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ZEN

THE SUN RISES IN THE EVENING

Chapter 1: Always at Ease, Unmoved

 

Energy Enhancement             Enlightened Texts             Zen            The Sun Rises in the Evening

 

DO YOU NOT SEE HIM,
THE REALLY WISE MAN, ALWAYS AT EASE, UNMOVED?
HE DOES NOT GET RID OF ILLUSION, NOR DOES HE
SEEK FOR THE (SO-CALLED) TRUTH.
IGNORANCE IS INTRINSICALLY THE BUDDHA NATURE,
OUR ILLUSORY UNREAL BODY IS THE COSMIC BODY.
GETTING RID OF THINGS AND CLINGING TO EMPTINESS
IS AN ILLNESS OF THE SAME KIND;
IT IS JUST LIKE THROWING ONESELF INTO A FIRE
TO AVOID BEING DROWNED.
WHEN ASKED 'WHAT IS YOUR RELIGION?'
I ANSWER 'THE POWER OF THE MAKAHANNYA.'
SOMETIMES AFFIRMING THINGS, SOMETIMES DENYING THEM,
IT IS BEYOND THE WISDOM OF MAN.
SOMETIMES WITH COMMON SENSE, SOMETIMES AGAINST IT,
HEAVEN CANNOT MAKE HEAD OR TAIL OF IT.
I HAVE SEEN THE SUN RISING IN THE EVENING, and since then I have been drunk with that which is. You can call it God, you can call it NIRVANA, you can call it any name -- it does not matter. Whether you give it a name or you don't give it, it remains the same. A rose is a rose is a rose. But one thing is certain about it: that the sun rises in the evening.
The apparent is not real; the real is just the opposite of the apparent. It is obvious that the sun rises in the morning. To deny the apparent and the obvious I say that I have seen the sun rising in the evening.
The experience of the Buddhas contradicts the experience of everyone else. It is not common; it is unique, it is extraordinary. Ordinarily, whatsoever we have become accustomed to know is just a mind game, because we look at that which is with loaded eyes. Our mirrors are covered with great dust; they have become incapable of reflecting the real. The real is not far away, the real surrounds you. You are part of it, it is part of you. You are not separate from it, you have never been separate from it. You cannot be separate from it -- there is no way to be separate from it, it is impossible to be separate from it. But still, the dust-covered mirror is incapable of reflecting it. Once the dust disappears, you will be surprised that all that you have been seeking was not needed to be sought at all, because you had it already.
The spiritual search is as illusory as any other search. The search itself is illusory because it has taken one thing for granted: that something is missing. And nothing is missing! Once you take it for granted that something is missing you start looking for it; then you go on looking for it in all directions. And the more you search the more you will miss it, because the more you search the more dust-covered becomes the mirror. The more you travel to seek it, the farther and farther you go in search of it, the more and more frustrated you become. Slowly slowly you start thinking that it is so far away...'That's why I am not reaching it.'
The reality is just the opposite: you are not reaching it because you are it. It is not far away, it is so close by that even to call it 'close' is not right, because even closeness is a kind of distance. It is not distant at all, it breathes in you. It is not 'there', it is here. It is not 'then', it is now. It has always been with you. From the very beginning everyone is a Buddha, everyone is a mirror capable of reflecting.
This is the basic message of Zen -- and the greatest message that has ever been delivered to man, and the greatest liberating force that has ever been brought to the earth. But you will have to look in a totally new way. All that is needed is not search but a new way of looking at things. The common, the ordinary, the usual way has to be dropped. Hence I say the sun rises in the evening. By what name you call it docs not matter a bit because it is wordless, it is wordlessness, it is utter silence. It is unchanging, unmoving; it is eternal, it is timeless.
We are going on an immense journey with Yoka Daishi, a great Zen Master. These sutras are known as SHODOKA, the Song of Enlightenment. When Yoka became enlightened he burst forth singing just like a tree in spring bursts forth, blooms, and thousands of flowers are there, and great fragrance. This is a song. Remember, it has not been addressed to any audience -- that is the beauty of it. If somebody has heard it that is another thing, but Yoka has not addressed it; he was simply singing it out of the sheer joy that had happened in him. In fact, to say that he was singing it is not right; it was singing itself in him.Just as we say 'It is raining', like that it was singing. And that is true of all the people who have become enlightened; the audience, if it is there, is secondary. It is not primarily an address, it does not take into account the people who are hearing it -- they are irrelevant. Maybe they trigger it, but there is no compromise.
