Sosan - Korean Son/Zen Grand Master 1520-1604

Here from the very beginning, there is this One Thing (consciousness), constantly lucid and mysterious, it has never been born and it has never died. It cannot be named or depicted.

One in All, All in One - if only this is realized, no more worry about your being perfect!

Master Hui Neng - 6th Patriarch of Chinese Ch'an / Zen 638 - 713

Who would have thought that the essence of mind is intrinsically pure!

Who would have thought that the essence of mind is intrinsically free from becoming or annihilation!

Who would have thought that the essence of mind is intrinsically Self sufficient.

Who would have thought that the essence of mind is intrinsically free from change!

Who would have thought that all these things are the manifestation of the essence of the mind!

Vairocana - Mahayana school

When one has awoken to the sameness of everything, there is great enlightenment.

Hui-neng / Daikan 637 - 713

As far as Buddha-nature is concerned, there is no difference between an enlightened man and an ignorant one. What makes the difference is that one realizes it, while the other is kept in ignorance of it.

Hui Hai - Chinese Ch'an / Zen Master 720 - 814

Mind, Buddha and living beings do not differ from one another.

The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma

This mind, through endless kalpas without beginning, has never varied. It has never lived or died, appeared or disappeared, increased or decreased. It's not pure or impure, good or evil, past or future.

It's not true or false. It's not male or female. It doesn't appear as a monk or a layman, an elder or a novice, a sage or a fool, a buddha or a mortal. It strives for no realization and suffers no karma. It has no strength or form. It's like space. You can't possess it and you can't lose it.

Its movements can't be blocked by mountains, rivers, or rock walls... No karma can restrain this real body. But this mind is subtle and hard to see. It's not the same as the sensual mind. Everyone wants to see this mind, and those who move their hands and feet by its light are as many as the grains of sand along the Ganges, but when you ask them, they can't explain it. It's theirs to use. Why don't they see it?

... Only the wise know this mind, this mind called dharma-nature, this mind called liberation. Neither life nor death can restrain this mind. Nothing can. It's also called the Unstoppable Tathagata, the Incomprehensible, the Sacred Self, the Immortal, the Great Sage. Its names vary but not its essence. (pp. 21-23)

The Eye Never Sleeps: Striking to the heart of Zen

This essence is not born and can never die. It exists eternally. Some call it energy; others call it spirit. But what is it? No one knows. Any concept we have of what it is can only be an analogy. (p.93)

What is your true Self? It will forever be a mystery, because it is ungraspable and unknowable. Though it is beyond all labels and words, forever unnameable, we give true Self all kinds of names: Mind, Buddha, true nature, original face. They are just labels. When you experience true Self, you just experience it. There is no one there experiencing It; there is just It. (p. 14)

The other side of the coin is that I am not It. What we normally define as who we are, this particular body and mind, is not It. The light, the divine, Buddha-nature, no matter what you call it, only comes through me, as it comes through you. When we drop attachment to body and mind there is no distinction between It and Self. As the Third Patriarch (of Zen Buddhism) says, any distinction we make sets heaven and earth infinitely apart. If we attach to the notion that "I am It," then our egos swell up and we become very arrogant. We must avoid clinging to the experience of enlightenment, the realization of being It. It flows through me; I am just a conduit. (p. 54)

Buddha Nature: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

No words can describe it
No example can point to it
Samsara does not make it worse
Nirvana does not make it better
It has never been born
It has never ceased
It has never been liberated
It has never been deluded
It has never existed
It has never been nonexistent
It has no limits at all
It does not fall into any kind of category

(p. 142)

We and all sentient beings fundamentally have the Buddha nature as our innermost essence.

