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ZEN

HYAKUJO: THE EVEREST OF ZEN, WITH BASHO'S HAIKUS

Chapter 1: The language of suddenness

 

Energy Enhancement             Enlightened Texts             Zen             Hyakujo

 

BELOVED OSHO,
WHEN HYAKUJO FIRST ARRIVED AT CHIANG-SI TO PAY HIS RESPECTS TO MA TZU, MA TZU INQUIRED, "FROM WHERE HAVE YOU COME?"
"FROM THE GREAT CLOUD MONASTERY AT YUEH CHOU," ANSWERED HYAKUJO.
"AND WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO GAIN BY COMING HERE?" ASKED MA TZU.
HYAKUJO REPLIED, "I HAVE COME SEEKING THE BUDDHA-DHARMA."
TO THIS MA TZU REPLIED, "INSTEAD OF LOOKING TO THE TREASURE HOUSE WHICH IS YOUR VERY OWN, YOU HAVE LEFT HOME AND GONE WANDERING FAR AWAY. WHAT FOR? I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HERE AT ALL. WHAT IS THIS BUDDHA-DHARMA THAT YOU SEEK?"
WHEREUPON HYAKUJO PROSTRATED HIMSELF AND ASKED, "PLEASE TELL ME TO WHAT YOU ALLUDED WHEN YOU SPOKE OF A TREASURE HOUSE OF MY VERY OWN."
MA TZU REPLIED, "THAT WHICH ASKED THE QUESTION IS YOUR TREASURE HOUSE. IT CONTAINS ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING YOU NEED AND LACKS NOTHING AT ALL. IT IS THERE FOR YOU TO USE FREELY, SO WHY THIS VAIN SEARCH FOR SOMETHING OUTSIDE YOURSELF?"
NO SOONER WERE THESE WORDS SPOKEN THAN HYAKUJO RECEIVED A GREAT ILLUMINATION AND RECOGNIZED HIS OWN NO-MIND. BESIDE HIMSELF WITH JOY, HE BOWED IN DEEP GRATITUDE.
HYAKUJO SPENT THE NEXT SIX YEARS IN ATTENDANCE UPON MA TZU. BUT AS TAO-CHIH, HIS FIRST TEACHER, WAS GROWING OLD, HE WANTED TO RETURN TO LOOK AFTER HIM.
BEFORE HYAKUJO LEFT MA TZU, HE WENT TO PAY HIS FINAL TRIBUTE TO HIM.
SEEING HIM COMING, MA TZU RAISED HIS HORSE WHISK STRAIGHT UP. HYAKUJO ASKED, "ARE YOU IN THE USE OF IT, OR APART FROM THE USE?"
MA TZU HUNG THE HORSE WHISK ON THE CORNER OF HIS CHAIR. AFTER A MINUTE OR SO, HE ASKED HYAKUJO, "HENCE FORWARD, HOW DO YOU OPEN THOSE TWO LEAVES OF YOUR MOUTH TO WORK FOR OTHERS?"
AT THIS, HYAKUJO TOOK THE HORSE WHISK AND RAISED IT STRAIGHT UP.
MA TZU SAID, "ARE YOU IN THE USE OF IT, OR APART FROM IT?"
HYAKUJO HUNG THE HORSE WHISK ON THE CORNER OF THE CHAIR.
JUST AT THAT MOMENT, A GREAT ROAR, LIKE HUNDREDS OF THUNDERBOLTS FALLING, RAINED ON HYAKUJO'S HEAD. MA TZU HAD GIVEN A SHOUT WHICH, IT IS SAID, DEAFENED HYAKUJO FOR THREE DAYS.

