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MA TZU: THE EMPTY MIRROR

Chapter 9: No ripples

 

Energy Enhancement             Enlightened Texts             Zen             The Empty Mirror

 

OUR BELOVED MASTER,
ON ONE OCCASION, A MONK CALLED ON MA TZU AND ASKED HIM, "WHO IS THE MAN WHO DOES NOT TAKE ALL DHARMAS AS HIS COMPANIONS?"
MA TZU REPLIED, "I WILL TELL YOU THIS AFTER YOU HAVE SWALLOWED ALL THE WATER IN THE WEST RIVER."
UPON HEARING THIS, THE MONK WAS INSTANTANEOUSLY AWAKENED, AND HE STAYED FOR TWO YEARS AT MA TZU'S MONASTERY.
AT ANOTHER TIME, MA TZU SAID, "EVERY DHARMA IS THE DHARMA OF THE MIND, AND EVERY NAME IS A NAME OF THE MIND. ALL BEINGS ARE BORN OF THE MIND, AND SO MIND IS THE FOUNDATION OF ALL BEINGS.
"AS AN EXAMPLE: THE SHADOW OF THE MOON REFLECTED ON THE WATER HAS MANY SHAPES, BUT THE REAL MOON IS NOT LIKE THAT. LIKEWISE THERE ARE VARIOUS RIVERS, BUT THE NATURE OF THE WATER IS THE SAME. ALTHOUGH THERE ARE MYRIAD ACTIVITIES, THERE IS NO DISCRIMINATION IN THE EMPTINESS. DIFFERENT THINGS GO THROUGH THE DIFFERENT WAYS, BUT THE LIBERATED WISDOM IS ONE. ALL ARE BASED ON ONE MIND.
"EVERY DHARMA IS BASED ON THE DHARMA OF BUDDHA. EACH DHARMA IS INSTANTLY THE DHARMA OF REALIZATION, AND THE DHARMA OF REALIZATION IS, THINGS BEING AS THEY REALLY ARE.
"ALL THAT COME AND GO AND HAVE A REST, OR SIT AND LIE DOWN, ARE THE MYSTERIOUS WORK, AND THEY DON'T NEED A PROCESS OF TIME. THE SCRIPTURES ALSO SAY: `ALL AROUND EVERYWHERE, INSTANTANEOUSLY THERE ARE BUDDHAS.'"
MA TZU CONTINUED, "CULTIVATION IS OF NO USE FOR THE ATTAINMENT OF TAO. THE ONLY THING THAT ONE CAN DO IS TO BE FREE OF DEFILEMENT. WHEN ONE'S MIND IS STAINED WITH THOUGHTS OF LIFE AND DEATH, OR DELIBERATE ACTION, THAT IS DEFILEMENT. THE GRASPING OF THE TRUTH IS THE FUNCTION OF EVERYDAY-MINDEDNESS.
"EVERYDAY-MINDEDNESS IS FREE FROM INTENTIONAL ACTION, FREE FROM CONCEPTS OF RIGHT AND WRONG, TAKING AND GIVING, THE FINITE OR THE INFINITE.... ALL OUR DAILY ACTIVITIES -- WALKING, STANDING, SITTING, LYING DOWN -- ALL RESPONSE TO SITUATIONS, OUR DEALINGS WITH CIRCUMSTANCES AS THEY ARISE: ALL THIS IS TAO."

