The Voidmaster

A question oftentimes asked is, “if you found yourself on an isolated and deserted island, what book from a vast array of extensive possibilities would you choose to have with you for your sole companion?” For myself it would forever be The Zen Teachings of Huang Po. Huang Po (Huángbò) is the perennial and quintessential Zen Master, and for our purposes in this blog series he would also be reserved the title of Voidmaster. Numerous references to Voidness and the void are referred to in the text, the most dominant at this junction being the following:

Your true nature is something never lost to you even in moments of delusion, nor is it gained at the moment of Enlightenment. It is the Nature of the Bhutatathata. In it is neither delusion nor right understanding. It fills the Void everywhere and is intrinsically of the substance of the One Mind. How, then, can your mind-created objects exist outside the Void? The Void is fundamentally without spacial dimensions, passions, activities, delusions or right understanding. You must clearly understand that in it there are no things, no men and no Buddhas; for this Void contains not the smallest hairsbreadth of anything that can be viewed spatially; it depends on nothing and is attached to nothing. It is all-pervading, spotless beauty; it is the self-existent and uncreated Absolute. Then how can it even be a matter for discussion that the real Buddha has no mouth and preaches no Dharma, or that real hearing requires no ears, for who could hear it? Ah, it is a jewel beyond all price!

The Voidmaster insisted that “the entire void stretching out in all directions is of one substance with Mind; and, since Mind is fundamentally undifferentiated, so must it be with everything else.” Discriminatory associations only seem to appear on the blackboard of the Mind due to accumulated habit energies of no good function or merit. Every conceivable thing that was formulated in the apparent past must be supplanted by Voidness. This includes vexatious emotions and volitional impulses within the contaminated consciousness. When all of these are discarded one discovers what we here in Unborn Mind Zen refer to as “the void of the Womb of the Tatagatas”, which is the Voidmaster’s own formulation. This is the imageless Dharma-Chamber of the Tathagatagarbha. He states that within this Dharma-Womb not “the smallest hairsbreadth of anything can exist there.” Thus no-created thing-ness, neither of form or no-form, has any existence in the Void of Suchness.

All epistemological formulations as well fall-flat and cannot even begin to measure-up to the Luminous Void that swallows-up these vain attempts to stack-up knowledge against the ineffable Wisdom of the Unborn. Adherents to the Way of the Unborn know through un-knowing that just plain-sailing via the Imageless-Wind of Tathata (suchness) will swiftly avert any obstacles (mind-creations) that eventually do sink and dissipate within the dark-depths of the Primordial Ocean of Pure-Mind. Thus, not standing in the way of the dark-depths (the dark principle of wu-wei) through either action or non-action constitutes striking a spontaneous chord within the stateless state of ISNESS.  Accomplished musicians know what this is like when the music begins to play through-them—as if imageless hands take-over the playing. The Rhineland Mystic, Meister Eckhart, would refer to this as the moment when God begins to live through-us AS GOD. (From our Dharma-series on Huang Po.)

As driven-home time and time again in these many blog-posts the Voidmaster emphatically states that sentient beings are afraid of emptying their minds lest they “plunge into the Void.  They do not know that their own Mind is the Void.” Recollecting Mind’s Voidness is key. Keep returning to the Void-Source and all malignant dharmatas will simply dissolve-away like drifting clouds on the soft bed of the blue and boundless sky. Dharmakaya is the Void and the Void is the Dharmakaya. They are absolutely synonymous. IT is not some form of solo-object free floating in the heart of space. The Voidmaster says to completely avoid that mental conundrum by owning the Principle of the Voidmind that is absolutely Dharmakayic in stature and never attached to objective thingness. In other words all dharmatas are IN the Voidmind and not vice-versa.

The Buddhas and sentient beings possess the same fundamental Mind, neither mixing nor separating the quality of true voidness.  When the sun shines over the four directions, the world becomes light, but true voidness is never light.  When the sun sets, the world becomes dark, but voidness is never dark.  The regions of dark and light destroy each other, but the nature of voidness is clear and undisturbed.  The True Mind of both Buddhas and sentient beings enjoys this same nature. Since time without beginning, there is no differentiation or discrimination, Voidness is the Unconditioned Awakening. Just settle into Voidness.

He emphasizes that this is to be a tacit understanding and no more. Never encourage the demons of the mind to ruin this realization in the Unborn. Remember, the demons are just aspects of the Void as well and have no true nature (Svabhava) in themselves. One of the greatest exorcisms is the mantra: “Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasemgate Bodhi-svaha!” All beings are forever Gone, Gone, Gone forever to the other shore of Suchness, and thus all evil is eradicated through remembrance of its True and Actual nature.

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