Quotes from the Diamond Sutra, Chapter 9
"...should be a mind brought forth without abiding"
Let us ask: “Does the mental consciousness, which perceives and knows, belong to the five aggregates and eighteen elements?” Yes, it does! Then it is certainly a conditioned dharma! The mind with a thoughtless pristine awareness is also a conditioned dharma because it has the functions of seeing, hearing, perceiving, and knowing. This mind is thus the mental consciousness. As the functions of the mental consciousness (seeing, hearing, feeling, and knowing) have the six sense objects as their objects, the mental consciousness is definitely a dharma with a characteristic [appearance]: the perceptive characteristic. The Buddha taught in the Diamond Sutra, “All forms are illusory.” All illusory dharmas denote “selflessness,” not having a true and imperishable nature. Thus, the five aggregates, twelve sense fields, and eighteen elements do not have a true and imperishable “self.” As a matter of fact, the existence of the mind with a thoughtless pristine awareness is contingent upon the aggregates, sense fields, and elements and is naturally also a conditioned dharma with a characteristic, and such mind is of course an illusory dharma.
Thus, the mental consciousness is a conditioned dharma with its own characteristic, and is a condition-based dharma generated by the causes and conditions. Can it be a true and solid dharma? Of course not. That is why the Prajna Sutras ubiquitously state that the aggregates, sense fields, and elements are selfless. However, the sutras do not preach the notion of nihilistic “emptiness of all phenomena.”
As a result, the Prajna Sutras on one hand broadly state that the five aggregates, twelve sense fields, eighteen elements, and all conditioned dharmas with signs are illusory. They are dependent arising, without an intrinsic nature, and do not have a true or imperishable “self.” On the other hand, however, the sutras ubiquitously expound the True Mind, employing the ultimate truth to explicitly teach the “True Self”: that which has a selfless nature.
Can our mental consciousness, the thoughtless pristine awareness, be brought forth as the non-abiding mind? It cannot! Why? It is because whenever the mind with thoughtless pristine awareness arises, it must abide somewhere, unless the perceptive mind ceases to exist. As soon as the perceptive mind appears, it will definitely correspond to the six sense objects.
As illustrated earlier, that mind taught in the Diamond Sutra “should be a mind brought forth without abiding” and inherently never abides anywhere and then incessantly brings forth minds. Due to the realization of this mind, a bodhisattva is thus able to initiate the wisdom pertaining to prajna. Yet, this non-abiding mind did not come into being after cultivation; it has been intrinsically non-abiding. That is to say, one does not transform the abiding perceptive mind into a non-abiding mind after enlightenment; rather, one realizes another existing non-abiding mind. Having realized this mind, one will see that this mind is still non-abiding and continues to coexist with the mind with thoughtless pristine awareness, exactly the same as before its realization. Only this denotes the true Buddha Dharma: another mind, the eighth consciousness, which has always coexisted with us and has been innately non-abiding. It is not meant to change the normal healthy us into undifferentiable idiots.