Posted by: Wei Yu

Here's another passage that Thusness told me to post - this is by Yuan Yin Lao Ren (元音老人). A well known teacher in China with tens of thousands of students who received his teachings, he belongs to a Vajrayana lineage but teaches Mahamudra, Dzogchen, Zen, and Pure Land alike. He transmits the "Heart of Mind's Centre" (心中心) Dharma, and tantric practices involving mudras and mantras. He passed away peacefully into Nirvana in 2000 at the age of 96 in a sitting posture, as predicted by himself five years earlier.

A few excerpts with my translation based on


16th Question: What is the dharma of the "Heart of Mind's Centre"?


Answer: The full name is "心中心又心" (not sure how to translate this), it is the mind whereby false and true minds are not obtainable, it is to attain realization of the marvellous mind. The dharma of the Heart of Mind's Centre is the quintessence of the Great Perfection (Dzogchen). It is the Core of the Core, it borrows the false mind to open/reveal the true mind, revealing the supreme great dharma of marvellous mind.


75th Question: The ten thousand dharmas are empty, only the Buddha-nature is not empty. With regards to such a saying, isn't that conceiving Buddha-nature and the ten thousand dharmas to be two things?


Answer: Ten thousand dharmas are empty, Buddha-nature is not empty, such a saying is spoken to beginner Buddhists. That the ten thousand dharmas are Buddha-nature is spoken to realized beings. These two [sayings] should not be muddled up as one.


85th Question: Not forgetting the Original [nature], that is to be diligent/put in effort in the Knowing Awareness. When doing work, Knowing is original nature's marvellous activities, when there is no work, the essence of spirit/intelligent awareness has never decreased, does it naturally accomplish the Great Way in accordance with time and conditions?


Answer: Wrong! As the ancients say, "only exhausting mundane passion, there is no other sacred understanding". If you always attach onto the essence of spirit/intelligent knowingness, that is to have an attachment. One should be devoid of any attachments to images, and manifest activities according to conditions. Spirit/intelligent awareness cannot be attached to. To put in effort on that aware knowingness is an even greater error.


87th Question: We should return to non-obtainability, everything is not obtainable. However, even in this state of vacuity, isn't there still a scene of Knowing Awareness? If we sweep away this Knowing Awareness, isn't that the same as annihilation?


Answer: It's not about sweeping away spirit/intelligent awareness, it is about not being attached to this spirit/intelligent awareness. And on the basis of non-abiding, there is neither a subject that is being aware/a knower, nor an object of awareness, that is returning to non-obtainability. If there is still a "scene of awareness", that is already not it, what more about "vacuity"?

88th Question: With regards to this formless nature-substance, despite being formless as it is, nevertheless we can experience it in a state of thoughtlessness. Is that so?


Answer: Wrong! It is not just about experiencing it in a state of thoughtlessness, it is even more important to experience it in functions and events. This is because functions and events are the display of one's nature, appearance is nature, nature is appearance, it is inseparable. If it is only experienced in a state of thoughtlessness, isn't that to fall into a pool of dead water?


89th Question: The ancient Ch'an masters wrote a poem of enlightenment that says, "It is now me, yet I am now not it", and furthermore: "When spring comes the scent of flowers permeates everywhere, mountains and rivers and the great earth are Buddha [the thus come one]". Isn't this a footnote on the non-duality of emptiness and form?


Answer: We cannot lump different things together. In the poem above, "I am now not it", one should recognise clearly the host and guest, we cannot ignorantly and carelessly treat them as not two. When we have realized the essence, not one thing is established; when giving rise to functions, every phenomena manifest without abiding. Realizing the essence and giving rise to function combined together is "mountains, rivers and the great earth are the Thus Come One". Attaining the essence is not about abiding in the seat of True Suchness without movement, or to die/become rigid/inflexible at that place, instead it is lively, giving rise to marvellous activities, responding with phenomena according to conditions without a place of abidance.
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