What is the nature of the robe and the bowl like?
Eno, the Sixth Patriarch, was pursued by Monk Emyo up to Daiyurei. The Patriarch, seeing Emyo coming, laid the robe and the bowl on a rock, and said to him, “This robe represents the faith. Is it to be fought for by force? You may take them now.” Emyo went to move the bowl and the robe and yet they were as heavy as mountains. He could not move them. Hesitating and trembling, Emyo asked the Patriarch, “I come for the teaching, not for the robe. Please enlighten me!” The Patriarch said, “What is your true-Self when you do not think of good nor do you think of evil?” At that moment Emyo was greatly awakened. His whole body was covered with sweat. Emyo cried, bowed, and said, “Is there any other significance than your secret words and teachings like this?” The Patriarch answered, “What I have told you is no secret at all. Once you have realised your own true-Self, the secret rather belongs to you!” Emyo said, “When I was at Obai with the other monks, I never realised what my true-Self was. Now you have dispersed the clouds of my ignorance to realise it, just like a man capable of discerning warm and cold by tasting water. From now on you are my teacher!” The Patriarch said, “We both have Obai for our teacher. You keep it well, guard your own Self!”
Student: “How could the Sixth Patriarch run away with the robe and the bowl that Emoy couldn’t even lift?”
Master: “The Sixth Patriarch, aware of the nature of them, didn’t think much of them.”
Student: “What is the nature of the robe and the bowl like?”
Master: “It won’t move at all, but it is weightless.”
Student: “What did Emyo realise when the Patriarch said, ‘What is your true-Self when you don’t think of good nor do you think of evil?’?”
Master: “He realised that he had not needed to chase the Patriarch.”
Student: “What did the patriarch mean by ‘What I have told you is no secret at all. Once you have realised your true-Self, the secret rather belongs to you’?”
Master: “The secret is revealing itself. It is secret not because it is hidden but because you are blind to it.”
Student: “How did Emyo find his true-Self when the Patriarch dispersed the clouds of ignorance to realise it?”
Master: “He found that the clouds of ignorance are his true-Self.”
What a poor student!
The master is moving freely in the robe with the bowl.
The student, still caught under them, can’t move at all.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway http://ow.ly/i/A8uDL