What does the Biblical phrase ‘The truth will set you free’ mean?
The truth is that everything is empty, that is, everything is one as Emptiness. What matters here is how we can be set free by the truth.
Saying, “The truth will set you free” is like saying “This food will save you from hunger”. This doesn’t mean that this food itself saves us from famine but means that only when we make the food one with us through a process of eating and digesting it can we be set free from hunger. Likewise, it is not the truth itself that makes us free. It is only after we make the truth one with us through the process of enlightenment that we can be set free.
Realising the truth that everything is empty means realising that all yokes binding us are empty. To realise that all yokes are empty is no other than to set us free from all yokes, including the yoke of life and death that binds us most firmly. However, if we, not realising the truth, only cling to the words, it will become yet another yoke that binds us.
The life free from all yokes is referred to as the Kingdom of Heaven in Christianity and the Pure Land, Buddha’s Land in Buddhism.
Student: “How shall I accept the truth mentioned in the Bible?”
Master: “It is not the truth until you’ve realised it, just as the best medicine is not medicine until you are cured after taking it.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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