The Dharma of Mind Transmission, the teaching of Ch’an Master Huang-Bei Tuan-Chi (1)

The Chung-Ling Record
All Buddhas and all sentient beings are no different from the One Mind. In this One Mind there is neither arising nor ceasing, no name or form, no long or short, no large or small, and neither existence nor non-existence. It transcends all limitations of name, word and relativity, and it is as boundless as the great void. Giving rise to thought is erroneous, and any speculation about it with our ordinary faculties is inapplicable, irrelevant and inaccurate. Only Mind is Buddha, and Buddhas and sentient beings are not different. All sentient beings grasp form and search outside themselves. Using Buddha to seek Buddha, they thus use mind to seek Mind. Practicing in this manner even until the end of the kalpa, they cannot attain the fruit. However, when thinking and discrimination suddenly halt, the Buddhas appear.

The Mind is Buddha, and the Buddha is no different from sentient beings. The Mind of sentient beings does not decrease; the Buddha’s Mind does not increase. Moreover, the six paramitas and all sila, as countless as the grains of sand of the Ganges, belong to one’s own mind. Thus there is no need to search outside oneself to create them. When causes and conditions unite, they will appear; as causes and conditions separate, they disappear. So if one does not have the understanding that on’es very own Mind itself is Buddha, he will then grasp the form of the practice merely and create even more delusion. This approach is exactly the opposite of the Buddha’s practice path. Just this Mind alone is Buddha! Nothing else is!

The Mind is transparent, having no shape or form. Giving rise to thought and discrimination is grasping and runs counter to the natural Dharma. Since time without beginning, there never has been a grasping Buddha. The practice of the six paramitas and various other disciplines is known as the gradual method of becoming a Buddha. This gradual method, however, is a secondary idea, and it does not represent the complete path to Perfect Awakening. If one does not understand that one’s mind is Buddha, no Dharma can ever be attained.

The Buddhas and sentient beings possess the same fundamental Mind, neither mixing nor separating the quality of true voidness. When the sun shines over the four directions, the world becomes light, but true voidness is never light. When the sun sets, the world becomes dark, but voidness is never dark. The regions of dark and light destroy each other, but the nature of voidness is clear and undisturbed. The True Mind of both Buddhas and sentient beings enjoys this same nature.

If one thinks that the Buddha is clean, bright and liberated and that sentient beings are dirty, dark and entangled in samsara, and, further, if one also uses this view to practice, then even though one perseveres through kalpas as numerous as the sand grains of the Ganges, one will not arrive at Bodhi. What exists for both Buddhas and for sentient beings, however, is the unconditioned Mind (Asamskrta citta) with nothing to attain. Many Ch’an students, not understanding the nature of this Mind, use the Mind to create Mind, thus grasping form and searching outside themselves. However, this is only to follow the path of evil and really is not the practice path to Bodhi.

Making offerings to one "without mind" surpasses in merit offerings made to countless others. Why is this? Because without mind we have unconditioned Buddha, who has neither movement nor obstruction. This alone is true emptiness, neither active nor passive, without form or place, without gain or loss.

Manjusri Bodhisattva symbolizes great substance (principle) and Samantabhadra Bodhisattva symbolizes the great function (action). Substance means emptiness, being without obstacles; functions means no form, being inexhaustible. Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva symbolizes great compassion (mahakaruna), and Mahasthama Bodhisattva symbolizes great wisdom (mahaprajna). Vimalakirti means "pure name". Purity is nature and name is form. Name and form are not different, and, therefore, Vimalakirti is called "pure name". These great Bodhisattvas symbolize those wholesome qualities or perfections that all of us intrinsically possess. There is no Mind to search for outside ourselves. Understanding "thus it is", people awaken immediately. Many contemporary Dharma students do not investigate their own minds, but instead search outside and grasp the region of form. Fearing failure, they cannot enter the region of dhyana and, therefore, experience powerlessness and frustration and return to seeking intellectual understanding and knowledge. Hence, many students strive for doctrinal or intellectual understanding, but very few attain to the state of True Awakening. They just proceed, in their error, in the direction the very opposite to Bodhi.

One should emulate the great earth. All Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, devas and human beings tread upon the earth, but the earth does not rejoice because of this. When the sheep, oxen, ants, etc., tread upon it, the earth does not become angry. Adorned with jewelry or rare fragrances, the earth does not give rise to greed. Bearing excrement and foul smells, the earth does not exhibit hatred or disgust. The unconditioned Mind is without mind, beyond form. All sentient beings and Buddhas are not different; the Perfectly Awakened Mind is thus. If Dharma students are unable to let go of conditioned mind suddenly, and instead practice in other ways, many kalpas may pass but they still will not have reached Bodhi. Because they are tied down by their thinking of the merits of the Three Vehicles, they do not attain genuine liberation.

