Recently I've been watching snippets of dharma talks by one of the most famous Chinese Mahayana master around today (though probably not popularly known in the west due to the absence of English translations) who lives in Taiwan, Ven. Hui Lü (慧律法師; pronounced as Hui Lyu). He is so popular among the Chinese (especially in Taiwan, China, as well as South East Asia) that sometimes up to 200,000 people would fill the stadium to attend his lectures. Thusness and I thinks his speeches are very good. He is a lineaged Ch'an/Zen master (48th generation lineage holder of the Caodong/Soto school and the 42th generation lineage holder of the Linji/Rinzai school) and his wisdom is exceptional. Not only is he deeply enlightened, he is also very knowledgeable (he read through the whole of Tripitaka at least thrice over a period of 15 years, sleeping only one or two hours at night).

Decided to do some English translations.

p.s. to our Chinese readers, this video is also great but I did not transcribe it:


大 悟之人不见法。他没有任何东西,因为法法本空,法法不相到。也不见身。为什么?四大本空,五阴本来就没有“我”。所以,什么叫做照见五蕴皆空?色即是空, 受想行识即是空。为什么讲色即是空?色即是空,空就是佛性,色就是佛性的展现。所以,真正的悟道的人,他的心性流露在一切缘起法里面,即于生灭,即得不生 不灭的无为法,也没有所谓有为跟无为,刹那即见永恒,永恒就是刹那,平等不二。 因此我们要了解:不见法,也不见身。身,地水火风所构成的,四大本来就空,五蕴——色受想行识,本来就是不可得。一切法,智者了知一切法,本来就无我。这无我里面,当下就是佛性。所以,佛法讲否定的时候,凡所有相,皆是假相。讲肯定的时候,尘尘都是真心,每一个颗粒微尘都是真心的影现,一切法全部都是真。 当他破除无明烦恼、破除执着、破除分别的时候,完全都是真心展现的,尘尘尽是真,没有一法不是真心,这个是站在肯定的角度。站在否定的角度,是凡所有相不 可得。站在本体界的角度,凡所有相,都是本体界的展现,都是清净心的影现,没有一法不是真实。

Those who are greatly realized do not view/conceive of dharmas. They do not have anything at all, because every dharma is fundamentally empty, every dharma is disjointed. They also do not conceive of a body. Why is this so? The four great elements are also fundamentally empty, the five aggregates have always been without a 'self'. Therefore, what does it mean to illuminate/see that the five aggregates are empty? Form is emptiness, feelings, perception, volition and consciousness are also empty. Why do we say that form is emptiness? Form is emptiness, emptiness is buddha-nature, form is the display of buddha-nature. Therefore, for those who are truly realized, [it is seen that] his nature of mind is outpouring within all dependently arisen dharmas, and within the arising and ceasing [dharmas], one attains that not-born and not-ceasing unconditioned dharma, and there is no such thing as [a dichotomy of] 'conditioned' or 'unconditioned'. One sees within a split instant, eternity, and eternity IS this split instant, they are equal without duality.

Therefore we should understand: not conceiving of dharmas, not conceiving of body. Body is composed of [the four great elements of] cohesion (water), solidity or inertia (earth), expansion or vibration (air) and heat or energy content (fire). These four great elements are fundamentally empty, the five aggregates - form/matter, feelings, perception, volition and consciousness, are originally ungraspable/unobtainable. Every single dharma, the wise knows that every single dharma, has originally been without a self. And in this very instant moment of no-self, that itself is Buddha-nature. Therefore, when the Buddhadharma talks about negation/deconstruction, all appearances are illusory false appearances. When talking from the standpoint of affirmation, dust after dust [phenomena] is the True Mind, every single bit of micro-dust is the shadows [appearance/display] of True Mind, every single dharma is entirely True. When it has removed all our ignorance and suffering, broken apart our attachments, removed our discriminations, everything in its completeness is the display of True Mind, every dust turns out to be True, there is not a single dharma that is not True Mind, this is speaking from the standpoint of affirmation. Standing from the perspective of negation/deconstruction, all appearances are ungraspable/unobtainable. Standing from the perspective of the world of fundamental body, every appearance is the display of the world of fundamental body [i.e. dharmadhatu], it is the pure mind's appearance/manifestation, there is not a single dharma that is not true.



Those who are greatly realized [understands] that Reality and Falsity/Illusion are without difference, life and Buddha are not two, subject and object vanishes, mind and state/situation are both forgotten.


[With regards to the] Real, there is also no establishment of something Real, false mind is fundamentally empty, true mind is also not established, this is called truly entering into Tathagata's absolute state of "Eternal, Bliss, Self and Pure".

什么是如来的境界?妄,体会妄心本空,绝对不可以 立一个真心,立一个真心就是知见立知。

What is the state of the tathagata? [With regards to] False, [one] experiences that the false mind is fundamentally empty, [but] we absolutely cannot establish a real mind, to establish a real mind is to establish a concept/notion on top of [pure] knowing.

