John Tan sent two potent koans to a friend -- good for contemplation.

1) Without thoughts, tell me what is your very mind right now?

2) Without using any words or language, how do you experience ‘I’ right now?

(In the Zen tradition, we also have, "When you're not thinking of anything good and anything bad, at that moment, what is your original face?" (Sixth Patriarch Hui-Neng), "What is the original face before your parents were born?"

A similar koan led to my initial sudden awakening in February 2010.)
 
 
 
 
..........................
 
 
 
Someone replied, “No mind"
That friend of ours told John Tan something similar and got 'smacked'.
"John Tan: Without any thought, tell me what is your very mind now?
Friend: Void. Hollow.
John Tan: Smack your head... lol.
Without using any words or language, how do you experience 'I' right now'?
Friend: ....something about personality, habits, opinions...
John Tan: If there is no thoughts, how can there be habits, opinions and personality? Everywhere you go, how can you miss it? Day in and day out, wherever and whenever there is, there 'you' are! How can 'you' distant yourself from 'yourself'?"
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More by John Tan: "Mahamudra, Dzogchen, Zen, whatever tradition, how are they able to deny you from yourself? So who are You?"
Self-Enquiry is called a direct path for a reason:
“Don’t relate, don’t infer, don’t think. Authenticating ‘You’ yourself requires nothing of that. Not from teachers, books, Mahamudra, Dzogchen, Zen or even Buddha, whatever comes from outside is knowledge. What that come sfrom the innermost depth of your own beingness, is the wisdom of you yourself.
There is no need to look for any answers. Ultimately, it is your own essence and nature. To leap from the inferencing, deducting and relating mind into the most direct and immediate authentication, the mind must cease completely and right back into the place before any formation of artificialities. If this ‘eye’ of immediacy isn’t open, everything is merely knowledge and opening this eye of direct perception is the beginning of the path that is pathless. Ok enough of chats and there have been too much words. Don’t sway and walk on. Happy journey!’
Mr. R, I have been very direct to you and it is just a simple question of what is your mind right now and nothing else. There is no other path more straightforward than that.
I have told you to put aside, all thoughts, all teachings, even Dzogchen, Mahamudra, Zen and just [asked] ‘what is your mind right now?’. Isn’t that telling you straight to the point, not wasting time and words? I have also told you whatever comes from external is knowledge, put all those aside. Wisdom comes from within yourself directly. But you have cut and pasted me all the texts, conversations, Zen, Mahamudra, Dzogchen, Madhyamaka that I have told you to put aside.
You asked me what is my advice. Still the same. Don’t go after experiences and knowledge, you have read and known enough, so return back to simplicity. Your duty is not to know more, but to eliminate all these and [get] back to the simplicity of the direct taste. Otherwise you will have to waste a few more years or decades to return back to what that is most simple, basic and direct.
And from this simplicity and directness, you then allow your nature to reveal the breadth and depth through constantly authenticating it in all moments and all states through engagement in different conditions.
So unless you drop everything and [get] back into a clean, pure, basic simplicity, there is no real progress in practice. Until you understand the treasure of simplicity and start back from there, every step forward is a retrogress.“ – John Tan, 2020
 


Replying to someone in Rinzai Zen discussion group, John Tan wrote recently:


“I think we have to differentiate wisdom from an art or a state of mind.
In Master Sheng Yen’s death poem, 
 
Busy with nothing till old. (无事忙中老)
In emptiness, there is weeping and laughing. (空里有哭笑)
Originally there never was any 'I'. (本来没有我)
Thus life and death can be cast aside. (生死皆可抛)
 
This "Originally there never was any 'I'" is wisdom and the dharma seal of anatta. It is neither an art like an artist in zone where self is dissolved into the flow of action nor is it a state to be achieved in the case of the taoist "坐忘" (sit and forget) -- a state of no-mind. 
 
For example in cooking, there is no self that cooks, only the activity of cooking. The hands moves, the utensils act, the water boils, the potatoes peel and the universe sings together in the act of cooking. Whether one appears clumsy or smooth in act of cooking doesn't matter and when the dishes r out, they may still taste horrible; still there never was any "I" in any moment of the activity. There is no entry or exit point in the wisdom of anatta.”