Some students attain the state of liberated Mind quickly, some slowly. After listening to a Dharma talk, some reach "no mind" directly. In contrast, some must first pass gradually through the ten grades of Bodhisattva faith, the Dasabhumi of Bodhisattva development, and the ten stages before attaining the Perfectly Awakened Mind. Whether one takes a long or a short time, however, once attained, "no mind" can never be lost. With nothing further to cultivate and nothing more to attain, one realizes that this "no mind" is true, not false, Mind. Whether reaching this stage quickly or after passing through the various stages of Bodhisattva development gradually, the attainment of "no mind" cannot be characterized in terms of shallow or deep. Those students who cannot win this state of understanding and liberation go on to create the wholesome and unwholesome mental states by grasping form, thus creating further suffering in samsara.

In short, nothing is better than suddenly to recognize the Original Dharma. This Dharma is Mind, and outside of Mind there is no Dharma. This Mind is Dharma, and outside of this Dharma there is no mind. Self mind is "no mind" and no "no mind". Awaken the mind to "no mind" and win silent and sudden understanding. Just this!!

A Ch’an master said: "Break off the way of speech and destroy the place of thinking!" This Mind itself is the ultimately pure Source of Buddha; and all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and sentient beings possess this same Mind. However, some people, because of delusion and discrimination, create much karma fruit. Original Buddha contains nothing. Awaken suddenly, profoundly and completely to the emptiness, peace, brilliance, wonder and bliss of this Original Buddha!!

The attainment of one who has practiced the myriad Dharma doors throughout three kalpas, having passed through the many Bodhisattva stages, and the attainment of one who has suddenly awakened to the One Mind are equal. Both of them have just attained their own Original Buddha. The former type of disciple, the gradual attainer, upon arriving at his Original Buddha, looks back on his three kalpas of past practice as if he were looking at himself acting totally without principle in a dream.

Therefore, the Tathagata said: "There was really no Dharma by means of which the Tathagata attained Supreme Awakening. If there had been, Dipamkara Buddha would not have predicted my future attainment of Buddhahood." In addition the Tathagata said: "This Dharma is universal and impartial; therefore, it is called Supreme Awakening."

This ultimate pure source of Mind encompasses all Buddhas, sentient beings and the world of mountains, rivers, forms and formlessness. Throughout the ten directions, all and everything reflects the equality of pure Mind, which is always universally penetrating and illuminating. However, those with merely worldly understanding cannot recognize this truth and so identify seeing, hearing, touching and thinking as the mind. Covered by seeing, hearing, touching and thinking, one cannot see the brightness of Original Mind. If suddenly one is without mind, Original Mind will appear like the great sun in the sky, illuminating everywhere without obstruction.

Most Dharma students only know seeing, hearing, touching and thinking as movement and function and are, therefore, unable to recognize Original Mind at the moment of seeing, hearing, touching and thinking. However, Original Mind does not belong to seeing, hearing, touching and thinking but also is not distinct or separate from these activities. The view that one is seeing, hearing, touching and thinking does not arise; and yet one is not separate from these activities. This movement does not dim the Mind, for it is neither itself a thing nor something apart from things. Neither staying nor grasping, capable of freely moving in any direction whatsoever, everywhere, this Mind becomes the Bodhimandala.

When people hear that all Buddhas transmit the Mind Dharma, they fantasize that there is a special Dharma they might attain. They then try to use the Mind to find Dharma, not realizing that this very Mind is the Dharma and that the Dharma is this very Mind. Using the mind to search out Mind, one can pass through thousands and thousands of kalpas of cultivation and still not acquire it. However, if a person can be suddenly without mind, then he and Original Dharma are one. A prodigal son forgot that a pearl was hidden in the cuff of his own clothes and searched outside, here and there, running everywhere in bewilderment and wonder. Then a wise friend pointed out the pearl to him, so thus he found it where it had always been.

Most Dharma students are confused about Original Mind, not knowing that Original Dharma is non-existing, neither dependent nor staying. Neither active nor passive and without stirring thought, they can suddenly attain the stage of Perfect Awakening and see that they have reached the condition of Original Mind that alone is Buddha. Looking back on their prior cultivation throughout many kalpas, they see it now only as labor expended in vain. Thus the prodigal son found his original pearl, and he realized then that the time and energy spent looking for it, heretofore, outside himself were all completely unnecessary. Therefore, Sakyamuni Buddha stated: " There was really no Dharma by means of which the Tathagata attained Supreme Awakening." Because most people find this Dharma profound and difficult to believe, one is forced to make use of analogies to express the Supreme Reality.

