The Illuminating Void and the Story of Han Shan
The teaching about Illuminating Void is something that Samael Aun Weor emphasised a lot in several places in his books and talks as a mean to access the Reality that is beyond duality. The term “Illuminating Void” is coming from the word “Sunyata”, which in Buddhism is referring to Great Emtpiness, or the Great Void. In Gnosticism, Samael Aun Weor connects the Illuminating Void with the third ring of the Absolute – the outermost ring of the Ultimate Reality (or the Source) that is Kabalistically known as the “Ain Soph Aur”.
Samael explains that this Reality could be reached through a regular and disciplined practice of meditation, in order to achieve a meditational state known as Samadhi. There are many degrees of Samadhi, in which practitioner progressively becomes more and more detached from their psychological layers – progressively detaching from the mind, the personality, the subconscious, the body…to ultimately remain as a pure essence and as such submerges into the Illuminating Void, where individuality is transcended and the person experiences what Samael refers to as “the life free in its movement”.
Samael Aun Weor has stated how he is very familiar with this high form of meditation because in one of his past lives, in ancient China, he was part of the Order of the Yellow Dragon, where the goal of achieving this state was emphasised. He also wrote that the achievement of the Nirvi Kalpa Samadhi can give a great boost to the inner work, but that in itself it is a temporary state. This means that once the state finishes, the person returns to the physical body, and the essence reincorporates within the psychological layers. In another words, the Samadhi state does not remove the ego and it does not permanently liberates the consciousness, nor does it lead to incarnation of the inner Being. Nevertheless, the benefits for the inner work it surely has.
In his short book called “The Spiritual Power of Sound”, he wrote an interesting and inspiring biographical story about a 16th century Chinese master Han Shan. This person was educated in meditation and esoteric matters from an early age, and dedicated his life to meditation and inner work. Han Shan became very skilled with meditation, and was able to enter the Illuminated Void. Here is an excerpt of that story:
Han Shan said, “Everyday I cooked rice and ate it with wild vegetables and porridge. Then, after the meal, I would take a nice walk. But while I was walking one day, I happened to stop and stand still, noticing that I have neither body nor mind. In that blissful moment, I entered samadhi. Soon I ceased to be aware of anything except a great omnipresent, perfect, lucid, and serene brightness, round and full, clean and still like a huge round mirror.”
From then, all of the powers of positive clairvoyance, formidable clairaudience, telepathy, regal intuition, etc., awoke totally in Han Shan, thanks to the quietude and silence of the mind, and as a consequence of enlightenment.
Han Shan composed the following precious poem, transcribed by Chan Chen Chi:
“In utter stillness, the bright light, pervading all, enfolds the great void
When closely looked at, worldly things are like illusions in a dream.
Today I really comprehended that the Buddha’s words are just and true!”
Based on very intimate meditation and on the supreme quietude and silence of the mind, Han Shan managed to awaken the Buddhata—that is to say, the Essence, the consciousness.
During the hours of sleep, Han Shan stopped dreaming and lived totally awake within the superior worlds. When returning to his physical body after the rest of sleep, he brought to his physical brain all the memories of his experiences within the superior worlds. Han Shan attained all of that based on mental quietude and silence.
One night while his physical body slept, Han Shan entered the great temple of wisdom. The great Masters Qing Liang and Miao Feng—in their astral bodies—welcomed him with immense joy. In that solemn temple, Han Shan received the most precious teaching regarding the entrance into the state of the Dharmadhatu, in which he learned in depth about the laws of evolution or progress and devolution or retrogress.
Han Shan also comprehended that there are Buddhic lands that penetrate and co-penetrate each other without being confused, and that in those lands excellence and service are fundamental. He comprehended that in us what discriminates is the subconsciousness, and what does not discriminate is wisdom. He also comprehended that purity or impurity depend totally upon our mind.
In his astral body in the temple of Maitreya Bodhisattva, Han Shan opened and read a sutra, “Discrimination [vikalpa] is subconsciousness. Nondiscrimination [nirvikalpa jnana] is wisdom. Clinging to subconsciousness will bring corruption, but clinging to wisdom will bring purity. Corruption leads to birth and death, but purity leads to Nirvana. If one attains purity, then there is no need for Buddhas.”
When after many long years of absence Han Shan returned to his house, the neighbors asked his mother, “Where did he come from? Did he come by boat or by land?”His mother replied, “Well, he came from the void!”
Certainly, Han Shan came from the Illuminating Void. Thus, this is how it is written and how Chang Chen Chi narrated it.
After great practices, the quietude and absolute silence of the mind brings about the bursting of the bag, our entrance into the Illuminating Void. We then enter into ecstasy, because our consciousness awakens.”