You should produce the thought which abides nowhere

You have to do things as if not doing them. After you've done something, don't be attached to the merit and virtue that you've created.

Pay homage while abiding nowhere, and transform beings to go to rebirth.
Endless and inexhaustible, the meanings are prolific.
The Tathagatas of the ten directions together gather us in,
So that we can leave suffering, attain bliss, and escape the pit of fire.


In Buddhism, we often say, "One should produce the thought which abides nowhere." And so, in explaining the Shurangama Mantra, I said, "Pay homage while abiding nowhere, and transform beings to go to rebirth." Rebirth refers to undergoing indefinite births and endless transformations. "Paying homage" refers to bowing to the Buddhas. "Abiding nowhere" means you should have no attachments. You say, "Well, I won't cultivate, and then I won't have any attachments." That's wrong. Although you cultivate, you should not be attached to the notion that you are cultivating. You say, "If I don't eat and I don't attach to the fact that I have not eaten, my stomach won't agree with me." However, if you've eaten your fill and you want to eat more, that's also wrong. The Vajra Sutra says, "You should produce the thought which abides nowhere."

Today someone thought the words, "You should produce the thought which abides nowhere," meant that if you didn't cultivate, recite mantras, or recite Sutras, you would be without attachments. That's not it. What you have to do is do things as if not doing them. After you've done something, don't be attached to the merit and virtue that you've created. That's called "abiding nowhere." If you abide somewhere, you will get stuck in one place and be unable to get out. So you must not dwell on the body or mind; sweep away all dharmas and separate from all appearances. Then the process of creation and transformation will be endless and inexhaustible. So the next sentence says, "Endless and inexhaustible, the meanings are prolific." The meanings of this mantra are endless and inexhaustible. It has an incredible amount of meaning; nothing else has that much meaning.

Therefore, when you recite this mantra, "The Tathagatas of the ten directions together gather us in." The Buddhas of the ten directions all draw you in, treating you like a child, saying, "Don't cry anymore. I'll give you some candy to eat. Don't cry. Wait a bit, and I'll give you a couple of apples." Hearing the word "apples", the child's ears perk up and he licks his lips in anticipation. In that way, the Tathagatas of the ten directions gather you in, enabling you to "leave suffering, attain bliss, and escape the pit of fire."