Dharma students should harbor no doubts concerning the body, and they should realize that, comprised, as it is, of four elements, there is within it no self or master to be found. The skandhas are mind, but no self or master can be found there either. The six sense-organs, six sense-objects and six sense-consciousnesses form the eighteen sense-realms, which are, likewise, void. Birth, death and all things everywhere are empty. Only Original Mind is vast and clear. If one maintains the four elements of this body and allays the ulcer of hunger in a manner free from grasping, one nourishes oneself with wisdom food. On the other hand, if one pursues taste, having no regard for rules of moderation, and uses discrimination to seek things to please the palate and sate his desire-nature, one is gorging on consciousness food.

The disciple depends on the sound of the Dharma Teaching to attain the state of Perfect Awakening, but he still does not know the reality of unconditioned Mind. This is because he erroneously gives rise to thoughts concerning the Teaching, sounds, yogic power, auspicious signs, speaking and activity. If such a person were to hear about Bodhi or Nirvana and then set about to practice in order to achieve Liberation ? even for the duration of three great Asankhyeya kalpas ? his practice would never, indeed, attain the Supreme Buddha Fruit. This cultivation belongs to the Sravaka stage and is called Sravaka Buddha. Suddenly awakening to one’s own Mind, one finds real Buddha. Nothing to practice, nothing to attain ? this alone is the Supreme Tao, the genuine Dharma. Without seeking the Mind, there is no birth; without grasping the Mind, there is no death. That which is neither birth nor death is Buddha. The 84,000 Dharmas are useful for curing the ills of sentient beings, but they are merely expedients used to teach and convert and receive all sentient beings. However, only Original Emptiness, without defilement, is Bodhi.

If Dharma students wish to know the key to successful cultivation, they should know that it is the mind that dwells on nothing. Emptiness is the Buddha’s Dharmakaya, just as the Dharmakaya is emptiness. People’s usual understanding is that the Dharmakaya pervades emptiness, and that it is contained in emptiness. However, this is erroneous, for we should understand that the Dharmakaya is emptiness and that emptiness is the Dharmakaya.

If one thinks that emptiness is an entity and that this emptiness is separate from the Dharmakaya or that there is a Dharmakaya outside of emptiness, one is holding a wrong view. In the complete absence of views about emptiness, the true Dharmakaya appears. Emptiness and Dharmakaya are not different. Sentient beings and Buddhas are not different. Birth and death and Nirvana are not different. Klesa and Bodhi are not different. That alone which is beyond all form is Buddha.

Worldly people grasp worldliness; Dharma students grasp Mind. If they let go of both worldliness and Mind, they can encounter real Dharma. Dwelling without worldliness is easy; dwelling without mind is difficult. People fear dwelling without mind and fear failure in their attempts to do so because they think that they would have nothing to hold onto. However, Original Emptiness is not emptiness but genuine Dharmadhatu.

Since time without beginning, the nature of Awakened Mind and Emptiness has consisted of the same, absolute non-duality of no birth or death, no existence or non-existence, no purity or impurity, no movement or stillness, no young or old, no inside or outside, no shape and form, no sound and color. Neither striving nor searching, one should not use intellect to understand nor words to express Awakened Mind. One should not think that it is a place or things, name or form. One should not think that it is a place or things, name or form. Only then is it realized that all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and sentient beings possess the same natural state of great Nirvana.

True Nature is Mind; the Mind is Buddha; the Buddha is Dharma. One should not use the Mind to seek Mind, the Buddha to seek Buddha, nor the Dharma to seek Dharma. Therefore, Dharma students should suddenly realize no-mind and suddenly attain stillness and silence. Stirring thoughts is wrong, but using the Mind to transmit Mind is right. Be careful not to search outside yourself. If you consider the Mind to be outside yourself, it is the same as mistaking a thief for your own son.

Because of our craving, aversion and delusion, we must utilize sila,samadhi and prajna to purify our minds of grasping and delusion. If there originally is no defilement, then what is Bodhi? Relative to this, a Ch’an Master said: "All Dharma taught by Lord Buddha is taught solely to wipe out all mind, Without any mind at all, what use is Dharma?" So, there is nothing at all to hold onto at the original and ultimate source of pure Buddha. Even if emptiness were to be adorned with countless jewels and other treasures, these things could not remain. Similarly, even if the Buddha Nature is adorned with immeasurable wisdom and virtue, that adornment has no place to stay. Most people are deluded about their own nature and thus cannot or will not awaken to their own Minds.

