The Collected Lectures of Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua on

The Sixth Patriarch’s Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra

--Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society.

 Lecture 32, Bhiksu Fa Ta, continued.


"Because the minds of worldly men are deviant, confused, and deluded, they commit offenses. Their mouths may be good but their minds are evil.  They are greedy, hateful envious, flattering, deceitful, and arrogant, oppressing men and harming creatures, thus opening to the knowledge and vision of living beings. If you can, with a right mind, always contemplate and illuminate with wisdom, practice the good and refrain from evil, you will open up to the knowledge and vision of the Buddha. You should in every thought open up to the knowledge and vision of the Buddha; do not open up to the knowledge and vision of living beings. To be open to the knowledge and vision of the Buddha is transcendental; to be open to the knowledge and vision of living beings is mundane. If you merely toil at recitation, clinging to it as a meritorious exercise, how do you differ from a yak who loves his own tail?"




Read of the strange and wonderful events in the biographies of the Patriarchs Picked Up (Shih Te) and Cloth Sack (Pu Tai) in the next issues of Vajra Bodhi Sea. And in this issue read the story of the Three Cart Patriarch who sat on a mountain in meditation for thousands of years, and in The Professor Requests a Lecture read the story of how the modern-day Buddhist Bodhi-Tokyo-Ling got his name.



The deviant views and delusions of ordinary men cause them to create offensive acts. While their mouths may be as compassionate as the Buddha, their minds are as poisonous as a snake. Of the offenses they commit, greed, hate, and jealousy are the worst. But when they shine the light within and straighten out their own minds, they naturally are open to the knowledge and vision of the Buddha. To be attached to reciting Sutras is to be like a yak who is in love with his own tail, treasuring it above all else.



Fa Ta said, "If this is so, then I need only understand the meaning and need not toil at reciting the Sutra. Isn’t this correct?”

                The Master replied, “What fault has the Sutra that would stop your recitation of it? Confusion and enlightenment are in you. Loss or gain is from oneself. If your mouth recites and your mind practices, you ‘turn’ the Sutra, but if your mouth recites and your mind does not practice, the Sutra ‘turns’ you. Listen to my gatha:

      The mind confused the Dharma Flower ‘turns’ it.

      The enlightened mind will ‘turn’ the Dharma Flower.

      Reciting the Sutra so long without understanding

      Has made you an opponent to its meaning.

      Without a thought your recitation is right.

      With thought, your recitation is wrong.

      With no ‘with’ and no ‘without’

      You may ride forever in the White Ox cart.



If you are confused, your recitation is of no benefit, but if you are enlightened, there is merit. What does this have to do with the Sutra? If you recite the Sutra and put it into practice, you are truly reciting the Sutra and turning the Dharma wheel. If you do not practice, the Sutra "recites" (turns) you! 

If you recite the Sutra with a confused mind, the Sutra "turns" you so that, the more you recite, the less you understand. If you recite with an understanding mind, you set the Dharma Flower spinning. Over ten years of work, and Fa Ta still was unclear; he was a stranger to the Sutra. Without false thoughts, recitation is right, but with thoughts of arrogance and conceit about your merit and virtue, your recitation becomes deviant. You should pay no attention to having or not having merit, and recite as if not reciting. Do not be attached and you will always ride in the White Ox Cart.

You ask, "If I recite as if not reciting, then may I not recite as if reciting?" If you don't recite it, you cannot understand the Sutra's principles, and it is not as if you were reciting it. The sentence:

"reciting as if not reciting, not reciting as if reciting,"

is to instruct you to be unattached. But you cannot say, "I'll be unattached and forget about reciting the Sutra."



Fa Ta heard this gatha and unaware, shed tears. At the moment the words were spoken, he achieved a great enlightenment and said to the Master. "Until today I have never actually 'turned' the Dharma Flower, but have been 'turned' by it.”



Fa Ta wept. He wept without even knowing that he was crying, but it wasn't because he had been bullied or cheated. He had been stupidly wasting his time reciting the Sutra without obtaining the slightest benefit. Now, at the Master's explanation, he was so overcome with joy that he burst into tears, just like friends or relatives when they meet after a long separation.  He cried because of his great enlightenment.



