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

Chapter 4: Lie down and witness

 

Energy Enhancement             Enlightened Texts             Zen             Hyakujo

 

BELOVED OSHO,
ONE DAY WHEN HYAKUJO WAS TO GIVE HIS DAILY DISCOURSES TO HIS DISCIPLES, HE BEGAN BY SAYING, "I AM NO ZEN ADEPT. I HAVE NOT A SINGLE THING TO OFFER ANYONE, SO I MUST NOT KEEP YOU STANDING HERE. GO AND TAKE A REST."
ON ANOTHER OCCASION, A GROUP OF DHARMA MASTERS SOUGHT AN INTERVIEW AND SAID: "WE HAVE SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK. ARE YOU PREPARED TO ANSWER THEM, MASTER?"
HYAKUJO REPLIED, "YES. THE MOON IS REFLECTED IN THAT DEEP POND; CATCH IT IF YOU LIKE."
THE GROUP CONTINUED, "WHAT IS THE BUDDHA REALLY LIKE?"
"IF THAT WHICH IS FACING THE LIMPID POND IS NOT THE BUDDHA, WHAT IS IT?" SAID HYAKUJO.
THE MONKS WERE PUZZLED BY THIS REPLY, AND AFTER A SHORT WHILE INQUIRED AGAIN: "MASTER, WHAT DHARMA DO YOU EXPOUND IN ORDER TO LIBERATE OTHERS?"
HYAKUJO RESPONDED, "THIS POOR MONK HAS NO DHARMA BY WHICH TO LIBERATE OTHERS."
THEY EXCLAIMED, "ALL ZEN MASTERS ARE OF THE SAME STUFF!"
AT THIS, HYAKUJO ASKED THEM, "WHAT DHARMAS DO YOU VIRTUOUS ONES EXPOUND FOR LIBERATING OTHERS?"
THE MONKS REPLIED, "OH, WE EXPOUND THE DIAMOND SUTRA."
HYAKUJO ASKED, "HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU EXPOUNDED IT?"
"MORE THAN TWENTY TIMES," THEY ANSWERED.
HYAKUJO CONTINUED, "BY WHOM WAS IT SPOKEN?"
TO THIS THE MONKS ANSWERED INDIGNANTLY: "MASTER, YOU MUST BE JOKING! OF COURSE YOU KNOW THAT IT WAS SPOKEN BY THE BUDDHA."
HYAKUJO SAID: "WELL, THAT SUTRA STATES: `IF SOMEONE SAYS THE TATHAGATA EXPOUNDS THE DHARMA, HE THEREBY SLANDERS THE BUDDHA! SUCH A MAN WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND WHAT I MEAN.'"
HYAKUJO CONTINUED, "NOW, IF YOU SAY THAT IT WAS NOT EXPOUNDED BY THE BUDDHA, YOU WILL THEREBY BELITTLE THAT SUTRA. WILL YOU VIRTUOUS ONES PLEASE LET ME SEE WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY TO THAT?"
AS THEY MADE NO REPLY, THE MASTER PAUSED AWHILE BEFORE ASKING HIS NEXT QUESTION, WHICH WAS: "THE DIAMOND SUTRA SAYS: `HE WHO SEEKS ME THROUGH OUTWARD APPEARANCE, OR SEEKS ME IN SOUND, TREADS THE HETERODOX PATH AND CANNOT PERCEIVE THE TATHAGATA.'
"TELL ME, VIRTUOUS ONE," SAID HYAKUJO, "WHO OR WHAT IS THE TATHAGATA?"
ONE MONK REPLIED, "SIR, AT THIS POINT I FIND MYSELF UTTERLY DELUDED."
HYAKUJO SAID: "HAVING NEVER BEEN ILLUMINED, HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT YOU ARE NOW DELUDED?"
THEN THE MONK ASKED, "WILL THE VENERABLE ZEN MASTER EXPOUND THE DHARMA TO US?"
HYAKUJO REPLIED, "THOUGH YOU HAVE EXPOUNDED THE DIAMOND SUTRA OVER TWENTY TIMES, YOU STILL DO NOT KNOW THE TATHAGATA!"

Maneesha, before I discuss the sutras placed before me, I have to introduce a new animal god to Avirbhava's museum of gods. This god is the fish.
FISH HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH ALL ASPECTS OF A MOTHER GODDESS AND WITH ALL LUNAR DEITIES.
ALTHOUGH SACRED FISH ARE NOT UNCOMMON, A FISH GOD SEEMS TO BE A SOMEWHAT RARE PHENOMENON. DAGON, THE CHIEF GOD OF THE ANCIENT PHILISTINES AND LATER THE PHOENICIANS, IS REPRESENTED AS HALF MAN AND HALF FISH. DAGON'S WORSHIPPERS WORE FISH SKINS.
THERE WERE SACRED FISH IN THE TEMPLES OF APOLLO AND APHRODITE IN ANCIENT GREECE. XENOPHON, THE GREEK HISTORIAN WHO WAS A PUPIL AND FRIEND OF SOCRATES, RECORDS THAT FISH WERE REGARDED AS GODS.
IN PERU SARDINES ARE SAID TO HAVE BEEN WORSHIPPED IN ONE REGION, THE FISH KNOWN AS SKATE IN ANOTHER REGION, AND THE DOGFISH IN ANOTHER.
IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, THE FISH, EVEN TODAY, REPRESENTS CHRIST.
ONE OF THE MOST PROMINENT ROLES OF THE FISH, IN ALL MYTHOLOGIES, IS THAT OF RESTORER OF LIFE AND SAVIOR OF MANKIND. THE BUDDHISTS CALL THEIR FOUNDER DAG-PO OR "GREAT FISH"; HEBREWS DESIGNATE THE SAME NAME FOR THE COMING MESSIAH IN THE TALMUD.
IN INDIA, THE FISH SAVIOR, MATSYA, AN INCARNATION OF VISHNU, LED MANU TO SAFETY IN THE GREAT FLOOD, THUS SAVING MANKIND AS WELL.

