The Sword of Wisdom 187

If you cut off the past and future, and discover that the present does not exist either, at that moment there is no mind. This itself is becoming a Buddha. But if, in the next instant, mind, past, future and present return, then you are again an ordinary sentient being.

The second story is about Suraksatra, one of Sakyamuni's sons. Suraksatra was an accomplished monk. Upon realizing the fourth dhyana level, he thought he had entered Nirvana. Unfortunately, he never asked the Buddha for verification. He had heard the Buddha's sutras, and he thought he understood the teachings, so he did not bother to inquire about his experience. One of his friends caused his power of samadhi to dissipate, so he dropped from the fourth dhyana level. He wondered, "How can I slide back from Nirvana?" His vexations returned, and he thought, "How is this possible? The Buddha is deceiving people. Nirvana is not genuine!"

Suraksatra was too arrogant to go to Sakyamuni for guidance and advice. He convinced himself that Nirvana was not real and that Buddha was a fraud, and his heart filled with hatred.

As soon as he perceived Suraksatra's thoughts, Sakyamuni sent out his disciple, Kasyapa, and told him to calm Suraksatra until he could see him. But Suraksatra would not be appeased. He ranted and raved at Kasyapa, and when the Buddha arrived he cursed him and his teachings. At that moment, the earth opened up and Suraksatra plummeted to hell.