妄心本空,如是体会!法受益就好,仅止于此,进入绝对的智慧,绝对的平等,绝对的自在,这个时候不可以立一个真。若 立一个真,这个真就是妄。所以,不可以头上安头。法受益,仅止于此,内心相应就好,不可以再动一个念头,对法上的执着。所以,真妄无别,生佛不二。我们色身,这个就是佛!为什么?即于五蕴身,就是佛身。诸位!五蕴当体即空,就是如来藏性,就是佛,因此佛也不可以离开当下。

False mind is fundamentally empty, we should come to understand it as such! It is enough to benefit from this dharma, it [should] ends here, entering into absolute wisdom, absolute equality, absolute freedom. At this point in time we must never establish something Real. If we establish something to be Real, this Real will turn out to be [another] illusion. Therefore, we should never "put another head on top of a head", we cannot move another thought or have attachment towards dharma. Gentlemen! Five aggregates in its immediate essence is empty, just that is the nature of the Treasury of Thus Come One, just that is Buddha, therefore Buddha cannot be separated from this instant moment.


所 以我们修行就是要开悟,证悟到一切法本空,归无所得,当下销归自性,了无所得。本来无生,何其有灭?生灭是对世间讲的,当下就是不生不灭。而不是生灭里面 有一个不生不灭。我们修行人看经典经常误会,以为生灭法里面有一个不生不灭的本性,错啦!而是生灭法当下就是无自性,是这样在体悟本性无生的。要讲生灭当 下缘起、性空、无自性,所以说它是不生、是不灭。要好好地去参悟。

Therefore the purpose of cultivation is to attain enlightenment, to realize that every dharma is fundamentally empty, returning to no-attainment/ungraspability, returning to the nature of self in its immediacy, realizing that there is nothing to attain/grasp. Originally there is no birth, how could there be a cessation? Birth and cessation are spoken to worldly beings, [in actuality] in this instant moment there is already no birth and no cessation. It is not the case that within birth and death, there is something that is unborn and undying. We practitioners that read the sutras are often mistaken about this, thinking that inside the birth and cessation of dharmas there is an unborn and undying basic nature, that is wrong! Actually it is the case that with regards to arising and ceasing dharmas, in that instant moment, there has never been a self-nature, and through this one realizes the basic nature that is not-born. We are saying that the birth and ceasing's very instant is dependently originated, empty in nature, without self-nature, therefore they are without birth, without cessation. We should very well go and ponder and realize this.


From (for those that can watch Chinese):

Commentary on the Shurangama Sutra by Ven Hui Lu, on the chapter that discusses "All dharmas are Buddha-nature"


Second chapter: Every single dharma is fundamentally the Treasury of the Thus Come One [tathagatagarbha/Buddha-nature], what are the dharmas? Five aggregates, six entries, twelve sense bases, eighteen elements, are all fundamentally the Treasury of the Thus Come One. How do we explain this?


What sentient beings call Form/Matter, Feelings, Perceptions, Volition, and Consciousness; when the eighth consciousness transforms into the Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom, the labels/conventional images of these five aggregates completely disappears. Although the names are transformed, its body is not transformed. This false name is being transformed into what is being called the Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom, [hence] Form IS Buddha-nature, feeling IS buddha-nature, perception IS buddha-nature, volition IS buddha-nature, consciousness IS buddha-nature.


To put it in another way: by illuminating/seeing that the five aggregates are empty, that its essence is empty, Buddha-nature reveals itself. Therefore it is saying, form/matter is body/matter, feelings, perceptions, volitions, and consciousness is mind. Those who are able to see through/be disillusioned with Body and Mind, are able to let them go, and furthermore are able to be complete [in disillusionment/letting go], precisely that is Buddha, being able to illuminate that the five aggregates are empty, and thus liberate all sufferings.


Therefore, the Buddha transforms this body of five aggregates into the Indestructible Diamond Body, that is refering to the Marvellous Nirvanic Nature, it is not refering to appearance. Shakyamuni Buddha manifests in appearance birth, ageing, sickness and death, that is speaking from the perspective of appearance.


What is termed Buddha, is to leave [all conceivings with regards to] all appearances, that is named as all Buddhas; the Thus Come One means being 'such' with regards to all dharmas. In other words: no matter how form, feelings, perceptions, volition and consciousness changes, his mind is always unmoving in suchness, whenever his mind arises and thought moves, there is no attachment to self, nor attachment to dharmas, therefore it is said that the aggregates are fundamentally the Treasury of the Thus Come One, the marvellous nature of True Suchness.


These are the six entries: eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind, being correlated with form, sound, smell, taste, touch, thought, which means: with regards to these six entries, actually they are also manifested through the dependent arising of the Treasury of the Thus Come One. It cannot be seen, cannot be touched, cannot be smelled; however, it can give rise to functions.


