Phap Hien was a Vietnamese Zen master. He lived in the late 5th century and early the 6th century. When he was a young monk at the Phap Van Temple he met Vinitaruci (?-594) who was one of the successors of Seng-tsan, the Third Patriarch...
THE LEGEND OF "MIND TO MIND" TRANSMISSION
It is often heard that there is some legend called "mind to mind transmission" in Zen tradition. What does that mean?
Supposedly, there are two persons and there would be the following cases might be taken into consideration: - Each of them has a mind; - One of them has mind and the other has no mind; - Both of them have no mind.
Also, the following situations would need to be considered: - If one has a mind and the mind is full of whatever can be imagined; - If one has a mind and the minds are totally empty.
* The first consideration: If both of them each has a mind and the two minds are full of whatever can be imagined, so how can "mind to mind transmission" may happen; and if it happens, what is transmitted and which mind transmits and which mind receives and what does it receive? Remember both of them are equally full. This means there is no extra room for anything else comes in.
* The second consideration: If one of the two has a mind and the mind is full and the other has no mind, so which mind transmits and which mind receives what is transmitted and what is received and how? If no mind then no room to contain and no thing to transmit.
* The third consideration: If one them has a mind which is full and the other a mind that is empty, so how to transmit and what is transmitted? Of course, the empty mind has nothing to transmit to the full one and hte full one has no room for anything to come in. Could the full mind transmit something to the empty one, couldn't it? Of course not. Why? Because the empty one always empties itself, it never holds anything comes in from outside.
* The fourth consideration: If each of them has a mind and both minds are empty, so what is to transmit?
* The fifth consideration: Each of them has no mind. Evidently, it needs not to say anything about this case. Therefore, it might come to a conclusion like this: "There is nothing called 'mind to mind transmission' at all in Zen Buddhism." It is just a legend or a myth.
So, please be advised: Do not come to Zen to find any kind of saviors such as miracle makers, love makers, compassion makers, bless makers, mind-peace makers, sacredness makers, saint makers, god makers, enlightenment makers...
One must be a true savior for oneself by putting down whatever he has accumulated so far, at one time for all.
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