Son practice is informed by four basic tenets which are traditionally entitled “Non-reliance on Words and Letters” ,”Special Transmission Apart from the Doctrines”, “Pointing Directly at the Human Mind” and “See One’s Own Nature and Attain Buddhahood”.

Enlightenment is said to exist prior to linguistic classifications and transcend form and logic.
It can only be conveyed properly through what is called the “mind-seal” that is, direct, nondual mind-to-mind transmission from master to disciple, in which each witnesses and authenticates the other’s spiritual attainment.

A. Non-reliance on Words and Letters.
This means not to become entangled in language and words.
It includes the idea that one should not become attached to the idea of “non-reliance on words and letters” either.
This edict argues against attachment to words and does not imply an absolute rejection of all uses of language.

B. Special Transmission Apart from the Doctrines.
The true Dharma can only be conveyed directly from mind to mind.
The scriptures are only a skillful means for alerting people to the real nature of their existence.
Just as one can know the true taste of water only by drinking it, one can realize one’s true nature only through direct experience.
No amount of explanation can convey that experience.
This does not mean that doctrinal study is unimportant, it just means that the truest dimension of our existence is not accessible to language.
The world of mind-to-mind transmission exists outside of the limitations of doctrinal explanation.
This world is indirectly described in the stories of “The Three Places of Mind Transmission.”

C. Pointing Directly at the Human Mind.
Son practice points us directly at our own minds.
It reveals to us the natural brilliance and clarity of our true nature.
The important thing to remember here is that in son practice the mind is not seized upon as an object of thought.
It is not a target.
Rather it is the mind that does the thinking, the subject and source of all mental activity and experience, that is revealed.
This is considered the true mind.
If this mind is labelled or classified as an object of contemplation, then its original nature is immediately obscured and lost.

D. See One’s Own Nature and Attain Buddhahood
“See one’s own nature” refers to perceiving the original nature of one’s existence.
One’s original nature is said to be eternal, unchanging, pure, and immaculate.
To perceive this original nature is to become one with the Buddha’s Dharma-body.
It means that the buddha within our minds has been fully realized.