Master Baekun ascended into the Dharma Hall and spoke:
“Our original and true nature exists on its own accord. It came into being before the Sky or Earth, continuing up until this very day. Piercing the ten directions of the universe, that which is originally bright and clear has no inside or outside, always pure and eternally quiet, its marvelous function as unfathomable as the number of grains of sand in the world. This is sometimes called ’the treasury of the eye of the true dharma’ and ’the subtle mind of nirvana’, or the ’primordial luminosity’ or ’one’s original true face.’ This is the enlightenment realized by every Buddha and the original foundation of all sentient beings. Even though we cannot escape this original foundation for even a single moment, sentient beings pass through it each and every day without ever even realizing its presence. It is something that cannot be known through consciousness, nor can it be known through intelligence.
Whether it be heavenly beings, humans, or the other countless living things on this earth, whether Shakyamuni Buddha or the Seon Patriarchs, each and every one of us receives the energy of this original and true primordial nature. Yet even though we sentient beings have inherited this energy, we unfairly feel the suffering of samsara. However, the Buddha’s awakened nature had never been darkened and was from the beginning originally enlightened. Therefore, though the unenlightened and the sage may differ, this indescribable nature is common to both.
Consequently, beginning some time in the unfathomable past, Shakyamuni Buddha spread the limitless wish to save all sentient beings throughout the world. As such, he came to this world like a friend who shows unconditional mercy without our even asking, pouring out his great mind of compassion to us as if we were his only child. Coming to us for this purpose, through skillful means and parables chosen in accordance with the specific and diverse conditions marking the natures and dispositions of each sentient being, the Buddha spoke extensively about the core principles of truth, bringing enlightenment to sentient beings and freeing us from the suffering of birth and death.
The Buddha’s holy disciples gathered all of these teachings and compiled them in the Tripitaka (Buddhist scriptures). Then, only after one thousand years had passed after the Buddha’s entering into nirvana, these teachings finally arrived to Korea. However, the people here only rummaged through the Tripitaka, merely looking for certain lines or counting the characters, forming myriad opinions, unable to see the deeper meaning that laid outside the text. Therefore, they became caught within the web of language, falling into its traps; all the worse, they plugged up the origin of their mind and fell into a state of miserable foolishness, not much better than a dog chasing a clump dirt. This was truly a state of affairs that pained the mind.
The Patriarch Bodhidharma was so saddened that these true teachings were withering and misunderstood; and felt that, with the way things stood, the day when the beings of this land would finally reach enlightenment, so entangled as it was in the web of language, was so very far off in the distance. Thus, he set sail from India, spending three years at sea to come to the East.
Thus, using neither speech nor writing, Bodhidharma taught a teaching that was outside of the teachings. This meant directly showing us our own minds, such that each of us could see our own individual nature and thus attain enlightenment. Since what is meant by “the mind that is directly shown to us” is nothing other than our normal, regular mind, in this, there is no secret knowledge or reasoning.
If you can maintain this state of no thought, without making any artificial thoughts or efforts, that which is called our true and original nature unfolds on its own accord and thus there is nothing in which we can become entangled, nothing to which we can become attached.
With no place to reside, our attachments disappearing, the virtue therein is as magnificent as the sky and earth and that brightness, equal to the sun and moon. Receiving not even a smidgen of rebuke, you will be freely open to exist in concert with all of existence. However, should you come to separate the ’I that knows’ with the ’things that are known’ even so minutely as a fine speck dust, and if the distinct appearance of ‘you’ and ‘I’ is allowed to arise, you will become completely entrapped, not budging even an inch, totally blocked, your view unable to open unto eternity.