The Sixth Patriarch once told the assembly, “ I have one thing. It has no name or written symbol. Nonetheless, do any of you understand or not?”
Zen Master Shen-hui immediately stepped forward and said, “It is the original source of all Buddhas; it is my own Buddha nature.” This is the reason Shen-hui was not the Patriarch true heir.
When Zen master Huai-jang came from Mt. Sung, the Sixth patriarch asked him, “What thing has come here?” Huai-jang did not know what to do. It was only eight years later that he had the confidence to say, “If you say it is a thing [lit. one thing], then you have already missed the point.” This is the reason Huai-jang was the Sixth Patriarch’s true heir.
Sosan Taesa, from his Handbook For Zen Students
What is this “one thing”?
What did Siddhartha see that radically opened this “one thing”?
Not something egotistic, esoteric, mystical—
Something simple, unhidden;
Then no birth, no death;
How can this not be something esoteric, mystical?
Again, what is seen that radically opens this “one thing”?