The Essential Scripture...


The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs

Secrets on Cultivating the Mind

Section 12

Question: You said, “This twofold approach of sudden awakening/gradual cultivation is the track followed by thousands of sages.” But if awakening is really sudden awakening, what is the point of gradual cultivation? And if cultivation means gradual cultivation, how can you speak of a sudden awakening? We hope that you will expound further on these two aspects of sudden and gradual and resolve our remaining doubts.
Chinul: As for ‘sudden awakening,’ when the ordinary person is deluded, he assumes that the four great elements are his body and the deluded thoughts are his mind. He does not know that his own nature is the true dharmakāya; he does not know that his own numinous awareness is the true buddha. As he wanders hither and thither, looking for the buddha outside his mind, a spiritual mentor might direct him to the entrance to the road [leading to salvation]. If in one moment of thought he then follows back the light [of his mind to its source] and sees his own original nature, he will discover that the ground of this nature is innately free of afflictions (kleśa), and that he himself is originally endowed with the nature of wisdom that is free from the contaminants (āsrava), which is not a hair’s breadth different from that of all the buddhas. Hence it is called sudden awakening.