Maneesha, before I speak on the sutras of Hyakujo, I have to say a few words as a preface.
Hyakujo was the direct heir of Ma Tzu and became most well known for his establishment of the first truly Zen monasteries and his treatise on sudden enlightenment.
To understand Hyakujo, the first thing is to understand that enlightenment can only be sudden. The preparation can be gradual, but the illumination is going to be sudden. You can prepare the ground for the seeds, but the sprouts will come suddenly one day in the morning; they don't come gradually. Existence believes in suddenness. Nothing is gradual here, although everything appears to be gradual; that is our illusion.
In the past science used to think that everything was gradual: a child gradually becomes young; the young man gradually is becoming older... Now, we know that is not the case because of Albert Einstein and his discoveries about atomic energy. He himself was puzzled when he saw for the first time that the particles of an atom don't go from one place to another place the way you go from your house to the market. They simply jump. And their jump is so tremendous that Einstein had to find a new word for it: `quanta', the quantum jump. It means that the particle was in one place, A, and then suddenly you see it in another place, B. The path between has never been traveled.
A strange jump that you cannot see the particle between the two points. That gave him an idea that in existence everything is jumping, and because the jump is so subtle, you cannot see it.
Every moment you are jumping towards old age. It is not a gradual thing. It is happening every moment that you are growing older, and there is no way that you can find to rest in between the jumps. The jumps are so close, but you can prepare  --  and particularly for enlightenment, which is the ultimate quantum leap. You can meditate; you can go as deep as you can; you can find your center. And the moment you find your center, suddenly, there will be a jump as if out of nowhere the buddha has appeared  --  a buddha of pure flames.
This appearance is not going to be gradual, not partial. Hyakujo's great contribution was the sudden enlightenment, because it is so illogical. If you go from here to the market, you have to go  --  not like the monkey god of Hindus, flying in the sky, carrying a mountain, jumping from one mountain to another mountain... You will have to go step by step. You will have to move gradually. You cannot simply disappear from Buddha Auditorium and find yourself in the M.G Road marketplace.
In our actual life we never come across anything sudden: you never see the bud of a rose suddenly becoming a flower; it opens gradually. In the morning it was a bud, in the evening it becomes the flower. Because of the continuous experience of gradualness, the major masters of Zen belonged to the gradual school. To them it was absolutely absurd that you can become a buddha instantaneously, just now.
Everything needs time. If you want to prepare a house, a garden, a painting, a poem, it will take time. There is only one thing that does not take time, because it is beyond time, that is your buddhahood. You simply jump out of time and you find yourself as you have been always and will be always  --  your intrinsic nature.
Hyakujo introduced another thing: Zen monasteries. Before him there were Zen temples  --  small groups of people living in those temples, meditating, reading scriptures. But he introduced a new thing, the monastery, where people were absolutely devoted to a single-pointed goal: to become the buddha. No scriptures, no rituals... the whole energy has to be poured into a single direction: to discovering your intrinsic nature. And why monasteries? When there are thousands of people together, going into the unknown, it is easier for you, because you know that although you are going alone into your own space, thousands of others are also going into the same space on their own. You are not absolutely alone. Secondly, a monastery creates a certain atmosphere. That was the greatest contribution of Hyakujo.
A monastery is a climate. Its every fiber, every wave... every leaf of the trees is soaked with only one longing: a great urgency to become the buddha. And when ten thousand people, for years, continuously go on working, it creates an energy field. In that energy field you can be caught and you can easily slip out of your mind. Alone, it is a little difficult. Alone it can happen, it has happened too, but that is not the rule.
Hyakujo's great insight of introducing monasteries, simply means introducing an energy field which is not visible to you. When ten thousand sannyasins here enter into their inner being, in a way they are alone, but in a way ten thousand people are with them. The experiment is not being done in their cells alone, but in the open, under the sky, with thousands of other people on the same track, creating vibrations, ripples of energy.
Not to become a buddha in such a climate, you would have to struggle against the whole energy field, you would have to swim upstream. But if you want to become a buddha, you simply go with the stream. A deep let-go is possible in that atmosphere. Hyakujo introduced a very scientific concept of monasteries.
Born in 724, Hyakujo was also known as Pai Chang. As a young boy Hyakujo was taken to a temple by his mother, and upon entering, she bowed to the Buddhist statue. Pointing to the statue, Hyakujo asked his mother, "What is that?"
His mother replied, "That is a buddha."
Hyakujo said, "He looks like a man. I want to become a buddha afterwards."
This small incident of his childhood has great implications. Buddha never wanted to be in any way extraordinary or special for the simple reason that if he was special and extraordinary, that would discourage people to become buddhas because they know they are ordinary, they are not special; they are not incarnations of God, they don't have divine miraculous powers. They cannot walk on water; they cannot bring a dead Lazarus back to life... Just look at Jesus and Buddha and you will find that Buddha is absolutely ordinary, simple, humble; he can mix with the crowd. Jesus will stand far away... because you cannot walk on water.