Ordinary beings' eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind are creating karma, therefore, from these six entries, it (deluded karmic tendencies) pollutes our pure mind; on the other hand these six entries are for the Buddha exactly the place that illuminates light and moves the earth, its marvellous activities are inexhaustible.


Henceforth, from the viewpoint of saints, it is known that "when you are not prejudiced with regards to the six sense-objects, you in turn are in union with true enlightenment."


The six sense-objects are absent of what is known as good or bad, however it depends [or is conceived based] on your arising mind and moving thoughts, therefore it is known that the six sense-objects that are not prejudiced is to be in harmony with true enlightenment. As for the entry of eyes, it is as said by the Buddha, what is known as entry has in reality no entry, why is it so?


Pure self-nature does not have an exit or an entry, [repeat:] it does not have exit or entry.


Within our China's Mahayana Buddhism, there are many, in fact the majority of those latter-day commentators, due to not having attained Great Realization, have distorted the Buddha's meaning.


For example: Shakyamuni Buddha has never said anything like "while following conditions one is unchanged, one is unchanged while following conditions". That [saying] actually came from our Mahayana venerables, they keep on spouting such saying, such a saying is actually [based on] beginningless ignorance, it is a false understanding, the Buddha has never said such a saying; the Buddha has never said: from true emptiness comes marvellous existence, marvellous existence true emptiness, [I have] searched throughout the entire Tripitaka [the three textual collections of sutras, vinaya and abhidharma] and Shakyamuni Buddha has never ever said such a thing.


The Buddha has also never said: from the illusory one enters into emptiness, from emptiness the illusory is produced; not attaching to either side is known as the middle way.


Shakyamuni Buddha has never said such a saying, never!


I have flipped through the Tripitaka's twelve sections of sutras, it has never ever said anything with regards to "being unchanged while following conditions, following conditions while being unchanged"; it has never said: "true emptiness produces miraculous existence, from miraculous existence comes true emptiness"; and it has never said: "from the illusory one enters into emptiness, from emptiness comes the illusory, not attaching to either side is known as the middle way". Having an exit and entry, how could that be Buddha-nature?


Therefore, the first saying should be changed into: Appearing according to conditions.


Those who say: being unchanged by the flow of conditions, the flow of conditions does not change/affect us - we usually have the view of a self-nature, conceiving that the Treasury of the Thus Come One is always unchanging in suchness, unchanging in suchness, like a pool of dead water. Wrong!


It can give rise to marvellous function, therefore, it manifests according to conditions. When the Buddha preaches the dharma he is also in Samadhi, in movement, standing, sitting and sleeping, the ingenuity in varying usage depends on natural intelligence, how could there be an unchanging thing?


This "being immutable in the midst of conditions" will cause people to fall into (the conclusion of): there is a kind of "something" that is unchanging, and one constantly seeks after a kind of "something that is not changing", mistaken that there is a kind of "something" that is called "eternal".


[In actuality] what is known as eternal is eternally non-abiding, filled with wisdom-mind - that is called eternal, it is not that there is a kind of "thing" that is called eternal.


We have to understand, conditioned dharma IS precisely unconditioned dharma, conditioned dharma is the dependently arisen, arising and ceasing, impermanent dharmas; it is completely empty and hence unconditioned dharma, its immediate essence is empty, we do not speak of any dualities.


Therefore we say: manifesting according to conditions, is what completely and greatly realized people would say, for if you talk about "being immutable in the face of conditions", what is the thing that never changes?


Those greatly realized mind knows that Buddha-Nature is like the Wish-Fulfilling Gem, when the Hu man arrives Hu man is made manifest, when the Han man arrives Han man is made manifest, it will always change, if it were unchanging it would be like a pool of dead water, how could it manifest functions?


Isn't that the case? If the Treasury of the Thus Come One never changes, then how would Shakyamuni Buddha expound the sutras and preach the dharma?


[If] it is unchanging, [it would be like] a pool of dead water, when Shakyamuni Buddha expounds the sutras that would be the coming forth of marvellous activities, how could it have been that it never changes?


Isn't that the case? Therefore: Buddha nature is Impermanence. What is known as Buddha-nature is Impermanence, is spoken from the point of view of marvellous activities; when Buddha-nature is spoken as permanent, it is spoken from the perspective of [fundamental] body, when speaking to those who have not realized, this is the only way we can explain.


When speaking of Impermanence, that is due to the Buddha's bemoaning the state of the universe and pitying the fate of mankind, thus letting us realize that the ten thousand dharmas are arising and ceasing in impermanency, empty without self-nature, therefore, Shakyamuni Buddha cannot avoid speaking about Impermanence to let you realize it earlier.


When explaining Permanence, it is for the purpose of providing something to rely on for the practitioners of the two [lower] vehicles, wherefore we speak of our Treasury of the Thus Come One as Permanence, Bliss, Self and Purity, however the practitioners of the two [lower] vehicles then grasp after a kind of something that is 'Permanent, Blissful, Self and Purity', and thus again becoming attached to an eternal something.

