HISAMATSU SHIN'ICHI 2 



What I should like to call Oriental Nothingness is, in my opinion, a Nothingness ("Nothing," "Non-Being," or "Not") 3 peculiar to the Orient.  It is, especially in contrast to Western culture, the fundamental moment of "Oriental" culture.  I also consider it to be the core of Buddhism, and, moreover, the essence of Chan.  Further, it is the living experience of Self-realization which constitutes the concrete base of my own religion and philosophy.  I have from time to time already written about it in my various works according to the respective themes of those works.  But since these treatments are fragmentary and unintegrated, I should like here to single out the characteristics of this Nothingness and to present, through a negative as well as a positive delineation of those characteristics, an all-inclusive explanation.

The mode of explanation thus employed is analytical and conceptual.  It seeks to differentiate clearly Oriental Nothingness from other possible kinds of nothingness in order that it not be confused with them.  Oriental Nothingness thus conceptualized and discriminated from other kinds of nothingness is, of course, not the true, concrete, living Nothingness.  That it can not avoid being simply a shadow of the true Nothingness must be said to be a fate which a conceptual explanation can not escape.


In spite of this, however, throughout the centuries conceptual discourses concerning Oriental Nothingness have never been lacking.  This, in part, is due to the mere conceptual demands and scholarly interests of men.  But it must also be said to be due in large measure to a religious impulse.  This is the religious impulse to provide an unerring signpost or exemplification for the one who, seeking to awaken to Himself, is trying to get into exact accord (p. 66) with Nothingness and to know it for himself very much as he would know for himself hotness and coldness.  Descriptions of Nothingness by modern scholars usually result from an academic interest. The various patriarchs up to now, on the other hand, out of this impulse to help man come to his Self-realization, intentionally discriminated Nothingness, which is beyond discrimination, in the attempt to make a compass to sail the ocean of fog and to light a true beacon for the one seeking to awaken to Himself.


Consequently, although both patriarchs and scholars have engaged in this scholarly inquiry and conceptualization, we must recognize that there is between them a difference in their objective and in the nature of their concern.  In so far, however, as Oriental Nothingness is being treated scholarly and conceptually, that it must be discriminated precisely goes without saying.  For regardless of the extent to which it may derive from the impulse to help man come to his Self-realization, if the treatment or presentation while taking a conceptual form lacks conceptual preciseness, it will fail even in its primary objective.


                         I. A Negative Delineation

What can that which I wish to call Oriental Nothingness be said not to be ?  Although one and the same term "nothingness" ("nothing," "non-being," or "not") is spoken of, 4 the meanings in which this term is generally used are several.  It is never used in any one sense alone.  Accordingly, in order clearly to distinguish and explain what I am calling Oriental Nothingness, let us inquire whether its meaning is or is not to be found within the meanings for which the term "nothingness" is ordinarily employed.  To do this, I should like to examine the meanings expressed by the term "nothingness" ("nothing," "non-being," or "not"), roughly dividing them into five.


The first is non-being or nothingness as the negation of being.  This is non-being or nothingness in the sense that something -- whether something material or something spiritual -- has being is negated, as, for example, in saying, "There is no desk," or, "There is no pleasure."  That is, it is the non-being or nothingness of "There is not."  This includes both the negation of some individual being, for example, "There is not this desk," or, "There is not this pleasure," and the negation of all being, as, for example, "There isn't anything," or "There is nothing at all."


The second is "not" or nothingness as a predicative negation, or, as a negative predicate.  This is the "not" or nothingness of a negative predicate (p. 67) expression involving the copulative verb "to be," as, for example, "A desk is not a chair," or, "Pleasure is not grief."  In this sense, unlike the first, the being of the desk is not negated, but the predication concerning the desk is negative.  That is, this is the "not" or nothingness of "A is not B."  This, again, includes both the case in which the predication concerning the subject is a particular or partial negation, as "A desk is not a chair," and the case in which the predication concerning the subject is a total negation, as, for example, "That isn't anything whatever," or, "That is nothing at all."


In this latter instance of total negation, once again, two possibilities must be distinguished.  In the case of "This desk is not anything," while the negation is total, it does not negate predication as such.  In the case of "Bhuta-tathata (True Suchness) is not anything," however, this is not only a total negation in the sense that Bhuta-tathata is not anything else outside of Bhuta-tathata, but is an absolute, total negation in the sense that Bhuta-tathata in Itself is beyond all predication.


The third meaning is non-being or nothingness as an abstract concept.  This is not the "not" or nothingness of " not," or "It is not...."  This is rather non-being or nothingness in general, in contrast to being or "somethingness" in general.  It is non-being or nothingness as an abstract logical concept, as in the case of   "Non-being is not being," or "Being does not arise from non-being."


The fourth is "not" or nothingness as a conjecture.  This conjectured "not" or nothingness is the "not" or nothingness in the case in which something which in fact exists is entertained in thought as if it does not exist, as when, for example, I, at present living and existing, imagine myself as dead and not existing.  This also includes both conjecturing that some individual being is not, as "This desk is not," or "I am not," and conjecturing that "The whole of being is not."


The fifth meaning is "not" or nothingness in the sense of the absence of consciousness.  This is when as in deep sleep, faint , 5  death, or an unconscious state of mind even though awake, a particular existence or the whole of existence is said not to be.


Thus the very same expression, "nothingness," ("nothing," "non-being," or "not") can be taken in various senses.  But what I wish to call Oriental Non-Being or Nothingness is different from all of these.


Oriental Nothingness is not like nothingness in the first sense of the negation of being, in which either some particular being alone "is not" or the whole of being "is not."  No one, of course, would think that the "not" or nothingness of "This desk is not," or "This pleasure is not," is, in any (p. 68) way, a peculiarly or uniquely Oriental Nothingness.  When, however, Oriental Nothingness is expressed by such phrases as "The three worlds [of samsara beings, those of desire, form, and formlessness] are without anything graspable as something," 6 "All is sunya (empty of their substance),"  or "not a single thing," 7 one possibly may misunderstand Oriental Nothingness to mean that the whole of being is not.


Such expressions as "The three worlds are without anything graspable as something" and "not a single thing" taken literally do in fact mean that "the whole of being is not."  To take Oriental Nothingness in this sense when expressed by such phrases is, therefore, not without reason.  The expressions "The three worlds are without anything graspable as something" and "not a single thing," however, actually aver that "there is not one single thing -- whatever it may be -- which can be said to exist" in and for Oriental Nothingness-in-Itself or in-Its-Self-Inner-Realization.  If, therefore, because of such expressions, Oriental Nothingness is understood simply as "There is nothing," this will not do.  Through the centuries, falling into such a distorted understanding was strictly admonished by calling such an understanding "a literal-negative understanding," an "annihilating-nothingness view," or a "rigid-nothingness view."


In the second chapter, entitled "Prajna," of his Platform Sutra (Liuzufabaotanjing, T48, 350a) the Sixth Patriarch, Huineng (7th century), declares : "The Mind in its dimensions is broad and great, like empty-space. 8  It has no sides or limits ; it is neither square nor round, neither large nor small.  It is neither blue, yellow, red, nor white ; it has neither upper nor lower ; it is neither long nor short.  It knows neither anger nor pleasure, neither right nor wrong, neither good nor evil.  It is without beginning and without end.  But good friends, do not, hearing me speak of emptiness, become attached to emptiness."


In Huangbo's Wanling Record (T48, 386b) also, it is written : "The Mind-Ground is like empty-space ; it has neither form nor shape, it is without direction or location.  But it is not nothing exclusively."


Again, Oriental Nothing is not nothing in the second sense of a negative predication.  Probably no one would consider the "not" or negation in "A desk is not a chair" to be Oriental Nothing.  If, however, one should say "not this, not that," or "not anything whatsoever," some might possibly wonder if such a "not" or nothingness is not Oriental Nothingness.  But the predication "not anything whatsoever" can be asserted on any subject -- as, "This desk isn't anything whatsoever," or "That chair isn't anything (p. 69) whatsoever."  Since, however, in the case of "this desk" and "that chair," these are things which are already in and of themselves delimited, although we may predicate "not anything whatsoever" on them just the same, this predication doesn't go any further than merely asserting that "It isn't anything whatsoever outside of itself ; it is just what it is."  This is not going beyond all predication absolutely.  To be specifically delimited already necessitates having a predicate.


In the case, however, of "God is not anything whatsoever," this does not simply mean that "God is not anything outside of God ; God is God."  This rather has the meaning that "God is beyond all predicates."  That is, "God is not anything whatsoever" is not merely a negative expression of the tautological law of identity, as is the statement "This desk isn't anything whatsoever [outside of itself]."  It must rather be taken to mean that "God is beyond all delimitation."  In Christianity as well, when it is said that "God isn't anything whatsoever," "God is not anything within the totality of all that is," that is, God is nothing, it is meant in this sense.    


Thus, with a finite, relative thing like a desk, since it is already delimited, the judgment "This desk isn't anything whatsoever" is not at all different from the judgment "This desk is this desk."  As a judgment it has little value, amounting to no more than a mere tautology.  But the judgment "God is not anything whatsoever" as a judgment about God's transcending delimitation, must be said to be, among all possible judgments, the judgment of highest value.


Such a statement as found in The Mahayana Awakening of Faith (Dashengqixinlun, T32, 576ab), "The Self-Nature of True Tathata (Suchness) is not with-form, is not without-form, is not not-with-form, is not not-without-form, is not both-with-and-without-form, is not one-and-the-same-form, is not different-forms, is not not-one-and-the-same-form, is not not-different-forms, is not both-one-and-the-same-and-different-forms," means that "The Self-Nature of True Tathata  is finally and ultimately not anything whatsoever, that is, it is nothing."


This nothing is no other than the nothing meant in Christianity when God is referred to as beyond all predication, that is, as "nothing."  The instances in Buddhism in which the term "nothing" is used in this sense, as the predication of Buddha-nature, True Tathata, or Nirvana, are extremely numerous.  Such a nothing, however, is no more than the nothing of merely negative predication, meaning "not anything within all that is."  This is not Oriental Nothing.


Oriental Nothing is Itself also beyond delimitation and beyond predication.  (p. 70) It can, therefore, be said that "Oriental Nothing is not anything within all that is," that is, that "Oriental Nothing is nothing."  But Oriental Nothing is not identical with this nothing of mere predicative negation or negative predication.  If it were identical, there would be no reason especially to call it Oriental.


