Tag Archives: Mind transmission

Mind to Mind Transmission?

Mind to Mind transmission is not about [somehow] coming to meet [itself] as in a mirror—like an objective face staring back at itself. Mind in itself does not need to have a transmission with itself, the very suggestion sound’s rather schizophrenic in nature, most juvenile!  “Mind coming to know itself?” Silly, reminds me of that song from the musical, The King and I–“Getting to know you, getting to know all about you. Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me. Getting to know you, putting it my way, But nicely, You are precisely, My cup of tea.” Does it take “a selfie” of itself as well? read more

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The Pure Zen of the Tathagatas

A layman asked: “Though Zen is said to be transmitted outside the scriptures and not through words, there are many more incidents of monks questioning teachers and inquiring of the Way than in the teaching sects. How can Zen be said to be outside the scriptures? And can reading the records of the old masters and seeing how they dealt with koans ever be considered outside the realm of words? What is the true meaning of the statement, ‘Outside the scriptures, not through words’?”  read more

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Tsung-mi: An Intimate Study

Tsung-mi (780-841)

A good subtitle for this series would be, “The Spiritual Knowing that knows no darkness.” With brilliant erudition Tsung-mi (pronounced Zongmi—preferred spelling by modern-day scholars) set out to define Bodhidharma’s Mind Transmission as a silent knowing of Mind’s Substance; yet at the same time not eschewing the canonical words that are embedded in the silence. The prime reason for Bodhidharma’s phrase, Mind Transmission outside of scriptures, simply assuaged the Chinese mindset that, at the time, was infatuated with grasping at words while being blind to the Actual Mind-Substance that the words were pointing at. In this sense, the word “silent” referred to Bodhidharma’s own remaining still and quiet until the adept came to intuitively “know” on one’s own the nature of Mind’s Substance. It was after this “knowing” that he said to the adept, ‘That is how it really is [fang yan zhenshi shi]! This is in complete contradistinction to today’s Zennists’ understanding; the following is from a Zen dictionary published by the Sōtō Zen School: read more

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22. “The Bodhisattva’s mind is like the void, for he relinquishes everything and does not even desire to accumulate merits. There are three kinds of relinquishment. When everything inside and outside, bodily and mental, has been relinquished; when, as in the Void, no attachments are left; when all action is dictated purely by place and circumstance; when subjectivity and objectivity are forgotten–that is the highest form of relinquishment. When, on the one hand, the Way is followed by the performance of virtuous acts; while, on the other, relinquishment of merit takes place and no hope of reward is entertained–that is the medium form of relinquishment. When all sorts of virtuous actions are performed in the hope of reward by those who, nevertheless, know of the Void by hearing the Dharma and who are therefore unattached-that is the lowest form of relinquishment. The first is like a blazing torch held to the front which makes it impossible to mistake the path; the second is like a blazing torch held to one side, so that it is sometimes light and sometimes dark; the third is like a blazing torch held behind, so that pitfalls in front are not seen.1”   read more

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