He further asked, The Sutra says, 'If all, from Sravakas up to the Bodhisattvas, were to exhaust all their thoughts in order to measure it, they could not fathom the Buddha's wisdom.' Now you cause common men simply to understand their own minds and call this the knowledge and vision of the Buddha. Those without superior faculties will not be able to avoid doubting and slandering the Sutra. The Sutra also speaks of three carts. How do the sheep and deer carts differ from the White Ox Cart?"

The Master said, "The Sutra's meaning is clear. You yourself are confused. All those of the three vehicles are, unable to fathom the Buddha's wisdom, and the fault is in their thinking and measuring. The more they think, the further away they go.

"The Buddha basically spoke for the sake of common people, not for the sake of other Buddhas. Those who chose not to believe were free to leave the assembly. Not_knowing that they were sitting in the White Ox Cart, they sought three vehicles outside the gate. What is more, the Sutra text clearly tells you ' here is only the one Buddha vehicle, no other vehicle, whether few or three, and so forth for countless expedients, various causes and conditions, analogies and rhetoric. All these dharmas are for the sake of the One Buddha Vehicle.’”



The Lotus Sutra says,

"If the world were filled

With those like Sariputra,

Exhausting their thought to measure it,

They couldn't fathom the Buddha's wisdom."

Fa Ta questioned the Master: "Sariputra was the wisest of the Buddha's disciples. Now, if you filled the entire universe with Sariputras, and they all tried to fathom the Buddha's wisdom, they wouldn't be able to do it.  Great Master, how can you say that when common people merely understand their own minds, they are open to the knowledge and vision of the Buddhas? I am afraid that unless one had supreme wisdom and good roots, one couldn't avoid slandering the Sutra. Please be compassionate and tell me how the sheep and deer carts differ from the White Ox Cart."

The Master said, "The Sutra is perfectly clear on this point. The Sravakas, Pratyeka Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas cannot know the Buddha's wisdom simply-because they try to measure it. If their minds did not have, such calculating thoughts, they could understand it. The Buddha spoke Sutras for common people, not for other Buddhas, and if you don't believe it, you can get up and walk out as you please. What is more, there is only One Buddha Vehicle. There are no other vehicles, whether two (Sravakas and Pratyeka Buddhas) or three (Sravakas, Pratyeka Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas), or any number of parables, causes and conditions, and uncountable expedient devices; all are spoken for the sake of the One Buddha Vehicle."



"Why don't you wake up? The three carts are false, spoken for ages past; the One Vehicle is real spoken for the present, only to teach you to get rid of the false and return to the real. Having returned to reality, the real is also nameless. You should know that all the treasure and wealth is ultimately your own, for your use. Further, do not think of the father, nor of the son, nor of the use. This is called maintaining the Dharma Flower Sutra. From kalpa to kalpa your hands will not let go of the scrolls; from morning to night, at no time will you not recite it.



Once you have returned to the real vehicle, even the real is nameless; you should not keep (the notion) of reality. All the treasure and wealth of the Buddhadharma originally is yours. It is the wind and light of your homeland; use it as you wish. But do not think, "These were given to me by my father. I have received them as an inheritance." You shouldn't think of the father, the son, or the use: just use them, that's all. This is genuine recitation of the Sutra. From the first to the last great kalpa, your hands won't set down the text, and you will recite from morning to night.



Fa Ta received this instruction and, overwhelmed with joy, he spoke a gatha: 

"Three thousand Sutra recitations;

At Ts’ao Hsi not one single word.

Before I knew why he appeared in the world,

How could I stop the madness of piled up births?

Sheep, deer, and ox provisionally set up;

Beginning, middle, end, well set forth.

Who would have thought that within the burning house

Originally the king of Dharma dwells?"

The Master said, "From now on you may be called a Sutra reciting monk. "From then on, although he understood the profound meaning, Fa Ta continued to recite the Sutra without pause.




