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THE BUDDHA: THE EMPTINESS OF THE HEART

Chapter 8: The man of enlightened freedom

 

Energy Enhancement         Enlightened Texts         Zen         The emptiness of the heart

 

OUR BELOVED MASTER,
ENGO SAID:
THE ENLIGHTENED MAN ENJOYS PERFECT FREEDOM IN ACTIVE LIFE. HE IS LIKE A DRAGON SUPPORTED BY DEEP WATERS, OR LIKE A TIGER THAT COMMANDS ITS MOUNTAIN RETREAT. THE MAN WHO IS NOT ENLIGHTENED DRIFTS ABOUT IN THE AFFAIRS OF THE WORLD. HE IS LIKE A RAM THAT GETS ITS HORNS CAUGHT IN A FENCE, OR LIKE A MAN WHO WAITS FOR A HARE TO RUN AGAINST A TREE STUMP AND STUN ITSELF.
THE ENLIGHTENED MAN'S WORDS ARE SOMETIMES LIKE A LION CROUCHED TO SPRING, SOMETIMES LIKE THE DIAMOND KING'S TREASURE SWORD. SOMETIMES THEIR EFFECT IS TO SHUT THE MOUTHS OF THE WORLD-FAMED ONES, SOMETIMES IT IS AS IF THEY SIMPLY FOLLOW THE WAVES COMING ONE AFTER ANOTHER.
WHEN THE ENLIGHTENED MAN MEETS OTHERS WHO ARE ENLIGHTENED, THEN FRIEND MEETS FRIEND. HE VALUES THEM, AND THEY ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER. WHEN HE MEETS THOSE WHO ARE ADRIFT IN THE WORLD, THEN MASTER MEETS DISCIPLE. HIS WAY OF DEALING WITH SUCH PEOPLE IS FARSIGHTED. HE STANDS FIRM BEFORE THEM, LIKE A THOUSAND-FATHOM CLIFF.
THEREFORE IT IS SAID THAT THE WAY OF THE ABSOLUTE IS MANIFEST EVERYWHERE: IT HAS NO FIXED RULES AND REGULATIONS. THE MASTER SOMETIMES MAKES A BLADE OF GRASS STAND FOR THE GOLDEN-FACED BUDDHA, SIXTEEN FEET HIGH, AND SOMETIMES MAKES THE GOLDEN-FACED BUDDHA, SIXTEEN FEET HIGH, STAND FOR A BLADE OF GRASS.
ON ANOTHER OCCASION, ENGO SAID:
THE UNIVERSE IS NOT VEILED; ALL ITS ACTIVITIES LIE OPEN. WHICHEVER WAY HE MAY GO, THE ENLIGHTENED MAN MEETS NO OBSTRUCTION. AT ALL TIMES HE BEHAVES INDEPENDENTLY. HIS EVERY WORD IS DEVOID OF EGOCENTRICITY, YET STILL HAS THE POWER TO KILL OTHERS.
ONCE THE DELUSIVE WAY OF THINKING IS CUT OFF, A THOUSAND EYES ARE SUDDENLY OPENED. ONE WORD BLOCKING THE STREAM OF THOUGHT, AND ALL NON-ACTIONS ARE CONTROLLED. IS THERE ANYONE WHO WOULD UNDERGO THE EXPERIENCE OF DYING THE SAME DEATH AND LIVING THE SAME LIFE AS THE BUDDHA? TRUTH IS MANIFEST EVERYWHERE.

