Instructing his monks, the master said: “Followers of the Way, it is most important that you come to see clearly. Then you can go your way freely all around the world without letting yourselves be deceived by those delusive fox sprites. Nothing is more precious than to be a man who has nothing further to seek. Just do not give rise to any fancies and be your ordinary selves.”
‘See clearly’ means to see everything as it is, which is to see everything as empty. ‘Delusive sprites’ symbolises fake masters who mislead people by giving wrong teachings. That is, if you can see everything as it is, you are not deluded by illusions, wherever you may go, and no fake masters can deceive you.
‘A man who has nothing further to seek’ is an enlightened man who has realised that everything is empty. ‘Give rise to any fancies’ means to discriminate and make illusions. ‘Be your ordinary selves’ means ‘Be enlightened’ or ‘Be the Emptiness itself’. In short, Master Rinzai is encouraging his monks to attain enlightenment by ceasing to discriminate and enjoy full freedom.
Student: “How can I become the Emptiness?”
Master: “Strip yourself of all labels attached to yourself.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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