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    Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening

    A Classic Zen text written in the 8th century by Hui Hai. He was a student of Ma-tsu and from the same line as Hui Neng, Huang Po and Rinzai (Lin-chi).

  • Don't Take Your Life Personally

    Ajahn Sumedho urges us to trust in awareness and find out for ourselves what it is to experience genuine liberation from mental anguish and suffering.

  • Perfect Wisdom: Prajnaparamita Texts

    The Short Prajnaparamita Texts were composed in India between 100 BC and AD 600. They contain some of the most well known Buddhist texts such as The Perfection of Wisdom in 700 Lines, The Heart Sutra, and The Diamond Sutra.

  • Fingers and Moons, by Trevor Leggett

    Trevor Leggett points to the truth beyond words, beyond explanations and methods.

  • Experience Beyond Thinking: Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation. An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation and the reflections of an ordinary practitioner. Used as a guide by meditation groups.

    An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation.

  • Understanding Karma and Rebirth A Buddhist Perspective

    Meditations and exercises to help us understand karma and rebirth and to live from the unborn moment.

  • The Old Zen Master by Trevor Leggett

    Stories, parables, and examples pointing to the spiritual implications of practical events in daily life.

  • Teachings of a Buddhist Monk

    Modern practical teachings from an American monk living within one of the oldest Buddhist traditions.

Your own spiritual light will shine forth permanently, by Hui Neng

Finial of a Buddhist Monk’s Staff (Shakujō)Bhikkhu Zhi Chang, a native of Gui Xi of Xin Zhou, joined the Order in his childhood, and was very zealous in his efforts to realize the Essence of Mind. One day, he came to pay homage to the Patriarch, and was asked by the latter whence and why he came.

‘I have recently been to the White Cliff Mountain in Hong Zhou,’ replied he, ‘to interview the Master Da Tong, who was good enough to teach me how to realize the Essence of Mind and thereby attain Buddhahood. But as I still have some doubts, I have travelled far to pay you respect. Will you kindly clear them up for me, Sir.’

‘What instruction did he give you?’ asked the Patriarch.

‘After staying there for three months without being given any instruction, and being zealous for the Dharma, I went alone to his chamber one night and asked him what was my Essence of Mind. “Do you see the illimitable void?”‘ he asked. ‘Yes, I do,’ I replied. Then he asked me whether the void had any particular form, and when I said that the void is formless and therefore cannot have any particular form, he said, “Your Essence of Mind is exactly like the void. To realize that nothing can be seen is “Right View.” To realize that nothing is knowable is “True Knowledge.” To realize that it is neither green nor yellow, neither long nor short, that it is pure by nature, that its quintessence is perfect and clear, is to realize the Essence of Mind and thereby attain Buddhahood, which is also called the Buddha-knowledge.’ As I do not quite understand his teaching, will you please enlighten me, Sir.”

‘His teaching indicates,’ said the Patriarch, ‘that he still retains the arbitrary concepts of “Views’ and ‘Knowledge,” and this explains why he fails to make it clear to you. Listen to my stanza:

To realize that nothing can be seen but to retain the concept of ‘Invisibility’
Is like the surface of the sun obscured by passing clouds.

To realize that nothing is knowable but to retain the concept of ‘Unknowability’
May be likened to a clear sky disfigured by a lightning flash.

To let these arbitrary concepts rise spontaneously in your mind
Indicates that you have misidentified the Essence of Mind,
and that you have not yet found the skilful means to realize it.

If you realize for one moment that these arbitrary concepts are wrong,
Your own spiritual light will shine forth permanently.’

Having heard this Zhi Chang at once felt that his mind was enlightened. Thereupon, he submitted the following stanza to the Patriarch:

To allow the concepts of ‘Invisibility’ and ‘Unknowability’ to rise in the mind
Is to seek Bodhi without freeing oneself from the concepts of phenomena.

He who is puffed up by the slightest impression, ‘I am now enlightened,’
Is no better than he was when under delusion.

Had I not put myself at the feet of the Patriarch I should have been bewildered without knowing the right way to go.

Extract from the The Sutra of Hui-Neng

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