Why is ultimate Truth, Prajna, which Zen Buddhism wishes to present, so indefinable, abstract, and inaccessible?
“To define” really means to put intellectual limits on, or to declare the sense of a certain thing.
“To grasp” as in the sense used here, means to understand something and retain it in the memory.
As the act of defining itself consists of confining something within a certain limit, it must necessarily be finite, narrow or restrictive by nature. Just as “to comprehend” means to mentally grasp something, yet not everything, “to comprehend” is equally as limited and exclusive.
The ultimate “Truth, Prajna,” which the school of Zen wishes to indicate, cannot possibly be something narrow, finite, or exclusive. It must be something vast, universal, and infinite, something that includes and reaches everything, something beyond definition and designation.
The very word “define” visibly suggests a human finger which points to a definite object, and “grasp” a hand which holds something and does not let go.
Given this regrettable limitation and attachment, which is profoundly emphasized in the rationalism of the intellectual animal mistakenly called human, it is not at all surprising that the free and all-inclusive “Truth, Prajna” becomes something evasive, which is always mysteriously elusive for every thinker.
Illumination. This mighty word in essence and strength is used in this chapter to emphasize the transcendental mystic experience that consists of experiencing the Tao, true Zen, Reality.
It is not enough to comprehend something; we need to grasp, to apprehend, to capture, its inner meaning.
The Sixth Patriarch asked Bodhidharma, “How is it possible to reach Tao?”
“Externally all activity ceases,
internally the mind stops its agitation.
When the mind has become a wall,
then Tao comes.”
It is important to know that Japanese Zen is the same Hindustani Dhyana, the Pali Jhana, the Chinese “CHAN NA!”: an extraordinary form of Mahayana Buddhism.
Unquestionably, Zen studies and practices allow us to grasp the innermost meaning of the Buddhist teachings endorsed by the Mahayana school, which is both a marvelous antithesis and a complement to the Vajrayana school of the realization of our Innermost Self.
The Illuminating Void is impossible to describe in human words. It is indefinable or indescribable. As was said by the Zen teacher Huai Jang:
“Whatever is said misses the main point.”
Buddhist teachings about Emptiness are comprehensive and profound and require much study before being understood.
Only in the absence of the ego can we directly experience Illuminating Emptiness.
Deifying the mind is an absurdity because it is in itself only a fatal prison for the consciousness.
To assert that the mind is Buddha, to say that it is Tao, is nonsensical, because the intellect is only a jail for the consciousness.
The mystical experience of the Illuminating Void is always attained outside the intellectual field.
Buddhist Illumination is never achieved by developing mental power nor by deifying reasoning. On the contrary, it is attained by breaking any ties which attach us to the mind.
Only by liberating ourselves from the intellectual jail can we experience the happiness of the Illuminating Void, free and entirely insubstantial.
Emptiness is simply a clear and precise Buddhist term which denotes the insubstantial and impersonal nature of beings, and an indication of the state of absolute detachment and freedom outside of time and beyond the mind.
Drink the wine of meditation in the delightful cup of perfect concentration.