Oriental Non-Being or Nothingness, further, is not non-being or nothingness in the third sense, that is, in the sense of an abstract concept.  Non-being or nothingness as an abstract concept is not non-being or nothingness as the negation of being, as in "There is not some (particular) thing," or "There is not any thing (at all)."  Nor is it "not" or nothing as a negative predication, as in "It is not some (particular) thing," or "It is not any thing (at all)."  Rather, it is non-being or nothingness as a universal, just as "being" as an abstract concept is not "There is something," or "It is something," but is "being" as a universal.


Non-being or nothingness in the technical phrase "being and non-being," or in the proposition "Being is not non-being, non-being is not being," is not the non-being or nothingness of "There is not some (particular) thing," or of "It is not some (particular) thing."  It is rather non-being or nothingness as a universal, and should be called non-being or nothingness as an abstract concept.  Such a non-being is of necessity relative to being.  If it is being, it is not non-being ; if it is non-being, it is not being.  There can not obtain both being and non-being at the same time.


Together with "being," such a "non-being" or "nothing" is an indispensable logical category for the cognition or judgment of things.  It may be said also that the being or non-being of a concrete thing is determined by these a priori forms or categories.


For Parmenides, "being" is that which fills up space and "non-being" is empty space.  For Hegel, the unity of "being and non-being" is "becoming."  With both Parmenides and Hegel this non-being is non-being as an abstract concept.  Oriental Non-Being or Nothingness is not, as is non-being as an abstract concept, merely non-being.


Oriental Nothingness or Non-Being is neither non-being as an a priori form, nor is it non-being which is defined in terms of an a priori form.  Oriental Non-Being does not belong to the non-being or "being and nonbeing."  It is rather Non-Being which goes beyond "being and non-being."  It is in this sense that it is said that True Tathata belongs neither to being nor to non-being.


In the twenty-first fascicle of the Nirvana Sutra (Niepanjing, T12, 487a) it is said : "Buddha-nature is not being and is not non-being." 9   In the second fascicle of (p. 71) the Shata Shastra (Bailun, T30, 181c) it is stated 10  : "It is because being and non-being are not existent at all."  "Comment : In the truth of reality, as I have expounded in various teachings, being and non-being are all empty of themselves, for, if being is non-existent, non-being is not existent, either.  That is why "being and non-being are not existent at all."   


Such statements, as well as the term "True Non-Being," found in the Zhaolun (Treatise by Sengzhao, T45, 152a), have no other intention than to try to express the Non-Being which transcends being and non-being.


Oriental Nothingness is also not imagined or conjectured nothingness.  We can imagine that the desk which is really here at present does not exist.  If I give free rein intensively to my imaginative power, I can imagine that the desk which is actually present before my eyes here and now does not exist to the extent of my no longer being able to see it.  It sometimes happens that when thinking intently that something is, what actually is not can be seen as if it were, and when thinking intently that something is not, what actually is can appear not to be.  Thinking intently in this way, it can appear as if all things are not, that there is neither desk nor chair, neither floor nor house, neither earth nor heavens, neither body nor mind.  For one intently thinking in this way there obtains one sort of the experience that "Everything is sunya (empty of their respective self-nature)."


In the samadhi attained when contemplating on Buddha by thinking of the major marks of the Buddha-figure and meditating upon them wholeheartedly, even while keeping the eyes open one comes to see the Buddha right before one's eyes.  Similarly, the experience of "Everything is sunya" just mentioned is, so to speak, a contemplated "Everything is sunya." Corresponding to the contemplating or concentrating upon Buddha, it may also be possible to speak of contemplating or concentrating upon nothingness.  Oriental Nothingness, however, is not such a contemplated nothingness.  If it were, Oriental Nothingness would be no more than merely one subjective state of contemplation.


Oriental Nothingness is not anything like a subjective, contemplative state.  Seen from the perspective of Oriental Nothingness, just as the contemplated Buddha is not the True Buddha, so the contemplated "Everything is sunya" is not the True Sunya.  Oriental Nothingness is not the passive contemplated state but is rather the active contemplating Mind.  It is not, however, simply active contemplation.  It is rather Subject-Nothingness, in which active and passive are one, and in which the duality of mind and object is left behind.


(p. 72) In Huangbo's The Pivotal Point of Mind-to-Mind Transmission, (Chuanxinfayao, T48, 381a) there is the statement :  "Ordinary people cling to objects, while seekers after truth cling to the mind.  Not clinging to or being confined by either mind or object is the True-Dharma (Awakened Truth)."  This statement, as well as Linji's saying "'the very listening to the dharma'--itself" 11  and, in reply to a monk's question, "How can one see into the True Nature?" Dazhu's declaring that "Seeing is Itself the True Nature" 12 must all be said to have a reason.


Whether speaking of "mind" or of "seeing," if they are externalized or objectified, they are no longer the true "Mind" or the true "Seeing."  It must be said, as was said by the lay follower Pang : "I only ask you to void that which is, but please take care not to reify or be captured by that voidness." 13


Oriental Nothingness is not, again, nothingness in the fifth sense of unconsciousness.  Deep sleep, fainting, and death can not be said to be exactly the same states.  However, these states are the same in so far as there is in each of them nothing of which we are conscious.  That is, for us at such times there is nothing.  Everything has completely disappeared.  In each of these states, not alone the things of the natural world but even one's body and one's mind are not present.  Such a world may probably also be called a world of nothingness.


Since, however, our consciousness is not functioning, such a nothingness is no more than our not being conscious of anything -- not even of the nothingness.  In this regard this is different from conjectured or imagined nothingness as in the fourth sense.  With imagined nothingness, the imaginative function of consciousness is at work, and so there is a conscious nothingness, the object of that imagination.  But with unconscious nothingness, since the function of consciousness is completely non-operative, nothingness does not become an object of consciousness.  Oriental Nothingness, however, is not this kind of nothingness.


Oriental Nothingness is "perfectly lucid and clear," is "thoroughly clear ever-present awareness," that is, is that of which we are most clearly aware.  Although we say "are clearly aware," this is not an awareness in which nothingness is external or objective, different from the one who is aware.  This is rather an awareness in which subject and object are one.  That is, Oriental Nothingness is that awareness of Oneself in which the subject and object of awareness are one and not two.


In this sense, in its being aware of Itself by Itself, it must be said that Oriental Nothingness knows Itself.  Oriental Nothingness is not the same as (p. 73) our -- when we are unconscious -- not being conscious of anything.  If it were the same nothingness as obtains when we are unconscious, then we should be able to come to Oriental Nothingness through sleep, fainting, or death.  Whether we speak of Oriental Nothingness as "No-Mind," "No-Consciousness," the "Great Death Itself," or "Nirvana," it is not the unconsciousness of sleep, fainting or ordinary death.


But even further, "No-Mind" or "No-Consciousness" is penetratingly clear to a degree which is absolutely impossible in any other state.  It does not permit the slightest obscurity or turbidity.  It has the absolute clarity of a polished mirror or an autumn moon.  Whatever other condition one may speak of, there is no condition in which one is so clearly aware as in that of "No-Mind" or "No-Consciousness," and there is no time when life is so alive and so ready to burst as in the "Great Death Itself."  Although Baizhang Huaihai said "Do not remember anything at all," 14 and Huangbo said "subject and object are both forgotten, 15 " this is not a blank loss of consciousness.  On the contrary, this is rather Supreme Awareness in which there is not the slightest unawareness or unclarity.


Again, although Huaihai said "The Mind, like trees and rocks, harbors no discrimination," and Huangbo said, "Inner and outer, body and mind, all cast away together," 16  and Dogen said, "to stop the working of the mind and its consciousness," 17  these statements do not mean to become something without consciousness, like a tree or a rock.  Nor do they mean to dissolve consciousness, get rid of the body and psyche, and die.


Bodhidharma, similarly, counseled the Second Patriarch, Huike, saying, "Outwardly bring an end to all contingencies, inwardly the mind is to be without disturbance. With the mind being like a wall, one can then enter into the Awakened Way." 18   But this, too, is not saying to become unconscious.  As Huike truly understood and actually realized, this was instructing him to become the "No-Mind" of "thoroughly clear ever-present awareness." 19


When the term ekstasis from Western mysticism is translated into Japanese by such an expression as "to be bereft of one's senses," it is sometimes understood in the sense of the divine inspiration or the divine possession of a spiritual medium who proclaims, in a state of unconsciousness, God's word.  The ekstasis or unio-mystica of Oriental Nothingness, however, is neither "divine possession" nor "a state of bewitchment."  Rather, it must always be the Nothingness-Samadhi of "thoroughly clear ever-present awareness," in which subject and object are not two.  The samadhi of Oriental Nothingness is Formless-Samadhi, True-Sunya-Samadhi, True-Tathata-Samadhi, Sovereign-(p.74)Samadhi, One-Form-Samadhi, One-Act-Samadhi.


In the above discussion, I have particularly taken up five meanings of the term nothingness which are especially liable to be misunderstood as and confused with the meaning of Oriental Nothingness.  At any rate, I have re-surveyed the fact that these meanings of "nothingness" ("nothing," "non-being," or "not") differ from the meaning of Oriental Nothingness.  But to the extent that these other five meanings of nothingness can be easily confused with the meaning of Oriental Nothingness, they must contain certain similarities to Oriental Nothingness.  Indeed, once Oriental Nothingness has truly come "to be known in itself in its coldness and hotness," 20  these other meanings may then become suitable verbal media through which to express it.


It is for this reason that in spite of the fact that it is different from the first meaning of nothingness as the negation of being, Oriental Nothingness has, from long past, been fondly expressed by such phrases as "not a single thing" and "There is nothing at all."  It is for this same reason that in spite of the fact that it is different from the second sense of "not" or nothing as a negative predication, it has been fondly expressed by such phrases as "neither this nor that," "not anything whatsoever," and "going beyond the four logical propositions [: is, is not, both is and is not, neither is nor is not,] and the hundred negations."  Again, in spite of the fact that it is different from the third sense of nothingness as an abstract concept it has been fondly expressed in negatives such as "wu (mu)," "kong (ku ; sunya)," "fei (hi)," and "bu (fu)."  Once more, in spite of the fact that it is different from the fourth sense of conjectured nothingness, it has fondly been said, "Intensely concentrating upon nothingness, enter into nothingness-samadhi," or "Contemplate upon nothingness."  And, finally, it is for the same reason that in spite of the fact that it is different from the fifth sense of unconscious nothingness, it has been fondly expressed by such phrases as "No-Consciousness," "No-Mind," "Not-Conscious," "like trees and rocks," the "Great Death Itself," and "Nirvana."  If we do not employ nothingness in these above meanings as media, the term Oriental Nothingness itself can not be established, and one, in trying to express Oriental Nothingness conceptually, would certainly encounter many inconveniences and constrictions.