(my personal comments: certainly this issue does not apply to the 'arahants' of Buddhism who have realized anatta or no-soul, maybe the comment is more appropriate for adherents of the non-Buddhist tradition, the term 'two vehicles' originally meant for the arahants and pratyekabuddhas have in latter days of Chinese Mahayana become a very loose term used to imply all and any kind of 'misguided practitioners')


When the Shakyamuni Buddha talks about impermanence, it is meant for severing your craving; when speaking about permanence, it is meant for providing a means of support for the practitioners of the two vehicles, yet the practitioners of the two vehicles then attached to a kind of something that is called 'permanent'.


Shakyamuni Buddha tells us: when talking about Permanent, Bliss, Self and Purity, that is just a kind of skillful means, [for] when it arises transformation, then it is impermanence.


Could expounding sutras and preaching the dharma have been permanence?


It will change/be impermanent, impermanence in its essence is empty, just that is permanence.


Therefore, nature and appearance are fundamentally one suchness, where could there be permanence or impermanence?


Nature and appearance are fundamentally one suchness, where could there have been abidance or non-abidance?


When reaching the state of the Buddha, if we impute a view then it is completely wrong. Imposing any kind of view is not allowed, not one dharma is established, only then is this the true Dharma.


Buddha has never talked about true emptiness producing marvellous existence, or marvellous existence [comes] true emptiness, this is a commentary from China's patriarchs.


The Buddha has also never said: from the illusory enters emptiness, from emptiness comes the illusory, the Buddha has said: Not-two dharma door [the Dharma of Non-Duality], you have to be clear about this!


What is known as the dharma door of non-duality means Mind and Situation are not two, isn't it so?


Dependent arising is equivalent to empty nature, it is not that apart from dependent arising there is another empty nature.


Or that apart from dependent arising there is another empty nature, dependent arising is going in accord with conditions, and apart from that there is an empty nature that is known to be permanent.


Isn't it the case? Then that would be splitting it into two, then this is no longer the dharma door of non-duality. Dependent arising is fundamentally empty, just that is the empty nature; birth and death are fundamentally empty, just that is Nirvana, birth and death and nirvana is without distance, Bodhi [enlightenment] is originally not one thing.

Thusness and I think this is a book with great clarity.


A few excerpts from Gesture of Awareness by Charles Genoud:

When we develop true intimacy with our body, we become intimate with ourselves. We learn to be present as a whole. We open to discovery of our essence when the dichotomy of body-mind is dropped.

This is precisely the purpose of the practice of Gesture of Awareness.

In this practice we explore movement to discover the nature of awareness. We inquire even of the sensation of tension in the neck – becoming aware not of the sensation but of the consciousness of it; becoming aware not of the consciousness of it, but of the essence of the consciousness. One does not always have to practice Gesture of Awareness, though, in such a gradual way.

If the body is just a thought, the play of awareness, then ultimately an intimate knowledge of the body is an intimate knowledge of awareness...


....Are we present
in what we do
at every instant?

Or are we doing
the not-yet-here,
that which we are wishing for

In the simplicity
of the experience,

is the doing of what we do

The action is
not located anywhere.

In order for something
to be placed somewhere there needs
to be at least two phenomena.

When there is only one,
there is nothing with respect to
where it may be located.

Bodily sensations are not in the body -
for the sensations themselves,
the sensations are not happening anywhere.

From the left hand’s point of view,
it is not located anywhere.
It is nowhere.

Nothing to improve.

If there were only one universe
and therefore nothing outside it,

could we located the universe?
Here without any possibility
of there is devoid of signification.

Here nondualistically
is meaningless.

Now here


Can the most dense place
of presence be found in the head
or heart or wherever else?

is the place with the densest sense of being
right in the experience itself?

Is the place with the densest sense of being
right in bodily sensation
when there is bodily sensation?

right in the experience itself:
in a thought
when there is a thought?

What if we bring our attention,
our awareness, to a specific place,
any specific place, any part of the body?

If we try as meditators to bring our awareness to our walking we’ll be
in the profane place in front of the temple.

When we bring our attention somewhere
we’re in the profane world.

Bringing our awareness
to any experience means we’re not
in the most dense place of existence.

We don’t need to bring our awareness anywhere -
awareness is always within the arising
of the experience itself.

We don’t need to make any separation
between bodily sensations and awareness.
Bodily sensations are already awareness.

Thought is already awareness.
We don’t need to bring
awareness to the thought.

What we’re exploring
is not the body
but the body’s awareness.

We’re just exploring
the body of awareness.

We may wonder where
the body’s awareness is,
imagining it’s in the body.

but the body’s awareness will only be
in the body if we stand outside ourselves
trying to figure out where it is.

