But students nowadays do not know the Dharma. They are like goats, nuzzling and nibbling at everything they come across. They cannot distinguish the servant from the master, nor the guest from the host. Because they want to enter the Path with a wild heart, they cannot enter the Path in crowded places.
‘They are like goats, nuzzling and nibbling at everything they come across’ means they follow illusions and words. In ‘They cannot distinguish the servant from the master, nor the guest from the host’, the servants and the guests mean forms, and the master and the host means emptiness, the true-Self. This implies that they can’t tell forms from emptiness, which is to be deluded by illusions. ‘Enter the Path’ means to attain enlightenment, or to realise the true-Self and ‘a wild heart’ represents a discriminating mind. Because such students have discriminating minds, they, thinking that they cannot attain enlightenment in crowded and noisy places, avoid them and stick to only quiet places in order to enter the Path.
In fact, there is no place without the Path, regardless of whether a place is crowded and noisy, or quiet. He who can’t enter the Path in crowded places cannot enter the Path in quiet places as well. So, ancient masters would say that a loving child should be able to recognise his or her mother at first sight even in a crowded market place.
Student: “How can we enter the Path in crowded places?”
Master: “Crowded places are the Path.”
Student: “Why can’t I enter it now?”
Master: “Because you are blocked by the Path.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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