Zen

Rinzai 99

For a dozen years I have been looking for one who is suitable, but have not been able to find as much as a mustard seed. I am afraid those Zen teachers are rather like newly-wed brides, uneasy and worried about being chased out of their homes and starving to death.

Since olden times people have not believed the old masters, and only after they had been driven away did their greatness become known. He who is approved by everyone, what good is he? “The lion’s roar shatters the brain of the jackal.”

Commentary:

‘For a dozen years I have been looking for one who is suitable, but have not been able to find as much as a mustard seed’ is a statement showing that the enlightened were quite rare at that time as well.

‘Those Zen teachers are rather like newly-wed brides, uneasy and worried about being chased out of their homes and starving to death’ says how poorly the enlightened were treated before they were acknowledged as enlightened, since it was not easy for the unenlightened to distinguish whether a man was enlightened or not.

‘Since olden times people have not believed the old masters, and only after they had been driven away did their greatness become known’ implies the example of Bodhidharma: When he met Emperor Yang Wu, he couldn’t recognise his enlightenment although Bodhidharma answered his questions perfectly. After that, Bodhidharma crossed the Yangtze River and went to the kingdom of Wei. Only after Bodhidharma left for the kingdom of Wei did Emperor Yang Wu lament that he had failed to realise his greatness.

‘The lion’s roar shatters the brain of the jackal’ means that if Emperor Yang Wu had grasped Bodhidharma’s answer, the lion’s roar, his discriminating mind, the brain of jackal would have been shattered, that is, he would have attained enlightenment.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

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