The center gives orientation.
It’s not located anywhere.

The experience of the body’s awareness
or the thought’s awareness is not located anywhere
from the standpoint of the experience.

There is nothing outside
the experience of the body’s awareness.

Awareness is not located anywhere.
It is not situated in space.

for space would then be something known by
experience: it’s not a characteristic
of awareness itself.

In our exploration
it’s not necessary
to  direct our awareness.

Rather, let awareness
play out on its own.

Rest simply with experiences,
with bodily sensations,

If one tries to bring awareness
someplace then one may not
be complete.

And so now you know
where the place to be is.


In spiritual circles, workshops, talks, and retreats
words like here and now are used like mantras,
as if they express truth.

Don’t the words here and now
depend on place, on time -
on before and after?

Don’t they express dualism?
Don’t the words here and now
express a fragmented understanding?

We may find this notion that things
don’t happen in place or time
more challenging.

An experience happens somewhere only when
we place ourselves outside the experience
as an observer, as an experiencer.

An experience happens
somewhere only with respect to
another somewhere.

When we are the experience itself,
can it be experienced
at any place?

When we bring our attention
somewhere, don’t we create a place?

When I move my attention to my arm,
mindful of sensations in my arm,
am I not making a place, a world?

isn’t this how we structure
our daily lives, our reality?

This structure of our lives,
our reality, is exactly
what we’re questioning.

We’re questioning the way we create
a world through attitude and language
and purposeful mindfulness.

When we believe in the world
in which we live,
when we believe in separation,
when we believe in duality,
in subject and object, we’re creating
our cage, our prison, our chains.

Or we may keep on creating the world,
while yet realizing the fictional
aspect of our creation.

Though they may sound harsh,
these two words – achronic and atopic -
illuminate with their precision.

No time, no place,
no when, no where.

In order to explore this,
we may have to stop following
our tendency to be an observer,

our tendency to observe
our experiences, our thoughts.

If we set ourselves up as an observer
of our thoughts we could locate them
with respect to this observer.

If we are just thoughts – if we are
the arising thoughts – where could
we locate them, and with respect to what?

can we say a thought is here, or there?
Here or there
is the thought that we are

when here arises with the simultaneous
impossibility of there -
it has no meaning.

This may be said to be true
for all experiences.

Tasting, thinking, smelling, hearing,
tactile sensation, seeing -

the simplicity of our experiences -
where do they happen?

The seeing itself, and not the object -
where does seeing happen?

Can we say it’s happening in front of us,
or behind us, or inside, or outside,
and with respect to what?

We may inquire of all our senses
in this way without building
any sense of location.

Can I just walk, just experience
bodily sensations, and not invent stories?

If there is nothing other than bodily sensations, in which space could I move?
Toward what, away from what?

In our work, we don’t need to cultivate
the attempt to be mindful
of something specific.

Just walking, just seeing,
just hearing – we don’t need to try to walk or see or hear.

maybe we’re as absent as
the characters in Blanchot’s novel:
we are nowhere.

Yet that is
to be questioned.


In trying to find anything
real in the form that appears,
one is left with nothing,

yet this nothing
allows form to appear,
the flowers to blossom.

The dreamlike can play,
gather together and separate.


In observing there is just simply presence.
A presence without anyone.

When the action
not subject to aim rests
in itself, where is separation?

In wholly doing something -
acting totally in oneness -
there’s no aim, no result,

no I, no actor,
only act.


Mental images are traces -
traces, habitual patterns.

As we need to rest
on something which seems stable,
firm, we cling to traces.

On the traceless, therefore
we project the notion of time and duration.

To find comfort and security
we make something
out of an ungraspable reality.

We grasp so quickly
conceptualize so conditionally,
that we’re never aware of the traceless.

Holding on to an experience by means of a concept,
I solidity it:
I make it into something,
a something
that can be opposed to something else.


We don’t need to read fiction
to be in a dream-like reality

as there is no real world
behind the dream,
behind the traces.


We live in an illusory world,
an illusory world that we share,

an illusion kept alive
by tacit convention.

The reality of our everyday life
depends on shared conditionality -

it is a common dream,
not a private one.

Can you move your hand
in a circular way, not holding on
to traces;
can you move your hand
and not be drawn in by the notion of a circle? Let’s explore.

Know when you are dealing with traces.

Know when you are just experiencing.


the Buddha says:

In seeing, just seeing; in hearing, just hearing;
in tasting, just tasting; in smelling, just smelling;
in feeling, just feeling; in thinking, just thinking.

It was enough for the Brahmin,
who awakened.

But what does
just mean?

It means the elimination
of the reality of a tangible subject
and tangible object;

it leaves seeing whole.
A seeing in which the totality
of my being participates..

A seeing beyond any notion
of inside and outside.

A seeing without a seer;
a seeing without anything seen.

it leaves intimacy,
an intimacy leaving only presence,
only awareness.

