The Master said to me: All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but the One Mind (consciousness), besides 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 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 (as the universe)... 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 (consciousness) alone is 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 the Mind. Even though they do their utmost for a full eon, they will not be able to attain to it.
They do not know that if they put a stop to conceptual thought and forget their anxiety, the Buddha will appear before them, for this Mind is the Buddha and the Buddha is all living beings. It is not the less for being manifested in ordinary beings, nor is it greater for being manifested in the Buddhas.
As to performing the six-paramitas and vast number of similar practices, or gaining merits as countless as the sands of the Ganges, since you are fundamentally complete in every respect, you should not try to supplement that perfection by such meaningless practices.
When there is occasion for them, perform them, and when the occasion has passed, remain quiescent. If you are not absolutely convinced that the Mind (consciousness) is the Buddha (the Absolute), and if you are attached to forms, practices, and meritorious performances, your way of thinking is false and quite incompatible with the Way.
The Mind is the Buddha, nor are there any other Buddhas or any other mind. It is bright and spotless as the void, having no form or appearance whatever. To make use of your minds to think 'conceptually' is to leave the substance and attach yourselves to form. The Ever-Existent Buddha is not a Buddha of form or attachment.
To practice the six-paramitas and a myriad of similar practices with the intention of becoming a Buddha thereby is to advance by stages, but the Ever-Existent Buddha is not a Buddha of stages (since it is ever present).
Only awake to the One Mind and there is nothing whatsoever to be attained. This is the real Buddha. The Buddha and all sentient beings are the One Mind (your own awareness) and nothing else.
There is only the One Mind and not a particle of anything else on which to lay hold, for this Mind is the Buddha. If you students of the Way do not awake to this Mind substance (consciousness), you will overlay Mind with conceptual thoughts, you will seek the Buddha outside yourselves, and you will remain attached to forms, pious practices, and so on, all of which are harmful and at all the way to supreme knowledge.
This Mind (consciousness) is no mind of conceptual thought and it is completely detached from form. So Buddhas and sentient beings do not differ at all.
If you can only rid yourself of conceptual thought, you will have accomplished everything. But if you students of the Way do not rid yourselves of conceptual thought in a flash, even though you strive for eon after eon, you will never accomplish it.
The building up of good and evil both involve attachment to form. Those who, being attached to form do evil, have to undergo various incarnations unnecessarily; while those who being attached to form do good, subject themselves to toil and privation equally to no purpose. In either case it is better to achieve sudden Self-realization and to grasp the fundamental Dharma (consciousness). This Dharma is Mind beyond which there is no Dharma, and this Mind is the Dharma beyond which there is no more mind.
Our original Buddha-Nature is in highest truth devoid of any atom of objectivity. It is void, omnipresent, silent, pure; it is glorious and mysterious peaceful joy - and that is all. Enter deeply into it by awakening to it yourself. That which is before you (awareness) is it, in all it's fullness, utterly complete. There is naught beside.
This pure Mind, the source of everything, shines forever and on all with the brilliance of it's own perfection. But the people of the world do not awake to it, regarding only that which sees, hears and feels and knows as mind. Blinded by their own sight, hearing, feeling, and knowing, they do not perceive the spiritual brilliance of the source-substance (consciousness).
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.
Therefore, if you students of the Way seek to progress through seeing, hearing, feeling, and knowing, when you are deprived of your perceptions, your way to the Mind will be cut off and you will find nowhere to enter. 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 or 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 (consciousness).
From The Zen Teaching of Huang Po