Maneesha, care of Anando.... She is here -- where else can she be? But she is hiding behind a migraine. You have to remember yesterday's anecdote. Master Ma Tzu was hiding behind tiredness: "I am too tired to answer this question today. You go to Chizo." The reality was that the question could not be answered. Chizo said, "I am suffering from severe headache. It is better you go to Hyakujo." Hyakujo simply gave up the secret; he simply said, "I don't know."
The reason for Maneesha's migraine is the question she has asked. When we come to the question, you will understand why she has a migraine.
The story she has brought:
ON ONE OCCASION, A MONK CALLED ON MA TZU AND ASKED HIM, "WHO IS THE MAN WHO DOES NOT TAKE ALL DHARMAS AS HIS COMPANIONS?"
Ma Tzu himself was the man who had said, "I am only the witness. All dharmas are just objects, I witness them. For example: compassion arises in me -- I am not compassion. I can see it arising just like smoke arises out of fire, or flames arise out of fire. But I am not it."
Any dharma, any virtue, is as objective as anything else in the world. Only one thing is not objective in the world, and that is your very being -- your witnessing self. It can never be made into an object; it is impossible to reduce it to an object. It will always remain the witness and can never become the witnessed.
Except this, you cannot say anything more about it. And because it is not attached to any dharma, any attribute, it has an eternal life, it has an immortality, and it has a reach into the very depths of the universe.
Ma Tzu was himself the man. The monk was asking Ma Tzu, "WHO IS THE MAN WHO DOES NOT TAKE ALL DHARMAS AS HIS COMPANIONS?"
He must be angry, because there are other Buddhist schools which say that all the dharmas belong to the self. Compassion, love, truth -- all the dharmas are attributes of your being, branches of your own being, flowers of your own being. And this is a far bigger majority opinion.
Ma Tzu is unique in his understanding that only one thing -- witnessing -- is the nature of your being. Everything else that can be witnessed falls separate from you. It becomes the other. The moment it is objectified, it becomes the other.
The man must have been in anger when he asked this.
MA TZU REPLIED, "I WILL TELL YOU THIS AFTER YOU HAVE SWALLOWED ALL THE WATER IN THE WEST RIVER."
Seeing his anger, rather than answering him, Ma Tzu said, "Just go to the river, and swallow all the water of the river. Even that much water may not be able to quench your anger. Then come back, and I will answer you."
Upon hearing this, the man suddenly must have become aware of his anger. That is the whole teaching of Zen. Whichever school one belongs to, watching is unavoidably part of the discipline.
Suddenly he must have become aware that he has asked the question not out of a quest, but out of anger. He calmed down. Suddenly a tremendous coolness came to him, as if he had already swallowed the whole river.
UPON HEARING THIS, THE MONK WAS INSTANTANEOUSLY AWAKENED, AND HE STAYED FOR TWO YEARS AT MA TZU'S MONASTERY.
Enlightenment is a question of a sudden realization -- that you are neither anger, nor greed, nor love, nor compassion. Anything that you can name, you are not. You are the unnameable witness, hidden deep inside you, just reflecting everything that passes by, just a mirror.
I have called this series MA TZU: THE EMPTY MIRROR for the simple reason that his whole teaching is: don't react -- just be, and reflect. Clouds will come and go, and the sky remains as empty as ever. Clouds don't leave any mark on the empty sky. And just as outside there is this vast empty sky -- it is immeasurable -- on the other side, inwards, the same infinity exists. You are standing just in the middle between an outer infinity and an inner infinity. You can go in either direction -- outwards, and you will not find any limit, or inwards, and you will not find any limit.
Science has been struggling for three hundred years, because it was determined that there must be a boundary line to the universe. To the mind it is not appealing, it seems irrational that something can be without boundaries. How can it be without boundaries? The boundaries may be millions of miles away, millions of light years away; but that does not matter, it still remains limited.
But finally, with Albert Einstein, science accepted its failure. Now we have immensely powerful instruments to find the farthest star, but even the farthest star is not the limit. Albert Einstein accepted it humbly that, rational or irrational -- what can we do? -- existence is unlimited. If anything, we can change our logic and rationality, but we cannot change the universe.
The inward infinity is far more mysterious, just because it is more alive. The deeper you go, the deeper you are going into life, into abundant life. And the deeper you go, you find only one quality, that of the mirror. You reflect everything, and nothing affects you.
Only at this point can a man like Ma Tzu come to live in the marketplace, because he knows that his mirror is not any conceptualization, it is now his experience. He knows that everything is reflected. People come and go, riches come and go, the poor become rich, the rich become poor; things go on happening, but your mirror simply mirrors.
Ma Tzu has come to the very root of the problem. If you can understand him, then, in a single moment, instantaneously, the awakening can happen to you too.