(p. 59)

When the nature of mind is introduced by a master, it is just too simple for us to believe. Our ordinary mind tells us this cannot be, there must be something more to it than this. It must surely be more "glorious", with light blazing in space around us, angels with flowing golden hair swooping down to meet us, and a deep Wizard of Oz voice announcing, "Now you have been introduced to the nature of your mind." There is no such drama. (p. 54)

All too often people come to meditation in the hope of extraordinary results, like visions, lights, or some supernatural miracle. When no such thing occurs, they feel extremely disappointed. But the real miracle of meditation is more ordinary and much more useful... (p. 80)

The real glory of meditation lies not in any method but in its continual living experience of presence, in its bliss, clarity, peace, and most important of all, complete absense of grasping. The diminishing of grasping in yourself is a sign that you are becoing freer of yourself. And the more you experience this freedom, the clearer the sign that the ego and the hopes and fears that keep it alive are dissolving, and the closer you will come to the infinitely generous "wisdom of egolessness." When you live in the wisdom home, you'll no longer find a barrier between "I" and "you," "this" and "that," "inside" and "outside;" you'll have come, finally, to your true home, the state of non-duality. (p. 77)

When you realize the nature of mind, layers of confusion peel away. You don't actually "become" a buddha, you simply cease, slowly, to be deluded. And being a buddha is not being some omnipotent spiritual superman, but becoming at last a true human being. (p.53)

While meditating, I sit quietly and rest in the nature of mind; I don't question or doubt whether I am in the "correct" state or not. There is no effort, only rich understanding, wakefulness, and unshakable certainty. When I am in the nature of mind, the ordinary mind is no longer there. There is no need to sustain or confirm a sense of being: I simply am. (p. 63)

The Ego: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

So ego, then, is the absence of true knowledge of who we really are, together with its result: a doomed clutching on, at all costs, to a cobbled together and makeshift image of ourselves, an inevitably chameleon charlatan self that keeps changing and has to, to keep alive the fiction of its existence...Ego is then defined as incessant movements of grasping at a delusory notion of "I" and "mine," self and other, and all the concepts, ideas, desires, and activity that will sustain that false construction...The fact that we need to grasp at all and go on and on grasping shows that in the depths of our being we know that the self does not inherently exist...

(The ego's greatest triumph) is to inveigle us into believing its best interests are our best interests, and even into identifying our very survival with its own. This is a savage irony, considering that ego and its grasping are at the root of all our suffering. Yet ego is so convincing, and we have been its dupe for so long, that the thought that we might ever become egoless terrifies us. (p. 117)

The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma

The buddha is your real body, your original mind. This mind has no form or characteristics, no cause or effect, no tendons or bones. It's like space. You can't hold it. It's not the mind of materialists or nihilists. Except for a tathagata, no one else -- no mortal, no deluded being -- can fathom it. (p. 43)

"Two people have been living in you all your life. One is the ego, garrulous, demanding, hysterical, calculating; the other is the hidden spiritual being, whose still voice of wisdom you have only rarely heard or attended to

...you have uncovered in yourself your own wise guide. Because he or she knows you through and through, since he or she is you, your guide can help you, with increasing clarity and humor, negotiate all the difficulties of your thoughts and emotions...

The more often you listen to this wise guide, the more easily you will be able to change your negative moods yourself, see through them, and even laugh at them for the absurd dramas and ridiculous illusions that they are...

The more you listen, the more guidance you will receive. If you follow the voice of your wise guide... and let the ego fall silent, you come to experience that presence of wisdom and joy and bliss that you really are. (p. 120-121)

The Unfettered Mind

The Buddha and all sentient beings are not two. (p. 28)

The Dhammapada

The real brahmin is the one who:
Has crossed beyond duality (373)
Knows no this shore, other shore, or both (385)
Is settled in mind, without inflowing thoughts (386)
Is without attachment (396)
Endures undisturbed criticism, ill-treatment and bonds, (and is) strong in patience(399)
Is without anger, devout, upright, free from craving, disciplined and in his last body (400)
Has experienced the end of his suffering here in this life, who has set down the burden, freed! (402)
(verses 373-402)

Freed by full realisation and at peace, the mind of such a man is at peace, and his speech and action peaceful.

He has no need for faith who knows the uncreated, who has cut off rebirth, who has destroyed any opportunity for good or evil, and cast away all desire. He is indeed the ultimate man. (96-97)

The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma

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. (p. 33)

Zen poem

You cannot describe it
You cannot picture it
You cannot admire it
You cannot feel it
It is your real Self
Which has no hiding place
When the world is destroyed
It will not be destroyed

The Zen Teaching of Huang Po


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

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