Followers of the Way, you take the words that issued from the mouths of old teachers, saying “This is the true Way, this old sage is wonderful; I am but an ordinary fellow and dare not compare myself with such great masters.” Blind fools! Your whole life you hold such views, going against your two intact eyes, trembling like asses on ice, your teeth clenched with fear. I am not afraid of producing karma by speaking ill of masters.
You should not cling to the shapes of masters and their words however plausible they may sound. The historical Buddha, to prevent people from attaching themselves to his form and his words, taught them to kill him when they met him and, on his deathbed, he said that he had never spoken even a single word. Believing that you are inferior to the Buddha and great masters, clinging to their forms and words is going against the Buddha’s teaching that you are no less great than the Buddha and ancient great masters. ‘Going against your two intact eyes’ means failing to see things as they are, and ‘trembling like asses on ice, your teeth clenched with fear’ implies to be deluded by illusions. ‘I am not afraid of producing karma by speaking ill of masters’ means that master Rinzai himself is free from being deluded by the illusions of ‘masters’ and ‘karma’. In the same sense, many ancient masters would say to their students, “You should be able to scold and blame the Buddha and patriarchs.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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