To see the absence of thought is to have the six sense organs without stain.
To see the absence of thought is to possess a knowledge inclined towards the Buddha.
To see the absence of thought is to see things as they really are.
To see the absence of thought is the Middle Way in its ultimate sense.
To see the absence of thought is to see merits as numerous as the sands of the Ganges fully present in the moment.
To see the absence of thought is to master all the dharmas.
To see the absence of thought is to embrace all the dharmas.

The sitting (tso) I talk about means
not to give rise to thoughts.
The meditation (ch’an) I’m talking about
is to see the original nature.

Friends, all of you, each single one, possess the nature of a Buddha.

Friends listen attentively and consider carefully what I tell you!

Let us in short examine what’s meant by the original pure mind.

When you hear people tell of bodhi (awakening) don’t conceptualize that you must have bodhi. When you hear talk of Nirvana or purity or sunyata or samadhi don’t ruminate or conceptualize that you must have all that.

If you behave in this way – free from calculating, ruminating, conceptualizing, clinging – then you are tranquil and pure without first seeking tranquility and purity.

The nirvana sutra says, “To get rid of your passions is not Nirvana. To look upon them as no matter of yours, that is nirvana.”

A seeker of the Tao resembles a bird hovering in the air.

Meditation & Pointing Out Instructions

Friends discontinue all pondering over what is virtuous and what is not.

Don’t “freeze your thoughts” thus attaching yourselves to a purpose.

Don’t “stare” trying to fix your attention for your thoughts fixed by the direction of your eyes are then attached to a purpose.

Don’t purposely “concentrate your mind” and don’t “bring into the focus of your attention far and near objects of meditation”.

All that is useless.

The Vimalakirti sutra says that, “Bodhi is not a meditative state because it is free from recollection.”

This registers the fact that as it states in the Nirvana Sutra “one is by nature empty (not a part of this world) and therefore tranquil.”

The congregation asked the priest…

“Does your mind distinguish between right and wrong?”


“Is your mind attached to something somewhere? Does it return to that location and issue from it?”


“Is your mind coloured: blue, yellow, red or white?”


“Is your mind attached to something somewhere?”

“It is not.”

“Since as your Holiness has said, your mind is not attached to anything anywhere do you know that it is not attached?”

“I know.”

“You say you know?”

“I know.”

Now, let us penetrate to that state in which we are not attached, what do we get to know?

Not being attached we are tranquil and guileless.

This state underlying all motions and passions is called samadhi.

Penetrating to this fundamental state we encounter a natural wisdom that is conscious of this original tranquility and guilelessness.

This wisdom is called prajna.

The intimate relationship between samadhi and prajna is thus defined.

A sutra says, “In tranquility arises intuition.” This expresses the same.

An unattached mind is impossible without consciousness of this fact, this consciousness is impossible without an unattached mind.

Who is conscious of his mind being unattached needs no consciousness of other facts.

The Nirvana Sutra says, “When samadhi outweighs prajna, this increases illusion (avidya): when prajna outweighs samadhi, this increases heresy. When both are in balance, then the Buddha-nature is clearly seen.”

Now, let us penetrate with our mind to that state in which we are not attached and ask what we have got to know.

We know that our mind (in its undisturbed state) is blank and tranquil.

Such endeavour is useful.

The Lotus Sutra says the same.”The vision of the Tathagata is wide and large, profound and far-reaching.’”

Our mind (also) is not restricted within limits, like that of the Buddha it is wide and large; our mind is unlimited in application, like that of the Buddha it reaches every depth.

A Prajnaparamita Sutra says, “The Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas should keep their mind clean; they should not let it embrace alluring material things, good to see, to hear, to smell, to taste, to touch. Without being attached to anything their mind should work.”

If now you penetrate to that state in which your mind is not attached, and yet remain open to impressions and thus are conscious of the fact that your mind is not attached, then you have reached that state of original blankness and tranquility.

From that state of blankness and tranquility there arises an inner knowledge through which the blue, yellow, red, white things of this world are well distinguished. This is prajna. Yet no desires arise from these distinctions. That is samadhi.

Get conscious of the fact that in the natural state (your mind) is tranquil and pure, completely blank; (then it) is also unsupported and unattached, un­biased like empty ‘space, reaching everywhere, that is, identical with the tathata-kaya of the Buddhas.

