Rinzai 3

Rinzai 3

Another monk asked: “Master, from whom is the song you sing? Where does your style come from?”
The master said: “When I was with Obaku, I questioned him three times, and three times was beaten.”
The monk hesitated. The master gave a Katsu, then hit him and said: “You should not drive a stake into empty space.”

When the monk asked Rinzai the question ‘From whom is the song you sing?’ ‘Where does your style come from?’, he didn’t mean to ask who Rinzai’s master was or where he had attained his enlightenment with ‘from whom’ and ‘from where’, because Rinzai was so famous at that time that contemporary Zen students knew that Obaku was his master. He asked about the Great Matter, the true-Self from which the song Rinzai sang was from and from which his style came.

However, the master answered the monk’s question by summing up how he got enlightened by his master Obaku. It was an unexpected answer to the monk who expected some comment about the Great Matter, the true-Self, so, the monk, not grasping what Rinzai meant, was at a loss for words. Then, Rinzai, finding him struggling with illusions, or following words, had the kindness to give him two more teachings by shouting a Katsu and hitting him. Furthermore, he had compassion to give the monk one more teaching so that he might not be deluded by his words, by advising him not to drive a stake into empty space. Following words or forms is said to be being deluded by illusions, which is compared to driving a stake into empty space, or colouring empty space. In short, Rinzai said, “Don’t follow the words and forms, but grasp the teaching I’ve already given you.”



Student: “Why did Rinzai talk about how he had attained enlightenment under his master Obaku when the monk asked about the true-Self?”
Master: “Because you are driving a stake into empty space.”
Student: “What did the master mean by shouting a Katsu and hitting him?”
Master: “He rephrased his first answer.”
Student: “Shouting a Katsu and hitting him sound so different from the first long answer that they seem to have nothing to do with it.”
Master: “That is the way the true-Self is because it doesn’t have any fixed form, but its essence never changes.”

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

#zen #meditation #zenmeditation #enlightened #enlightenment #zenfools #photography http://ow.ly/i/KNQkn

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