It Is Not Wind Moving, Nor Is It The Banner Moving, Is Your Heart(Mind) Moving

Posted by on May 9, 2007 in Philosophy | One Comment

The Sixth Zen Patriarch Hue-Neng is considered The Ancestor Master of Zen in China for it was under him that Zen flourished like never before.
He has one stanza that is very famous,
“ Originally there is no tree of enlightenment,
Nor is there a stand with a bright mirror.
Since everything is primordially empty,
Where is there for dust to cling to?”

Here is a story from the Sixth Patriarch.
After Hue-Neng attained complete awakening from the Fifth Patriarch Hon-Zen, he got a robe and the begging bowl from him with these words, “You are now the sixth Patriarch. In the past, when Bodhidharma came to China, people did not believe in the truth of what he said. Hence in Zen there is the tradition of passing down a robe and bowl to confirm enlightenment…. In the future, the dharma will prevail greatly through you. Go south. The dharma is not easy to spread. Wait until the time is ripe before expounding it.” Hue-Neng obeyed Hon-Zen and headed south. He went into hiding in the forests of southern China and nobody knew his whereabouts for fifteen years.
Then one day he bethought himself, “I ought not to pass a secluded life all the time. It is high time for me to propagate the dharma.” Accordingly he left the forests and went to the Fa- Hsin Monastery in Guangzhou.
At that time Yin-Tsung, Master of the Dharma, was lecturing on the Maha Parinirvana Sutra. It happened that one day, when a banner was blown about by the wind, two monks entered into a dispute as to what it was that was in motion. One said “ It is the wind moving.” “ No, no, no! Obviously it is the banner that is moving” said the other. As they could not settle their difference, Hue-Neng said:” It is not the wind moving, nor is it the banner moving, but your heart (mind) moving.”
Our mind is moving every moment and while doing meditation you will especially realize it.

At the beginning of first month practicing Tai Chi and Chi Kung with me some of my students get good feelings and energy. But after practicing for a while their body gets used to it and they don’t feel as good. Then they stop coming to practice. It makes me think: who can keep the same feeling all the time? Even when you take drugs to make you high, you can only keep that feeling for a few hours. Then you have to take more if you want to get the same feeling, but it is never quite the same.

I think we’ve all had this experience when we listen music or watch a movie that really affects us. But if we watch or listen to it repetitively we don’t have as the same feeling as the first time. Same with food: if you eat your favourite food three times a day, after ten days I don’t think that food will be your favourite anymore. The music, movie, and food remain the same so who changed?

After practicing Martial Arts and Chi Kung for over 23 years I still enjoy it every time I do it. That is because I know “it is the wind moving and the banner moving but not my heart moving.”

–Danny

1 Comment

  1. Pamela
    August 13, 2015

    Always love your words and the images they prenset. Thanks so much for your creativity and insight. Recently referred you as a Tell Me About Yourself Award. Keep going!

    Reply

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