Since, however, Oriental Nothingness should be thoroughly and completely "known in itself in its coldness and hotness," Huangbo taught in his The Pivotal Point of Mind-to-Mind Transmission (T48, 382c) : "This Awakened Way is original truth ; in its origin it has no name.   It is only because people of the world do not understand, are unawakened, and (p. 75) are in a state of clinging-attachment that the various Buddhas appear, and, fearing that you people will not understand, provisionally set up names for the Awakened Way in order to tell what it really is. 21  But do not stick to the names and thereby produce misunderstanding."   If one, therefore, simply clings to the conceptual expression and tries to understand Oriental Nothingness, or if one begins and ends with searching within the words, even though one struggle through the three infinite kalpas of time, one will never be able to grasp it.


To say that Oriental Nothingness must be "known in its coldness and hotness" is quite different in its import than to say that there isn't anything, in so far as it is actually experienced, that is not "known in its coldness and hotness."  With Oriental Nothingness, its being "known in itself in its coldness and hotness" is of its very nature an essential necessity.  With ordinary things, however, since they are particular, de-limited things, they can be taken hold of and conceptualized.  So, too, their being "known in themselves in their coldness and hotness" -- that is, in experience -- can also, in its essential nature as an experience, be grasped and conceptualized.  But since Oriental Nothingness, not being anything, is, also, not de-limited, its "Experience" in its essential nature goes beyond being grasped and goes beyond conceptualization.  In this sense it must be said to be a "being known in itself in its coldness and hotness" which completely transcends expression.


Thus, for example, in saying that water or fire is "known in itself in its coldness and hotness" and in saying that Chan is "known in itself in its coldness and hotness," while the expressions are the same, the meanings are essentially different.  As for "being known in itself in its coldness and hotness," in the case of water or fire this is not different in essence from the matter of their conceptualization.  With Chan, however, the "being known in itself in its coldness and hotness" for the first time becomes really apt, and, further, only in such a case does its difference from the matter of conceptualization for the first time become clear.  "Being known in itself in its coldness and hotness" can genuinely be said only as regards that which can not be conceptualized.  The expressions found in the Lankavatara Sutra, "not even one word spoken," 22  and in The Mahayana Awakening of Faith, "True Tathata apart from words," 23  also were uttered in regard to that which truly goes beyond conceptual discrimination.


              II. A Positive Delineation

       A. The "Not a Single Thing" Nature of Oriental Nothingness


Why is it that, as I have just indicated, in spite of the fact that Oriental Nothingness  is not simply the same as nothingness as the negation of being, from times past it has so often been expressed in terms of nothingness as the negation of being -- to such an extent as to be thought almost to be the same?  This is because Oriental Nothingness does have a characteristic which is best able to be expressed by nothingness in this sense.  The "not a single thing" nature of Oriental Nothingness now being considered here refers to this characteristic.  The "not a single thing" nature of Oriental Nothingness means that as regards that which is generally said "to be," there is in and for Oriental Nothingness not one single such thing.


Although saying there is not even one single thing, this does not mean simply that "Individual things severally are not (this is not and that is not)," or that "Everything jointly is not (there is nothing at all)."  It rather means that it is in and for Oriental Nothingness that there is nothing whatsoever.  Oriental Nothingness is not an objective world outside of me like an empty space in which there is not one single thing.  Oriental Nothingness is the Nothingness-state of Myself, that is, it is no other than Myself being Nothingness.  There being nothing whatsoever in and for Oriental Nothingness must mean, in other words, that there is nothing whatsoever in Myself.


When I say there is nothing whatsoever in Myself, this might be taken to mean that there is something on the outside of myself.  But my saying here that there is nothing whatsoever in Myself, does not mean that there is nothing whatsoever in some internal world standing in contradistinction to what is usually called the external world.  In saying that there is nothing whatsoever in Myself, this "Myself" goes beyond internal and external.  There is nothing whatsoever in Myself, consequently, rather than meaning that there is nothing whatsoever in some "internal" which stands in contradistinction to "external," means that there is nothing whatever wherever.  And, again this nothing whatever wherever is I, Myself.  I, Myself, am this nothing whatever wherever.


Nothing whatever wherever being Myself and Myself being nothing whatever wherever is Oriental Nothing.  Nothing whatever wherever which is not Myself is no more than merely empty space.  The myself which is not nothing whatever wherever is no more than merely a mental or physical something which "is."  Neither can be called Oriental Nothing.


(p. 77) Ordinarily, within -- and for -- oneself there obtain the various contents of the "internal" and "external" worlds, such that it can never be said about oneself that there is not even one single thing.  If not externally seeing colors or hearing sounds, then we are internally lamenting, rejoicing, or thinking about something.  It may be said that there is almost no time when one is not entertaining some internal or external object.  The ordinary "I," therefore, is an "I" which is always connected with an object.  This is the reason that consciousness is said to be of the nature of noema-noesis.  Such an "I" is an "I" which can not but be limited by color when seeing color, by sound when hearing sound, by evil when thinking of evil, and by good when thinking of good.  It is an "I" which is always limited and captured by the "internal" and "external" realms, that is, by objects.  In external appearance, this "being captured" and the state of samadhi may appear to be similar. But while they may seem to be similar, they are not, for in the case of a genuine samadhi state, the base is different.


[What is referred to in Chan as] the so-called "spirit dependent upon grass or attached to trees" is no other than the "I" which has internal and external objects, and which, because of those objects, is changing and impermanent, going through the process of birth and death. Because, in having a physical body and having a mind, I am captured by them, I think that with the death of the body, I die and that with the extinction of the mind, I am extinguished.  The "I" which is captured by wealth or fame and becomes the same thing as the wealth or fame, the "I" which is captured by the Buddha and becomes the same thing as the Buddha, the "I" which is captured by nothingness, if we speak of nothingness, and becomes the same thing as nothingness, and the "I" which is captured by "nothing whatever wherever," if we speak of that, and becomes the same thing as that, are all no other than "I"s which are shackled and "spirits which are dependent upon grass or attached to trees."  But, on the contrary, the "I" which does not have an object, the "I" which does not have a single thing, is the "I" which is no longer dependent upon or attached to anything.  It is the "I" which is not of the nature of noema-noesis.


When we say there is nothing whatsoever in Myself, some may question, is there not therein still the consciousness of "there is nothing whatsoever," which, in that case, is the noema, and, further, as regards this noema is there not then also a noesis.  "There is nothing whatsoever in Myself," however, is not an objectifying consciousness which makes "there is nothing whatsoever" into an object.  If it is, it is not what I am calling the true "there is not a (p. 78) single thing."  The true "there is not a single thing" is I, Myself, and not my objective world.


That which has become an object to me is already a being, and, further, is a some-thing which has captured me.  Even though one says "there is not a single thing," if objectified, in fact it is not that "there is not a single thing."  When objectified, "there is not a single thing" finally becomes itself one thing, albeit called "there is not a single thing."  If I am truly not a single thing, I am not delimited or captured by any-thing ; I am absolutely free and unbounded.  And, furthermore, since this "I" is beyond internal and external, it is One-Alone -- or "Only-One."


The numerical "one" is a unit, and although we say one, since there are many such units, we can not say one is "only one."  "Only one" must be Myself as "not a single thing," that is, "Myself" beyond internal and external.  Huineng, the Sixth Patriarch, said (T48, 350a) : "The Mind-dimension is broad and great, like empty-space.  It is without boundaries."  He further said (Ibid., 356c) : "Your True Nature is like empty-space.  Realizing that there is not one single thing to be seen is called Right-Seeing."  Again, in the Poem on the Realization of the Way (Zhengdaoge, T48, 396c) and in The Pivotal Point of Mind-to-Mind Transmission (T48, 383c) it is said : "In clearly Seeing there is not one single thing -- neither man nor Buddha."  These expressions all refer to this "I" of not a single thing.  The Sixth Patriarch's "One-Direct-Mind" (T48, 352c) is also no other than this "I."


One-Direct-Mind does not mean a moral, honest mind but must be taken to mean a Straightforward-Mind which is not captured by any-thing.  The mind when captured swerves to the right and swerves to the left and can not be straightforward.  A mind which is captured by color, by sound, by falsehood, by evil, or even by truth or by goodness can hardly be called a direct-straightforward mind.  The Mind of "not a single thing" alone is a mind which is not captured.  If it is this Mind which in its Nature is "not a single thing," there is no way for it even to attract dust.


The Mind which is "the not being caught up in the thinking of good and evil" is the Direct-Mind.  Further, since it is One-Alone and not many, it is called One-Direct-Mind.  Also, it is such a Mind of the nature of "not a single thing" which for the first time can be, as Linji has said, a free mind which, entering into color, is not deluded by color, entering into sound, is not deluded by sound and entering into the good, is not deluded by the good.  It is only with this Free-Mind of "not a single thing" as a base that there (p. 79) can truly occur "the non-obtaining of any obstacle between any thing and any other thing (shishiwuai; jijimuge)," the "samadhi of permeating each and every dust-particle (chenchensanmei; jinjinzanmai)," and the "samadhi of free-unattached-play (youxisanmei; yugezanmai)."


Such samadhi as last mentioned have a completely different base from the state of being captured by some thing and, thus captivated by it, blindly entering into it.  In contrast to a state of being captured, only such samadhi as above mentioned can genuinely be called samadhi.  But while these samadhi are genuine samadhi, they are not simply of the nature of "not a single thing," but are rather the operation of "not a single thing" in and among "things."  Consequently, since they involve some particular form-contents of color or sound or goodness, they are individualized samadhi, phenomenal samadhi.


The Mind of "not a single thing" in Itself, however, being thoroughly without internal or external and without limitation or boundary, is One-Alone, going completely beyond any subject and any object.  It is not, therefore, an individual or phenomenal samadhi, but is rather "One-Alone-Samadhi," "One-Form-Samadhi," "One-Act-Samadhi," and is truly Sovereign-Samadhi.  It is only because they are based on this Sovereign-Samadhi that the "various vassal- samadhi" are for the first time made possible.


Indeed, it is exactly according to whether or not its base is this Sovereign-Samadhi that being captured by a thing and attaching to it can be differentiated from an authentic "things' samadhi."  It is for this reason The Mahayana Awakening of Faith declares (T32, 582b) that it is based on "One-Act-Samadhi," that is, "True-Tathata-Samadhi," that the "innumerable-samadhi" arise.


