Entering the Tao of Sudden Enlightenment
I will be a good doctor for the sick and suffering. I will lead those who have lost their way to the right road. I will be a bright light for those in the dark night, and cause the poor and destitute to uncover hidden treasures. The Bodhisattva impartially benefits all living beings in this manner.
The Vows of Samantabhadra More
The practice of the Dharma of Ch'an can be said to be either very easy or to be very difficult. To say that it is easy means that to abandon everything is easy. To say that it is diffcult means that to abandon everything is diffcult. Knowing this, and since Dharma is Mind and Mind is Buddha, Ch'an Master Ta-Chu Hui-Hai (Eighth Century A.D.) answered many questions put to him by Dharma masters of different sects. All his answers, according to their questions, directly pointed out that the Wonderful Dharma is Mind. Thus, he used words to silence all words.
From ancient times to the present, many people have practiced the Dharma of the Supreme Vehicle. And many of them have understood their own Mind, have seen their own Nature and have attained the Great Enlightenment. Even during this present Dharma-ending age, there are still some people of the highest potential, with sharp wisdom, who concentrate on the practice of the Dharma of Ch'an; and so some people, even in our time, arrive at the highest stage. However, there are so many other people who cannot pass through the doorway of the Dharma. Some Ch'an masters teach their students to investigate "Hua-T'ou" in a Ch'an T'ang (Ch'an Hall), but they do not understand the meaning of Hua-T'ou, nor do they know how to observe their own Mind; thus, these students only read about Hua-T'ou or talk about Hua-T'ou, never really experiencing it. If one investigates in this manner, one will never, until the year of the donkey, attain Enlightenment. The meaning of Hua-T'ou precedes words and thinking and speaking. Prior to the arising of a single thought is Hua-T'ou. After the arising of a single thought is "Hua-Wei" (lit., a word-tail). What, then, exists before the rising up of a single thought? It is just "without thought". This "without thought" is one's Original Face before birth. If one practices in this manner and with this awareness, analyzing everything diligently, then he is travelling the authentically correct path of Ch'an.