Rinzai 172

Followers of the Way, do not seek for anything in written words. It will tire your heart. Inhaling icy air is of no profit. These are not as good as going beyond the expediential Bodhisattvas of the Three Vehicles through realising that karma is empty in a single thought. Venerable Ones, do not delay and spend your days idly. In former days when I could not yet see clearly, all the world seemed dark to me. I could not get beyond light and shade. I ran around in a flurry, asking about the Way. Later I gained strength, and now I am here, preaching deliverance to you, followers of the Way. I advise you not to think of your food and clothes. Life in the world passes quickly, and meeting an enlightened teacher is as difficult as meeting the flower of Udumbara that only blooms once in 3000 years.


Pursuing enlightenment by following the literal meaning of Buddhist literature will consume your time and energy fruitlessly. Inhaling icy air, that is, listening to Dharma talks clinging to each word, is of no profit as well. These efforts are not as good as realising that all the Buddhist teachings of the Three Vehicles are no more than the expediential Bodhisattvas which are the functions of the true-Self.

Life is too short to be spent doing worldly things. Once one has become a monastic, one should apply oneself to pursuing enlightenment without being distracted with concerns about food and clothes. Meeting Buddhism and an enlightened teacher is as rare a lifetime opportunity as meeting the flower of Udumbara which is an imaginary flower symbolising the Buddha. When we meet a good teacher, we should make the most of the good opportunity by devoting ourselves to practice.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

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