Venerable ones, only when you commit the Five Heinous Crimes can deliverance be attained. One monk asked, “What are the Five Heinous Crimes?” The master said, “To kill the father, to harm the mother, to bleed Buddha’s body, to break the peace of the Sangha, and to burn scriptures and statues, these are the Five Heinous Crimes.” The monk asked, “What is the father?” The master said, “Basic ignorance is the father. When there is no place where your heart arises and ceases, every sound is like an echo in the air and there is nothing to seek wherever you may go, this is called killing the father.”
Here Rinzai presented five ways of seeing the true-Self. The reason why he named them the Five Heinous Crimes is that the way of seeing and hearing things which we have been accustomed to so far is as difficult to do away with as committing the five crimes mentioned above. ‘When there is no place where your heart arises and ceases’ means to realise that all your discriminations are groundless illusions by seeing things as they are. ‘Every sound is like an echo in the air’ means that whatever you may hear, you are not deceived by the illusion of the sound but hear it as the sound of the true-Self. This is why an ancient master said, “When someone calls you names, taking the names as the sound of the true-Self is the best merit.” ‘There is nothing to seek wherever you may go’ implies that there is nothing to attach yourself to whatever situation you may find yourself in, because you are aware that everything is empty.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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