AT ANOTHER TIME, MA TZU SAID, "EVERY DHARMA IS THE DHARMA OF THE MIND, AND EVERY NAME IS A NAME OF THE MIND. ALL BEINGS ARE BORN OF THE MIND, AND SO MIND IS THE FOUNDATION OF ALL BEINGS.
"AS AN EXAMPLE: THE SHADOW OF THE MOON REFLECTED ON THE WATER HAS MANY SHAPES, BUT THE REAL MOON IS NOT LIKE THAT. LIKEWISE THERE ARE VARIOUS RIVERS, BUT THE NATURE OF THE WATER IS THE SAME. ALTHOUGH THERE ARE MYRIAD ACTIVITIES, THERE IS NO DISCRIMINATION IN THE EMPTINESS."
Ma Tzu uses the word `mind', but you have to understand that his `mind' means `empty mind', a mind which is emptiness. If the mirror is already full of reflections, it cannot reflect you. The mirror is no more a mirror, it has become a film of a camera. You can take one image on the film, and the film is finished, because that image remains on the film. The film is very much identified with the image; the film does not function like the mirror.
Empty mind is the origin of all -- all the dharmas, every name, all beings. Empty mind is the foundation of all things. Realizing that empty mind is the foundation of all things; all that you have to do is to throw away all the furniture that you have gathered in your mind. It is all junk. It is destroying your precious spaciousness.
Have you ever thought about the word `room'? Do you know that the word `room' means spaciousness, roominess? When a room is full of furniture and all kinds of things, photographs, and flowers, its roominess is covered. It is less roomy, less spacious than its reality. If you remove everything from the room, it can be described as an empty room; but that is really repeating the word. `Room' simply means emptiness, spaciousness.
That's why Ma Tzu does not use the two words together: `empty' and `mind'.
To him `mind' itself means `emptiness', it is another name for `emptiness'. And out of this emptiness everything arises.
It was thought to be a very mysterious idea, unbelievable, but now science has to concede that the philosophers and the objective scientists have been wrong, and the mystics have been right. Now they can see... and you can see it in everyday life. Have you ever taken a seed and cut it into two? Do you find any roses inside it? Or do you find any kind of foliage? You find simply nothingness.
But the same seed, given the right opportunity and climate, the right soil and a loving gardener, will start sprouting as the spring comes. Those green leaves that come in the beginning... because you are so much accustomed to seeing all this, you don't see the mystery of it. From where are those two leaves coming? You have looked into the seed, there were no leaves in it, no roses in it. And now there is a great foliage of thousands of leaves and hundreds of flowers. From where? From nowhere; from the emptiness of existence they arise.
And then one day the flowers disappear, the leaves fall away, the tree disappears. Where? Where has it all gone? Again to rest, into emptiness.
Now science is agreeing that even great stars... and their greatness is really shocking even to think of. We think of them as small stars, but they are not small. They are very far away, that is why they look small. Our own sun is a star. It is six hundred times bigger than our earth, and it is considered to be, in the universe of stars, a mediocre star, a middle-class fellow -- because there are stars thousands of times bigger than this.
And every day hundreds of stars are dying -- but where do they disappear to? And hundreds of stars are born, so the balance remains. From where?
Just within these last twenty years they have found things that make the whole of science such a mystery. They found black holes first; they found that there are black holes in the sky, and what they are exactly nobody knows. But if any star comes close to a black hole -- the black hole has a gravity thousands of times greater than the earth -- the star simply goes into the black hole and disappears. Just a moment before it was there in its immense glory, and just a moment afterwards there is just nothing but darkness. The star has gone back to rest, into emptiness.
After the black hole, it was natural and inevitable to find white holes -- because if the black hole takes stars into emptiness, there must be white holes from where new stars are born. And now they are agreed on the fact that there are white holes, which go on throwing out new stars.
My own feeling is that perhaps it is the same hole -- on one side black, on the other side white. So you jump through the door; from one side you are dead, from another side you come out smiling. This is my own feeling, I am not saying that it is scientific. I don't care about science or anything, but this seems to be more possible, rather than black holes in one place, and white holes far away from them... that does not look right. They should be close enough, so as the old star becomes empty, from the white door it gains a new incarnation, and comes back again.
But as far as emptiness is concerned, nothing makes any mark on it. It remains utterly empty.
"DIFFERENT THINGS GO THROUGH THE DIFFERENT WAYS, BUT THE LIBERATED WISDOM IS ONE. ALL ARE BASED ON ONE EMPTY MIND.
"EVERY DHARMA IS BASED ON THE DHARMA OF BUDDHA. EACH DHARMA IS INSTANTLY THE DHARMA OF REALIZATION, AND THE DHARMA OF REALIZATION IS, THINGS BEING AS THEY REALLY ARE."
To see things as they really are, you have to be absolutely empty -- only a mirror. Your mirror should be clean, without any dust, without any thought, without any prejudice, without any religion. Just a pure reflective mirror, and you can see things as they are. And seeing things as they are, life becomes a festival, a celebration, a dance. The whole existence is dancing, rejoicing; it is drunk completely with blissfulness, except for man -- who is unnecessarily keeping himself filled with junk in his mind, and preventing his mirror from reflecting the reality of existence.
"ALL THAT COME AND GO AND HAVE A REST, OR SIT AND LIE DOWN, ARE THE MYSTERIOUS WORK, AND THEY DON'T NEED A PROCESS OF TIME. THE SCRIPTURES ALSO SAY: `ALL AROUND EVERYWHERE, INSTANTANEOUSLY THERE ARE BUDDHAS.'"
I don't care about scriptures, but I can see everywhere, all around, there are buddhas. It is not a quotation from any scripture, I can see it with my own eyes. You may not be aware, that does not matter. A man of clarity will be able to see your reality. And the function of the master is to point again and again to your reality. It is a kind of harassment to go on hitting on your head, the way a nail is hit into the wall, so that finally you scream, and you say, "Yes, I am a buddha!"