It is with this very same meaning that the Sixth Patriarch has said (T48, 361ab) : "If you wish to realize the [Buddha's] all-knowing-wisdom,25  you must reach One-Form-Samadhi, One-Act-Samadhi.  If in all places you do not give rise to form, 26  and if, as regards all forms that are, you do not give rise to either love or hate, and if, further, there is no accepting or rejecting, if you do not think of profit, coming to be, passing away, and such things, if you are peaceful, tranquil, unimpeded, and unconcerned, this is called One-Form-Samadhi.  If, in all places, whether in walking, resting, sitting, or lying, you are the pure One-Direct-Mind, then you do not move from the place of the Awakened Way and you truly bring into being the Pure Land.  This is called One-Act-Samadhi."


Mazu (8th century) also has said, "Here, in Myself, I do not have even one single thing." 27   This "I" is the "I" of "in all places not having anything."  "Not having even one single thing," as is said in the Records Mirroring the Original Source (Zongjinglu), fascicle six as well, is not the same as "the hollow emptiness of the great void, which is vacuous and un-knowing" [, which is criticized by the compiler Yongming there (T48, 448c)]. 28   It is one's Self "not having even one single thing."


In the Night Talks at the Tokai [Temple] (Tokaiyawa) by Takuan29 it is stated: "The Confucians misunderstand Emptiness and slander it.  When speaking of Emptiness, they think it to mean there is simply nothing whatever and speak from this misunderstanding....  Rather, nothing being left in the Mind is called Emptiness. Again, the mind is an actor which performs every role.... The Mind being left with no role is called Emptiness.... Its not being restricted by any one role is called Emptiness."  What is here called "Emptiness" is no other than the Mind of the nature of "not a single thing."


            B. The "Empty-Space"30  Nature of Oriental Nothingness


Oriental Nothingness, as just indicated, possesses a characteristic such as has, from the past, been expressed by the phrase "not a single thing."  But it further possesses a characteristic such as has been expressed by the term "empty-space."  This characteristic I shall call its "empty-space" nature.  Why then is Oriental Nothingness expressed by this term?  In order to make this clear, let us first consider the meanings which are embraced by the term "empty-space."


Yongming in his Records Mirroring the Original Source, fascicle six (T48, 446c), quoting from the Commenting on the Mahayana Shastra (Shimoheyanlun) fascicle three, says that "empty-space" has ten meanings. The first is the meaning of no-obstruction.  This means that in and among the various things of form empty-space knows no obstruction.  The second is the meaning of omnipresence.  This means that there is no point not reached by empty-space.  The third is the meaning of impartiality.     This means that empty-space is impartial, showing no instance of choosing.  The fourth is the meaning of being broad and great.  This means that empty-space is broad and great, having no limits.  The fifth is the meaning of being formless.  This means that empty-space is formless, going beyond rupa (corporeal)-forms.  The sixth is the meaning of purity.  This means that empty-space is pure, having no worldly dust. 31  The seventh is the meaning of stability.  This means that empty-space is stable, that is, without coming to be or passing away.  The eighth is the meaning of the voiding of being.  This means that empty-space destroys the existence of any measure. 32   The ninth is the meaning of the voiding of voidness.  (p. 81) This means that empty-space is not attached to its voidness.  The tenth is the meaning of no-obtainment.  This means that empty-space can not be clung to.


If we deliberate and analyze in further detail, there will probably be many other meanings of the term "empty-space."  In general, however, it may be said to have these ten implications or meanings.  And since Oriental Nothingness possesses characteristics similar to these meanings, it has, from the past, often come to be spoken of as "like empty-space."


In the "Night-Sitting Gatha (Verse) (Yezuoji)" contained in the Treatise on the Awakening to -- and of -- the Buddha Nature (Wuxinglun) it is said (T48, 373a) : "[In the midnight:] the Mind is pure like empty-space.  It permeates the ten directions.  There is no place it does not penetrate.  Mountains, rivers, and stone walls do not obstruct it.   Worlds as numerous as the sands of the river Ganges are contained in it."  This gatha expresses the fact that the Mind, that is, Oriental Nothingness, possesses characteristics corresponding to the first, second, and sixth meanings of empty-space, un-obstructedness, all-pervasiveness, and purity.


In the Discourse on the Direct-Lineage of the Dharma (Xuemailun, T48, 376a) it is written : "This Mind is without form, without cause and effect, without sinew or bone.  It is like empty-space.  It can not be taken hold of."  This expresses the fact that the Mind or Oriental Nothingness possesses characteristics corresponding to the fifth and tenth meanings of empty-space, formlessness and unattainability.


In The Pivotal Point of Mind-to-Mind Transmission (T48, 379c) it is affirmed: "This Mind from the beginningless past never is born, never passes away.  ...It is like empty-space, which is without spatial or temporal limitations and can not be measured."   This treatise also states (Ibid., 380a) that "Tathata in Itself, innerly, is like trees and rocks.  It is without commotion; it does not vacillate.  ...Outerly, it is like empty-space.  It does not shut off; it does not obstruct."  In the Lankavatara Sutra it is declared (T16, 500b): "There is no Mind-dimension of Mind." 33   These statements express the fact that the Mind possesses characteristics corresponding to the first, fourth, seventh, and eighth meanings of empty-space, unobstructedness, unlimitedness, stability, and the voiding of being.


In the Sixth Patriarch's Platform Sutra we find the expression (T48, 358a) : "The Mind is like empty-space, but does not have the dimension even of empty-space."  And, again (Ibid.) : "The Mind is like empty-space, but does not stick to a fixed emptiness-perspective."  In Verses on the Faith-Mind (Xinxinming) it is asserted (T48, 376c) : "Not even (p. 82) the one is held on to." 34 These statements express the fact that the Mind possesses the characteristic corresponding to the ninth meaning of empty-space, the voiding of voidness, that is, the emptying even of emptiness.


Such expressions concerning Mind as "taking the form of whoever comes, a non-native or a native Han" 35 and "the state of simply detesting discrimination" 36 express the fact that the Mind possesses the characteristic corresponding to the third meaning of empty-space, impartiality.


The term empty-space, besides these ten meanings, probably also includes the meanings of "One-Alone" and "without inner or outer."  "One-Alone" means that empty-space is only one and not two.  "Without inner or outer" means that empty-space has no outer, that it is only "inner."  But if it is "only inner," it can not even be said to be "inner."  "Only inner" really means to transcend outer and inner. To speak of Oriental Nothingness as "Only this One-Mind," "One-Direct-Mind," "'without two'-ness," or "the One-Form of the Dharma-World" is to liken it to the "One-Alone" nature of empty-space.  To speak of Oriental Nothingness as "one perfectly round light having neither inner nor outer," 37  "the Dharma-World of True Tathata, without either self or other," 38  "For this Mind there is neither inside, outside, nor middle ; in fact, there is neither place nor direction," 39  is to liken it to the "without inner or outer" nature of empty-space.


Thus, Oriental Nothingness, in its characteristics, closely resembles empty-space.  When we find such a statement by Huangbo in his Wanling Record (T48, 387a) as, "The sphere of empty-space exhausting the ten quarters is from the first one's own 'One-Mind in Itself'  However you may move or act, how can you in those movements or actions ever be separated from empty-space ?"  or, as in his The Pivotal Point of Mind-to-Mind Transmission (T48, 381a), "The dharmakaya (the body as Awakening itself) is empty-space.  Empty-space and the dharmakaya do not have different forms," it might be thought that empty-space and the One-Mind are exactly the same thing.  It need not be said, however, that the One-Mind, that is, Oriental Nothingness, is not the same thing as empty-space.


Oriental Nothingness and empty-space do have similar characteristics, and to this extent may seem to be the same thing.  But, of course, Oriental Nothingness is not the same as empty-space, which has neither awareness nor life. Oriental Nothingness is the One who is "always clearly aware."  Therefore it is called "Mind," "Self," or the "True Man."


In the General Preface to the Collection of Various Expressions Concerning Chan Fundamentals (Chanyuanzhuquanji-duxu, 40  T48, 404c-405a) it is said : "The meaning is that True-Nature is not the same as empty-space, trees, or rocks. Therefore, it is called Awareness." 41 And, again, in the Records Mirroring the Original Source, fascicle six, it is stated (T48, 448c) : 42    "Mind is its name, awareness its identity. 43  The nature of Awareness, which is beyond conceptual-differentiation, is that it directly knows Itself in and through Itself.  It is not like ordinary consciousness or knowing, which is a conditioned, object-dependent, intentional knowing.  It is not, however, the same as the hollow emptiness of the great void, which is vacuous and unknowing."  This is no other than an expression of the fact that the Mind is not the same as mere empty-space, vacuous and unaware.


Huangbo also in many places employs the mode of expression, "Mind is like empty-space...."  But it can never be said that he ever suggests Mind and empty-space to be one and the same thing.  We do find him, as already noted, sometimes using such expressions as, "The sphere of empty-space is from the first one's own 'One-Mind in Itself,'" and "the dharmakaya  is empty-space."  When, however, we also observe that he clearly states that "What is meant by the figurative expression 'the dharmakaya is empty-space; empty-space is the dharmakaya' is to say that the Buddha's true dharmakaya is like empty-space," or, again, that "Buddhakaya is without intentionality.  It does not fall into diversity.  Provisionally, I use the analogy of empty-space," it is understood that empty-space, as regards the dharmakaya, is simply a simile.  It is also understood why this must be said to be different from pantheism, in which the spatial world itself is God.


Thus, Oriental Nothingness is not the same thing as empty-space.  Since, however, Oriental Nothingness does possess characteristics such as may be likened to empty-space, I may now try to explain these "like empty-space" characteristics in terms   of the previously noted ten meanings of empty-space.  Oriental Nothingness in its nature of course goes beyond all forms and differentiations. This, therefore, is no more than an analogical consideration of Oriental Nothingness in terms of the various differentiations of the phenomenal world.


1.      That Oriental Nothingness is without obstruction means that Oriental Nothingness, like empty-space, is not obstructed by any of the various internal and external phenomena.  The freedom or emancipation quality of Oriental Nothingness derives from this.  Oriental Nothingness is in everything, but is not obstructed by anything ; it contains everything within it, but does not retain a trace of anything contained.  In this it is like empty-space.

2.      That Oriental Nothingness is omnipresent means that, like empty-space, Oriental Nothingness permeates all phenomena -- regardless of whether they are distant or near, large or small, deep or shallow, coarse or fine, bright or (p. 84) dark.  Oriental Nothingness not only permeates all material things as does mere empty-space, but Oriental Nothingness permeates  all mental phenomena as well, and is thus even more all-pervading than empty-space.  It is precisely Oriental Nothingness which can be said to be that which is truly omnipresent.

