Journey to the West, on Cultivating the Heart

Just as they were feeling so cheerful a great mountain came into view, blocking their way. Reining in the horse, the Tang Priest said, “Disciples, see how high that mountain is. You must be very careful.”

“Don’t worry,” said Monkey with a grin, “don’t worry. I promise you nothing will go wrong.”

“Don’t say that,” Sanzang replied. “I can see those jutting peaks, and even from a distance it looks rather sinister. Storm clouds are streaming from it, and I am beginning to feel frightened. My whole body is turning numb and my spirits are disturbed.”

“You have already forgotten the Heart Sutra that the Rook’s Nest Hermit taught you,” said Brother Monkey.

“I can still remember it,” Sanzang said.

“Even if you can still remember that,” said Monkey, “there is a quatrain that you’ve forgotten.”

“What quatrain?” Sanzang asked, to which Monkey replied,
“Do not go far to seek the Buddha on Vulture Peak;
Vulture Peak is in your heart.
Everybody has a Vulture Peak stupa
Under which to cultivate conduct.”

“Of course I know it, disciple,” said Sanzang. “According to that quatrain the thousands of scriptures all come down to cultivating the heart.”

“Goes without saying,” Monkey replied.
“When the heart is purified it can shine alone;
When the heart is preserved all perceptions are pure.
If there is any mistake then laziness follows,
And success will not come in a myriad years.
As long as your will is sincere Thunder Peak is before your eyes.

But if you’re as scared, frightened and disturbed as this the Great Way is distant, and Thunder Peak is far, far away. Forget those wild fears and come with me.” When the venerable elder heard this his spirits were revived and his worries disappeared.


Extract from Journey to the West, Chapter 85

journey_to_the_west_by_dragonclaudz-d6toikiImage: DragonClaudz

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