The Buffalo Passes Through the Lattice Door

Goso said, "If, for example, a buffalo passes through the lattice to the edge of the abyss, his horns and his head and his hoofs all pass through. Why can't the tail also pass?"

We know what a buffalo is, but we must understand what the buffalo exemplifies. And why can't the tail, that could most easily pass through the lattice, pass through while the whole body can? The buffalo is the sensuous being. The head, horns, and four legs go out through the openings in the latticework much as our actions, words, and thoughts continuously pass out through our five senses. In such a state man stands precariously balanced on the edge of an abyss, threatened by "the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to." But the tail - the true self, the Buddha-nature - does not go out in response to illusions. It is never dissipated, diminished, or threatened.


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