"Before I knew why the Buddha appeared in the world," said Fa Ta, "I had no way to stop the karmic process of this mad mind. But now I know that the beginning Sravaka vehicle, the middle Pratyeka Buddha vehicle and the final Mahayana Bodhisattva vehicle are nothing but expedient devices. They are not actual. Who would have guessed? Who would have guessed! Nobody! Why, it's just right here in the flaming house of the triple world that one can cultivate, realize Buddhahood, and be a Great Dharma King!"

"Yes," said the Master, "I see that you understand and so now you have the right to be called a Sutra reciting monk."

Fa Ta understood the doctrine, but he did not make the mistake some people might have and think, "I understand it, so I don't have to recite it.  I have reached the level where I

'Recite and yet do not recite;

Do not recite and yet recite."'

If this is the case, then can you

Eat as if not eating, and

Not eat as if eating;


Steal as if not stealing, and

Not steal as if stealing;

or even:

Kill as if not killing, and

Not kill as if killing?"

Can you get away with this? Of course not! If you truly understand and are unattached (to what you do) you will not shoot off your "head-mouth" zen and say that you recite without reciting. Before you have the status to make that claim, you must first have reached that level of accomplishment.

Everybody knew that the Great Master held Huang Mei's robe and bowl.  Fa Ta had no choice; he had to bow. But the most respect he could muster was to throw himself hastily on the ground, without even touching his head to the floor, and in his heart he felt that his own merit certainly was greater than the Master's. "After all," he thought, "I've recited the Sutra over three thousand times." When Fa Ta saw ordinary people, he couldn't even manage to half bow. He was like a rich snob who only sees other rich snobs and looks down on everyone else. The Sixth Patriarch took one look and knew that Fa Ta had something on his mind.



Bhiksu Chih T'ung, a native of An Feng in Shao Chou, had read the Lankavatara Sutra over a thousand times but still did not understand the three bodies and the four wisdoms. He made obeisance to the Master, seeking an explanation of their meaning.

The Master said, “The three bodies are: the clear, pure Dharma body, which is your nature; the perfect, full Reward body, which is your wisdom; and the hundred thousand myriad Transformation bodies, which are your conduct. To speak of the three bodies as separate from your original nature is to have the bodies but not the wisdoms. To awaken to the fact that the three bodies have no self-nature is to understand the four wisdoms.

Listen to my gatha:

Three bodies complete in your own self-nature,

When understood become four wisdoms.

Not apart from conditions of seeing and hearing,

Transcend them and ascend to the Buddha-realm.

I will now explain it for you.

If attentive and faithful, you will never be deluded.

Don’t run outside in search of them,

By saying ‘Bodhi’ to the end of your days.”

Text from the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua’s Dharma Talk in Vancouver, B.C. p.31



Bhiksu Chih T'ung studied the Lankavatara Sutra because Bodhidharma recommended it above all other texts as important in the Ch'an School. Although he had read it over a thousand times, he still had to ask the Master about the three bodies and the four wisdoms. The Master always teaches Dharma of and from self-nature. "The clear, pure Dharma body is your own original nature," he said, "and the Reward body is your wisdom. The Transformation bodies are your conduct, because you are what you do, you transform according to your practice. If you try to explain the three bodies as apart from your self—nature, you have the bodies, but not the wisdoms. But when you are awakened to the fact that the three bodies are devoid of self-nature, that's called the four wisdom Bodhi.

"When you understand that the three bodies are immanent in the self—nature, you realize the four wisdoms. Without being separated from the conditions of sight and hearing, you ascend directly to the Buddha-realm.  Now, I have spoken this gatha and you must truly believe it. Then you will never again be confused like those people who go around saying 'Bodhi, Bodhi, Bodhi' all day long, but who never practice or understand Bodhi. Don't chatter 'head-mouth' zen. You must truly understand the three bodies and then everything will be all right."


Lecture 33


(Chih) T'ung further asked, "May I hear about the meaning of the four wisdoms?"

