The Chinese Master Wu Wen
The great master Wu Wen began his practices of meditation under the wise guidance of master Tuo Weng. The first Koan or mysterious phrase that he queried while in meditation was the following: “It is not mind; it is not Buddha; it is not thing.”
So, while seated in the oriental style, Wu Wen concentrated his mind on that phrase, trying to comprehend its deep significance.
Indeed, this Koan or enigmatic phrase is difficult to comprehend. By meditating on it with the healthy intention of experiencing the truth enclosed within each one of the words contained in this mysterious phrase, it is evident that the mind, incapable of knowing its meaning, finally falls defeated, as if wounded to death, then it resigns, remaining quiet and in silence.
The Chinese master Wu Wen had the bliss of encountering Yung Feng, Yueh Shan, and some other brethren, who together committed to work in order to reach enlightenment.
After some time, Wu Wen went to master Huai Shi, who taught him how to meditate with the help of the sacred mantra WU.
This mantra is sung mentally with the sound of the vowel U repeated twice, U… U…, prolonging the vowel U sound, imitating the sound of a hurricane howling through a mountain’s throat, or like the crashing of the boisterous sea’s waves against the beach. During the practice of meditation we sing this mantra mentally with the purpose of attaining calmness and silence of mind, when we need to drain the mind of all types of thoughts, desires, memories, preoccupations, etc.
Later, Wu Wen went to Chang Lu where he practiced meditation with his companion who longed for utmost enlightenment.
When Wu Wen went to Huai Shang, he met Chin, who asked him, “For six or seven years you have been practicing meditation. What kind of understanding have you attained?” Wu Wen answered, “Everyday I have the impression that there is nothing in my mind.”
Wu Wen’s answer was very wise. He already had the impression that there was nothing in his mind. Emptiness began to reach Wu Wen’s mind. The battle of reasoning was reaching its end.
So, Wu Wen wonderfully advanced, but he was lacking something, thus Chin said to him, “You can practice when still, but you lose the practice when moving.” Chin’s assertion troubled Wu Wen much, because indeed, it touched his weakest point.
To be capable of having the mind quiet and in silence, empty from all types of thoughts, even when we are hungry, thirsty, even when mosquitoes bite us, or when there is a lot of commotion of people by our side, is something very difficult, and this is what Wu Wen was lacking. He was capable of practicing meditation during quietude, but not during activity—that is to say, in the middle of all of those inconveniences.
“What should I do?” Wu Wen asked Chin, whose answer was, “Have you never heard Chung Lao Tze’s saying? ‘If you want to understand this, face the south and contemplate Ursa Minor.’”
Enigmatic words… mysterious, exotic words…… difficult to comprehend. And, what is most grave is that there is no explanation. After hearing this saying, Chin withdrew.
Wu Wen remained tremendously worried, thus for one week he ceased practicing with the mantra Wu, and concentrated his mind on what Chin had said, namely, “Face the south and contemplate the Ursa Minor,” trying to understand this fully.
This understanding was attained by Wu Wen only when the monks who accompanied him in the meditation hall left the chamber in order to pass into the dining room. Then Wu Wen continued his meditation in the hall and forgot the food.
The point of dinner time arrived, and nevertheless, to continue meditating, ignoring the food, was certainly something very decisive for Wu Wen, because then he comprehended the meaning of meditating during activity.
Wu Wen stated that, indeed, at those moments his mind became shining, empty, light, transparent, his human thoughts fragmented into pieces like small pieces of dry skin, and he felt himself submerging into the voidness.
Half an hour later, when he returned into his body, he found that it was drenched in sweat. This was when he comprehended the saying, “Face the south and contemplate Ursa Minor.”
He had learned during meditation how to confront, how to face Ursa Minor—that is to say, how to confront hunger, noise, and all types of factors detrimental to meditation.
From that moment on, no longer could any noise, nor mosquito bites, nor the annoyance of hunger, nor heat nor cold avert him from perfect concentration of thought.
