The Two Schools
Reality (li in Chinese) can be seen suddenly, but matter (shih in Chinese) must be cultivated in a progressive and orderly fashion.
In other words, after having reached ecstasy, one must cultivate it until it is completely developed and matured.
Thus, esoteric work consists of two principal aspects: Vision and Action. [Editor’s Note: these terms are derived from the Sanskrit words Prajna and Upaya, and are commonly translated into English as Wisdom and Method, although these English words completely fail to capture the true meaning. See the Glossary for a full definition of these important terms.]
In order to have a vision you must climb to the highest point of the mountain and gaze from there; to begin the journey you must descend to the depths of the abyss and start to walk from there.
Although the Zen temple, which is a marvelous form of Mahayana Buddhism, is sustained by the two pillars of “Vision and Action,” it is evident that special emphasis is placed on the former.
This is clearly accepted by Guru-ji I Shan, who said:
“Your Vision and not your Action is what concerns me.”
For this reason, Zen Masters put total emphasis on Ecstasy, Samadhi, Satori, and concentrate all their efforts on leading their disciples or chelas directly towards it.
The Tibetan Vajrayana school is different; and although its two principal pillars are also “Vision and Action,” it is unquestionable that it places special solemnity on the latter, and tirelessly struggles to lead its devotees to the Ninth Sphere (sex).
It is not irrelevant to assert in this chapter that the aspirants of the Mahayana School truly long for and have an infinite yearning for direct experience of the Illuminating Void.
We are in no way exaggerating if we state with a certain fervor that disciples of the Vajrayana school labor tenaciously in the “forge of the Cyclops” (sex) with the intelligent objective of achieving Innermost realization of the Illuminating Emptiness.
When the mind is still, when the mind is in silence from within and without and in the center, the mystic experience of Emptiness comes; however, it is obvious that the realization of our Innermost Self is something very different.
Emptiness is not very easy to explain. Certainly, I can tell you that it is not definable or describable.
The language of the humanoids who live on the surface of the Earth was created to name things and existent feelings; it is inadequate for expressing anything that exists beyond the body, the emotions and the mind.
The Illuminating Void is not a matter of knowing or not knowing, the point is to have direct experience.
“Vision and Action” complement each other. The two schools that have been mentioned here are essential.
To see with limitless lucidity is only possible in the absence of the ego, of the “me,” “myself,” the “I.” To dissolve it is crucial.
Conscious action is the result of progressive work in the “forge of the Cyclops” (sex).
The “Golden Flower” establishes perfect, harmonious equilibrium between “Vision and Action.”
The “Golden Embryo,” the Sublime Flower, is the special base of the Innermost Buddha.
Ancient archaic traditions say that there are two types of Buddhas: temporary ones and permanent ones.
Clearly the former are in transit from sphere to sphere, struggling to achieve the Illuminating Void within themselves.
Unquestionably the latter are the Buddhas of Contemplation; those who have realized the Illuminating Void within.
In the esoteric study of Zen, the marvelous way of the Mahayana School, there are two very interesting Chinese terms: chien and hsing.
Used as a verb, chien means “to see” or “to look;” used as noun it means “vision, understanding or observation.”
Hsing means “practice, action, esoteric work,” and is used as a verb or noun.
Chien, in its most intimate sense, means all mystic understanding of Buddhist teachings; in Zen however it not only denotes clear, evident understanding of the principles and of true Prajna, but also involves awakened vision which springs from experience: Wu (Satori, Ecstasy, Samadhi).
Chien in its transcendental, divine sense can be understood as Reality seen or a vision of Reality. Although this means seeing reality, it does not imply its possession or control.
Hsing, fertile and creative work in the “fiery forge of Vulcan,” is fundamental when possession and dominion of the “real” is desired.