A monk asked Baso, "What is the Buddha?"
Baso answered, "No mind, no Buddha."
If you understand this, you have finished studying Zen.
Present a sword if you meet a swordsman;
Don't offer a poem unless you meet a poet.
When talking, tell one-third of it;
Don't divulge the whole at once.
Yesterday at a the quarterly weekend sesshin here at the Moonwater Dojo a participant heading into the Zendo says to me, "Back to polishing the mind." This idea of polishing the mind has gotten a bad reputation since Hui Neng wrote his poem.
There is not a Bodhi Tree
Nor is there a mirror bright
Originally there is not a single thing
Where can dust alight
Which seems to put down an other poem about polishing the mind. Students of Zen read this and then think Zen isn't about polishing any mirror and yet the idea of zazen as polishing the mind still persists. This idea of polishing the mind is not incorrect as a metaphor for zazen, only that it comes from the non-enlightened perspective. We certainly experience the clearing of the debree of our thought as we diligently practice zazen. If we clean the mirror of the mind so that all thought stops for a time then the mirror becomes so clear that it disappears. No Mind No Buddha! This is the Absolute truth.
We all want to fix the truth in concepts, something we can grab hold of and carry with us. But the truth of Zen is not like that. It is with out concept. It is actually to experience the world without any intermediary concepts. We try to explain this in words but only confuse.We use words like Buddha and Mind and discover that our students have developed concepts around these words which they mistakenly think is some deep Buddhist truth. Stop words, let it all go.