76. What are “the body is empty,” “the heart is empty,” “the soul is empty,” and “the Dharma is empty?” (& Q77)

The body is given by the parents, thus one inherits characteristics from them. There are nine portals in a human body 35 that different kinds of impurity constantly flow through. The body is a brief combination of the four elements 36 which eventually must disintegrate.

Thus, the wise know that the body is an illusion, and although he is alive, he treats his body as if he were dead. He only uses this illusory body to learn about Tao and to practice Tao. That is to awaken to “the body is empty”.

Once one awakes to “the body is empty”,

he then reflects upon his heart. The heart is not born nor does it disappear. It is most divine and mysterious. When images appear, it also appears. As images disappear, it too disappears.

If one is awakened to his True Nature, he is always aware of the Truth and will never stray away. His heart would not follow the cravings of desires and emotions and is always directed by his True Self. That is to awaken to “the heart is empty”.

As one awakes to “the heart is empty”,

he then reflects upon his True Self. The True Self is in ultimate quiescence. When there is any change, it is inspired and is all knowing. The changes of the True Self are endless. Its divinity and mysticism cannot be comprehended.

As one realizes the bright virtues of his own True Self and transcends the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, he is enlightened and has all of the wisdom. His soul is mystic and natural. When he becomes still, he is eternal. That is to awaken to “the soul is empty”.

When one awakes to “the soul is empty”,

he then examines all Sutras and Dharmas The Buddha left. He realizes that all Sutras and Dharmas are guides leading people to enlightenment, just like water is used to wash dust and medicine is used to cure sickness.

Once one awakes to that the heart and soul are “empty,” he needs no Dharma, just like the sick does not need any more medicine once he gets well. That is to awaken to “the Dharma is empty”.

In conclusion,
the True Dharma is nothing
but to awake to
the origin of the heart.

If one’s fancies do not end, he is tied down by desires. The heart originally is pure and tranquil, but it suddenly alternates between activities and tranquility. The heart originally has nothing, but it abruptly becomes not empty.

When it’s not empty, yet is tranquil and pure constantly, it has all of the wisdom. When inspired, it knows everything. If any thought appears, wisdom would be hidden.

Being pure and tranquil as the norm, knowing that all Dharmas are useless, and thinking of no good or evil so to be envisioned as foolish or inept are called practicing Tao.

Thus, without any thought is the meaning of tranquility.
Ridding of all thoughts as they appear is the meaning of Dharma.
Following Dharma is the meaning of practice.
The practice of the Tao of Mankind does not exceed the accumulation of merits and the following of the Truth.

One who wishes to become a Buddha must make no distinction between himself and the others. Therefore,

to become a Saint
or to become an ordinary
is one’s own choice.

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77. What are the meanings of “The eyes, ears, nose, and tongue are the Four Ministers, also known as the Four Thieves,” and “No image of the self, the others, the living, and life” in Buddhist Sutra?

The eyes, ears, nose, and tongue resemble Four Ministers helping the kingthe True Self – to administrate and execute tasks and matters. However, if they are improperly applied, they become the Four Thieves which harm the True Self. That is why Confucius passed on to Yan-hui the teaching of,

“See no evil, hear no evil,
speak no evil, and do no evil.”

See, Hear and Speak no evil - minimize the karma force

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil and do no evil.

The Four Ministers are associated with “No image of the self, the others, the living, and life.”

The eyes function as observation tools, so they see the images of others. One has no image of the others if he, in tranquility, sees that all humans are as pure as infants and helps others, regardless of friends or foes, to receive Tien-Tao.

The ears function as listening tool, so they represent the image of the self. One has no image of the self if he realizes that life is unpredictable and his body is only a mirage, thus is willing to sacrifice everything to follow Tao.

The nose functions as a mean for breathing. Since breathing represents life, it is the image of life. One has no image of life if he becomes enlightened to the eternal True Self and is not influenced by his mind or external temptations. He would practice Tao tenaciously, following his vow of being equal to all life forms.

The mouth is a mean to talk, so it represents the image of the living. One has no image of the living if he detaches his mind from the world permanently.

In summary,

if a practitioner of Tao wishes to become a Buddha and obtain peerage, he has to guard against his Four Ministers from rebelling. If his Four Ministers are not upright, he will always sin and never see his True Self.

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