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NO MIND: THE FLOWERS OF ETERNITY

Chapter 8: Truth has no history

 

Energy Enhancement             Enlightened Texts             Zen             No Mind: The FLowers of Eternity

 

BELOVED BUDDHA,
A MONK CAME TO SEE MASTER DAIZUI, AND SAID TO HIM, "MOUNT GOTAI AND MOUNT DAIZUI -- WHAT ARE THEY LIKE? HOW IS MOUNT DAIZUI?"
DAIZUI SAID, "SPEAK LOUDER -- I'M HARD OF HEARING."
THE MONK REPEATED THE QUESTION IN A LOUD VOICE.
DAIZUI SAID: "IT IS LIKE A THOUSAND MOUNTAINS, TEN THOUSAND MOUNTAINS!"
ON ANOTHER OCCASION A MONK SAID, "ONE OF THE ANCIENTS STOOD IN THE SNOW AND CUT OFF HIS ARM. WHAT TRUTH WAS HE SEEKING?"
DAIZUI REPLIED, "HE DIDN'T CUT OFF HIS ARM."
THE MONK PROTESTED, "HE did CUT IT OFF! WHY DO YOU SAY THAT HE DIDN'T?"
DAIZUI OBSERVED, "HE WAS ENJOYING BEING IN THE SNOW."
AT ANOTHER TIME, A MONK BOWED TO THE STATUE OF MANJUSHRI, IN THE PRESENCE OF DAIZUI. THE MASTER LIFTED UP HIS MOSQUITO-FLAPPER AND SAID, "MANJUSHRI AND SAMANTABHADRA ARE BOTH CONTAINED IN THIS."
THE MONK DREW A CIRCLE, THREW IT BEHIND HIM, AND THEN STRETCHED OUT HIS ARMS. DAIZUI TOLD THE ATTENDANT TO GIVE THE MONK A CUP OF TEA.

