One day Yao-shan Wei-yen (750-834), one of the well-known Chinese Ch'an master, was asked by the host of the monastery to give his sermon to the assembly who for a long while was expecting his teaching. Yao-shan said: "Strike the bell."
REBIRTH BY THE BUDDHA
"But," asked Vaccha persistently, "when one who has this emancipation of mind (freed from self) dies, where does he go, where is he reborn? The Buddha replied: "The word 'reborn' does not fit the case." "Then he is not reborn?" "To say that he is not reborn does not fit the case either. Nor should you say that he is both reborn and not reborn or, indeed, that he is neither reborn nor not reborn." "I am totally bewildered, Buddha, and my faith in you has gone." "Never mind being bewildered. This is a deep and difficult doctrine to understand. Imagine there is a fire in front of you. You see it burning and know that it can only burn if it has fuel. And then you see that it has gone out. Now, somebody asks you, to which quarter has the fire gone - east, west, north, or south? What would you say? "I would say that such as question does not fit the case, Buddha. For the fire depends on fuel, and when there is no more fuel, the fire to be said to be out through lack of nourishment." "In just the same way, Vaccha, the body in which one can see the truth will die out, like a fan palm, without any future. But that which is the truth, that which is existence itself, is there although it is deep and infinitely hard to understand. Like the great ocean, one cannot fathom it. And so it does not fit the case to say that I will be reborn will not be reborn."
From Digha Nikaya of the Buddha Edited by Anne Bancroft
Chon Tri 01/02/2011
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