Just because of this many people have felt, particularly R. H. Blyth who has translated this beautiful song into English... He says that 'Yoka keeps on talking when he has nothing more to say.' That is true: one rose flower is enough to say what the rose bush haS to say, a thousand flowers are not needed; but the rose bush is overflowing. You don't go to the rose bush, you don't criticize the rose bush, you don't say 'Why do you go on repeating? It is enough to say it with one flower. Your message has been seen and heard. The second flower will be just like the first...' and so on and so forth.
R. H. Blyth is logically right. He says 'Yoka goes on talking when he has nothing more to say.' It is not a question of whether one has to say more or less, deep down he has nothing to say at all, he is not saying anything. It is just sheer joy, hence it is called 'The Song'. It is not meant to be heard; if it is heard that is another matter. When the rose bush blooms and you see the flower and the beauty and the benediction that surrounds it and you are thrilled, that is another matter. The rose bush had never thought about you; if you had not passed by there would have been no difference, the rose bush would have continued singing its song.
So is the case with me. You are just an occasion. I go on singing my song; it is unaddressed, it is a flowering. I also have nothing to say -- certainly, I have something to show, but I have nothing to say. So is the case with Yoka. Blyth missed the point, but I can understand why he missed it: the logical mind always misses it because 'Yoka goes on repeating the same thing again and again.' The statements are circular -- they are the same kind of flowers again and again and again -- they don't say more, they don't add anything new. But the joy is such, the explosion is such, that one is simply overflowing with it. Yoka cannot do anything about it, he is utterly helpless just as the rose bush is utterly helpless. In fact, the rose bush is not doing anything, Yoka is not doing anything; he is as much a witness to his song as you are. He may himself be feeling a little puzzled why this song goes on and on and on. 'I have said it, I have said it many times.' But what to do if the song continues? If it is coming from the very source of existence Yoka cannot prevent it.
And this is one of the most significant things to be understood, otherwise you will misunderstand all the Buddhas. Gautam the Buddha has been misunderstood because for forty years he was continuously saying the same thing. Why? He could have said it in very few words -- those words can be written on a postcard. But you have missed the point, you have not seen the sheer joy of sharing, of just singing it for its own sake.
Remember, this is a song -- The Song of Enlightenment. It is flowing through Yoka. Yoka is just a vehicle, a passage, a hollow bamboo; existence itself is singing through him. He cannot do anything this way or that; there is no point in criticizing poor Yoka.
Once a man came to J. Krishnamurti and asked 'Why do you go on talking and at the same time you go on saying that it cannot be said?' And he said 'Ask the rose, ask the trees why they go on blooming.'
There is no 'why' to it, there is nobody doing it. The doer has disappeared, hence the song has become possible. Yoka is no more. Yoka and the song cannot both exist together; if Yoka exists then the song cannot exist. The song can exist only when the first condition has been fulfilled: that Yoka has disappeared. When he is no more there, when he is no more obstructing the passage, when he is absolutely empty, only then can God take possession of him.
Zen people don't use the word 'God', they use the word 'Buddha-nature'. But it is the same; one is possessed. The song has to be sung, the dance has to be danced. It is not your dance, it is not my dance, it is nobody's dance... existence itself is dancing.
Yoka Daishi was one of the disciples of the great Huineng, the Sixth Patriarch of Zen. When he came to the Master he was just on the verge of enlightenment -- as everybody is just on the verge. If you understand it... only one step, and you are enlightened; or not even one step -- just a blink. When Yoka came to his Master, the scriptures say he was just on the verge of enlightenment.
And I say to you everybody else is just the same -- on the verge. You can postpone it as long as you want, but the postponement is yours -- that is your decision; you can postpone it forever -- that is your freedom; otherwise you are on the threshold. You have always been on the threshold -- any moment you could have become enlightened, any moment you can become enlightened. Nothing is barring the path except your own decision.
But he was a unique man, unique in the sense that he was not ready to postpone any longer. When he came to Huineng only a little, just a gentle push was enough. He had slept long; the sleep was disappearing. He was just in that state when you are not asleep and not awake, and just a small dialogue with the Master, just a small exchange, a little encounter, and he became enlightened with no effort, no method. Just looking into the eyes of the Master... a few words pass between the Master and Yoka, and the dialogue is of immense significance.
