Give Them Up
Huang Po


Q: Does the Buddha really liberate sentient beings?

A: There are in reality no sentient beings to be delivered by the Tathagata. If even self has no objective existence, how much less has other-than-self? Thus, neither Buddha nor sentient beings exist objectively.

Q: Yet it is recorded that 'Whosoever possess the thirty-two characteristic signs of a Buddha is able to deliver sentient beings'. How can you deny it?

A: Anything possessing ANY sign is illusory. It is by perceiving that all signs are no signs that you perceive the Tathagata. 'Buddha' and 'sentient beings' are both your own false conceptions. It is because you do not know real mind that you delude yourselves with such objective concepts. If you WILL conceive of a Buddha YOU WILL BE OBSTRUCTED BY THAT BUDDHA!!! And when you conceive of sentient beings, you will be obstructed by those beings. All such dualistic concepts as 'ignorant' and 'Enlightened', 'pure' and 'impure', are obstructions. It is because your minds are hindered by them that the Wheel of the Law must be turned [i.e., that the relative truths of orthodox Buddhism must be taught]. Just as apes spend their time throwing things away and picking them up again unceasingly, so it is with you and your learning. All you need is to give up your 'learning', your 'ignorant' and 'Enlightened', 'pure' and 'impure', 'great' and 'little', your 'attachment' and 'activity'. Such things are mere conveniences, mere ornaments within the One Mind. I hear you have studied the sutras of the twelve divisions of the Three Vehicles. They are all mere empirical concepts. Really you must given them up.

The Zen Teaching of Huang Po on the Transmission of Mind,
Translated by John Blofield,
Grove Press, 1958, page 70

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Updated Saturday, December 17, 2005 5:47 PM
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