Avirbhava's museum of gods represents to you that man has always been humiliated. His dignity in many ways has been destroyed. It was a well-organized conspiracy against humanity. To teach people to worship animals is simply so irrational. But yet, almost all the animals around the world have been worshipped as gods and nobody seems to have objected. People have been put in such great psychological slavery that they have forgotten even to question, to doubt. They have simply accepted whatever conditioning has been given to them in their childhood.
Unless you are free from all such stupid conditionings, you won't be able to recognize the God within you. If you are searching for gods in fishes, in horses, in pigs, how are you going to search for the god within yourself? And that is the only place where you can find the ultimate consciousness. These poor animals are still growing towards that consciousness. They contain the same consciousness, but it is far more deeply asleep.
Making man  --  who is the only conscious animal in the universe  --  worship far more sleepy animals, is a very dangerous strategy. It means making sleepiness virtually far more superior to awareness. Animals should be loved, should be respected, because somewhere at some time they will also reach to the same consciousness as you. There is a constant evolution going on  --  but worshipping the animal is dangerous.
Loving the animal is absolutely human. Loving the animal shows that you can see the future of these animals' evolution. Some day they may come to the same point where we are, and some day they may come to the same height as any buddha. Regarding their future, you can be loving and respectful towards them.
But the strange phenomenon of worshipping animals means you are lower than the animals. And the thing becomes even more weird. You worship the animals  -- and you kill them for your food. On the one hand they are gods, and on the other hand game.
When a man kills a lion, they call it a game. And when a lion kills a man, they call it a disaster. Why do you change the word? In a game both the parties should be respected equally. For thousand of years man has been hunting without even bothering that he is destroying life. We are part of that same life. It is almost like destroying one's own hand or one's own eyes. Those animals are part of the cosmic whole just as we are. But the blindness of man can do both the things together. He can't see the so obvious contradiction that the worshipped cannot be hunted. And if you are hunting, you know perfectly well, your worship is just phony.
Do you think even for a moment that you can go hunting for God? Searching for God is okay, but hunting for God? I have never heard that expression before. But that's what you have been doing. First you make these animals gods and then you go hunting them. And you don't see the contradiction. Your consciousness is also very superficial.
This museum of gods will provoke great criticism around the world. So many cases are bound to be forced on me, but I love to fight for unpopular causes. Who cares about animals? Who bothers that much to go to the court and to fight for them? I am not only fighting for the animals that they should not be worshipped, but that they should be respected and loved. They are our common brothers and sisters. We share the same existence. We should give them the dignity that belongs to them. And we should not destroy our dignity. But the priests want us not to be dignified. They want us to be as undignified and as great sinners as possible, because that makes them saints, and that makes them mediators between God and you.
The fish in the Hindu mythology is the first reincarnation of God. Why does God go on choosing such reincarnations?  --  and nobody ever thinks about these incarnations. Each incarnation has committed so many crimes that it is out of the question to worship them. They should simply be listed on the criminal records.
You cannot believe... One Hindu god, Parasuram... His name became Parasuram because parasu is a special kind of sword, very heavy. In a single blow it takes away the head. Parasuram carried this sword continuously. He killed as many people single-handedly as perhaps anybody has killed. He killed his own mother because of an old suspicious father. The father was suspicious that the mother was having some love affair, and of course, when the father orders...
Obedience has been proclaimed a fundamental virtue by all religions. The father ordered Parasuram, "Go immediately and cut the head of that woman." And it was only a suspicion, no evidence, no witness. It may have been just an idea in his mind. And my feeling is, it was just his mind because he was getting very old, and his wife was very young compared to him.
Old people who become inadequate start becoming suspicious about everything. But Parasuram did not even ask, "Let us first investigate the case." Just because he did not ask the question, but immediately went and cut the mother's head and brought it to the father's feet, he is recognized as God's incarnation  --  for his great obedience.
That was the beginning of his great journey of violence. He was a brahmin, and the suspicion was that the mother was having an affair with a warrior, a chhatriya. Not knowing who the man was, he decided to destroy all the warriors on the earth. Such a strange violent mind: because he does not know who is the right person to be killed, he kills the whole category, millions of warriors, single-handedly. He was a great warrior, there is no question about it.
