All teachings are just like that. The ancient worthy is saying it right, but Ta Hui does not understand what he is saying. He says,
If they can be like this when reading the scriptures, only then will people of resolve have some comprehension of the intent of the sages.
Ta Hui is saying that you can understand what the sage has said only if you are reading the scriptures; only if you are a man of resolve and determination, a man of comprehension, will you be able to understand the intent of the sages.
All the words that he is using are not needed to understand the sages. What is needed is an experience. Not your comprehension, because all comprehension is intellectual; nor your resolve, because all resolve is of the mind; nor your reading of the scriptures, because that is all your intellectuality – these things are not going to help you understand such a profound statement as, “The moment you have seen the moon, forget all about the fingers.”
This kind of statement can be experienced only through experience. Ta Hui has no experience at all, and that becomes very clear when he comes to the stories and sayings. Any intellectual, even today, will condemn Zen stories or simply laugh, thinking that perhaps they are just jokes, because they don’t make any sense to the mind.
These days in the Ch’an communities, they use the extraordinary words and marvelous sayings of the ancients to question and answer – considering them situations for discrimination, and beguiling students. They are far from getting to the root of their reality.
When people engaged in meditation read the scriptural teachings, and the stories of the circumstances in which the ancient worthies entered the path, they should just empty their minds.
He is not even aware that he goes on saying things in which he contradicts himself. Just look: When people engaged in meditation read the scriptures…A man who is engaged in meditation does not need to read the scriptures, because whatever the scriptures contain is a faraway echo of somebody’s meditation. And if you are yourself meditating, you are at the very source. Why should you bother about faraway echoes, corrupted, distorted by the interpretations of intellectuals, teachers, pedagogues, commentators?
When you are at the very source yourself, you are at the very root from where all scriptures have arisen. A man of meditation has no necessity to read the scriptures and the teachings in the scriptures, but that is what Ta Hui is saying. Then immediately he says:…and the stories of the circumstances in which the ancient worthies entered the path, they should just empty their minds.