Getting The Buddha Mind 138

The state of "no mind" may be frightening to some people. Shih-fu gave the example of one of his students in Taiwan having the experience of "one mind" to the extent that he just felt a total identity with the whole universe. He was embracing a dog on the street, and Shih-fu came up to him and said, "What are you doing embracing this dog?" The student said, "It's just me!" And Shih-fu struck him suddenly and said. "What! You mean you still have a 'me' there?" In other words, he was trying to lift him out of his intoxication with "one mind" into the complete clarity of "no mind, " where there is no "me, " no matter how big it is. Even if your "me" is as big as the whole universe, you still haven't reached the state of "no mind." You explained that there's really nothing to say about "no mind." But can you give us some indication of at least what "no mind is not?"

Shih-fu: In the state of "no mind" there is no me, no you, there is no environment. But everything is there in front of you. It's just that the mind is not moving. You perceive everything as it is, but your subjective self is not imposed on that. Your mind is totally still, but it doesn't mean there is nothing there. The people you see are still people, animals are still animals. There's no emotional reaction to things. And there's no discrimination. If a person says that they're experiencing everything as myself or that I am everything, that is not the stage of "no mind."

LH: Shih-fu, you mentioned to me in the retreat that I had enough confidence in you and that's a very important factor, the confidence in the master. I had confidence in the Three Jewels, the transcendental power of truth. But you said that I did not have strong enough confidence in myself. But what kind of self-confidence are you talking about if one is trying not to have the self? If one is practicing to drop one's self?

Shih-fu: As far as confidence, or faith, is concerned, before the person has reached the state of "no mind, " when they are starting from the scattered state of mind, you must start out with "self, " get a firm grasp on yourself. The "small" self should become complete and firm. This amounts to being able to concentrate the mind well. When the mind is well concentrated, the person becomes very confident. You could say their "self" is concentrated. With that kind of concentrative power of self, a strong confidence arises in your ability to go forward, to pass through the "expanded" self, or "one mind, " and finally to shatter this state and reach the level of "no mind, " or no self. But when the state of "no self" is reached, the question of faith or confidence no longer arises. It is totally irrelevant at that point.