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...
ABOUT THE EMPTY MIND
Questioner: -Buddha or Zen masters are enlightened people, fine, but what are they when they are at that enlightened state?
CT: -Even they were the enlightened ones, they were the All-human beings like all of us except for one thing: they could see things as they are without delusion, anger, and greed. The state they were in was like this: "They were like the thiefs who sneaked into an empty house."
Questioner: -What is the so called emptiness or empty mind mean here?"
CT: -Empty mind is a mind which is clear and pure, fresh and new every moment because it is freed from the known, psychologically but not technologically. This means it is freed from all of the past, the images or impressions it has perceived things or objects, physically or mentally, outside or inside, through the five senses and consciousness with its ideas collected from any kinds of books or scriptures stored in one's memory. [Except for the part of memory which is necessary for living in daily life. For example, if one forgets the way or how to get home after work, then his wife and kids will be crying for years!]. With this state of the mind, one can see things as they are without thoughts or desires that might veil or taint his perception. The word 'emptiness' is often used to denote the mind in the state mentioned above.
Questioner: -How & Why is he suffering when he sees people suffering or he is happy when he sees people happy while he is he and people around him is people around him?"
CT: -When one's mind is empty as described above, the light of his Wisdom or Intelligence illuminates itself in whatever it reachs. There is no more division between the person who observes and the observed, there is no more duality. The observer and the observed are not-two (but not one!). Then he might feel the same with what other feels. This is called Love or Compassion. In short, the True Wisdom and Real Love manifest themselves when the mind is empty of thoughts and desires, anger, and ignorance - in short, the 'me'.
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