“It is said that when the Little Buddha is imprinted on the void and on the fragrance, one will receive unlimited merit. What does this mean?”
Bassui: “The student of the Way arouses a wise thought from his empty mind. This is the activity of the Buddha transformation body, the nirmanakaya, within his inherent nature. It is called the Little Buddha. When you turn the light inward, reflecting upon yourself, your analytical mind will return to the void. This is called imprinting the mark of the Little Buddha on the void. As for imprinting the mark of the Little Buddha on the fragrance, fragrance is Buddha nature. Buddha nature is the foundation of intelligence. When intelligence is used to see its own foundation, that intelligence loses its self and returns to Buddha nature. This is called imprinting the mark of the Little Buddha on the fragrance. There is no dharma outside the mind.
Even the temporary formal practices are examples which point to the truth of seeing into your own nature, devised for the edification of ordinary people. Ordinary people misunderstand this, and pursuing these examples they take them for reality. They delude themselves and become attached to form. This is called heresy. ‘The Little Buddha is imprinted on the fragrance and on the void.’ If you want to practice this dharma, you should look into your inherent nature with your own mind. The countless images in the universe are simply the mark of the One Dharma.
The One Dharma is the One Mind, the jeweled precept of Buddha nature; it is imprinted on the fundamental mind. Do you see that this Buddha nature imprints itself in the hearts of all people? The heart is the origin of momentary thoughts. If you cut yourself off from this dharma of mind, and the Little Buddha imprints itself on the fragrance only in the formal sense, it will be like playing with puppets on a shelf. What merit is there in this?”
Nirmanakaya Buddha is the little bud of light shining-inwardly on the nature of your True Self. This transformation-body shuts-down all analytical thought and sends it reeling-back into the voidness from which it sprung. Its fragrance is Buddha-nature and it permeates all as IT leaves its markless-mark on the Imageless-field of Suchness. The Dharma-Mind is the sole Vehicle and outside of IT there is no Dharma. The Moon-lit finger is oftentimes mistaken for the Unborn and its worship binds sentient beings with heretical strings that dances them merrily along the downward spiral of re-becoming. This nirmanakayic episode is the fundamental root from which all true Dharma-beings begin their ascent to Bhutatathata. If you only attempt to decipher this through formal-means then Buddha-nature will lose its Pure-Fragrance, like wasting Its scent on a lifeless puppet; this is called cutting-off the Dharma-Mind and thus remaining imprisoned in the deepest void of your worst-self.