The Signless Void


In ITs Totality IT is like the Great Void,
Lacking nothing, and not self-indulgent.
When you discriminate, you miss IT,
As such, IT’s Suchness is lost.

Let-go of conditions,
Forget about Emptiness.
Resting serenely in the Unborn,
Dualistic Dreams are long forgotten. –Vajragoni

Chapter Two: The Signless Dharma

Arising from his samadhi, the Lord spoke thus, “The wisdom-base of all the buddhas accesses the nature and characteristics of all dharmas. From this definitive wisdom-base, the buddhas’ expedients and spiritual powers in benefiting sentient beings are all done without signs. The essence of the One-Enlightenment is difficult to understand and access. It is not understood or recognized by adherents of the two vehicles [of sravakas and pratyekabuddhas]. It is only known by the buddhas and bodhisattvas who explain the Single-Taste to sentient beings capable of transcendence.”

Arising from his Samadhi: As Wŏnhyo notes, “When the Tathāgata accesses samādhi, there is nothing that can alarm or startle him, for he has gained autonomy in both abiding in and emerging from samādhi.” (ibid, pg. 65) It should also be stressed that the diligent adept also develops a spiritual-autonomy when engaged in deep-samādhis—one that is blessed in perseverance.

The wisdom-base of all the buddhas accesses the nature and characteristics of all dharmas: in this context one that is fostered in procuring the vajrasamādhi. Wŏnhyo says that “the tathāgatas themselves access the real characteristic of dharmas and are therefore able to prompt others to gain the inspiration of signlessness.” (ibid, pg.66)

the buddhas’ expedients and spiritual powers: Wŏnhyo: The term superpowers refers to the six superpowers, which proselytize sentient beings through the three means [lit. wheels, viz. of body, speech, and mind]. “Are all the inspiration of signlessness”: in this wise, the eight expedients and six superpowers all arise from [the buddhas’] own access of the real characteristic, and they are able to prompt others to gain the inspiration of signlessness. (ibid, pg. 67)

The essence of the One-Enlightenment is difficult to understand and access: the access point originates with the Tathagatas themselves, and to those whom they bid a propitious entrance. Wŏnhyo:

As the Lankāvatāra-sūtra [Scripture on the Entry into Lanka) says, “‘Calm extinction’ means the one mind. ‘One mind’ means the tathāgatagarbha.” Now in this passage “the real characteristic of dharmas” is the aspect of calm extinction and “the explicit meaning of the one enlightenment” is the aspect of one mind and tathāgatagarbha. (ibid, pg. 67]

***Unfortunately, Wŏnhyo’s purported exegesis on the Lanka itself is no longer extant. Alas, what a profound loss!!!

Then Vimukti (Liberation) Bodhisattva immediately rose from his seat, with his palms joined together and his right knee on the ground, addressed the Buddha, “Lord! After the Buddha’s [physical] demise, the right dharma will vanish from the world and the semblance dharma will linger on. During the dharma-ending age, sentient beings [tainted by] the five turbidities (such as calamities, wrong views, unending worries, shortened lifespan etc., over infinite world-cycles) will perform all types of evil deeds and transmigrate amongst the three (form, formless and desire) realms of existence without respite. May the Buddha, out of his mercy and compassion, proclaim for the later generations, the Single-Taste Absolute Reality [Dharma], to enable all sentient beings to be liberated.”

During the dharma-ending age: referring to benefitting those who engage the Vajrasamādhi Sūtra, which is intended to proselytize those who hear it in the age of the “semblance dharma”—“The Period of Semblance Dharma: Skt. “saddharma-pratirupaka”. This is the time when the Buddha’s teachings are practiced, but enlightenment is seldom attained.” (Venerable Master Hsing Yun)

The Buddha said, “Good man, you asked about what caused my appearance in the world to liberate sentient beings to let them attain the fruition [of enlightenment] that transcends the world. This great matter [of a buddha’s appearance in the world] is inconceivable, because it is performed out of great mercy [and] great compassion. If I do not respond [to your questions], I will fall into miserliness [for withholding the Dharma I have awakened to]. You should listen attentively and carefully. I shall proclaim [the Dharma] for you.

attain the fruition [of enlightenment] that transcends the world: referring to the liberation of the single-taste.