And this happened many times, because there was in those days a very strange tradition in India that Indians themselves never look back. Perhaps they were afraid they may come across something ugly; there is so much ugliness.
He killed all the chhatriyas, but he did not kill the women because it was not a question of women. The issue was that some man was having an affair with his mother. So the women were left as widows all over the country. The tradition was that any woman can go to a seer, a saint, ask him to give her a child and the saint cannot refuse. Great saints and great religions! So all these widows went to saints; in fact they had to stand in queue because there were not so many saints as had been created widows by Parasuram. But they all became pregnant by some saint. Perhaps they may have invented saints just to become pregnant.
Again young boys started growing and again Parasuram went on another round, killing the small boys. He was determined that he would not leave a single warrior in the world. His world was confined fortunately to India only. Sixteen times he killed the warriors. But this country was full of saints  --  they were really a kind of bull. Just one bull can manage to make many cows pregnant. You don't have to have many bulls for many cows. They don't believe in monogamy  -- one cow, one bull. One bull is enough for the whole village. Just one saint was also enough. So although Parasuram killed sixteen times, the warriors still continued. He could not delete them from existence.
My problem is that Hindus still go on believing that he is an incarnation of God. If these people are an incarnation of God, then who are the criminals? Either animals or criminals, they have chosen strange people... The fish is the first and the horse is the last. The horse has not come yet. That is the last incarnation of God which will end this age, this civilization. So most probably within twelve years you will see a white horse trotting around killing sinners, saving saints.
I have been going through all the Hindu PURANAS and not a single purana even mentions this: that you are giving too much responsibility to a horse  --  he will judge.
All these are ways of taking dignity from man. Before you can make a man a Christian or a Hindu, or a Mohammedan, you have to take away his dignity.
My effort here is to take away everything that hinders your dignity to grow to its ultimate heights. I want you to be freed from all these gods they are your slavery, all these religions and all these scriptures, they are your slavery. I want you to live in a silent and peaceful freedom of being, in tune with existence, with joy and blissfulness, with gratitude and ecstasy.
There is no question of worship at all and there is no question of any gods' incarnation. In the first place the god does not exist himself. How can he have incarnations? It is just so obviously foolish. Hindus had ten incarnations before Mahavira. Their scriptures before Mahavira mention only ten incarnations, because of the ten fingers  --  to count more than that was a difficult job. And Hinduism is the most ancient religion. Religion came first; mathematics came centuries later, so ten was the only ultimate number.
But Mahavira, just to make the Hindus feel inferior, dropped the idea of ten. Jainism believes in twenty-four tirthankaras. They are equal to incarnations of God. Twenty-four...?  --  because there are twenty-four hours in the day. Exactly like that there are twenty-four periods of one age  --  for one period, one incarnation. And so they arrived at the idea of twenty-four.
Buddha was the founder of his own religion. He was in a difficulty. So he managed this idea of twenty-four previous lives, just not to be inferior in any sense to Mahavira. Hindus immediately changed their number. After Mahavira all Hindu scriptures talk about twenty-four reincarnations. What happened to the ten incarnations suddenly? God changed his mind? It was a question of comparison. Jainas have twenty-four tirthankaras, buddhas have twenty-four incarnations of Buddha. Hindus looked so poor, with just ten incarnations of God, and so they immediately raised the number. It is just imagination, so you can play with it the way you want. After Buddha and Mahavira all scriptures completely forgot about ten incarnations.
I mention this point to show you that it is all imagination. How did ten become twenty-four? It was just because it looked inferior in the marketplace. Everybody has twenty-four and you have only ten. Such a poor god! And because it is all imagination, it is very easy to make it twenty-four. Now all the three religions have twenty-four. Buddha closed his door. He is the last buddha in the line of twenty-four buddhas. Mahavira closed the door. He is the last tirthankara in the line of twenty-four tirthankaras. Hindus had to keep at least one reincarnation still in the future because of their mythology.
Their mythology is that God has three heads. The first head is Brahma, who creates the world; the second head is Vishnu, who maintains the world; the third head is Shiva who destroys the world. It is perfect mathematics. And because the world is still there, there has to be one incarnation left to end it. And perhaps in the coming twenty years of this century, whether Kalki comes or not, the world is going down. Between the fish and Kalki lies our whole history.
I would like Avirbhava to bring her fish god....
(FROM THE RIGHT ENTRANCE OF THE PODIUM, TWO VERY ORNATE FISH COME SWIMMING IN. MEANWHILE, A HUGE GREY DOLPHIN GLIDES DOWN FROM THE PAGODA ROOF OF THE PODIUM AND WRIGGLES IN A VERY FISHY DANCE IN FRONT OF OSHO. FISH, DOLPHIN, MUSIC, LAUGHTER... ALL DIVE, SOAR AND LEAP IN ONE EXPLOSION OF PURE JOY.)

