Venerable ones, time is precious! Yet you run about hither and thither, studying Zen, learning the Way, mistaking Zen for names and phrases, seeking the Buddha and patriarchs and good teachers, full of arbitrary judgments. Do not commit such errors. Followers of the Way, you each have a father and mother. So, what more do you seek? Turn around and look into yourselves.
As mentioned many times before, enlightenment is to be able to see and hear everything as it is, which is to see and hear everything without any labels, names. You should know that the Way, enlightenment is not what can be achieved by learning academically and that Zen is not what can be practised by studying in the way we learn a subject at school. Enlightenment is to realise that you are the Buddha itself. Concentrating on confirming the truth that you are the Buddha is true Zen. If you try to find the Buddha externally, whatever effort you may make, it’s just exhausting yourself chasing shadows. This is no other than to grasp at the shadows and lose the substance. ‘You each have a father and mother’ means that you have the true-Self and that you should look into yourselves to see your true-Self instead of seeking it in vain externally.
Student: “Where is the Buddha?”
Master: “In the mug.”
Student: “Why can’t I see the Buddha in the mug?”
Master: “Because you see the mug.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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