A: Mind is the Buddha, while cessation of conceptual thought is the Way. Once you stop arousing concepts and thinking in terms of existence and non-existence, long and short, other and self, active and passive, and suchlike, you will find that your Mind is intrinsically the Buddha, that the Buddha is intrinsically Mind, and that Mind resembles a void. Therefore it is written that "the true Dharmakaya resembles a void." Seek for nothing but this, else your search must end in sorrow.
Though you perform the six paramitas for as many eons as there are grains of sand in the Ganges, adding also all the other sorts of activities for gaining Enlightenment, you will still fall short of the goal. Why? Because these are karma-forming activities and, when the good karma they produce has been exhausted, you will be born again in the ephemeral world.
Therefore is it also written: "The Sambhogakaya is not a real Buddha, nor a real teacher of the Dharma. Only come to know the nature of your own Mind, in which there is no self and no other, and you will in fact be a Buddha!
Q: Allowing that the Enlightenment person who achieves the cessation of conceptual though is Buddha, would not an ignorant person, on ceasing to think conceptually, lose themselves in oblivion?
A: There ARE no Enlightened people or ignorant people, and there is no oblivion. Yet, though basically everything is without objective existence, you must not come to think in terms of anything non-existent; and though things are not non-existent, you must not form a concept of anything existing. For 'existence' and 'non-existence' are both empirical concepts no better than illusions. Therefore it is written:
'Whatever the senses apprehend resembles an illusion, including everything ranging from mental concepts to living beings'
Bodhidharma preached to his disciples nothing but total abstraction leading to elimination of sense-perception. In this total absorption does the Way of the Buddhas flourish; while from discrimination between this and that a host of demons blazes forth!
Q: If Mind and the Buddha are intrinsically one, should we continue to practice the six paramitas and the other orthodox means of gaining Enlightenment?
A: Enlightenment springs from Mind, regardless of your practice of the six paramitas and the rest. All such practices are merely expedients for handling 'concrete' matters when dealing with the problems of daily life. Even Enlightenment, the Absolute, Reality, Sudden Attainment, the Dharmakaya and all the others down to the Ten Stages of Progress, the Four Rewards of virtuous and wise living and the State of Holiness and Wisdom are, every one of them, mere concepts for helping us through samsara; they have nothing to do with the real Buddha-Mind. Since Mind is the Buddha, the ideal way of attainment is to cultivate that Buddha-Mind. Only avoid conceptual thoughts, which lead to becoming and cessation, to the afflictions of the sentient world and all the rest; then you will have no need of methods of Enlightenment and suchlike. Therefore it is written:
All the Buddha's teachings
Just had this single object:
To carry us beyond the
Stage of thought.
Now, if I accomplish cessation
Of my thinking,
What use to me are
The Dharmas Buddha taught?
From Gautama Buddha down through the whole line of patriarchs to Bodhidharma, none preached anything more than the One Mind, otherwise known as the Sole Vehicle of Liberation. Hence, though you search throughout the whole universe, you will never find another vehicle. Nowhere has this teaching leaves or branches; its one quality is eternal truth. Hence it is a teaching hard to accept.
This teaching is called the Great Way. The very nature of the Great Way is voidness of opposition. Bodhidharma firmly believed in being one with the real 'substance' of the universe in this life! Mind and that 'substance' do not differ one jot. That substance is Mind. They cannot be possibly separated. It was for this revelation that he earned the title of Patriarch, and therefore is it written:
The moment of realizing the unity of Mind and the 'substance' which constitutes reality may truly be said to baffle description.