In practice, the aforementioned methods of cultivation differ from one another, but in essence, they are one and the same, since every Dharma deals with the momentary thoughts of the mind. Moreover, the mind is fundamentally undifferentiated. But should we think this mountain isn't so high as that one, consequently our belief in the Dharma in question would be wavering and our effort of cultivation would be deteriorating. As the common characteristic of integration of all Dharmas is an important aspect of cultivation, a word of explanation is necessary for our understanding.

    25.1   Mind is the Key Point

    Among these four Dharmas, the Ch'an Meditation, Looking Into the Mind, Name-Reciting and the Tantric Practice, let us find out the area of their common characteristic. The Ch'an Practice calls for looking into the mind and the latter, in turn, requires single-minded concentration on thought as the former does. In other words, the moment you are doing the Ch'an Meditation, it involves looking within (Kuan); Kuan also involves Nien (thought). Apart from meditation, there is no thought, and apart from thought, there is no meditation. In short, meditation and thought are interchangeable and indivisible. All these four verbs, look, recite, meditate and Hsueh (cultivate), refer to the mind that is the subject of cultivation. The so-called Ch'an (Dhyana) corresponds to the True Mind. The True Mind is Buddha, the triple Tantric Mystics of all Buddhas which are inseparable from the Enlightened Mind. All these four nouns refer to the mind as the object of cultivation. In view of the above explanation, it may be seen that though the four Dharmas are called by different names, yet in essence of cultivation, they are fundamentally identical.

    25.2   Manifestation of Self Nature of Mind is the Way

      25.2.1   Ch'an Versus Tien Tai

      Next, as the self-nature of the mind embraces the Three Dogmas of the Noumenal, the Phenomenal and the Mean and is inseparable from both the subject and the object of cultivation of any Dharma, cultivation of the self-nature necessarily involves the Three Meditations of the Void, the Unreal and the Mean. If we practise the Dharma of Non-Being, we should understand that in reality, the Profound Non-Being is not void; if we do by the Dharma of Being, the Profound Being is non-being. It is because things come into being by causation that their self-nature is said to be void. Inversely speaking, it is because their self-nature is void that it is possible for them to come into being by causation. From this standpoint, it holds true with every Dharma that the more void, the more being, and the more being, the more void. The two are integrated, interrelated and mutually dependent, and ultimately return to the Mean. Thus, Master Yung Ming says: "Regarding the nature of form, function is inseparable from substance; as to the form of nature, substance is inseparable from function." In a Gatha on Three Thousand Dharma Doors on Being, Chan Kuan says: "The Inconceivable Unreal does not lean to the Unreal but is fundamentally inherent in everything. The True Void, complete, perfect and all-embracing, is neither Void, nor merely Void nor merely Mean."

      Dhyana Master Hsu Yun says: "The so-called Hau Tou is the ante-thought, but as soon as the thought arises, it becomes after thought." Again, he says: "To look inward all the time upon that very thing which is neither created nor destructed (Self-Nature) may be said to be identical with looking into the Hau Tou." To look into the mind is to meditate on this neither created nor destructed Self-Nature with attention and concentration, so much as that the three Meditations may be freely and fully manifested right on the spot. Thus, the manifestation of the three Meditations is also the manifestation of the three Dogmas of Self-Nature.

      From this standpoint, the Ch'an practice and the Tien Tai's Chih-Kuan Method are fundamentally the same.

      25.2.2   Pure Land Versus Ch'an

      Also, the so-called Pure Land may be said to be identical with the pure Self-Mind, for the moment mind is detached from thought, it turns to be the Pure Land. The Virmirakirtinedesa Sutra says: "Po Chi, you should realize, a straight mind is the Pure Land of Bodhisattvas, for when they become Buddhas, they never offer sentient beings any inducement that the latter may be born in their Buddhalands. A Profound Mind is also the Pure Land of Bodhissattvas, for when they become Buddhas, their Buddhalands are where the Mahayanists will be born". According to the Recorded Sayings of Ch'an Mirror, "The Self-Mind is all-pervading. If you see a Buddha, this means that you can see your own Buddha." That which is Fundamentally Unborn is existent but its existence does not alter the fact that it is Fundamentally Unborn. So, Ch'an may be said to be the Ch'an of the Pure Land, and The Pure Land may also be said to be the Pure Land of Ch'an. From this point of view, Dhyana and Name-Reciting are in common with each other.

      25.2.3   Pure Land Versus Tien Tai

      It may be reiterated that in reciting the Buddha, the substance of that which is capable of reciting, is fundamentally still and void, whileas the Buddha, the object of recitation, is also immaterial and formless. This is the aspect of the Void; in reciting, though the subject and the object of recitation are void, yet both of them exist. This is the aspect of the Unreal. In reciting, while both the subject and the object are void, yet they are existent; and inversely speaking, while they are existent, yet they are void. Thus, the Void and the Unreal depend upon each other and influence each other. This is the aspect of the Mean. Thus, from Dhyana Master Wan Ning's saying "By reciting the Buddha, one enters the three Dharma Doors (Meditations)". It may be seen that the Dharma of Name-reciting and Looking into the Mind stand on the common ground.