Posted in the Rinzai Zen group on Facebook


Soh: Typing is mind, words appearing on screen are buddha mind. No mind, no buddha, no unchanging, no changing.

Mr M: Is the mind the unchanging?
Soh replied: After initial awakening (the doubtless realization of one’s essence as Pure Presence-Awareness), true nature appears unchanging, and everything seems to appear and disappear within an unchanging infinite context of luminous awareness or true self. This is 'apparent within the real'.
After the next awakening, true nature is seen to be empty of its own unchanging self and is instead found to be none other than the brilliant displays of appearance, all are the zero dimensional zero distance intimate gapless display of one's original face without center or boundaries. The duality of timelessness and time collapses. All these are called the second rank of Tozan as explained by Hakuin, 'real within the apparent'.
There have been further insights and deepening actualizations after that.
Mr. M: Soh Wei Yu can you see it with your eyes? Like what is Buddha... that oak tree in the garden .. that dry shitstick .. or gutei' finger.
Soh replied: Yes.. not just with the eyes. Whole body is the seeing, universe is the walking.
Mr. M: Can you describe what you see?
Soh replied: Lots of descriptions can be given, but as the zen proverb goes, the person who drinks it knows best whether the water is hot or cold
Mr. M: Soh Wei Yu im just asking your experience ...how do your eyes see since you said you can see it.
Soh: Be it green leaves or the blue sky, even prior to these labels, everything is vibrantly alive presencing, crystal, pellucid, luminous, pure and perfect, no self, no other, no perceiver and perceived, no agent and action, no separation, no distance, no dimension and unfindable.


More posts there:

  • Many Zen and Ch'an masters do point to a similar realization as Hinduism's Atman, however as some of them clarified, such as Phillip Kapleau Roshi, it is simply an initial realization and the realization is to be refined later on. Hinduism's Atman is the direct authentication of the aspect of the luminous clarity and Presence of our Buddha-nature, but its empty nature ('no mind' as taught by Bodhidharma) is realised later on. Prior to that refinement of insight, Buddha-nature can be somewhat reified into Atman-Brahman.
    For example, Phillip Kapleau Roshi mentioned in his book "Straight to the Heart of Zen: Eleven Classic Koans & Their Inner Meanings", the two distinct phases of realization in Zen practice that corresponds to what I personally term "I AM realization" and "anatta~total exertion":
    "...A shallow kensho is not fully satisfying. One has seen into constant change, it is true, and into the formless Self as well - that which makes change possible. One has caught a glimpse of both change and changelessness. But it's only a glimpse, and it is not enough, because in reality, the two worlds of change and changelessness are not really two at all. After a time this initial seeing makes us want to go further, deeper. Instinctively we know that it's only well-chewed food that nourishes and satisfies. This we might take as meaning long training through which we more fully integrate our understanding into our daily lives. Our enlightenment is fully digested. Now change is Changelessness. This is what keeps away hunger and uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and above all unsatisfactoriness, the constant feeling of being on edge, alienated, separated - 'a stranger and afraid', as the poet A. E. Housman wrote, 'in a world I never made.' At last we know real peace.
    The verse says: 'This one instant, as it is, is an infinite number of kalpas.' What is a kalpa? The sutras describe a kalpa as the length of time it would take a heavenly being, adeva, sweeping its gossamer wings across the top of the mile-high mountain once each year to wear that mountain down to the ground. This one instant is a kalpa. All time is in this instant, and an infinite number of kalpas are, at the time, this one instant. All time means past, present, and future....
    ...if our mind is entirely free from both time and timelessness, it we are living fully and wholly every moment, every moment is everything; all of time is in each full, vitally alive moment. If one has truly seen into time and timelessness - if one has really become time itself - then there is no notion of time or timelessness to hinder or bind..."
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  • Mr M:
  • This thing is a hot subject. It is not a thing because things change.. what does not change .. doesn't move a bit .. do you realize it or discover it... do you use your mind or your senses... like when the Buddha raised a flower without any word... this is the primary goal of zen practice..me thinks...

