Exploring "Journey to the West"* (9)

Chuan Jiang

PureInsight | October 10, 2007


(9) Sun Wukong Bringing in the White Dragon-Horse*

The Chinese expression "monkey heart and horse notions" means that the
mind is impulsive, impatient, indecisive, and uncontrollable. One must
control one's monkey heart and horse notions before one can calm down.

When Sakyamuni spread his Buddha Fa, he talked about "precept, samadhi,
and wisdom." One must let go of all bad notions before one can get into
tranquility and then bring forth wisdom. The precept requires one to
let go of attachments from the heart. Therefore, all upright
cultivation schools focus on the heart. One needs to search within but
not outwardly.

In Buddhism, it says, "Trouble is bodhi." It means that one should see
one's attachments from troubles and hence eliminate all attachments.
For that reason, cultivators pay great attention to cultivating their
hearts, elevating and purifying their thoughts, gradually removing the
ordinary people's trains of thought and establishing a god's train of
thought.  At that moment, if you can turn around and look at the
ordinary people's notions, you will find that they are, indeed, very

Cultivators do not lie. Tang Xuanzang did not tell a lie even when he confronted a demon.

Cultivation emphasizes "truthfulness". Nowadays there are so many phony
things in our society. They are well-organized and systematically done.
The worldly people have lost their true selves. When a person lies, he
is helping his false self to grow. Since what a person says is not
through his true self but through the acquired notions, it is not
sincere. A liar's heart is confused, but a cultivator with a sincere
heart can concentrate.

Someone has made the analogy that, according to the modern physics, the
difference between iron and a magnet is the arrangements of their
electrons and whether they are nice and neat. Now, since the
cultivators' thoughts carry energy, saying and doing are going through
some changes. After we say it, we will try hard to accomplish it.
However, trying hard is not good enough, we have to accomplish
it.  There are countless people in this world who are controlled
by fame, wealth, lust and other notions. They live a very busy life and
will even give up their honesty and integrity for small gains. What a
real pity that is and they believe that they are living a fulfilled

Therefore, all upright religions teach people to speak the truth, do
things truthfully, become a truthful person, and return to the
original, true self.

* Journey to the West is a
classic novel of Chinese mythology. The Buddhist monk Tang Xuanzang and
his three disciples went to India to obtain the Buddhist Scriptures. On
the surface, it is a novel about the adventures of a monkey with
unsurpassed supernormal capabilities battling demons of all sorts.
Underneath, it is a story about cultivation and tells the attachments
that cultivators have to overcome one by one.

* The horse which Tang Xuanzang rode on during the journey was not an
ordinary horse but a white dragon from Heaven.  It came down to
assist Tang Xuanzang and redeemed his wrong doings.

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