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MA TZU: THE EMPTY MIRROR

Chapter 7: To the source

 

Energy Enhancement             Enlightened Texts             Zen             The Empty Mirror

 

OUR BELOVED MASTER,
YAKUSAN BEGAN HIS BUDDHIST STUDIES IN THE SCHOOL OF VINAYA SO HE WAS WELL-VERSED IN SCRIPTURAL STUDIES AND ASCETICS BY THE TIME HE WAS INTRODUCED TO ZEN. HE BEGAN TO FEEL THAT THESE THINGS WERE NOT YET THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE. HE LONGED FOR TRUE FREEDOM AND PURITY BEYOND THE FORMULAS OF THE DHARMA. SO, SEEKING GUIDANCE, HE CALLED ON SEKITO.
YAKUSAN SAID TO THE MASTER, "I HAVE ONLY A ROUGH KNOWLEDGE OF THE THREE VEHICLES, AND THE TWELVE BRANCHES OF THE SCRIPTURAL TEACHING. BUT I HEAR THAT IN THE SOUTH THERE IS A TEACHING ABOUT `POINTING DIRECTLY AT THE MIND OF MAN AND ATTAINING BUDDHAHOOD THROUGH THE PERCEPTION OF THE SELF-NATURE.' NOW, THIS IS BEYOND MY COMPREHENSION. I HUMBLY BESEECH YOU TO GRACIOUSLY ENLIGHTEN ME ON THIS."
SEKITO REPLIED, "IT IS TO BE FOUND NEITHER IN AFFIRMATION NOR IN NEGATION, NOR IN AFFIRMING AND NEGATING AT THE SAME TIME. SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?"
YAKUSAN WAS ALTOGETHER MYSTIFIED BY THESE WORDS.
HENCE, SEKITO TOLD HIM FRANKLY, "THE CAUSE AND OCCASION OF YOUR ENLIGHTENMENT ARE NOT PRESENT HERE IN THIS PLACE. YOU SHOULD RATHER GO TO VISIT THE GREAT MASTER, MA TZU."
FOLLOWING THE SUGGESTION, YAKUSAN WENT TO PAY HIS RESPECTS TO MA TZU, PRESENTING BEFORE HIM THE SAME REQUEST AS HE HAD ADDRESSED TO SEKITO.
MA TZU REPLIED, "I SOMETIMES MAKE HIM RAISE HIS EYEBROWS AND TURN HIS EYES; AT OTHER TIMES I DO NOT LET HIM RAISE HIS EYEBROWS AND TURN HIS EYES. SOMETIMES IT IS REALLY HE WHO IS RAISING HIS EYEBROWS AND TURNING HIS EYES; AT OTHER TIMES IT IS REALLY NOT HE WHO IS RAISING HIS EYEBROWS AND TURNING HIS EYES. HOW DO YOU UNDERSTAND THIS?"
AT THIS, YAKUSAN SAW COMPLETELY EYE-TO-EYE WITH MA TZU AND WAS ENLIGHTENED. HE BOWED REVERENTLY TO THE MASTER, WHO ASKED HIM, "WHAT TRUTH DO YOU PERCEIVE THAT YOU SHOULD PERFORM THESE CEREMONIES?"
YAKUSAN SAID, "WHEN I WAS WITH SEKITO, I WAS LIKE A MOSQUITO CRAWLING ON A BRONZE OX."
MA TZU, DISCERNING THAT THE ENLIGHTENMENT WAS GENUINE, ASKED HIM TO TAKE GOOD CARE OF THE INSIGHT. HE ATTENDED UPON MA TZU FOR THREE YEARS. ONE DAY, MA TZU ASKED AGAIN, "WHAT DO YOU SEE RECENTLY?"
YAKUSAN REPLIED, "THE SKIN HAS ENTIRELY MOULTED OFF; THERE REMAINS ONLY THE ONE, TRUE REALITY."
MA TZU SAID, "WHAT YOU HAVE ATTAINED IS PERFECTLY IN TUNE WITH THE INNERMOST CORE OF YOUR MIND, AND FROM THENCE IT HAS SPREAD INTO YOUR FOUR LIMBS. THIS BEING THE CASE, IT IS TIME TO GIRD YOUR WAIST WITH THREE BAMBOO SPLINTS, AND GO FORTH TO MAKE YOUR ABODE ON ANY MOUNTAIN YOU MAY LIKE."
YAKUSAN REPLIED, "WHO AM I TO SET UP ANY ABODE ON ANY MOUNTAIN?"
