Hsin Shin Ming: “46. If the eye never sleeps, all dreams will naturally cease.”
Sleep is to dreams as ignorance is to illusions. Enlightenment is to ignorance as awakening is to sleep. When we get enlightened, all the illusions we are struggling to remove vanish by themselves just as all the dreams we are having die away by themselves when we are awakened from sleep.
As long as we are asleep, every trial and effort we make to remove dreams is just a dream as well, in the same way that all the successes and failures we make in our sleep are also just dreams. Likewise, all our efforts to remove illusions are also just illusions unless we are enlightened, that is, until we realise that everything is empty. Therefore, Zen meditation is often compared to making an effort to awaken from sleep and enlightenment to waking up from sleep.
Student: “What shall I do when faced with difficulties?”
Master: “When we are faced with a desperate dilemma that seems to be impossible to get out of in our dream, the best way to escape from it is to wake up from your sleep.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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