Later, when Chin visited him again, he answered with complete exactitude all the questions that Chin asked him. Nevertheless, it is painful to state that Wu Wen was still not sufficiently detached in order to reach the state of “taking a leap forward.”
After some time, Wu Wen went to visit Hsianh Yen in the mountains for the summer season, thus during meditation, the without any mercy whatsoever the mosquitoes were biting him terribly, yet he had learned very well how to face Ursa Minor (obstacles, inconveniences, hunger, mosquitoes, etc.), and he thought, “If ancient sages sacrificed their bodies for the Dharma, why should I fear mosquitoes?”
Becoming cognizant of this, he decided to patiently tolerate all the mosquitoes’ deadly stings, with his contracted fists and tight jaws, enduring the horrible bites of the mosquitoes, and concentrating his mind in the mantra WU (u… u…).
Wu Wen sang the mantra WU. With the u… u…, he imitated the sound of the wind howling through a mountain’s throat, or the sound of the sea’s waves when slashing the beach. Wu Wen knew how to intelligently combine meditation with drowsiness.
Wu Wen sang his mantra with his mind. He did not think about anything. When some desire, memory, or thought emerged in his understanding, Wu Wen did not reject it, he studied it, analyzed it, comprehend it, in all the levels of his mind, and thereafter he disregarded it in a radical, total, or definitive manner.
Wu Wen sang his mantra in a continuous way. He did not wish for anything. He did not reason about anything. Any desire or thought that emerged from his mind was properly comprehended and then disregarded. The song of the mantra was not interrupted. The mosquitoes with their deadly stings no longer mattered.
Suddenly, something transcendental occurred. He felt that his mind and body collapsed like the four walls of a house. It was the state of the pure and perfect illuminated void, free of all types of attributes. At the first hours of the morning he had sat down to meditate, and only at dusk did he get up.
It is clear that one can practice meditation seated in the oriental style with the legs crossed like the Buddha, or in the western style in a most comfortable position, or laid down with a relaxed body, with arms and legs opened towards the right and left like a five-pointed star. Nonetheless, Wu Wen was oriental, thus he preferred to sit in the oriental style like the Buddha.
So, at that moment the great Chinese master Wu Wen managed to experience the illuminated void, but still he needed something, he had not yet arrived at total maturity, for in his mind were erroneous and inadvertent thoughts that continued to exist in a secret way, like little tempting demons, little subconscious “I’s,” residues that still continued to live within the forty-nine subconscious departments of Yaldabaoth.
After his experience with the illuminated void, Wu Wen went to the mountain of Wung Chow, and there he meditated for six years. Later he meditated another six years on the mountain of Lu Han, and thereafter three more years at Kuang Chou. At the end of these efforts and after having suffered very much, the master Wu Wen attained utmost enlightenment.
The master Wu Wen was a true athlete of meditation. During his practices, he comprehended that any mental effort creates intellectual tension, and that this is injurious for meditation, because it obstructs enlightenment.
The master Wu Wen never divided himself between a superior “I” and an inferior type of “I,” because he comprehended that superior and inferior are two sections of the same thing.
The master Wu Wen sensed himself not as a God or Deva, in the style of mythomaniacs, but like a wretched pluralized “I,” ready to truly die more and more in himself.
The master Wu Wen did not divide himself into “I and my thoughts,” because he comprehended that “my thoughts and I” are entirely the “I,” and in order to reach perfect meditation it is necessary to be integral.
The state of master Wu Wen during meditation was integral, receptive, tremendously humble, with a quiet mind and in a profound silence, without any type of efforts, without mental tension, without the desire of being something else, because Wu Wen knew very well that the “I” is what it is, and that the “I” never can be more than what it is.
In these conditions, all the three hundred thousand clans of the mental body of the Master Wu Wen vibrated intensely with the same tone, without any effort, capturing, receiving love and wisdom.
When Wu Wen was in the meditation halls and lumisials, all the monks received great benefit from the powerful vibrations of his luminous aura.
Wu Wen already possessed the solar bodies, the superior existential bodies of the Being, but he needed to dissolve the “I” and to attain utmost enlightenment. He achieved it after having gone through much suffering.