Zen Master Jinul Direct Talk on True Mind

Zen Master Jinul is a patriarch of korean Zen Buddhism.


Student: Is it possible to know the patriarchs Tao of sublime Ch’an?
Pojo : Has it not already been elucidated by ancient sages? Tao does not belong to either knowledge or to no-knowledge. Having a thought of knowledge is a delusion; not having
knowledge is senseless-blankness. If you have once truly touched the level of no-doubt, it would be just like unlimitedly-vast-empty-space; how could you possibly talk or
argue about this?
Student : Then, do you mean that the advent of Buddhas and patriarchs is not beneficial for ordinary beings at all?
Pojo : The Buddhas’or patriarchs’ coming is to spread to mankind the dharma of formless-doing; they just essentially said to see self-nature. In the Hua Yen Sutra, it says
“understanding all dharma (truth) is nothing but the mind of the self-gnostic-nature; accomplishing the Wisdom-Body does not originate from other’s enlightenment. This is the reason all Buddhas and patriarchs warned us not to attach to words and letters, and just to drop inner perceptions and rest outer perspectives. So, when a student entered Master Deok- san’s (Te-shan) room, the Master suddenly struck him with his dharma-staff, and as soon as a student entered Master Yim-Je’s (Lin chi) room, the Master suddenly shouted. We have been using our head for speculation for such a long time, for what reason should we continue to uphold words and letters?
Student : We have often heard that Ma Myong (Asvaghosa) wrote “Ki-shin-ron’ Shastra (Awakening of Faith), the Sixth Patriatch produced ‘Tan-kyong’ (Altar Sutra), and Hwang-
Mae (The Fifth Patriarch, Hong-in) transmitted the “Wisdom Paramita; all these works were written to awaken us gradually. According to you, there is no need for an expedient
method to be awakened to only this dharma. Why?

Pojo : Although any speculative reflection has not been allowed for so long at Sublime Summit (Mount Sumeru), still all patriarchs allow some discussion at the second summit.
Student : From the level of the second summit, then, could you show us some expedient methods?
Pojo : You said it well. Yet, the great Tao is so profound and luminous that you can express neither that it is nor that it is not. The true mind is so deeply subtle that it is severed from
speculative thought and thoughtful meaning. Therefore, one who has not yet entered through the door tries to master five thousand volumes of teaching, but it is still not enough. However, if one, who has thoroughly contemplated the true mind, is free from any words of allusion, he has already perfected the dharma. Now, in spite of the contradictory situation, I dare to write
a few chapters to clearly awaken the true mind. I hope this work can provide the fundamental for entering the Tao.

Zen Master Jinul

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