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Dropping Ashes on the Buddha

“Someone pertains to the Zen centre cigarette smoking a cigarette. He blows smoke in the Buddha’s face and drops ashes on the Buddha’s head.”

If you’re standing there what can you do?

The abbot comes running in. “You are crazy! Why are you dropping ashes on the Buddha?

However the man points to the board with Chinese characters hanging on the wall and says, “It’s composed right here. ‘Buddha’s body is the whole universe.’ Everything is Buddha. Where could I possibly get rid of my ashes? Likewise these ashes have Buddha-Nature. Everything has Buddha-Nature. How could I ever throw them away and have them not arrive at the Buddha?

So someone concerns the Zen Center, blows smoke in the Buddha statues face, and drops ashes on its head. He does not comprehend fact. He does not understand the real nature of his present situation, or his correct relationship to that scenario and for that reason he doesn’t understand his appropriate function because place, at that time.

How do you teach him? How do you repair his mind?

How do you teach “The sky is blue, Trees are green.” if an individual is only attached to vacuum? If a person is only attached to universal substance? How do you teach them, “Buddha is gold. Ashes are gray. Sky’s blue, Trees are green.” how do you teach them?

Achieving that point (Hits the table) is not enough.

There’s one more action.

Another step indicates correct scenario, proper function, correct relationship.

When you achieve that point (Hits table)– when you see, when you hear, when you smell– whatever is fact, “Sky’s blue, Trees are green. Sugar is sweet.” Everything is truth.

However …

How reality correctly functions makes my proper life.

This means that when hungry individuals come you give them food. Thirsty people come you provide a beverage. When suffering people come you assist them.

The name for that is the Bodhisattva Method.

Adapted from The Compass of Zen and a video lecture of Master Seung Sahn

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