Sozan's Four Don'ts

Sozan said:

Do not follow the bird's road
of mind;
Do not clothe yourself before
you are born;
Do not say the present minute
is eternal;
Do not express yourself before

All Buddha's teachings are aimed at cutting off the root of human illusions and overcoming human troubles. However, the minute we learn something we tend to become attached to it. For this reason Sozan prescribed four antidotes. The first is not to follow the bird's road of mind. The bird flies freely in the sky, and there is no set road to fly. But even such a way of selflessness can become attachment. Second, do not clothe yourself before you are born - do not attach even to non-attachment. Third, do not say the present minute is eternal because all things are in constant change, are continuously becoming. Every minute is real, but it is passing, and you cannot hold it and or say it is eternal. And, lastly, the truth is beyond time and space, and even the time before birth is within time if it is once conceptualised. Whatever becomes conceptualised loses life. It is like a live fish swimming in the water. If you catch it and take it out, the fish will die. A caught fish is a dead fish. So Sozan warns, whatever it is, no matter how good, how beautiful, or how true, do not try to catch and possess it.


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