For if Buddha and Mara happen to appear in one form, he could not differentiate them. Yet, as the gander king knows how to drink only the milk from a mixture of milk and water, so does the clear eye.
Followers of the Way, just beat up both Buddha and Mara. For if you love the sacred and hate the worldly, you go on floating and sinking in the ocean of birth and death.
Buddha is to Mara as Emptiness is to forms. Buddha and Mara are not different and separate from each other but one in the same way Emptiness is the same as forms. So, an ancient master would say, “There is a precious treasure hidden amidst forms between the sky and the earth.” Buddha and Mara always appear as one. That’s why they are said to be as difficult to distinguish from each other as milk and water are to distinguish from each other in a mixture of milk and water. An enlightened man is compared to ‘the gander king’ which can drink just the milk out of a mixture of milk and water.
‘Just beat up both Buddha and Mara’ means that we should not be tempted to cling to Buddha and the sacred, or to hate and avoid Mara and the worldly since all of them are only illusions. In fact, all the labels, imaginary lines, including Buddha and Mara, are just illusions, which are also known as Mara. The state without any illusions is Buddha.
Student: “How can I beat up Buddha and Mara?”
Master: “You don’t have to try in vain to remove the horns of a rabbit.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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