Zen

Rinzai 123

Followers of the Way, if you wish to see this Dharma clearly, do not let yourselves be deceived. Whether you turn to the outside or to the inside, whatever you encounter, kill it. If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha; if you meet the patriarchs, kill the patriarchs; if you meet Arhats, kill Arhats; if you meet your parents, kill your parents; if you meet your relatives, kill your relatives; then for the first time you will see clearly. And if you do not depend on things, there is deliverance, there is freedom!

Commentary:

The Dharma is in fact not the Dharma, not the Buddha since it is formless and nameless. The Dharma and the Buddha are just names attached to it for the sake of convenience. So, ‘if you wish to see this Dharma clearly, do not let yourselves be deceived’ means that if we are to see the true-Self, the Buddha, we should not be deceived by illusions such as the Buddha, the patriarch, Arhat and the like. 

‘If you meet your parents, kill your parents; if you meet your relatives, kill your relatives’ implies not that we should shun them, or leave the house to be away from them but that if we see our parents and relatives without attaching any labels to them, we can realise clearly that they are more than just parents and relatives, that is, they are the Buddha we are looking for. ‘If you do not depend on things, there is deliverance’ means that if we don’t depend on illusions, that is, if we are not deluded by illusions, that is the Pure Land, the Dharma itself.

Student: “If the Dharma is formless and nameless, what is the Dharma?”

Master: “What is not?”

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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