My Friends,
Before I discuss the sutras, a real concern to my heart is more urgent to be discussed.
India's prime minister Rajiv Gandhi has been trying his hardest to create a friendship with China, and it seems they are settling the matter. I don't blame Rajiv Gandhi. Two big countries like India and China cannot remain forever enemies -- whoever is weaker, sooner or later is going to give way.
This is the second defeat to India. The first defeat was when China invaded Indian territory in the Himalayas, thousands of miles. India was not strong enough, and particularly it was not ready to fight in the eternal snows of the Himalayas.
Rajiv Gandhi's grandfather -- Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India -- still fought, knowing perfectly well there was no possibility to be victorious. And he was defeated. The Indian armies could not stand the snows of the Himalayas. They had never thought about it; hence they were not prepared.
China conquered Tibet. One of the most significant countries in the world -- small and poor, at the highest mountains, it was called "the roof of the world," and it has for centuries been devoting itself only to meditation. A singular country in the whole world -- for centuries, continuously, it had only one desire: how to know oneself. It had no armies, it never invaded anyone; it had no desire like that, uncivilized, barbarious. It was primitive, but I will still say Tibet was the most civilized country, the most cultured.
China invaded Tibet -- Tibet had no arms, no armies. China crushed the poor Tibetans under machine guns, trampled their monasteries. Dalai Lama, the head of Tibet politically and religiously both, had no other way than to take refuge in the Indian part of Himalayas, in Dharamsala. Since then he has been living there with the thousands of Tibetans who have come with him.
It is a very sad affair to say that nobody in the whole world even protested that an innocent country, which has never invaded and had never shown any desire to invade anybody, should be simply taken over because another country has power. It seems our whole civilization is a pretension; our whole talk about freedom and independence are mere words. Not only that, nobody raised a voice against China. Just now, Rajiv Gandhi has said, "Tibet is China's internal affair."
It seems the law of the jungle still prevails. The bigger fish goes on eating the smaller fish -- no protest.
Now Dalai Lama, seeing the situation that India and China are going to become friends, has started to prepare to leave the country -- because China's first demand will be that Dalai Lama should be handed over to China; other than that there is no possibility. It has been consistently China's demand that, "Unless you hand over Dalai Lama to Peking there is no possibility of friendship."
And Rajiv Gandhi has forgotten completely those thousands of miles of Indian territory. That too is China's internal affair? Then soon the whole of India will be China's internal affair!
One should not be so weak, either. I would like to say to Dalai Lama: "Don't think of going anywhere; you will not get residence anywhere in the world, because nobody wants to be antagonistic to the biggest country, China." Just two years ago, even America refused just a three-week tourist visa for Dalai Lama on the grounds that they did not want to annoy China.
I have loved Buddha, and I have loved those who have loved Buddha. I have deep love and respect for Dalai Lama. My suggestion to him is: don't leave this country; just drop the desire to be the sovereign head, the political head of Tibet. In fact, it is not right for a religious man to have such aspirations for being a political head. Just drop that idea. Be an ordinary meditator, a lover of Buddha -- then China will not ask for you. You are being asked for because of your continuous desire to be the head of Tibet again. Too much water has gone down the Ganges; it cannot happen, at least in your lifetime.
But my insistence is that fundamentally your desire is wrong. Tibet is gone, out of your hands. You should have renounced it. Your desire for power is a political desire -- it is shameful in a man who is thought to be a meditator. Just remain in the Himalayas, and nobody is going to trouble you. The trouble is arising within you because of the desire that you want Tibet to be again under your rule.
Forget all about it. It is ugly, absolutely condemnable, to have such a desire. That was the singular message of Gautam the Buddha: don't have any desire in this world; when the other world, the mysterious world, is ready to open its doors you are asking for some illusory power.
This shows that Dalai Lama himself is not a meditator.
I would like him not to go anywhere. You have a beautiful place in Dharamsala -- go inwards. It is time that you prove that there is an inner world far more precious than anything the outer world can give to you. And if you cannot prove this, who do you think is going to prove it?
Once he drops the desire and the claim, and he becomes an ordinary, simple human being, China has no interest in him. He can live in the Himalayas -- he is accustomed to living in the Himalayas.
And I say again: nobody is going to behave in a friendly way with you. What can you offer? China offers a tremendous power. You will not get shelter anywhere in the world.
The world is not so civilized as you think. It cares only for those who have power. To be powerful is to be right, and to be powerless... nobody cares about you, whether you are right or wrong.
This has been a tremendous weight on me. In the first place, Tibet is not China's internal affair, and Rajiv Gandhi has forgotten those thousands of miles of Himalayan territory. It is not even mentioned.
And what is to be remembered by Dalai Lama especially: don't get deluded by the so-called talk of democracy, independence, freedom. These things don't exist; the powerful only talk about them. The whole world is still centuries back, living in the same barbarious mind. Only its houses have become better, the roads are better, technology is better, but the man? -- it has never been worse than it is now! Because the primitive, barbarian man, howsoever violent, had no missiles, nuclear weapons, atom bombs.
This is the same barbarian man -- with modern clothes, but the mind is as animalistic as you can imagine. And in the hands of these barbarious chimpanzees are nuclear weapons which can destroy this whole earth within ten minutes, with all its living beings. The barbarious man, the chimpanzee, has come to the terminal point where it is going to commit suicide.

I have heard that Ronald Reagan had a great friend, a chimpanzee. He could not find another human being to have a friendship with. The first day of his presidency in America he had gone for a morning walk on the beach with his great friend the chimpanzee.

An old drunkard stumbled around, looking very carefully, and finally he could not resist: he came to these two friends and he said, "President, sir, it does not feel right to have a chimpanzee as your friend."
As Ronald Reagan was going to say something, that old drunkard said, "You shut up! I am talking to Mr. President."

That chimpanzee is hidden in so-called politicians. Wherever there is a desire to dominate there is a chimpanzee hidden within.
I want to repeat again: Dalai Lama has not to go anywhere. It is time to drop the outer desire for domination. Go inwards, you are getting older but you are not growing up. Go inwards to find the kingdom which is not of this world.

Maneesha has brought a few very beautiful anecdotes, sutras, and statements from the history of Zen.

