You don’t need to toil through all the stages of a Bodhisattva to awaken to your Buddha Nature, you can do it right now – Master Huang Po

8. Our original Buddha-Nature is, in highest truth, devoid of any atom of objectivity. It is void, omnipresent, silent, pure; it is glorious and mysterious peaceful joy—and that is all. Enter deeply into it by awaking to it yourself. That which is before you is it, in all its fullness, utterly complete. There is naught beside.

Even if you go through all the stages of a Bodhisattva’s progress towards Buddhahood, one by one; when at last, in a single flash, you attain to full realization, you will only be realizing the Buddha-Nature which has been with you all the time; and by all the foregoing stages you will have added to it nothing at all. 2 You will come to look upon those aeons of work and achievement as no better than unreal actions performed in a dream.

That is why the Tathāgata said: ‘I truly attained nothing from complete, unexcelled Enlightenment. Had there been anything attained, Dīpamkara Buddha would not have made the prophecy concerning me.’ 1 He also said: ‘This Dharma is absolutely without distinctions, neither high nor low, and its name is Bodhi.’ It is pure Mind, which is the source of everything and which, whether appearing as sentient beings or as Buddhas, as the rivers and mountains of the world which has form, as that which is formless, or as penetrating the whole universe, is absolutely without distinctions, there being no such entities as selfness and otherness.

The Zen Teaching of Huang Po, John Blofeld translation

How interesting. Master Huang Po is saying that we don’t need to spend aeons upon aeons toiling and suffering as a Bodhisattva in order to realize our own True Mind, our Buddha Nature.


Because the Buddha Nature that the highest of Bodhisattvas realize is the same Buddha Nature that we can realize right here, right now – because it has always been with us and is with us right here, right now.

All we need to do awaken to it (easier said that done! lol).

And even if we decide to go down the Bodhisattva path and toil for aeons, then after all those aeons, we would have added nothing to the Buddha Nature – the Buddha Nature does not become any more superior for having toiled all that time.

3 thoughts on “You don’t need to toil through all the stages of a Bodhisattva to awaken to your Buddha Nature, you can do it right now – Master Huang Po

  1. I have noticed that there is a tension between ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ (sometimes ‘gradual’) routes to liberation. Even recognizing that time is plastic (and a mental fabrication at that) ‘aeons and aeons’ sounds daunting and discouraging.

    But consider the myriad forms beings take on and keep in mind that our limited view only allows us to see a small fraction of these. We may have spent aeons and aeons getting to this point where you and this fool can now discuss (and maybe learn a little!) from these Dharma teachings.

    Maybe we are not so far, relatively speaking, even in our gradual path. Maybe the fast route isn’t really so fast. Maybe it is most important of all for us to cultivate mindfulness,.insight and wisdom, and then it won’t matter whether we arrive quickly or slowly because we will know — we will understand and see — the path ahead more clearly.

    • You could say gradual cultivation, instant awakening. In the same way that a mango slowly grows and then instantly falls off the tree.

      I found it very interesting that Master Huang Po reminded us that the Buddha Nature that the highest of Bodhisattvas awaken to the same Buddha Nature as each of us can right now – because it is not gained upon enlightenment – as it is unborn and does not die, and so, is with us right now. In fact, all that manifests before us is a result of it, has it as its source, yet how come we don’t see it!

  2. The Buddha Nature is not with us. It is us. If we don’t see it, it is because we are looking for something other. But the Buddha Nature is not other. It is that which is looking.

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