I have heard, only once, that a bishop had come to the holy land of Israel. He had two friends, two old rabbis, and he asked them to take him to all the holy places which were visited by Jesus. So finally, they went to Lake Galilee where Jesus had walked on water. They took a boat to show him the exact place where he had walked. The bishop said to the rabbis, "Jesus was a Jew, your last prophet and our first founder. Can you also walk on water?"
The rabbi said, "Easy."
The bishop could not believe it. He said, "I want to see."
So one rabbi got out from the left side of the boat and walked on water for a few feet and came back. The bishop could not even blink his eyes when he saw the man walking on water. He said, "We used to think that it was only Jesus, but it seems to be a Jewish quality."
The old rabbis said to the bishop, "We don't follow Jesus and we don't accept him as our prophet. We have crucified him for the crime of being a fraud, propounding himself to be our last prophet. But you are a follower of Jesus, so just take the name of Jesus and you try walking on the water."
Now it was a great challenge....
But the bishop was sitting on the right side, so he got out from the right side and went down into the water and started shouting, "Help! Help!"
Those two rabbis took him out, and the older rabbi asked the younger, "Shall we tell this idiot what the secret is?"
The secret was that there were stones in the water, just below the water, but they were on the left side, not on the right side. Jesus must have walked on those stones  --  there is no question about it.

I have heard that an American Christian, a very rich man but very miserly, went to Israel. And every visitor is bound to go to Lake Galilee which is the holiest place  --  where Jesus lived for most of his life. And he asked the boatman, "How much will it cost to take me to the place where Jesus walked on water?"
He said, "It will cost ten dollars."
The American said, "That explains everything about how Jesus walked on water. Ten dollars? Forget about it. I am not in a mood to walk on water."

You will not find in Buddha anything that is not possible for you. He is as human a being as you are. He does not proclaim himself to be anything special. That is his grandeur. That is his greatness.
In this incident, Hyakujo is asking his mother, pointing to the statue of Buddha, "What is that?"
The mother said, "That is a buddha."
Hyakujo said, "He looks like a man."
He never tried to look like anything else, he simply wanted to look like man so that every man can be encouraged  --  that you don't have to walk on water, you don't have to turn water into whiskey....
You can be a buddha without any difficulty because it is your inner nature. It does not depend on miracles. Religion is not magic. It is a very simple and humble effort to search within yourself for the deepest point where you are joined with the universe. That joining point is the buddha.
Hyakujo said, even though he was a small child, "He looks like a man. I want to become a buddha afterwards. If this man could become a buddha, I am also a man. Right now I am too small, but later on, I am going to become a buddha."
Hyakujo became a monk afterwards, when he was twenty years old. He joined a monastery at Yueh Chou, and his first master was called Tao-chih. Tao-chih gave him his first spiritual name which was Hui Hai meaning, Ocean of Wisdom.
Hyakujo was not a monk for long before he heard about the great master, Ma Tzu, and went to him at Chiang-si.

