There Is No Suffering 49

The Way of Enlightened Beings

If enlightened beings live, act, and think as we do, what is the difference between the enlightened state and the ordinary, samsaric, state? The difference is attachment. The thoughts and actions of ordinary people are projections of a notion of self; the thoughts and actions of enlightened beings emanate from wisdom. Enlightened beings think, feel, talk, interact, and respond naturally to events, clearly perceiving the causes and conditions of situations as they arise. The enlightened Shakyamuni Buddha could not have taught the Dharma without a body, mind, and thoughts; nor did he forget his past, his family, or his friends. To be enlightened is to be empty of attachments, but the phenomenal realms of form and mental activity still exist.

The Platform Sutra sometimes describes the enlightened mind as a mirror, sometimes as the calm surface of a pond. When there are no deluded thoughts, the mind is calm, like a still pond. Do not confuse no-thought with blank mind; the mirror-minds of enlightened beings continue to react to situations. There is response, but no attachment or self-centeredness. One responds naturally without self-involvement, just as a mirror reflects only what passes in front of it, adding nothing of itself. There is no need for a mirror to reflect anything when nothing is in front of it.