When it comes to my teaching these days, it is truly creative and destructive through miraculous transformations. Whatever phenomena I may enter, nothing happens to me. Phenomena never change me. If students come to seek, I go out and look at them. They do not recognise me, so I reveal myself by putting on different kinds of robes. Students try to understand them through their knowledge and get caught up in my words.
‘It is truly creative and destructive through miraculous transformations’ means that he is so proficient at using expedients that he can reveal Emptiness and form without much effort. ‘Whatever phenomena I may enter, nothing happens to me. Phenomena never change me’ implies that whatever phenomena he may encounter, he is above being deluded or influenced by them since he knows that all phenomena are just illusionary.
‘If students come to seek, I go out and look at them’ means that Rinzai sees clearly how ripe their practice is and sees through the questions they ask when they come to him for teaching. ‘They do not recognise me, so I reveal myself by putting on different kinds of robes’ means that the students don’t recognise the true-Self, so he reveals the true-Self through various words and actions, which are referred to as expedients. His students, however, got caught in his words because they strived to understand them according to his words and actions. We should remember that masters say what cannot be done when speaking and do what cannot be said when doing.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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