The Master said, "Since you understand the three bodies, you should also understand, the four wisdoms. Why do you ask again? To speak of the four wisdoms as separate from the three bodies is to have the wisdoms but not the bodies, in which case the wisdoms become 'non-wisdoms.'" He then spoke this gatha:

Great, perfect mirror wisdom

Is your nature clear and pure.

            Wisdom of the equality of the nature

            Is the mind without disease.

            Wisdom of the subtle observation

            Sees without effort.

            Perfecting wisdom’s the same

            As the perfect mirror.

            Five, eight, six, seven

            Effect and cause both ‘turn’,

            Merely names to be used,

            These are without real nature.

            If, in the place of ‘turning’,

            Emotion is not kept,

            You always and forever dwell

            In Naga concentration.”


            Announcement to the Honored Elder Ones


The Sino—American Buddhist Association invites the elder members of our society (of at least sixty years of age) to come to Gold Mountain Dhyana Monastery and join the members of the Association in a vegetarian meal.  These meals are served daily; the only requirement is that those wishing to attend arrive or call in to the temple before 9 A.M.

What easier way is there to plant good roots, derive wealth and honor, and lengthen life, than by eating vegetarian food?




...I find your journal Vajra Bodhi Sea full of interesting and valuable material. The fact that so much of it is made up of translation and commentary is very commendable.

Really to grasp the content of these Sutras I would think that perseverance in meditation practice was important.


Yours in the Dharma, 

William Collins

Osaka, Japan


Having heard about the four wisdoms, Chih T'ung asked the Master to explain the three bodies. The Master said, "Since you understand the three bodies, you should understand the four wisdoms as well. If you try to explain the four wisdoms as apart from the three bodies, then although you have the name "four wisdoms" you do not have the actual substance, the actual body of the wisdoms. Your wisdoms then become no-wisdoms because they are nothing but a name; you do not possess their function."

Great perfect mirror wisdom is the nature clear and pure. The Buddha has four wisdoms. The great perfect mirror wisdom is the eighth consciousness (alayavijnana) when it has been transformed from consciousness into wisdom.  The eighth consciousness is also called the "store" consciousness, because it stores up all the good and bad seeds of what you have done. If you have planted good causes, you reap good effects; if you have planted bad causes, you reap bad effects. As the potential of all good and bad karma is stored in the eighth consciousness, it also comes to be called the "field of the eighth consciousness" because whatever you plant in it eventually sprouts.


When you are unable to use it, it is merely consciousness, but when you return to your "root" and go back to the source, the eighth consciousness transmutes into the great perfect mirror wisdom, which is essentially pure and undefiled.

Wisdom of the equality of the nature is the mind without disease. The wisdom of the equality of the nature is the seventh consciousness (manas) when it has been transformed from consciousness into wisdom. Before you understand, it is the seventh consciousness, but once you are enlightened, it is the wisdom of the equality of the nature. The seventh consciousness is also called the "transmitting consciousness" because it acts as a transmitter between the sixth and eighth consciousnesses. When transformed from consciousness, this equality refers to the minds of all Buddhas and living beings as equal. The mind without disease means that there is no obstruction,' no 'jealousy, no greed, hate, or stupidity. Without these (defilements) the seventh consciousness transmutes into the equality nature wisdom.

Read Vajra Bodhi Sea

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Wisdom of the subtle observation sees without effort. The wisdom of the subtle observation is the sixth consciousness when it has been transformed into wisdom. The sixth (mind) consciousness is the consciousness of discrimination; it discriminates good and evil, right and wrong, male and female. Such discrimination is the work of the sixth consciousness and it seems to be very intelligent. Actually it is just a kind of consciousness.  When you turn it into wisdom it is the wisdom of the subtle observation, which sees all realms without having to go through the process of discrimination. This wisdom of the subtle observation is quite different from mere thoughts of discrimination.

When certified Arhats wish to use the wisdom of the subtle observation to know something, they must first sit quietly in meditation and intentionally observe, for unless they intentionally observe, their minds are no different from those of ordinary men. By intentionally observing, they can know the events of the past eighty thousand great kalpas.

