Asceticism and Enlightenment2
Not seeking the truth, not stopping the lies. 不 求眞不斷妄
Upon achieving enlightenment, I realized that there is no form in the absence of the two laws. 了知二法空無相
There is no form, there is no emptiness, and there is nothing that is not empty. 無相無空無不空
This is the true form of Buddha. 卽是如來眞實相
- Jikji, Volume 1 -
This poem is about the transcendental logic that appears in the process of revealing Buddhist principles in a Seon (Zen) manner. It establishes that existence cannot be expressed simply as either being or not being. The principle of negation applies to the third line which discusses the principle of existence as well as the recognition process that the poem’s narrator went through.
In lines 1–3, the “nothing (無)” that expresses the negation of existence and the “no (不)” that simply expresses negation in phrases like “not seeking,” “not stopping,” “no form,” “no emptiness,” and “nothing that is not empty” are appropriately used in their respective contexts. Such uses of these two expressions show that the principles of expression and paradox play decisive functions in explaining new dimensions of truth.
Source: Jeon, Jae-gang (2017)