Zen Teachings of Fo-yen
by Chinese Zen Master Fo-yen Ching-yuan (1067-1120): (excerpts)
"Instant Zen: Waking Up in the Present". North Atlantic Books, Berkeley,
There is no particular pathway into it. If your own self is clear
and everything is It, when you visit a teacher you do not see that there is a
teacher; when you inquire of yourself, you do not see that you have a self. ...
When you see in this way, are you not independent and free?
Here, I am thus
every day, thus all the time. But tell me, what is "thus"? Try to express
it outside of discriminatory consciousness, intellectual assessments, and verbal
formulations. This reality is not susceptible to your intellectual understanding.
... How can you think of your original mind? How can you see your own eye? ...
What can be seen by the eye or heard by the ear can be studied in the scriptures.
what about the basis of awareness itself -- how do you study that?
I will settle
something for you right now: the ultimate rule is to see your own mind clearly.
An ancient said, "The mind does not know itself, the mind does not see itself."
So how can you see it clearly? Mind does not see mind; to get it, you must not
see it as mind.
Do you want to understand? Just discern the things perceived;
you cannot see the mind itself.
All that is necessary is that there be no perceiver
or perceived when you perceive [no separation of perceiver and perceived], no
thinker or thought when you think [no separation of thinker and thought]. Buddhism
is very easy. Just let go, then step back and look.
How about when they say
the sound of the rain has given you a sermon? Is that correct? I do not agree;
the sound of the rain is you giving a sermon. But do you understand? Clarify it
directly; then what else is there?
There is nothing in my experience that is
not true. If there were anything at all untrue, how could I presume to guide others?
As for you, obviously there is something not true; that is why you come to someone
to find certainty.
Where is your mistake? Fundamentally not understanding [nobody
does originally], you then seek understanding. Since you basically do not understand,
what are you capable of doing? Look to see where the not understanding comes from.
Do you want to know? This non-understanding of yours basically comes from nowhere.
Since it comes from nowhere, how could this not understanding be? And when you
understand, the nonunderstanding goes nowhere.
If you know that falsehood is
fundamentally the path, then there is no falsehood in it. Therefore those who
master the path have no attainment. Just do not seek elsewhere, and realise there
is no confusion or falsehood; this is called seeing the path. The path is inherently
always out in the open. Thus for those who attain the path, there is nothing that
is not it.
Another book has a chapter
on Zen Master Fo-yen:
(Thomas Cleary, "Zen Essence: The Science of Freedom".
Shambhala Publications, Boston, 1989)
... Scripture also says [Diamond Sutra],
"All appearances are illusory.
If you see appearances are not the same
as true characteristics, you see where enlightenment comes from [you see the Tathagata]."
ancient Zen master said, "if you deny appearances as you see them, you do
not see where enlightenment comes from [you do not see the Tathagata]."
step back, stop mental machinations, and try to become aware of all the implications
of these sayings. If you suddenly see through, how can you be affected by anything?
you see, let there be no seer or seen; when you hear, let there be no hearer or
heard; when you think, let there be no thinker or thought [no separation of seer
and seen, of hearer and heard, of thinker and thought].
Buddhism is extremely
easy and saves the most energy. It's just that you yourself waste energy and cause
yourself trouble. The ancients saw people helpless, and told them to try meditating
quietly. This was good advice, but later people didn't understand what the ancients
meant, and closed their eyes, suppressed body and mind, and sat like lumps waiting
for enlightenment. How foolish! [You must not just sit: you must also realise
that the one sitting, i.e. you, is your only teacher.]