Perfecting wisdom is the same as the perfect mirror. This wisdom comes from the transformation of the first five consciousnesses eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body--into wisdom.

Five, eight, six, seven—effect and cause both 'turn'. The five consciousnesses and the eighth consciousness are transformed in the effect and the sixth and seventh are transformed in the cause ground. In transforming the consciousnesses into the four wisdoms first "turn" the sixth and seventh in the cause ground and next the eighth and five in the effect ground.

Merely names to be used, these are without real nature. Although they are said to be changed in the realm of cause and effect, there is nothing in reality which corresponds to them there are merely names and nothing more.

If, in the place of 'turning', emotion isn't kept...If, in the place where your emotional feelings are being 'turned' you do not use your common mind and become caught up in the 'turning'...

You always and forever dwell in Naga concentration. At all times you are in Naga samadhi. Naga means "dragon". Dragons can magically appear in big or small bodies because they have a great deal of concentration. Therefore the Sixth Patriarch defeated the dragon by saying, "If you are really a magic dragon, you should be able to appear in a small body as well as a large one."

    Then, when the dragon turned up in a small body the Master dared him to climb into his bowl. As the little dragon had a big temper and much ignorance, he jumped at the dare; but when he tried to jump out again, he couldn't do it.  The Master explained the Dharma to the dragon and the dragon then went to rebirth.

The dragon may have been constantly in samadhi, but he had not destroyed his ignorance and therefore lost his temper. "I'll show you!" he said, "I'll change into a little body right now!" If he had really been in samadhi he would have said, "You say I can't appear in a small body? O.K. so what? I'll just appear in this large one." But he lost his concentration and was "turned", caught, and defeated by the Great Master.

Still, Naga samadhi is an inconceivable state. How do dragons get to be dragons? They study the Buddhadharma with mighty effort, morning to night, but they do not keep the precepts. "Precepts are just for common people," they say. "I'm extraordinary. I'm not on the same list as they are, and I do not have to keep precepts!" That's how they turn into dragons.



Note: The transformation of consciousness into wisdom has been described. The teaching says, "The first five consciousnesses 'turned' become the perfecting wisdom; the sixth consciousness 'turned' becomes, the wisdom of the subtle observation; the seventh consciousness 'turned' becomes the wisdom of the equality of the nature; the eighth consciousness ‘turned’ becomes the great perfect mirror wisdom.

Although the sixth and seventh are 'turned' in the cause and the first five and eighth in the effect, it is merely the names which 'turn'. Their substance does not 'turn'.



The above passage was not part of the original text, but was added later.



      Instantly enlightened to the wisdom nature, Chih T'ung submitted the following gatha:

"Three bodies are my basic substance,

Four wisdoms my original bright mind.

Body and wisdom in unobstructed fusion;

In response to beings I accordingly take form.

Arising to cultivate them is false movement.

Holding to or dwelling on them is a waste of effort.

Through the Master I_know the wonderful principle,

And in the end I lose the stain of names.



Chih T'ung understood the function of the three bodies and four wisdoms. "The three bodies are not to be found outside of my own body," he said, "and the four wisdoms, too, are just produced from my own bright, understanding mind. When the bodies and wisdoms interpenetrate, then one may dispense the Dharma in accord with the needs of living beings—being in accord with conditions and yet not changing, not changing and yet being in accord with the conditions."

If you wonder, "How can I cultivate the three bodies and four wisdoms?"  Your wondering is nothing but false thinking, false movement. The same is true of holding the three bodies and the four wisdoms and being attached.  This profound, wonderful, unfathomable principle I now understand because of the Great Master the Sixth Patriarch. From beginning to end there is no stain of names. What is unstained is the original self-nature, which is untouched by worldly emotion. Unless you have no defilement, you cannot return to the root and go back to your source, that pure original source which is totally undefiled.



Bhiksu Chih Ch'ang, a native of_ Kuei Hsi in Hsin Chou, left_home where he was a child and resolutely sought to see his own nature. One day he called on the Master who asked him." Where are you from and what do you want?"