How is I-less seeing,
I-less hearing

When wind blows,
do we look for a blower
apart from the blowing?

When fire burns,
do we look for burner
apart from the fire?

Can’t I see the way the wind blows
can feel the way fire burns when I lie
on the floor with my eyes closed?

Is there any rester apart from the resting?
is there any feeler separated
from feeling bodily sensations?

The sense of being at rest
on the floor
or on one’s back

creates separation,
creates duality.
Is the notion of floor,

or the notion of back, anything but
imagination, a construct based
on the sensation of hardness, of coldness?

A construct useful if we’re to clean the floor, useful
if we need to protect our back,

but it misleads
if we’re concerned with intimacy,
with full presence.

Can I rest on the floor
like the fire burns?

Can I walk
like the wind blows?....

Here's something I wrote last month after encountering a Zen master from the Kwan Um School of Zen.

(in photo: Zen Master Dae Kwan, Zen Master Dae Kwang, and translator)

The other day, I asked Emanrohe about the 'talk by Zen Master Dae Kwang'. That's strange, I don't know who Zen Master Dae Kwang is but his name pops up in mind and I just typed it out, later I re-checked, the website says its Zen Master Dae Bong's talk. So I sent a second sms and told him my error, it's actually Zen Master Dae Bong's talk.

But anyway, today it turns out Zen Master Dae Kwang was indeed giving a speech.

Halfway through, the thunder started to sound.. Someone asked a question, he said "can you hear the thunder?" *thunder claps* "that is it! that is the answer from Buddha (laughter)" And five more questions came - what is enlightened person, who can become enlightened, how to practice and become enlightened, "all dharmas return to one one returns to what?", etc.

And his answer to each question was, "did you hear the thunder?"

Then it started to rain, it got so loud that he stopped speaking and we just sat there. The rain itself becomes the dharma talk... so everyone sat there in meditation... the zen master sat very still. Just the sound of dripping rain filling the whole universe... the sound enjoying and hearing itself... that's Buddha, clear and blissful.

Then after 20 minutes he began to speak. He said you don't need to remember anything I said... the rain is the best dharma talk. So the talk ended, 15 minutes early.

It was still raining and I got a chance to chat with him a little.

I told him two years ago, I was contemplating on the Bahiya Sutta and that led to an awakening - in the seen, there is just the seen, in the heard there is just the heard, in the cognized just the cognized. When for you, Bahiya, there is in the seen just the seen, in the heard just the heard, in the cognized just the cognized, there is no you in terms of that, no you in there, no you here, and no you in-between. Just that is the end of suffering. Then I realized, oh, this entire notion of a self, a seer that is seeing the seen is entirely illusory! There is in seeing just the seen, seeing IS the seen only. No subject and object, inside or outside.

He smiled and said "Precisely! That's why I asked - did you hear the thunder?"

I said, "But I still have discursive thoughts sometimes, I feel my practice is still lacking. What do you say about it?"

He said thoughts are not a problem, it's the natural functioning of the mind - Buddha's sutras all came from his thinking. Just don't be attached to thoughts, that's all.

I asked him a few more questions... like, how long do you advise people to do meditation everyday?

He said 24 hours.

I asked, what about sitting meditation?

He said maybe 20 minutes in the morning, then the rest of the day also Just Do It.

I say in acting 100% action, no you remaining. He agreed and said no you practicing either. No inside, no outside, just do it.

I thanked him, bowed and left.


A little background info:

Zen Master Dae Kwang is the abbot of the Kwan Um School of Zen. He is the guiding teacher of Providence Zen Center in Cumberland, Rhode Island, the head temple of our international School. He is also the teacher for Zen centers in Wisconsin and Delaware. Zen Master Dae Kwang travels widely, leading retreats throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. His interests include meditation practices common to Christianity and Buddhism. He was ordained a monk in 1987.


I told Thusness later, he said that's the "total exertion" he talked about. He also said the insights I went through is quite compatible with their zen lineage and also it's "not easy to find a master with true insight, you should associate with him", but I said he's going back to America.


From "What The Buddha Taught" by Walpola Rahula (great book, highly recommended):

"Mindfulness, or awareness, does not mean that you should think and be conscious 'I am doing this' or 'I am doing that.' No. Just the contrary. The moment you think, 'I am doing this,' you become self-conscious, and then you do not live in the action, but you live in the idea 'I am,' and consequently your work too is spoiled.

"You should forget yourself completely, and lose yourself in what you do. The moment a speaker becomes self-conscious and thinks 'I am addressing an audience,' his speech is disturbed and his trend of thought broken. But when he forgets himself in his speech, in his subject, then he is at his best, he speaks well and explains things clearly.

All great work -- artistic, poetic, intellectual or spiritual -- is produced at those moments when its creators are lost completely in their actions, when they forget themselves altogether, and are free from self-consciousness.

