Zen

Rinzai 108

The Buddha, where is he now? You should know clearly that like us he lived and died and so is not different from us. You say that the thirty-two marks and the eighty characteristics distinguish the Buddha, but then Chakravarti Raja, a mythical Indian god, should also have been the Buddha. Clearly all this is just fantasy and illusion.

Commentary:

When Rinzai said, “The Buddha, where is he now? You should know clearly that like us he lived and died and so is not different from us,” he meant that the historical Buddha is not different from us sentient beings in the least in that he lived on food and passed away just as we do. Rinzai tried to instil us with confidence that we can attain enlightenment just as the historical Buddha did, not only because none of us are inferior to him as humans but also because all of us have the same true-Self that he had.

Then, what is the difference between the historical Buddha and us? He realised that the essence of our being is not the physical body that is subject to birth and death but the true-Self that transcends birth and death. The true-Self is referred to as the Buddha and so many people mistake the historical Buddha as the true-Self. In order to prevent them from being confused, the historical Buddha said, “He who seeks me through seeing my figure and hearing my voice cannot see me.” We should know that the Buddha is formless and not be deluded by the words ‘the Buddha has the thirty-two marks and the eighty characteristics.’ As mentioned previously, words, no matter how wonderful they may sound, are just imaginary labels, illusions.

Student: “Why is it said that the Buddha has the thirty-two marks and the eighty characteristics?”

Master: “It is also said that the Buddha is dry shit.”

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

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