Without enlightenment, there would be no difference between a Buddha and other living beings, while a gleam of enlightenment is enough to make any living being equal to a Buddha. Since all Dharmas are immanent in our mind, there is no reason why we should not realize intuitively the real nature of Tathata (Suchness). The Bodhisattva Sila Sutra says, ‘Our true nature is intrinsically pure, and if we know our mind and realized what our nature is, all of us would attain Buddhahood.’ As the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra says, ‘in an instant, anyone can return to the original mind’.
When the Fifth Patriarch taught me, I became enlightened and spontaneously realized the True Nature of Tathata immediately after he had spoken. For this reason it is my job to propagate the teaching of the Sudden School so that students may find Bodhi at once and realize their True Nature by perceiving their own minds.
Should one fail to enlighten themselves, one should seek the guidance of learned teachers who understand the teaching of the highest realization to show them the correct way. The position of a pious and leaned master who guides others to realize their True Nature is an exalted position. Through their assistance one may be initiated into all meritorious Dharmas. The wisdom of the past, the present and the future Buddhas as well as the teachings of the twelve sections of the Canon are all immanent in our mind, but should we fail to enlighten ourselves, we must seek the guidance of the pious and learned ones.
On the other hand, those who enlighten themselves need no outside help. It is wrong to insist upon the ideas that without the advice of the pious and learned we cannot obtain liberation. Why? Because it is by our innate wisdom that we enlighten ourselves, and even the outside help and instructions of a pious and leaned friend would be of no use if we were deluded by false doctrines and erroneous views. If we perceive our mind with the True Wisdom (Prajna), then in an instant, all delusions will disappear. Once we attain out True Nature, we immediately enter the Buddha ground.