What is the master who at this very moment is seeing and hearing? If you reply, as most do, that it is Mind or Nature or Buddha or one's Face before birth or one's Original Home or Koan or Being or Nothingness or Emptiness or Form and Color or the Known or the Unknown or Truth or Delusion, or say something or remain silent, or regard it as Enlightenment or Ignorance, you fall into error at once.
What is more, if you are so foolhardy as to doubt the reality of this master, you bind yourself though you use no rope. However much you try to know it through logical reasoning or to name or call it, you are doomed to failure. And even though all of you becomes one mass of questioning as you turn inward and intently search the very core of your being; you will find nothing that can be termed Mind or Essence. Yet should someone call your name, something from within will hear and respond. Find out this instant who it is!
If you push forward with your last ounce of strength at the very point where the path of your thinking has been blocked, and then, completely stymied, leap with hands high in the air into the tremendous abyss of fire confronting you-into the ever-burning flame of your own primordial nature-all ego-consciousness, all delusive feelings and thoughts and perceptions will perish with your ego-root and the true source of your Self-nature will appear. You will feel resurrected, all sickness having completely vanished, and will experience genuine peace and joy. You will be entirely free.
- Bassui Tokusho, Letter to layman Ippo


"The master said, “It is because you cannot stop your mind which runs on seeking everywhere that a patriarch said, ‘Bah, superior men! Searching for your heads with your heads!’ When at these words you turn your own light in upon yourselves and never seek elsewhere, then you’ll know that your body and mind are not different from those of the patriarch-buddhas and on the instant have nothing to do—this is called ‘obtaining the dharma.’"

- Record of Linji, p 28, tr Sasaki

Take the backward step and directly reach the middle of the circle from where the light issues forth.

- Hongzhi Zhengjue, 1091-1157: “Cultivating the Empty Field”

What is turning the light around and shining back? (ekō henshō) Illuminating outward things, one’s own light is turned back to shine on the inner self…The knowing mind is the light, errant thoughts are shadows; the light illumining things is called shining, and when the mind and thoughts do not range over things but are turned toward the original nature, this is called turning the light

around and shining back. It is also called panoramic illumination; illumining the whole of the immediate substance, it is where neither delusion nor enlightenment have ever appeared…The nonproduction of a single thought is what is known as the original essence of mind. It is not stopping thought, yet it is also not not stopping thought; it is just the nonproduction of a single thought.

- Lanxi Daolong, 1213-1279 (Treatise on Sitting Meditation)

When your mind experiences a vacant state, which lacks both thought and mental activity, look naturally into the one who notices this state, the one who is not thinking. When you do so, there is a thought-free knowing (rigpa) that is totally open, free from inside and outside, like a clear sky. This knowing is not a duality of that experienced and that experiencing, but you can resolve that it is your own nature and feel the conviction that “it is no other than this.”

- Jamgon Mipham, 1846-1912 (Lamp that Dispels Darkness)

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