Like the Soil of the Earth is the Soil of the Heart

Buddha-land-01

The Buddha said:

Headman, just like that field with good soil are my monks and nuns.  To them I preach the Doctrine, beautiful in its beginning, beautiful in its middle, beautiful in its end, in the spirit and in the letter; I proclaim the Holy Life in all its fullness, in all its purity.  Why is this?  Because, headman, they abide possessing Me for an island of retirement, Me for a cave of retreat, Me for the armour of defense, Me for a refuge.

Headman, just like that field with good soil are my lay disciples both male and female.  To them I preach the Doctrine, beautiful in its beginning, beautiful in its middle, beautiful in its end, in the spirit and in the letter; I proclaim the Holy Life in all its fullness, in all its purity.  Why is this?  Because, headman, they abide possessing Me for an island of retirement, Me for a cave of retreat, Me for the armour of defense, Me for a refuge.

Samyutta iv 315-317

(Extracted from: Buddhist Parables – Translated from the Pali by Eugene Watson Burlingame Page 180)

Ch’an Commentary: The four classes of disciples are extolled without exception and although monks and nuns are mentioned first in the list arrangement – it is clear that all follow the Buddha’s example and instruction in exactly the same way.  Why is this?  It is because ‘non-substantiality’ underlies all phenomena equally.  If everything is profoundly empty in its manifestation, it is not that it does not exist, but rather that its existence (form) is empty (void).  It must be further states that as emptiness is free of its own nature – that is ’empty’ of emptiness – it is only logical to state that emptiness (void) is also existence (form).  There is no contradiction, as the empty nature of reality is realisable here and now.  It is through connection with the earth that the mind is freed.

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