Inconceivable: due to its supra-nature of transcending all mundane knowledge.

“Good man, when liberating sentient beings, do not conceive whether it takes place or not; then it (such an act) is great indeed! Guide these sentient beings to abandon mind and ego, for both mind and ego are basically void [of independent existence]. If they realize the void of mind, the mind will not illusorily project anything. Free from all illusory projections, they will attain cessation [of birth-death cycles]. The mind that does not project anything derives from such non-projection.”

If they realize the void of mind: Huang-po states that “It is like the boundless void which cannot be fathomed or measured.” For a good treatment of this see Huang-po blog on The Void; a portion of this is as follows:

…there was no “god” who once uttered, “Let there be the Void”, as It Is Forever in a stateless-state of Suchness bearing no-signs of the created order. It is the Imagelessness of the Dharmakaya; hence the Unborn Buddha Mind is the Imageless Mind of all Buddhas…

As was stated in an earlier Blog Post (Our Lady of the Void), within this Great Deathless Void there is no-thing to see, no-thing to perceive, no-thing to grasp or cling to—just Total Unequivocal Relinquishment of all that is not the Unborn Absolute. Most just approach the brink of letting-go of their conceptual faculties, but pull back in fear lest they lose them all if they should plunge into that conception-less and thus Unknown Void. One needs to abandon all their skandhic-cognitive faculties—a true “letting-go” that empowers one to venture into the Great Unborn and Deathless Void. As Jesus the Christ once said, “narrow is the way; and how few there are who enter into it.” In other words, “wide” is the path of endless reliance on one’s own cognitive faculties and many are the mind-traps that will befall one; whereas few obstacles remain for those who eliminate conceptual thought all together and rely solely on one’ s inner-intuitive and Recollective Unborn Resourcefulness.

The mind that does not project anything derives from such non-projection: A pure-Lankavatarian formulation. Wŏnhyo expounds further:

The term “original leaving behind” means that, when one penetrates to the fact that mind and self are originally void, one straightaway gains the void and calm mind of original enlightenment. This void and calm mind originally leaves behind the clinging subject; and because it leaves behind the clinging subject, it is originally free from illusory projections. As the sûtra says, If they attain voidness of mind, then that mind will not illusorily project anything.” “Not illusorily project anything” means that there is no deception or falsity. The term “acquired leaving behind” means that, when one gains this void and calm mind of original enlightenment, the discriminations created by the clinging subject are no longer able to arise, and regardless of the state of mind produced, there will be no illusory projections. As the sūtra says, “Free from all illusory projections, they will then attain nonproduction.” In this wise, they acquire the mind of nonproduction and tally with that principle which is originally void, calm, and free from projections. Therefore, it says, “The mind that does not produce anything derives from such non-projection.” (ibid, pg. 74)

Vimukti Bodhisattva addressed the Buddha, “The nature of the mind of sentient beings is fundamentally void [of independent nature]. The essence of the mind is void of sense-objects (rupa) and related characteristics. How are we to cultivate and train so that we may realize the fundamentally void mind?
May the Buddha proclaim this for us, out of his mercy and compassion?”

The Buddha replied, “Bodhisattva, fundamentally, the mind and its characteristics have no origin (non-substantial). [Therefore,] they fundamentally have no abode, [and the mind is] void and calm, projecting
nothing. When the mind ceases to fabricate anything, it accesses void-calmness. At the base of the mind, where all is void and calm, one realizes the void of the mind. Good man! The signless mind is free from both mind [itself] and self (ego). It is the same with the characteristics of all dharmas (all phenomena and related principles).”

To reiterate, the Mind-Void is free of Voidness itself, meaning that there is only calm non-production—free of any characteristics of THAT which cannot be characterized. Hence, the signless-mind is the Mind DE-void of any discriminatory formulations.

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