The empty field

Hongzhi Zhengjue wrote:

The field of boundless emptiness is what exists from the very beginning. You must purify, cure, grind down, or brush away all the tendencies you have fabricated into apparent habits. Then you can reside in the clear circle of brightness. Utter emptiness has no image, upright independence does not rely on anything. Just expand and illuminate the original truth unconcerned by external conditions. Accordingly we are told to realize that not a single thing exists. In this field birth and death do not appear…

Enacting and fulfilling the way of non-mind, finally you can rest. Proceeding you are able to guide the assembly. With thoughts clear, sitting silently, wander into the center of the circle of wonder. This is how you must penetrate and study…

The practice of true reality is simply to sit serenely in silent introspection. When you have fathomed this you cannot be turned around by external causes and conditions. This empty, wide open mind is subtly and correctly illuminating. Spacious and content, without confusion from inner thoughts of grasping, effectively overcome habitual behavior and realize the self that is not possessed by emotions.

Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi (Tuttle Library Of Enlightenment)

Increasingly it seems to me that sitting quietly is the only thing needed: everything else finds its source in boundless emptiness. As the Tao Te Ching reads:

Something that contains everything,
Quiet and still, pure and deep;
Here before heaven and earth,
Alone and unchanging
Like a mother bringing up her children
Formless, it completes all things.

Not knowing its real name,
We call it the Way.

Tao Te Ching, ch. 25

There really isn’t anything to find, and yet a whole lifetime searching is well spent. This “being there” (Heidegger’s Dasein?) is perfectly complete, containing no thing. What else could we need?

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