A monk asked: “What are Buddha and Mara?”
The master said: A moment of doubt in your heart is Mara. But if you can grasp that the ten thousand things are unborn and that the heart is like an illusionary fantasy, then nothing even of the size of a speck of dust exists — everywhere is purity — this is Buddha. It may be said that Buddha and Mara present the pure and the tainted state; yet as I see it there is no Buddha, no living being, no past, no present.
‘A moment of doubt in your heart’ means to identify all things with their names and mistakenly regard these names as the essence of the things, that is, to be deluded by words. ‘The ten thousand things are unborn’ implies that nothing comes into existence on its own and that everything is of our own imaginary creation. ‘The mind is like an illusionary fantasy’ means that the ‘mind’ regarded as the true-Self by practitioners is also a kind of name, an imaginary label created by us and that it is originally nameless. If you can see everything in this way, you realise that nothing even of the size of a speck of dust exists on its own and that everything is empty. ‘As I see it there is no Buddha, no living being, no past, no present’ means that although Buddha and Mara are said to present the pure and the tainted states respectively, Master Rinzai himself is aware that there is no Buddha, no living being, no past, no present since he can see everything as empty without being deluded by their illusions, names.
Student: “What is the difference between Buddha and Mara?”
Master: “What changes is Mara and what never changes is Buddha.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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