Rinzai 101

An old master said: “If you meet a man of the Way on the road, do not talk about the Way.” Therefore, it is said: “If one tries to attain the Way by cultivating the Way, one is not doing the Way right. Tens of thousands of wild fancies arise in a rush, chasing each other in the head. When the sword of wisdom flashes, there is nothing left at all. Even before the light shines, darkness becomes bright.” So, another old master said: “The everyday mind is the Way.”


‘If you meet a man of the Way on the road, do not talk about the Way’ means that if we happen to meet a man of the Way, an enlightened man, then we should not try to attain something about the Way, the true-Self through words because the Way cannot be spoken or explained with words. Furthermore, not only can it not be attained, or lost but also not be manipulated or controlled. That is why tens of thousands of illusions arise in a rush when we try to attain the Way, enlightenment by cultivating the Way.

‘When the sword of wisdom flashes’ represents the moment of getting enlightened, or seeing things as empty. ‘There is nothing left at all’ means that everything turns into emptiness, or the true-Self. ‘Even before the light shines, darkness becomes bright’ means that once we get enlightened, we know that darkness and brightness are not separate but one, just as right and left are one.

‘The everyday mind is the Way’ is one of the popular phrases that sound simple but are intricate to digest. The master said what cannot be done. In other words, he didn’t mean to tell you what to do but just revealed the true-Self that can neither be explained with words nor be attained. This can be grasped only when you hear without being deluded by words.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

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