An introductory note for the sutras:
HYAKUJO WAS KNOWN FOR HIS SIMPLE WORDS, BUT HE HAD A THOROUGH KNOWLEDGE OF BUDDHISM. HE WAS CLEVER AND GENTLE AT THE SAME TIME; THERE WAS NOTHING OSTENTATIOUS ABOUT HIM.
MANY DISCIPLES BEGAN TO GATHER AROUND HIM, AND ENDLESS DISCUSSIONS TOOK PLACE WITH QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOLLOWING ONE UPON ANOTHER. AMONG THE MOST FAMOUS OF HIS DISCIPLES WERE ISAN AND OBAKU.

The sutra:
ONE DAY WHEN HYAKUJO WAS TO GIVE HIS DAILY DISCOURSES TO HIS DISCIPLES, HE BEGAN BY SAYING, "I AM NO ZEN ADEPT. I HAVE NOT A SINGLE THING TO OFFER ANYONE, SO I MUST NOT KEEP YOU STANDING HERE. GO AND TAKE A REST."
A very strange statement to the disciples who were waiting for his morning sermon, but it has tremendous meaning. First he says, I AM NO ZEN ADEPT... I am no Zen master  --  meaning that I am no more, so how I can be a Zen master. I am lost into the oceanic consciousness, so how can I claim to be still separate from existence?
I am not a Zen adept simply means I have dissolved myself into the existence. I have not kept my identity and my separation. I am no more, only existence is. Secondly: I HAVE NOT A SINGLE THING TO OFFER ANYONE, SO I MUST NOT KEEP YOU STANDING HERE. This is something every master will concede to. The master has nothing to give to the disciple; on the contrary, he has to take much from the disciple. I cannot give you anything, I can only take away your false notions, shadows, your illusions, your personalities and leave behind only that which is authentically yours, purely existential, not borrowed from society. So it can be said that a master takes away everything, leaving only that which cannot be taken away  --  but he gives nothing. Anything given will again be a borrowed thing.
Hyakujo, in a simple statement, made a great point: I HAVE NOT A SINGLE THING TO OFFER ANYONE, SO I MUST NOT KEEP YOU STANDING HERE. GO AND TAKE A REST. But in Hyakujo's system of working, rest was meditation. In fact, if you are not in complete rest, you are not in meditation. Meditation and rest are equivalent. But it was only Hyakujo who used the word `rest', that whatever has to be found, has to be found in your rest. Just drop all thoughts, all emotions, all sentiments, all identities. Lie down and witness.
This was the meaning in his system of thought of the word `rest'. If you have come to rest, you are one with existence; there is nothing to separate you. In a simple statement he has given his whole philosophy.
ON ANOTHER OCCASION, A GROUP OF DHARMA MASTERS SOUGHT AN INTERVIEW AND SAID: "WE HAVE SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK. ARE YOU PREPARED TO ANSWER THEM, MASTER?"
Dharma masters are teachers of religion. In those old days in China and Japan these dharma masters, these teachers used to go around the country teaching people, because the people did not know language, they could not read; language was a very recent invention. And you will be surprised that in the whole world, in the beginning, language was always pictorial, because a child can only understand pictures. That's why in children's books you will find big pictures, colored pictures. And by pictures you can teach them that this is a horse, this is a fish... Through pictures you can bring alphabets.
In China, in Japan, in the whole Far East, language has not yet moved from the pictorial to the alphabetical. The alphabet began everywhere as pictorial, and then finally, it was found that a pictorial language is a very cumbersome  --  an unnecessary wastage of time and does not give exact meanings. One picture can be used to mean many things, but because it became an art, calligraphy, people became addicted to calligraphy. Calligraphy is beautiful, but alphabetical languages cannot use calligraphy.
So because of calligraphy, the Far East countries remained pictorial. But for anyone who is not born a Chinese or a Japanese, it is very difficult to learn. It takes many years because you have to learn thousands of pictures before you can read even an ordinary newspaper.
One of my friends has sent me a picture from Korea. Just a line, and then another line making a cross.... and two dots underneath the first line, the cross. And he said, this means that in one house two women is a crucifixion  --  that cross; in one house two women is enough  --  a war, a constant war. But if you have to remember these kinds of pictures, it is going to take years. The alphabet makes it easier. The more modern alphabets have fewer characters; for example, Sanskrit has fifty-two, English has only twenty-six. Everything non-essential has been taken out, so that the thing becomes easier and simpler, direct and clear-cut, giving only one meaning. Old languages, whether pictorial or alphabetical, have a beauty. That beauty is that each word can be used in many ways, with many meanings. It gives great freedom to the poet.
For example in Sanskrit the word `go' means cow, and it also means the ray of the sun; it has twelve meanings in all. The English word `go' is exactly the Sanskrit word that has entered into English. Why has it taken the meaning of going in English? In Sanskrit it also had the meaning of going, because the cow goes every morning to the field, then goes back home every evening. And in those days the cow was so important for nourishment, for agriculture, that its coming and going became the meaning of the word `go'.
Thirty percent of the words in English are from Sanskrit, but moving from Sanskrit to English, they have become fixed. Now `go' in English exactly means one word, has one meaning. In Sanskrit it still means twelve words, has twelve meanings. The poet has more freedom with the old languages.
Science cannot afford old languages. It needs a very definite meaning, not just a vague idea that can be translated in many ways. This word `rest' is used strangely by Hyakujo to mean meditation, but very rightly. To be completely at rest, you are no more. If you are, then the rest is not complete. He has given a totally new connotation to the word `rest'. Just think of it. If you are absolutely at rest, then where are you? Your being can only be separate from existence if it is restless. So he is saying to his disciples: GO AND TAKE A REST. Don't wait for me, I cannot give you anything, I don't have anything to give to you. And don't think about me as a Zen master. I am no more. I have allowed myself to be dissolved into the ultimate reality.
ON ANOTHER OCCASION A GROUP OF DHARMA MASTERS SOUGHT AN INTERVIEW AND SAID: "WE HAVE SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK. ARE YOU PREPARED TO ANSWER THEM, MASTER?"
HYAKUJO REPLIED, "YES. THE MOON IS REFLECTED IN THAT DEEP POND; CATCH IT IF YOU LIKE."
