Rinzai said, “An ancient master said, ‘Those who are turning to the outside and applying themselves to it are fools.’ If you master any situation you are in, wherever you stand, all becomes true; you can no longer be driven around by circumstance. Even if in your former, unregenerate days you had committed the Five Heinous Crimes, they turn into the ocean of deliverance.”
Those who are ‘turning to the outside and applying themselves to it’ means those who try to attain enlightenment depending on speeches and writings. They are going against Buddha’s teaching that His teaching is beyond words, the Sutras. ‘If you master any situation you are in, wherever you stand, all becomes true’ implies that if you can see a single thing around you as empty, or as it is, at this moment, you come to realise that everything, including yourself, is Emptiness, the true-Self. This is when you are enlightened. Then, you become aware that the Five Heinous Crimes are also empty, which means that they turn into the ocean of deliverance.
Student: “Can I escape punishment if all the crimes I have committed are empty?”
Master: “When your crimes are empty, both the punishment for them and you are also empty.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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