Phap Hien was a Vietnamese Zen master. He lived in the late 5th century and early the 6th century. When he was a young monk at the Phap Van Temple he met Vinitaruci (?-594) who was one of the successors of Seng-tsan, the Third Patriarch...
HAVE YOU SEEN GOD, SIR?
Yesterday, the deluded old man was telling a story. However, he left it undone because of the old age, he couldn't read and write as well as before. Therefore, he would like to say he is sorry about that here. Today, he'd like to continue where he left.
The gentleman heard the last question of the deluded old man but he did not say a word, just quietly sipped the green tea for a little while. Then, he cleared his throat and resumed the dialogue like this: - May I ask you some more questions, sir? - Please go ahead, Venerable Sir. - Have you seen God, sir? - Yes, I have. - Have you seen the Buddha-nature, sir? - Yes, I have. - Have you seen the Emptiness, sir? - Yes, I have. - Have you seen the Cosmic Consciousness, sir? - Yes, I have. - When and where did you see those? - When I saw them I knew I saw them, when I did not see them I knew I did not see them. Where did I see them? I saw God at any time I happened to be at a church. I saw the Buddha-nature and the Emptiness at any time I happened to be at a Buddhist monastery. I saw the Cosmic Consciousness at any time I happened to be at a Hindu temple. - Could you tell me what did each of them look like, sir? - You are asking a very intelligent question, Venerable Sir. If I could remember correctly what I asked the people at those places, then it would be a similar question with yours now, but none of them could answer the question even they talked fluently about each of those. This was all of what I saw, heard and knew about God, the Buddha-nature, the Emptiness, and the Cosmic Consciouness, Venerable Sir. - So, was there any difference happened to you before you saw and heard of them and after you did? - Have you seen the sun, Venerable Sir? - Yes, I have. - When did you see the sun and when you did not? - I see the bright sun clearly during the day when there is no clouds covering it. And I do not see it during the night, you know, sir. - Of course! Of course! - So, was there any difference happened to you when you saw the bright sun and when you do not see it? - Of course, not. I was still what or who I was whether I saw the bright sun during the day or I did not see it during the night. - Right. It would be the same with people who whether see God, the Buddha-nature, the Emptiness, the Cosmic Consciousness or not. - Thank you for answering my questions, sir. - Thank you for asking the questions, Venerable Sir.
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