Maneesha, this is the last talk of the series called THE BUDDHA: THE EMPTINESS OF THE HEART.
It is very appropriate -- exactly the right time -- that you have brought the great master Engo's statement about the enlightened man.
For centuries man has been thinking about the definition of enlightenment. A long succession of efforts have been made, but nobody has been able to bring a perfect definition of enlightenment, or of enlightened men. Engo comes very close, almost to the point; hence he has to be heard with absolute silence. He is saying something which is difficult to say. His effort is tremendously valuable.
He says about the enlightened man:
THE ENLIGHTENED MAN ENJOYS PERFECT FREEDOM IN ACTIVE LIFE.
That is the foundation of his following statements; it has to be understood, with all its implications.
The unconscious man lives according to others -- either following them or denying them, but the focus is always the other. So there are followers and there are anti-followers; there are theists and there are atheists. But at the very foundation they are no different. One is positively in favor of some doctrine and one is negative, reactive, against the same doctrine, but both are hanging on to something other than themselves. They are other-oriented.
I am always reminded of Jean-Paul Sartre, and his statement that "the other is hell." He may have made it in a different context, but in itself the statement is valuable. I want you to know: the other is hell because the other takes away your freedom. It may be done very lovingly, without any bad intention. It may be done with all good intentions but that does not matter: the ancient saying is that "the path to hell is paved with good intentions."
The parents, the teachers, the neighbors, the friends -- all are continuously giving a shape to your life, a style to your life. If you look into your mind you will find many voices together: your father is speaking, your grandfather is speaking, your mother, your brother, your teachers, your professors. But one thing you will not find there is your voice. Your voice has been completely repressed by other voices.
Layer upon layer, you have lost track even of your own voice, of your own self, of your own face. So many masks...
When a small child comes into the world, he is just a clean slate; and you immediately start writing on his slate without even bothering to ask his permission. You make him a Christian, you make him a Hindu, you make him a Mohammedan; you make him anything you want to make him -- and you don't understand that consciousness is not something that you can give a mode to, a certain pattern. What ultimately happens from all your efforts and intentions is a hypocrite, a person who knows that he is doing something but his heart is not in it. He becomes phony; he becomes a slave of all the others who surround him. Not only the living ones but the dead ones also are creating your slavery.
Engo's statement is, THE ENLIGHTENED MAN ENJOYS PERFECT FREEDOM IN ACTIVE LIFE. He is not a slave to any tradition, to any culture, to any civilization. He lives according to his own spontaneity, according to his own awareness.
And that is one of the troubles: the enlightened person is bound to be misunderstood, because the whole world is full of slaves. They cannot understand the language of freedom.
It is almost like selling eyeglasses to a world of blind people. Even if they have the glasses, they are of no use -- they cannot see, they don't have the eyes.
A man went to one eye specialist and asked him, "Check my eyes. Do you think I will be able to read if you prescribe glasses?"
The eye specialist said, "Of course you will be able to read."
He wrote the prescription and the glasses were made. But the man said, "By the way, I must inform you that I don't know how to read."
The specialist said, "You are strange! You should have said this before, because even with glasses, if you don't know how to read, you are not going to read."
People are carrying scriptures which describe freedom, which even talk about freedom from scriptures. People are worshipping statues of persons like Gautam Buddha whose last words were, "Remember these are my last words, my last wish: my statues should not be made." Ten thousand sannyasins were listening, and as it happened, there are now more statues of Gautam Buddha in the world than of anyone else. A single temple in China even has ten thousand Buddhas. The whole mountain, miles long, has been carved into Buddha statues.
It is strange blindness. It is strange misunderstanding....
And a man of freedom is bound to be condemned by slaves because the slaves cannot accept the idea that they are slaves. So anybody who is enlightened and becomes a man of freedom, becomes a danger to millions of egos. His freedom to fly across the sky with open wings is bound to be condemned by all those who are crippled, who are caught in cages. The cages may be of gold -- very precious, cozy, a good shelter -- but the joy of being on your own wings in the sky, unlimited, with no barriers, no boundaries, is much more valuable than any golden cage.
Engo says, THE ENLIGHTENED MAN ENJOYS PERFECT FREEDOM IN ACTIVE LIFE. He is not bound by any morality, not bound by any rules, not bound by any ethos, not bound by any society, any civilization, any culture, any education. He remains true and honest to his own being. He does not care whether his action is going against the society, whether his action is going against the scriptures. All that he is committed to is his own spontaneous response. He has no other commitments. He cannot be a Christian or a Mohammedan or a Jew or a Jaina. He can only be a human being without any fetters.
But naturally he has to suffer. He has to suffer because the whole crowd is of slaves, blind people. They feel hurt -- deeply hurt -- by his presence, by his freedom. They continuously compare, and feel deep down guilty that they have never stood up for their own freedom. They have remained sheep, just part of a crowd; they never declared their individuality. And now there is a man of absolute freedom.
Those who have any intelligence will fall in love with this man of freedom; but very few people have intelligence. Most people live without any intelligence in their life -- a robot life, almost mechanical. They all are going to be against such persons -- in the name of religion, in the name of morality, in the name of society. Their excuse is that these people are dangerous: if everybody starts functioning according to his own truth, then there will be no society, no state, no nation, no army, no war.
The whole society is committed to such stupid things that a man of enlightened freedom cannot be committed to any of them. He cannot be Indian or French or Chinese; the whole earth is one for him. His every action is according to his own consciousness, not according to any teaching of some dead, so-called wise person. He has his own eyes to see; why should he listen to others? He has his own ears to hear; why should he listen to others? He has his own consciousness to decide; why should he follow the ten commandments of Moses, or the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus, or the SHRIMAD BHAGAVADGITA of Krishna? They may be beautiful, but they are not going to guide your life.
The moment you have guidelines from others, you are spiritually a slave.
In other words, Engo is saying the enlightened man lives according to his own life source, without any consideration or compromise with the crowd. He is absolutely an individualist and he wants everybody else also to be individualists.
There is nothing more valuable than freedom because only in freedom can you blossom to your ultimate potential. As a slave you are crippled, you are cut, you are in a mold; you are in chains, you are in cages -- different sizes of cages, different forms of cages....
But remember one thing: that which has not arisen within you is always some kind of slavery.
The first definition of the enlightened man is PERFECT FREEDOM IN ACTIVE LIFE. He is bound to be condemned, because the crowd gets disturbed. The crowd gets disturbed because such a man is going to destroy their slavery, which they think is a very cozy and safe lifestyle.

