"Without fully and finally letting go one’s self-with-form, there can be no transmission — even if one has received innumerable transmission certificates from various lineages. The basis and source of transmission in Zen is the awakening to one’s selfless self. And this emerges precisely from the dropping away of self, once and for all. Remember the character I wrote on the board? That’s it. No one transmits anything to anyone; in other words, shin or kokoro transmits kokoro to kokoro by way of kokoro. That’s all."
The Source of What: Who Transmits What? (PDF) by Jeff Shore is a wonderful summary of the issue that combines both the Zen and the scholarly view.
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Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?
2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.
3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.
4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.
1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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