色即是空   林钰堂

色即是空 空即是色
受想行识 亦复如是

这是〈心经〉中的名句。

密法的仪轨,在开始处都有「观空」的阶段,而以观想一切现象皆隐入天蓝色之光明中,作为「回归空性」。

然而依〈心经〉所示,色即是空,受想行识全都即空,又何需观想我们经验的内容全都化光,才算「回归空性」?

修法之设施乃属对治的方便。吾人习于以经验之内容为实有独立之个体,因此假藉化光来消除实执。

既然色即是空,应当无需经过化光之观想便能体会其空性。对于习于实执、深陷实有之见的吾人,又如何能直接体会「色即是空」?

此中之枢纽在于体会吾人经验内容之整体性及无常。所有分别皆是人心作用之产物,而为种种观念所界定及强化。离于人为之观念及分别,所有经验之内容皆是溷合而不可分割之一体,并且随时迁异。换言之,独立实有之个体只是人心之联想假设,并无确切对应之经验内容。只要停息心中的念头,所有的现象皆无有个别独立之存在,而是一整体的呈现,此即「无我」,亦即「本空」。

由上所述可知,若能泯绝心念之作用,便易当下直接了悟「色即是空」。因此修行要先达到「自然无念」的境地,才能体悟空性。

 

                二○一三年八月十九日
                养和斋    于加州

Phenomena are Identical to Blank Essence

Yutang Lin

"Phenomena are identical to Blank Essence, and Blank Essence is identical to phenomena.
Feeling, conceptualization, motivation and consciousness are also so indeed."

This is a well-known passage from the "Heart Sutra."

At the beginning part of Buddhist Tantric rituals there is always a section of "Visualization on Blank Essence," and it prescribes visualizing all phenomena as merging into boundless sky-blue light as "returning to Blank Essence."

However, according to the teaching of the "Heart Sutra," phenomena are identical to Blank Essence, and feeling, conceptualization, motivation and consciousness are also so indeed, then why need to visualize the contents of all our experiences as merging into light, for these to be considered as "returning to Blank Essence"?

Stipulations in rituals are skillful means to counteract our habitual tendencies. We are used to taking the contents of our experiences as having solid and independent existence as an individual entity, therefore in Dharma practices we use merging into light to gradually eliminate our grasping to a sense of reality.

Since phenomena are identical to Blank Essence, it should be possible to realize their Blank Essence without going through the visualization of merging into light. To us who are accustomed to grasping to a sense of reality and deeply enwrapped in the view of the existence of a reality, how can we directly comprehend that phenomena are identical to Blank Essence?

The key to this comprehension lies in realizing the impermanence and oneness of all our experiences. All distinctions are products of human mind, and they are defined and enhanced by all kinds of concepts. Apart from artificial concepts and distinctions, the contents of all our experiences as a whole are in the oneness of a mixture that cannot be divided, and they are constantly evolving. In other words, the existence of an absolutely independent entity is merely an assumption created through mental associations, and it lacks exact correspondence to the contents of our experiences. As soon as mental conceptualization ceased, all phenomena have no independent existence, but appear as a totality. This is what is meant by "non-self" and "originally of Blank Essence."

Based on what is stated above we know that, if one can cease conceptual activities in mind, then it will be easy to comprehend at once that phenomena are identical to Blank Essence. Therefore, through Dharma practices one should first attain the state of being "naturally free from thoughts," and then one may become able to comprehend Blank Essence directly.

Written in Chinese on August 19, 2013
Translated on August 21, 2013
El Cerrito, California