“A special transmission outside the scriptures
No reliance on words or letters”
“Words and letters” means spoken and written language. What does “no reliance” mean? It doesn’t mean that language is anathema to authentic practice.
There is no reliance on language because everything – including language – is ceaseless expression and ceaseless activity; so everything, language as much as birdsong, is proclaiming the Dharma.
The problem arises when we appropriate this expression and activity to the self. If we can keep dropping off the self, then the wholeness of everything, the aliveness of everything, which otherwise is just an ideal, is expressed. Not in some future life, some ideal life, but now.