Hui Neng - Quotes

On Essence of Mind and Emptiness

What is Maha? It means "great". The capacity of the mind is as great as that of space. It is infinite, neither round nor square, neither great nor small, neither green nor yellow, neither red nor white, neither above nor below, neither long nor short, neither angry nor happy, neither right nor wrong, neither good nor evil, neither first nor last. All Buddha-Lands are as empty as space. Intrinsically our transcendental nature is empty and not a single dharma (thing, phenomena) can be attained. It is the same with the Essence of Mind, which is a state of "Absolute Emptiness" (i.e., the Emptiness of Form).

Essence of Mind is Great (Maha)

Learned Audience, the illimitable Emptiness of the universe is capable of holding myriads of things of various shape and form, such as the sun, the moon, stars, mountains, rivers, men, dharmas pertaining to goodness or badness, deva planes, hells, great oceans, and all the mountains of the Mahameru.

Space takes in all of these, and so does the emptiness of our nature. We say that the Essence of Mind is great because it embraces all things, since all things are within our nature. When we see the goodness or the badness of other people we are not attracted by it, nor repelled by it, nor attached to it; so that our attitude of mind is as empty as space. In this way, we say our mind is great. Therefore we call it "Maha".

On Prajna

When our mind works without hindrance, and is at liberty to "come" or to "go", then it is in a state of "Prajna".

Samadhi and Prajna

Samadhi is the quintessence of Prajna, while Prajna is the activity of Samadhi. At the very moment that we attain Prajna, Samadhi is therewith; and vice versa. If you understand this principle, you understand the equilibrium of Samadhi and Prajna. A disciple should not think that there is a distinction between "Samadhi begets Prajna" and "Prajna begets Samadhi".To hold such an opinion would imply that there are two characteristics in the Dharma.

For one whose tongue is ready with good words but whose heart is impure, Samadhi and Prajna are useless, because they do not balance each other. On the other hand, when we are good in mind as well as in words, and when our outward appearance and our inner feelings harmonize with each other, then it is a case of equilibrium of Samadhi and Prajna.

Abstracts from On the High Seat of "The Treasure of the Law" - The Sutra of the 6 th Patriarch, Hui Neng, translation by A.F.Price and Wong Mou-Lam.

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