This mindfulness or awareness with regard to our activities, taught by the Buddha, is to live in the present moment, to live in the present action (this is also the Zen way which is based primarily on this teaching.) Here in this form of meditation, you haven't got to perform any particular action in order to develop mindfulness, but you have only to be mindful and aware of whatever you may do. You haven't got to spend one second of your precious time on this particular 'meditation': you have only to cultivate mindfulness and awareness always, day and night, with regard to all activities in your usual daily life. These two forms of 'meditation' discussed above are connected with our body."


10/20/2012 9:51 AM: Thusness: What is non-meditation to u?
10/20/2012 9:51 AM: Thusness: And what is non-action?
10/20/2012 10:46 AM: AEN: Non meditation is simply experiencing experience as it appears without dualistic/inherent view which is rather similar to what jax is saying I think
10/20/2012 10:58 AM: Thusness: What do u mean by experiencing experience as it appears without dualistic/inherent view?
10/20/2012 11:00 AM: Thusness: If I ask u to take a deep breath now and then breath normal, are they non-action and non-meditation?
10/20/2012 11:01 AM: AEN: Yes
10/20/2012 11:01 AM: Thusness: Why so?
10/20/2012 11:02 AM: AEN: It is just experience in its natural state, without the sense of self or dualistic action arising
10/20/2012 11:02 AM: Thusness: Natural state refers to?
10/20/2012 11:03 AM: AEN: Appearance appearing according to conditions, unmodified and unaltered by dualistic action/sense of self
10/20/2012 11:04 AM: Thusness: That u r talking abt no-doership
10/20/2012 11:04 AM: Thusness: What if there is intention
10/20/2012 11:04 AM: Thusness: As in chanting
10/20/2012 11:05 AM: AEN: There is no problem with intention, bcos that too is an arising without self... Its like total exertion in every moment, total action without self, whether chanting, walking, sitting
10/20/2012 11:06 AM: Thusness: An arising without self meaning? As in no-doership...u hv to b clear...
10/20/2012 11:07 AM: AEN: There is total involvement of all conditions, just without agency
10/20/2012 11:07 AM: AEN: Conditions include intention
10/20/2012 11:08 AM: Thusness: Total is always void of self
10/20/2012 11:11 AM: Thusness: When there is no gap between actor and action, that is non-action
10/20/2012 11:13 AM: AEN: I see..
10/20/2012 11:13 AM: Thusness: Lot of movement in appearance but nothing truly moves
10/20/2012 11:15 AM: Thusness: When the one who will is gone (no-will), the entire movement appears to be "your willing"
10/20/2012 11:17 AM: Thusness: It is not abt no-doership and arising spontaneously but doer and deeds are refine till none in total action.
10/20/2012 11:18 AM: AEN: Yes there is no standing back watching action unfold but instead whole being is just action, no self
10/20/2012 11:18 AM: Thusness: When insight of anatta arises, the heat and cold "kill you" is the actualization non-action.
10/20/2012 11:18 AM: Thusness: Yes
10/20/2012 11:20 AM: AEN: Ic..
10/20/2012 11:21 AM: AEN: I think only zen emphasizes this very much
10/20/2012 11:21 AM: AEN: Like the seung sahn tradition
10/20/2012 11:21 AM: Thusness: Dogen
10/20/2012 11:21 AM: AEN: I see
10/20/2012 11:21 AM: Thusness: No...Theravada also when understood correctly
10/20/2012 11:22 AM: AEN: Ic..
10/20/2012 11:23 AM: Thusness: This total exertion is not the result of effort, but full integration of view/experience/realization
10/20/2012 11:24 AM: AEN: I was reading walpola rahula book
10/20/2012 11:24 AM: AEN: I guess he realized anatta and is very clear about this too
10/20/2012 11:24 AM: AEN: He said
10/20/2012 11:25 AM: Thusness: When we say this arising thought is just a thought, don't believe in the story...or this thought is empty...nothing to hold...that is only half understanding
10/20/2012 11:26 AM: AEN: Oic..
10/20/2012 11:26 AM: Thusness: The other half is the total exertion of this thought
10/20/2012 11:27 AM: AEN: Ic..
10/20/2012 11:27 AM: AEN: "Mindfulness, or awareness, does not mean that you should think and be conscious 'I am doing this' or 'I am doing that.' No. Just the contrary. The moment you think, 'I am doing this,' you become self-conscious, and then you do not live in the action, but you live in the idea 'I am,' and consequently your work too is spoiled.
"You should forget yourself completely, and lose yourself in what you do. The moment a speaker becomes self-conscious and thinks 'I am addressing an audience,' his speech is disturbed and his trend of thought broken. But when he forgets himself in his speech, in his subject, then he is at his best, he speaks well and explains things clearly.
All great work -- artistic, poetic, intellectual or spiritual -- is produced at those moments when its creators are lost completely in their actions, when they forget themselves altogether, and are free from self-consciousness.
10/20/2012 11:27 AM: Thusness: All past/present/future tendencies, ignorance, wisdom is in this one thought...
10/20/2012 11:30 AM: AEN: This mindfulness or awareness with regard to our activities, taught by the Buddha, is to live in the present moment, to live in the present action (this is also the Zen way which is based primarily on this teaching.) Here in this form of meditation, you haven't got to perform any particular action in order to develop mindfulness, but you have only to be mindful and aware of whatever you may do. You haven't got to spend one second of your precious time on this particular 'meditation': you have only to cultivate mindfulness and awareness always, day and night, with regard to all activities in your usual daily life. These two forms of 'meditation' discussed above are connected with our body."
10/20/2012 11:30 AM: Thusness: Yes...and insight of anatta opens the gate.
10/20/2012 11:32 AM: AEN: Ic..
10/20/2012 11:33 AM: AEN: Delma tells me today her total exertion has stabilized
10/20/2012 11:34 AM: AEN: "Interesting times. Nondual is becoming more and more stable. I don't understand it, but just reading your material and deeply contemplating it seems to have tremendous affect. Yesterday while driving home from work and walking to my house, there was just walking, just driving. This was is what is becoming more and more sustained.

