To reinforce once again, within Zuowang stability is paramount. In this sense mind indeed must become stabilized—immovable—which within Unborn Mind Zen we refer to continually Recollect the Unmoving Principle. The following Tozen video from our Bodhichild channel on YouTube refines this in excellent fashion:
The cultivation of the Dao requires giving-up all affairs—human or otherwise.
Once all outer affairs are eliminated, they make no more trouble for the mind.
The six sensory impurities [gunas] are what the text means by “outer affairs.” You must push them far away. The six are: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and thought [dharmas]. Not being defiled by or attached to them, we say that they are “all eliminated.” Then projected reality no longer causes trouble for the mind and there are no more irritations [klesas]. The mind produces no more defilements; projected reality can no longer create irritations. Mind and projected reality both forgotten, there are neither afflictions nor irritations. Thus the text speaks of “no more trouble for the mind.” (ibid, pg. 164)
In Unborn Mind Zen this translates as slaying the five skandhas: form, sensation, thought, volition, mortal consciousness. In order to reinforce this peace-of-mind-at-all-costs whenever thoughts or emotional sensations arise on the horizon—terminate them. Fire the Photon Torpedoes of Star Trek fame, in effect sending out blasts of concentrated light particles on a sub-atomic level that transforms the mindscape. This helps to clear-out any chemical imbalances within the mind as well. Once one becomes proficient in this enterprise the further use of medications to induce such a state becomes lessened over time.
Zuowang insists that for mind to return to perfect Daoness three precepts must be observed:
- Detachment from karmic conditions
Select what is essential and trash all the rest that hinder proper mind growth. The Daode jing says: “To have little is to possess, to have plenty is to be perplexed.”
- Freedom from desires
Put an end to all cravings—mundane and spiritual as well.
- Stillness of Mind
Once again this is of principal importance. Thoroughly intercept and render ineffective any vexations of mind and spirit. As the Xisheng jing says: “Get rid of all defilements, intercept all thoughts, calm the mind and guard the One.”
Our series The Secret Golden Light of the Unborn refers to this guarding the one as “turning the Light around and protecting the garbha-child.” When the Primordial Light is allowed to turn-about freely, all the powers of the Cosmos, of Light and Dark, are crystallized. This is known as the Yang and Yin congealing into unrestricted Pure Qi.
Another leitmotif that Zuowang teaches has to do with the Five Phases of Mind:
- The mind experiences much agitation and little stillness. Thinking is conditioned by a myriad different aspect of projected reality, accepting this and rejecting that without any constancy whatsoever. Dreads and worries, plans and calculations keep racing on inside like wild horses. This is the normal mind.
- The mind experiences a little stillness and much agitation. One controls agitation and enters stillness [YQ: entering the mind], yet the mind at once is scattered again. It is very hard to control and subdue, to curb its agitation and entanglement. This is the beginning of progress toward Dao.
- The mind experiences half agitation and half stillness. The quiet state of mind is like that of a controlled mind already, but this state cannot be maintained for long. Stillness and scatter-brain are about equal, one makes the mind care about its own agitation and entanglement, thus it gradually gets used to stillness.
- The mind experiences plenty of stillness and only occasional agitation. One becomes gradually versed in controlling the mind, thus any agitation that arises is checked at once. The mind is fully one-pointed and when one-pointedness is lost it is immediately recovered.
- The mind is turned entirely toward clarity and stillness. Whether involved in or free from affairs, there is no agitation at all. From an efficiently controlled mind, firmness and solidity arise [DZ: dispersing tendencies are stabilized] and stability develops. (ibid, pg. 176)
This is not dissimilar to the Dhyāna levels in Ch’an Buddhism, although the latter also emphasizes changes at the spiritual level as well. This spiritual level more or less becomes initiated after the Five Phases when The Seven Stages of the Body becomes activated:
- The diseases inherited from former lives diminish, the body-self grows light and the mind translucent. The mind is now totally at rest within, spirit is still, and qi at peace. The four elements [of fire, water, earth, and air] are joined in harmony, the six types of sensations [through seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and thinking] are deeply serene. With the mind at peace in the mysterious realm, continue to embrace the One and guard the center. Joy and exultation daily new: this is called “attaining Dao.”
- Going beyond the limits of ordinary life, you recover a youthful complexion. The body-form in a state of joy, the mind constantly at peace, you pervade numinosity and gain penetrating vision. Best move to a different part of the country, choose a spot and settle down. It is better not to be a too old acquaintance with the local folk.
- Extending your years to a thousand, be called an immortal. Travel extensively to famous mountains, flying or walking, spontaneously present; you have azure lads as guards and jade maidens for entertainment. Stepping high on mist and haze, colored clouds support your tread.
- Refining your body-self to qi, qi becoming your body-self, be called a perfected. Appearing and disappearing in spontaneous presence, your glittering light radiates of itself, night and day in equal brightness. Traverse through grottos and palaces [in ecstatic flight] with immortals in attendance.
- Refining qi to spirit, be called a spirit person. Changing and passing on in spontaneous presence, your activities and functions are without bounds. Your inherent potency can move Heaven and Earth, remove mountains and drain the sea.
- Refining spirit to unify with the world of form, be called an utmost being. Your spirit pervades numinosity, your appearance and body-form are no longer definite. You change according to occasion and go along with things to appear in different forms.
- Going [YQ: Rising high] beyond all things in your body-self, whirl out of all relations and reside next to the Jade Emperor of the Great Dao in the Numinous Realm. Here the wise and sagely gather, at the farthest shore and in ultimate perfection. In creative change, in numinous pervasion, you reach to all things. Having taken your cultivation this far, you have reached the source of Dao. Here the myriad paths come to an end. This is called the ultimate realm. (ibid, pg. 177)
Apart from particular siddhis induced from the above, it needs to be stated unequivocally that these “later stages of the body” part company with Ch’an Buddhism and Unborn Mind Zen in particular. A most crucial distinction needs to occur. The ultimate aim within Buddhism is not immortality, but a complete cessation of birth and death—a jumping off the samsaric wheel. The immortals, likened unto the gods themselves, are still subject to the six realms of impermanence. Not so for the Unborn when the Nirvanic Mind institutes deathlessness itself. Rule of Thumb here: Immortality is a continuation of samsara, even though parts of it appear numinous within certain light heavens. The Unborn bypasses samsara completely, when the adept cultivates anuttara samyak sambodhi, or unexcelled perfection in inseparable Bodhi—Supreme Enlightenment that is housed in Deathless Suchness Itself, unequaled parinirvana.