Yoga, Zen and the mind 明心见性


Book 1 Sutra 2 of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra reads, “Yoga is to block the functions of the mind (योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः yogashchittavṛittinirodhaH)”, which translates in Chinese as zhixin yichu (置心一處), literally ‘to put the mind at rest’. This is the Huayen meditation practice of the Da Huayen Monastery. Huayen meditation method and Patanjali’s Yoga are essentially the same.

When we lose our true self and get caught up in the changing patterns (modifications) of our mind, we experience various emotions and feel good or bad. This is evident when we sit down to meditate. As soon as we close our eyes, our mind begins to drum up all kinds of mental pictures from nowhere to distract us from concentration. We should remember we are mere spectators to a play, so we will remain detached. Through constant practice of concentration, we will be able to cease the functioning of our mind and eventually see our own form. We will, so to speak, be “in” our own form, our very inner true nature. We will be in Samadhi, where there is no movement because all modification of the mind has ceased when we are in our own internal form. Therefore, the Yoga Sutra 1.3 says, “Then there is abiding in the seer’s own form (तदा द्रष्टुः स्वरूपे अवस्थानम् tadaa draShTuH svaruupe avasthaanam)”, and its equivalent in Chinese is to “illumine one’s mind and see one’s nature (明心见性).”

Written by Sakya Longyen
Huayen on Indra’s Net

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