On page 6 of 23 of your linked document we read:el gatito wrote: ↑Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:39 am"An inquiry into Master Xuyun's Experiences of Long-dwelling in Samadhi":
https://www.google.com/search?q=An+inqu ... in+Samadhi
http://chinesebuddhiststudies.org/previ ... huimin.pdf
By Huimin Bhiksu
So here the two sentences that I have highlighted have me somewhat confused. In the first, the Head Phrase is illusory thought (which makes sense to me, that the arising of the internal conversation is the point of concentration). In the second, there seems to be a different sense of what the Head Phrase is ... if illusory thought (the Head Phrase) is weak, illusory thought will certainly arise (???).Moreover, in The Grandmaster’s Teachings (included in Master Xuyun’s Dharma Collection), taken down by Venerable Lingyuan—a disciple of Master Xuyun—the account states that Master Xuyun had dwelled in samādhi for 18 days. A conversation between the grandmaster and the disciple regarding the event was also included as follows:
Q: I heard that Grandmaster had an experience of samādhi for 18 days. Was that an intentional one? Or an unintentional one?
A: One can not enter samādhi intentionally; but neither can one enter unintentionally as one is not insentient like a stone or statue. Rather, it is concentration that brings success to whatever the mind aims at.
Q: I would like to learn from Grandmaster. Please teach me.
A: You must observe the origin of the Head Phrase.
Q: What is the origin of the Head Phrase, please?
A: The phrase is but illusory thought, which you talk to yourself. At the point when the talking is about to arise, watch and observe, see what the original face is like. That is the what it means ‘to observe the origin of the Head Phrase’. At the arising of illusory thought, continue to set up your right mindfulness, and the ill thought will subside by itself. If you have been pulled away by illusory thought, it brings you no benefit to sit meditating. Even when you are mindful again, but if you are not sincere and earnest, the Head Phrase being weak, the illusory thought will certainly arise.
Further on we have a section of the article titled “Entering into samadhi by Way of a Head Phrase”. The very little I think I know of Chan practice is that a Head Phrase is given to the student by one’s teacher, similar to a koan, as a focus of concentration. This seems very different to “the” Head Phrase that is inherent to one’s own mind activity.
I would appreciate any comments from members here that would help clarify my understanding of the term “Head Phrase”.