The opening blog of this series touched upon the Ch’an usages of shou-i, or “Keeping the One”:
To “guard the one without wavering” means to be intent on viewing the one thing [the Buddha-mind] with this void and pure eye. Without asking whether it is day or night, devote yourself to remaining constantly unmoving. Should the mind be about to gallop off, quickly work to rein it back in. It is just like a cord binding a bird’s foot, which would hold the bird fast should it try to fly off. View the whole day through, unceasingly. Then, extinguished, the mind will become concentrated on itself. (Buswell, The Formation of Ch’an Ideology in China and Korea…pg. 142)
This succinctly touches upon the Unmoving Principle. Mind must realize that the Buddha is in fact Mind—motionless and undisturbed in the Void. Buswell states that “shou-i may be the one of the first attempts within Ch’an to transform the Tathāthagatagarbha ideology into a practical contemplative technique.” (ibid, pg.144) Hence, this “guarding the One Mind” one awakens to the Unmoving Principle and voids the extremes of existence and nonexistence. This is initiated through the contemplative practice of Tathāgatadhyāna. The One singularity of Mind intuits Itself and No-thing else. Wŏnhyo interprets this in the opening to his commentary of the VS as, “the fountainhead of the one mind [the single taste, inclusion mine] (ekacitta), is distinct from existence (bhava) and nonexistence (abhava), is independently pure. Profoundly calm, it subsumes dualities and yet is not unitary… This alone can be called the ultimate principle that is free from principles and the great suchness that is not-such. This is said to be the main idea of this sutra.” (emphasis mine) When entering into Tathāgatadhyāna Mind is not-two yet neither is it One. IT is thus a Singular-Spontaneity. The following will be relayed in the fifth chapter of the VS, “Approaching the Edge of Reality”:
“Bodhisattva! [You should] urge those sentient beings to preserve the three and guard the one, in order to establish tathāgatadhyāna. Due to this concentrated absorption, their minds will come to be free of panting.”
Taeryõk Bodhisattva asked, “What do you mean by ‘preserve the three, guard the one, and access the tathāgatadhyāna’?”
The Buddha replied: “‘Preserve the three’ means to preserve the three liberations. ‘Guard the one’ means to guard the thusness of the one mind. ‘Access the tathāgatadhyāna’ means the noumenal contemplation (igwan) on the thusness of the mind. Accessing such a state is in fact what is meant by accessing the edge of reality.”
Buswell marvelously ties this all in with the Lanka:
The casual relationship with the Vajrasamādhidraws between guarding the one and access of the tathāgatadhyāna is also indicative of the connection it makes between the East Mountain practice and the ideology of the Laṅkāvatāra-sūtra, one the principle scriptural inspirations of early Ch’an. The concept of tathāgatadhyāna, the last (1. fourth-dhyāna) and most profound of the four types of dhyāna discussed in the Laṅkāvatāra, also appears prominently in such Ch’an oriented apocrypha as the Vajrasamādhi and Śūraṃgama sutras. In this dhyāna, the full noetic experience of the enlightenment infuses the bodhisattva’s active work on behalf of all beings, bringing about the perfect fusion of knowledge and conduct (vidyācaraṇa). By equating access to the tathāgatadhyāna with access to the bhūtakoṭi, theVajrasamādhi seeks to show that Ch’an enlightenment involves seeing both the interconnection of wisdom and action and the nonduality of the conscious subject and perceived object. (Buswell, ibid, pg. 148)
The whole soteriological efficacy of entering into Tathāgatadhyāna is reflective of the “noumenal contemplation of the thusness of the mind ][means] that, by means of the true principle of one’s own nature, one looks back on the one mind’s essence of true thusness.” (Buswell’s reference to Chu-chen, ibid, pg. 153) This all hinges on the Mind’s direct-realization of the “nonproduction” of dhyāna. Thus the VS will marvelously expound upon the following:
All will be calm and extinct, pure and nonabiding. He need not access samādhi; he need not persist in sitting in dhyāna. (emphasis added). This is nonproduction and freedom from practice…The nature of dhyāna is to linger nowhere; it leaves far behind the agitation caused by trying to linger in dhyāna. Know that the nature of dhyāna is free from agitation and calmness, and you will immediately attain nonproduction and the prajñā that produces nothing. But also do not rely on, or linger over, this. Because of this knowledge, the mind also will not be agitated. For this reason, you will attain the prajñāpāramitā that produces nothing.” (from VS, Chapt 3)
(1) Tozen describes this as:
Fourth dhyana level:
The Mind once so lost
among the conceptual
and the non-conceptual
The form and the voidness of form
the real and the non-real
even the dangerous belief in
voindess itself as the absolute,
this Mind now transcends all this
the Gateless Gate of Great Light.
It is the great principle
which thoroughly precedes
all these phenomena
This Mind is now unable to move
even one step, not one inch with this unbound
and limitless body of light.
With a pure consciousness
by position or possession
high above guilt or affections
This Mind is now free
from any obsessions.
Even one single pure bodhi-wave
known to mortals as a thought
the blissful power of Tathata [suchness].
The relative moment of samsara
is not anymore there is only
Here The illusions of
Time and Space are crushed
like a false mirror-house.
Broken down, revealing the
single candle of Truth.
The great Essence of the Unborn
appears now in its perfect singularity,
perfect, unstained, tranquil in itself.
Yet a mighty dynamic builder of worlds,
a boundless creative ocean of infinite light
perceived by the blind as images.
Images which they fear and fight
like a madman who fights his own shadow
with knives and spears
hoping to make it die or go away.