3.      That Oriental Nothingness is impartial means that, like empty-space, Oriental Nothingness "only detests discrimination."  For it "all things being without fault," 44 it accepts equally the pure and the defiled, it welcomes similarly the noble and the base, it treats in the same way good and evil, it sees alike the true and the false, it accommodates together the ordinary man and the saint, it neither takes hold of [one] nor casts away [another].

4.      That Oriental Nothingness is broad and great means that it is the whole, there not being anything "other" or "outside."  Oriental Nothingness is not limited by anything "other," and, therefore, is without delimitation or termination.  This not only means the spatial unlimitedness of empty-space, but also means temporal eternity.  No ! it is more than that.  It should rather be said that, on the contrary, spatial unlimitedness as well as temporal eternity both derive from the "proto"-temporal and "proto"-spatial limitlessness of Oriental Nothingness.  Buddha is spoken of as being broad and great without boundaries precisely because the True Buddha is no other than this Oriental Nothingness.

5.      That Oriental Nothingness is formless means that Oriental Nothingness has neither spatial-material form nor temporal-mental form.  This not having form is not meant in the usual sense in which things are considered to have form and mind not to have form. Seen from the Formlessness of Oriental Nothingness, even mind, which ordinarily is said not to have form, still has the form of mind.  It is difficult, therefore, to say that the ordinary mind is really formless.  Other than Oriental Nothingness, there isn't anything which can truly be spoken of as formless.

6.      That Oriental Nothingness is pure means that, not being any-thing material or mental, Oriental Nothingness is completely beyond delimitation, and hence is not only in Itself not defiled, but can never become defiled by anything else.  As for the things which are ordinarily called pure, since they are all delimited in some way, they can not be said to be of true, absolute purity.  To be delimited already in itself means to be defiled.

That which is some-thing -- even without being defiled by something else -- is, by its very being some-thing, already in itself of contamination and defilement.  Even such a thing as is called a Buddha -- if it is some-thing -- is of defilement.  For this reason, even as regards those things which are ordinarily (p. 85) called pure, there is not one which can genuinely be called pure.  Oriental Nothingness, which is beyond all delimitation, is alone the truly pure, the truly undefiled.  True purification is realized for the first time when I am neither a material some-thing nor a mental some-thing, when I am beyond all delimitation.

7.      That Oriental Nothingness is stable means that since Oriental Nothingness is without beginning and without end, is un-born and un-dying, it is, therefore, without becoming or decaying.  Since it is beyond left and right and beyond upper and lower, there is no way for it to waiver or to vacillate.  That stability which stands in contrast to instability is no more than merely a temporary and provisional state, and can not really be called stability.  True stability must be totalistic, beyond "other" or "outer."  If it does not transcend time and space and contain them within itself, it is not truly stable.  Only that which does transcend time and space can validly be called serenity or peace of mind.  To the extent that I am body or mind in the usual sense, genuine stability does not realize itself within me.

8.      That Oriental Nothingness is the voiding of being means that Oriental Nothingness can not be measured spatially or geometrically in terms of metric, dry, or liquid measurement, nor can it be evaluated according to the standard of truth or beauty.  It is here that there is established the ultimate meaning of completely going beyond discrimination and measurement.

9.      That Oriental Nothingness is the voiding of voidness means that although Oriental Nothing is said to be Nothing, it is not the nothing of "something and nothing."  Transcending being and non-being, it is neither some-thing nor nothing.  Since it is Nothing as Non-Abiding-Subjectivity, which is completely beyond all delimitation, it neither abides in something nor does it abide in no-thing.  If it is a nothing which sticks fast to nothingness, it is none other than a nothing which stands in opposition to something and is not Oriental Nothing.  In this characteristic of Oriental Nothing lies the basis of the True Buddha's not abiding in -- or clinging to -- even Nirvana.  A Nirvana which clings to or abides in itself is an extinction which stands in contrast to life and is not True Nirvana.

10.  That Oriental Nothingness is without that which is obtainable means that since Oriental Nothingness is of the nature of not [being or having] a single thing, it neither has any " other" thing nor does it even have itself.  It is completely without anything "obtained."  It is here that there is established the meaning of the True Buddha's being without anything obtained, being unobtainable, being without greed, being of absolute poverty, and being without merit-accumulation.


          (p. 86)  C. The "Mind-in-Itself" Nature of Oriental Nothingness

As related above, since Oriental Nothingness possesses characteristics which closely resemble those of empty-space, it has frequently been explained through the use of the analogy of empty-space.  But since empty space, of course, is not Oriental Nothingness, Oriental Nothingness can not be fully exemplified by empty-space.  The principal feature not exemplified by empty-space is the "Mind-in-Itself" nature of Oriental Nothingness.  That is to say, Oriental Nothingness possesses a characteristic akin to that which we ordinarily call mind, which characteristic is not served by the simile of empty-space.


It is said that in addition to man higher beings among animals as well possess mind, and that the beginnings of mind are seen also among the lower forms of life.  Empty-space, on the other hand, is not only completely without mind, but, moreover, does not have the slightest feature to be called life, which is possessed by even a micro-organism.  In this regard, too, it can be said that empty-space is most inadequate as an analogy for Oriental Nothingness, and that, from the aspect of it possessing life, indeed a micro-organism would be more appropriate.


Oriental Nothingness is, thus, in no sense inanimate like empty-space.  It is living.  Not only is it living, it also possesses mind.  Nor does it merely possess mind ; it possesses self-consciousness.  That is to say, it has all of the aspects and qualities of mind. Such phrases in Chan as "Right-Dharma-Eye-Treasury, Nirvana-Wondrous-Mind," "directly pointing to the Mind of man, realizing Its Nature, and attaining Buddhahood," "a transmission from-Mind-to-Mind," "it is the straightforward Mind which is the locus of Awakening," "Self-Mind is Buddha," "Mind-in-Itself is Buddha," "there is no Dharma outside of Mind," "Pure-Mind," "Unattainable Mind," "Mind-Dharma," "Mind-Nature," "Mind-Source," "Mind-Ground,"   and "Mind-Itself" all express this "Mind-in-Itself" nature of Oriental Nothingness. 


Not only in Chan, but in Buddhism in general, while likening the True Buddha to empty-space, that it is said, nevertheless, that Buddha is "Mind-Itself" or "Awareness-Itself" attests to the fact that Buddha is mind-like.


Although Oriental Nothingness is said to be mind-like, it can not be said to be exactly the same as what we ordinarily call mind.  Mind, in saying that Oriental Nothingness is mind, is Mind which is, again, to be likened to empty-space as described in the previous section.  For this Mind is Mind possessing all of the characteristics of empty-space : un-obstructedness, omnipresence, impartiality, broadness and greatness, formlessness, purity, stability, the voiding of (p. 87) being, the voiding of voidness, unattainability, "one-alone"-ness, having neither interior nor exterior, and so on.  Since what we ordinarily call mind does not possess these characteristics of empty-space, in order to clearly distinguish the two, it has, from ancient times, been said that this "Mind is like empty-space."


When it is also said that the True Buddha, like trees and rocks, is "without mind," "without thought," "free from thought," "not caught up in the thinking of good and evil," "'not-thinking'-itself" or "the stopping of the functioning of mind, thought, and consciousness," and when it is said that true knowing is "being free from knowing," true awareness is un-awareness, or that True Nature is ungenerated and unperishing, without birth and death, these statements do not mean that what they are referring to are all merely, like trees and rocks, without mind, self-consciousness, or life.  They rather mean that the ordinary mind, self-awareness, and life which we have are not the true mind, true self-awareness, and true life, and that the true mind, true self-awareness, and true life must possess the characteristics of empty-space.


The True Buddha is not without mind, but possesses Mind which is "without mind and without thought," is not without self-awareness, but possesses Awareness which is "without awareness," possesses an ego which is no ego”, 45 is not without life, but possesses Life which is ungenerated and unperishing.


The mind which we ordinarily have is a mind which has obstructions, places where it does not reach, differentiation, limitation, form, defilement, arising and decaying, dimension, attachments, acquisitions, an interior and exterior, and is uncollected.  One generally has such a mind as subject, and therefore is an ordinary being and not Buddha.  When one composes this mind and returns to the Original-True-Mind, which is like empty-space, then for the first time one is oneself Buddha.  "Chan sitting" in which mind and body have "fallen off" is no other than a state of the realization of such a "Mind which is like empty-space."  The mind referred to in [a quote from] the Sukhavativyuha sutra (Wuliangshoujing) [and in the text that follows of the Record of Masters and Disciples of the Lanka (Lenggashiziji, T85, 1288a)], " 'The Mind is the Buddha ; it is Mind which becomes Buddha.'   You must know that Buddha is no other than Mind.  Outside of Mind there is no other Buddha," 46  is precisely this "Mind which is like empty-space."   In speaking of the "Mind-in-Itself" nature of Oriental Nothingness, my intention is to indicate that Oriental Nothingness as mind is this "Mind which is like empty-space."


               (p. 88) D. The "Self" Nature of Oriental Nothingness


Oriental Nothingness can be said to be Mind in the sense described in the previous section.  Even though we say mind, however, it is not such a mind as can be viewed objectively outside of ourselves.  It must be inside us as the subject of ourselves. That is, it must be such that the Mind is Myself and that I am the Mind.  This Mind is not the mind which is seen, but is, on the contrary, the Mind which sees.  Speaking in terms of "seeing," this Mind is the "active seeing" and not the passive "being seen."  When we say "active seeing," this of course does not mean physical, visual "seeing."  It must rather be taken to mean "active" in the sense of being the subject of all functions, "active" from the standpoint of which all functions are themselves passive or "seen," that is, "active" as the all-integrating subject of all functions.


If I speak in this way, however, it may be thought that by such a mind is only meant the "active" aspect of "active and passive."  But, when I say here that this Mind is "active," I mean that this Mind does not obtain as object, but obtains as subject.   It does not mean that such a Mind is simply the aspect of "the active" in separation from "the passive."  In this Mind there is no duality of active and passive.  Since, however, that which is of the non-duality of active and passive (or, subject and object) is so frequently taken as something objective, here saying it is subjective is no more than to say that it is not something objective. 


As indicated before, the Mind of which I am speaking is not merely that which is ordinarily called mind, but is the Mind which is itself Buddha.  But when I say Buddha, this, again, is frequently taken as transcendent and objective.  Buddha is often considered to be, in relation to us humans, "other" and objective.  If Buddha were something perceived as an object by our senses, then its being "other" and objective would go without saying.  But even a Buddha which becomes an object of feeling, faith, volition, or reason must also be said to be something other and objective.  In such a case, we are not Buddha ; we rather stand in contrast to Buddha.  The "I" which thus stands in contrast to Buddha can not be said to be a Self or Subject.  Nor can that to which I stand in contrast be said to be a Self or Subject.