Unless you scream, and say "I am a buddha!" the master is going to hammer the nail into your head. But most people, just seeing the hammer, immediately realize, "What is the point of unnecessary suffering? Why not be a buddha?"
That's how I became a buddha. Seeing that other fellows are becoming buddhas instantaneously, why should I waste time? And the day I recognized that there is no need of any effort, that I am a born buddha -- since that time, not for a single moment has any doubt arisen. I have tried myself to doubt the fact -- "Just think twice, you may not be a buddha" -- but I have been a failure. That instantaneous experience of buddhahood has gone so deep that now no doubt arises. On the contrary, every day I go on becoming more and more beyond doubt, beyond any question. And strangely enough, since the day I became aware of my buddhahood, all misery has disappeared, all suffering has disappeared. I don't have any tensions. I don't think about tomorrow.
Just after harassing you a little, I will go to sleep, not even thinking that there is going to be another sunrise. In the morning, when Nirvano wakes me, I say, "My God, again? The whole day... and in the evening the same harassment of poor buddhas."
An unnecessary effort, if you understand; just recognize it yourself -- don't let me harass you!
MA TZU CONTINUED, "CULTIVATION IS OF NO USE FOR THE ATTAINMENT OF TAO."
Call it Tao, or the buddha, or the dharma -- it is the same. CULTIVATION IS OF NO USE... Don't try to cultivate, just be! For one day try it at least, not cultivating; just for twenty-four hours give me a chance! Be a buddha whatever happens. And I don't think you will come back again to be a non-buddha. Twenty-four hours, if you can maintain your buddhahood whatever happens... Your wife escapes, don't be worried! A buddha does not get worried. At the most you can do one thing, which is proper; go to the post office and report that your wife has escaped. Don't go to the police station, because the police station is a dangerous place -- they may bring your wife back! And the one she has gone with is your best friend.
Just relax and enjoy it, "How grateful I am to the universe. It happens to very few, rare individuals!" The wife, and escaping? Most wives cling so hard that they take all juice out of you. You are just moving without any juice. To be a buddha it is perfectly good, it is absolutely necessary, that somebody should escape with your wife.
One of my friends, who presented me with my first car, asked me after one year, "Do you get angry sometimes? Because I have never seen a driver who will not get angry on the Indian roads."
I said, "Let it be on record, because no buddha before has ever driven a car. I simply see the things as they are: the road is rotten, and it is going to be more rotten tomorrow."
In forty years of independence it has been going down and down and down. Nobody seems to be interested that roads have to be repaired. Nobody follows the traffic laws because it is a free country! You are blessed if you come back home alive. You can just go in Poona and see the traffic -- that's why I lie down in my room. Why unnecessarily get into trouble?
But I told my friend that I don't get angry -- what is the point? Getting angry at the road? I don't get angry with the strange traffic that goes on around. It is a free country, everybody is free to follow his own ideas. So somebody follows to the left, somebody follows to the right, and there are people who follow in the middle.
But it's not much of a problem. In countries where traffic rules are very strict, the rate of accidents is greater than in India -- that is a miracle. It has been found that in America, where traffic rules are very strict and you cannot drive more that fifty-five miles per hour, more people die in accidents than in India, where you can drive anywhere you like, and where on the road it is not just the twentieth century, but all the centuries together: a bullock cart is going, somebody is driving a camel cart, an elephant is moving; and dogs have freedom in India as they have nowhere else in the world, and children are playing football in the road.
Still, one goes to the office, one comes back alive. I don't go anywhere, but every morning I am surprised, "My God, again!"
But there is no anger, there is no complaint, there is no grudge. I will enjoy one day more. There must be one morning that I will not wake up; I will enjoy that too. I simply enjoy the idea that you are all trying to wake me up, and I simply don't wake up! The same game that I have been trying so long: trying to wake you up, and nobody is waking. One day, you will be in the same position.
Ma Tzu says, "THE ONLY THING THAT ONE CAN DO IS TO BE FREE OF DEFILEMENT. WHEN ONE'S MIND IS STAINED WITH THOUGHTS OF LIFE AND DEATH, OR DELIBERATE ACTION, THAT IS DEFILEMENT."
You can see, his use of `mind' is equivalent to `no-mind'. When the mind becomes defiled WITH THOUGHTS OF LIFE AND DEATH, OR DELIBERATE ACTION, THAT IS DEFILEMENT. Then the mind is full of imagination, of thoughts, of emotions, of sentiments, of past memories, of future utopias. And the mirror is completely lost in layers of dust. You don't have to cultivate anything, you have just to drop all this dust that has gathered on your mirror.
THE GRASPING OF THE TRUTH is not something special, it IS THE FUNCTION OF EVERYDAY-MINDEDNESS.
Just keep your mind undefiled, and the whole world looks so clean, so pure, so immensely beautiful, that you cannot but be grateful.
"EVERYDAY-MINDEDNESS IS FREE FROM INTENTIONAL ACTION, FREE FROM CONCEPTS OF RIGHT AND WRONG, TAKING AND GIVING, THE FINITE OR THE INFINITE.... ALL OUR DAILY ACTIVITIES -- WALKING, STANDING, SITTING, LYING DOWN -- ALL RESPONSE TO SITUATIONS, OUR DEALINGS WITH CIRCUMSTANCES AS THEY ARISE: ALL THIS IS TAO."
Ma Tzu is against, just as I am against, those who escape from the world, renounce the world. Those people are not saints, they have simply chickened out! They could not encounter the existence with a right, clean mirror. They escaped, being afraid that they would be defiled by others. Nobody can defile you. It is up to you; if you allow dust to gather on your mirror, there will be defilement. If you don't allow dust...

