There are certain shaved monks who tell their students that the Buddha is the ultimate and that the Way can be accomplished only when the effect of practising for three kalpas has ripened sufficiently. Followers of the Way, if you say the Buddha is the ultimate, how did it come to pass that at the age of eighty he died lying on his side between the twin trees at the town of Kushinagara?
This scripture says that we should not be fooled by the name ‘the Buddha’ and his image. Master Rinzai warned people not to confuse the Buddha with the historical Buddha, since many people made images of him and worshipped them at that time, just as many people still do now. The Buddha we are seeking is formless and so it is impossible to make its image. The Buddha is in fact nameless, although it is called the Buddha, or the true-Self for the sake of convenience. The Buddha cannot die because it was not born and so we should not mistake the historical Buddha who passed away at the age of eighty for the Buddha we are seeking.
What matters is that it need not take such a long time as three kalpas of practice to accomplish the Way, that is, to see the Buddha, since each of us is the Buddha. We cannot leave or escape from the Buddha even for a fraction of a second. The Buddha is always ready to be seen any time unless we forsake it. The purpose of Buddhism is not to seek the Buddha outside but to realise that we ourselves are the Buddha.
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