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Rinzai 70

One asked: “What is genuine insight?”

The master said: “Entering the realms of the worldly and the sacred, the tainted and the pure, the land of the Buddha, the upper chambers of Maitreya, and Vairocana’s Dharma world, you will see them all as subject to (the law of) coming to be and ceasing to be. Buddha appeared in the world, turned the wheel of the Dharma, and then entered Nirvana. But he did not see these as the features of coming and going. Searching around birth and death, in the end you cannot attain.

 

Commentary:

What is genuine insight?’ is to ask how the enlightened see and hear things. They see all things as empty, no matter how wonderful and splendid, or ugly and dirty they are since they are aware that all of them are just illusions, which are the functions of the true-Self. So, to the enlightened ‘the worldly’, ‘the sacred’, ‘the tainted’, ‘the pure’, ‘the land of Buddha’ ‘the upper chambers of Maitreya, and Vairocana’s Dharma world’ are no better than illusions which appear and disappear according to one’s karma.

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Buddha appeared in the world, turned the wheel of the Dharma’ means that the historical Buddha taught the principle of the Dharma and ‘entered Nirvana’ here implies his death. ‘He did not see these as the features of coming and going’ means that Buddha didn’t see these as really coming and going but saw them as illusionary, namely as empty. ‘Searching around birth and death, in the end you cannot attain’ implies that if you believe that birth and death are real, that is, are deluded by the illusions of them, you can’t attain enlightenment.

 

Student: “What is genuine insight?”

Master: “It is to see and hear what can neither be said nor be done.”

Student: “How can I do it?”

Master: “Don’t follow what I say”

 

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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