The scholars of the Sutras and Treatises take the Three Bodies as absolute. As I see it, this is not so. These Three Bodies are merely words, logical props. An old master said, “Even when we talk about the Buddha Bodies and the Pure Land based on their literal the meaning, we do this depending on the true-Self.” Thus, you should know that the Dharma Nature Bodies and the Pure Land are only shadows of light.
‘These Three Bodies are merely words, logical props’ means that the Three Bodies are only imaginary lines, labels used to explain and describe the Buddha, the true-Self, and are not the Buddha itself. Words and phrases employed to illustrate the Buddha, however beautiful and plausible they may sound, are not the essence of the Buddha but only fingers pointing to the Buddha. Clinging to those words is to be deluded by illusions of the Buddha. So, ancient masters would say, “If you cling to words, all Sutras become Mara’s talk.” Buddha also said on his deathbed, “Not a word have I said” in order to prevent his students from clinging to his words.
‘Even when we talk about the Buddha Bodies and the Pure Land based on their literal meaning, we do this depending on the true-Self’ means that everything we do to express the Buddha, whether speaking or gesturing, is the function of the true-Self, the Buddha. In other words, the Dharma Nature Bodies and the Pure Land are only shadows of light, illusions. The ground from which these words come from is the true-Self.
Student: “What are the Three Bodies?”
Master: “Don’t be belied by such words.”
Student: “Then, what are the Three Bodies?”
Master: “The Three Bodies.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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