Characteristics of Blank Essence

Yutang Lin

Blank Essence transcends duality,
Even Buddha could not express it.
Existence, quality and quantity all
Absent to reveal its characteristics.


Someone asked, "In the Heart Sutra, why it was not stated directly as 'the Blank Essence of all these things' but instead as 'the characteristics of Blank Essence of all these things'?" This is due to the fact that Blank Essence could not be expressed in words because it is in the absence of all duality. In order to illuminate this concept of Blank Essence one can only illustrate it in terms of dualistic characteristics. Therefore, in the Sutra it mentioned "the characteristics of Blank Essence," and then immediately explain it with regard to existence, quality and quantity as "neither born nor deceased, neither dirty nor clean, (and) neither increasing nor decreasing." Thus eliminating all grasping to forms (appearances, characteristics) so that the reader (or listener) might have an opportunity to comprehend Blank Essence.

Written in Chinese on January 28, 2007
Translated on January 29, 2007
El Cerrito, California

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