Then even if the Bodhisattvas who have completed the ten stages look for the traces of this follower of the Way, they cannot find them. Therefore, all the Devas rejoice, the spirits of the earth support his feet, and of all the Buddhas of the ten directions, none hold back with their praise. And how does this come to be so? Because this follower of the Way who now is listening to the Dharma talk now leaves no trace of his activities.
Leaving no trace at all means not being deluded by any illusions through the realisation that everything is empty, which implies enlightenment.
Once upon a time there was a monastic who was lost in Zen practice. He practised so diligently that heavenly maidens were so impressed by him that they served him heavenly food. However, after he visited a master, they couldn’t serve him heavenly food any more since they couldn’t find him any longer. This is a metaphor that shows how thoroughly practitioners should cease leaving traces behind.
Leaving no trace behind to the extent that the Bodhisattvas who have completed the ten stages cannot find the trace implies to be enlightened. Then, you are oneness with everything you see and hear, and you are eternity itself, perfection itself and happiness itself. You are oneness with all the Devas, the spirits of the earth, and of all the Buddhas of the ten directions. You can work them as you please instead of being worked by them. ‘Because this follower of the Way who now is listening to the Dharma talk now leaves no trace of his activities’ means that each of the students who were listening to his Dharma talk was none other than the Buddha itself. You who are reading this are also none other than the Buddha itself.
Student: “Why couldn’t the heavenly maidens serve the monastic heavenly food any more after he saw the master?”
Master: “He ceased practising after he saw the master.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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