Then the master said, “Whoever comes to me, I do not fail to recognise him. I know where he comes from. If he comes like this, it is as if he lost himself. If he does not come like this, it is as if he bound himself without ropes. Beware of random judgments.”
The scripture ‘Whoever comes to me, I do not fail to recognise him. I know where he comes from’ is similar to the scripture by Buddha in Diamond Sutra ‘I can see all sentient beings’ minds because their minds are not mind’. Buddha meant that he could see all sentient beings’ minds since he knew that they are all empty and could see them as empty. In other words, this means that Rinzai is never deluded by illusions, whoever comes to him, whatever they say and whatever they do because he can see everything as empty.
Realising that everything is empty is said to be attaining the eye of heaven, or the eye of wisdom with which you can see anything anytime, whatever it may be and no matter where it is. This means that when everything is empty, seeing a mug before you is not different form seeing a beautiful flower on a mountain hundreds of miles away, or a huge building in a city on the other side of the earth because they are all empty.
Rinzai said, “If he comes like this, it is as if he lost himself. If he does not come like this, it is as if he bound himself without ropes,” in order to check whether the monk could see everything as empty just as Rinzai himself could. He was asking, “Do you know that this is the true-Self you are anxious to see?” whilst revealing the true-Self. To prevent the monk from clinging to words, he added as a hint, “Beware of random judgement.”
Student: “If both ‘coming like this’ and ‘not coming like this’ are wrong, how should we come?”
Master: “Don’t make a random judgement but look beneath your feet.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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