Fatal Obstructions



“Good friends, in this teaching from the outset sitting in meditation does not concern the mind nor does it concern purity; we do not talk of steadfastness. If someone speaks of ‘viewing the mind,’ [then I would say] that the ‘mind’ is of itself delusion, and as delusions are just like fantasies, there is nothing to be seen. If someone speaks of ‘viewing purity,’ [then I would say] that man’s nature is of itself pure, but because of false thoughts True Reality is obscured. If you exclude delusions then the original nature reveals its purity. If you activate your mind to view purity without realizing that your own nature is originally pure, delusions of purity will be produced. Since this delusion has no place to exist, then you know that whatever you see is nothing but delusion. Purity has no form, but, nonetheless, some people try to postulate the form of purity and consider this to be Ch’an practice. People who hold this view obstruct their own original natures and end up by being bound by purity. One who practices steadfastness does not see the faults of people everywhere. This is the steadfastness of self-nature. The deluded man, however, even if he doesn’t move his own body, will talk of the good and bad of others the moment he opens his mouth, and thus behave in opposition to the Tao. Therefore, both ‘viewing the mind’ and ‘viewing purity’. will cause an obstruction to Tao.”

Trying to maintain a steadfastness of focus, like in sitting meditation, obscures the Way (Tao) that is not a generation of mind-focusing on that which is its own created obstructions. Clearly Hui-neng was a man of Tao, that necessary other side of the coin that balances the Buddhist equation that is part and parcel of Ch’an Buddhism, indeed, one could argue its saving grace—the one that naturally dissolves any hindrance to clear and unobstructed Pure Mind Realization. This Pureness, however, is complete in Itself and does not need any form-like doppelganger (dual-mind abstraction) creation that hinders Mind’s innate quiescence of Itself. Chuang-tzu once wrote:

“The perfect man uses his mind like a mirror: he neither accompanies things nor goes before them; he responds to them without clinging to them. This is what makes him capable of dealing with all things without being tainted by them. . . .The quietude of the sage [his equanimity] is not quietude in the sense that quietude is said to be something good; it is defined by the fact that nothing [no perceivable or determined being] is capable of agitating his mind. Tranquil water is so clear that it illumines [or reflects] the very hairs of the beard and eyebrows; its equilibrium is so perfect that it serves the architect as the standard for what is level. If tranquil water is this clear, how much clearer is the soul (shen)! The mind (hsin)of the sage is quiet, it is the mirror o f heaven and earth, and reflects the whole multiplicity of things.” (As quoted from in Sudden and Gradual Enlightenment; Peter N. Gregory, pg.17-18)

The living Tao is the Mind-Absolute, absorbing and transmuting any mind-obstruction into its original essence…like a clear-mind-mirror that cannot be infested by defiling dust; even turbid-ness is Mind’s own fluctuation.   Any outside postulation of what constitutes this Quiescent Unborn Mind will defeat the Ch’an adept, who’s only mission is to Recollect the Primordial Purity. Even opening one’s mouth in denouncement of some “dualistic” and inadequate other will surely create that Obstructing Iron-Mind-made Mountain that once hemmed-in the great Mañjushrī himself.

“Now that we know that this is so, what is it in this teaching that we call ‘sitting in meditation’ (tso-ch’an) ? In this teaching ‘sitting’ means without any obstruction anywhere, outwardly and under all circumstances, not to activate thoughts. ‘Meditation’ is internally to see the original nature and not become confused.
“And what do we call Ch’an meditation (ch’an-ting)? Outwardly to exclude form is ‘ch’an’; inwardly to be unconfused is meditation (ting). Even though there is form on the outside, when internally the nature is not confused, then, from the outset, you are of yourself pure and of yourself in meditation. The very contact with circumstances itself causes confusion. Separation from form on the outside is ‘ch’an’; being untouched on the inside is meditation (ting). Being ‘ch’an’ externally and meditation (ting) internally, it is known as ch’an meditation (ch’an-ting). The Vimalakirti Sutra says: ‘At once, suddenly, you regain the original mind.’ The P’u-sa-chieh says: ‘From the outset your own nature is pure.’
“Good friends, see for yourselves the purity of your own natures, practice and accomplish for yourselves. Your own nature is the Dharmakaya and self-practice is the practice of Buddha; by self-accomplishment you may achieve the Buddha Way for yourselves.”

For Ch’an Meditation the proof is not in the sitting, but always and everywhere remaining prior-to all circumstances in the Spirit of Wu-hsin—wherein Mind-Itself Recollects It’s own Luminous Actuosity and in so doing spontaneously responds to “whatever” with intention-less resourcefulness.  It is never hot and bothered by outside stimuli as it remains cool and collect within Its own Undivided-Suchness. As Vimalakirti would say, “Suddenly—what? No-thing other than That which animates; right from the outset, before any divisive reaction—You are Now Pure-Mind, void of any vexatious intoxications that attempt to point to the contrary.”  Yea, Dharmakaya is you in the Self-practice of all Buddhas on the transcendent terrain of imagelessness.

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