Who is he that is sick?

Below is a fragment from a letter by Zen master Bassui Tokusho (1327-1387), with guidance to a man how to practice Zen on his sickbed:

To a Man from Kumasaka

Bassui Tokusho
“You ask me to write you how to practice Zen on your sickbed. Who is he that is sick? Who is he that is practicing Zen? Do you know who you are? One’s whole being is Buddha-nature. One’s whole being is the Great Way. The substance of this Way is inherently immaculate and trancends all forms. Is there any sickness in it? Your own Mind is the essential substance of all Buddha’s, your Face before your parents’ birth. It is the matter of seeing and hearing, of all the senses. One who fully realizes this is a Buddha, one who does not is an ordinary human being. Hence all Buddhas and Ancestral Teachers point directly to the human mind so people can see their own Self-nature and thereby attain Buddhahood. For the best relief for one perplexed by shadows is to see the real thing.”

From: The Three Pillars of Zen. Teaching, Practice, and Enlightenment by Philip Kapleau, 35th Anniversary Edition, 2000, Part One, Chapter IV, blz. 184-186

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