Walk like a Tathāgata



(Wong Mou-Lam)

“Learned Audience, in this system of mine one Prajñā produces eighty-four thousand ways of wisdom, since there are that number of ‘defilements’ for us to cope with; but when one is free from defilements, wisdom reveals itself, and will not be separated from the Essence of Mind. Those who understand this Dharma will be free from idle thoughts. To be free from being infatuated by one particular thought, from clinging to desire, and from falsehood; to put one’s own essence of Tathata into operation; to use Prajñā for contemplation, and to take an attitude of neither indifference nor attachment towards all things – this is what is meant by realizing one’s own Essence of Mind for the attainment of Buddhahood.”

Buddhism asserts that mind is exposed to eighty-four thousand types of deception that result in corruption of the proper disposition to Noble Self-realization; simultaneously there runs a parallel line of eighty-four thousand antidotes that counteract avidya and are mediated through one Pure dynamism of Prajñā. Under all circumstances, Hui-neng essentially says to Put-on-the Tathatic-Mind; in so doing, one is in proper-union with Tathata, or the Suchness that is totally Void and free of any discriminatory marks that are borne by ignorance of the deluded-carnal mind. As Such, one is now arrayed in Marvelously Luminos Vidyaa (Tathatic-Consciousness) that is sustained via devoted Recollective fervor. Remaining earnest in this spiritual-mind discipline, one’s spirit is now aligned with the Unborn Tathatic Will.

“Learned Audience, if you wish to penetrate the deepest mystery of the Dharmadhātu and the Samādhi of Prajñā, you should practice Prajñā by reciting and studying the Vajracchedika (Diamond) Sutra, which will enable you to realize the Essence of Mind. You should know that the merit for studying this Sutra, as distinctly set forth in the text, is immeasurable and illimitable, and cannot be enumerated in details. This Sutra belongs to the highest School of Buddhism, and the Lord Buddha delivered it specially for the very wise and quick-witted. If the less wise and the slow-witted should hear about it they would doubt its credibility. Why? For example, if it rained in Jambudvipa (the Southern Continent), through the miracle of the celestial Naga, cities, towns, and villages would drift about in the flood as if they were only leaves of the date tree. But should it rain in the great ocean the level of the sea as a whole would not be affected by it. When Mahayanists hear about the Diamond Sutra their minds become enlightened; they know that Prajñā is immanent in their Essence of Mind and that they need not rely on scriptural authority, since they can make use of their own wisdom by constant practice of contemplation. The Prajñā immanent in the Essence of Mind of every one may be likened to the rain, the moisture of which refreshes every living thing, trees and plants as well as sentient beings. When rivers and streams reach the sea, the water carried by them merges into one body; this is another analogy. My friends, when rain comes in a deluge, plants which are not deep rooted are washed away, and eventually they succumb. This is the case with the slow-witted, when they hear about the teaching of the ‘Sudden’ School. The Prajñā immanent in them is exactly the same as that in the very wise man, but they fail to enlighten themselves when the Dharma is made known to them. Why? Because they are thickly veiled by erroneous views and deep rooted defilements, in the same way as the sun may be thickly veiled by a cloud and unable to show his light until the wind blows the cloud away. Prajñā does not vary with different persons; what makes the difference is whether one’s mind is enlightened or deluded. He who does not know his own Essence of Mind, and is under the delusion that Buddhahood can be attained by outward religious rites is called the slow-witted. He who knows the teaching of the ‘Sudden’ School and attaches no importance to rituals, and whose mind functions always under right views, so that he is absolutely free from defilements or contaminations, is said to have known his Essence of Mind. Learned Audience, the mind should be framed in such a way that it will be independent of external or internal objects, at liberty to come or go, free from attachment and thoroughly enlightened without the least beclouding. He who is able to do this is of the same standard required by the Sutras of the Prajñā School.”

The figure of Hui-neng brilliantly summarizes how the Prajñā-pāramitā  is in league with the teachings of the Diamond Sutra. He says that this particular Sutra is best reserved for those who are attuned to the Ariyan Mind (Mind of Noble Wisdom).  For the lesser-able, or those who remain dim-witted ( prithagjana), Prajñā just sifts through their feeble faculties like water rushing through damaged foliage after a deluge of rain. This is not to say that Noble Prajñā is absent from their being, but due to primal delusion since time immemorial their dharma-eye remains damnably-dormant as it is blinded by the thick cataract of avidya. They still remain bound to external rituals (yea, artificial conventions) that have very little to do with the Buddhadharma; whereas, Hui-neng’s ‘Sudden-School’ has severed the strings of these adventitious distractions as his adepts no longer dance to the mechanical-motions of the puppeteer. They now walk freely hand in hand with the imageless Tathagatas. After ascending the ten-fold stages to Noble Self-Mind Realization, their spirits are so totally united with the Unborn Tathatic-Will that Hui-neng says they now know the True Essence of Mind-Reality (Dharmādhatu) and are thus liberated from all defilements and contaminations. It should be noted that this “freedom” consists from all karmic-associations—both past, present, and those that as of yet will attempt to make their effects known.  This is all reinforced through deep Prajñā-Samādhi that is not bound by words of scripture or its authority, but rather a Profound Mind Realization (One-on-One with the Unborn) in deep samādhis. Thus, walking with the Tathagatas in the undivided Spirit of Noble Wisdom is not a formulation of the three-times, but a timeless and boundless affair.

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