MA TZU SAID, "NOT SO! ONE CANNOT ALWAYS BE TRAVELING WITHOUT ABIDING, NOR ALWAYS BE ABIDING WITHOUT TRAVELING. TO ADVANCE FROM WHERE YOU CAN NO LONGER ADVANCE, AND TO DO WHAT CAN NO LONGER BE DONE, YOU MUST MAKE YOURSELF INTO A RAFT OR FERRYBOAT FOR OTHERS. IT IS NOT FOR YOU TO ABIDE HERE FOREVER."

Maneesha, it is absolutely necessary to say a few words before I discuss the sutras you have brought to me.
The authentic master is not concerned with gathering a following, more followers, and becoming a great master because of his following. The authentic master is interested in the disciple and his potentiality. And if he sees that this is not the right place for him to flower, the right climate, then he will send him to another master. That used to be in the past a very common phenomenon. There was no rivalry between masters because they were all working for the same truth, for the same ultimate experience.
But the pseudo masters are different and they have taken over the world. The pseudo master forces the disciple to surrender to him. He makes it almost a commitment and if the disciple leaves him, he will feel guilty for it, it will be called betrayal. And the pseudo master never sends his disciples to another master because he sees that this climate, this atmosphere is not perfectly suitable for his growth.
I want you to see the distinction clearly. The pseudo master is interested in satisfying his own ego, how many disciples he has. He is not really concerned with the welfare of the disciple or his growth. His concern is political.
Hindus are worried that the constitution of India allows Mohammedans to marry four women. Now Hindus are worried that sooner or later the Mohammedans will increase in population. The Hindu has only one wife. Even if he produces a child every year, he cannot compete with the Mohammedan. The problem is of the population, because the politics -- who is going to be in power -- will depend on the population.
What authority has the Vatican pope about truth? What experience, what enlightenment? But still he has six hundred million Catholics around the world. Naturally he is the biggest religious leader. His greatness is not in his experience, his greatness is in the number of followers. And throughout the centuries all the religions have been killing others and converting others to their religion. "Either you come into my religion, or you cannot live." That has been the attitude of the Mohammedans, that has been the attitude of the Christians. Nobody seems to be interested in the individual. They are all on power trips.
Zen gives you a totally different climate. Sometimes masters have even sent their followers to other masters who are against them. It is a very strange phenomenon to the modern eyes, sending someone to your own opponent. But we have to look deep down: if the person can grow more easily in the climate that the opponent master has created, then there is no hesitation in sending him to the other master.
It was a constant transfer of disciples from one master to another. And sometimes it used to be that a master would seem to the disciple too hard and the opponent master would look more soft. The disciple himself would escape to the other master's monastery.
One case I remember... A disciple escaped from his master's monastery because the master was continuously beating, slapping. And he had heard about another master just a few miles away in the mountains who was very soft and very loving, very nice to be with. So he escaped. When he reached to the other master, the other master asked, "Why have you left your own master?"
He told the reason, "He is too hard. He beats, he slaps. And I have heard you are so nice and so loving. That's why I have come here."
The master immediately slapped him and told him, "You idiot, you don't understand the compassion of your master. Just go back! Are you in search of a nice companionship? Are you interested only, urgently, in searching for the truth? Your master is a great man. We don't agree in our principles, that is something aside. As far as his compassion and love are concerned, he is far greater than me. I can only be nice to you.
"You are blind. You could not see when he hits you, with what love, with what care... how much he cares about you! Even though he is getting old, and in hitting you he hurts himself more than he hurts you, but his whole effort is to bring an urgency. He is not going to live long. As a man he is far greater than I am. As a compassionate teacher there is no parallel to him. You just go back. He is the right person as far as you are concerned."
The disciple could not understand. He had heard that this man is against his master, and he says, "I am in disagreement with your master on many points -- but that does not mean that your master's compassion is less, that your master's enlightenment is not authentic. I am not so compassionate. I don't hit you because I don't see the urgency. Perhaps in another life you may become enlightened. My care about you is less than his care. He wants you to become enlightened in this life, this moment. I am a little careless, I don't care, and you think it is nice. It is not nice, it is simply my carelessness -- whether you become enlightened or not is not my problem. You can enjoy your life and there is eternity available. Sometime, somewhere, you may become enlightened. Why should I bother?"
