~Mipham Rinpoche (1846-1912):
Stillness state of no thought.
Occurrence “when various kinds of thoughts arise”.
Awareness is being conscious of either of these states.
Being mindful of these two states, “you will come to understand the following vital point: Various feelings such as joy and sadness arise from your own mind and dissolve back into your own mind…”
And, “by looking directly into the essence of your mind, whether it is still or thinking, you will understand that it is empty and, even though it perceives many things, it does not possess any entity whatsoever. This so-called emptiness is not a blank void like space….
[It] is an emptiness endowed with all supreme aspects….[It] has an unceasing clarity that is fully conscious and cognizant.
“When realizing this secret point, although there is no separate watcher or something watched, to experience the naturally luminous and innate mind-essence is known as recognizing awareness.
This is what is pointed out in both mahamudra and dzogchen.”
“There is nothing easier than this, but it is essential to practice.”
I made this poster and hung it above my bed after reading these words of Thich Nhat Hanh:
“The true person doesn’t go looking for an outside master. WE are in charge of our own destiny and we have to be responsible for each of our own words, thoughts, and actions. Mindfulness will help. Then we realize, ‘I’m thinking like this. I’m responsible for these thoughts. I’ve spoken like that, I’m responsible for my words. I’m doing this, and I’m responsible for this action.’
This is the page I contemplated this morning in my Driftwood Studio. It has to do with enlightenment being something that happens suddenly, from one moment to the next and yet many of us study with great patience. Master Linji gives us the sense that this study and this patience are part of enlightenment, not really “preparation FOR” enlightenment. The words of the sutras or of any text that inspires us are enjoyable and that is why we read and contemplate them. Enjoy this short text of Thich Nhat Hanh speaking of the teachings of Linji:
Every morning (if it’s not storming) I walk ten minutes from our duplex down to my driftwood studio and sit with my coffee or tea to read, write and contemplate. Right now I am reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s excellent book “Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Go” on the teachings of the Zen Master Linji. I also have my Sony eBook reader with me that has several other favorites I am currently reading off and on.
I discovered that it is necessary, absolutely necessary, to believe in nothing. That is, we have to believe in something which has no form and no color—something which exists before all forms and colors appear. This is a very important point. No matter what god or doctrine you believe in, if you become attached to it, your belief will be based more or less on a self-centered idea. You strive for a perfect faith in order to save yourself. But it will take time to attain such a perfect faith. You will be involved in an idealistic practice.
“Master Linji tells us … If we search for something outside ourselves, we will never find it. The things we are looking for aren’t in these places. This message appears frequently in Master Linji’s teachings, but it is especially clear here. If we search for something outside ourselves, we will never find it. We have, within us, all the seeds of Buddhahood. The Buddha and the masters don’t belong to the past, the future, or another place. They are here with us in the present moment.
The following statements by these gentlemen on the topics of reincarnation, karma and presence reflect my own views. Many years ago as a young man I had a vision of great magnitude in which I was standing on a wide path, a road, which came spiraling up from below. It was like an endless funnel and this road, this path, was spiraling around and up the inside of this funnel-like landscape. I recognized it as the path of time and of myriad past human generations. As I gazed mesmerized by the sheer magnitude of this scenario, someone on the opposite side of this ‘inverted mountain’ waved to me. In that moment I waved in return and recognized that the one ‘over there’ was me in another life. Continue reading
“The more you understand our thinking, the more you find it difficult to talk about it. The purpose of my talking is to give you some idea of our way, but actually, it is not something to talk about, but something to practice. The best way is just to practice without saying anything. When we talk about our way, there is apt to be some misunderstanding, because the true way always has at least two sides, the negative and the positive. When we talk about the negative side, the positive side is missing, and when we talk about the positive side, the negative side is missing. Continue reading
“It is well to note that while Zen Keys often presents weighty aspects of Buddhist philosophy, Nhat Hanh begins his book with the concrete, practical aspects of life in a Zen monastery, where the emphasis is not on the learning of philosophic concepts but on simple labor and a life of awareness. For in Zen, intellectual learning is nothing but the studying of the menu, while actual practice is the eating of the meal.