He said, "Whatever I say will be as far away from truth as is the reflection of the moon from the moon itself. I am ready to answer your questions. But remember, you will have to understand, all my answers are as far away from truth as the reflection of the moon in the deep pond is far away from the real moon. My words are only reflections. Don't cling to them as if they are the very truth."
THE GROUP CONTINUED, "WHAT IS THE BUDDHA REALLY LIKE?"
"IF THAT WHICH IS FACING THE LIMPID POND IS NOT THE BUDDHA, WHAT IS IT?" SAID HYAKUJO.
Hyakujo said  --  they were all looking at the limpid pond for the reflection of the moon  --  "If those who are looking at the reflection of the moon in the limpid pond, if they are not buddhas, then who can be buddhas? You are witnessing. Just move from the object to the subject  --  who is looking at the reflection? Or in other words, who is asking the question? If it is not buddha, what is it? This witnessing, this watching, if it is not buddha, then what is it?" said Hyakujo.
THE MONKS WERE PUZZLED... Everybody will be puzzled if you say that you are a buddha. Just try it on any stranger, "Wait! I think you are a buddha," and see the response. He will simply freak out, "Are you mad or something? Are you mad or something?" But you are saying the truth. You are revealing his own reality to him.
When I call you the buddhas, it is not a metaphor. I really mean it  --  and you have to drop your suspicions about yourself. You cannot accept the idea of being a buddha, because you know that you smoke cigarettes. Now poor Hasya is trying to drop cigarettes. I have informed her not to drop it because there is no need to go into unnecessary trouble. She was even taking medication to try and overcome the withdrawal symptoms.
In my buddhafield just smoking cigarettes cannot disturb your buddha nature. If such a small thing disturbs the buddha nature, it is of no worth. Just think about it... such small things. And these are the things which make you think, "How can I be a buddha?" Your reasons for not being a buddha are simply mediocre: because you have a wife, or because you have a girlfriend... A buddha with a girlfriend is simply inconceivable.
Sri Lanka's ambassador to America wrote to me in a letter, "You should tell your sannyasins to stop calling their discos Zorba The Buddha, because it is very insulting to the Buddhists. And if your sannyasins open such restaurants or discos in Sri Lanka, they will be burned and there will be riots. So I want to warn you."
I wrote him a really nice letter. I told him that if Zorba cannot be the buddha, then nobody can be the buddha. Everybody has to begin from the Zorba. Zorba is the beginning. Buddha is the end. These, my people, who are calling their discos Zorba The Buddha, are saying "We are starting with Zorba, hoping to end up as buddhas." And I told him, "Remember that Buddha is not the monopoly of the buddhists. The word `buddha' simply means the awakened one. It can happen in any religion, to any community, you don't have the monopoly. And if you want to see buddhas, before going back to Sri Lanka, come to our commune and you will find everywhere buddhas and buddhas... We don't have any other kind, just one kind, and you will never find such juicy buddhas anywhere  --  with their girlfriends, smoking cigarettes, going to the disco, having all the fun that existence allows you. Just sitting under a tree with a sad face wondering, `What am I doing sitting here? The whole world is enjoying all kinds of things and it is a strange destiny that I am just sitting under the tree all the time.'"      He never answered my letter, and he never again wrote.
A buddha is not something separate from you, it is your intrinsic being. It is your most essential being. Everything else may have gathered all around it. Much junk has gathered around it, but that does not matter. It does not make any difference to the pure gold of your buddha. It may fall into the dust, it may be covered in mud, but it remains twenty-four carat gold. You are covered with a body, covered with a mind, but that does not make any difference.
You are the buddha, but the Buddhist traditional mind will not even accept an umbrella in Buddha's hand. Even while it is raining, the poor fellow has to sit without an umbrella. Who has ever heard of Buddha having an umbrella? But my approach to the buddha is closer to the approach of Zen, not the Ceylonese or the Burmese Buddhism. The Burmese, the Ceylonese and the Tibetans are more Hinduized. The people who took Buddhism to Burma were traditional orthodox people. And the woman emperor, Ashoka's daughter, Sangamitra, who took Buddhism to Ceylon was as orthodox as her father. From its very beginnings Tibetan Buddhism has remained attached to Indian Buddhism.
Zen has a speciality; in fact, it should not be called Buddhism. Although it is the very essential message of Buddha, it originated with Mahakashyapa's laughter. Zen considers Mahakashyapa to be their founder, not Buddha. Buddha is Mahakashyapa's master, and that is their business.
Zen considers Mahakashyapa to be its originator. And Bodhidharma was a disciple of the line that followed Mahakashyapa. That line became a little alienated from the orthodox line because very individual people, freedom lovers joined Zen  --  all kinds of eccentrics, geniuses, not mediocre fellows who just go to the temple to read the sutras and say the prayers. That is being done by every other religion. Their scriptures may be different, their prayers may be different, their temples may be different, but essentially they are all doing the same thing.
Zen has broken new ground. Mahakashyapa did the first thing: he laughed. Buddha never laughed in his life. With his laughter starts a new stream of more joy, of more rejoicing, of more dancing, of more human beings. And when Bodhidharma took Zen to China, it took another turn. It became more eccentric, because Bodhidharma was far more eccentric than Mahakashyapa. He was the strangest fellow, but always to the point. He looked strange. You could not understand him. He was not part of the common crowd.
So first, Bodhidharma made it a very special dispensation and then it met with Taoist mystics. This is one of the greatest meetings of two religions where there was no conflict. They simply understood each other's silence  --  not even a debate. They looked into each other's eyes and knew that they were both in the same space.
So Zen is a by-product of the meeting of Buddhism and Taoism. It has a different character from both, it is a crossbreed: something of Tao that is essential, and something of Buddha that is essential has created a new phenomenon, Zen. And when it reached China, it took a few centuries to be clear that it was no longer the orthodox Buddhism and no longer the orthodox Taoism, it was something new. Out of the meeting of those two came a strange flower, and this flower has been carried to Japan, where it blossomed to its ultimate peak.