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    But our true nature is also not static and unmoving like a dead pool of still water. In the five ranks of Tozan, the first rank is the 'The Apparent within the Real', but it is to be followed by deeper insights such as 'The Real within the Apparent' and so on.
    The first Ch'an Patriarch Bodhidharma said, "But this mind isn’t somewhere outside the material body of four elements.Without this mind we can’t move. The body has no awareness. Like a plant or stone, the body has no nature. So how does it move? It’s the mind that moves. Language and behavior, perception and conception are all functions of the moving mind. All motion is the mind’s motion. Motion is its function. Apart from motion there’s no mind, and apart from the mind there’s no motion. But motion isn’t the mind. And the mind isn’t motion. Motion is basically mindless. And the mind is basically motionless. But motion doesn’t exist without the mind. And the mind doesn’t exist without motion. Theres no mind for motion to exist apart from, and no motion for mind to exist apart from. Motion is the mind’s function, and its function is its motion. Even so, the mind neither moves nor functions, the essence of its functioning is emptiness and emptiness is essentially motionless. Motion is the same as the mind. And the mind is essentially motionless. Hence the Sutras tell us to move without moving, to travel without traveling, to see without seeing, to laugh without laughing, to hear without hearing, to know without knowing, to be happy, without being happy, to walk without walking, to stand without standing. And the sutras say, "Go beyond language. Go beyond thought." Basically, seeing, hearing, and knowing are completely empty. Your anger, Joy, or pain is like that of puppet. You search but you won’t find a thing."
    "Once you know this, walking, standing, sitting, or lying down, everything you do is Zen. To know that the mind is empty is to see the Buddha. The Buddhas of the ten directions" have no mind. To see no mind is to see the Buddha." - http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/.../bodhidharmas...
    "At this, the disciple all at once greatly awakened and realized for the first time that there is no thing apart from mind, and no mind apart from things. All of his actions became utterly free. Having broken through the net of all doubt, he was freed of all obstruction." - Bodhidharma text The Doctrine of No Mind (无心论)
    Bodhidharma's Zen Teachings
    AWAKENINGTOREALITY.BLOGSPOT.COM
    Bodhidharma's Zen Teachings
    Bodhidharma's Zen Teachings