He came back to his master, touched his feet, and said what had happened. The master said, "Although we are traditionally opponents -- our schools are different, our principles, which are nonessential, are different -- I have always understood it, that that man is great, greater than people think. His sending you back here is a sign of his greatness. He has shown love towards you by slapping you. He does not slap ordinarily, but he knows perfectly well that a disciple who has been with me for years will not understand anything else than a good slap. Now go into your hut and start meditating on the sound of one hand clapping."
The disciple had been meditating on this koan for three years. Every day he was getting slaps, beatings, because he would think about it all the time, day and night, sitting. He would hear something in the night -- the crickets... all is silent, only crickets -- and he would get the idea that perhaps this is the sound. He would run to the master, knock on his door, and even before he had said anything the master would slap him and the disciple would say, "At least let me tell you...!"
The master said, "The moment you open your mouth, you are going to say something wrong. So don't unnecessarily waste my time. When you have got it, I will know without your saying it."
A few days passed and the disciple did not come back to report. He used to come every day -- sometimes the wind blowing through the pine trees, sometimes the sound of the running water, anything... and he would immediately think, "Perhaps this is the sound that will satisfy the master as the answer to the question."
But seeing the situation, that he hits you without even listening to your answer... One day the master closed his door as he saw him coming. What kind of master...? He just looked at him and closed the door and said to him through the closed doors, "Go back to your hut and meditate. I am getting old and I cannot hit you every day unnecessarily. I have looked at your face, it is not the sound that you think. Just go."
But for a few days he did not turn up. The master inquired, "What has happened?" People said, "He is just meditating and he is so silent and so peaceful, he looks like a buddha."
The master went there, touched his feet, shook him and told him, "You have heard it. Now it is enough. Come back to the monastery, it is lunch time."
The disciple could not believe that the master touched his feet. And the master said, "You have got it. And you have been sitting hungry for so many days and I was concerned because I was waiting every day for you to come. I enjoy slapping you so much that without you... I was wondering continuously what happened to the great disciple? But I am satisfied. You have got it. Now it is lunch time. Come, follow me."
It was a different climate altogether when there was no rivalry between masters because the aim was the same. Their methods may be different, their devices may be different, but one thing was absolutely certain, they all agreed on one point: that the search for truth is the first priority, and every disciple has to be sent to the right place, to the right master. It does not mean that the master who is sending the disciple is not right; it simply means that his devices will not suit this kind of man. It does not matter even if he has to be sent to the opponent.
These words I am saying with a deep concern because that whole climate of urgency for truth has disappeared from the world. Now there are thousands of pseudo teachers whose whole effort is how to gather followers. All the religions are doing the same. Have you ever heard of a Hindu shankaracharya telling to his disciple, "You go to a Mohammedan Sufi mystic," or vice versa? Have you ever heard of any Christian pope sending somebody to a Zen master to learn meditation?
These organized religions are political. Zen is a non-political religiousness. You cannot call it even religion. It is so individualistic and so emphatically concerned only with the potential of the individual. It does not want anything from the individual, it simply wants him to be himself.
At the time of Ma Tzu, there was another great Zen master in China; his name was Sekito. You are perfectly well acquainted with Sekito; he is reborn here. Sekito means stonehead, and this time he is born as Swami Niskriya; I call him Sekito, stonehead. And I had to send him back to Germany, just for a few weeks, because only stoneheads can hit against other stoneheads in Germany, you cannot send anybody else. So he goes, and hits his head against other heads for a few days. When he gets tired of enlightening other people, he comes back to rest. Right now he is in Germany.
Sekito was given the name by his master just because he was really a stonehead. Nothing penetrated into his head. You can do everything, nothing makes any difference, because who is hearing? His master used to beat him and he would laugh and he would say, "Do it as much as you can. Just as you are determined to make me enlightened, I am determined not to become enlightened. It is a question of dignity."
Because of this stubbornness -- but with so much love, there was no hatred, there was no anger, it was just to show the master -- he would say, "If you are stubborn, then don't think that you alone in the world are stubborn; I am also stubborn. Hit me as much as you can. I am not going to become enlightened." That's why he was given the name Sekito. But poor Sekito finally had to become enlightened. You cannot escape a master once you are caught in his net.
Ma Tzu and Sekito were such great masters that it was said that they divided the whole world between them. Their methods and their ways and their workings were absolutely different. They were completely free of any sense of rivalry. Even in such a situation where only two enlightened beings were there and the whole world was available, there was no rivalry. In fact they are reported to have cooperated with each other in bringing others to enlightenment. A case in point is Yakusan. That whole atmosphere, that golden age of search for truth is now just a memory, an echo in the mountains. But it had a beauty which has to be brought back.
