Zen

Rinzai 201

Ryuge asked what the meaning of the patriarch’s coming from the West. Rinzai said, “Pass me the cushion.” When Ryuge handed it to him, the master took it and hit him with it. Ryuge said, “You may hit as much as you like, but there is no meaning of the patriarch’s coming from the West.” Later, Ryuge went to Suibi and asked what the meaning of the patriarch’s coming from the West was. Suibi said, “Pass me the cushion.” Ryuge handed it to Suibi, who took it and hit him with it. Ryuge said, “Hit as much as you like, still there is no meaning of the patriarch’s coming from the West.”

Commentary:

Rinzai answered Ryuge’s question by saying, “Pass me the cushion”, by which Rinzai showed the meaning of the patriarch’s coming from the West. Ryuge was wise enough to recognise Rinzai’s intention. When he handed the cushion to Rinzai, his intention was not to hand the cushion but to reveal the true-Self, the meaning of the patriarch’s coming from the West. Rinzai took it and hit him to test him again, since Ryuge appeared to follow Rinzai’s words by handing the cushion to him as he was told. Then, Ryuge responded by saying, “You may hit as much as you like, but there is no meaning of the patriarch’s coming from the West”, which meant, “There is no other meaning than that which I am revealing in this way.” When Ryuge went to Master Suibi later, he responded to his answer in the same way as he had done to Rinzai’s.

The patriarch’s meaning implies the true-Self, the Buddha. Before enlightenment, there seems to be the patriarch’s meaning for us to realise, but there is nothing else but the patriarch’s meaning, whatever we may do, after enlightenment; hitting with a cushion, eating, walking and so on. Then, the patriarch’s meaning is not the patriarch’s meaning any more since there is nothing to distinguish it from. This is why Ryuge said, “You may hit as much as you like, but there is no meaning of the patriarch’s coming from the West.”    

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

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