In addition to these considerations, which mainly depend on indirect
experience, we can have direct experience of life within us. In the
first place, we experience that our life is not a bare mechanical
motion or change, but is a spiritual, purposive, and self-directing
force. In the second place, we directly experience that it knows,
feels, and wills. In the third place, we experience that there
exists some power unifying the intellectual, emotional, and
volitional activities so as to make life uniform and rational.
Lastly, we experience that there lies deeply rooted within us
Enlightened Consciousness, which neither psychologists treat of nor
philosophers believe in, but which Zen teachers expound with strong
conviction. Enlightened Consciousness is, according to Zen, the
centre of spiritual life. It is the mind of minds, and the
consciousness of consciousness. It is the Universal Spirit awakened
in the human mind. It is not the mind that feels joy or sorrow; nor
is it the mind that reasons and infers; nor is it the mind that
fancies and dreams; nor is it the mind that hopes and fears; nor is
it the mind that distinguishes good from evil. It is Enlightened
Consciousness that holds communion with Universal Spirit or Buddha,
and realizes that individual lives are inseparably united, and of one
and the same nature with Universal Life. It is always bright as a
burnished mirror, and cannot be dimmed by doubt and ignorance. It is
ever pure as a lotus flower, and cannot be polluted by the mud of
evil and folly. Although all sentient beings are endowed with this
Enlightened Consciousness, they are not aware of its existence,
excepting men who can discover it by the practice of Meditation.
Enlightened consciousness is often called Buddha-nature, as it is the
real nature of Universal Spirit. Zen teachers compare it with a
precious stone ever fresh and pure, even if it be buried in the heaps
of dust. Its divine light can never be extinguished by doubt or
fear, just as the sunlight cannot be destroyed by mist and cloud.
Let us quote a Chinese Zen poet to see how Zen treats of it:
"I have an image of Buddha,
The worldly people know it not.
It is not made of clay or cloth,
Nor is it carved out of wood,
Nor is it moulded of earth nor of ashes.
No artist can paint it;
No robber can steal it.
There it exists from dawn of time.
It's clean, although not swept and wiped.
Although it is but one,
Divides itself to a hundred thousand million forms."