What is enlightenment and what world is opened up?

If one conquers the hwadu and is awakened, it is like waking from a dream or like the shining of 100,000 suns in the sky. That world, like space, is boundless and limitless. All the things that exist in it are equal, lacking superior or inferior, valued and despised, intimate and estranged, right and wrong. There is only a world of no oppositions or troubles, and no strife. Moreover, all existences being united into one, to do something for another is to do it for oneself, and to do something for oneself is to do it for another.

If one is enlightened, one is independent, autonomous, voluntary and positive, and for oneself and for others there is limitless benevolence, and in all favorable and contrary realms one becomes a person of great freedom who is independent and free. These dynamic phenomena cannot be explained with words and cannot be expressed in writing. It is the same principle as the person themselves having to drink the water themselves and only then do they know if it is hot or cold.

That being so, enlightenment does not mean that there is a separate world. It is only the characteristic of life that one obviously lives here and now. As this is only too obvious, even if one intentionally informs them, it is like to make a wound on bare flesh. This, as Seon Master Zhaozhou said, is going and drinking a cup of tea. There is nothing to be gained by adding anything more. As it is already itself perfect, it cannot be gained and cannot be spoken of.

If one is awakened, it is plainly clarified. There is not the slightest skerrick of doubt and one clearly sees definitely where one has to go, what one has to do, and the path to go. And so, not only is there no unease or aimless wandering, but also the characteristics of a perfect life where every place one stands or sits is clearly displayed. Moreover, one escapes from all restraints alone and there is nowhere at all to rely on. This is called esaping alone without action (doktal muwi). Because there is nothing to depend on and nowhere at all to be attached to, being unattached is to dwell spiritually in a quiet and calm condition.

Seon Master Dahui’s master, Seon Master Yuanwu Keqin, said that as soon as one thoroughly realized the original face of no-mind and no-thought, one is staightaway enlightened, and that this no-mind no-thought state is seeing the nature and becoming Buddha.

The enlightened are like space, nothing at all can confine them. The enlightened are not shackled by (the ideas of) ordinary person or saint, as they are free whenever and wherever. In this way, enlightenment, being an ever so great freedom, is not restricted by any realm at all. The enlightened rest the mind, and being persons of the Way who are mindless and without matters, even though they are approached by various affairs, are not disturbed in mind by these. And so people of the Way must not be thought of as akin to leisurely strolling immortals outside of this world with nothing to do. This is because the enlightened correctly handle all things ceaselessly with a mind that has nothing to do, a mind that is at leisure.

Moreover, enlightenment through hwadu has no distinction of lay and monastic, no discrimination of male or female. In this excellent Dharma all things are united without discrimination. All sentient beings, for the reason that they are originally Buddha, the moment they approach the opportune condition that informs them of that orginal news, will be enlightened.

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