Q238. What is the difference between ‘form’ and ‘illusion’?

A. Form can be likened to wind, and emptiness to air. All winds, whether breezes or storms, are the actions of air. There can’t be any wind which is not air. Wind is air, and air is not separate from wind. Form is to emptiness as wind is to air. All forms, whether bad or good, or moral or immoral, are action of emptiness, the true-self.

When we know the truth that form is the action of emptiness, the true-self, just as wind is the action of air, form is called form. When we are ignorant of this truth and believe that form is self-existing apart from emptiness, then form is referred to as illusion. This is like believing that wind is one thing and air is another. What is form to the enlightened is an illusion to the unenlightened.

The purpose of Zen meditation is to see everything as it is, which means to see everything in both ways, as form and emptiness at the same time, just like we know that wind and air are the same when wind brushes against our skin.

SRH_1260a_thumb

 

Student: “How can I avoid illusions and see my true-self, Sir?”

Master: “Why do you hope to see your true-self while trying to avoid It?”

 

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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