Maneesha has asked:
BELOVED OSHO,
WHEN HYAKUJO FIRST ARRIVED AT CHIANG-SI TO PAY HIS RESPECTS TO MA TZU, MA TZU INQUIRED, "FROM WHERE HAVE YOU COME?"
These are Zen questions. They don't mean what they appear to mean. When he says, "From where have you come?" he means: From where in the eternity have you come here? Are you aware of your eternal nature?  -- that you are coming here from utter emptiness?
But Hyakujo could not understand at that point. He simply thought that Ma Tzu was asking an ordinary question.
"FROM THE GREAT CLOUD MONASTERY AT YUEH CHOU," ANSWERED HYAKUJO.
"AND WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO GAIN BY COMING HERE?" ASKED MA TZU.
HYAKUJO REPLIED, "I HAVE COME SEEKING THE BUDDHA-DHARMA."
TO THIS MA TZU REPLIED, "INSTEAD OF LOOKING TO THE TREASURE HOUSE WHICH IS YOUR VERY OWN, YOU HAVE LEFT HOME AND GONE WANDERING FAR AWAY. WHAT FOR? I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HERE AT ALL. WHAT IS THIS BUDDHA-DHARMA THAT YOU SEEK?"
WHEREUPON HYAKUJO PROSTRATED HIMSELF AND ASKED, "PLEASE TELL ME TO WHAT YOU ALLUDED WHEN YOU SPOKE OF A TREASURE HOUSE OF MY VERY OWN."
Now he has asked the right question.
MA TZU REPLIED, "THAT WHICH ASKED THE QUESTION IS YOUR TREASURE HOUSE."
Your consciousness, your being  --  who asked the question? Don't look for the answer. Look from where the question is coming, then you will have to look inside. The question is coming from your innermost core.
"THAT WHICH ASKED THE QUESTION IS YOUR TREASURE HOUSE. IT CONTAINS ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING YOU NEED AND LACKS NOTHING AT ALL. IT IS THERE FOR YOU TO USE FREELY, SO WHY THIS VAIN SEARCH FOR SOMETHING OUTSIDE YOURSELF?"
NO SOONER WERE THESE WORDS SPOKEN THAN HYAKUJO RECEIVED A GREAT ILLUMINATION AND RECOGNIZED HIS OWN NO-MIND. BESIDE HIMSELF WITH JOY, HE BOWED IN DEEP GRATITUDE.
HYAKUJO SPENT THE NEXT SIX YEARS IN ATTENDANCE UPON MA TZU...
This has stopped happening in the world because we have forgotten the language of suddenness. We believe only in gradual growth. Suddenness seems to be irrational, illogical, impossible but it is true about everything. If you want anything, it will be gradual. There is only one exception; that is you. You are already there. So it is only a question of just turning your eyes in, just looking inwards with absolute urgency and in a single moment everything is transformed.
When Ma Tzu told him, "That which asked the question is your treasure house," he must have immediately looked within  --  from where the question had arisen. "IT CONTAINS ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING YOU NEED AND LACKS NOTHING. IT IS THERE FOR YOU TO USE FREELY, SO WHY THIS VAIN SEARCH FOR SOMETHING OUTSIDE YOURSELF?"
Just as he went down from where the question had arisen, he must have reached to the great illumination instantly. Nowadays people ask a question to get an answer. About everything else it is okay, but about yourself, never ask a question. Rather, look within from where the question is arising, and in a single moment, the great enlightenment is possible.
NO SOONER WERE THESE WORDS SPOKEN THAN HYAKUJO RECEIVED A GREAT ILLUMINATION AND RECOGNIZED HIS OWN NO-MIND. BESIDE HIMSELF WITH JOY, HE BOWED IN DEEP GRATITUDE.
HYAKUJO SPENT THE NEXT SIX YEARS IN ATTENDANCE UPON MA TZU. BUT AS TAO-CHIH, HIS FIRST TEACHER, WAS GROWING OLD, HE WANTED TO RETURN TO LOOK AFTER HIM.
BEFORE HYAKUJO LEFT MA TZU, HE WENT TO PAY HIS FINAL TRIBUTE TO HIM.
SEEING HIM COMING, MA TZU RAISED HIS HORSE WHISK STRAIGHT UP. HYAKUJO ASKED, "ARE YOU IN THE USE OF IT, OR APART FROM THE USE?"
MA TZU HUNG THE HORSE WHISK ON THE CORNER OF HIS CHAIR. AFTER A MINUTE OR SO, HE ASKED HYAKUJO, "HENCE FORWARD, HOW DO YOU OPEN THOSE TWO LEAVES OF YOUR MOUTH TO WORK FOR OTHERS?"
AT THIS, HYAKUJO TOOK THE HORSE WHISK AND RAISED IT STRAIGHT UP.
MA TZU SAID, "ARE YOU IN THE USE OF IT, OR APART FROM IT?"
HYAKUJO HUNG THE HORSE WHISK ON THE CORNER OF THE CHAIR.
JUST AT THAT MOMENT, A GREAT ROAR, LIKE HUNDREDS OF THUNDERBOLTS FALLING, RAINED ON HYAKUJO'S HEAD. MA TZU HAD GIVEN HIM A SHOUT WHICH, IT IS SAID, DEAFENED HIM FOR THREE DAYS.
For three days he could not hear anything else. What has transpired in this dialogue when Ma Tzu asked, "Are you in the use of it, or apart from it?" The same question both have asked each other. First Hyakujo has asked, and the meaning should be understood clearly. The meaning is: are you a witness while you are using it? or do you become one with it and forget your witnessing?
When Ma Tzu asked, Hyakujo did the same, exactly as Ma Tzu has done. He hung the horse whisk on the corner of the chair showing that "I am also a witness; I am no longer the horse whisk. I am no object, I am always a subject and a witness."
Satisfied, Hyakujo gave a tremendous roar of joy that a disciple had ripened, that a disciple had arrived home, that a disciple's blindness had disappeared. But the roar was such: LIKE HUNDREDS OF THUNDERBOLTS FALLING, RAINED ON HYAKUJO'S HEAD. MA TZU HAD GIVEN A SHOUT WHICH, IT IS SAID, DEAFENED HYAKUJO FOR THREE DAYS.
This was a great roar of tremendous joy, of welcoming Hyakujo, that "after all, you have arrived."