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  • Linji/Rinzai Ch'an Master Hui Lu from Taiwan (author of Towards Perfect Completion of Life) said, partial excerpt from http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/.../true-mind-and... - reading the full page is highly recommended
    "譬如说:释迦牟尼佛从来没有讲过随缘不变,不变随缘,而我们大乘佛法的法师,一直引用这一句话,这一句话是无始无明,是错误的,佛陀从来没有讲过这一句话;佛陀也没有讲过说:真空出妙有,妙有真空,释迦世尊,找遍三藏十二部,佛从来没有讲过这一句话。
    For example: Shakyamuni Buddha has never said anything like "while following conditions one is unchanged, one is unchanged while following conditions". That [saying] actually came from our Mahayana venerables, they keep on spouting such saying, such a saying is actually [based on] beginningless ignorance, it is a false understanding, the Buddha has never said such a saying; the Buddha has never said: from true emptiness comes marvellous existence, marvellous existence true emptiness, [I have] searched throughout the entire Tripitaka [the three textual collections of sutras, vinaya and abhidharma] and Shakyamuni Buddha has never ever said such a thing.
    佛陀也从来没有讲过说:从假入空,从空出假;不著两边,谓之中道。
    The Buddha has also never said: from the illusory one enters into emptiness, from emptiness the illusory is produced; not attaching to either side is known as the middle way.
    释迦世尊从来就没有讲过这种话,没有的!
    Shakyamuni Buddha has never said such a saying, never!
    翻遍三藏十二部经典,没有讲过不变随缘,随缘不变;也从来没有讲过:真空出妙有,妙有出真空;也从来没有讲过说:从假入空,从空出假,不著两边,谓之中道,有出有入,哪里是佛性呢?
    I have flipped through the Tripitaka's twelve sections of sutras, it has never ever said anything with regards to "being unchanged while following conditions, following conditions while being unchanged"; it has never said: "true emptiness produces miraculous existence, from miraculous existence comes true emptiness"; and it has never said: "from the illusory one enters into emptiness, from emptiness comes the illusory, not attaching to either side is known as the middle way". Having an exit and entry, how could that be Buddha-nature?
    所以,第一句话应该改成:随缘显现。
    Therefore, the first saying should be changed into: Appearing according to conditions.
    说:不变随缘,随缘不变,我们一般有自性见,认为如来藏性,就是如如不动,如如不动,好像是一潭死水一样。错了!
    Those who say: being unchanged by the flow of conditions, the flow of conditions does not change/affect us - we usually have the view of a self-nature, conceiving that the Treasury of the Thus Come One is always unchanging in suchness, unchanging in suchness, like a pool of dead water. Wrong!
    它会起妙用的,所以,它随缘可以显现,佛陀说法也在定中,行住坐卧,统统运用,之妙存乎一心,哪有一种东西是不变的东西?
    It can give rise to marvellous function, therefore, it manifests according to conditions. When the Buddha preaches the dharma he is also in Samadhi, in movement, standing, sitting and sleeping, the ingenuity in varying usage depends on natural intelligence, how could there be an unchanging thing?
    这个随缘不变,会让人家落入:有一种东西不变,一直在找寻有一种东西不变,认为有一种东西叫做永恒。
    This "being immutable in the midst of conditions" will cause people to fall into (the conclusion of): there is a kind of "something" that is unchanging, and one constantly seeks after a kind of "something that is not changing", mistaken that there is a kind of "something" that is called "eternal".
    他所谓永恒是永远不执著,充满智慧心叫做永恒,不是有一种东西叫做永恒。
    [In actuality] what is known as eternal is eternally non-abiding, filled with wisdom-mind - that is called eternal, it is not that there is a kind of "thing" that is called eternal.
    要了解,有为法就是无为法,有为法就是缘起生灭无常法;彻底空就是无为法,当体即空,二话不说。
    We have to understand, conditioned dharma IS precisely unconditioned dharma, conditioned dharma is the dependently arisen, arising and ceasing, impermanent dharmas; it is completely empty and hence unconditioned dharma, its immediate essence is empty, we do not speak of any dualities.
    所以说:随缘显现,才是完全大悟的人讲的话,你随缘不变,哪一种东西不变呢?
    Therefore we say: manifesting according to conditions, is what completely and greatly realized people would say, for if you talk about "being immutable in the face of conditions", what is the thing that never changes?
    大悟的人知道,佛性像摩尼宝珠,胡来胡现,汉来汉现,它会变的,不变就是一潭死水了,它怎么起作用呢?
    Those greatly realized mind knows that Buddha-Nature is like the Wish-Fulfilling Gem, when the Hu man arrives Hu man is made manifest, when the Han man arrives Han man is made manifest, it will always change, if it were unchanging it would be like a pool of dead water, how could it manifest functions?
    是不是?如果如来藏不变,那释迦牟尼佛怎么讲经说法呢?
    Isn't that the case? If the Treasury of the Thus Come One never changes, then how would Shakyamuni Buddha expound the sutras and preach the dharma?
    它不变,一潭死水,释迦牟尼佛讲经说法就是妙用现前,怎么会不变呢?
    [If] it is unchanging, [it would be like] a pool of dead water, when Shakyamuni Buddha expounds the sutras that would be the coming forth of marvellous activities, how could it have been that it never changes?
    是不是?所以说:佛性是无常的,所谓佛性是无常,是站在妙用的角度讲的;佛性讲常,是站在体的角度讲的,对不悟的众生,只有这样讲。
    Isn't that the case? Therefore: Buddha nature is Impermanence. What is known as Buddha-nature is Impermanence, is spoken from the point of view of marvellous activities; when Buddha-nature is spoken as permanent, it is spoken from the perspective of [fundamental] body, when speaking to those who have not realized, this is the only way we can explain.
    讲无常,是佛悲天愍人,让你觉悟万法生灭无常,空无自性,所以,释迦世尊不得不讲无常,让你觉悟,提早觉悟。
    When speaking of Impermanence, that is due to the Buddha's bemoaning the state of the universe and pitying the fate of mankind, thus letting us realize that the ten thousand dharmas are arising and ceasing in impermanency, empty without self-nature, therefore, Shakyamuni Buddha cannot avoid speaking about Impermanence to let you realize it earlier.
    True Mind and Unconditioned Dharma
    AWAKENINGTOREALITY.BLOGSPOT.COM
    True Mind and Unconditioned Dharma
    True Mind and Unconditioned Dharma