Men's whole being should be concerned primarily in searching for his own life sources. But the modern situation is just the opposite. The Hindus have divided the world in a very beautiful way. They have divided the world into four ages. The first age they call the age of truth; the only concern of the people is truth, hence the name of the age is satyuga, the age of truth.
The second they call treta, a tripod. The first had four legs, it was a table. One leg is lost, now it is a tripod. There is still the search for truth, but the urgency is less, the intensity is less, the balance is less. On four legs the balance is complete; on three legs the balance cannot be complete, but there is still the same search.
The third age they call dwapar, two-legged. Now even the balance of treta, the second age, is lost. On two legs you cannot make a table, it will be unbalanced, but still half of the urgency is there.
The last age, in which we are living according to Hindu calculations, is called kaliyuga; the age of darkness, the age of blindness, the age of no inquiry into truth. People are concerned with mundane things. They devote their whole life to things which prove finally to be junk.
Their whole life could have been a great experiment in enlightenment, in searching for the roots of life, in being utterly fulfilled and contented. They could have gathered all the joy that the universe makes available to you. They could have danced, they could have sung, they could have rejoiced in all the beauties the universe is filled with. But because of their blindness they remained playing with toys; they never bothered that there is anything more than the toys.
In a way this metaphoric division of time has a certain truth in it. Today it is very difficult to find people -- I have found you, working for thirty-five years continuously -- it is very difficult to find people who are really ready to take the jump into the universe at any cost. And only those are the fortunate few.
Maneesha has brought a sutra:
YAKUSAN BEGAN HIS BUDDHIST STUDIES IN THE SCHOOL OF VINAYA.
VINAYA is a Buddhist scripture. Its whole name is VINAYA PITAK. Buddha spoke for forty-two years continuously, morning and evening, so naturally a tremendous volume of literature has been collected by the disciples. He never wrote anything, these are all notes from the disciples. `Vinaya' means humbleness, absolute egolessness.
So the disciples who have collected VINAYA PITAK, the scripture, they have found Gautam Buddha's teaching to be utterly humble, egoless, at ease with the universe, without any tension. It is one of the most beautiful books in existence. All the sutras lead to silence and peace and compassion.
YAKUSAN BEGAN HIS BUDDHIST STUDIES IN THE SCHOOL OF Vinaya, SO HE WAS WELL-VERSED IN SCRIPTURAL STUDIES AND ASCETICS BY THE TIME HE WAS INTRODUCED TO ZEN. HE BEGAN TO FEEL THAT THESE THINGS WERE NOT YET THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE.
He was in one school of Buddhism which is based on VINAYA PITAK. Then the master himself, who must have been teaching him about VINAYA PITAK, about compassion and love and egolessness, simplicity, humbleness, the master must have introduced him to Zen.
HE BEGAN TO FEEL THAT THESE THINGS WERE NOT YET THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE.
And when he was introduced to Zen, he became aware that it was all good, but it was not the ultimate goal of the spiritual life. On the contrary it was a kind of programming, a cultivation of certain habits, character, a lifestyle -- do this and don't do that. It was superficial.
Just today Amrito was telling me that a great scientist was asked, "Do you believe in God?" It seems obvious that the journalist who was asking this was a leftist atheist. He did not believe in God, and he could not conceive that a man of such a caliber, a great scientist, would say that he believes in God. The scientist said that he believed in God; the journalist was shocked. He said, "You are a great scientist and you still believe in God?"
The scientist said, "I have been programmed, it is not a question of my believing or not believing. I have been programmed from my very childhood that there is God -- so continuously told by the parents, by the priests, by the teachers, everywhere, that it has become almost as if I know that God is. But it is only a conditioning."
All religions have been dependent on programming, not knowing exactly what programming is. The word is new in the world of psychologists, but the activity that has been done for centuries in the world by all the religions can be covered by this word `programming'. The word came into existence with the computer. You have to program a computer. Whatever you want, you can put into the computer's mind. And it has a tremendous memory!
All the books that exist in the world, in all the libraries of the world, can be put into a computer. There is no need to waste so much space. Just one small computer can carry all the knowledge and you can ask it a question at any time, any absurd question -- if it has been programmed. The programming has to be remembered. If it has been asked, "What was the day when Socrates was married?" -- certainly it was an unfortunate day, but what was the day? -- if the computer has been given the date and day, immediately the reply will come. Because of computers coming into existence, the word `programming' has taken on tremendous meaning and implications.