I am reminded of a story.
In a mountainous region, a man of freedom rested for a day in a caravanserai. That caravanserai had a beautiful parrot, and the owner had taught the parrot... The parrot was continuously asking for freedom -- "Freedom!" It was strange....
The stranger, an enlightened man, could not believe this whole thing. Because first you put him in the cage, and then you teach him to repeat "Freedom!" If the owner is honest, he should give him freedom!
In the night, he could not resist. He woke up, opened the door of the parrot's cage, and told the parrot, "Now the doors are open and the whole sky is yours. Get out!"
And the parrot was clinging to the cage, and still shouting loudly, "Freedom, freedom!"
Finally the man said, "This is strange -- the door is open! Why are you clinging to the cage?"
He forced his hand inside, took the parrot out -- it was very unwilling, gave a good fight, scratched his hand -- but the man took the parrot out, and threw it into the sky. Then, feeling a deep relief, he went to sleep. In the morning, the first thing he heard was, "Freedom!"
He looked out and the parrot was inside the cage; the door was still open....

Outside the cage it is such a vast life, one becomes afraid. There are enemies; there will be days that are too cold, there will be nights that are too hot, there will be times you will have to go hungry. There will be nobody continuously protecting you.
Once you have become accustomed to living in a cage, freedom becomes a very dangerous idea.
Twenty-one countries have decided about me, that I am a dangerous man. I have not killed a single ant in my whole life; I have never used even a paper knife, and the parliaments of twenty-one countries decide that I'm a dangerous man. And nobody asks, "What is the definition of danger? Why is this man dangerous?"
I am not a terrorist, I am not teaching people how to make bombs, I am not an anarchist. But the danger is that I spread the fire of freedom. I wake people up, saying that unless you demand your freedom -- from all kinds of chains, handcuffs, from all kinds of cages -- you can never be a Gautam Buddha. You will never know the joys and the blessings and the ecstasies of freedom. You will never know your own eternity. You will always be afraid of death, not knowing that death is a fiction -- it is very superficial, it occurs only on the surface. Inside, life continues forever and forever.
But to know all this you need freedom. And this freedom is not social or political or economic; this freedom is spiritual. You need to go inside yourself and find that space which has not yet been chained. Finding that space from where your life arises, you will attain enlightenment and freedom together; they are two different names for the same, single experience.
Engo says:
HE IS LIKE A DRAGON SUPPORTED BY DEEP WATERS OR LIKE A TIGER THAT COMMANDS ITS MOUNTAIN RETREAT. THE MAN WHO IS NOT ENLIGHTENED DRIFTS ABOUT IN THE AFFAIRS OF THE WORLD.
Just watch yourself. What have you been doing in the world? Just drifting like deadwood, no direction, no dimension, no clarity, no vision. Just following a crowd -- not even knowing where you are going, just trusting that the crowd must know: if so many people are going, then we must be right because so many people cannot be wrong.
And the reality is, so many people cannot be right! To be right is a very unique experience; to be right is to be enlightened.
Beware of this unconscious calculation that because the whole world is doing something, it must be right; so many people cannot be wrong. This is the arithmetic we have been living. So we stumble, we grope in the darkness; we follow this man, we follow that man, and we never think, "If we are alive, then there must be a source within us -- has to be -- otherwise from where does our life come?"
Without knowing this source, even if you are following a buddha you are going to go astray. Because every individual is so unique, you can never follow anybody.
THE MAN WHO IS NOT ENLIGHTENED DRIFTS ABOUT IN THE AFFAIRS OF THE WORLD.
Your life, if it is not enlightened, is nothing but a drifting.