In short, all things are dependent on the Mind. When causes and conditions meet, things appear. When causes and conditions separate, they disappear. Dharma students should not sully their pure nature by giving rise to thoughts. The mirror of sila and prajna is bright and tranquil and allows one to reflect on seeing, hearing, touching and thinking. This view of the Mind’s sphere is only an expedient used to teach those of average or inferior capabilities and is not a vision of Supreme Bodhi. One who aspires to Supreme Bodhi should not hold such a view. The existent and non-existent are both within the grasping mind’s sphere. Without existence and non-existence, there is no-mind and everything is Dharma.

A Ch’an Master has said: "From the time of his arrival in China, Patriarch Bodhidharma taught only the view of unconditioned Mind and spread only the view of unconditioned Dharma." Using Dharma to transmit Dharma, there is no other Dharma. Using Buddha to transmit Buddha, there is no other Buddha. This Dharma is "without-words" Dharma; this Buddha is "without-words" Buddha. Hence, they are the ultimate source of Pure Mind. This is the true Ch’an teaching. All others are false!

Prajna is Original Mind without form. Worldly people do not have a natural inclination towards the Tao, but prefer instead to indulge in the six emotions that arise due to the six conditions of sentient existence — i.e., the emotional effects, like desire or aversion, that arise when sense-objects contact the internal sense-bases or, afterwards, in recollection of this contact. Dharma students who allow a thought of birth and death to arise fall into the realm of Mara. If one allows a thought to arise while seeing, one falls into heresy. When one desires to exterminate birth and death, one falls into the Sravaka realm. One who sees neither birth nor death and is aware only of cessation falls into the Pratyekabuddha realm. However, one might ask: Originally the dharmas know no arising, so how can they be subject to cessation? The answer one might receive is : With this non-dualistic outlook — that is, having neither desire nor aversion ? everything is Mind. This alone is the Buddha of Supreme Awakening!

Worldly people allow thoughts to arise concerning the mind’s sphere and thus harbor like and dislike. If one does not want this entanglement, one must forget the mind. Without mind, the sphere is empty. If one does not want "without mind", but only wants to end entanglement in the various realms of the mind, then one is simply creating more disturbance. Therefore, one must realize that all phenomena are dependent on Mind and that Mind itself is unattainable, if one is to attain the Buddha of Supreme Awakening.

Prajna students, even if you seek the one Dharma and give no thought to the Three Vehicles, this one Dharma is also unobtainable, If someone says he can obtain it, he is indeed an arrogant person and indeed is one with those who left the Lotus Assembly, refusing to listen to the Lotus Teaching Thus the Tathagata said: "There was really no Dharma by means of which the Tathagata attained Supreme Awakening." However, there is the unspoken, silent understanding. There is just this!

Those who are near death just then realize that the five skandhas are empty, the real Mind is without form, and that the four elements are devoid of self. Neither coming nor going, the Buddhas nature does not depart. If one suddenly understands the unconditioned Mind and realizes that the mind-sphere is non-differentiated, he is not restricted by the three periods. This is the true Arya, who is free of defiling tendencies. Encountering pleasing sense objects and even being greeted by all Buddhas, he does not pursue them. Terrible or loathsome sense objects cause no fear to such a one. Dwelling without mind, like the Dharmadhatu, the Mind is free of all delusions.

A Ch’an Master said: "The expedient teachings of Sravaka, Bodhisattva, Dasabhumi and Samyak Sambodhi all belong to the path of gradual awakening." What is perfect Nirvana? Perfect Nirvana is the sudden understanding that one’s own nature is original Buddha and True Mind. It is the sudden realization that there is neither Buddha nor sentient beings, neither subject nor object. If this present place is illusion city, where then is perfect Nirvana? Perfect Nirvana cannot be pointed out because we are only able to point out a place. Whatever is thought of as a place cannot be the condition of true, perfect Nirvana. One can give indications as to which direction it lies in, but one cannot give a definite location. However, one may come to a correct and silent understanding of it.

An Icchantika is a person abandoned as unteachable because of the complete absence of faith in his heart. If any sentient beings and Sravakas do not believe that being "without mind" is the Buddha and Supreme Awakening, they can certainly be termed Icchantika.

All Bodhisattvas have confidence in the Buddhadharma, whether it is the teaching of the Sravaka or the Bodhisattva Vehicles. All sentient beings have the same Dharma nature as the Buddhas and, therefore, may be termed Icchantika with good roots. In short, those who depend on hearing the Teaching to attain Awakening are termed Sravakas. Those who contemplate the twelve nidanas of dependent origination and thus win Awakening are termed Pratyekabuddhas. Most Dharma students are awakened by Dharma teaching but not awakened directly to Mind. Practicing for many kalpas, they still do not attain Original Buddha. Just as a dog is distracted by a clod of earth thrown at him, so we forget Original Mind. However, if one can attain silent and unspoken understanding, one knows that because the mind is Dharma it is, therefore, not necessary to seek Dharma.

