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Sweet dew cures many illnesses.
 
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Sweet dew cures many illnesses.

When sitting in Chan with our tongue rolled back so its underside touches the roof of our mouth, we may generate a lot of saliva. We should swallow it. That saliva is called sweet dew. Why? After we practice Chan sitting for an extended period of time, our saliva becomes sweet. Although it may not be as sweet and thick as sugar or honey, it still has a faint sweetness. When we regularly swallow that sweet dew, we will not feel hungry or thirsty, even without food or drink. When a person’s practice reaches the stage where he is not aware of walking, standing, sitting or reclining, his skill merges with every movement, and he is in samadhi in every instant. This is descibed thus:

The Naga remains in stillness always,
There is never a moment of non-stillness.

The sweet dew we swallow can cure numerous illnesses, strengthen us physically, and help us open our wisdom. But we must practice diligently without interruption. Why is it that cultivators do not wish to talk much? They need to concentrate on their practice. No matter what they are doing, be it gathering firewood, fetching water, welcoming guests and seeing them off, or traveling about, they are always practicing hard. When our skill reaches maturity, then even without any volitional effort, we will still continue to practice hard. Even without volitional effort, we will be investigating “Who is mindful of the Buddha?” When we investigate to the point that we are not moved by wind or rain, our skill will become such that wind and rain cannot encroach upon us. Of course, this sort of skill is not accomplished overnight. That is why, at all times, we have to be mindful of the present.

Sweet dew is also referred to as “our own drink” and is recognized as a medicine. It is an elixir that enhances longevity. It is a medicine that brings liberation from birth and death. It is a tonic for escaping the cycle of rebirth in the six realms of existence. Everyone has this medicine but most refuse to take it. Most people ignore the root and are attracted by branch tips. In other words, they search high and low outside. This sweet-dew tonic originates from our self-nature. If we constantly apply effort in our practice, our saliva becomes sweet, even sweeter than honey. When that medicine takes effect, the body will undergo changes internally. Those who have not experienced this benefit in cultivation do not know what I am talking about. Those who have experienced it will be ever-diligent. They will not put off cultivation or take breaks. We must be persistent in our practice and constantly guard it. Practice should not be erratic, such that we:

Fish for three days,
and then dry the net for two.
Heat something for one day,
and then let it get cold for ten.
Pluck a lotus blossom today,
and then pick a peony tomorrow.

We need firm sincerity and honest determination. We must constantly practice hard in order to progress on the Path. To progress one day and then retreat the next is a waste of time.


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