The monk asked, “How is it when you snatch away both man and environment?”
The master said, “The provinces of Hei and Fu are cut off entirely, each alone in its own place.”
The monk asked, “How is it when you snatch neither man nor environment?”
The master said, “The king ascends the jewel-palace, and the peasants in the fields burst into song.”
‘To snatch away both man and environment’ means that, ‘There is neither you, your mind nor things’ for the purpose of eliminating all the illusions of you, your mind and things at the same time. The state without any illusions is referred to as Emptiness, the true-Self, Buddha. This state is so free of illusions and so perfect that it is impossible to express with words. That’s why we say that we are wrong if we even open our mouths to describe it. So, ‘The provinces of Hei and Fu are cut off entirely, each alone in its own place’ means that the realm of Emptiness is entirely cut off from that of Form. To experience this state is expressed as achieving a great death, which means the death of all illusions.
To snatch neither man nor environment means to say that Emptiness is Form and Form is not different from Emptiness, that is, Emptiness and Form are one, not separate and that illusions are the very true-Self. He meant that we should be able to see things in both ways; as Emptiness and as Form at the same time instead of staying in Emptiness. This state is expressed as revival from the great death. That’s why an enlightened man is often referred to as a man who revived from a great death. Then, all things look perfect. Master Rinzai described the perfect and peaceful state by saying, ‘The king ascends the jewel-palace, and the peasants in the fields burst into song’. This is the very Pure Land in Buddhism and the Kingdom of Heaven in Christianity that we should enjoy at this moment.
Images ©Simon Hathaway
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