A haiku by Basho:
I CLAP MY HANDS
AND WITH THE ECHOES
IT BEGINS THE DAWN  --
THE SUMMER MOON.

Basho is one of the greatest poets of the world, but he has written only haikus  --  very symbolic but very miraculous, very simple but very mysterious. They are all to be understood through visualization, because Zen does not believe in words. Visualize and perhaps you may have some understanding. "I clap my hands and with the echoes"  --  in the mountains  --  "it begins the dawn  --  the summer moon."
The summer moon is still hanging and the sun is going to rise. And I have clapped my hands, and the echoes are still resounding in the mountains. It is just a painting in words. A haiku has to be understood  --  a painting in words, not only a poetry in words  --  and it has to be visualized. Just visualize yourself surrounded by mountains. And you...(OSHO CLAPS HIS HANDS.)... clap your hands. The mountains go on echoing and the summer moon is still there and the dawn has come. The sun will be arising soon.
Why should he write these small haikus? He used to live by the side of a lake surrounded by mountains, meditating in utter silence. Once in a while he would open his eyes and whatever he would see, he would note down. These haikus are not out of the mind. These haikus are reflections in a mirror, in a no-mind. In a silent heart the summer moon, the dawn very close and he claps his hands, and all the mountains resound with echoes.
A meditator, according to Basho, will go on searching deep within himself, but that does not mean that he should lose contact with the outside world. Once in a while he should open his eyes. With all his emptiness he should mirror the outside world. Those reflections are collected in these haikus. They don't mean anything, they simply depict a picture.

 


Next: Chapter 1: The language of suddenness, Question 1

 


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