Phap Hien was a Vietnamese Zen master. He lived in the late 5th century and early the 6th century. When he was a young monk at the Phap Van Temple he met Vinitaruci (?-594) who was one of the successors of Seng-tsan, the Third Patriarch...
I'm just going to share my understanding of Buddhism, or
truth, without the typical vagueness people tend to write with when discussing
these issues. I don't claim to have realized truth, but hopefully I'll be able
to contribute to your ideas. So, first of all, one can't really know something
certainly. Not only can it be a wrong expectation (how many times have you
worried about something that never happened), wrong interpretation of the world
around you, or maybe even the world as a whole. For all I know I'm in the
matrix. Some people would think "probability." A lot of times people
say "you can't be 100% sure, but you can be 99% sure." So I can say:
I am 99% sure that the cat exists. But I don't really know the probability
certainly either.I can be 99% sure that the statement "the cat has a 99% chance of
being real" but not 100. So It goes on and on "I'm 99% sure that I'm
99% sure that the cat has a 99% chance of being real." In math you would
multiply the probabilities out, and because it goes on forever, you get .99*.99*.99*.99.....
and end up getting 0, 0% certainty. So you really don't know at all.
another way to look at it. Many people make the assumption that what one
observes through the senses is “reality,” but what is their evidence that they
do. The only evidence you can have is more sensory stuff, so it’s a circular argument.
It doesn’t mean a thing. Same thing with reason. Reason seems to make sense,
but what are you examining reason with? REASON, so even if you determine that
reason works, it’s just circular reasoning. In fact, all of that up there is
okay, so I can just throw all that out the window. I don’t know anything, I
think. Is that right? Well I don’t know that either. I can’t say “It is
impossible to know anything” because then I would know that.So I end up with just a transcendental unknowing,
a letting go of sorts… (I’m not there yet, philosophically I got it, but I have not realized it in my own mind)
Now the whole desire suffering thing makes sense, but once
you forget about reason, its pretty much meaningless. However, when you realize
that you have no Idea what’s going on, you’re not going to desire anything. So the
Buddha was probably just trying to take that truth, and package it in reason,
and help people out with it who weren’t ready for the unknowing thing yet.
No mind is letting go of your individual identity,after all: you don’t know who you are. (unknowing)
Its also kind of a state you reach in meditation. I don’t really know, but “big
mind”, “empty mind” and “no mind” accurately describe what it is.You don’t really understand it, its not an
idea, its almost like a feeling.
Duality is just us picking and choosing, picking things out
in the “world” (if it exists as many think it does), (unknowing) and calling them something, deciding if they're good or bad.... Its a delusion because you don't know if they are good or bad.
Another way of thinking about this whole thing is that
society gives you your ideas, so depending on what society you’re born into,
you could think completely different things when it comes to right and wrong,
what the world is like… So how can you get to any truth? Well certainly you can’t
just assume that you’re societies ideas are right, after you have truly realized
this, so you let go. You let go of the picking and choosing (of the “this is
right with my life, this is wrong with it”) and that’s basically letting go of desire and
So that’s basically it. Unknowing is the fundamental concept.
Tell me if you have anything to contribute.
Buddhism is a religion with an orthodoxy, technical terms and concepts. Appearance isn't reality. Your experience will always separate you from reality, from life. Reality is unknowable. Unknowing and the unknowable won't ever be a part of your known.
How does your statement of understanding correspond with what you experience during practice?
There is no ignorance and there is no ending of ignorance through to no aging and death and no ending of aging and death. There is no suffering, no cause of suffering, no cessation of suffering, and no path. There is no wisdom or any attainment. (Heart Sutra)