Hui Hai (720-814)
Q: Is the nature of Absolute Reality truly void or not? If it is not really void, that suggests form; however, if it is truly void, that suggests annihilation. So upon which Dharma should sentient beings depend in their practice to attain Liberation?
A: The nature of Absolute Reality is neither void nor not void. Since the “wonderful substance” of Absolute Reality is without shape or form and cannot be perceived, it is void. On the other hand, since in the “substance” of Absolute Reality functions are included. As numerous as the sandgrains of the Ganges, that respond to everything, it is also not void. A sutra says: “If one can understand this point, one can understand a thousand others. However, if one is confused about this point, then ten thousand delusions envelop him. In no-mind practice, all problems vanish.” This is the wonderful way of Enlightenment. The sutra also says: “All kinds of views result from one Dharma.” Why and how can all kinds of views result from one Dharma? All merit depends upon practice. If one cannot subdue his own mind and depends only upon words to attain Enlightenment, he will never achieve anything. He is just deceiving himself, and will fail on both counts. Everyone should be extremely careful, neither grasping anything nor letting the mind dwell anywhere. If one is able to practice like this, then he can enter Nirvana and attain the Patient Endurance of the Uncreate. It is also known as attaining the Dharma Door of Non-Duality, the absence of debate and the samadhi of single, perfect Wisdom, because it is absolutely pure. Being without ego and personality, knowing neither love nor hate, and having no need of the concept of self versus objects, the practicer realizes the voidness of all duality. This is the stage of absolute eloquence with no disputation whatsoever.
The nature of the Real is void of voidness. ITs functions do not howl with delight but still responds with no-self-made thoughts of intention. If you try to decipher this the ten-thousand made hells will engulf you. A No-Mind tale will suffice. Practice consists with No-thought and No Mind-Made stuff that obscures the Nirvanic Perfectionless Perfection of the Uncreate. Duality is void in the Light of the Samadhic-Eye whose imageless stare knows a boundless delight.
This doctrine should not be transmitted to those who do not believe but should only be entrusted to those who share the same view and practice. You should see that someone having some potential is also totally sincere, possesses deep faith and will not backslide before expounding to him this doctrine directing him to Enlightenment. I have not written this thesis for fame or personal benefit, but only for those whose past conditions make it possible for them to receive it wholeheartedly. Thus, I follow all the Buddhas of the past who expounded a thousand different sutras and ten thousand different sastras appropriate for all kinds of sentient beings with all the different sorts of mental confusion. To follow this doctrine of Absolute Liberation, just do not form mental concepts about anything, allow the mind to dwell nowhere, always keep it still and void, and maintain it in a state of absolute purity; then Liberation will follow quite naturally.
The No-Mind made doctrine can only be entrusted to those whose sincerity is not tainted with the lap-dog’s craze for personal-attainment and satisfaction. The Dharma-door to Liberation opens only for those who do not force entrance into the inconceivable.
Furthermore you should not seek false fame, because the ordinary mind, like an overactive monkey, is unstill and constantly grasping so that words and acts are forever in conflict with each other. Seeking false fame, we deceive only ourselves and surely will fall into evil ways. Thus, to repeat, you should not seek false fame and happiness in this lifetime that could cause suffering forever. Every person should be very careful. Sentient beings must seek to save themselves and not wait for the Buddha to do it. If the Buddha could liberate sentient beings, then, since there have been Buddhas as numerous as all the dust motes that have ever existed, surely all of them would have been delivered by now. So why do we still loaf about in these realms of birth and death, unable to become Buddhas? Everyone should understand that sentient beings must save themselves. The Buddha will not do it. Make an effort! Practice yourself! Do not depend upon the power of other Buddhas. Therefore, the sutra says appropriately: “To seek and find the Dharma, do not depend upon the Buddha.”
If you put-on the False-Face to fame then you will be deprived of the Noble-Spirit that cracks the hard-nut of pride that comes before a fall. If you wait for a Purple-Hearted Buddha to come and save you, then you are assured an eternal lifetime sitting on a park-bench knee-deep in pigeon-shit. The No-Dependent Mind blows away the dharma-dust from shoes that pound the pavement under their own Dharma-won effort and ability.