There is still another lot of blind old rascals who do not know good from bad. They distinguish the east from the west, like fine weather and fancy rain, and like hanging lanterns and uncarved pillars. Look – how many hairs of eyebrows do they have left? If the students do not know that all are supplied with concurrent causes, their hearts run like a dog. Teachers like this are all like wild fox sprites or demons. But the good student gives a deep chuckle and merely says: “Blind old fools, beguiling the people.”
‘Blind old rascals who don’t know good from bad’ indicates unenlightened teachers who pretend to be enlightened. ‘They distinguish the east from the west, they like fine weather and fancy rain, and like hanging lanterns and uncarved pillars’ means that although unenlightened teachers like to talk about koans including the words indicating direction and weather such as the east and the west, fine weather and fancy rain, and the words signifying things in temples such as hanging lanterns and uncarved pillars, they, not knowing the core meaning of them, give wrong explanations to students since they don’t have the eye of wisdom to see things as they are. ‘Look – have they any eyebrows left?’ implies that such fake masters cannot have any eyebrows left since they have told too many lies, because according to a Chinese saying, telling lies causes the hairs of the eyebrows to fall out. ‘If the students do not know that all are supplied with concurrent causes, their hearts run like a dog’ means that if students just follow such poor teachers’ explanations without knowing that those koans have deep meaning different from these inadequate interpretations, they are like a dog which chases after a lump of clay while mistaking it for a lump of meat.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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