When Hui-hai was a young monk and first came to the great Master Ma-tzu, the Master Asked him, “What have you come here for?”
Hui-hai said, “I have come seeking the Buddha’s teaching.”
“What a fool you are!” Ma-tzu said. “You have the greatest treasure in the world inside you, and yet you go around asking other people for help. What good is this” I have nothing to give you.”
Hui-hai bowed and said, “Please, Master, tell me what this treasure is.”
Ma-tzu said, “Where is your question coming from? This is your treasure. It is precisely what is asking the question at this very moment. Everything is stored in this precious treasure house of yours. It is there at your disposal, you can use it as you wish, nothing is lacking. You are the master of everything. Why then are you running away from yourself and seeking for things outside?”
Upon hearing these words, Hui-hai realized his own mind. Beside himself with joy, he bowed deeply to the master.
Much later, when he himself was a great Master (known, interestingly enough, as the Great Pearl), Hui-hai gave the following speech:
“Friends and brothers, it is alright for you to be monks, but it is much better to be men unattached to all things. Why should you run around making karma that will hem you in like a criminal’s chains? Trying to empty your mind, straining to attain enlightenment, blubbering about your understanding of the Buddha-Dharma – all this is a waste of energy. Once, the great Ma-tzy said to me. “Your own treasure house already contains everything you need. Why don’t you use it freely, instead of chasing after something outside yourself?” From that day on, I stopped looking elsewhere. Just make use of your own treasure house according to your needs, and you will be happy men. There isn’t a single thing that can be grasped or rejected. When you stop thinking that things have past or future, and that they come and go, then in the whole universe there won’t be a single atom that is not your own treasure. All you need to do is look into your own mind; then the marvelous reality will manifest itself at all times. Don’t search for the truth with your intellect. Don’t search at all. The nature of the mind is intricately pure. Thus the Flower Garland Sutra says: “All things have neither a beginning nor an end.” For those who are able to interpret these words correctly, the Buddhas are always present. Furthermore, the Vimalakirti Sutra says: “Reality is perceived through your own body.” If you don’t run after sounds and sights, or let appearance give rise to conceptual thinking, you will become men unattached to all things. That’s enough for now. Take good care of yourselves.”