The Long Night of the Mind

nightlamp

The Blog-series, Ascending the Noble Mountain of Primordial Perfection, could well be subtitled from the closing refrain of the last verse of the previous blog in this series: “[This] prajñā (wisdom) is for those who are willing to abandon the ‘long night’ of the mind and its characteristics.” Without the dreamy eye lifting its veil, it shall forever be plunged into the darkness, as Wŏnhyo says, “Since one does not achieve the cause of awakening, there is a “long night”; this is because the deceptive conceptions, which are beginningless, are a great dream.” That’s why it’s all about abandoning this long-night of the mind. Today’s accompanying image portrays a lonely streetlight on a long and foreboding dark night. Its inner-flame is barely visible—but for two tiny sparks—yet these lively embers continue to brave all the elements of the composed. There is a verse from my Dhammapada in Light of the Unborn which reads:

Dwelling in the Essence of the
Unborn Mind through that constant
Recollective Vigilance, ITs Presence
shines with pilot light-like attention-steady
and continuously piercing
the darkness of phenomena with ITs
ever-watchful and Reflective Eye of
Self-Same Essence.

Perpetual Vigilance is the key that provides one that safe haven in the Unborn—a steady pilot-light that is never extinguished. As the series stipulates, resting free and unhindered—with no-thing in the heart.

 

Chapter Three: The Practice of Non-Creation, con’t

Cittaraja Bodhisattva noted, “Lord! If the mind is basically thus [in its natural state], nothing will be produced out of any practice. All practices, [therefore,] lead to nothing. [Accordingly,] when one practises, it [ultimately] produces nothing. This nonproduction does not need to be practised. This is the practice of noncreation.”  

The Buddha asked, “Good man, you are employing [the practice of] non-creation [with the intention of] realizing the practice of non-creation.”  

Cittaraja Bodhisattva replied, “Not so. Why? Thusness (suchness) is beyond mind and practice. Both the nature and characteristics [of the mind] are void and calm, there is no [self-identification with] seeing or hearing, gain or loss, word or speech, perception, images, acceptance or rejection. How can there be any clinging or realization? If one clings to this realization, it amounts to disputation and contention [within the mind]. Only in the absence of disputation or contention lies the practice of non-creation.  

The Buddha said, “Have you attained anuttarasamyaksambodhi?”

The Blessed-one is testing the level of this Bodhisattva’s Buddha-gnosis. Apparently, the bodhisattva is now well-attuned that Mind’s imagelessness is of one void and calmness. Wŏnhyo:

“Void and calm” means that the essential nature of the contemplative mind remains separate from the characteristics of production and extinction. This corresponds to the preceding explanation that “[one] knows that the mind-nature is thus.” “Characteristics . . . are void and calm” means the awareness and functions of the contemplative mind, as well as the characteristics of those functions, are also thus. This corresponds to the preceding statement that “this nature is also thus.” (ibid, pg. 127)

One still needs to ask the question, if the bodhisattva has not yet self-realized undivided-bodhi, why would the Buddha present the question, “Have you attained anuttarasamyaksambodhi?” Wŏnhyo:

Although this [bodhisattva] may not yet have attained ultimate bodhi, he has already attained the realization of bodhi while on the first bhūmi. As it explains in the Fahua lun [Treatise on the Lotus Sūtra]: 

“To attain anuttarasamyaksaoebodhi in [a period between] eight lifetimes and one lifetime” means to realize bodhi while on the first bhūmi. . . . They therewith leave behind the various types of existences within the three realms and, according to their individual capacity, are able to see true thusness, that is, the buddha-nature. This can be called “attaining bodhi.” It does not imply that there is the ultimate fulfillment of the tathāgatas’ expedients and nirvāṇa. (ibid, pg. 128)

Cittaraja Bodhisattva responded, “Lord! I am free from any attainment of anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Why is this? The nature of bodhi (awakening) has neither gain nor loss, enlightenment nor [ordinary] consciousness, for it is free from all characteristics of differentiation. Within this non-differentiation

Is the pure nature [of bodhi]. This nature is free from any extraneous admixture [such as the dualities of creation/extinction, subject/object]. It is free from words and speeches. It neither exists nor does not exist. It is neither aware nor unaware. 

“This is also the same for all the dharmas (techniques) that can be practised. Why? Because all dharmas and practices have neither abidance nor abode. This is their Absolute nature. Basically, they are free from any attainment or non-attainment. So how can one attain anuttarasamyaksambodhi?” 

The bodhisattva has done his homework. There is no agitation in Self-nature. IT needs no validations since there are [originally] no self-delusions that need to be extinguished. This should put to rest once and for all that anything “needs to be attained” in the Soul of Suchness.

The Buddha replied, “So it is, so it is. As you have said, all the activities of the mind are without form and its body (nature of the mind) is calm and non-creating. It is the same with all consciousnesses. Why is this? Know that the eyes and sight are both void and calm [by nature]. [Eye] consciousness [itself] is also void and calm free from any characteristic of movement or stillness. Internally it is free of the three feelings (pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral). [Thus,] the three feelings are calm and extinct. So are the hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, mental (sixth consciousness), discriminating (seventh consciousness), and alaya (eighth consciousness). All of them are also unborn. [Therefore,] the mind is calm and extinct and non-creating. [If one tries to] create a calm, extinct and non-creating mind, it would be a practice that creates something; not the practice of non-creation.

IT is an UN-production in you. Yea, all mentality, all vijnana production is originally unproduced. The Lanka would say that from this angle the alayavijnana is the unproduced drama of the Mind that directs no [objects] of attention.

