In the daily activities of a student of the path, to empty objects is easy but to empty mind is hard. If objects are empty but mind is not empty, mind will be overcome by objects.
Just empty the mind, and objects will be empty of themselves. If the mind is already emptied, but then you arouse a second thought wishing to empty its objects, this means that this mind is not yet empty and is again carried away by objects. If this sickness is not done away with, there is no way to get out of birth and death.
Haven’t you seen the verse which layman P’ang presented to Ma Tsu?
In the ten directions, the same congregation: each and every one studies non-doing. This is the place where buddhas are chosen: minds empty, they return successful.
Ta Hui is constantly in a dilemma. His dilemma is: he wants to be recognized as an enlightened man, but this is only his ambition, his greed; it is not his experience.
Whenever he quotes some enlightened person, the quotation has great significance. But when he himself comments on the quotation, those commentaries are just crap. He uses all great words, but the words coming from an intellectual don’t carry the meaning – the same meaning – as they carry when coming out of an enlightened being. And you will see his unconscious continually making sarcastic remarks, sometimes so ugly and condemnable that one cannot think that this man has even begun to grasp the meaning of enlightenment.
I will show you how fast asleep the man is – he is talking in his sleep. He is clever and cunning. He can manage to befool people who are not enlightened because they don’t have anything to compare his statements with. They don’t have any of their own experience as a criterion to decide whether what he is saying is worth saying, or if he is just making much fuss about nothing.
The first sutra:
Worldly passions are like a blazing fire; when will they ever end?
Now this is from a man who, in his previous sutras, has said that everything is illusory – the world is illusory, the senses are illusory, the mind is illusory, even the Buddha is illusory!
If everything is illusory, then from where come these worldly passions which are like a blazing fire? They are not illusory. He has forgotten, because it was not his own understanding. He simply quoted. But the reality is, he knows his passions are like a blazing fire; he has not gone beyond passions.
Talking about even Buddha as an illusion is not only stupid, it is immensely harmful. People who will read it, if they see that even Buddha is illusory, enlightenment is illusory, will wonder then what is the point of unnecessarily running from one illusion to another illusion?
One illusion cannot be better than another illusion. Illusions are simply illusions; there is no qualitative difference.
Right in the midst of the hubbub, you must not forget the business of the bamboo chair and reed cushion.