Has anyone of you attained enlightenment after reading Grand Master’s new book entitled “The Secrets of a Flower-holding Hand”? Many tend to think too highly of Zen. Actually it is not as profound as you thought. Grand Master has been trying to tell you in words repeatedly that it is, in fact, very easy. Zen is about breaking free from your conceptual mind. When you mention “existence”, it will say otherwise - “emptiness”. When you break free from your conceptual mind, you will then be able to recognize your true existence. However, it must be handled with care in order to avoid falling into the wrong side of nihilism.
Zen is not nihilism. If you fall into the pitfall of nihilism, you will tend to even eliminate the law of cause and effect. So, when you read Grand Master’s writings on Zen, you should avoid falling into the pitfall of nihilism. When you thought that there was no Buddha, no man, no you, no me, no cause and effect... then you would have been mistaken that you could commit any bad karma. When you thought that there was no you, no me, no cause and effect, you would have been mistaken that you could rob and steal from others and there would be no consequences. So, one must be very careful when learning Zen, for one could easily fall into the pitfall of nihilism. Zen wants you to break free from your conceptual mind. However, when you completely break free from your conceptual mind, it is not done yet. Next, you must develop your sense of bodhicitta.
Grand Master has, in fact, already revealed the true identity of Zen. So, do not think too complicated. However, many were confused by the Zen parables. Actually, you can ignore all the Zen parables. The Zen patriarchs seemed to be contradicting themselves from time to time, but actually they were just trying to tell you one point – break free from your conceptual mind. When you cling on to the notion of “existence”, they would mention the notion of “emptiness”, and they would further eliminate the notion of “emptiness”. When you break free from your conceptual mind, you will then be able to recognize your true existence (pristine awareness).
Read the Zen parables carefully. Do not end up falling into nihilism. Handle it carefully and do not end up being a nihilist. The biggest challenge with Zen is that it lacks the stages of the path. As there is no clear stage of the path, one will feel lost and do not know where to start. Similarly, Grand Master said, his True Buddha Zen does not have a traceable path.
I am of the opinion that a practice with the stages of the path clearly laid out is safer. The “Eight Stanzas of Mind Training” is still the key practice. You should start with the “Eight Stanzas of Mind Training” instead. If you do it wrongly with Zen, you will fall into “lip-serviced Zen”, “crazy Zen”, “nihilistic Zen” which are far from the true enlightenment.
Some Zen masters like to resort to actions like knocking on the floor, pointing a finger at the sky etc to help the students understand the teachings. However, they may still be plagued by anxieties when faced with the many challenges in life. The wisdom of Zen is indeed inconceivable. However, as it lacks the stages of the path, it will be difficult for one to learn the practice in a structured way. So, the “Eight Stanzas of Mind Training” is therefore a more important and safer practice.