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  • 讲常,是因为给二乘人有一个依靠,说我们的如来藏性是常乐我净,二乘人又执著有一种东西叫做常乐我净,又执著一个常。
    When explaining Permanence, it is for the purpose of providing something to rely on for the practitioners of the two [lower] vehicles, wherefore we speak of our Treasury of the Thus Come One as Permanence, Bliss, Self and Purity, however the practitioners of the two [lower] vehicles then grasp after a kind of something that is 'Permanent, Blissful, Self and Purity', and thus again becoming attached to an eternal something.
    (my personal comments: certainly this issue does not apply to the 'arahants' of Buddhism who have realized anatta or no-soul, maybe the comment is more appropriate for adherents of the non-Buddhist tradition, the term 'two vehicles' originally meant for the arahants and pratyekabuddhas have in latter days of Chinese Mahayana become a very loose term used to imply all and any kind of 'misguided practitioners')
    释迦牟尼佛讲无常,是为了破除你的贪;讲常,是为了二乘人有一个依靠,二乘人却执著有一种东西叫做常。
    When the Shakyamuni Buddha talks about impermanence, it is meant for severing your craving; when speaking about permanence, it is meant for providing a means of support for the practitioners of the two vehicles, yet the practitioners of the two vehicles then attached to a kind of something that is called 'permanent'.
    释迦世尊又告诉我们:讲常乐我净,那是一种善巧方便,它要起变化,它就会无常。
    Shakyamuni Buddha tells us: when talking about Permanent, Bliss, Self and Purity, that is just a kind of skillful means, [for] when it arises transformation, then it is impermanence.
    讲经说法难道是常吗?
    Could expounding sutras and preaching the dharma have been permanence?
    它就会无常,无常当体即空,它就是常。
    It will change/be impermanent, impermanence in its essence is empty, just that is permanence.
    所以,性相本一如,何来常无常?
    Therefore, nature and appearance are fundamentally one suchness, where could there be permanence or impermanence?
    性相本一如,何来住无住?
    Nature and appearance are fundamentally one suchness, where could there have been abidance or non-abidance?
    到这个佛的境界,安上任何的知见,统统叫做错,不准你安上任何的知见,一法不立,这个才是正法。
    When reaching the state of the Buddha, if we impute a view then it is completely wrong. Imposing any kind of view is not allowed, not one dharma is established, only then is this the true Dharma.
    佛陀从来没有讲过真空出妙有,妙有真空,这一句话是中国的祖师注解所讲的。
    Buddha has never talked about true emptiness producing marvellous existence, or marvellous existence [comes] true emptiness, this is a commentary from China's patriarchs.
    佛陀也没有讲说:从假入空,从空出假,佛陀有讲:不二法门,你要搞清楚啊!
    The Buddha has also never said: from the illusory enters emptiness, from emptiness comes the illusory, the Buddha has said: Not-two dharma door [the Dharma of Non-Duality], you have to be clear about this!
    所谓不二法门,心境不二,是不是?
    What is known as the dharma door of non-duality means Mind and Situation are not two, isn't it so?
    缘起等於性空,不是缘起另外有一个性空。
    Dependent arising is equivalent to empty nature, it is not that apart from dependent arising there is another empty nature.
    缘起另外有一个性空,缘起就是随缘,另外有一个性空叫做不变。
    Or that apart from dependent arising there is another empty nature, dependent arising is going in accord with conditions, and apart from that there is an empty nature that is known to be permanent.
    是不是?那就打成二段了,这个就不是不二法门了。缘起当体即空,就是性空;生死当体即空,就是涅磐,生死涅磐无距离,菩提由来无一物。
    Isn't it the case? Then that would be splitting it into two, then this is no longer the dharma door of non-duality. Dependent arising is fundamentally empty, just that is the empty nature; birth and death are fundamentally empty, just that is Nirvana, birth and death and nirvana is without distance, Bodhi [enlightenment] is originally not one thing."
     