The instances in religion as well as in metaphysics in which either God or Buddha is thought of as "other" and objective are numerous.  That this is so in Christianity need not be mentioned.  But even in Buddhism, in many cases Buddha is considered as something objective.  Needless to say, in religion, (p. 89) since God (or, in Buddhism, Buddha) is often seen as controlling us in some sense, and since we, in turn, obey and rely upon Him, God (or Buddha) is not merely something "other" and objective.  Even though being "other," God and Buddha can also be said to be subjects.


When it is said in Christianity, "it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me," or in the Jodo Shin Sect of Buddhism, "abandoning my own devices and leaving everything to Amitabha," Christ and Amitabha can be said to be "other," and at the same time to be subjects who give true life to us.  Buddha as the Mind of which I am speaking, however, is not such a subject which is "other," but is a subject in which the something "other" is completely Oneself.  This Subject is not the naive self-subject of modern anthropocentricism.  It is rather a Subject such that what is for naive subject something "other" is for this Subject, Self.


Buddha as Mind is not something which I simply absolutely obey, rely on, and belong to.  In such a case in which I simply obey Buddha, Buddha, while a subject which controls me, would be, nevertheless, internally or externally transcendent to me.  The Buddha of which I am speaking, however, is not a subject in the sense of transcending and controlling me, but is a subject in the sense that Buddha is I, Myself.  While the transcending, controlling Buddha is to be called an objective-subject, it can not be spoken of as being a pure subject.  In contrast to this, the Buddha which is I, Myself, is to be called a subjective-subject, and is a pure, absolute subject.


It is for this reason that although in Chan it is said that Buddha can not be known by man and that man should die the Great Death, Chan especially emphasizes the "Self" nature of Buddha, saying that Buddha is Self, is Self-Mind, is Self-Nature, and the like.


When coming upon such an expression as is found in the chapter on "Life and Death" in Dogen's Right-Dharma-Eye-Treasury (Shobogenzo, "Shoji," T82, 305bc), "Simply letting go, forgetting our body and mind and throwing our self into the Buddha's house, being conducted from the side of Buddha and behaving accordingly, then, not exerting any force, not expending the mind, we leave behind life and death and become Buddha," if one understands this Buddha to be "other power" as conceived in Jodo Shin Buddhism and fancies it to be an objective-subject, this must be said to be a superficial understanding which does not penetrate into Dogen's true meaning.


Chan possesses its distinctive characteristic and its pre-eminent strongpoint in taking Buddha as a radically subjective-subject, that is, as an absolute subject.  In the history of Buddhism, the main factor accounting for the (p. 90) flourishing of Chan may also be said to be this emphasis on -- and Self-Realization of -- the "Self" nature as well as the "Mind-in-Itself" nature of Buddha.  Chan's signal phrase, "Directly pointing to man's Mind, realizing Its Nature and attaining Buddhahood," is no other than a setting forth and an emphasizing of the "Self" nature and the "Mind-in-Itself" nature of Buddha.


In the Discourse on the Direct-Lineage of the Dharma (T48, 374c) it is declared : "Unoriented people do not know that their Self-Mind is Buddha.  They search about outwardly.  The whole day they are busy contemplating Buddha and paying him homage. But where is the Buddha ?  One should not entertain any of these views.  Only know your Self-Mind.  Outside of the Mind there can be no other Buddha."             


In the Sixth Patriarch's Platform Sutra (T48, 362a) it is said : "The Self-Buddha is the True-Buddha.  If one did not have the Buddha-Mind within oneself, where would one seek the True-Buddha ?  Your own Self-Mind is Buddha.  Do not doubt any further."  And in the Poem on the Realization of the Way (T48, 362a) we find : "Self-Nature in its original source is the Genuine Buddha."  Again, in The Pivotal Point of Mind-to-Mind Transmission (T48, 381a) it is stated : "Only know immediately here and now that the Self-Mind in its origin is Buddha.  There is not a single thing to be attained ; there is not a single discipline to be practiced.  This is the unsurpassable Way."


In such sayings, the reason that the Chan masters and patriarchs especially emphasize that there is no Buddha other than Self-Mind, is to lead us back -- when we are sometimes liable to go astray and think that Buddha is outside of us -- to the true nature of Buddha.


Nor can the True Buddha be sought by building temples, forging images, translating sutras, writing commentaries on sutras, meditating, and the like.  What is spoken of as Bodhidharma's "no merit whatsoever" retort to Emperor Wu, 47  was also no other than to express strongly the fact that the surging tide in Buddhism at that time of building temples, forging images, paying homage, making offerings, and so forth were not the means for seeking the True Buddha.  It was, further, an attempt to have the Emperor enter directly into the True Buddha's "Meritlessness"-itself.


Huangbo, in the Wanling Record (T48, 384c), declared that "Even the thirty-two major marks of distinction belong to form, and all forms are delusive.  The eighty minor marks also belong to materiality or corporeality.  If one sees Me with corporeality, one practices the wrong way and is unable to see the Tathagata."  This also (p. 91) intends to express the fact that however one may speak of a Tathagata of perfect features possessing the thirty-two major and eighty minor marks of distinction, such a Buddha is still objective, is something outside the mind, and is not the True Buddha.


The fact, then, that the True Buddha is not simply the naive self, is not "other," and is not even an objective-subject, but is the subjective-subject, that is, the absolute subject, expresses the "Self" nature of Oriental Nothingness.

               E. The "Freedom" Nature of Oriental Nothingness


Oriental Nothingness as the subjective-subject is, further, the completely free subject.  We say free, but there are various kinds of freedom.  What, then, is the nature of the freedom of Oriental Nothingness ?


It is often said in Chan, if you wish to go, go ; if you wish to sit, sit ; when hunger comes, take food ; when drowsiness comes, sleep.  This expression, if taken literally, seems to mean to indulge in whatever the heart desires.  An animal or an infant tries to do whatever it wants to do and tries to eat whatever it wants to eat.  It dislikes intensely whatever checks it in its inclinations.  This is because animals and infants also desire freedom.  As they mature, however, even children come gradually to cease to covet this sort of "freedom of indulgence."  On the contrary, they rather come to try to check such freedom.  They check themselves and refrain from doing things that they should not do, even though they want to do them, and come to do dutifully what should be done, even though they do not want to do it.  They wish to come to the point where they do freely what should be done and freely refrain from doing what should not be done.


The mature adult, rather than craving the kind of indulgent-freedom the young child seeks, aspires to the kind of freedom which, on the contrary, criticizes and controls such indulgent-freedom.  It is in the longing for this mature, critical freedom that there lies the distinction between the human adult on the one hand and animals or young children on the other.


Because adult human beings can criticize and control the kind of freedom animals and young children desire, it is said that adult human beings, unlike animals and young children, are rational.  The freedom children desire is sensuous freedom ; the freedom adults desire is rational freedom.  What Kant termed the freedom of the will is no other than this rational freedom.  Kant calls the final culmination of this rational freedom "holy."  What Confucius spoke of as acting in accordance with the mind's desires and (p. 92) yet not transgressing the norms is also rational freedom.  It is precisely this rational freedom which is genuine human freedom.  So it is that the aspiration to such rational freedom is characteristically human.  The object of human morality lies in attaining this freedom.  But is religious freedom the same as such a rational freedom or not ?


Religious freedom, it must rather be said, is to be found in the negation or transcendence even of human reason.  Indeed, Christianity goes so far as to say that the fact that man came to possess human reason was the cause of his being banished from Paradise.  In Buddhism, also, human reason as discriminating intellect is considered to be the source of delusion.  Reason being discrimination, is never free from dualistic polarities.  There can not be any reason which is free from the discrimination of right and wrong, good and evil, profane and sacred, ordinary beings and Buddhas, being and non-being, and so on.


Religion, however, has as its basic objective the transcendence of, or the liberation from, such discriminations.  If right is taken throughout -- to the very last -- as right, wrong as wrong, good as good, evil as evil, and sin as sin, then no basis could be found for sin being forgiven and for an evil man being saved just as he is, as in Christianity and in Jodo Shin Buddhism.  As for a sinful man being saved, this can not occur on any other standpoint than the transcendence of good and evil.


Chan not only speaks of not being caught up in the thinking of good and evil, but furthermore does not even set up the distinction between profane and sacred, between ordinary beings and Buddhas.  As for anything which is "non-dharma," Chan would, of course, transcend it.  But Chan would indeed transcend "dharma" itself.


In Christianity and even in Buddhism -- as in Jodo Shin Buddhism -- while good and evil are transcended, God and man, or Buddha and ordinary beings, are sharply distinguished to the very end.  God and Buddha are, as regards man and ordinary beings, completely transcendent and objective.


For Chan, however, the placing of Buddha transcendentally and objectively outside of ordinary beings is a rope which still constrains freedom.  Chan would indeed transcend any discrimination, even the so-called "Buddha-clinging-view" and "dharma-clinging-view."  Linji's saying, "encountering Buddha, killing Buddha, encoutering the Patriach, killing the Patriarch," 48  and the declaration in The Blue Cliff Collection (Biyanji,T48, 218a), "Do not stay where Buddha is.  If one stays there, horns will grow on the head.  Quickly pass through where there is no Buddha. If (p. 93) one does not quickly pass through, the grass will grow ten feet deep," both intend to express just this transcendence.  Thus is realized the truly free mode of being which is neither bound nor obstructed by either man or Buddha.  It is this freedom which is the "freedom" nature of Oriental Nothingness.


Liberation in Buddhism is to be thoroughly true in this freedom.  In this, true liberation in Buddhism differs from the state of salvation of religions like Christianity.  Even such a Buddhist sect as the Jodo Shin Sect which, in the external aspect of its state of salvation, resembles Christianity, is different from Christianity to the extent that as a Buddhist sect it, too, must have its ultimate base in the freedom nature of Oriental Nothingness. I should like to call this freedom nature of Oriental Nothingness subjectively-subjective freedom, that is, absolutely subjective freedom.


In Chan, this freedom is attained through seeing into one's True Nature.  The very "seeing into one's True Nature" itself is the free subject.  The Sixth Patriarch, Huineng, has said (T48, 358c) : "The person who sees into his True Nature is free when he advocates  something as well as when he does not. 49  He is free both in going and in coming.  There is nothing which retards him, nothing which hinders him.  Responding to the situation, he acts accordingly ; responding to the words, he answers accordingly.  He expresses himself taking on all forms, but he is never removed from his Self-Nature.  That is, he attains the 'Free-Wondrous-Play-Samadhi.'  This is called seeing into one's True Nature." Such an account is no other than an explanation of the "freedom" nature of "seeing into one's True Nature."


