The perfect mind without flaw

On July 6-13, 2012, Venerable Guo Xing, the Abbot of the Dharma Drum Retreat Center and the Chan Meditation Center in USA, guided a seven-day Huatou Retreat at the Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM) Vancouver Center in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.

In the afternoon of the 6th of July, the moment I stepped into the DDM Vancouver Center, I simply isolated myself by not responding to others’ greeting, but simply asked, “What is wu?” This was the promise I made to myself for this retreat.

In his opening remarks, Venerable Guo Xing says, regardless of having wandering thoughts or not, feeling drowsy or not, feeling leg pain or not, simply ask, “What is wu?” to find out what is aware of the wandering thoughts, the drowsiness, the pain. There is no need to pay attention to the wandering thoughts, the drowsiness and the leg pain for they are the mind. Both liking the feeling of peace, calmness and comfort, and disliking/rejecting wandering thoughts, the feeling of drowsiness, and leg pain are the mind of arising and perishing. All sensations are transient, and are images created by the mind and are functions of the mind; however, they are not the mind itself. In other words, we grasp this body being I, anything else being external to I; the totality (inherent tranquil awareness) is divided into I, you and phenomena. Simply ask, “What is wu?” to find out what is aware of the sensation.

In the first evening, the moment I am aware of any thoughts, I ask “wu”, when I feel leg pain, I ask “wu”… Whenever I ask “wu”, everything else ceases except “wu” as the Venerable describes. When I sleep that night, I keep on asking, “What is wu?”…

In the morning, memories and wandering thoughts slowly come into this picture. Intermittently, “wu” struggles to come into the picture of the wandering thoughts. Suddenly, a loud and clear voice (thought) appears in the picture, have you forgotten the promise you made before the Retreat? Then, Shifu’s teaching comes in time to rescue. He says, in his DVD Dharma talk, that any feelings we experience, including wandering thoughts and the feeling of like and of dislike, are expedients and are the very moments for asking “What is wu?”

Further into the retreat, in his DVD dharma talk, Shifu says that the unwavering impetus wanting to find out where we come from at birth and where we go after death (the mind of birth and death) is crucial for the arising of the doubt sensation. And, he continues, only after the doubt sensation is shattered, can “wu” be realized. What is the mind of birth and death? If I have no clue what it is, then what I am doing here? After I enter the interview room, the Venerable asks me if I have any questions. Suddenly, streams of tears come down on my face while I am telling the Venerable that I have an extremely serious question: What is the mind of birth and death? My tears take me by surprise. Simultaneously, I vividly see a thought, “Who is weeping?” After the interview, I prostrate in a corner at the back of the Ch’an Hall with tears flooding down on my face, and with questions entering my mind one after the other…what is my motivation in asking “wu”? Why do I want to find out what “wu” is? I have been living day after day without any purpose! What is the meaning of life? Then, I remember that the Venerable once says, “wu” does not weep and does not feel sad. Afterwards, tears subside, prostration continues and “What is wu?” appears.

In the evening, the Venerable in his dharma talk tells us that “wu” is all mighty! Seeing is the mind, hearing is the mind, smelling is the mind, touching is the mind and thinking is the mind. All sensations are created by the mind and are functions of the mind; however, they are not the mind itself. Asking “wu” is to find out what the mind (the awareness, the emptiness) is. In every moment, our mind is as perfect as Buddha’s mind. However, because we mistake the phenomena/sensations as the mind, the functions of the mind are thus limited. Wow! What is this perfect mind without flaw? What is wu?…

The Venerable encourages us, the mind exists in every moment, therefore, simply continuously and perseveringly ask, “What is wu?” to find out what the mind is.

What is the perfect mind without flaw? What is wu?…

Jen-ni Kuo
August 2012

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