I do follow your advice and follow the breath without counting. Then there is only breath. It's more effortless these days. So, thank you.
10/20/2012 11:34 AM: AEN: luminosity, but not awareness as a thing or entity. just the senses, experienced as independent streams. It's the walking experience which seems different and sustained. No one is walking. At first this would be experienced with a bit of effort, but it's becoming more natural and the feeling of it always having been this way is there."
10/20/2012 11:38 AM: Thusness: Quite good
10/20/2012 11:51 AM: Thusness: When the gap between actor and action is refined till none, that is non-action and that non-action is total action. Whether this total action is understood as the natural way will depend on whether the insight of anatta has arisen. Anatta is the insight that allows the practitioner to see clearly that this has always been the case.

Hi James, I think after realizing anatta, the super-clarity of mindfulness becomes sort of effortless and uncontrived. Pure natural aliveness and crystal clarity in all six senses. Isn't it the case for you? So any kind of contrivance becomes counterproductive. But if you try to practice mindfulness before penetrating no-self, it is quite effortful to maintain. This is because clarity is intrinsic to mind/experience rather than being produced, only the sense of self is 'obscuring'.

Also the non-action that Thusness said is not merely 'no doer, everything just happening, just being done' but total involvement, total action, entire being is just action, so intention and effort is fully exterted to do what is being done. It is not a contrived effort like "trying to maintain a witness of what is being done", no. No contrived mindfulness is involved. I'm talking about full exertion in just doing that activity like the whole being, whole universe is fully exerting as the action, eating the apple, cleaning the stain off the toilet. Intention is fully included/involved in that moment, rather than dissociated/a kind of "let things happen on their own".

Whole body-mind is engaged in seeing, hearing, acting: "When you see forms or hear sounds fully engaging body-and-mind, you grasp things directly. Unlike things and their reflections in the mirror, and unlike the moon and its reflection in the water, when one side is illumined the other side is dark." - Dogen

When there is total action, that is also non action because there is no doer-deed dichotomy, whole being is just action and there is no doer or acting or even movement.


This morning before I woke up, I dreamt of going to the new zen center Kwan Yin Chan Lin, when I woke up I was suddenly reminded about visiting KYCL (I probably would have forgotten otherwise) and realized today is a good time to visit that place as it is Saturday and they have activities on Saturday. I have never visited it before previously (the dharma talks I attended previously were held in a tent).

When I visited that place, they told me today is the first out of the 6 lessons in the meditation course. We sat in meditation for like half an hour? Then it was followed by a dharma talk... and surprise!

Zen Master Dae Kwang was the one giving the talk. (I was wrong, he didn't go back to America after all, he is staying in Singapore for some time)

That place is a cool and nice environment: simple, clean design, very zen. Incidentally I once had this thought in the past, how would I like to design the place if I ever were to build a meditation center myself? Kwan Yin Chan Lin was exactly what I had in mind - a very clean, spacious, uncluttered, simple design.

Anyway, Zen Master Dae Kwang was giving a talk about meditation and zen, he gives us tips about practice and meditation. His talk was also about clear mind - being fully present and letting go the thoughts (but not fighting them), then seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and even thinking becomes very clear. Clear mind is your buddha nature, what is already intrinsic and complete in everyone, so we are not trying to attain anything at all. As he says: in our practice and meditation, we will NOT attain anything!

It was a nice talk.

The funny thing is, the ending words in the talk was the same as it was in my dream - something about the teachings being about your direct experience and not some (intellectual) understanding. That was followed by the nun coming and commencing the vow recitation. Just the same scene as what I saw in my dream! Hahaha...

I told Thusness immediately after that, his comment was "auspicious karmic connection".