Tracing Back the Radiance
Question: What is the mind of void and calm, numinous awareness?
Chinul: What has just asked me this question is precisely your mind of
void and calm, numinous awareness. Why not trace back its radiance rather
than search for it outside? For your benefit I will now point straight to
your original mind so that you can awaken to it. Clear your minds and
listen to my words.
From morning until evening, all during the 12 periods of the day, during
all your actions and activities - whether seeing, hearing, laughing,
talking, whether angry of happy, whether doing evil or good - utlimately who
is it that is able to perform all these actions? Speak! If you say that it
is the physical body which is acting, then at the moment when a man's life
comes to an end, even though the body has not yet decayed, how is it that
the eyes cannot see, the ears cannot hear, the nose cannot smell, the tongue
cannot talk, the hands cannot grasp, the feet cannot run?
You should know that
what is capable of seeing, hearing, moving and acting has to be your original
mind; it is not your physical body. Furthermore, the four elements which
make up the physical body are by nature void; they are like images in a
mirror of the moon's reflection in water. How can they be clear and constantly
aware, always bright and never obscured - and, upon activation, be able to put into
operation sublime functions as numerous as the sands of the Ganges? For this reason
it is said: "Drawing water and carrying firewood are spiritual powers and sublime
There are many points at which to enter the noumenon. I will indicate one
approach which will allow you to return to the source.
Chinul: Do you hear the sound sof that crow cawing and that magpie calling?
Chinul: Trace them back and listen to your hearing-nature. Do you hear any sounds?
Student: At that place, sound and discrimination do not obtain.
Chinul: Marvelous! Marvelous! This is Avalokitesvara's method for entering the noumenon.
Let me ask you again. You said that sounds and discrimination do not obtain at that
place. But since they do not obtain, isn't the hearing-nature just empty space at
such a time?
Student: Originally it is not empty. It is always bright and never obscured.
Chinul: What is this essence which is not empty?
Student: Words cannot describe it.
Tracing Back the Radiance by Robert Buswell.
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