A strange incident happened....
I had gone to enroll in a college, and they gave me a form to fill out. One young man of my age was also holding a form in his hand. He looked at my form and he said, "What subjects are you filling in?"
I said, "That is none of your business. You fill in your subjects."
He said, "I don't know what subjects to fill in."
So he looked at my form, and because I had filled in philosophy, psychology and politics, he filled in the same. I said, "This is very strange."
He said, "No, because I don't know what to do with my life."
We graduated from the same college, and then I changed to the university. And it was such a surprise: when I entered the office that same fellow was waiting there with his form! He said, "You have come! I have been wondering what to do; it has been such a joy to fill in the form according to you. Now what are you going to study for your post-graduation?"
I said, "This is very stupid."
He said, "No, it has been a great relief that at least somebody knows where he is going, and I am following."
So he looked at my form, and filled in his accordingly: philosophy, religion, psychology. I said, "This is not a right way of living. It is becoming a carbon copy."
But he said, "I am perfectly at ease. If you are taking these subjects, they must be the best subjects available in the university."
I said, "I have no objection..."
In one of my post-graduate classes, the professor was a very orthodox brahmin from Bengal -- so orthodox that I have never come across anybody else like him. He would not teach with open eyes because there were two girls in the class: girls he cannot look at, he is a celibate. It was a good opportunity, so I slept all the time. And he thought that perhaps I was also a great celibate!
So there were those two girls, and this boy who had been following me. The professor was very inquisitive. One day he got hold of me in the library and said, "It is very rare to find people these days who are committed to celibacy."
I said, "You are under a wrong impression."
He said, "Wrong impression?"
I said, "Why are you closing your eyes?"
He said, "I am a celibate and I don't want to see any female face."
I said, "That is true, that is also my reason -- because both those girls are not worth seeing! But it is not celibacy. Day after day, those same two girls; I simply keep my eyes closed."
He said, "My god! We are doing the same action but our reasons are so different."
And that boy was the only other person in the class. He was such a great follower, but he was at a loss for what to do -- to close his eyes because I was closing mine, the professor was closing his and just those two girls... But he was very much interested in those girls, although the girls were not showing any sign of interest in him. He was very disappointed. He told me, "You will have to help me. You have always helped -- since I entered college you have been of great help; now you have to help."
I said, "What is the problem?"
He said, "The problem is that I try in every way to talk to those girls but they don't take any interest in me; they don't even care about me. They pass by me as if I am not there -- it hurts."
I said, "You have to do something rightly."
So I wrote a love letter for him, and I said, "Tomorrow you deliver it yourself."
He said, "This is very dangerous; you have made me sign it. You have written all these things and if I am caught, if the girl freaks out, or anything..."
I said, "You don't be worried; I will prepare the girl, because I have taken the responsibility. That's why I am saying tomorrow you deliver it. Just give me one day's chance to prepare the girl."
I told the girl, "This boy is very poor -- spiritually poor -- he needs compassion."
The girl said, "What can I do?"
I said, "You don't have to do anything. He will deliver a love letter to you tomorrow; you accept it with a smiling face."
She said, "You are creating trouble. I don't like that fellow."
I said, "There is no question of liking or not liking; you can even hate that fellow. But receiving the letter, just like a nice lady... it is not against any manners, any etiquette."
She said, "If you say, I will accept the letter."
Then I said, "It is not the end. You have to write a letter too."
She said, "My god! You are creating trouble for me. If my father comes to know" -- and her father was the collector of that city -- "if he comes to know... He is a dangerous fellow, he can even shoot. He goes on shining his gun every day, and he has told me, `Don't get involved in any love affair; otherwise somebody is going to be shot!'"
I said, "I will prepare your father, you don't be worried. If anybody is going to be shot, I am the fellow who is ready because I have nothing to lose. It is perfectly good, he can shoot me. But you will have to write a letter, because this fellow just needs a hope. Don't write too many sweet things, just..."
She said, "Okay, I will try. But I don't know, I have never written a love letter."
I said, "My god... I will write it." So I wrote a love letter and she signed it.
A few love letters were exchanged and finally the girl came to me to say that, "My father seems to be getting suspicious. You have put me into trouble, because now that boy has at least seven letters signed by me."
I said, "That boy is not a real person, he is a carbon copy. Don't be worried about him. I will take back all your letters."
I told the boy, "Listen, the father of the girl is very dangerous and he keeps polishing his gun."
He said, "My god! And you never told me before? Where does he live?"
I said, "He is a collector and he lives in the city, three or four miles away from the university. But now your life is in danger."
He said, "You wrote those letters..."
I said, "It does not matter who wrote them. What matters is who signed!"
He said, "Now save me somehow, I don't want to get into trouble. If I had known that love means trouble, I would not have fallen in love."
So I said, "You give all those letters back to me." He said, "Then what will happen to my letters which are in the girl's hands?"
I said, "I will take back those letters too."
He said, "Don't forget! because those seven letters will keep me always falling in love. Just I have to copy one letter, because I cannot manage... you have made such beautiful letters. I don't care that the girl is lost, but those letters I would miss my whole life!"
I took back the letters from both sides.
After ten years, I found him in another city. He had become a professor, and he had a wife and children. I said, "You managed perfectly well."
He said, "The whole credit goes to you. Those letters worked miraculously. I tried them on many girls and was refused, but this girl..."
And I saw why this girl... because she was not much of a girl. She even had some moustache growing! I said to him, "You are a fool! You should have at least asked me. I would have managed some other girl. There are so many girls -- the whole world is full of girls, and you are such a nice looking fellow."
He said, "Something is wrong with this girl?"
I said, "It is not a girl at all! Look at her moustache."
I have come across only two women: one was this girl, and one was the daughter of one of my principals; she had a little beard. I think it is perfectly good, there is no harm, but I said to that fellow, "You are an idiot from the very beginning, and without my help you should not have taken this step."
He said, "Now it is too late. I have got three children." All ugly! I told him, "It was absolutely certain that you would do something nasty like this."
He said, "Is there something wrong with my children?"
I said, "Will you ever mature? I don't think so, in this life."
He said, "But everybody says, looking at my children, `How nice they look!'"
I said, "Whenever somebody says to a woman that her child looks very nice, that simply means that the child is ugly."
I told him about an incident that happened in a bus:
A woman was holding her child, and an old drunkard came across, looked very closely at the child, and said, "My god! This must be the ugliest child in the whole world!"
The woman started crying and weeping; these things are not to be said. But a drunk fellow...
The bus was stopped, because the driver said, "It doesn't seem right that the woman is crying." So he went to the woman, and he said, "Don't cry. That fellow was a drunk. And I don't know what he has said to you, but I will bring you a cup of tea."
So he brought a cup of tea and gave it to the woman, and said, "Just drink the tea and forget what that drunkard did. And I have also brought a banana for your monkey."
People never think, what kind of children they are having. That drunkard was at least honest, and the driver was also honest.

