Q316. How can we neither be stained by dirt while in dirt nor be attached to purity when we happen to face it?

A. Interpreted more simply, this question means “How can we live without being deluded by illusions and without being attached to enlightenment when we happen to get it?” It is possible to know, through perfect realisation of the truth, that everything is empty. In other words, when everything is empty, we should realise that not only illusions but also enlightenment is empty.

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If we are attached to enlightenment after getting enlightened, this is making another illusion, just like making a new form of clay after destroying an old form of clay. You should realise that when everything is empty, you are emptiness itself, and then there is nothing to gain or lose. So, an ancient master said, “Don’t be stained by purity.” when his student asked him how he could remain pure. In other words, you should neither be deluded by illusions while living amid them nor be attached to emptiness.

 

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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