Rinzai 139

Followers of the Way, when I say that there is no Dharma outside, the students do not understand and deduce it is necessary to search within themselves. Then they sit facing a wall, tongue pressed to the upper palate, and remain motionless. That is what they take for the patriarchal gate of the Buddha-Dharma. What a great error! If you take the state of immovable purity for the true-Self, you acknowledge ignorance as your master. An ancient master said, “You should be fearful of getting lost in the depths of the dark cave.”


Rinzai’s comment ‘there is no Dharma outside’ means that there is neither inside nor outside in essence because it is just an illusion, that there is nowhere without Dharma and that we should not be deluded by words. However, there seems to have been many practitioners who, deceived by Rinzai’s words ‘there is no Dharma outside’, tried to reach the silent and immovable state without having any thoughts inside themselves. That is why they practised in the way mentioned above. Ancient masters would compare such a state without any thinking to a dark cave, which Rinzai is cautioning his students not to fall into.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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