Dexing wrote:What does it mean to "see your nature"?
To experience your emptiness which is what sentient beings only have the capacity to do.
My question is not so much about what it means, but why it's said "to see" your nature. The Chinese term also says jianxing (见性), jian means "to see".
I just wonder why they always use the term "to see".
In the Chinese Weishi (yogachara) school it's often mind/consciousness knowing the objects it creates. But of course this is nondual, because those objects are illusory subjective realities not separate from the mind. But the consciousness can't turn around and directly know itself. It can only know that which it is conscious of, e.g. sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tangibles, and ideas.
This is Weishi philosophy. "The eye can't see itself, and the mind can't know itself"
Here the difference between sentient beings and their faculties (e.g. "mind") and inanimate phenomena becomes important.
"Sentient being" itself is also an illusory object of thought-consciousness, based on eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, etc.. But again, in Weishi philosophy, these objects of consciousness are not the consciousness itself, but its delusion.
It is not certain that every object (qua object known) the mind "knows" necessarily has to be different from "mind" itself. Also it is not advisable to conceptually separate "mind" and the "knowing" because this implies that there would be an entity "mind" that does the "knowing".
The theory is basically, because while the objects the mind knows are illusory creations of the mind, "they" were in fact never produced or extinguished. So it is said "三界唯心" (Three Realms Only Mind).
I do not think that it is valid to say "all things come from mind" simply because the process of manifestation (or the "arena of appearance") itself is called "mind" if "come from" is meant to refer to a cause/origin.
The Mahayana phrase is "一切唯心造" (Everything is created by mind alone), while in emptiness there is no production or extinction.
In Weishi there are the three natures, one of which being "依他起性" (dependent nature), which is said to be the "true dependent origination". Why? Because in reality "三界唯心" (Three Realms Only Mind).
But although knowing is the minds function, it can't turn around and know itself. It only knows the objects it "creates".
Anyway, what I'm interested in is simply why they use the term "to see", while it is said that the objects of consciousness — while not separate from the mind — are not the mind itself. The mind has no discernible appearance to be seen. But the appearance of emptiness — even not having an appearance — is still called an appearance.
So in my understanding, basically "to see your nature" means "to see" the appearance of emptiness, even not having any such appearance to be seen.
Bodhidharma always likes to say "see your nature, see your nature", but never says what that means "to see" your nature.
Perhaps it is another "meditating on walls" thing, where many people have their own interpretation, but no one knows what he really meant.
But he says;"Buddha is Sanskrit for what you call aware, miraculously aware. Responding, arching your brows blinking your eyes, moving your hands and feet, its all your miraculously aware nature. And this nature is the mind. And the mind is the Buddha. And the Buddha is the path. And the path is Zen. But the word Zen is one that remains a puzzle to both mortals and sages. Seeing your nature is Zen. Unless you see your nature, it's not Zen."
So seeing the movement of your hands and feet, for example, is seeing your nature.
But again, in Weishi theory at least, hands and feet and moving are objects of eye-consciousness, not consciousness itself.
If they are nondual, then it is saying that moving hands and feet are the appearance of your nature. And while you see it, you in reality are only seeing emptiness, the appearance of emptiness.
Is this what it means "to see" your nature? Just experience life. So you could smell your nature, hear your nature, etc. in whatever way it "appears".
I'm not sure if there is a conflict here. Because in Weishi these appearances are not the mind itself, although their nature is basically mind, since "三界唯心" (Three Realms Only Mind).
I guess Bodhidharma's "see your nature" was like Socrates who always said; "Know thyself, know thyself", knowing that you can't "know yourself". You also can't "see your nature". But it provides direction.