There is a Zen story:
A Zen master sent his chief disciple to a caravanserai for his last examination. The disciple said, "What kind of examination is this? What am I to do in that caravanserai?"
He said, "You just go and watch whatever is happening there, and bring the news to me. That is going to decide whether you are going to be my successor or not."
He went to the caravanserai, he watched everything. It was a question of tremendous importance, and what he brought made him the successor.
He brought this: "I saw that the owner of the caravanserai cleans the mirror in the evening -- each evening -- and again in the morning he cleans the mirror. So I asked him, `You cleaned it just a few hours ago, why are you cleaning it again?' The owner said, `The dust goes on gathering every moment, so clean the mirror whenever you have time. You will always find some dust which has gathered.'
"And I have come to the conclusion that you were right to send me to the caravanserai. This is actually the case with the mind -- clean it every moment, because every moment, just by its nature, dust goes on gathering."

If you can avoid defilement, there is no need of any cultivation; you will realize the ultimate truth, the Tao.
A Zen haiku:
ENTERING THE FOREST,
HE MOVES NOT THE GRASS.
ENTERING THE WATER,
HE MAKES NOT A RIPPLE.

He is talking about the full moon. A full moon entering into the forest moves not even the grass. So silent... its movement is so graceful that not even the grass is disturbed. Entering the water as a reflection, he makes not a ripple.
And that is the state of the awakened man, the buddha. Even entering into the marketplace he makes no ripples. Wherever he is, he is just an undefiled mirror. Nothing disturbs it, nothing becomes attached to it -- like a cloud. Everything comes and goes, and the mirror remains all the time empty. If you can be empty, you are enlightened. Such a simple and obvious phenomenon, it does not need any cultivation.

Now, the question that has created in Maneesha a migraine, so that Anando has to represent her. She has asked:

 

 

Next: Chapter 9: No ripples, Question 1

 


Energy Enhancement             Enlightened Texts             Zen             The Empty Mirror

 

 

Chapters:

 

 

 

ENERGY

ENHANCEMENT MEDITATION

MEDITATION HEAD

 HOME PAGE

 

GAIN ENERGY APPRENTICE LEVEL1

THE ENERGY BLOCKAGE REMOVAL PROCESS

LEVEL2

THE KARMA CLEARING PROCESS APPRENTICE LEVEL3

MASTERY OF  RELATIONSHIPS TANTRA APPRENTICE LEVEL4

 

STUDENTS EXPERIENCES  2005 AND 2006

 

MORE STUDENTS EXPERIENCES

 - FIFTY FULL TESTIMONIALS

2003 COURSE

 
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