the one matter of importance


People’s intellect and knowledge are like the light of a lamp. If that light is mistakenly used outside, in a contentious and aggressive manner, aiming for name and gain, scheming and conniving day and night, thinking a thousand thoughts, imagining ten thousand imaginings, chasing artificial objects and losing the original source, light on the outside but dark inside, this will go on until the body is injured and life is lost.

If people give up artificiality and return to the real, dismiss intellectuality and cleverness, consider essential life the one matter of importance, practice inner awareness, refine the self and master the mind, observe all things with detachment so all that exists is empty of absoluteness, are not moved by external things and are not influenced by sensory experiences, being light inside and dark outside, they can thereby aspire to wisdom and become enlightened.

Light that does not dazzle progresses to lofty illumination; therefore a classic says, “The great sage appears ignorant, the great adept seems inept.”


Liu I-Ming