“Bodhisattva, [thus] internally are generated the three feelings, the three [karmic] formations [of body, speech and mind], and the three moral precepts [comprising firstly the Vinaya discipline of vowing to end all evils, secondly the vow to cultivate all good deeds and thirdly, the vow to liberate all sentient beings]. If these are already calm and extinct, the [otherwise] fabricating mind will not fabricate and the mind will always be calm and extinct, still with nothing [mental] to be done. One does not cherish the realization of any characteristic of calm-extinction; nor does one dwell in non-realization. In non-abidance everywhere, lies the non-formation of all defilements. Thus, the three feelings, the three formations, and the three moral precepts will not arise. All [these] will be calm and extinct, pure and non-abiding. One does not [need to] access samadhi (mental absorption) or persists in dhyana (static mind-directed meditation). This is non-creation and non-practice.”

Wŏnhyo:

Mahāyāna trainees who presume there is something to attain turn against calm extinction by not voiding the eight consciousnesses; therefore, it says, nonproduction of the supramundane mind means that a state of mind is produced that realizes the principle of signlessness; therefore, it says, “One produces a mind that produces nothing.” This is in fact a mundane practice that remains involved in samsara, contravening the supramundane practice of the acquiescence to the nonproduction [of dharmas]; therefore, it says “this then is a practice that produces something,” and so forth. The statement “three karmic actions” refers to the activities of body, speech, and mind, which subsume both the wholesome and the unwholesome. “Three moral restraints” refers to restrictions placed on body, speech, and mind, which ensure that one will cleave solely to what is wholesome. With the production of these three karmic actions and three moral restraints as cause, the three types of becoming (bhava) are produced, whereby one experiences all the “three feelings.” In this wise, one remains involved [in samsara] and does not attain liberation. (ibid, pg. 132)

Remaining “involved in samsara” then, assures a dead-end journey. This is a pivotal realization because many times, unknowingly, the mind adept keeps the wheel spinning even in the depths of Samādhi, and especially as the above stanzas relay, with incessant sitting in dhyāna. Wŏnhyo:

He need not access samādhi” means that he is able to let go of the mundane state of mind that accesses concentration. “He need not persist in sitting in dhyāna” means that he also rejects the mundane tranquility derived from lingering in dhyāna. Such a person is then free from all states of mind that generate anything and free from all discriminative practices; therefore, it says, “This is nonproduction and freedom from the need to practice.” (ibid, pg. 133)

Cittaraja Bodhisattva asked, “As dhyana can tame all agitations and stabilize all illusory distractions, why not dhyana?”  

The Buddha replied, “Bodhisattva, [ordinary] dhyana is [in fact] motion (mental activity). Being neither distracted nor concentrated is the [true] non-creating dhyana. [Since] the nature of this dhyana is non-creating, [therefore] abandon any dhyana that fabricates sense-objects (rupa). The nature of [non-creating] dhyana is nonabiding. [Therefore, one should] abandon any sign of abidance in dhyana. If one knows that the [true] nature of dhyana is free from both distraction and calmness, one immediately accesses the [wisdom of] non-creation [of dharmas]. [This] wisdom of non-creation does not depend on abidance. [Consequently,] the mind will not be distracted. With this wisdom, this is how one attains the unborn (beyond birth-death cycles) prajnaparamita.”

Right Dhyāna=dhyāna of nonproduction. Abandon all forms of abidance. Just as the nature of Right Contemplation (from the aforementioned Ascending the Noble Mountain…) is to linger no-where, trying to linger in a “state” of dhyāna will eventually produce mind-agitation. Hence, the Right Nature of dhyāna is a motionless affair–a nonproduction of any erratic impulses of mind. This is the True wisdom Store of the prajnaparamtia. Beware, even lingering quiescence is the root of eventual re-emergence of agitation.

Cittaraja Bodhisattva said, “Lord! The non-creating prajna, wherever it may be, is non-abiding. It is not apart from the mind and has no abode. There is no place where the mind abides. With non-abidance, the mind is non-creating. The mind is non-creating and non-abiding. The mind that so abides is in fact creating and non-abiding.  

“Lord! [Your discourse on] the practice of non-abidance and non-creation of the mind is inconceivable. As it is inconceivable, it can [only] be spoken about but beyond speech (any description is not identical to the matter being described).”

The Bodhisattva has awakened to the Sudden-Realization—“The prajñā that produces nothing does not abide anywhere and is not absent anywhere.”

The Buddha replied, “So it is, so it is.”

Having heard the above, Cittaraja Bodhisattva, in praising its unprecedented qualities, recited the stanzas:  

The Lord who is replete in immeasurable wisdom,
Has extensively expounded the Dharma on non-creation.
This has never been heard before.
What has yet to be explained has been explained now.
Like the amritha (pure sweet dew),
That appears but once in a long while,
[So is this Dharma] difficult to encounter and imagine.
Rare too it is to hear it.
It is the unsurpassed field of merit par excellence,
The supremely efficacious, miraculous medicine.
In order to ferry sentient beings across,
It has now been proclaimed. 

Upon hearing these words, all in the assembly awakened to the non-arising [of dharmas] and the prajna (wisdom) on non-creation.

Thus it is the unsurpassed and inconceivable Dharma that alone ferries sentient beings to the Dharmakayic-shore of perfect suchness. As Huang-po so brilliantly imparted:

This Dharma is Mind, beyond which there is no Dharma; and this Mind is the Dharma, beyond which there is no mind. Mind in itself is not mind, yet neither is it no-mind. To say that Mind is no-mind implies something existent. Let there be a silent understanding and no more.

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