Rinzai 55

What is Dharma? Dharma is the Dharma of the Mind. The Dharma of the Mind is without form; pervading everywhere, it is perceptible and active right before your eyes. But, people, lacking in complete faith, mistake names and concepts for it. They try to find the Buddha or Dharma in the text through their knowledge and speculate on the Buddha or Dharma which is as different from the true Buddha as the heaven and the earth are far away from each other.



‘Dharma is the Dharma of the Mind’ means that the Dharma is no other than the Mind which has various names such as the Dharma, the Buddha, the true-Self and Emptiness. The Dharma of the Mind is formless, but every form we can perceive is that of the Dharma, just as every wind we feel is the way the air is even though it is formless. There is nothing else other than the Dharma and even we ourselves are part of the Dharma. All we hear and see is just the Dharma and we can’t avoid seeing and hearing it even for a moment. ‘Complete faith’ means enlightenment. ‘Mistake names and concepts for it’ implies believing that the image of the Buddha brought up by names and concepts is the Buddha. So, ancient masters would say, “If you see the Buddha, kill him” in order to prevent people from being deluded by names and concepts. The Dharma can be seen only when all names, labels, or words which are imaginary lines are removed. Trying to find the Buddha in the text which consists of names, concepts and knowledge is building a barrier of bricks of words before your eyes, which prevents you from seeing the Dharma.



Student: “What shall we do with the Sutras if we should not try to find the Buddha in the text?”

Master: “Don’t read the Sutras, because they are not texts but gates. The former is for reading and the latter is for entering.”


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway


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

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