From the High Seat, the master said: “One is on a lonely mountain peak with no track to come down; one is in the middle of a busy crossroads and cannot go forward or back; of these two, who is further on, who lags behind? Do not take them to be Vimalakirti or the great Master Fu.”
Then he came down from the seat.
The master is checking his students’ practice by raising seemingly two extremely opposite examples; one on a lonely mountain peak and one in the middle of a busy crossroads. The former symbolises Emptiness and the latter Forms. Those who have realised that Forms are Emptiness and Emptiness is not different from Forms, can easily grasp what the master means and answer his question wisely. Both are always one and can’t be separated and they do not have front or back. He was so kind as to give a hint by adding, “Don’t take them to be Vimalakirti or the great Master Fu.” He advised his students not to be deluded by his words into thinking that he meant Vimalakirti who, as one of Buddha’s best students, lived in secular world without becoming a monk or the great Master Fu who stayed in deep in the mountains aloof from the mundane world after enlightenment. You should know that the master is revealing the true-Self while explaining Emptiness and Forms with two metaphors.
Student: “Which of the two mentioned above is further on and who lags behind?
Master: “Which of the two, wind or air, is further on and which lags behind?
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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