THE MONKS WERE PUZZLED BY THIS REPLY, AND AFTER A SHORT WHILE INQUIRED AGAIN: "MASTER, WHAT DHARMA DO YOU EXPOUND IN ORDER TO LIBERATE OTHERS?" Surely adequate questions but not in the context of Zen.
HYAKUJO RESPONDED, "THIS POOR MONK HAS NO DHARMA BY WHICH TO LIBERATE OTHERS." You should have to understand the beauty of these words. THIS POOR MONK... does not mean simply that he has no possessions. He is saying, "I am so poor, that even I am not. My poverty is not ordinary poverty. I have lost myself in the cosmos. I am no more."
THIS POOR MONK... how can he have any dharma, any teaching by which to liberate others? It is difficult on the surface to understand Zen. But just a more deeper insight into it, and it blossoms into beautiful flowers. The "poor monk" means one who has become part of the universe. He has become so much part of the universe that he himself is the dharma. He cannot have dharma. He cannot have dharma as an object. His very soul radiates the truth, he cannot have it. Because he is no more, only truth radiates in utter silence, in utter nothingness. And the idea of liberating others is absolutely stupid. You cannot liberate anyone. You can liberate only yourself.
THEY EXCLAIMED, "ALL ZEN MASTERS ARE OF THE SAME STUFF!" Disappointed they could not understand what this fellow was talking about. They said all Zen masters are of the same stuff; they are all strange fellows. You ask something and they will answer something so far-fetched, that you could have never imagined before. AT THIS, HYAKUJO ASKED THEM, "WHAT DHARMAS DO you VIRTUOUS ONES EXPOUND FOR LIBERATING OTHERS?"
THE MONKS REPLIED, "OH, WE EXPOUND THE DIAMOND SUTRA." This is one of the most beautiful sutras of Buddha. HYAKUJO ASKED, "HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU EXPOUNDED IT?" It is a very big voluminous scripture. It takes years to finish one reading. Read the sutra, explain it, explain the commentaries made upon it and sometimes commentaries upon commentaries. The Diamond Sutra has in itself a whole library. It itself is a very long scripture. Then there are commentaries, but the commentaries are also so difficult that more commentaries are needed. Sometimes you will find a fifth or sixth commentary, and if you are really teaching, you have to take account of all the commentaries and make your point. Perhaps that may be a new commentary.
THEY ANSWERED, "MORE THAN TWENTY TIMES."
HYAKUJO CONTINUED, "BY WHOM WAS IT SPOKEN?" TO THIS THE MONKS ANSWERED INDIGNANTLY  --  obviously angry because they know that Hyakujo at least must know, that The Diamond Sutra was spoken by Gautam Buddha. TO THIS THE MONKS ANSWERED INDIGNANTLY: "MASTER, YOU MUST BE JOKING! OF COURSE YOU KNOW THAT IT WAS SPOKEN BY THE BUDDHA." HYAKUJO SAID: "WELL, THAT SUTRA STATES..." In The Diamond Sutra itself there are statements which will be very difficult for teachers to understand or make others understand.
HYAKUJO SAID: "WELL, THAT SUTRA STATES: `IF SOMEONE SAYS THE TATHAGATA EXPOUNDS THE DHARMA, HE THEREBY SLANDERS THE BUDDHA!" Tathagata is another name for Buddha, very significant, very meaningful. It comes from the root tathata, suchness, thusness, thisness  -- always this moment, from everywhere pointing suchness, thisness. Because Buddha devoted his whole life to the present moment, people started calling him Tathagata, the man who teaches tathata.
IF SOMEONE SAYS THAT THE BUDDHA EXPOUNDS THE DHARMA, HE THEREBY SLANDERS THE BUDDHA  --  a very strange statement, but very beautiful and very meaningful. He is saying, that there is no way to expound the truth. You can only make statements pointing to the truth but those statements don't contain the truth. Just like the finger pointing to the moon, the finger does not contain the moon.
So Buddha says that if anybody says that Buddha expounds the dharma, he thereby slanders the Buddha and you, those dharma masters were doing the same thing  -- teaching, expounding. And even they are saying that Buddha has expounded the truth of The Diamond Sutra. Hyakujo says that such a man will never understand what I mean'.
It is something like...Lao Tzu wrote a small treatise under compulsion. His first statement makes it clear. He says "Truth cannot be said. And that which can be said, can never be true. Now whatever I say, remember my first statement." You cannot say the truth. You can only make certain indications, hints, at the most.
HYAKUJO CONTINUED, "NOW, IF YOU SAY THAT IT WAS NOT EXPOUNDED BY THE BUDDHA, YOU WILL THEREBY BELITTLE THAT SUTRA. WILL YOU VIRTUOUS ONES PLEASE LET ME SEE WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY TO THAT?"
AS THEY MADE NO REPLY, THE MASTER PAUSED AWHILE BEFORE ASKING HIS NEXT QUESTION, WHICH WAS: "THE DIAMOND SUTRA SAYS: `HE WHO SEEKS ME THROUGH OUTWARD APPEARANCE, OR SEEKS ME IN SOUND, TREADS THE HETERODOX PATH AND CANNOT PERCEIVE THE TATHAGATA.'
"Heterodox" means the path of the people who do not understand Buddha, who go against Buddha. Anybody who says and tries to find, in the diamond Sutra, the truth, is just like the Heterodox, the opponents--and there were many opponents. India has seen a very strange time. Just in that small state of Bihar, from Maitreya has come. There were eight teachers in the time of Buddha who all claimed enlightenment, and they all differed on every point. And I have been reading all those people, and my understanding is they were all enlightened. Strange time: in a small state, eight enlightened people continuously moving around and around in the state, teaching conflicting views. But they were all very beautiful people.
Six of them have completely been forgotten. Only Buddha and Mahavir have remained in the memories of man. The other six were more eccentric, more intelligent. And they have been forgotten for the simple reason they never made anybody a follower, who was going to carry their teachings, who was going to preserve their scriptures.
So only we know their names in the teachings of Buddha where he criticizes them, or in the words of Mahavira where he criticizes them, so we know that these six people were in existence. And they were important enough that Buddha has to criticize them, but we don't know exactly what was their teaching. Even in the criticism of Buddha he has first to expound their teaching and then criticize it. That small piece that he takes to criticize seems to be so significant that we don't know in what context it was said, because Buddha is not talking about the context, so his criticism looks right.
But I have been trying to find...there is no visible signs of any scriptures left of these people: Ajit Kays Kumberley, Sanjay Belattiputta. But I have been, in my own imagination, creating the whole context in which those sentences will fit, which are condemned by Buddha. But if you put it in that context, Buddha's criticism does not make any sense. Those people were in their own right as illumined, as awakened, as Gautam Buddha himself. But it does not mean that all awakened people should agree with each other. If they agree, good! But they are free not to agree! Existence is multi-dimensional, and every teacher can take a certain dimension. And you may not take that dimension at all in account. Then your opinions will be absolutely opposite.
But because I am nobody's follower, and I don't have any prejudice against or for, I can see that all those eight people were as enlightened as Gautam Buddha although their opinions were different. For example, Sanjay Belattiputta must be a very joyous person and a man of a great sense of humor.
Hindus believe in one hell, I told you. Jainas believe in three hells, I have told you. Buddhists believe in seventy-seven hells, I told you. Sanjay Belattiputta heard it and he laughed. He said, "Seventy-seven won't do because I know there are more categories of sinners than seventy-seven. In fact there are seven hundred seventy-seven hells." And I know he was joking! He was making a joke that all this nonsense of counting hells.