What we are doing with computers, that is what religions have been doing with human beings. Somebody is a Hindu, and somebody is a Christian; what is the difference between the two? Just a different programming. If you bring up a Christian child from the very beginning in a Hindu household, do you think he will ever think about Jesus or about the Holy Bible? Will he ever ask questions that Christian children are bound to ask? He will be a Hindu because his programming will be Hindu. He will not even bother to waste time about Jesus. The same is true about all religions; every religion is programming the child, behaving with the child as if the child is a computer. It is the greatest insult to humanity and the greatest crime against every human being.
Every child comes with a clean slate. And then you start writing all over on it, the holy Bible, or holy Koran, or holy Gita, or holy DAS KAPITAL -- whatever you want. The poor child is in your hands, and he does not know yet and he cannot even think that his parents, who love him so much, will give him a wrong programming. But by the time he becomes aware of the word `programming', the programming has gone to the very bones and marrow of the child. He cannot think otherwise.
Now in Europe and America, because many young people have deviated from the orthodox churches, a new kind of profession has come into being, the deprogrammer.
A child is no more interested in the old Bible, he does not go to the church, he becomes a hippie. He just goes against every norm that Christianity has been following. "Cleanliness is next to God" -- and the hippie says there is no God and no cleanliness. It may be next, but neither of them exist. Just because the old society was insistent on cleanliness, the hippie has reacted, the youth has reacted against it.
Now with all kinds of reactions around the world, the fathers and the priests are very much worried, so they have asked psychoanalysts to create a system in which these people can be first deprogrammed, a continuous method of hypnotization, telling them, "You have gone astray. God is, and Jesus is his son. He is his only begotten son. And your religion is the highest and the greatest religion in the world." They put the person in a hypnotic sleep and they just go on repeating this. And it is a very simple thing to put a person into a hypnotic sleep; just tell him to gaze at anything that has radiating light. A candle will do; just concentrate on the candle and don't fall asleep and don't blink your eyes.
Naturally the eyes want to blink. Resist their natural tendency to blink, force yourself as much as possible to concentrate on the flame of the candle or anything that is shining enough and attracts your eyes. Within three to five minutes a person will have to fall asleep, because you cannot keep non-blinking eyes for more than three minutes; three minutes is the maximum.
When your eyes close automatically you cannot do anything because they are tired enough and bored also. Just watching a flame cannot be much entertainment, it cannot be a very interesting experience. There is no juice in it, so you are bored, the eyes are tired, you are forcing them to keep open. And the hypnotist by your side goes on saying, "You are falling asleep, you are falling asleep," in a very sleepy voice. Soon you will find your eyes are closing and the hypnotist will be continuing, "Your eyes are becoming heavy, your lids are closing. You are going into a deep sleep."
It is a very simple method, but of profound significance. Once a person is just on the verge of falling asleep, the hypnotist says to him, "You will not hear anybody's voice except mine." And then the subject, the person, falls asleep, and he will not hear anything except the voice of the hypnotist. Now the hypnotist starts deprogramming him. If he has become a "Hare Krishna, Hare Rama," then he has to tell him, "It is all bullshit. You have gone away from your original great religion. You have gone away from Jesus." He will bring him back to Jesus.
So a double process is going on. On the one hand he is deprogramming the person from Hare Krishna, Hare Rama, and on the other hand he is reprogramming him to his old childhood programming. His Christianity is still there in his unconscious, so it is very easy to bring that unconscious to the surface. After a few sessions the Hare Krishna, Hare Rama has been completely forgotten. Now he knows it is all nonsense. He starts going to the church, he has come back to the right religion. But all that has happened is that his programming has been changed. Just anybody can put Hare Krishna, Hare Rama back.
My whole effort here is just to deprogram you and not to reprogram again; just to leave you as clean slates as when you were born, in your original nature, in your original face. Nowhere else is that being done. These people who are doing programming, deprogramming, reprogramming -- they are all professionals, and the parents are paying them that their children should be brought back to the organized religion in which they were born.
My understanding is that birth has nothing to do with religion. Your parents may be Hindus or Christians, that does not mean that the child has to be a Hindu or a Christian. The child is not your possession. The child comes into the world through you. If you have any sense of humanity, any sense of respect, you will respect the child, and you will leave him alone and allow him to grow in his clarity, intelligence, in his inquiry for truth, even if he goes out of the fold in which you are programmed. If you love your child, let him go according to his nature, wherever it leads.
But no parent, no priest, is willing to give liberation to people, and everybody needs liberation from the priests. They are all against me for the simple reason that I am not a priest and I am not in favor of programming anybody.
