There are three primary practices in Zen training – Mindfulness of breathing, Koan practice which is working with an existential question and silent illumination practice. Silent illumination is both a practice method and realisation of mind. We need to make a distinction between silent illumination which is the direct realisation of mind and silent illumination that entails a practical practice. What then is this silence? Silence refers to the fact that we are originally free from all narratives of the self, the “I” “me’ ‘my’ conditioned view. Silent illumination is also called the method of no method. Illumination is the mind free of all clinging, aversion and grasping after experiences in the sensory field. It is the clear mirror like quality that reflects things as they are.
This Dharma talk was given by Subhana Barzaghi on Day 2 of the Autumn sesshin 2021 at SZC’s bush zendo Kodoji, NSW