Rinzai 113

Followers of the Way, the true Buddha has no shape, the true Dharma has no form. You put on top of your delusion only further fantasies. Such is the way of outsiders. Though you may attain something that way, it is only the spirit of a wild fox, and not the true Buddha.


In order to help you to understand better the words ‘the true Buddha has no shape, the true Dharma has no form’ I am going to talk about what ‘having a shape’, or ‘having a from’ means. When we see things, everything has its own unique shape, by which we can recognise what it is. The word ‘rose’, for example, reminds us of a flower that often has a pleasant smell, and is usually red, pink, white, or yellow. Is there any of all the distinctive features, shapes that a rose has which is not granted by people? Whatever beautiful shapes a thing may have, however ugly its forms may be, they are not innate but given by us. A rose is a rose not because it said in the beginning, “I am a rose and I am red”, but because we named it ‘rose’ and added other labels such as red, pink, or yellow. In brief, none of the features and natures that define a thing are real and innate but are all just imaginary labels which are artificially given by people. This is why everything is said to be illusionary.

Therefore, seeing what is formless is seeing the true Buddha and trying to attain enlightenment with words and forms is no better than putting more illusions on top of your illusions and struggling to grasp mirages. The latter is called the spirit of a wild fox.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

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