A MONK CAME TO SEE MASTER DAIZUI, AND SAID TO HIM, "MOUNT GOTAI..." it was a great monastery. All these mountains were named after the master who had become enlightened, and because of his enlightenment a thousand seekers had gathered there. Gotai became enlightened and the emperor of China gave the name to the mountain where Gotai had become enlightened -- Mount Gotai. And the same happened with Daizui. When he became enlightened the emperor declared, "The mountain should be remembered as a memorial to Daizui and his enlightenment. It will be called Mount Daizui."

A MONK CAME TO SEE MASTER DAIZUI, AND SAID TO HIM, "MOUNT GOTAI AND MOUNT DAIZUI -- WHAT ARE THEY LIKE? HOW IS MOUNT DAIZUI?"
DAIZUI SAID, "SPEAK LOUDER -- I'M HARD OF HEARING."
THE MONK REPEATED THE QUESTION IN A LOUD VOICE.
DAIZUI SAID: "IT IS LIKE A THOUSAND MOUNTAINS, TEN THOUSAND MOUNTAINS!"

It was a small mountain, but because of thousands of disciples moving on the golden path of becoming enlightened, Daizui said, "It is not only my enlightenment that makes Mount Daizui what it is, but thousands, perhaps ten thousands, are searching the same enlightenment. This mountain is one of the most blessed in the world. So many seekers, so many who are absolutely determined to attain to their potential. A thousand or ten thousand sleeping buddhas are trying to wake up."
This mountain is not a small place. If it can contain ten thousand buddhas, how can it be a small place? It is ten thousand mountains, the whole range that goes for thousands of miles.
The monk could not understand. To understand the statements of Zen masters you have to have some taste of mountains, meditations, masters. You have to have some taste of the spring; otherwise it will look absolutely absurd.

ON ANOTHER OCCASION A MONK SAID, "ONE OF THE ANCIENTS STOOD IN THE SNOW AND CUT OFF HIS ARM. WHAT TRUTH WAS HE SEEKING?"

It is one of the most beautiful incidents in the history of Zen. It happened when Bodhidharma went from India to China, and remained for nine years just facing the wall of a temple. Many came to persuade him, "Why don't you talk to us? We ask questions and you give answers to the wall. It looks very weird."
But Bodhidharma said, "Unless the man comes who has the ears and the heart to understand me, it is better to talk to the wall. At least one is not disappointed." And one day the man came.
He cut off one arm and threw it before Bodhidharma and said, "If you don't turn immediately towards me, I am going to cut my head too."
Bodhidharma quickly turned, and said, "So you have come! I have been waiting for nine years."
Unless a man is ready to stake his very life, the transformation is not possible.
So this monk, asking Daizui, said, "One of the ancients, I have heard, stood in the snow and cut off his arm. What truth was he seeking?"

DAIZUI REPLIED, "HE DIDN'T CUT OFF HIS ARM."
THE MONK PROTESTED, "HE DID CUT IT OFF! WHY DO YOU SAY THAT HE DIDN'T?"

The fact is, he did. But the truth is, he did not.
There was no effort when he cut off his arm; it was as relaxed as if nothing was happening. Hence the truth is, he did not cut it. The fact is, he did cut it. And Zen is concerned with the truth, not with the fact.

DAIZUI OBSERVED, "HE WAS ENJOYING BEING IN THE SNOW."