But unconscious people go on doing things without any reason and rhyme. The unconscious man is basically a follower in every dimension of life. He doesn't have the sense to find a direction for himself. He is always looking for somebody to guide him. He is bound to fall into a long dark night which has no end.
One thing has to be decided by every individual -- particularly my people have to decide it -- to find your own life source, to find out what your potentials are, and let them grow. Even if you go against the whole world, at least you will be fulfilled in your freedom. Otherwise you become just driftwood; anybody can give you a shape, anybody can give you a direction, anybody can give you guidelines.
Engo continues:
HE IS LIKE A RAM THAT GETS ITS HORNS CAUGHT IN A FENCE, OR LIKE A MAN WHO WAITS FOR A HARE TO RUN AGAINST A TREE STUMP AND STUN ITSELF.
THE ENLIGHTENED MAN'S WORDS ARE SOMETIMES LIKE A LION CROUCHED TO SPRING, SOMETIMES LIKE THE DIAMOND KING'S TREASURE SWORD. SOMETIMES THEIR EFFECT IS TO SHUT THE MOUTHS OF THE WORLD-FAMED ONES, SOMETIMES IT IS AS IF THEY SIMPLY FOLLOW THE WAVES COMING ONE AFTER ANOTHER.
WHEN THE ENLIGHTENED MAN MEETS OTHERS WHO ARE ENLIGHTENED, THEN FRIEND MEETS FRIEND. HE VALUES THEM, AND THEY ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER... to go even beyond enlightenment.
WHEN HE MEETS THOSE WHO ARE ADRIFT IN THE WORLD, THEN MASTER MEETS DISCIPLE. HIS WAY OF DEALING WITH SUCH PEOPLE IS FARSIGHTED. HE STANDS FIRM BEFORE THEM, LIKE A THOUSAND-FATHOM CLIFF.
THEREFORE IT IS SAID THAT THE WAY OF THE ABSOLUTE IS MANIFEST EVERYWHERE: IT HAS NO FIXED RULES AND REGULATIONS. THE MASTER SOMETIMES MAKES A BLADE OF GRASS STAND FOR THE GOLDEN-FACED BUDDHA, SIXTEEN FEET HIGH, AND SOMETIMES MAKES THE GOLDEN-FACED BUDDHA, SIXTEEN FEET HIGH, STAND FOR A BLADE OF GRASS.

