September 29, 1974 | Sunday evening
On the Definition of Useful Answers
Ven. Master Hsuan Hua
At noon today the translator asked: “Why are there so many kinds of non-differentiation? Exactly how many kinds are there?” I don’t know. But the translator obviously thought there were too many. When he asked me, I told him to ask Sakyamuni Buddha. But Sakyamuni Buddha has entered nirvana and isn’t speaking anymore. But even though the Buddha entered nirvana, the Dharma is still around. So you can look into the sutras. But the sutras can’t speak either. Since the Dharma is incapable of speech, you should ask the Sangha. Right now there are a lot of Sangha members here at Gold Mountain Monastery. Why doesn’t each of you explain why there are so many kinds of nondifferentiation? Let’s see who has great wisdom and can give an answer that everyone finds useful. I myself cannot answer this question.
You could measure the usefulness of an answer in terms of whether it reveals pure or defiling dharmas. If the answer reveals pure dharmas, then the listeners will benefit from the Dharma. If the answer reveals defiling dharmas, then the listeners may react by delighting in and enjoying those defiling dharmas. Although revealing pure and revealing defiling dharmas both are useful in their own way, your answers should be useful in the sense of helping people benefit from the Buddhadharma.
Anyone can bring up an opinion about nondifferentiation—not only Sangha members, but laypeople, term too. [Editor’s note: Nobody speaks.] It appears that all of you have obtained the benefit of nondifferentiation. “He is me, and I am him. You are me and him. Mahasattvas pay no attention to others.” So you all close your mouths and curl your tongues against the roof of the mouth and enter samadhi.
Timely Teachings, pages 354 - 355.