      25.2.4   Tantra Versus Pure Land

      Mantras, the True Words of Dharmakaya Tathagata, are one of the triple mystical yogic practices of the Esoteric Sect. Nevertheless, they are also used by Buddhists of the various Exoteric Sects, as seen from the fact that some well-known Mantras such as the Great Compassion Dharani, the Wish to be born in the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha Mantra, The Surangama Mantra and others may rightly claim to be as popular with Buddhists of the Pure Land Sect as the Dharma of Name-Repetition. Furthermore, the Pure Land Sect's Meditation on the Trinity of the Western Paradise may be said to be in line with the Tantric Meditation on Shakyamuni Buddha, as verified by the fact that Amitabha Buddha and Avalokitsvara Bodhisattva, the principal Entity of worship, are as much venerated by Buddhists of the Pure Land Sect as by those of Tantric Buddhism.

      25.2.5   Tantra Versus Ch'an & Tien Tai

      In the Ch'an practice, the Buddha Amita's Mudra (Seal) (with the right palm put on the left one and the two thumbs conjoined each other to form a straight line, this is called the Buddha's Seal, also called the Meditation Seal of All Buddhas of the Ten Directions) is generally used to intensify concentration during the Ch'an practice. The yogic practice of the four Forms of Tantric Mandolas (Moho, Samadha, Dharma and Karma) is to meditate from the Void to the Profound Unreal (the Unreal that is both the Void and the Mean is called the Profound Unreal) and then to converge both the Void and the Unreal into the Mean. If one, irrespective of his sect, meditates with Prajnaparamita on the pure Bodhi as often as possible, he will enter and realize the Fundamentally Unborn in due time. Again, the perfect and complete Severance (meaning elimination) and Heart of Hearts of the Tantric practices also have something in common with Ch'an. As shown in the above, despite their difference in ritual performance, the Exoteric and the Esoteric Sects, however, are in common with each other so far as the fundamental way of cultivation is concerned.

    25.3   Practice of Samadhi

    The practice of Samadhi may be differentiated in three ways:

    1. To recite Self-Buddha only,
    2. to recite Other-Buddha only, and
    3. to recite both Self-Buddha and other-Buddha.

      25.3.1   Reciting Self-Buddhas Only

      Looking into the mind and the Ch'an practice, where the six sense-organs are their objects of meditation, and the Profound Observing Wisdom and the corresponding mind are respectively their subjects of meditation, may be cited as examples of reciting the Self-Buddha only. In both practices, if we are aware of every momentary thought, we can see that it is beyond time and space, neither existent nor non-existent, neither created nor destructed, fundamentally immanent and at par with all Buddhas. If meritorious deeds are accumulated from time to time, the five fundamental conditions of delusions and passions will be overcome, the six sense-organs will become pure and free from defilement, ignorance will be eliminated, and the profound Treasuries of the triple mystic virtues of Prajna, Deliverance and Dharmakaya (the threefold aspects of the substance, form and function of the self-nature) will be all realized. The Mahaparamita-prajna Sutra says: "Mahahisattvas do not recite the Buddha's name with form, with feeling, with conception, with pre-disposition and with consciousness, because the self-nature of everything is void." It is because the self-nature of everything is void, there is nothing to recite. This may be called Reciting the Buddha.

      25.3.2   Reciting Other-Buddha Only

      According to the practice of the Pure Land Sect, it may be called reciting the Other-Buddha. If the six sense-data, held under control by the Sixth Consciousness, concentrate intensely on the recitation, the form or other things of Amitabha Buddha, then what one sees is nothing, but the Dharma of Buddha.

      25.3.3   Reciting Both Self-Buddha and Other-Buddha

      The combined practices of Ch'an Meditation and the Pure Land Sect's Name-Reciting Method are an example of the third category of recitation of both the Self-Buddha and Other-Buddha. According to this Dharma, with broad and thorough understanding of the Truth that Buddhahood is immanent in everyone and that mind, Buddha and sentient beings, self and others, the direct retributions of one's previous life and the consequences of past deeds of this life are fundamentally identical and not dualistic, and then with merits derived from the Buddha Virtues, one should be able to manifest the fundamental immanent Buddha-Nature at the opportune time. The Tantric practice, another example of the third category of recitation, is to coordinate and integrate the practitioner's triple mystical activities with one another. When this is done, the blissful protecting power of the Honored One of the Nichirin Sect and the fundamental Buddha-Nature inherent in the practiser will be integrated and mutually adaptable to each other. Through the physical body of the latter, the virtues of all Buddhas will become manifestable. From the above, we can see that the Name-Reciting Method corresponds practically with the Dharma of every Buddhist Sect. This is the reason why the Pure Land Sect always makes strong and popular appeal to Buddhists everywhere.

    25.4   Every Dharma is Perfect and Complete

    In the light of the above explanation, it is clear that we may take up any Dharma for practice as long as it is agreeable to our interest and inclination. Since every Dharma is perfect and complete, therefore in the course of cultivation, we should not think of changing from one Dharma to another, nor should we think that a certain Dharma may be superior or inferior to the others. As no medicine may be called good or bad as long as it can cure. Likewise, no Dharma may be said to be high or low, as long as it is adaptable to its followers.