"When students today fail to make progress, where's the fault? The fault lies in the fact that they don't have faith in themselves!
If you don't have faith in yourself, then you'll be forever in a hurry trying to keep with everything around you, you'll be twisted and turned by whatever environment you're in and you can never move freely. But if you can just stop this mind that goes rushing around moment by moment looking for something, then you'll be no different from the patriarchs and buddhas.
Do you want to know the patriarchs and buddhas? They are none other than you, the people standing in front of me listening to this lecture on the Dharma!
Students don't have enough faith in themselves, and so they rush around looking for something outside themselves. But even if they get something, all it will be is words and phrases, pretty appearances. They'll never get at the living thought of the patriarchs!"
This passage is taken from "The Zen Teaching of Master Lin-Chi" translated by Burton Watson.
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Lin-Chi's lectures were a mixture of the conventional and the iconoclastic. He is particularly famous for encouraging his students to free themselves from the influence of masters and doctrinal concepts, in order to be able to better discover their own Buddha-nature. Famed examples of Lin-Chi's iconoclasm include the following:
"Followers of the way [of zen], if you want to get the kind of understanding that accords with the Dharma, never be misled by others. Whether you're facing inward or facing outward, whatever you meet up with, just kill it!
If you meet a buddha, kill the buddha. If you meet a patriarch, kill the patriarch. If you meet an arhat, kill the arhat. if you meet your parents, kill your parents. If you meet your kinfolk, kill your kinfolk.
Then for the first time you will gain emancipation, will not be entangled with things, will pass freely anywhere you wish to go."
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