He was enjoying perfectly. Even if he had cut his head, he was so relaxed, so trustful. And his search was his absolute determination. For that search, to give your arm or your head does not mean anything. Your arms will sooner or later melt into the earth. Your head, your body will be some day put into the earth.
"So what are you talking about?" Daizui said. "The man did not cut off his arm; he was enjoying it as tremendously as possible." And the turning of Bodhidharma was such a great point in turning his whole being... he became the successor of Bodhidharma.
When Bodhidharma left China to go into the Himalayas and to disappear into the eternal snows... He was getting old, and it was time to search the right place to disappear into the ultimate.
He called his four disciples and asked them, "What is the essence of Buddha's teaching?"
One came forward and said, "To know oneself is the essence of Buddha's teaching."
Bodhidharma said, "You are right, but not enough to be my successor. Just sit down. You have my skin only, you have not gone deeper."
The second man came, and the same question: "What is the essential teaching of the Buddha?" The man said, "Attaining to no-self."
The first had said, "Knowing the self." The second one said, "Attaining to no-self, to nothingness, to utter innocence where the idea of `I am' does not arise."
Bodhidharma said, "You are better than the first. You have my bones, but you are not yet capable of being my successor."
The third one came before him... the same question. The third one said, "The very essence of Buddha's teaching is silence."
Bodhidharma said, "It is even better than the other two, but not enough to be my successor. If the fundamental and the essential teaching is silence, you should have remained silent rather than using the word `silence', because the word silence is not silence.
"Your mind is full of thoughts. Beautiful thoughts -- thoughts about silence, thoughts about meditation -- but all are thoughts. It does not matter whether you are thinking about money or you are thinking about the ultimate truth. Thinking as such is only a disturbance; the object of thinking does not matter at all. You have my very marrow, yet you are not worthy to be my successor."
The fourth man came... the same question. No answer, just tears, and he fell to the feet of Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma declared this man to be his successor.
This was the same man, with one arm. Without saying anything, he has said everything. Those tears were more potent, more expressive than all the words, the whole language, of man. Howsoever philosophically, logically and rationally pronounced, they don't carry the truth, they don't carry love, they don't carry beauty in them.
So it is a truth that the man who cut off his arm was enjoying it immensely. His cutting the arm was very relaxed, in deep trust, in great love. Factually he may have cut off the arm, but in truth he enjoyed the whole experience, the turning of Bodhidharma after nine years to face him.
Bodhidharma had even turned away Emperor Wu of China, calling him an idiot. He had come from the faraway capital to the borders to receive Bodhidharma. And he asked Bodhidharma, "I have done so much religious work, so many fasts. Ten thousand scholars are continuously translating the message of Buddha. I feed millions of Buddhist monks, I support hundreds of monasteries. I have converted the whole land of China to Buddhism. What is my virtue? What am I going to be rewarded by?"
Bodhidharma said, "You idiot! The very desire to be rewarded has destroyed all virtue. You will fall into the seventh hell! And I will not enter into your territory, because you are surrounded by scholars, scriptures, monks, monasteries. I will remain outside and wait for the right man."
It took nine years for him, but his trust... He was growing old, but he waited and waited and waited, and finally the man came.
It always comes, you have just to wait -- not in a hurry, not asking that he should come right now -- just a pure waiting, listening for the footsteps when he comes. He always comes. If there is a right master, thousands of right disciples are bound to come. If there is a pure spring of water, those who are thirsty are bound to come. When the roses bloom, bees come from miles away.
Scientists have been working on the language of the bees, because they have found that bees convey in a certain way a few things. Perhaps they don't have a very long language, alphabetical, but they certainly have some symbols. One bee moves towards the flowers, for miles, and when she has found the flowers she comes back where thousands of bees are waiting and she dances in a certain way. And immediately thousands of bees move in the direction of the flowers. That dance has indicated the direction.
Even bees find flowers, far away. What to say of human consciousness? Those who are alert, those who have a sense of searching some significance in their life, are bound to find where flowers have come to blossom.

So the disciple was, according to Daizui, enjoying. Even by cutting off the arm he was simply offering a present to the master he had found. It was his joy. Hence, as far as truth is concerned it is one thing; fact is another.
Just by the way, I would like to remind you that in the East we have never been writing history. History is an absolutely Western phenomenon. It is with the coming of the British empire that Christian missionaries started writing history about India, but India has never bothered to write history for the simple reason that history will be nothing but facts and facts and facts. And our concern is truth, and truth has no history.
Truth is always present; history means the past. Truth is never past. Truth is always here; hence truth cannot have a history. We dropped the whole idea of history.

AT ANOTHER TIME, A MONK BOWED TO THE STATUE OF MANJUSHRI, IN THE PRESENCE OF DAIZUI. THE MASTER LIFTED UP HIS MOSQUITO-FLAPPER AND SAID, "MANJUSHRI AND SAMANTABHADRA ARE BOTH CONTAINED IN THIS" -- the mosquito-flapper.

