Zen

Rinzai 51

There are old bald-heads who cannot tell true from false. They see spirits and devils; they point to the east or indicate the west; they fancy fine weather or are fond of rain. One day they will have to face Yama (Judge of the Dead) and repay their debts and swallow red-hot iron balls. Men and women of good families, possessed by these foxes and apparitions, do weird things. Blind old fools! The day is sure to come when they will have to pay back the cost of their meals retroactively.

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Commentary:

‘Old bald-heads who cannot tell true from false’ implies old monks and nuns who are still deluded by illusions even though they have been monastic practitioners for a long time. ‘They see spirits and devils’ means ‘they make believe they are enlightened while arguing that they can see spirits and devils’. This is actually the way they follow illusions. ‘They point to the east or indicate the west’ means that they give wrong teachings to people. Giving wrong teachings in the name of the Buddha is making Him an imposter. ‘They fancy fine weather or are fond of rain’ is an example of their being attached to illusions. ‘One day they will have to face Yama (Judge of the Dead)’ symbolises that they cannot transcend the yoke of life and death. ‘Repay their debts and swallow red-hot iron balls’ implies that they, still caught in the net of causation, will have to pay for their wrong teachings.  ‘Men and women of good families, possessed by these foxes and apparitions, do weird things’ means that ordinary people, misled by fake masters, pursue enlightenment in wrong ways.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

 

#zen #meditation #zenmeditation #enlightened #enlightenment #zenfools #photography

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