a fellow thinker’s thoughts on embracing the moment

April 1st, 2008

Fellow Thinker’s Thoughts

Lin Chi Yi-Sen founded one of the most influential schools of Buddhism after the Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng. For centuries his followers were the leading Ch’an (Zen) Buddhist masters of China.  In the twelfth century, his teachings spread to Japan and formed the Rinzai School of Buddhism.

Lin Chi rejected the religions conventions of Buddhism and the philosophical and scholarly approach to Buddhism teachings.  In his approach, Lin Chi stressed spontaneity, absolute freedom and emptiness:

“Many students come to see me from all over the place.  Many of them are not free from their entanglement with objective things. I treat them right on the spot.  If their trouble is due to grasping hands, I strike there. If their trouble is a loose mouth, I strike them there.  If their trouble is hidden behind their eyes, it is there I strike.  So far I have not found anyone who can set himself free.  This is because they have all been caught up in the useless ways of the old masters.  As for me, I do not have one only method which I give to everyone, but I relieve whatever the trouble is and set men free.”

“Friends, I tell you this: there is no Buddha, no spiritual path to follow, no training and no realization.  What are you so feverishly running after? Putting a head on top of your own head, you blind idiots!  Your head is right where it should be.  The trouble lies in your not believing in yourselves enough.  Because you don’t believe in yourselves, you are knocked here and there by all the conditions in which you find yourselves. Being enslaved and turned around by objective situations, you have no freedom whatever, you are not masters of yourselves.  Stop turning to the outside and don’t be attached to my words either.  Just cease clinging to the past and hankering after the future.  This will be better than ten years’ pilgrimage.”

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