3.37 Chan Master Sengna was one of the seventeen collateral Dharma-heirs of the second Chinese Patriarch, Huike. This extract gives an account of Sengna’s teachings to one of his followers.
In pursuance of his training Sengna served Patriarch Huike for a long time. Later he said to Huiman, one of his followers, ‘The Seal of the Patriarchal Heart is not a focus on asceticism, which is merely an aid to the Way and nothing more. When there is accord with the Original Heart and it freely manifests the function of the true light, then asceticism is like earth changing into gold. If there is only asceticism and no clear appreciation of the Original Heart whilst still being bound by love and hate, then asceticism is like walking a dangerous road on a black moonless night. The one who strives for the clarity of the Original Heart should examine himself carefully. Before the senses have registered sounds or forms, where is the Heart? Does it exist? Does it not exist? If it has not been degraded to the level of an existent or non-existent thing then the Heart-jewel shines alone, ever illumining the world, without a speck of dust being able to interfere and with never an instant’s break in its continuity.
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Text copyright to Randolph S. Whitfield
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