Chih Ch'ang replied, "Your student has recently been to Pai Feng Mountain in Hung Chou to call on the Master Ta T'ung and receive his instruction on the principle of seeing one's nature and realizing Buddhahood.  As I have not yet resolved my doubts, I have come from a great distance to bow reverently and request the Master's compassionate instruction."



Bhiksu Chih T'ung left home at the early age of seven or eight. When he called on the Sixth Patriarch, he caused the Master to remember his first meeting with the Fifth Patriarch, who had asked him, "Where are you from and what do you seek?"

"I'm from Hsin Chou." Hui Neng replied, "and I seek nothing but Buddhahood."

"Hsin Chou people are barbarians," the Fifth Patriarch said, "how can you become a Buddha?"

"The Barbarian's body and the High Master's body are not the same," countered the Sixth Patriarch, "but in the Buddhanature where is the distinction?"

Remembering this, the Sixth Patriarch asked Chih Ch'ang, "Where are you from? Just what do you think you're doing?"

Chih Ch'ang had received instruction on seeing the nature and realizing Buddhahood, but he still had doubts. The Chinese word for doubts is literally "fox doubt;” because foxes are suspicious of everything. When a fox walks across the ice, he takes a step, cocks his head, and listens. If the ice cracks, he runs back to shore; if it does not, he keeps on walking and listening, walking and listening. Although foxes are extremely intelligent, they are full of doubts.



The Master said, "What instruction did he give you? Try to repeat it to me."

      Chih Ch’ang said, “After arriving there, three months passed and still I had received no instruction. Being anxious for the Dharma, one evening I went alone into the Abbot's room and asked him, 'What is my original mind and original nature?'

"Ta T'ung then said to me, 'So you see empty space?'

"'Yes,' I said, 'I see it.'

"Ta T'ung said, 'Do you know what appearance it has?'

"I replied, 'Empty space has no form. How could it have an appearance?'

"Ta T'ung said, 'Your original mind is just like empty space. To understand, that nothing can be seen is called right seeing; to know that nothing can be known is called true knowing. There is nothing blue or yellow, long or short. Simply seeing the clear, pure original source, the perfect, bright-enlightened substance, this is what is meant by seeing one's nature and realizing Buddhahood. It is also called the knowledge and vision of the Tathagata.'

"Although I heard his instruction, I still do not understand and beg you. Master, to instruct me."

The Master said, "That explanation of your former master still retains 'knowing and seeing' and that is why you have not understood. Now, I will teach you with a_gatha:

Not to see a single dharma still retains no seeing,

Greatly resembling floating clouds covering the sun.

Not to know a single dharma holds to empty knowing,

Even as a lightning flash comes out of empty space.

This knowing and seeing arise in an instant.

When wrongly viewed, can expedients be understood?

If, in a thought, you can know your own error,

Your own spiritual light will always be manifested.”



      Not to see a single dharma still retains no seeing. The sixth Patriarch said, “If you do not see a single dharma and the ten thousand dharmas are all empty, you still have the view of not seeing any dharmas; you still hold that view. This is just like floating clouds covering the sun, because if you truly do not see anything, you cannot have the view of not seeing.

      Not to know a single dharma holds to empty knowing. If you don’t establish a single dharma and don’t know a single dharma, but still have the knowledge that you neither establish nor know dharmas, you still hold on to an empty, false kind of knowing.

      Even as a lightning flash comes out of empty space. Your principles seem coherent, but knowing and seeing still remain. This is like the great void; originally there is nothing there, but suddenly there is a flash of lightning. Now, do you see, or not?

      This ‘knowing and seeing’ arise in an instant. Your no seeing and your knowledge of knowing nothing arise right before your eyes.

      When wrongly viewed, can expedients be understood? If, in a thought, you know your own error, your own spiritual light will always be manifested. You should understand right this instant that you are wrong in holding to the view of no seeing and the knowledge in holding to the view of no seeing and the knowledge of knowing emptiness. Then your original wisdom, your original intelligence, your inherent Buddha nature which is the Tathagata’s Treasury will always manifest.