     
     
     
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      What you're expressing at the I AM level is that ultimate reality is an unchanging infinite source and substratum out of which temporary phenomena emerge and subside from/within/into.
      This is not the view of Buddha, the Zen lineage and masters you follow, and certainly also not the view of Dogen which I have pasted many excerpts explaining. I even pasted an excerpt to you where Dogen explained how such 'partially impermanent, partially permanent' view of reality is false, that Zen and Buddhism is a teaching of non-duality and free from extremes.
      The Buddha too criticised such views as false right from the start.
      For example, in the Brahmajala suttas (among many other suttas) the Buddha spelt out and rejected the eternalist view that posits mind or consciousness to be changeless while everything else to be changing:
      “49. "In the fourth case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honorable recluses and brahmins eternalists in regard to some things and non-eternalists in regard to other things, proclaiming the self and the world to be partly eternal and partly non-eternal?
      "Herein, bhikkhus, recluse or a certain brahmin is a rationalist, an investigator. He declares his view — hammered out by reason, deduced from his investigations, following his own flight of thought — thus: 'That which is called "the eye," "the ear," "the nose," "the tongue," and "the body" — that self is impermanent, unstable, non-eternal, subject to change. But that which is called "mind" (citta) or "mentality" (mano) or "consciousness" (viññāṇa) — that self is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and it will remain the same just like eternity itself.'
      Zen Master Dogen, like myself, sometimes do not hesitate to criticise even well-known teachers for falling into extremes such as eternalism and other kinds of false views.
      Dogen said,
      “Meditation Master Engo Kokugon once said in a poem commenting on an ancient Ancestor’s kōan* story: When fish swim, they may muddy up the water; When birds fly, they may shed a feather. It is hard indeed to escape the ever-bright Mirror.5The Great Void knows no bounds. Once something has passed, it is far, far gone. The five hundred rebirths were simply dependent on the fox’s Great Practice with cause and effect. A thunderbolt may suddenly smash a mountain and the wind churn up the sea, But the Pure Gold, though refined a hundred times, never changes Its color. Even this verse leans towards denying cause and effect and, at the same time, tends to support the view of eternalism."
      "The monk known as Meditation Master Daie Sōkō once said the following in a congratulatory poem: ‘Not being subject to’ and ‘not being blind to’ Are merely stones and clods of earth. Having met them along the path between the rice fields, I pulverized the silver mountain. Clapping my hands, I give a hearty “Ho, ho!” wherever I am, For here in Kōshū, this foolish Laughing Buddha is to be found.7Present-day people in Sung dynasty China consider monks like Daie to be Masters skillful in leading trainees, but Daie’s opinions and understanding never reached the level of skillful means in instructing others in the Buddha Dharma. If anything, he leaned towards naturalism.8"
      Brahmajāla Sutta: The All-embracing Net of Views
      ACCESSTOINSIGHT.ORG
      Brahmajāla Sutta: The All-embracing Net of Views
      Brahmajāla Sutta: The All-embracing Net of Views
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      It is important to eventually realised Dogen's 'Impermanence is Buddha Nature' and what John Tan said back in 2007/2008:
      The Transience
      The arising and ceasing is called the Transience,
      Is self luminous and self perfected from beginning.
      However due to the karmic propensity that divides,
      The mind separates the ‘brilliance’ from the ever arising and ceasing.
      This karmic illusion constructs ‘the brilliance’,
      Into an object that is permanent and unchanging.
      The ‘unchanging’ which appears unimaginably real,
      Only exists in subtle thinking and recalling.
      In essence the luminosity is itself empty,
      Is already unborn, unconditioned and ever pervading.
      Therefore fear not the arising and ceasing.
      -------------
      There is no this that is more this than that.
      Although thought arises and ceases vividly,
      Every arising and ceasing remains as entire as it can be.
      The emptiness nature that is ever manifesting presently
      Has not in anyway denied its own luminosity.
      Although non-dual is seen with clarity,
      The urge to remain can still blind subtly.
      Like a passerby that passes, is gone completely.
      Die utterly
      And bear witness of this pure presence, its non-locality.
      ~ Thusness/Passerby
      And hence... "Awareness" is not anymore "special" or "ultimate" than the transient mind.
      Labels: All is Mind, Anatta, Non Dual |
      The Transience
      AWAKENINGTOREALITY.BLOGSPOT.COM
      The Transience
      The Transience
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      In case you forgot the quote I pasted from Zen Master Dogen last night, here it is again:
      He may then respond, “There are some who say: Do not grieve over birth and death, since there is an extremely quick method for freeing yourself from them, namely, by understanding the principle that it is the innate nature of one’s mind to be ever-abiding, to persist without change. This means that, because this physical body has been born, it will inevitably come to perish, but even so, this innate nature of the mind will never perish. When someone fully comprehends that the innate nature of his mind—which is never swept away by birth and death—is in his body, he sees it to be his true and genuine nature. Thus, his body is but a temporary form, being born here and dying there, ever subject to change, whilst his mind is ever-abiding, so there is no reason to expect it to vary over past, present, and future. To understand the matter in this way is what is meant by being free from birth and death. For the one who understands this principle, his future births and deaths will come to an end, so that when his body expires, he will enter the ocean of real existence. When he flows into this ocean of being, he will undoubtedly possess wonderful virtues, just as all the Buddhas and Tathagatas have done. Even though he may realize this in his present life, he will not be exactly the same as those Holy Ones, since he has a bodily existence which was brought about through deluded actions in past lives. The person who does not yet understand this principle will be ever spun about through successive births and deaths. Therefore, we should just make haste and fully comprehend the principle of the innate nature of the mind being ever-abiding and persisting without change. To pass one’s life just sitting around idly, what can be gained by that? Such a statement as this truly corresponds to the Way of all the Buddhas and all the Ancestors, don’t you think?”
