Rinzai 81

As for me, if anyone comes with a question, I know him to the bottom, whether he be monk or layman. Whatever position he may come with, all are only words and names, dreams and phantoms. The aim of the profound teachings of all the Buddhas is rather to see the man who can ride all circumstances. The state of Buddha cannot say of itself “I am a Buddha-state.” It is rather the independent man of the Way who avails himself of all states.


All masters can see through anyone who comes with a question, a koan. In other words, they know why he cannot solve the question because he struggles with words, names, dreams and phantoms. Struggling with words, names, dreams and phantoms is compared to tripping over shadows, or lines drawn on the ground,  ‘The man who can ride all circumstances’, from a Biblical perspective, symbolises the man who can walk on water, who is not deluded by illusions; words, names, dreams and phantoms. In brief, the man of the Way who, having realised that all different states are the functions of the Buddha, can make good use of them, for others as well as himself, is none other than the Buddha.

Student: “How can I ride all circumstances?”

Master: “All circumstances are empty.”

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

#zen #meditation #zenmeditation #enlightened #enlightenment #zenfools #photography

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