I have remembered, in Agra there used to be a small sect, which is still existent, Radhaswami. And they were in great competition with Taj Mahal. And their idea was to create for their master a greater palace, far more beautiful, than Taj Mahal.
Taj Mahal was made by a great emperor. It took thirty years in making; ten thousand people working every day for thirty years continuously. And he was the emperor of the whole of India, Pakistan, and Burma, and Ceylon and Afghanistan included. He has immense riches to pour on ten thousand people. And these then thousand people were the best sculptors, marble craftsmen, brought from all over the world. But a jealousy: in the same city, everybody goes to see the Taj Mahal. From all over the world people come to see it. Naturally, the Radhaswamis became jealous of the point. And they have made; they could not manage to complete the samadhi of their master, because they are not emperors. But they are still working. Their whole sect, whatsoever they earn, goes still into their samadhi. Only one ground floor is ready.
I don't think they will every be able to complete it. Their idea is two floors. On the ground floor will be the samadhi. But the ground floor, they have certainly defeated Taj Mahal. If they had money, they would have made a better, unique miracle than Taj Mahal. All the science of greatness in their ground floor. They have made creepers of marble, flowers of marble, whole plants of marble; creepers moving around the pillars. Sixty years they have been working up to now.
Their present master asked me to come to see the samadhi that they are working. I was speaking in Agra. He had come to listen to me. I went with him to see. What I saw there is...they have done their best. Their garden is far more beautiful than Taj Mahal. Their first floor is a miracle in marble. On the first floor they have a map of the whole existence; not only of the world: all the hells, all the heavens, and this world in between. Their heaven has fourteen sections, you can say fourteen heavens.
So he asked me that, "What do you think about it?" By the side of the map there are written names of people. In the fifth heaven--as you go higher, you are a higher personality. In the fifth, there is Mohammed, Moses. In the sixth, there is Jesus. In the seventh, there is Kabir, Dadu, Nanak. That way they has put name: on the ninth, Mahavir; on the tenth, Buddha. On the fourteenth, only one man has reached up to now, their founder!
He asked me, "What do you think about it?"
"I think it is absolutely right!"
He said, "People object. A Mohammedan cannot believe that Mohammed is just in the fifth. A Jaina cannot believe that Mahavira is below Buddha. You are the first person who is saying, 'You are absolutely in agreement'."
I said, "I have to be in agreement because I have reached to the fifteenth! And I know your master. He is in the fourteenth! And he tries hard, but I go on pushing him! As long as I am, he cannot enter into the fifteenth!"
He said, "This is a new idea!"
I said, "Not a new idea! It is a reality! I go on hitting him because he is continuously trying to move into the fifteenth. And I don't want to share my place with anybody! Because there is no sixteenth! Otherwise I would have moved in the sixteenth. Fifteenth is absolutely secure. And now your master has become very tired. So he rarely tries because whenever he tries, then for a few days he remains sick--I hit him so hard."
He said, "You should not say such things, in our temple!"
I said, "What can I do? I had to say the truth. If you can write these stupid names, according to your desire, what grounds you have, and what measurements, that Buddha is ahead than Mahavira? Or Moses and Mohammed are the lowest? What grounds you have that Jesus is higher than Moses? And Kabir is higher than Jesus? If you can make an imaginary map, I have every right to add something more to it. It is incomplete. Make the fifteenth floor, and reserve it for me."
He said, "I was wrong to bring you here."
I said, "That's true! It is not only true about you."
Many people feel that it is wrong that they invited me. They were hoping that I will praise whatever idiotic ideas they have.