      I would point out, “The view that you have just expressed is in no way Buddhism, but rather the non-Buddhist view of the Shrenikans.10 This erroneous view of theirs may be stated as follows:
      In our bodies there is a soul-like intelligence. When this intelligence, or intellect, encounters conditions, it makes distinctions between good and bad as well as discriminating right from wrong. It is conscious of what is painful or itches from desire, and is awake to what is hard to bear or easy. All such responses are within the capacity of this intelligence. However, when this body of ours perishes, this soul-like nature sloughs it off and is reborn somewhere else. As a result, even though it appears to perish in the here and now, it will have its rebirth in another place, never perishing, but always abiding unchanged.
      “So this erroneous view goes. Be that as it may, your modeling yourself upon this view and regarding it as the Buddha’s Teaching is more foolish than clutching onto a roof tile or a pebble in the belief that it is gold or some precious jewel. The shamefulness of such befuddled ignorance and delusion beggars comparison. National Teacher Echū in Great Sung China has strongly warned us about such a view. For you to now equate the wondrous Dharma of all the Buddhas with the mistaken notion that your mind will abide whilst your physical features perish, and to imagine that the very thing which gives rise to the cause of birth and death has freed you from birth and death—is this not being foolish? And how deeply pitiable! Be aware that this is the mistaken view of one who is outside the Way, and do not lend an ear to it.
      (10.The Shrenikans were a group of non-Buddhists who are thought to have followed the teachings of Shrenika, a contemporary of Shakyamuni Buddha. On occasion, they used terms similar to those in Buddhism, but with different meanings.)
      “Because I now feel even greater pity for you, I cannot leave the matter here, but will try to rescue you from your erroneous view. You should understand that, in Buddhism, we have always spoken not only of body and mind as being inseparable, but also of the nature of something and the form it takes as not being two different things.
      As this Teaching was likewise well known in both India and China, we dare not deviate from It. Even more, in Buddhist instruction that speaks of what is persistent, all things are said to have persistence without their ever being separated into categories of ‘body’ and ‘mind’.11
      In instruction that talks about cessation, all things are said to be subject to cessation without differentiating whether they are of some particular nature or have some particular form. So why do you risk contradicting the correct principle by saying that the body ceases whilst the mind permanently abides?
      Not only that, you must fully understand that ‘birth and death’ is nirvana: there has never been any talk of a nirvana outside of birth and death. Moreover, even though you may erroneously reckon that there is a Buddha Wisdom that is separate from birth and death because you have worked it out that the mind permanently abides apart from the body, this ‘mind’ of yours—which understands, and works matters out, and perceives things, and knows what they are—is still something that arises and disappears, and is in no way ‘ever-abiding’.
      Surely, this ‘mind’ of yours is something completely transitory! “You will see, if you give it a taste, that the principle of the oneness of body and mind is something constantly being talked about in Buddhism. So, how does the mind, on its own, apart from the body, keep from arising and disappearing as this body of yours arises and perishes?
      Furthermore, were they inseparable at one time and not inseparable at another, then what the Buddha said would, naturally, be false and deceiving. “In addition, should you suddenly get the notion that eradicating birth and death is what the Dharma is really about, it would lead you to sullying the Precept against despising the Buddha Dharma. Do watch out for this! “
      You must also understand that what is spoken of in the Buddha’s Teachings as ‘the Gate to the Teaching on the vast characteristics common to the nature of all minds’ takes in the whole universe, without dividing it into innate natures and their forms or ever referring to things as ‘coming into existence’ or ‘perishing’.
      Nothing, up to and including realizing enlightenment and nirvana, is excluded from the innate nature of your mind. Each and every thing throughout the whole of the universe is simply ‘the One Mind’ from which nothing whatsoever is excluded. All Gates to the Teaching are equally of this One Mind. To assert that there are no differences whatsoever is the way the Buddhist family understands the nature of Mind. So, within this one all-inclusive Dharma, how can you separate body from mind or split ‘birth and death’ off from ‘nirvana’? You are already a disciple of the Buddha, so do not give ear to the clatter of a lunatic’s tongue as he utters views that are off the True Track.”
      (11. Dōgen makes a distinction between the Buddhist concept of persistence and the Shrenikan concept of abiding. With the former, all phenomena, physical and non-physical, arise and continue on (‘persist’) for an unspecified period before disintegrating and disappearing, whereas with the latter, the mind is thought to remain (‘abide’) unchanged and unchanging forever.)

