Zen

Rinzai 149

How pitiful the blind monastics are! Men who have no eye mistake the robes I am wearing for blue, yellow, red or white. When I take them off and enter the phenomena of purity, students take a glance and rejoice in what they see. When I take it off, they are stupefied, run about frantically beside themselves and say that I am naked. So, I say to them: “Do you know at all the one who puts on all of these robes?” And suddenly they turn their heads and recognise me.

Commentary:

‘Men who have no eye mistake the robes I am wearing for blue, yellow, red or white’ means that people follow Rinzai’s words and actions, that is, they are fooled by the illusions of him when he reveals the true-Self with plausible words, or ordinary actions. ‘When I take them off and enter the phenomena of purity, students take a glance and rejoice in what they see’ means that Rinzai shows stillness by stopping speaking and moving for a while, and the students, deluded by the illusion of the stillness Rinzai showed, believe they have grasped his meaning and feel overjoyed. ‘When I take it off, they are stupefied, run about frantically beside themselves and say that I am naked’ implies that when Rinzai takes off the illusion of the stillness and reveals the true-Self in another way, the students, covered with confusion again, talk nonsense following the illusions he makes. Then, Rinzai says, “Do you know at all the one who puts on all of these robes?”, and then they realise that they have been deluded by the illusions Rinzai made.

Student: “What is the true-Self?”

Master: “It is also a robe.”

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

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