Our mind is the basis of everything, and from our mind everything arises, Samsara and nirvana, ordinary sentient beings and enlightened ones. Consider the way beings transmigrate in the impure vision of samsara: even though the essence of the mind, the true nature of our mind, is totally pure right from the beginning, nevertheless, because pure mind is temporarily obscured by the impurity of ignorance, there is no self-recognition of our own state. Through this lack of self-recognition arise illusory thoughts and actions created by the passions. Thus various negative karmic causes are accumulated and since their maturation as effects is inevitable, one suffers bitterly, transmigrating in the six states of existence. Thus, not recognizing one’s own state is the cause of transmigration, and through this cause one becomes the slave of illusions and distractions.
A samurai, who was also a fencing master had an audience with Master Bankei.
“After years of training, “began the samurai, “I have reached the stage where my hands respond perfectly according to my mind. Now I am at a level of skill where I can defeat opponents without even picking up my sword. My gaze pierces them to their bones and disrupts them completely. It is the same penetrating look you yourself use to assess the depth of a person’s enlightenment.”
You say you have perfected your skill in your art,” Bankei said.
“Now, try to strike me!”
The samurai hesitated for an instant.
“My blow has already fallen,” said Bankei.
The man’s jaw sagged. “I’m astonished,” he sighed. “Your stroke is swifter than the spark off a flint. My head rolls at my feet. Please, master, teach me the essentials of Zen.”
– Zen master Bankei (1622-1693)
In terms of the nature of mind, the true nature of mind, I don’t know what I could say about that. It’s just there. Usually we think of the true nature of mind as something really high, and although I haven’t done a lot of practice in relation to the true nature of mind, if I speak from my own experience of this, I could say that eventually we will return to what we were bored with in the beginning and discover that was it.
So we start off by thinking that what we have right now is too simple, too ordinary. The true nature of mind must be something special, something high, something prettier than what we have now. And what we have now doesn’t really satisfy our desires, it’s not very attractive to us, but if you put some serious effort into your practice, then eventually I think that recognizing the true nature of mind means returning to that place where you started with — your boring unattractive, not new, not high, mental state — and actually recognize that it has been what you’re looking for.
– 17th Karmapa
With thanks to Just Dharma Quotes
When looking into the nature of mind, don’t expect to gain some exceptionally high or profound realization, or to see anything new. Nor should you hesitate or doubt your ability to meditate. Just trust that the nature of mind is simply the mind itself left in an unaltered state, and do all that you can to sustain this, without distraction, at all times, during and between the meditation sessions. Don’t expect to gain realization in just a few months, or even years. Whether you develop any of the qualities that come from the practice or not, remain steadfastly determined and resolve to continue the practice with diligence, day and night, throughout this life, future lives and the bardo state.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
With thanks to Just Dharma Quotes
“Buddhas and all sentient beings are the One Mind and nothing else. This Mind is no mind of conceptual thought and it is completely detached from form. So buddhas and sentient beings do not differ at all. The ever existing Buddha is formless. It is only necessary to awake to the One Mind, and there is nothing whatsoever to attain. This is the real Buddha.”
~The Zen Teaching of Huang Po~
The Master said to me: All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but the One Mind, beside which nothing exists. This Mind, which is without beginning, is unborn and indestructible..
It is that which you see before you — begin to reason about it and you fall into error. It is like a boundless void which can’t be fathomed or measured.
The One Mind alone is the Buddha and there is no distinction between buddhas and mortal beings. But that mortal minds, by identifying with form, seek externally for Buddhahood. By their very seeking, they lose it, for that is using the Buddha to seek the Buddha. For that is using mind to find Mind.
They do not know that, if they were to cease conceptual thought processes, the Buddha is realized, for this mind is the Buddha and the Buddha is all sentient beings. It is not the less for being manifested in ordinary entities, not is it greater for being manifested in the buddhas.
The mind is the Buddha, nor are there any other buddhas or any other mind. It is bright and pure as the void, having no form or appearance whatsoever. To make use of your mind to think conceptually is to lose Buddhahood and find the confusion of mortal life by identifying with form.
Buddhas and all sentient beings are the One Mind and nothing else. This Mind is no mind of conceptual thought and it is completely detached from form. So buddhas and sentient beings do not differ at all.
The ever existing Buddha is formless. It is only necessary to awake to the One Mind, and there is nothing whatsoever to attain. This is the real Buddha.
If students can only rid themselves of conceptual thought, all will become clear. But if students do not rid themselves of conceptual thought, even though you strive eon after eon, confusion will always be present.
Our original Buddha-nature is, in highest truth, devoid of any atom of objective identification with form. It is void, omnipresent, silent, pure; it is a glorious and mysterious peaceful joy – and that is all. Enter deeply into it..
That which is before you is it, in all its fullness, utterly complete. There is nothing else besides. Even if you go through all the stages of a bodhisattva’s progress towards Buddhahood, one by one; when at last, in a single flash, you attain to full realization, you will be realizing the Buddha-nature which has been with you all the time, and by all the foregoing stages you have added to it nothing at all.
You will see that all those eons of work and achievement are no better than unreal actions performed in a dream.
This pure Mind, the source of everything, shines forever and on all with the brilliance of its own perfection. But the people of the world do not awake to it, regarding only that which sees, hears, feels, and knows, as mind. Blinded by their own sight, hearing, feeling and knowing, they do not perceive the brilliance of the source-substance.
If they would only eliminate all conceptual thought in a flash, that source-substance would manifest itself like the sun ascending through the void and illuminating the whole universe without hindrance or bounds..
Only realize that, though real Mind is expressed in these perceptions, it neither forms part of them nor is separate from them. You should not start reasoning from these perceptions, nor allow them to give rise to conceptual thought; yet nor should you seek the One Mind apart from them or abandon them in your pursuit of the Dharma.
Do not keep them nor abandon them nor dwell in them nor cleave to them. Above, below and around you, all is spontaneously existing, for there is nowhere which is outside the Buddha Mind.”
– Shunryu Suzuki
from the book “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind”
When we talk about the true nature of mind, when we say “nature,” it means the actual state, the actual situation that the mind is in. It’s simply a matter of recognizing what is there, what is actually there. So sometimes what is tricky for us to understand is that the reason we have not recognized the true nature of our mind is not because it is too profound, or too difficult. It is because it is too simple or too easy. The masters of meditation of the past say that we fail to recognize the true nature of mind because it is so simple that we fail to trust it.
So the true nature of mind is simply what we are right now, it is our uncontrived natural state. Since we are in such a habit of living our lives in contrived states, and states where we are always adding concepts onto things, it’s difficult for us to return to the way we naturally are.
– 17th Karmapa
If, as in a dream, you see a light brighter than the sun, your remaining attachments will suddenly come to an end and the nature of reality will be revealed. Such an occurrence serves as the basis for enlightenment. But this is something only you know. You can’t explain it to others.
Or if, while you’re walking, standing, sitting, or lying in a quiet grove, you see a light, regardless of whether it’s bright or dim, don’t tell others and don’t focus on it. It’s the light of your own nature.
Of if, while you’re walking, standing, sitting, or lying in the stillness and darkness of night, everything appears as though in daylight, don’t be startled. It’s your own mind about to reveal itself.
Or if, while you’re dreaming at night, you see the moon and stars in all their clarity, it means the workings of your mind are about to end. But don’t tell others.
With thanks to Just Dharma Quotes