My whole effort is to deprogram you so deeply that everything that has been put in you from your childhood is taken out and you are left again back in your childhood innocence. From that innocence begins your real journey of growth.
When Yakusan went to understand Zen, he immediately saw the difference. He was thinking while he was studying Vinaya that this is religion; but coming to the world of Zen, he saw that all that was nonessential. It is not the ultimate goal of life. That was really only programming, to tell you, "Be egoless, be compassionate, be loving to human beings, to living creatures." In Zen all these things will happen, not because of programming, but because of your own enlightenment, your own awareness, your own intensity and clarity. Compassion will come, but it will not be a cultivation. Love will come, but it will not be a parrot-like imitation.
Coming to the world of Zen he immediately realized that what he had been studying up to now was sheer wastage. It is not the ultimate goal. HE LONGED FOR TRUE FREEDOM AND PURITY BEYOND THE FORMULAS OF THE DHARMA. This is exactly what deprogramming means.
HE LONGED FOR TRUE FREEDOM AND PURITY BEYOND THE FORMULAS OF THE DHARMA. SO, SEEKING GUIDANCE, HE CALLED ON SEKITO.
YAKUSAN SAID TO THE MASTER, "I HAVE ONLY A ROUGH KNOWLEDGE OF THREE VEHICLES" -- there are three scriptures and three schools in Buddhism -- "AND THE TWELVE BRANCHES OF THE SPIRITUAL TEACHING. BUT I HEAR THAT IN THE SOUTH THERE IS A TEACHING ABOUT `POINTING DIRECTLY AT THE MIND OF MAN AND ATTAINING BUDDHAHOOD THROUGH THE PERCEPTION OF THE SELF-NATURE.' NOW, THIS IS BEYOND MY COMPREHENSION. I HUMBLY BESEECH YOU TO GRACIOUSLY ENLIGHTEN ME ON THIS."
SEKITO REPLIED, "IT IS TO BE FOUND NEITHER IN AFFIRMATION NOR IN NEGATION, NOR IN AFFIRMING AND NEGATING AT THE SAME TIME. SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?"
YAKUSAN WAS ALTOGETHER MYSTIFIED BY THESE WORDS.
I will have to tell you something so that you are not mystified by these words. In the West, Aristotle has given a logic which has only a dialectical process. Either something is negative or something is positive. In other words, either you believe in God or you don't believe in God. Yes and no -- these two words are the foundation of Aristotelian logic.
But Buddha believes -- and he is far more significant than Aristotle -- he calls this twofold logic, "yes and no." If you ask Buddha if there is a God, he will say, "My first answer is yes, my second answer is no, my third answer is yes and no both." This he calls threefold logic.
It simply mystifies people -- because what do you mean? Either you believe in God or you don't believe in God; twofold logic seems to be perfectly right. What is the point of threefold?
But he was not alone in this. His contemporary Mahavira had a sevenfold logic, and that is the last word, you cannot go beyond it -- all possibilities, all angles. Yes and no are just two polarities, but you can be just in the middle. Yes and no both, or neither yes nor no -- you can be just in the middle, not going to the extremes. And that was Buddha's way, known as the middle way.
Buddha says going to the extreme is wrong because you are choosing only one part; going to the other extreme is exactly in the same way wrong. Just be in the middle. The real is in the middle. But in the middle you cannot say yes, you cannot say no. Either you have to say both together, or you have to deny both together. That's what Sekito is saying. Now hear it, and you will not be mystified by it.
"IT IS TO BE FOUND," the truth has to be found, "NEITHER IN AFFIRMATION," neither in saying yes, "NOR IN NEGATION," nor in saying no, "NOR IN AFFIRMING AND NEGATING AT THE SAME TIME," nor in saying yes and no at the same time. Truth cannot be found in these three categories. The truth is beyond these three categories, it is the fourth. It is beyond logic, hence it cannot be expressed through any logical expression.
Poor Yakusan was at a loss. Even Sekito asked him, "SO WHAT CAN YOU DO? These are the three possibilities, none of them expresses the truth. What are you going to do?"
YAKUSAN WAS ALTOGETHER MYSTIFIED BY THESE WORDS. It seems he has come to the end of the road. HENCE, SEKITO TOLD HIM FRANKLY -- and this is the beauty of that golden milieu that has disappeared from the world -- "THE CAUSE AND OCCASION OF YOUR ENLIGHTENMENT ARE NOT PRESENT HERE IN THIS PLACE. YOU SHOULD RATHER GO TO VISIT THE GREAT MASTER, MA TZU."