I know Sanjay Belattiputta must have joked about the hells but nothing else has remained. Sanjay Belattiputta was against heaven-followers, so he never created any organized religion. He remained a single, alone, teacher moving around, provoking all the philosophies that were prevalent; criticizing Buddha; criticizing Mahavira. But he never allowed anybody to be a follower.
That was his standpoint: that everybody has to liberate himself; all those who claim to liberate others are lying. This much piece I have found in the criticisms of Buddha and Mahavira: that all those who are trying to liberate others are lying. Nobody can liberate anybody.

Zen certainly believes that everybody is capable of liberation, but only he can do it, it cannot be done by anybody else.
"TELL ME, VIRTUOUS ONES," SAID HYAKUJO, "WHO OR WHAT IS THE TATHAGATA?"
ONE MONK REPLIED, "SIR, AT THIS POINT I FIND MYSELF UTTERLY DELUDED." And here, Hyakujo makes really a great penetration: "HAVING NEVER BEEN ILLUMINED, HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT YOU ARE NOW DELUDED?" It is a comparison. Having never been a buddha, how can you say that you are not a buddha?
That is my approach also. When I say that you are a buddha, you cannot deny it. You don't know who you are. At least I know who you are. I am simply introducing you to yourself. In spite of everything, you are the buddha! You cannot get out from your buddhahood. It is your very nature.
THEN THE MONK ASKED, "WILL THE VENERABLE ZEN MASTER EXPOUND THE DHARMA TO US?"
HYAKUJO REPLIED, "THOUGH YOU HAVE EXPOUNDED THE DIAMOND SUTRA OVER TWENTY TIMES, YOU STILL DO NOT KNOW THE TATHAGATA!"
Twenty times you have expounded The Diamond Sutra, the greatest sayings of Gautam Buddha, and you don't know who Tathagata is! You have not yet understood the meaning of tathata which is the very foundation of The Diamond Sutra and all Buddhist scripture.

This is the situation of teachers  --  they are parrots. They don't understand, but they can repeat exactly whatever they read in the scriptures without understanding the essential meaning. The essential meaning has to be found within yourself, not in the scriptures.

A haiku by Basho:
MOONLIT PLUM TREE  --
WAIT,
SPRING WILL COME.

In a very indirect way, in a very delicate way, Basho says, "Moonlit plum tree..." Don't be in a hurry, "Wait, spring will come." It is metaphoric. It is about you, not about the plum tree. Just wait, everybody has his own spring. If you rightly wait, the spring can come right now. It depends on the depth of your waiting.

Another haiku by Basho:
DYING CRICKET  --
HOW FULL OF
LIFE, HIS SONG.

The cricket is dying, but is still singing....
DYING CRICKET  --
HOW FULL OF
LIFE, HIS SONG.

This should be the situation of every alert and aware person. Even dying full of life, full of song  -- and then there is no death.


 

Next: Chapter 4: Lie down and witness, Question 1

 


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