Such statements cannot be made anywhere else than in the world of Zen. Manjushri and Samantabhadra are two of the great disciples of Gautam Buddha, who became enlightened while he was alive. Just the story of Manjushri becoming enlightened will suffice you to understand that these people, Manjushri and Samantabhadra, were as valuable as Gautam Buddha himself.
Manjushri used to sit under a tree to meditate, for years. And one day the night was over -- suddenly, out of season, the tree blossomed and flowers started falling like rain.
In the East there are such beautiful trees which shower like rain. The one I have loved the most... I don't know which tree Manjushri was sitting under, but most probably this must be the tree -- I have loved it from my very childhood. The tree is called madhukamini. It blossoms in the rainy season; it blossoms in thousands of flowers all together, and in the night. And by the morning you will find almost a carpet of flowers underneath it, thousands of flowers of such beautiful fragrance. I have not come across another tree like it.
Perhaps Manjushri was sitting under a madhukamini, or it may have been another tree, it does not matter. What matters is, ten thousand disciples of Buddha looked at the tree, looked at Manjushri... could not believe it. It was not the time -- what happened to the tree?
Buddha said, "You are seeing only the tree and its flowers. You should look at Manjushri, what has happened to Manjushri. The tree has simply heard it happening to Manjushri. The tree has simply synchronized. If Manjushri can blossom so suddenly, why cannot the tree do the same? Look at Manjushri."
And Manjushri was sitting in silence for seven days continuously, until Buddha himself came to him and told him, "Manjushri, seven days have passed. It is time to get up and tell your fellow travelers what has happened in your being."
Samantabhadra just became enlightened as he looked when Buddha said, "Don't look at the tree, look at Manjushri."
Out of ten thousand disciples only one, Samantabhadra, looked into Manjushri and became enlightened himself. Enlightenment can be a chain effect.
About these two great masters, Daizui says -- because one monk was worshipping the statue of Manjushri -- "Manjushri and Samantabhadra are both contained in this mosquito-flapper."
Factually it is not so, but in truth, even the mosquitoes which may be caught in the flapper have the same potential as Manjushri and Samantabhadra. That's what Daizui is saying.
Don't think that he is insulting Manjushri or Samantabhadra. He is simply indicating the truth, that "Don't worship the statue. Search for the very source of life. Even a mosquito alive has the essence of being a buddha. It may take millions of years for the poor mosquito to become a human being, but that is not the point to be bothered about."
We have the whole eternity in our hands -- beginningless, endless. Somewhere, someplace, one is bound to become a buddha. It is simply a question of your relaxing into yourself.

THE MONK DREW A CIRCLE, THREW IT BEHIND HIM, AND THEN STRETCHED OUT HIS ARMS. DAIZUI TOLD THE ATTENDANT TO GIVE THE MONK A CUP OF TEA.

"A cup of tea" has a totally different meaning when uttered by a master. In Zen, it is again from Bodhidharma. He dwelt on a mountain which was called T'A, and he wanted to remain awake twenty-four hours, so he cut his eyebrows and threw them before the temple -- it may be fiction, but it is worth mentioning. Rains came and the eyebrows started growing. Those were the first tea leaves.
They are called tea leaves because they first grew on the mountain T'a. And because they are originally the eyebrows of one of the most awakened men, Bodhidharma, tea still keeps you awake. If you don't want to sleep, a cup of tea....
When a Zen master says, "Give this man a cup of tea," he means a cup of awareness. That is the meaning of tea in the Zen tradition.

A haiku:
I CAN'T DO ANYTHING;
MY LIFE OF CONTRADICTIONS,
BLOWN BY THE WIND.
I CAN'T DO ANYTHING...
In fact anyone who comes to know his innermost silence will agree with the poet who says, "I can't do anything; whatever happens, happens. I am just a watcher at the most."
... MY LIFE OF CONTRADICTIONS,
BLOWN BY THE WIND.
"I can't do anything. Sometimes I am blown to the north, sometimes to the south. It is all contradictory; I am just a witness."
To be just a witness, and not a doer, is the very essence of meditation.

 

 

Next: Chapter 8: Truth has no history, Question 1

 


Energy Enhancement             Enlightened Texts             Zen             No Mind: The FLowers of Eternity

 

 

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