Ma Tzu and Sekito were the two opponent enlightened masters of that time. He is telling Yakusan to go to Ma Tzu although he is his opponent. "Your personality, your way of thinking... this place and the devices used here will not help you in growing up to your maturity. You should rather go to Ma Tzu. He will be a right atmosphere for you."
You can see the point. Sending a disciple to the opponent simply means that his interest is in the disciple and his growth, not in a growing following of his own. He looks at the person, feels his pulse, feels his heartbeat, and is clearly aware that "Here he will find it very difficult. Ma Tzu will be the right atmosphere for the man."
FOLLOWING THE SUGGESTION, YAKUSAN WENT TO PAY HIS RESPECTS TO MA TZU, PRESENTING BEFORE HIM THE SAME REQUEST AS HE HAD ADDRESSED TO SEKITO.
MA TZU REPLIED, "I SOMETIMES MAKE HIM RAISE HIS EYEBROWS AND TURN HIS EYES; AT OTHER TIMES I DO NOT LET HIM RAISE HIS EYEBROWS AND TURN HIS EYES. SOMETIMES IT IS REALLY HE WHO IS RAISING HIS EYEBROWS AND TURNING HIS EYES; AT OTHER TIMES IT IS REALLY NOT HE WHO IS RAISING HIS EYEBROWS AND TURNING HIS EYES. HOW DO YOU UNDERSTAND THIS?"
Yakusan must have been feeling he was almost going insane. Sekito talked about logic and mystified him, and now this fellow is saying strange things. About whom is he talking?
AT THIS, YAKUSAN SAW COMPLETELY EYE-TO-EYE WITH MA TZU -- seeing and listening to his words it became clear to him that there is something beyond the words. Sekito has indicated towards it and now, listening to this man's almost crazy talk, one thing is certain, that truth cannot be explained in words. Both the masters have helped him to get rid of language. So rather than language, he SAW COMPLETELY EYE-TO-EYE WITH MA TZU AND WAS ENLIGHTENED. HE BOWED REVERENTLY TO THE MASTER.
Now just reading these words will not help, because something has happened which is not written and cannot be written. Something transpired when the disciple and the master looked into each other's eyes. In that silent moment some transmission, some energy... He has seen in the eyes of the master, "These are the eyes with which I can feel at ease. These are the eyes through which I can see the whole." It comes as an instantaneous, spontaneous realization, so nothing is said. That's what makes people worried about reading Zen.
YAKUSAN SAW COMPLETELY EYE-TO-EYE WITH MA TZU AND WAS ENLIGHTENED. Now just reading this sentence will not explain anything unless you have seen into the eyes of a master, unless you have been in deep intimacy with a master, unless you have felt the presence and energy field of a master. It is a totally different universe, a totally different dimension of communicating, of communion.
He fell in love immediately. Those two eyes satisfied him absolutely: "This is the man I had been searching for for lives. I have come home." The realization was so tremendous and so strong that he became enlightened.
This is called in Zen "the transmission of the lamp." It is just as if you bring two candles close -- one candle lighted, the other candle unlit. But bring them closer, and there is a point when suddenly the flame from one candle will jump to the other candle. Exactly something like that happens between a master and a disciple, when they encounter eye-to-eye. Yakusan became enlightened. Nothing has to be done.
What we are trying here is to bring your heart close to my heart, because that is the only way I can bring your heart to the universal heart. I am just a door to be passed, a bridge to be crossed.
An authentic master is not in any way a bondage to the disciple. He is simply a way, absolutely open and unconditional; you enter into him and through him you reach to the universe.
HE BOWED REVERENTLY TO THE MASTER, WHO ASKED HIM, "WHAT TRUTH DO YOU PERCEIVE THAT YOU SHOULD PERFORM THESE CEREMONIES?"
YAKUSAN SAID, "WHEN I WAS WITH SEKITO, I WAS LIKE A MOSQUITO CRAWLING ON A BRONZE OX."
Sekito was a man -- stoneheaded, a very hard shell. Yakusan says, "I felt like a small mosquito crawling on a bronze ox. There was no way for me; I could not get into Sekito, Sekito was too hard."
MA TZU, DISCERNING THAT THE ENLIGHTENMENT WAS GENUINE, ASKED HIM TO TAKE GOOD CARE OF THE INSIGHT. HE ATTENDED UPON MA TZU FOR THREE YEARS. ONE DAY, MA TZU ASKED AGAIN, "WHAT DO YOU SEE RECENTLY?"
