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Rinzai 5

Rinzai 5

And he added, “It is for the one Great Matter that we hold this session today. Are there any more questioners? Let them step forward quickly and ask! But, when you as much as open your mouth, you are already off the point. Why is that so? Do you not know that Buddha said, ‘The Dharma is other than words; it neither belongs to cause nor resides in effect.’”

Commentary:
‘The Dharma’ means the Great Matter, the true-Self and ‘The Dharma is other than words; it neither belongs to cause nor resides in effect’ means that as the Dharma can’t be explained in words, it can’t be described even in the words that indicate ’cause and effect’, Buddha’s teaching. So, ‘When you as much as open your mouth, you are already off the point’ and ‘The Dharma is other than words’ signify that you are wrong if you just open your mouth with intention to describe the Dharma, the true-Self in words since it can’t be explained in words which are the products of discriminations which prevents us from realising the Dharma.

In order not to open your mouth, you should not open your eyes and ears as well because your words are the expressions of what you see and hear. In other words, only when we don’t make discriminations when seeing and hearing can we cease to make discriminations with our mouths. So, ancient masters would say, “You should be able to see with eyes closed and hear with ears covered. Once you open your eyes or ears, you are already off the point.” The key point is that you should be able to grasp what is beyond forms when seeing, just as you should be able to grasp what is beyond words when hearing. Then can you speak what is beyond words. In summary, only when you can see with your eyes closed and hear with your ears covered can you speak with your mouth closed.

Student: “What is the Dharma when it is other than words?”
Master: “Words.”
Student: “You said that it is other than words. Why do you say so?”
Master: “Didn’t I tell you to hear with your ears closed?”

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

#zen #meditation #zenmeditation #enlightened #enlightenment #zenfools #photography

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