You all know about a Zen master who was staying in a temple, just for the night. It was a cold night, and in Japan the Buddha statues are made of wood -- in India they are made of marble; you will not find even one single wooden Buddha in India. But in Japan they use wood, and very aesthetically.
There were three Buddhas in the temple, and it was a very cold night, so the master took one Buddha, and built a fire.
The priest of the temple lived nearby. He suddenly saw light and fire inside the temple. He came running, he said, "I was from the very beginning suspicious; your every activity seems to be out of tune with others. What have you done? You have burned one of my Buddhas! I gave you shelter, and this is the way you have shown your gratefulness!"
The master took his staff and started looking in the ashes -- Buddha was gone. The priest said, "What are you doing now?"
He said, "I am looking for the bones."
The priest said, "You are really crazy! It was a wooden Buddha, and wood does not have bones."
The master said, "You are intelligent, you can understand. Now look: the night is only half gone and it is so cold. You have two Buddhas more, and while a living buddha is suffering from cold, you are protecting your wooden Buddhas. Just bring one of the Buddhas here!"
The priest just took hold of the master and forced him out of the temple, shouting that "You will destroy my whole temple!"
And in the morning he saw that the same master... just in front of the temple there was a milestone. The master has picked a few wildflowers and has put those wildflowers on the stone, and is sitting in deep meditation by its side.
The priest said, "My god! He has destroyed a Buddha in the night, and now on a milestone he has put flowers as if it is a Buddha -- and next to it he is sitting in deep meditation." So he came out, shook him and said, "What are you doing?"
He said, "I am worshipping the Buddha. If you can worship wood, what is wrong in worshipping a stone? Your Buddha was a little shapely, a well-cut design. My Buddha is raw. But it is a perfect Buddha as far as meditation is concerned. I can use anything to show my gratitude; the whole existence is one."
A man of enlightened freedom can make A BLADE OF GRASS STAND FOR THE GOLDEN-FACED BUDDHA, SIXTEEN FEET HIGH, AND SOMETIMES MAKES THE GOLDEN-FACED BUDDHA, SIXTEEN FEET HIGH, STAND FOR A BLADE OF GRASS.
He is not confined by any rules and regulations; he is not confined by any etiquette or manners. His freedom is total. He acts out of his spontaneity, love, compassion, but he does not follow any rules. You cannot expect of a buddha that he will do the same thing tomorrow that he did today. He will say, "Today is today, and tomorrow is tomorrow. Today this is my response, in this context; tomorrow the context will be different, and my response is going to be different. I respond to situations not with any prejudice, but with a pure, empty heart."

