Saturday, January 3, 2009

Master Huineng & 'Buddha Space'

The capacity of Mind is wide and great, it is like emptiness of space. To sit with a mind emptied makes one fall into emptiness of indifference. Space contains the sun, the moon, stars, constellations, great earth, mountains, and rivers. All grasses and plants, good men and bad men, bad things and good things, Heaven and hell-they are all in empty space. The emptiness of [Self-] nature as it is in all people is just like this.

(Master Huineng)

Master Huineng, the much-celebrated sixth patriarch of Zen Buddhism, was a man full of wisdom. Why? Because he was empty. Empty of what? Empty of himself – there really was no Huineng at all! But, this is ridiculous, you might reasonably conclude. Yet, is it? Take a look now, a little peek if you dare, and see who or what it is reading these words now. What do they appear in – a limited and limiting mind, or the spaciousness nothingness of the Mind that is ‘Buddha Space’?

The e-book quoted in this article is available for free download at the following location:

‘Manual of Zen Buddhism’ by D.T. Suzuki


Barry said...

Thank you for this post, Gary.

My root teacher, Zen Master Seung Sahn, used to encourage students to keep a mind that was "clear like space" - an echo of Huineng's teaching.

"Clear" has different connotations than "emptiness" of course - the difference perhaps between clarity and blankness.

Best wishes for 2009!

They call him James Ure said...

Empty of what? Empty of himself – there really was no Huineng at all!

Exactly. Well said and straight to the point.

G said...

And what is this emptiness full of? The world. Empty of self and yet full of the world! To see this is clarity indeed.

Best wishes for 2009 to you guys too.

JD said...

Happy New Year Gary. I 've been away so I didn't get to say it before. Be well now.

G said...

Happy New Year to you, too, Justin!

May the coming year be an enlightening one for us all.


madsolitaire said...

The word 'emptiness' is often misunderstood by non-Buddhists. I often wonder if there is another English word that could better illuminate the meaning of 'sunyata'. I like the word 'spaciousness' better.

And also the reason why i like the title of yr present blog Buddha Space :-)

May you and your family be well.

G said...

Attaching to these terms can also create problems in actually experiencing shunyata, as well, don't you think, Solitaire?

I like the word 'spaciousness' too, and it's no coincidence that this blog combines the words 'Buddha' and 'Space'. They were chosen carefully after some reflection on the nature of Buddhist meditation & that which is also called 'Buddha Nature'.

Thanks for the comments,

Gregor said...

Makes me really question my conditioned perception of "my" identity --- the larger an outlook we take the less divided we seem from each other.


G said...

That's right, Gregor.

In the emptiness there's no separation as there's no one here to be separate from the world. Becoming alive to the unity that ties all things together in this glorious no-thing is a revelation from...nowhere!


buddhist amulet said...

good book

G said...

Yes, well worth reading, re-reading, and re-reading again!