Posted in Uncategorized, zen

Zen Master Huang Po

Huang Po was a Zen Master in China in the 800s.

He taught that mind cannot be sought by the mind. One of his most important sayings was “mind is the Buddha.” He said:

“All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but the One Mind, beside which nothing exists. The One Mind alone is the Buddha, and there is no distinction between the Buddha and other beings.”

He also said:

“To awaken suddenly to the fact that your own Mind is the Buddha, that there is nothing to be attained or a single action to be performed—this is the Supreme Way.“

He also firmly rejected all dualism, especially between the “ordinary” and “enlightened” states:

”If you would only rid yourselves of the concepts of ordinary and Enlightened, you would find that there is no other Buddha than the Buddha in your own Mind. The arising and the elimination of illusion are both illusory. Illusion is not something rooted in Reality; it exists because of your dualistic thinking. If you will only cease to indulge in opposed concepts such as ‘ordinary’ and ‘Enlightened,’ illusion will cease of itself.“

Since all is Buddha-mind, all actions reflect the Buddha, are actions of a Buddha. Huang Po’s teaching on this reflected the Indian concept of the tathatagarbha, the idea that within all beings is the nature of the Buddha. Therefore, Huang Po taught that seeking the Buddha was futile as the Buddha is within us already:

“If you know positively that all sentient beings already one with Bodhi (enlightenment), you will cease thinking of Bodhi as something to be attained”

Huang Po was adamant that any form of “seeking” was not only useless, but obstructed clarity:

“Sentient beings are attached to forms and so seek externally for Buddhahood. By their very seeking they lose it”.

Furthermore, he claimed that

‘Studying the Way’ is just a figure of speech […] In fact, the Way is not something which can be studied. You must not allow this name to lead you into forming a mental concept of a road.“

What Huang Po knew was that students of Zen often became attached to “seeking” enlightenment and he constantly warned against this (and all attachment) as an obstruction to enlightenment

“If you students of the Way wish to become Buddhas, you need study no doctrines whatever, but learn only how to avoid seeking for and attaching yourselves to anything.“

Huang Po often railed against traditional Buddhist textual practices, pointing to the necessity of direct experience over sutra study. If the truth is within us already, why would we need to study sutras?

 

Posted in tattooed buddha

The Shining Void

“Lay down all thoughts,

surrender to the void.

It is shining.”

~ John Lennon

Buddhism represents overcoming suffering by understanding the true nature of things.

We are stuck in delusion and it prevents us from engaging our true selves a lot of the time. But what is the true nature of things?

Buddhism expresses it in two ways that might seem contradictory. I want to combine them and refer to it as the Shining Void.

One concept is Shunyata.

Shunyata is often translated as emptiness. This leads to some confusion. I don’t think of empty as like the number zero, I think of it as a vast and beautiful emptiness, like the sky. This is the concept that nothing in the universe has an inherent existence. That is, nothing exists on it’s own. Everything in the universe is interconnected with everything else.

Everything is dependent on everything else. Everything is just a collection of things that are influencing other things. This is especially important because it applies to us. I think of myself as this real and independent being. But am I? Or am I just part of a whole?

The other concept is Tathatagarbha.

Tathatagarbha is often translated as Buddha Nature. It’s the concept that we are one with everything; that there is a cosmic oneness to the universe. All this separation that we experience is the result of delusion. The concept of Buddha Nature indicates that we already know that we are one with everything.

We don’t always realize it but at the core of our being we are Enlightened. Our minds are clouded by delusion, so we cling to the idea of an independent self. If we can realize our interdependence then we can be happier and suffer less.

I am part of you and you are part of me—we aren’t separate. If we can think of things in this way, there is very little reason for things like envy or resentment.

So, why are there two separate concepts for this? I think we’re trying to grasp something deep and profound that is hard to understand in words.

Bodhidharma said, “The truth is beyond words and letters.”

We try to understand concepts like this, but the truth is they have to be experienced to be understood. We have to have our own spiritual insights. Our minds label things and ultimately these labels don’t really represent reality.

Sometimes when I am deep in insight meditation, I feel the truth of emptiness. Sometimes when I am deep in compassion meditation, I feel the truth of oneness.
It’s all the Shining Void.

“Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. Between these two my life turns.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

 

http://thetattooedbuddha.com/the-shining-void-what-buddhists-mean-by-emptiness/