About Mind

Chan master Fa-yen (Fayan, 885-958) interrupted an argument among some monks concerning the relationship of mind to reality by posing to them a question: “Over there is a large boulder. Do you say that it is inside or outside your mind?” One of the monks replied, “From the Buddhist viewpoint everything is an objectification of mind, so that I would have to say that the stone is inside my mind.” Quipped Fa-yen, “Your head must be very heavy!”

Chan master Huang-po (Huangbo, d.850s) said: “Many people are afraid to empty their own minds lest they plunge into the Void. Ha! What they don’t realize is that their own Mind is the Void.”

Huang-po is said to have been unusually tall. Master Nan-chu’an couldn’t help but remark: “Your body is unusually big—isn’t your straw hat too small?” Huang-po replied: “Perhaps… but the entire universe is within it.”