One asked, “What is the true Buddha, the true Dharma, the true Way? Please explain.” The master said, “What you call the Buddha, that is your mind in its purity. What you call the Dharma, that is your mind in its radiance. What you call the Way, that is when in sheer light there is no obstruction anywhere. The three are one; but they are empty names and have no real existence. The man who truly travels the Way has no gap between one thought and another thought. Since Bodhidharma came from the West, he only looked for a man who would not let himself be deluded. Finally, he met the Second Patriarch, who at a single phrase attained enlightenment and realised the vanity of all the efforts that he had made so far.”
What is a mother, a wife, a teacher? A woman is a mother to her children, a wife to her husband and a teacher to her students at the school where she works. She can have additional names which identify her such as a daughter to her parents and a friend to her friends. No matter how many names she may be called by, the essence of her being never changes. Likewise, all the names used to express the true-Self are just imaginary labels, not reality, and this includes the label ‘true-Self’. This is why ancient masters would say to their students, “You are wrong if you open your mouth to express the true-Self”.
‘The man who truly travels the Way has no gap between one thought and another thought’ means that we should know everything we see and hear, not to mention all our thoughts, is one as emptiness. If we happen to think there is something that is not empty, the one as emptiness is divided into two; emptiness and what is not empty. Then, naturally gaps come into being between them. Furthermore, when we think that there are many things that are not empty, many gaps come into existence among them. The things that we think are not empty are no other than illusions, and so if there are any gaps between things or between thoughts, it means that we are deluded by illusions. That is why Bodhidharma only looked for a man who would not let himself be deluded.
Student: “How can we recognise the true-Self if it cannot be described with words?”
Master: “Nothing but it is seen when all words are removed.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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