My Comment:

Some of you may enjoy what has been passed down to us by the ancients, in this case the discourse of the Buddha to a senior monk, Subhuti. Here is a passage from Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Zen Keys” in which he explains the meaning of a certain part of the ancient text Vairacchedika-prainaparamita, also known as The Diamond Sutra. Since our consciousness is the content of our consciousness, by allowing new content into our awareness we change our consciousness. Enjoy!

Thich Nhat Hanh in “Zen Keys”:


There is no discrimination in reality in itself. But “reality” in the world of concepts is full of discriminations: subject/object, I/Not-I, etc. This is not truly reality but an erroneous image of reality. The origin of this erroneous image is called discrimination or imagination(vikalpa) in the Vijanavada school.

This flower, for example, which is near the window, is a true flower in its non-discriminated reality. Because we discriminate it is no longer revealed. In its place stands an erroneous image of it. The word “empty” which at first signified the absence of permanent identity, now acquires another meaning: the image created by the concept does not represent any reality, it is imaginary.

The A Which Is Not A Is Truly A

In the Vajracchedika-prajnaparamita we find many expressions given in the form, “The A which is not A is truly A.” Let us take several examples: “Living beings, I say that they are not living beings, this is why they are truly living beings.” “The Buddhist doctrine, I say is not the doctrine of Buddhism, this is why it is truly the Buddhist doctrine.”

What does that signify? It is quite simple. Reality is only reality when it is not grasped conceptually. ‘What we construct through our concepts is not reality. It can also be said, “This flower, which is not a concept, is truly a flower.” Here again is found the rejection of the principle of permanent identity, and a tendency to see things by means of the go-between of conceptualization. The practitioner of the Way must enter into direct contact with reality, without allowing concepts to separate him from this reality. Reality cannot be conceived, nor can it be described in words. Reality is reality; it is thus. This is the significance of the word thusness (tathata).

source: Thich Nhat Hahn, Zen Keys, PDF file p.58






True Mind and False Mind

Mind of Unity and Thusness

HUANG Po, in speaking of the reality of true nature (what he called “the mind of Unity and Thusness”), said:

“Buddhas and living beings participate in the same one and unique mind. There is no separation concerning this mind. Since time immemorial this mind has never been created or destroyed; it is neither green nor yellow; it has neither form nor aspect; it is neither being nor non-being; it is neither old nor new, neither short nor long, neither big nor small. It transcends all the intellectual categories, all words and expressions, all signs and marks, all comparisons and discriminations. It is what it is; if one tries to conceive it, one loses it. Unlimited like space, it has no boundaries and cannot be measured. This Mind is Unity and Thusness, it is Buddha.”

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the taste of zen

To Be Mindful

Thich Nhat Hanh:

The process to Light Existence, Produce the Power of Concentration, and Bring Wisdom to Bloom is called in Buddhism the Process of the Three Studies. Sila, Samadhi and Prajna (Discipline, Concentration, and Wisdom) are the Sanskrit terms. The word “Sila” (Discipline) must here be taken to signify Awareness of Being. Sila does not denote rules to prevent immoral actions. To be attached to rules without grasping their meaning is to take a means for an end; it is to fall into what Buddhism calls attachment to rules, one of the major obstacles to knowledge. It is not by virtue of moral conduct that one can realize Wisdom, but by maintaining body and mind in the permanent Awareness of Being. That is why the application of thoughts leading to Awareness of Being is called the “Essentials of Discipline. Continue reading

the little book – Thay

A delightful and enlightening read on Thich Nhat Hanh’s youth when he first entered the Zen monastery:

I ENTERED THE ZEN MONASTERY when I was seventeen years old. After a week’s adjustment to monastic life, I presented myself before the monk who had been put in charge of me to ask him to teach me the Zen “way.” He gave me a small book printed in Chinese characters and recommended I learn it by heart.

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