Turn-About and Return to the Root-Source for direct signification;
If you pursue outward appearances you will lose IT.
True Reality is inward-bound,
Surmounting the images embedded in their empty abyss.
Direct Self-realization of the Source opens the root to the full flowering of Bodhi. The Zen Masters of old devised a little formula to help bypass any peripheral impediments. Investigating the hua t’ou is cracking-open the “Word Head”,E.g., keeping focus on That which is prior to the “Who” is doing the investigating. This is turning-about to the Root Source. If one is caught in the trap of focusing on the “Word Tail”, Hua Wei, then this is following after the thought-generation has already occurred, thus being merely the after-image of the animated image, or becoming embedded in the consecutive rolling-images of life’s film. Their little formula is in a sense choosing between two doors: one that leads to the Direct Self-realization of Pure Mind, or one opening into endless corridors of the discriminatory outflows of samsara. Lama Govina writes,
Therefore it is said in the Mahāyāna-Śraddhotpāda-Śastra: ‘The mind (manas) has two doors from which issue its activities. One leads to a realization of the mind’s Pure Essence, the other leads to the differentiations of appearing and disappearing, of life and death. What, however, is meant by the Pure Essence of Mind? It is the ultimate purity and unity, the all-embracing wholeness, the quintessence of Truth. Essence of Mind belongs neither to death nor rebirth, it is uncreated and eternal. The concepts of the conscious mind are being individualized and discriminated by false imaginations. If the mind could be kept free from discriminative thinking there would be no more arbitrary thoughts to give rise to appearances of form, existences and conditions.’ (Foundations of Tibetan Buddhism, pg. 79)
The focus of today’s verses is not to become immersed in any objective appearances that detract Mind’s sole-occupation of Self-Recognition before the clouded samsaric veil descends. Again from Govina:
According to the Lankāvatāra-Sūtra it is just this ‘objective’ occupation with the phenomena of the world, this rationalization and intellectual analysis which leads us deeper into samsaric illusion. For, the more we try to fight against this world with its own weapons, the more seriously we believe in the reality of worldly phenomena and methods and thus become their slaves. Therefore it is said in the Lankāvatāra-Sūtra, ‘It is because of the activities of the discriminating mind that error rises, an objective world evolves and the notion of an ego-soul becomes established.’ (ibid, pg.79)
Turning-about from the bewitchment of phenomenal outflows is the key trigger that always directs Mind home again from Its little excursions into Its own animated realms. Govina reinforces this signification:
According to the Lankāvatāra-Sūtra the arbitrarily discriminating intellect can only be overcome if a complete ‘turning-about’ has taken place in the deepest seat of consciousness. The habit of looking outwards, i.e., towards external objects, must be given up and a new spiritual attitude established of realizing truth or ultimate reality within the intuitive consciousness, by becoming one with reality. (ibid)