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    “Session Start: Tuesday, 10 July, 2007

     

    (11:35 AM) Thusness:    X last time used to say something like we should 'yi jue' (rely on awareness) and not 'yi xin' (rely on thoughts) bcos jue is everlasting, thoughts are impermanent... something like that. this is not right. this is advaita teaching.

    (11:35 AM) AEN:    oic

    (11:36 AM) Thusness:    now what is most difficult to understand in buddhism is this. to experience the unchanging is not difficult. but to experience impermanence yet know the unborn nature is prajna wisdom. It would be a misconception to think that Buddha do not know the state of unchanging. or when Buddha talked about unchanging it is referring to an unchanging background. otherwise why would i have stressed so much about the misunderstanding and misinterpretation. And of course, it is a misunderstanding that I have not experienced the unchanging. :) what you must know is to develop the insight into impermanence and yet realised the unborn. this then is prajna wisdom. to 'see' permanence and say it is unborn is momentum. when buddha say permanence it is not referring to that. to go beyond the momentum you must be able to be naked for a prolong period of time. then experience impermanence itself, not labelling anything. the seals are even more important than the buddha in person. even buddha when misunderstood it becomes sentient. :)  longchen [Sim Pern Chong] wrote an interesting passage on closinggap. reincarnation.

    (11:47 AM) AEN:    oh ya i read it

    (11:48 AM) Thusness:    the one he clarify kyo's reply?

    (11:50 AM) AEN:    ya

    (11:50 AM) Thusness:    that reply is a very important reply, and it also proves that longchen has realised the importance of transients and the five aggregates as buddha nature. time for unborn nature. You see, it takes one to go through such phases, from "I AM" to Non-dual to isness then to the very very basic of what buddha taught… Can you see that?

    (11:52 AM) AEN:    yea

    (11:52 AM) Thusness:    the more one experience, the more truth one sees in what buddha taught in the most basic teaching. Whatever longchen experience is not because he read what buddha taught, but because he really experience it.

    (11:54 AM) AEN:    icic..”

    Also see: The Unborn Dharma
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