Most people’s minds are hindered by the mind-realms and only perceive the Buddha principle polluted by and mixed with phenomena. Thus, they are always trying to escape the mind-realms and calm the mind. To attain Pure Mind, they attempt to eradicate phenomena and keep the principle, not realizing that the mind-realms are hindered by Mind and that phenomena are hindered by the principle. Without mind, the realms are empty; when the principle is tranquil, so are phenomena. One should not turn the Mind upside down for some personal use. People do not really want to realize the state of being "Without mind", fearing that if they fail at their attempts at cultivation a one-sided emptiness would result. Foolish people only try to wipe out phenomena but do not wipe out mind. The wise man wipes out the mind and does not bother with phenomena. The mind of the Bodhisattva is void, having abandoned all and grasping neither bliss nor merit.

There are three degrees of renunciation in this practice. The highest degree is the renunciation of body and mind through the perception of everything, inside and out, as void, there being nothing to obtain and nothing to grasp. Depending on the limits of his strength of belief and committment to practice, one makes the great renunciation of negative and positive, existence and non-existence. Following this realization of truth with practice and non-expectation of reward or personal benefit is the middle degree of renunciation. The superior degree of renunciation is compared to holding a torch in front of oneself, being neither deluded nor awakened. The middle renunciation is compared to holding the torch at one’s side; it is sometimes light and sometimes dark. The lowest renunciation is similar to holding the torch at one’s back, thus being unable to see a pit or trap in front of one. The mind of the Bodhisattva is void, having abandoned all things. Past-mind not grasping is past renunciation; present-mind not grasping is present renunciation; future-mind not grasping is future renunciation.

Since that time when the Tathagata bequeathed his Teaching to Venerable Mahakasyapa, the Mind has been used to transmit Mind, nothing apart from this being necessary. As a seal makes no impression on the sky, one leaves no written mark. As a seal makes an impression on paper, one leaves no Dharma. Therefore, using the Mind to imprint Mind, one still has only Mind. Without both the negative and positive imprint, the unspoken understanding is difficult to attain. For this reason, many Dharma students study, but few accomplish the path. However, no-mind is Mind and no-attainment is Attainment.

The Tathagata has a threefold body. The Dharmakaya propagates the void-nature Dharma. The Dharmakaya preaches the Dharma beyond words and form. With really no Dharma to expound, it teaches the Dharma of emptiness as self-nature. The Nirmanakaya propagates the six paramitas and the myriad Dharma practices. The Sambhogakaya expounds Dharma according to the various conditions and capacities of all sentient beings.

The one essence is Mind. The six sense-organs with their six sense-objects and resultant six sense-consciousnesses are, altogether, called the eighteen realms. If one perceives these eighteen realms as empty and reduces them to one essence, that essence is Mind. All Dharma students know this theoretically, but cannot divest themselves of views based on the duality and analysis of this essence and the grasping of the six senses. Being bound by these dharmas, they cannot silently understand Original Mind.

The Tathagata appeared in the world to teach the Supreme Vehicle. However, because sentient beings were unable to believe in, and even slandered, the Teaching, they remained immersed and drowning in a sea of suffering. Therefore, the Tathagata utilized the expedient Teaching of the Three Vehicles to help them. Some disciples attained deep realization, some shallow; but since few or none had awakened to Buddha’s Original Dharma, one sutra states: "They still do not manifest the Dharma of One Mind." This special teaching of Mind is a Dharma without words. The Ch’an School relies not on texts but, instead, on the special transmission received by the Venerable Mahakasyapa ? i.e., silent understanding and sudden attainment of the Great Awakening with arrival at the Ultimate Tao.

