Zen

Rinzai 98

Followers of the Way, only a great teacher dares to disparage the Buddhas and patriarchs, dares to criticise everything, to defy the Teachings of the Three Baskets, and abuse immature students, and so, finds the man within the straight or the crooked.

Commentary:

‘Only a great teacher dares to disparage the Buddhas and patriarchs’ means that a great teacher is never deluded by the illusions of the Buddhas and patriarchs. ‘Dares to criticise everything, to defy the Teachings of the Three Baskets’ implies that a great master grasps the core meaning of the Buddha’s teaching without following the literal meaning of the Teachings of the Three Baskets which symbolises all Buddhist teaching. Master Rinzai once said that all the Sutras are just Mara’s talk, which is a good example of defying the Teachings of the Three Baskets. However, this doesn’t mean that all the Sutras are of no account but that we should not miss the core teaching by clinging to literal interpretation. That is why ancient masters said that all the dead words in the Sutras come to life when we grasp the core of them. ‘Finds the man within the straight or the crooked’ means that he sees the true-Self within diverse forms such as straight or crooked since he is not deluded by the illusions of the Buddhas and patriarchs and the Teachings of the Three Baskets.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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