One cannot call them true leavers of home; they are just ordinary laymen. A man who has left home should know how to see clearly and calmly, should know Buddha from Mara, the true from the false, the worldly from the sacred. If he has got this knowledge, he can truly be called a leaver of home. If he does not know Buddha from Mara, then in effect he leaves one home only to enter another, and is what is called a karma-producing living being. He cannot yet be called a true leaver of home.
‘Them’ in ‘one cannot call them true leavers of home’ refers to the people who avoid crowded and noisy places and stick to only quiet places in order to enter the Path.‘Leavers of home’ has two meanings. One means those who have become monks for the purpose of attaining enlightenment. The other means enlightened people who have escaped home, that is, a burning house that symbolises the mundane world full of suffering. So, true leavers of home here means enlightened monks. ‘Know Buddha from Mara, the true from the false, the worldly from the sacred’ means to see and hear everything in both ways; as Emptiness and as forms. ‘In effect he leaves one home only to enter another’ means that leaving crowded places and sticking to only quiet places is like getting out of one home of ‘crowded’ illusions and entering another of ‘quiet’ illusions. This means that he is still being deluded by illusions of ‘crowded’ and ‘quiet’. That’s why he cannot yet be called a true leaver of home.
Student: “How can I be a true leaver of home?”
Master: “That’s another home.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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