ON ANOTHER OCCASION, ENGO SAID:
THE UNIVERSE IS NOT VEILED; ALL ITS ACTIVITIES LIE OPEN. WHICHEVER WAY HE MAY GO, THE ENLIGHTENED MAN MEETS NO OBSTRUCTION. AT ALL TIMES HE BEHAVES INDEPENDENTLY. HIS EVERY WORD IS DEVOID OF EGOCENTRICITY, YET STILL HAS THE POWER TO KILL OTHERS.
ONCE THE DELUSIVE WAY OF THINKING IS CUT OFF, A THOUSAND EYES ARE SUDDENLY OPENED. ONE WORD BLOCKING THE STREAM OF THOUGHT, AND ALL NON-ACTIONS ARE CONTROLLED. IS THERE ANYONE WHO WOULD UNDERGO THE EXPERIENCE OF DYING THE SAME DEATH AND LIVING THE SAME LIFE AS THE BUDDHA? TRUTH IS MANIFEST EVERYWHERE.
The enlightened man lives a life of freedom; he also dies a death of utter freedom. Neither life can make him a slave, nor death.

Gautam Buddha himself, one day in the early morning twenty-five centuries ago, told Ananda, "Call all the monks together under those two saal trees" -- which he always loved; he used to sit under those saal trees for meditations or for his talks. He said, "Arrange a bed for me under those saal trees because I am going to leave the body. And inform everybody that if they want to ask any question, they should ask."
All the monks gathered, they had tears in their eyes. But Buddha said, "Tears won't help. If you have any question you can ask, because tomorrow I will not be here."
The elder, enlightened disciples said, "You have spoken for forty-two years; you have said everything that is needed for a seeker. We don't have any question; just relax peacefully."
So Buddha closed his eyes. He said, "First I will leave the body, then I will leave the mind, then I will leave the heart and disappear into emptiness."
A man from the nearby town, who had been postponing for thirty years because Buddha was coming and going through his town again and again... he wanted to meet Buddha, he wanted to ask something, but there was always some excuse -- a customer suddenly came, and now he cannot leave the shop, or his wife is sick, or some other business, or he has to go to somebody's marriage. So many times Buddha passed through the town, and he had the idea to meet him.
He suddenly heard that Buddha was going to die. Now no excuse could prevent him. He rushed to the outside of the city where Buddha's campus was. And he went there and said, "I want to ask one question!"
Ananda said, "Now we have told him there is no question, and he has closed his eyes. We don't know how far he has gone, but we cannot call him back. It will be too ungrateful. He has passed through your town so many times, what were you doing?"
He said, "Always some excuse..."
But Buddha opened his eyes. He said, "Ananda, let him ask the question so that in the coming centuries nobody can blame me that somebody asked a question and I did not answer."
"But," Ananda said, "you were almost dead!"
He said, "Almost, but not completely. I had left the body, I had left the mind; I was just going to leave the heart when I heard. It does not matter if I delay a little more before disappearing into the ultimate emptiness, but this poor fellow should not remain unanswered."

A Buddha lives in freedom in his life, and lives in freedom even in his death. Death for him is just an episode like other episodes of life.

