Rinzai 106

What are you seeking in the realm of changing dependence? The Three Vehicles and the Twelve Divisions of the Teachings, all are just old paper to mop up mess. The Buddha is an illusory phantom. The patriarchs are old monks. You yourselves, are you not born of a mother? If you seek the Buddha, you will be caught by the Buddha-Mara; if you seek the patriarchs, you will be bound by the patriarch-Mara. Whatever you are seeking, all becomes suffering. It is better to have nothing further to seek.


‘The realm of changing dependence’ means the realm of illusions which are forms and imaginary labels, or words. This realm implies the worldly realm where we sentient beings reside. Enlightenment is escaping from or living beyond the realm of illusion. We should not fall into the trap of chasing after forms, or words whilst seeking to be freed from them. Words and forms, however holy and plausible they may appear, are just illusions, no more than that. So, seeking the Buddha and the patriarchs, following the illusions of them, is no other than being caught by the Buddha-Mara and the patriarch-Mara. No matter how awful Mara may appear, we should not avoid him, and no matter how holy the Buddha may appear, we should not follow him, because both of them are just illusions. Struggling to avoid the former, or seek the latter is the source of our suffering.

Student: “What should we do when the Buddha or Mara approaches us?”

Master: “See them as if they are your shadows.” 

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

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