"Seeing into one's True Nature" is of the nature of freedom because, as Huineng says (T48, 353b), "when the True-Tathata-Self-Nature gives rise to consciousness, although the six sense organs function in terms of seeing, hearing, sensing, and knowing, they are not defiled by the ten thousand objects.  Thus the True Nature is always free," and, further, because "seeing into one's True Nature," not being any-thing, is every-thing, and being every-thing, is not any-thing.  It is in this sense that the true meaning of "absolute negation is in itself absolute affirmation ; absolute affirmation is in itself absolute negation" is to be understood.


"Not to abide anywhere, and yet to activate that Mind," is not merely "not abiding anywhere," but is "not abiding anywhere" and yet activating that Mind.   Nor is it merely " to activate that Mind"; but rather while activating that Mind, yet "not abiding anywhere."


Linji's description of the "non-dependent Man of Dao (the Awakened Way)" which appears in the Linji Record (Linjilu, T47, 500a), "Entering (p. 94) the world of form, not suffering from form-delusion ; entering the world of sound, not suffering from sound-delusion ; entering the world of smell, not suffering from smell-delusion ; entering the world of taste, not suffering from taste-delusion ; entering the world of touch, not suffering from touch-delusion ; entering the world of cognition, not suffering from cognition-delusion.  Thus realizing the six worlds of form, sound, smell, taste, touch, and cognition to be all Empty-forms, nothing can constrict this non-dependent Man of Dao," is no other than an exposition of the "absolutely free subject."


Further, as Linji has also said (T47, 498a), "The Buddha-Dharma is not in any special functioning.  It is, simply, the ordinary and uneventful -- discharging feces, passing water, wearing clothes, taking food, and, when drowsiness comes, sleeping."  This, like the previously noted expressions, "If you wish to go, go ; if you wish to sit, sit," and "when hunger comes, taking food ; when drowsiness comes, sleeping," when used in Chan, does not mean merely an indulgent freedom, but means the freedom of being completely unconditioned and non-dependent.

                         F. The Creative Nature of Oriental Nothingness


Being creative must be taken to be one of the main characteristics of man, because man, as it is said, in making tools is different from the other animals. That human culture from the beginning of history is the result of man's creative power need hardly be mentioned.  This creative power has developed together with the evolution of man, and where it will stop we do not know.  The progress of science during the last century is probably sufficient to prove how great man's creative power is.


Man's creative power is as great as all this, but, upon second thought, it may also be considered to be really quite negligible.  Man can extract fiber from a plant, spin it into yarn, produce cloth, and make clothes, but he can not create the plant itself.  Far from that, man still has not succeeded in creating even a micro-organism of one single cell.  How much more so must it be said when it comes to the creation of man himself, or to the creation of heaven and earth, that man is completely powerless.


Thus, although we say that man creates things, there is not a single thing that he can create except that its original-stuff already be given.  Within anything that man creates there is always included that which he can never create.  In this sense, the creative power of man -- in whatever it creates -- can never be said to be primary or absolute.


(p. 95) In Christianity, the creative power of God, however, signifies absolute creative power.  It is said, in Christianity, that God created out of nothing (ex nihilo) heaven and earth, plants, man, and all things.  Before God created, there wasn't anything.  It is precisely this creating out of nothing which can be called true creativity.  In the God of Christianity we can find the perfect idea of creativity.


Scotus Eriugena divided nature into four classifications ; that which creates but is not created ; that which creates and is created ; that which does not create but is created ; that which neither creates nor is created.  Man is that which creates and is created.  God is that which creates but is not created.  Although that which creates and is created is also a creator, to the extent that it was itself already created, it is not completely creator.  Only in and as that which creates but is not created can creativity be said to be primary and absolute.


From this point of view, that which creates but is not created is a complete creator.  But such a being is not one which can be actually confirmed by us in fact.  Such a being, consequently, is either an idealization or an ideation of that human creativity which can actually be attested to by us, or else is no more than a being which simply has been hypothesized or is believed in.  If it is just an idealization or ideation, it is no more than merely the perfect idea of creativity, and does not possess actual creative power.  Again, if it is simply an object of faith, its actuality is not assured.  The idea of such a creator can be entertained, but it is not somethingwhich itself possesses creative power and creates.


In Buddhism there is the expression, "All is made up by mind alone." 50   This, however, is not merely an idealization or a matter of faith, but is an actual certification by the "mind alone."   Kant says that the actual world we daily experience is not, as we commonly think, something which exists completely external to and independent of our mind, but is something which our mind has created.  If what is ordinarily called the external world is replaced by the term "all things," then all things are the creation of our mind.  That is, all things are created by mind alone.


What Kant speaks of as the "mind which creates all things," however, is so-called "consciousness-in-general" (Bewusstsein überhaupt).  For Kant mind forms according to the formal categories of "consciousness-in-general" the impressions which it has received from what he calls the "thing-in-itself."  Such a mind is like a mirror which in turn reflects according to the form(s) of reflection that which comes to be reflected in it from the (p. 96) outside.  In as much as that which is reflected by the mirror is something transformed by the form(s) of reflection it is not separate from the mirror.  If, however, there were only the mirror and nothing coming to it reflected from the outside, there could be no reflected image.  The image, thus, can not be said to be produced from within the mirror.            


In Buddhism, on the contrary, that which is reflected in the mirror is not something which comes from outside the mirror, but is something which is produced from within the mirror.  It is produced from within the mirror, is expressed by being reflected in the mirror, passes away in the mirror, and, passing away, does not leave any trace in the mirror.  The Mind in the Buddhist expression, "All is made up by mind alone," is like this mirror.  That which is reflected is never something which comes from outside of that which reflects.  In this sense, this Mind must be said to be different from anything like Kant's "consciousness-in-general."


Since, however, a mirror which produces from within that which is reflected, is not an actual possibility, this Mind is not fully served by the analogy of a mirror.  The frequent use in Buddhism of the analogy of water and waves, 51  is in order to try to illustrate more adequately the creative nature of this Mind which is not fully taken care of in the analogy of the mirror.


Waves are not something which come from outside the water and are reflected in the water.  Waves are produced by the water but are never separated from the water.  When they cease to be waves, they return to the water -- their original source.  Returning to the water, they do not leave the slightest trace in the water.  Speaking from the side of the waves, they arise from the water and return to the water.  Speaking from the side of water, the waves are the movement of the water.  While the   water in the waves is one with the waves and not two, the water does not come into being and disappear, increase or decrease, according to the coming into being and disappearing of the waves.  Although the water as waves comes into being and disappears, the water as water does not come into being and disappear.  Thus, even when changing into a thousand or ten thousand waves, the water as water is itself constant and unchanging.  The Mind of "all is made up by mind alone" is like this water.  The assertions of the Sixth Patriarch, Huineng, (T48, 349a) : "Self-Nature, in its origin constant and without commotion, produces the ten thousand things," and "All things are never separated from Self-Nature," and the statement in the Vimalakirti-nirdesa Sutra (T14, 547c) : "From the Non-Abiding origin are produced all things," express just this creative feature of Mind.


Oriental Nothingness is this Mind which is to be likened to the water as (p. 97) subject.  The creative nature of Oriental Nothingness is to be illustrated by the relation between the water and the waves, in which the water is forever and in every way the subject.  If one were to make a subject of the waves which are produced and disappear, this would be the ordinary self of man.  It is in such an ordinary subject's reverting back from waves to water -- that is, returning to their source -- and re-emerging as the True-Subject or True-Self that the characteristics of Oriental Nothingness must be sought and are to be found.

                                           Translated by RichardDe MARTINO

                                          in collaboration with

                              FFUJIYOSHI Jikai and ABE Masao


                                   Revised by TOKIWA Gishin

                                           March 2005    1 The translation by Richard DeMartino in collaboration with Fujiyoshi Jikai and Abe Masao (in the Japanese name order) was made public in Philosophical Studies of Japan, Vol. II (1959), pp. 65-97.  Japanese text: Hisamatsu Shin'ichi Chosakushu vol. I, pp. 33-66, first published in 1946.  The present revision contains the following five matters: 1) Making sure of the sources of quotes from Buddhist and Chan texts and simplifying the forms of sources; 2) Using pinyin for transcription of Chinese letters, using "Chan" for "Zen,"  and removing all the Chinese and Japanese characters throughout the text.  3) Omitting all the diacritical marks for romanizing Japanese and Sanskrit spellings.  4) When corrections other than the above three are made, they are notified with footnotes, except for explanations in brackets of some technical terms as well as corrections of wrong spellings and wordings. And consequently, 5) there is change in the numbering of pages as well as footnotes. The page numbers of the DeMartino version are shown in the text in parentheses like (p. 66).

2 (Original note 1) Professor of Philosophy and Religion, The Kyoto City College of Fine Arts. (Ori. n. ends.) The author, 1889-1980, retired from professorship in Buddhism and Religion at Kyoto University in 1949, and taught at the Kyoto City College of Fine Arts from 1952 through 1962.

3 (Ori. note 2) Although in Japanese this is a single term, mu (Chin., wu), in order to make clear in English the various meanings and nuances contained within it, these several alternative translations are offered.

4 (Ori. n. 3) See Translator's note (Ori. n. 2) bottom of p. 65. 

5 The previous rendering "unconsciousness" was replaced by "faint" for kizetsu. 

6 "Without 'things'" was replaced by "without anything graspable as something."  The whole term "sanjie-wufa" is from a statement by Panshan Baoji, dates unknown, a dharma-heir to Mazu Daoyi, 709-88.  Cf. The Jingde Record of Transmission of the Lamp, fascicle seven, Taisho Tripitaka vol. 51, p. 252b  (hereafter, T51, 252b).    

7 A phrase from the verse by Huineng, the sixth patriarch of Chan: " Bodhi (Awakening) originally has no tree, and the bright mirror [of mind] is also without a stand; Originally not having a single thing ("wuyiwu"), where does it attract any dust ?" in the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch's Dharma Treasure, T48, 349a.

8 (Ori. n. 4) In the analogy of "empty-space" used by these ancients, space is, of course, still understood as absolute and empty. (Tr.)

9 The Nirvana Sutra, tr. by Dharmakshema, in Chapter 10-1, Fascicle 21, has the term "the Tathagata's nirvana" instead of "Buddha-nature," as what is "not being and is not non-being," with no difference in meaning.  The same text in Chapter 10-2, Fascicle 22, has the expression : "Buddha-nature is neither internal nor external"; "Buddha-nature is neither permanent nor impermanent." 