Kanzan wrote:
PEOPLE ASK THE WAY TO COLD MOUNTAIN.
COLD MOUNTAIN? THERE IS NO ROAD THAT GOES THROUGH.
EVEN IN SUMMER THE ICE DOESN'T MELT.
THOUGH THE SUN COMES OUT, THE FOG IS BLINDING.
HOW CAN YOU HOPE TO GET THERE BY APING ME?
YOUR HEART AND MINE ARE NOT ALIKE.
IF YOUR HEART WERE THE SAME AS MINE,
THEN YOU COULD JOURNEY TO THE VERY CENTER!

Kanzan is saying that followers are not needed. Following is a kind of aping, it is not human. But there is a different way of being with a master and that is to bring your heartbeat in tune with his heartbeat. Then you can travel as a fellow traveler to the ultimate center of existence. This can be remembered as a criterion: if anybody tries to be your master, in a very subtle way he is trying to impose a slavery on you.
The authentic master is master of himself. He does not want followers, he wants friends, fellow companions, fellow travelers, who are ready to be in tune with his heart, in tune with his emptiness. The people who pretend to be masters and are followed by others... they even count!
I met one shankaracharya and he asked me immediately, "How many people follow your philosophy?"
I said, "Neither do I have any philosophy, nor have I met any follower. I have friends all around the world. At the most I can say that I am in love with thousands of people. Their hearts have come to a certain synchronicity with me but they are not my followers."
But that old shankaracharya said, "Unless you have followers, a great following, you cannot be counted as a great master." He said, "I myself have five thousand followers."
I said, "You can believe that you are a great master, but according to me you are a great slave-creator. You are taking people's freedom. You cannot be a compassionate sympathizer; you are really bragging about your followers the same way somebody brags about his money, somebody brags about his political power. You are not an authentic master."
That night in Firozabad I had to speak. The shankaracharya had called a meeting and he had invited me, not knowing much about me. And in the morning in the discussion it became clear that he had been absolutely wrong in inviting me because on every point I discussed with him I had told him, "You are absolutely wrong."
In the meeting that night -- there must have been at least fifty thousand people there -- he had arranged for four criminals to be standing behind me, so that if I said anything against the tradition or scriptures, then they should immediately put out the light and hit me as much as they could.
But his secretary became a little worried, so he came to me just as I was leaving for the meeting. He said, "This is the situation. My suggestion is that you should not go, because this is his sheer violent mind. He could not win on a single point in the morning discussion" -- and it was a small group of his great disciples. "It is very risky for you to go."
I said, "Don't be worried." When I arrived I told the people gathered there, "You see the four persons standing behind me? These are all criminals, they belong to your town and you know perfectly well who they are. What can be the purpose for them to stand behind me? Their plan is that the moment I start speaking they will put the lights off and hit me or kill me. What do you want? Should I start? Just raise your hands! I don't care about my life; I only care about my freedom. If you are ready to listen, then at any risk I am going to speak. But you can see this violence in the mind of your shankaracharya. These are his people."
Those fifty thousand people raised their hands, and shouted that I should speak, and "If anything happens to you the shankaracharya will not leave the stage alive."
I spoke, and I hit him as hard as possible. Those four criminals -- everybody recognized them; they were from the town -- simply disappeared, because this was very dangerous; now they could not put the lights off. Fifty thousand people were with me.
And they were all really the shankaracharya's people, but they could see that this was sheer violence; it did not show the intelligence or wisdom of an old shankaracharya. It showed his stupidity. If he could not answer he should accept defeat, but this is not the way to behave. And he had invited me to come -- from Bombay I went to his place. I was alone, all the people were his people, but even his people could see that this was not the way of any enlightened person.

The enlightened person is not violent. And to make somebody a disciple, according to me, is a very subtle violence. You are destroying that person's individuality. You are taking his freedom in your hands.

In this place everybody is an individual; nobody is superior and nobody is inferior. This is a gathering of people who are in love, of people who are in an inquiry for truth. This kind of gathering has disappeared from the world. You are living these moments here with me -- it is almost the same climate as Gautam Buddha created, the same climate as Mahakashyapa created. It is a different air, it is an air where everybody's potential is respected, loved. Where everybody's freedom is the ultimate value.

 

 

Next: Chapter 8: The man of enlightened freedom, Question 1

 


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