Intermediate vs. Advanced Practice

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Most people are relieved when they transition from intermediate practice to advanced practice.  Beginning and intermediate practices often make the dream better, but they don’t create spiritual freedom.  Advanced practice makes liberation possible. What is the difference between these two practices?  Here are some comparisons:

Intermediate practice via instructor Shen-hsiu’s stanza on the essence of mind from the The Sutra of Hui-neng (hint: he doesn’t pass the test):

Our body is the bodhi tree,
And our mind a mirror bright.
Carefully we wipe them hour by hour,
And let no dust alight.

Advanced practice via Hui-neng who became the sixth patriarch of the Chan (Zen) tradition:

There is no bodhi tree,
Nor stand of a mirror bright,
Since all is void,
Where can the dust alight?

Intermediate practice via the historical Buddha:

You are what you think.
All that you are arises with your thoughts.
With your thoughts you make the world.

Advanced practice via an American Buddha:

You are not what you think.
What you think changes, like all of life.
You are what you don’t think.

Intermediate practice via Hollywood: Groundhog Day (making the dream better).

Advanced practice via Hollywood: The Matrix (breaking out of the dream).


© 2020 Mu. Mu is the author of four books about the direct path of awakening. From Here to Nowhere accelerates awakening and the deepening into full enlightenment, and is available on, CAUK, FR and DE.  Transcending the Advanced Path, a detailed exploration of the shift from realization to full enlightenment, is available on, UKCAFR and DEWalking the Advanced Path, a clear guide for how to navigate the pathway to enlightenment with responsibility, awareness, and grace, is available at, UK, CA, FR and DE. Songs for the Advanced Path is a collection of lyrical verses about the journey to liberation, available at, CAUKFR and DE.

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