Tathata (the ultimate inexpressible nature of all things) is (the quality) inherent in the absence of self-deception.
Because we understand this fact we preach freedom from self-deception (or attachment). \

One who looks at (things) free from self-deception, though fully seeing, hearing, feeling and knowing, is always blank (uninterested in single things) and tranquil; in one act he practises sila, samadhi and prajna simultaneously and fulfils the ten thousand conditions of virtue (iryapatha).

Then he possesses the “wisdom of the Tathagata which is wide and large, profound and far-reaching”.

What does”profound and far-reaching” mean?

When (one’s own) nature is clearly seen, then samadhi is profound and far-reaching; when one’s nature is not seen, it is not profound and far-reaching.

Use all your strength, my friends, so that you may attain salvation by Sudden Awakening.

When your eyes see a form, dearly distinguish every form, and yet no (desire) is evoked by these varying forms, when in their midst you remain unaffected, among them you attain salvation, then you have accomplished the samadhi of forms.

When your ears hear a sound … When your nose smells a fragrance … When your tongue tastes something savory … When your body feels a touch … When your manas distinguishes a dharma, and yet no (desire) is evoked by these varying dharmas, when in their midst you remain unaffected, among them you attain salvation, then you have accomplished the samadhi of dharmas.

When in this manner all the organs distinguish well, that is original prajna; when no (desire) arises, that is original Samadhi.

What the sutra calls “those mundane affairs with which the meditator is occupied while still dwelling in the supramundane sphere”, those various motions in this world – when in the midst of these activities he is not deceived (about their value­lessness as measured with the absolute standard), then ,samadhi and prajna are both practised and not one to the exclusion of the other.

Samadhi is not apart from prajna, prajna not apart from samadhi, just as, to use a mundane simile, lamp and light cannot exist one to the exclusion of the other. As seen from the light side, a lamp represents the latent aspect (of the lamp-light unit); as seen from the lamp side, light represents the manifest aspect (of this unit). Lamp and light are not two things, they cannot exist at different times; when there is light there is (also) a lamp, when there is a lamp there is (also) light . The same applies to samadhi and prajna. (For) samadhi represents the latent aspect of prajna, and prajna the manifest aspect of samadhi. Prajna and samadhi are not two things; whenever there is prajna there is samadhi, whenever there is samadhi there is prajna.

(Or we may say:) whenever there is prajna there is (also) non-prajna; whenever there is samadhi there is (also) non-samadhi.

Thus they must be practised together, not one by one.

The last two sentences express what Vimalakirti demonstrated by his silence (when asked about the meaning of) “entering the gate of true non duality”.

Zen Master e’s comment

To be free of self-deception is to be free of attachment.

Shen Hui’s teacher was Hui Neng. Hui Neng taught Shen Hui of the inseparability of Samadhi and Prajna. Samadhi means a mind not attached, free and still. Prajna is the knowing of this non-attached and still mind.

Now, through pointing directly to mind you’ve come to see and know for yourself this empty, clear and still knowingness.

It is not found in some far off temple. It is not given to you as a reward from another. It is solely discovered after a good friend shows you your own mind.

All the masters of zen, throughout all of time have merely held up this mind mirror so that we may too see our original face.

It is tranquil, empty, still knowingness.

Shen Hui said to be free and effortless like a “bird hovering in the air.”

My teacher said to me that “We’re like passengers and time is quickly passing us by.” To be a passenger is to be at ease just watching the world go by.

If you want to stop going around in circles and wasting your time then nurture awareness.

See into that nature of mind which is tranquil, non-attached and knowing.

You will see that this true mind has been with you since the beginning.

If you want true authentic happiness then nurture awareness. Awareness is the root of all that’s good. Ignorance is just a mind lost in its own projections and for that moment forgetful of it’s true nature.

This true nature is the same whether in a sentient being or a sage. The only difference is that the sage moves easily with the way, in harmony with circumstances, nurturing awareness in every moment. Non-attached and free.

My teacher said to me, “Moment to moment awaken.”

Awaken to each moment – free from grasping at appearances. Then you will be liberated and tranquility and wisdom will be yours no matter what appears. For you no longer attach to appearances.