Q. What is the difference between the understanding of enlightenment through books and the attaining of it?
A. Suppose that you have never seen or eaten an apple, but have known, through reading books about apples, that they are a type of hard round fruit that has red, light green, or yellow skin and a white inside, and that they taste sweet, slightly sour and juicy.
However, how would you feel at the moment of biting an apple for the very first time someday? You will be sure to realise how unsatisfactory your knowledge about apples is to explain correctly what an apple is, even though it is not wrong. Reading hundreds of books about apples is not as good as eating even a single bite of one.
If you attain enlightenment, you will even feel as though you were reborn after death. Therefore, ancient masters would say to their students, “You must be reborn after a great death”, thus comparing enlightenment to a great death.
Some ancient masters even burnt their books on enlightenment after attaining it, since they were so shocked by how far their understanding of enlightenment was from actual enlightenment.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway http://ow.ly/i/x4NL6