Filed in Zen (Chan)

The Real Buddha

Master Huang Po

Wisdom Collection

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Ninth-century master Huang Po represents the full-flowering of Ch' an (Zen) Buddhism in China. A proponent of the "sudden" approach to enlightenment, he was profoundly concerned with the notion of transmitting the dharma from master to student. He was disdainful of conceptual thought, and his recorded discourses stress the intuitive, wordless nature of enlightenment. The following translation, by John Blofeld, is taken from a series of anecdotes compiled by Huang Po's student p'ei Hsiu, in 849 C.E.


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 not green, nor yellow, and has neither form nor appearance. It does not belong to the categories of things which exist or do not exist, nor can it be thought of in terms of new or old. It is neither long nor short, big nor small, for it transcends all limits, measures, names, traces, and comparisons. It is that which you see before you—begin to reason about it and you at once fall into error. It is like the boundless void which cannot be fathomed or measured. The One Mind alone is the Buddha, and there is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient things, but that sentient beings are attached to forms and so seek externally for Buddhahood. By their very seeking they lose it, for that is using the Buddha to seek for the Buddha and using mind to grasp Mind.

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