Once a bhiksu asked his master: "What is Tao and how is it practiced?" The master responded: "What is this Tao and what do you want to practice?" The bhiksu asked: "Is Tao receptive of the students who come for instruction in cultivation?" "That is for people of dull capacity; the Tao cannot be practiced," said the master. "If this is for people of dull capacity, what is the Dharma for people of superior ability?" asked the bhiksu. The master answered: "If one is of genuine superior ability, there is none for him to follow. Even seeking himself is impossible, so how can he grasp Dharma?" The bhiksu exclaimed, "If that is so, there is nothing to seek!" The master retorted, "Then save your mental energy." "But this would be tantamount to the annihilation view, and one could say nothing." said the bhiksu. "Who is it that says nothing? Who is he? Try to search for him, " said the master. "If this is the case, why seek Œwho it is that says nothing’?" asked the bhiksu. The master answered: "If you do not seek, that is alright. Who asked you about annihilation? You see the void in front of you, so why do you think you have destroyed it?" "Could this Dharma be voidness?" asked the bhiksu. "Does this voidness tell you the difference between morning and night? I’m just speaking expediently to you because you are giving rise to thoughts and holding views about what I say," said the master. The bhiksu then asked: "One should not hold views?" The master answered: "I’m not obstructing you, but you should understand your view as emotion. When emotion arises, wisdom is concealed." The bhiksu asked: I’m just talking to you, so why call it superfluous?" The master said: " you do not understand what others say, so where is the superfluity?" The bhiksu said: Now you have talked for quite some time, all of which seemed to be for the sake of resisting the enemy of words, while giving no instruction at all in the Dharma." The master replied: "Just realize the Dharma without inverted view. Your questions are inverted! What ‘true’ Dharma do you want?" The bhiksu then observed: "So, my questions are inverted? How about the master’s answers?" The master replied:" You should take something to illumine your face; do not meddle with others." The bhiksu exclaimed: "Just like a foolish dog! When he sees something move, he barks at shadows and sounds." The master said: "The Dhyana School, mutually receiving all sentient beings from the distant past until now, never taught people to hold views, but only stated, ‘Learn Tao’." These words are designed to convert and receive the average person, but the Tao cannot be learned. If one hold some view of learning, then one is , indeed, deluded by the Tao. The Tao is nothing but this Mahayana mind. This mind is nowhere, neither inside, outside, nor somewhere in between. So primarily, one should not hold any view. The cessation of the dualistic view of ‘like’ is Tao. If ‘like’ is cut off, the mind is nowhere. The Original Tao is without name, but because worldly people do not comprehend, they are deluded by perverted views. All Buddhas appear in the world to explain and teach this Dharma. Since people are unable to understand it directly, the Buddhas utilize expedient methods to teach the Tao. One should not cling to names and create views. For example, when fishing, if one catches a fish, one should forget about the bamboo fish-trap. When one attains the other shore, one should then give up the raft."

At the very moment when one understands the Tao and recognizes the Mind, one is then free of body and mind. One who reaches the ultimate source is called a Sramana. The fruit of a Sramana is the cessation of false thinking. This fruit cannot be attained through worldly learning. Using the mind to seek Mind and depending on others for insight, how can one reach or acquire the Tao? The ancient cultivators were possessed of wisdom. Just by hearing a few words of Dharma, they suddenly attained the state beyond study and thinking. Today, people only want to seek worldly learning, mistakenly believing that more knowledge leads to better practice. They do not know that more and more learning leads only to obstacles in their cultivation. Giving a baby more and more cream to eat, who knows if he digests it or not? Likewise, the Teaching of the Three Vehicles is comparable to eating a lot without proper digestion. All study without proper digestion is poison. These things exist in the realm of production and annihilation, while in the Bhutatathata ? the state of absolute Thusness or Suchness, i.e., things as they are in reality, devoid of the usual distortion by klesa ? there is nothing whatsoever. Attaining the Bhutatathata and the Unconditioned means wiping out all previous views and remaining empty without false discrimination.

What is the Tathagata Store? It is Emptiness, the kingly Dharma, appearing in the world to refute all relative things. Therefore, the sutra states: "There really was no Dharma by means of which the Tathagata attained Supreme Awakening." These words are only to be expediently used for wiping out one’s perverted views. Without the inside-and-outside concept of perverted views, there is nothing whatsoever to depend on or to grasp. This is truly the reality of the unhindered one. All the teaching of the Three Vehicles is merely medicine for weak patients; all the various teachings are merely expedients to suit the temporary needs of sentient beings. However, one should not become confused by this Teaching. If one does not give rise to views or grasp words, there is no Dharma. Why? Because there is no fixed Dharma for the Tathagata to expound. My Dhyana school never talks about this matter. The Teaching’s purpose is to stop false thinking; it is not meant to serve the ends of thinking, pondering and intellectual analysis.

A bhiksu once declared to his master: "You have said that, above all, the mind is Buddha, but I don’t know which mind is the Buddha." " How many minds do you have?" questioned the master. "Is the worldly mind or the holy mind the Buddha?" asked the Bhiksu. The master then asked: " Exactly where do you find the worldly and the holy minds?" The bhiksu observed: " The Three Vehicles constantly speak of worldly and holy, so how can you say they don’t exist?" The master replied: "Worldly and holy are very clearly explained in the Three Vehicles. You do not understand and grasp them as objects. Wouldn’t it be incorrect to think of emptiness as really existing? Merely wipe out the worldly-and-holy view. There is no Buddha outside of the Mind. The Patriarch came from the West solely to point out that people’s minds are Buddha. You do not recognize this and actively pursue the Buddha. You do not recognize this and actively pursue the Buddha outside, thus deluding your own mind. For this reason, I talk about the Mind as Buddha. Actually, giving rise to a single thought, one falls into heterodox paths. Since time without beginning, there is no differentiation or discrimination, Voidness is the Unconditioned Awakening."

