All the Buddhas and patriarchs in the ten directions of the Three Worlds have appeared only for the purpose of seeking the Dharma. And today’s diligent Followers of the Way are also seeking the Dharma. Only when one has got it is there an end to reincarnation. As long as one has not got it, one transmigrates through the five paths.
‘The ten directions of the Three Worlds’ means endless time and space, with ‘the Three Worlds’ implying the past, the present and the future.
‘All the Buddhas and patriarchs in the ten directions of the Three Worlds have appeared only for the purpose of seeking the Dharma’ means that all of them are just expedients created for the purpose of helping practitioners to seek the Dharma. So, we practitioners who are also seeking the Dharma, should see all of them just as empty instead of being deluded by the illusions of them.
‘The five paths’, more usually six paths, implies six stages of the cycle of reincarnation determined according to our good deeds and bad deeds; heavenly being, human, fighting demons, animals, hungry ghosts, and hell. All these are also just illusions that we meet with when we can’t see things as they are. These stages are not what we will go through only after death. All people belong to one of the stages at every moment and transmigrate two or three stages even during one day.
Student: “How can I escape from the six paths?”
Master: “Don’t be deceived by the Buddhas and patriarchs, and the six paths.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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