptiness itself is form.

Venerable Master Hsuan Hua's Verse:

“Form does not differ from emptiness”: “is” is like “is not”.
“Emptiness does not differ from form”:
the distinction is of substance and function. “
Form itself is emptiness”: its true source is fathomed.
“Emptiness itself is form”: the false flow has dried up.
Mountains, rivers, and the great earth are only manifestations of consciousness.
“Dream, illusion, bubble, shadow” – so it is!
Be careful not to seek outside; maintain the Middle Way.
To cast down stained threads of cause is to come toward the Thus...

Venerable Master Hsuan Hua:

In the scope of our self-nature, our bodies and our environment, both of which are composed of the four elements, are just like bubbles that randomly form and vanish in the sea, without affecting the original substance. We should not get caught up in the coming into being, dwelling, changes, and ceasing to be of the illusory things in this world. Nor should we indulge in fondness and dislike, grasping and rejecting...

...Bubbles are also unreal, and quickly disappear, thereby revealing their emptiness... 

Venerable Master Hsu Yun:

...The sorrow and joy of coming and going, like bubbles from water are just causes flowing.

The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra:

The world is not a secure place.
It’s like foam, water bubbles, or a will-o’-the-wisp.

...“Bubble” refers to bubbles of water, which burst after not very long. They are impermanent.

Venerable Master Hsuan Hua:

All conditioned dharmas are like a dream and like the dew at dawn. So, the Vajra Sutra says,

"All conditioned dharmas are like dreams, illusions, bubbles, shadows."

They’re like having a dream or a transformational state. They are like bubbles on the water and like shadows. They are also like early-morning dew drops or lightning flashes. They are false and not real. Since they’re false and not real then what’s there to be attached to ? So it says in the verse, “and as not being attached to all worlds.”

Drops of water...

Dew and dewdrops



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