Spontaneous Illumination

Shastra on the Importance of Entering the Path of Spontaneous Awakening

1. I reverently bow before all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas from the Ten Directions, as well as all Awakened Beings who espouse the Bodhimind.
In composing this humble Shastra, I am aware that, indirectly, certain deficiencies may disrupt the pristine eminence of the True Nature of the Unborn Mind. If this be so, I pray that the intercession of the Blessed Tathāgata may intervene to reveal the unobstructed Buddhagnosis that will lead many to discern the undividedness of their own Bodhimind and Spirit.

Inspired to write this Shastra based on experiencing his own direct Mind Illumination, Dazhu Huihai hoped that there would be some benefit for those diligent ones whose fervent quest for awakening to the Unborn would be fulfilled.

2. Q. What is the best Liberation Technique?
A. Entering the Gateless Gate of Spontaneous Illumination.
Q. What is this ‘Spontaneous Illumination’?
A. Spontaneous means all mind-obstructions unceremoniously dissolve-away. Illumination is the Absolute Realization that there is nothing further to attain.

Mind-Illumination is a spontaneous-affair with no-thing being aroused nor expunged.

Q. Where does one begin with this technique?
A. By turning-about and recollecting the Root Source.
Q. What is the Root Source?
A. The Unborn Mind.
Q. How does one discern that the Unborn Mind is the Root Source?
A. The Lankavatara Sutra teaches that when mind focuses on phenomena, thus do all phenomenon arise. When mind ceases to function in such manner, then do all dharmas cease to be.
The Vimalakirti Sutra says: Before entering into a Pure Land one’s mind must reflect the purity of the Unborn. As such, a Pure Mind Realm comes into being.
Other sutras expound: Just concentrate on one-pointedness of Mind then all will reflect perfect Unborn-ness.
Sages properly regulate their minds rather than their skandhic apparatus; whereas fools cling to their skandhic inclinations instead of regulating their proper mind-flow.
The Sutra of the Buddha’s Names says: evil emanating from mind can only be eradicated by the mind.
Thus do we find both good and evil arising from mind since mind is the fundamental root-source.
If one seeks liberation, then one must first recognize the fundamental Mind-Deliverer.
If one cannot discern and penetrate to this Core-Mind-Reality, then all further efforts are doomed to failure; by relentlessly seeking the truth through external-forms, those self-same forms will consume you.
Hence, The Dhyanaparamita Sutra expounds: searching in the outback territories of form, one will forever be lost kalpa after kalpa; whereas experiencing Spontaneous Illumination, one will, in an exhilarating “flash of Self-recognition”, come face to face with the Bodhimind.

These first few queries and explanations are the true-core of Dazhu Huihai’s Teachings. One must return again and again to the root of the matter: what the mind focuses on will determine its reality. Recollecting Pure Mind will assure a temperate spirit. Choosing, instead, to focus on the surrounding refuse-heap of all temperate and sensate phenomena results in the aggregated existence of a carnally-diseased mind.

Q: When one practices the fundamental, what is the method used?
A: Only Ch’an meditation (dhyana) is the method employed. Its empowering-force is Ch’an-samadhi.
In the Dhyana Paramita Sutra it says: When seeking the Noble Wisdom of the Buddhas, Ch’an-samadhi is an essential component. Without this meditation and one-pointed contemplation, one’s thoughts are in complete disarray and will destroy the holy bonds of goodness.
Q: Please break-down this interrelationship between Ch’an and Samadhi.
A: When all disordered thoughts cease, this is the power of Ch’an. Contemplating one’s Original Nature and Mind is Samadhi.
By Original Mind we mean that our Unborn Mind is nonarising; this is represented through the one-pointedness of Mind THAT is unmoving. When Mind is unmoving, the ‘eight winds: gain, loss, fame and ignominy; praise and blame, joy and sorrow’ are forestalled. All those who practice Samadhi in this fashion are empowered to enter the company of Buddhas.
Thus The Sutra of Bodhisattva Discipline says: “All sentient beings who receive the discipline of the Buddha thus assume the position of all Buddhas.” This is also the “fabric of liberation.” It is also known as arriving on the other shore of suchness by transcending the three realms of samsara; such a one is empowered to become a great and powerful Bodhisattva with untold mind-eloquence as well as surmounting all obstacles.

This particular passage is a reinforcement of a precept within Unborn Mind Zen that states this ‘one-pointedness of mind’ (biguan) in deep samadhis is all that is needed to generate a superior mindstream.  

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