Followers of the Way, they say that there is talk of the Way to be practised and the Dharma to be realised. Tell me, then, what Dharma is to be realised, what Way is to be practised. At this moment, what do you lack for your functioning? And what do you need to complement by your training?
Young students, not understanding anything, put their faith in wild fox sprites and so get entangled in their random talk and fancies such as ‘Buddhahood can be attained only when theory coincides with practice and when we guard against the three karmic actions’. Those who make such discourses are as many as April drizzling rains.
Practitioners should not be attached to the illusions of the Way and the Dharma, just as they should not be attached to the illusion of the Buddha. When we follow each of the words ‘the Way’ and ‘the Dharma’, they look different and separate from each other, but they are just one. The one who is trying to practise the Way and realise the Dharma at this moment is no other than the Way, the Dharma itself. All its movements are the functions of the Way and the Dharma. Rinzai is saying that we should not make futile efforts to look for them outside. Ancient masters would compare this situation to a man who is looking for his ox whilst riding on it.
‘Put their faith in wild fox sprites’ means to be attached to misleading talks by fake masters that look sacred and sound plausible, such as ‘Buddhahood can be attained only when theory coincides with practice and when we guard against the three karmic actions’. The phrase ‘so get entangled in their random talk and fancies’ means to be deluded by talks such as those mentioned. To realise that Buddhahood as well as theory, practice and karmic actions is empty, is truly to attain Buddhahood, enlightenment. This is why the Buddha said that what can be attained is not Buddhahood. ‘Those who make such discourses are as many as April drizzling rains’ implies that there are a lot of fake masters who mislead people with such illusions.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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