Rinzai 129

The Buddhas and patriarchs are only names of adoration. Do you want to know the Three Worlds? They do not differ from the sensation of your listening to the Dharma now! A momentary desire is the world of greed. Momentary anger is the world of form. And a second’s foolish ignorance is the formless world. These are the furniture of your own house. The Three Worlds do not by themselves proclaim: It is the one clear and lively before your eyes who perceives, weighs and measures everything in the world that grants the names ‘the Three Worlds’.


As the true Buddha is the perfect state without any illusions, it is essentially nameless since a name is a sort of illusion. The Buddhas and patriarchs are no more than expedients; names, imaginary labels that are employed for the sake of convenience to express the perfect state. In the same way the Three Worlds are just names, imaginary labels used for the purpose of explaining the world of sentient beings and are not real.

The core of this paragraph is that the Buddhas and patriarchs are not the deceased who are mentioned in the Sutras and the Buddhist texts but everyone and everything, including you who are reading this writing at this moment and that the Three Worlds are not different and separate from the Pure Land but one. The Pure Land appears as the Three Worlds to those who cannot see things as they are. That is why ancient masters would say that we should not struggle in vain to leave the Three Worlds for the Pure Land and that we will be wrong if we move even a single step in order to move to the Pure Land from the Three Worlds.

Student: “What is the Buddha?”

Master: “Why do you ask me the taste of the food you are chewing?”

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

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