      Hearing the gatha, Chih Ch’ang understood it with his heart and mind and submitted this gatha:

      “Without beginning, 'knowing and seeing' arise.

Attaching to marks, Bodhi is sought out.

Does keeping the feeling of thoughts of enlightenment

Rise above my former confusion?

The inherently enlightened substance of my nature

Illuminates the turning twisting flow.

But had I not entered the Patriarch's room.

I'd still be running lost between the two extremes."



When Chih Ch'ang heard the gatha, he put it all down. Having put it all down he didn't say, "I put it down!" If you put it down, put it down; don't keep saying, "I put it down!" If you keep on saying that you've put it down you haven't really done so. If you truly have no knowledge or view and have returned to the root, gone back to the source, why do you keep a "knowing" and a "viewing"?

Chih Ch'ang understood and spoke a wonderful gatha: Without beginning, 'knowing and seeing' arise. Without a head, without a tail, the view of no seeing and knowledge of emptiness arise with no beginning, no causal basis, and no foundation.

Attaching to marks. Bodhi is sought out. You should not be attached marks, but now you have become attached to no-seeing and knowing emptiness. Previously, when I explained "no—thought," I said that if you think, "I have no thought," just that is a thought.

If you really are without thought, you are also without "no-thought".  The concept of “no-thought" is just another thought.

In Ch'an (Dhyana) meditation, when we reflect on the question, "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" we search for the "who" but don't find it, because basically there is no "who". But people can't understand and keep looking for a "self", saying "Who?" In your search, do not be attached to marks; do not attach to the mark of self when you seek Bodhi.

Does keeping a feeling of thoughts of enlightenment rise above my former confusion? When with an emotional, mental reeling, you think, "I'm seeing emptiness and there is nothing at all!" you still have the thought of knowing; you still have the thought of seeing. This is certainly not enlightenment.

The inherently enlightened substance of my nature illuminates the turning, twisting flow. The self—nature's enlightened—root, its origin, the basic substance is "being in accord with causal conditions and yet not changing" It does not change and yet is in accord with causal conditions.    Thus, in spite of shifting and flowing, the basic substance is unchanging.

But had I not entered the Patriarch's room, I 'd still be running lost between the two extremes, that is, falling into views and knowings.



One day Chih Ch'ang asked the Master, "The Buddha taught the dharma of the three vehicles and also the Supreme Vehicle. Your disciple has not yet understood this and would like to have instruction about it."

The Master said "Contemplate only your original mind and do not be attached to the external dharma marks. The Dharma doesn't have four vehicles; it is the minds of men that differ. Seeing, hearing, and reciting are the small vehicle. Awakening to the Dharma and understanding its meaning is this middle vehicle. Cultivation, which is in accord with the Dharma, is the great vehicle. The ten thousand dharmas entirely penetrated (i.e. understood) to be complete, all undefiled, and the non-attachment to all the dharma marks with subjects for debate. Cultivate on your own, do not ask me, for at all times your self-nature is itself ‘thus’.”

Chih Ch’ang bowed and thanked the Master and served him to the end of the Master’s life.



      The Master said, "Chih Ch'ang, the Dharma doesn't even have one vehicle, much less four! Men's minds are what differ. If you see, hear, and recite, you belong to the small vehicle; if you understand and awaken, you belong to the middle vehicle; if you practice accordingly, you belong to the great vehicle. When you understand all dharmas, and when they are all perfected in your own mind without any obstructions, when you know that the ten thousand dharmas are the mind and the mind is in turn the ten thousand dharmas, and further you are not defiled by any state, then you belong to the Supreme Vehicle. But you must cultivate on your own; I can't do it for you.

            Eat your own food, fill yourself;

            End your own birth and death."

      From that time on, Chih Ch'ang served the Master. When he wanted a cup of tea, Chih Ch'ang brought it for him; when he was hungry, Chih Ch'ang brought him food. He served up until the Master's death, at which time he left Nan Hua Temple.