the teachings are just a snare and a trap


The verbal teachings of the buddhas and ancestral teachers are just a snare and a trap. They are used as a means of entry into truth. Once you have opened through into clear enlightenment and taken it up, then in the true essence, everything is complete. Then you look upon all the verbal teachings of the buddhas and ancestral teachers as belonging to the realm of shadows and echoes, so you never carry them around in your head.

Many students in recent times do not get to the basis of the fundamental design of the Zen school. They just hold onto the words and phrases, trying to choose among the discussing how close or how far away they are from the truth, and distinguishing gain and loss. They interpret fleeting provisional teachings as real doctrines and boast about how many koans they have been able to sift through and how well they can ask questions about the sayings of the Five Houses of Zen. They are totally sunk in emotional consciousness, and they have lost the true essence in their delusions. This is truly a painful situation.

A genuine Zen teacher would use any means necessary to warn them of their error and enable them to get away from all such wrong knowledge and wrong views. But they would reject this β€” they would call it contrived mental activity to turn people around and shake them up and refine them. Thus they enter ever more deeply into the forest of thorns of erroneous views.

As the saying goes, β€œIn the end, if you do not meet an adept, as you get older you will just become a fool.”

You must not depend on either the pure or the impure. Having mind and having no mind, having views and having no views β€” both alternatives vanish like a snowflake put on a red-hot stove. Twenty-four hours a day, from top to bottom, you are free and untrammeled as you wander this road that the thousand sages do not share. Just bring this to complete purity and ripeness and you will naturally become a real person, beyond study and free from contrived activity, a real person whom thousands and tens of thousands of people cannot trap or cage.