YAKUSAN REPLIED, "THE SKIN HAS ENTIRELY MOULTED OFF; THERE REMAINS ONLY THE ONE, TRUE REALITY."
MA TZU SAID, "WHAT YOU HAVE ATTAINED IS PERFECTLY IN TUNE WITH THE INNERMOST CORE OF YOUR MIND, AND FROM THENCE IT HAS SPREAD INTO YOUR FOUR LIMBS. THIS BEING THE CASE, IT IS TIME TO GIRD YOUR WAIST WITH THREE BAMBOO SPLINTS, AND GO FORTH TO MAKE YOUR ABODE ON ANY MOUNTAIN YOU MAY LIKE."
YAKUSAN REPLIED, "WHO AM I TO SET UP ANY ABODE ON ANY MOUNTAIN?"
MA TZU SAID, "NOT SO! ONE CANNOT ALWAYS BE TRAVELING WITHOUT ABIDING, NOR ALWAYS BE ABIDING WITHOUT TRAVELING. TO ADVANCE FROM WHERE YOU CAN NO LONGER ADVANCE, AND TO DO WHAT CAN NO LONGER BE DONE, YOU MUST MAKE YOURSELF INTO A RAFT OR FERRYBOAT FOR OTHERS. IT IS NOT FOR YOU TO ABIDE HERE FOREVER."
Ma Tzu was convinced that Yakusan had authentically become enlightened. Three years he had watched him, allowed him to be with himself. When it was certain, with all his gestures, activities, responses, that he had become a buddha, Ma Tzu told him, "Choose any mountain around, make your abode there."
He is telling him, "Now you are a master yourself, you need not be here. You have to become a ferryboat or a raft for others, those who want to go to the other shore. So make a temple, a monastery on some mountain, and those who are thirsty will come to you. You are not to be satisfied with your own enlightenment. That is very miserly. You have to spread the fire to those who are groping in the dark. You have to become a master of many who are blind. You have to give them eyes to see."
Ma Tzu is behaving exactly the way a buddha should behave on finding that another one has become a buddha. It is a wastage to keep him to himself. He should go now on his own, absolutely free to be himself, not to be under the shadow of a great master. It is almost like a gardener. He will remove a small plant from a big tree. Underneath a big tree the small plant cannot grow. It needs its own space. It needs its own sun, its own sky, and once the gardener sees the potentiality of the plant -- that it is not a weed but a rose -- he takes it to an open sky where sun is available, fresh air is available, water is available.
Every master tries his best to give to his disciples independence, integrity, individuality, and a message -- what you have gained, don't keep it to yourself. Share it. The more you share, the more you have it. The less you share, the less you have it. It is a different economics of the inner world. In the outer world the more you share it, the less you have it.
I have heard about a man who had just won a lottery, a million dollars. As usual he found the beggar standing by the side of the road. Today he was so happy, receiving one million dollars, he gave that beggar a one-hundred-dollar bill. The beggar looked at the bill, and he looked at the man, and he said to the man, "Soon you will be standing by my side."
He said, "What do you mean?"
The beggar said, "This is how I came to this state. I went on giving to everybody. Now I am in a state -- I don't have anything, I have to beg. The way you are giving, it won't take much time. You can always come to me. I am an experienced beggar by now."

On the outside, in the objective world, there is one economics. You have to hold on to whatever you have, you have to cling to it. Not only you have to cling to your own, if you can manage to cling to others'...
George Bernard Shaw was asked once, "Can anyone live just keeping his hands in the pockets?"
George Bernard Shaw said, "Of course one can. But the pockets must be somebody else's."
In your own pockets you cannot live forever. In the objective world, if you share, you lose. But in the internal world just the opposite canon of thought is applicable. The more you share, the more you have; the less you share, the less you have. If you don't share at all, that small flame can disappear. By sharing it becomes a great fire. It consumes you.
A poem by Soko:
INHALE, EXHALE
FORWARD, BACK,
LIVING, DYING:
ARROWS, LET FLOWN EACH TO EACH,
MEET MIDWAY AND SLICE
THE VOID IN AIMLESS FLIGHT --
THUS I RETURN TO THE SOURCE.

Go on throwing and throwing your experience, in life, in death. Soko says, THUS I RETURN TO THE SOURCE. The more I give, the deeper I reach to the source. It is just like digging a well. If you don't take out the water from the well, the water will become dead. The more you take the water out, the more fresh streams are opening up and bringing new water, fresh water from all sides.

 

 

Next: Chapter 7: To the source, Question 1

 


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