We can see dependent originations of Mind. In fact the entire cosmos is a dependent origination of Mind. Galaxies, solar systems, planets and moons, are all originations of Mind as are all creatures. Paradoxically, we can’t see unoriginated Mind. It is completely invisible like gravity.
Right this very moment, all of us are attached to the illusory spectacle of existence—the originated Mind. And yet, its seems quite real for us. Sill, all of it is unreal. We can’t imagine that true reality is invisible and immaterial. It is difficult for us to believe in something which has no discernible marks of its own. Because of this, those who seek the true meaning of Zen have to start with the unreal and work their way to the unoriginated Mind which is the only reality. Ch’ing-yüan described it this way:
Before I studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters and waters.
We have swallowed the unreal world hook, line and sinker. All that we see is the originated Mind which is phenomena. In order to know and to see the unoriginated Mind, which is empty of marks, we have to negate the totality of the unreal until we reach the indescribable real. Ch’ing-yüan again describes this phase of Mind as follows:
When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge. I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters.
This is a very profound state. But this is still not enough. Using an analogy, Ch’ing-yüan mastered the ability, with effort, to see the gold of the golden lion apart from the lion shape. But he was still unable to effortlessly realize that gold does not obstruct shapes; that the entire universe is Mind only! When he finally came to this final vision he described it this way:
But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters.
This is the highest form of Zen. It goes beyond all effort—it is effortless. Now, no matter where we look the world is like beautiful gold. Bliss enters our heart because we see all things arising from unoriginated Mind and all things returning to it. The universe we perceive, in other words, is a mighty vibration of absolute Mind which is always and ever at peace with itself.
One final note, if you see mountains as mountains and waters as waters without sensing the light of absolute Mind from which all this is generated—you haven't begun the long journey of Ch’ing-yüan.