The bhiksu queried: "In what theory do you say ‘is’?" The master replied: "What theory do you seek? If you have some theory, that is a differentiating mind." The bhiksu asked further: "You said earlier that since time without beginning there is no differentiation. What theory is this?" The master answered: "Because of your seeking, you realize a difference. Without seeking, where is the difference?" The bhiksu asked: "If non-different, why do you say ‘it is’?" The master replied: "If you do not have the worldly-and-holy view, who can tell you Œit is’? If ‘it is’ is not, it truly ‘is’! When mind is ‘not mind’, then the mind and ‘it is’ all disappear. Where do you want to seek?" The bhiksu queried: "If the false can be an obstacle to the Mind, how does one drive away the false?" The master answered: "The false arising and ceasing — that is the false. Originally, the false has no root but arises from discrimination, If one has no perverted view of worldly versus holy, then automatically there is no false. With nothing to grasp and nothing to drive out, abandoning everything — just there and then is the Buddha." The bhiksu then asked: "If there is already no grasping, then what is transmitted?" The master answered: "The Mind is used to transmit Mind." The bhiksu asked: "If the mind can be mutually transmitted, how can one then be said to be without mind?" The master responded: "Just nothing-to-obtain is the real transmission of Mind. If one really understands, then the mind is no-mind and no-Dharma." The bhiksu asked: "If there is no-mind and no-Dharma, where is the transmission?" The master replied: When you hear the phrase Œtransmission of Mind’ do you think there is something to obtain? The Patriarch has said, ŒWhen you see the mind nature, that is the state beyond discrimination.’ The complete Mind is just nothing attained. Where is there Œattainment’? Knowing is not present. What do you think about that?" The bhiksu asked: "Only voidness in front of me without the mind’s sphere! Without the mind’s sphere, wouldn’t one then see the Mind? The master responded: "What mind do you want to see in this sphere? If you see something, it is only a reflection from the mind’s sphere? Like a person looking at his face in a mirror thinking he clearly sees his face and eye-brows but, in reality, seeing only an image or a reflection, even so is any reflection from the mind’s sphere. But what has all this got to do with you?" The bhiksu asked: "If not by reflection, how can one see the Mind?" The master replied: "If one wants to point out the cause, one must continually refer to that which the cause is dependent upon. This is a never-ending process, for there is no end to the dependent origination of things. Relax your hold, for there is nothing to obtain. Talking continuously of thousands and thousands of things is just labor expended in vain."

"If one understands this, then even with reflection is there still nothing to obtain?" asked the bhiksu. "If there is nothing to obtain, then reflection is not necessary," said the master. "Don’t depend on talk from a dream to open your eyes. ŒNothing-to-seek’ is the primary Dharma. This is better than studying and learning a hundred different things. With nothing to obtain, one has finished the task," continued the master. The bhiksu queried: "What is ordinary truth?" The master replied: "Why do you persist in creating clinging vines? Originally, truth is clear and bright. It is not necessary to have questions and answers."

In summary, then, it is to be noted that this without-mind state is wisdom and detachment. Walking, standing, sitting, reclining, talking and all of one’s other everyday actions are done without attachment and are thus transformed into non-action.

In this Dharma-ending age, many Dharma students grasp form and sound in their cultivation. If only they were able to make their minds as void as a withered, dead tree or like a stone or cold ashes, they might realize a bit of this Dharma. Otherwise, they might as well try to force information from the King of Hell. Being without the dualistic conception of existence and non-existence, like the sun shining in the sky, wouldn’t they save energy?

