At the evening question period the master told his monks:
“Sometimes I snatch away the man but not the environment; sometimes I snatch away the environment but not the man. Sometimes I snatch away both man and environment; sometimes I snatch away neither man nor environment.”
A monk asked, “How is it when you snatch away the man but not the environment?”
The master said, “Warm sunshine covers the earth with a carpet of brocade. The hair of the child is white like silken thread.”
The monk asked, “How is it when you snatch away the environment but not the man?”
The master said, “As the king’s command reaches everywhere, the general at the frontier ceases to fight.”
To snatch away the man but not the environment means, ‘There is nothing to be called ‘you’ and the ‘you’ that the you believe you are is only part of the environment.’ That is, he meant that we are just part of the universe in order that he might rid us of the illusion of ‘I’. So, the master described the landscape spreading before them when he was asked how it was when he snatched away the man but not the environment.
‘To snatch away the environment but not the man’ means, ‘Everything is from your mind and there is nothing that comes from outside of your mind.’ The purpose of this comment was to remove the illusions of things from us by saying that all the things are just illusions created in your mind. ‘The king’ implies mind, and ‘the king’s command reaches everywhere’ means that you know that everything is an illusion from your mind. ‘The general at the frontier’ means your body, or your action controlled by your mind. ‘The general at the frontier ceases to fight’ means that you have no feud with others or things because you know that they are just illusions, the products of your mind.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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