Mahavairocana Buddha seated on a golden lotus flower , by Unkei, 13th C, Japan

5. Errors in Turning Around the Light

1. Master Lu (Dongbin) said, even though your practice gradually matures, as there are many pitfalls in front of the cliff of withered trees, so there are many pitfalls in your practice. These pitfalls are recognized only when they are personally experienced. Now is the time to speak about them.

2. My school differs from the Zen school in that it has confirmatory signs for each step of the way. First I would like to speak of the differences and then of the signs of verification. When you are going to practice this doctrine, first see to it somehow that you don't have much on your mind, so that your mind can be alert and free. Make your energy harmonious and your mind comfortable, then enter into quietude. 

3. In this quiet state it is essential to get know the mechanism and the aperture. Don't sit inside nothingness or indifference (also called Emptiness of Indifference). As you let go of the ten-thousand entanglements you become alert and self-possessed. One should not be too concerned about attaining a result. Those who take it too seriously tend to have this problem. This does not mean that one shouldn`t be conscientious, but signs of verification will appear between existence and non-existence. One can attain it through focusing without focus.

4. Now awakened, let go and be yourself. Make sure you don`t fall victim to the ensnaring world. The ensnaring world is where the five kinds of yin demons operate. For example, when one meditates and one's state is closer to dry wood and dead ashes, rather than the bright (yang) spring of the great earth. In this way one sinks into the world of yin. The energy is cold there, breathing is rough, and many images of coldness and decay present themselves. If one tarries there long one enters the world of plants and stones.

5. Nor must a man be led astray by the ten thousand  ensnarements. This happens if, after the quiet state has begun, a train of thoughts suddenly appears. You find you cannot get rid of them even if you want to, and you even feel comfortable going along with them. This means the master is enslaved by the servant. If this continues for a long time, you enter the world of form or the world of desire.

6. At best one reincarnates as a human, at worst one reincarnates into the animal realm. For instance, a fox may be able to roam in the mountains enjoying the wind and the moon, the flowers and fruits, and taking his pleasure in coral trees and jeweled grass. But after three to five hundred years, or at most a couple of thousand years, his reward is over and he is born again into the world of the six states of existence. All of these are wrong paths. When a man knows the wrong paths, he can then look for signs of verification.