Therefore, being with no place to dwell is the way of all Buddha activity. The Mind that does not abide anywhere is the Perfect Awakening, Without understanding the Unconditioned Truth, even with much learning and diligent practice, one still does not recognize one’s own Mind. Therefore, all one’s actions are nonsense, and one is a member of the Deva Mara’s family. The Ch’an master Chi-Kung observed: "Buddha is one’s own Mind! Why do you search in words and letters?" "If you do not meet a teacher with this transcendental understanding, then you must take the Dharma medicine of Mahayana. Walking, standing, sitting and lying over a long period of time, one may realize the without-mind state if the right combination of causes fosters it. Because one lacks the capacity for sudden Awakening, one must study the Tao of Dhyana for 3, 5, or 10 years. There is no special arrangement or negotiation for achieving Buddhadharma. However, this Teaching of the Tathagata exists as an expedient for the purpose of transforming all beings. For example, one shows a yellow leaf to a crying baby and pretends that it is gold. This is not really true, but it stops the crying of the baby. If a teaching says that there is truly something to obtain, then it is not the Teaching of my sect, nor would I be a member of such an heretical sect. The sutra states: "There really was no Dharma by means of which the Tathagata attained Supreme Awakening." This is the truth of the non-heretical sect, with which I identify.

If one realizes the originally clear and bright Mind, then both Buddha and Mara, as dualistic conceptions, are wrong. In this Mind there is no square or round, no big or small, no short or long. It is passionless and non-active. Neither deluded nor awakened, it is clarity and emptiness. Human beings and Buddha in worlds as numerous as the sands of the Ganges appear as bubbles in the ocean. Nothing is better than "without-mind". Since time without beginning, all Buddhas and the Dharmakaya are not different, neither increasing nor decreasing. For this reason, if one really comprehends the importance of such an insight, one should cultivate diligently until the end of one’s life. Since the outbreath does not guarantee the inbreath, everybody should wake up!!

A bhiksu asked the master: "Since the Sixth Patriarch did not study the sutras, how could he possibly receive the transmission of the yellow robe and become Patriarch? Venerable Shen-Hsiu was the leader of five hundred monks and a Dharma teacher able to expound on thirty-two sutras and sastras. Why wasn’t the Patriarch’s robe transmitted to them?" The master said:" The Venerable Shen-Hsiu still had a discriminating mind. His Dharma was action-oriented because he practiced and attained that which has form. The Sixth Patriarch, in contrast, was suddenly awakened and tacitly understood. Therefore, the Fifth Patriarch secretly transmitted to him the profound truth of the Tathagata’s Teaching."

The Dharma Transmission Gatha of Sakyamuni Buddha states: "Original Dharma is no-Dharma; without Dharma is true Dharma. In transmitting the Dharma that is no-Dharma, has there ever been a Dharma?" If one accepts this right view, then one can practice with ease; such a one can truly be called one who has left home. When the Venerable Wai-Ming chased the Sixth Patriarch to Ta Yu Mountain, the Patriarch asked him: "What do you want by coming here? Do you seek the robe or the Dharma?" "I come for the Dharma, not for the robe," answered the Venerable Wai-Ming. The Sixth Patriarch then asked him: "Without thinking of good or evil, what is the original face of the Venerable Wai-Ming?" Venerable Wai-Ming was suddenly awakened and prostrated himself at the feet of the Patriarch, declaring: "Only a person who drinks the water knows whether it is cool or warm. My following the Fifth Patriarch for thirty years was just labor expended in vain." The Sixth Patriarch responded: "Yes! Now you know that the intention of the Patriarch’s coming from the West was just to point to the Mind directly. Beholding the Buddha Nature within oneself is the Perfect Awakening, for it never depends on words."

Once the Venerable Ananda asked the Venerable Mahakasyapa: "Besides handing down the robe, what else does the World Honored One transmit?" Venerable Mahakasyapa shouted, "Ananda!" "Yes!" answered Venerable Ananda. "Turn the flag-pole in front of the door upside down," commanded Venerable Mahakasyapa. This is an excellent example of the upholding and maintaining of the Patriarch’s purpose. The foremost listener among the Buddha’s disciples was Venerable Ananda, the Buddha’s attendant for thirty years. However, his only reasons for listening to the Dharma had been to acquire vast erudition. Therefore, the Buddha scolded him thus: "Learning the Tao for one day is far superior to acquiring knowledge for a thousand." If Dharma students do not learn the Tao, even the digestion of one drop of water is difficult.

A bhiksu asked the master: "How does one practice without grade or degree?" The master replied: "Taking one’s meal every day, one never chews a grain of rice. Walking every day, one never steps upon the ground." Without the discrimination between self and others, one lives in the world, not deluded by anything at all. This is a genuinely free person whose thinking is beyond name and form. Transcending the three periods of thought, he understands that the previous period has not passed, the present period does not stay, and that the future period will not come. Sitting properly and peacefully, not bound by the world ? this alone is called liberation! Everybody should strive diligently. Out of thousands and thousands of Dharma students in the Dhyana School, only three or five attain the fruit. If we do not care about our practice, misfortune could easily arise in the future. All of us should practice diligently and finish the task of liberation in this life. Who can or wants to bear misfortune for endless kalpas?



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