10 From The One-Hundred-[Verse-]Treatise, by Aryadeva with Vasu's Commentary, tr. Kumarajiva, two fascicles.

11 The Linjilu (T47, 497b) has this expression by Linji Yixuan, ?-866: "Do you want to be able to discern a Patriarch or a Buddha ?  He is none other than you listening to the dharma (ni tingfadi) in front of me." 

12 Dazhu Huihai, dates unknown, dharma-heir to Mazu Daoyi, 709-88, says : "Seeing is Itself the True Nature, for no True Nature is incapable of seeing."  (Jingde Record of Transmission of the Lamp, T51, 247c).

13 Layman Pang Yun, ?-808, dharma-heir to Mazu Daoyi, said this to Yu Di, the prefectural governor who visited him in his sick-bed, and finished, saying : "May abide well in the world, which all is like shadows and echoes."  Then with his head on the governor's lap he passed away. (Jingde Record of Transmission of the Lamp, fascicle eight, T51, 263c)

14 Baizhang Huaihai, 749-814, dharma-heir to Mazu Daoyi, to a monk who asked the Mahayana dharma-gate for the simultaneous attainment of Awakening, showed his view including what the author quotes here and below. (Jingde Record of Transmission of the Lamp, fascicle six, T51, 250a)

15 This seems to be another expression by the author of the previous quote from Huangbo's Chuanxinfayao : "not clinging to or being confined by either mind or object".    

16 From the Chuanxinfayao, T48, 382a.

17 From his Fukan-zazengi ("The Universally Recommended Norm for Sitting-Chan Practice"), T82, 1a,  by Dogen, 1200-53.

18 From the Jingde Record of Transmission of the Lamp, fascicle three, T51, 219c.     19 Ibid., T51, 220a. 

20 Senior monk Ming, who had left the Fifth Patriarch's assembly to follow Huineng, caught up with the latter on the way to the south, asked for the dharma, and, upon the words of the Sixth Patriarch, he suddenly, silently accorded with them.  Then Ming saluted the master and said : "One who drinks water, knows it cold or hot oneself. For as many as thirty years in the assembly of the Fifth Patriarch, how wrongly I have practiced! Today I am aware of my past folly." (Huangbo, Wanling Record, T48, 384a)

21 The phrase "teach and explain it" was replaced by "tell what it really is" for shuopo-cishi (seppa-shiji). 

22 T16, tr. by Gunabhadra, 498c. 

23 The Dashengqixinlun (T32, tr. Paramartha, 576a) gives the reason for the naming of zhenru (true tathata or suchness) as follows : "All the dharmas (what have their own characteristics) are, since their beginnings, apart from the characteristics of being words, names, and the mind's objects, and ultimately equal, without changes, beyond destruction; they are nothing but the One Mind.  Therefore, they are named true tathata."

24 The Linjilu, T47, 500c. 

25 The rendering "the source of all wisdom" was replaced by "the [Buddha's] all-knowing-wisdom" for [yiqie-]zhongzhi; sarvajnajnana.

26 This rendering follows the quote in the Japanese text, "bushengxiang (not give rise to form)," while the Platform Sutra text has, "buzhuxiang (not abide in form)." (T. 48, 361a) 

27 To the question Mazu asked of Dazhu, where he had come from, the latter said he had come from the Dayun Temple in Yue-zhou.  Mazu said, "Coming here, what do you want to do?"  Dazhu : "I've come to seek after the  Buddha-dharma."  Then Mazu said, "Instead of attending to your own precious deposits, by abandoning your house and running about, what are you doing?  Here with me is not a single thing.  What Buddha-dharma do you seek after?" 

28 Zongjinglu, by Yonming Yanshou, 904-76, one hundred fascicles.  The author cites the passage which includes this quote below without notice, after a quote from Zongmi,  See Note 42.

29 Takuan Soho, 1573-1645, a Japanese Rinzai-zen priest, had the Tokai Temple built for him in Edo (now Tokyo)  through dedication by the third Tokugawa shogun Iyemitsu.  The above talk is from pp. 85-6, the first of the three books in the fifth of the six cases, Takuan-osho-zenshu, Tokyo 1930. 

30 (Ori. n. 5) See footnote p. 68 (n. 4).  "Like Empty-space" Nature is replaced here by "Empty-Space" Nature. 

31 The rendering "afflictions" was replaced by "worldly dust" for "chenlei." 

32 The rendering "The eighth is the meaning of voiding-being. This means that the being of empty-space is void, having no dimensions" was replaced by the above for "ba zhe youkong(uku)-yi. mieyouliang (metsu-uryo) gu."  (Zongjinglu, 6, 446c; Shimoheyanlun, 3, T32, 614c-615a)  

33 According to the Sanskrit text ("niscittam cittamatram"), the Chinese rendering reads : "wuxin zhi xinliang; mind-only in the sense of no-mind."  But the author reads the Chinese as above ("wu xin-zhi-xinliang").   

34 The text "yi yi mo shou" reads as : "Don't abide by unity, either."

35 Zhaozhou Congshen, 778-897, made this remark (Jingde Record of Transmission of the Lamp, fascicle ten, T51, 277a) : "It's like when you have a bright pearl in the palm of your hand : A non-native comes, and the non-native appears on it; a native Han comes, and the native Han appears on it (hu lai hu xian; Han lai Han xian)."  The renderings "barbarian" and "Chinese" were replaced here by "non-native" and "native Han."    

36 This refers to the second of the one hundred and forty-six phrases of the Xinxinming. The first and the second phrases (T48, 376b) go as follows : "The ultimate Way has nothing difficult ; Only that it detests discrimination (zhidao wunan, weixian jianze)."    

37 From the Zhengdaoge, T48, 396a.  

38 From the Xinxinming, T48, 377a. 

39 From the Chuanxinfayao, T48, 382c.

40 By Guifeng Zongmi, 780-841. 

41The beginning four words, "The meaning is that," were added for "yi shuo," which precede "zhenxing...." 

42 This is from the Zongjinglu by Yongming Yanshou, but the author failed to cite the source here, for apparently he thought it unnecessary for the reason that the final part of this quote was cited above toward the end of II. A.

43 The rendering "Awareness realized in Itself is called by name, Mind." was replaced by "Mind is its name, awareness its identity." for "xin shi ming, yi zhi wei ti." 

44 From Xinxinming T48, 376bc.

45 The rendering "an egoless ego" was replaced by "possesses an ego which is no ego."

46 The Lenggashiziji should have referred to the Pure Land sutra as Guan-wuliangshoujing (Scripture on the Contemplation of Amitayus Buddha).  And the quote from the Pure Land sutra here is the first two clauses.  The rest ("You must know ...  no other Buddha.") belongs to Daoxin, the fourth patriarch of Chan, according to the Lenggashiziji.

47 Cf. The Jingde Record of Transmission of the Lamp, fascicle three, T51, 219a.    

48 In the Linjilu, T47, 500b, Linji said : "Way-seekers, if you want to attain the view which accords with the dharma (Awakened truth), only don't suffer delusion from others ; either within or without, upon an encounter, immediately kill the other.  Encountering a buddha, kill the buddha; encountering a patriarch, kill the patriarch; encountering an arhat (nirvana-attainer), kill the arhat; encountering father-mother, kill the father-mother; encountering a relative, kill the relative.  Only then will you attain emancipation, and, not being constrained by anything, be thoroughly emancipated and free." 


On another occasion Linji introduced the Mahayana concept "the five immediates (transgressions leading to immediate ruin)" with a slight variation (T47, 502b).  The Lankavatara Sutra calls them the internal five immediates (T16, 498a), and says to the effect : By mother is meant desire, which leads to rebirth, accompanied by joy and passion, by father ignorance which causes a group of inner and outer seats for perception of, and clinging to, inner self and outer objects to arise, and by killing mother and father, completely severing both these roots.  By killing an arhat is meant completely exterminating the reposing passions, which, enemy-like, cause a rage like a poison in a rat.  By causing schism in the monastic order is meant thoroughly hurting the accumulated mass of the five constituents or twelve seats or eighteen elements of a human being which are mutually disjoined. By shedding blood with wicked intent on the body of a tathagata is meant completely hurting the seven groups of discerning faculties, which do not realize that what is external with specific and general characteristics is nothing but one's own mind seen as such, with a wicked alternative that is free from passion, i.e., the threefold emancipation of voidness, formlessness, and wishlessness, with reference to the buddha of the sevenfold discerning faculty. And one who commits the immediates is said to have the Awakened truth realized.


Linji knew this internal interpretation of the five immediates.  Nevertheless, he announced committing the immediates as the attainment of Awakening, apparently without distinction of internal or external.  It seems Linji wondered if anyone expected him to make any distinction in this regard.

49 This is for "jianxing zhi ren li yi de, bu-li yi de."  The passage that precedes this goes as follows (Ibid., 358c) : If one gets awakened to one's self-nature, one will no longer set up bodhi or nirvana, nor will one set up the wisdom of emancipation [as something to be attained]. Only when one has not a single thing to obtain, can one build up millions of things as truths.  If one understands this meaning, one can cite names like "Buddha's body," "bodhi," "nirvana," or "the wisdom of emancipation."

50 By "all" is meant all that is of the threefold world of desire, form, and no-form.  The source of the term is considered to be the statement by the bodhisattva Vajragarbha in the Huayan-jin, tr. Siksananda, fascicle thirty-seven, T10, 194a (in the sixth of the ten bodhisattva stages of the Dasabhumika) : "Whatever of the threefold world is mind only ; those twelve links of samsara-beings, which were explained in detail with division by the Tathagata, are all based on the one mind."  

51 Here are some verses from the Lankavatara Sutra, fascicle one, T16, 484bc, to illustrate the analogy of water and waves : "Just as ocean waves, blown to arise by high winds, Dancing roll forward, in no time interrupted," (Verse 96); "So does the alaya-stream, constantly blown by the winds of objects, Dancing, prevail with various waves of discerning faculties." (V. 97); "As the ocean's transformation this variety of waves is, As [the transformation of] the root [discerning-faculty] there prevail varieties of a discerning faculty by name." (V. 100)  "While the mind, ego-thought, and the [six] discerning-faculties are determined for definition's sake, Of inseparable characteristics are the eight, none being defined, none being the definer." (V. 101)  "No occurring to it exists ; one's own mind is free from being grasped, a truth that is established as likened to waves." (V. 106) "As the body-property-and-location the discerning-faculty appears to people, So does its occurring appear, much like ocean-waves." (V. 107)  Cf. The Lankavatara Sutram ;A Jewel Scripture of Mahayana Thought and Practice -- An English Translation by Tokiwa Gishin, Osaka 2003, pp. 51-52.