I would like you to understand it. In fact, I would like you to have such an exchange with me.
Yoka Daishi walked around the Master three times without bowing and merely shook his Buddhist staff with iron rings.
The Master said 'A SHRAMANA, a Buddhist monk, embodies the three thousand rules of deportment and the eighty thousand minute moral rules. From whence does your honour come, may I ask, with your overweening self-assurance?'
When one comes to a Master one has to bow three times: that has been a traditional greeting. When you face an enlightened being you have to bow three times -- the body bows, the mind bows, the soul bows; you surrender utterly. That is just a gesture; it happens spontaneously. And when it happens spontaneously only then does it happen.
Just two, three nights before, Hema came to see me. She may not even be aware of the Buddhist rule that when you face a Master you have to bow down three times, but she bowed three times. She was laughing all the time because she could not understand what was happening. She was puzzled, she must have felt a little ridiculous, and everybody else started laughing. Something had takes possession of her being. Now this was not a formality. What happened to Hema was a natural outpouring, a spontaneity. But in this ugly world every spontaneous thing becomes reduced to a formality.
It used to happen to people when they would come to see a Buddha -- they would bow down three times. People started following, imitating.
In the first meeting with the Master, Huineng, Yoka walked around the Master three times without bowing and merely shook his Buddhist staff with iron rings.
The Master said 'A SHRAMANA embodies the three thousand rules of deportment and the eighty thousand minute moral rules.
Now look what happens to religion. Buddha has said that 'Be a law unto yourself. Be a lamp unto yourself. There is no other law.' But Buddhist scriptures are full of rules -- three thousand rules of deportment; even to remember them is difficult. And eighty thousand minute moral rules... and a Buddhist monk is expected to fulfil all of them.
Huineng said 'From where does your honour come, may I ask, with your overweening self-assurance?' Do you think Huineng was saying 'You have to follow all these rules'? No, not at all, he was simply provoking. This is the push. He was hitting hard, he was hitting at this new arrival who was just on the verge -- as everybody else is. You can misunderstand it, then you have postponed your enlightenment. Yoka could have retorted 'What nonsense! One has to be spontaneous. And I had never thought that a man like you would expect those stupid rules -- three thousand or eighty thousand...' He could have retorted, and missed.
Yoka replied 'Birth and death is a problem of great moment; all changes ceaselessly.' It looks unrelated; it is not. He is saying 'Any moment I can die. Do you want me to follow all that ritual -- eighty thousand rules? And if I die following those eighty thousand rules, then who will be responsible? Who will be responsible for my misery, for my rebirth into misery again, you or I?' He has not said that, he simply indicates. It is a beautiful answer: 'Birth and death is a problem of great moment. And we are not certain even of the next moment -- how can I go into those rules?' But he has not said so much, he has simply indicated why he is not following all those rules. '... all changes ceaselessly -- everything is a flux. I can die any moment. If you say so, I will bow down as many times as you say, but if I die in the middle of it without becoming enlightened you will be responsible, sir.' He has changed the label. The Master has pushed and he has rightly responded.
The Master asked 'Why not embody the unborn and grasp the timeless? Why be worried about death and birth?' Another push, another provocation, another temptation. 'Why not embody the unborn? Why don't you yourself think that there is no death, that the soul is immortal, that life never dies? Everybody else believes that, why don't you believe that way? Embody the unborn and grasp the timeless -- why be worried with time and flux and change? Grasp the eternal!'
Yoka replied 'To be unborn and deathless is to embody it; to be timeless is to grasp it. There is no other way. How can I grasp it? How can I embody the unborn and the deathless? It is not a question of belief, it is not a question of practice either. I cannot cultivate it because all that is cultivated will be false -- false because it is cultivated; it will be imposed. How can I embody it and how can I grasp the timeless? There is only one way and that is to BE. And I am not yet. I have not seen it yet. I have heard all these philosophies, I can believe in them -- millions of people believe in them -- but belief never leads to knowing. Only being is needed. And I am not yet, sir, I am not yet deathless. I don't know. All that I know is death. All that I know is time. And what are you saying to me? Should I believe? How can I embody the deathless unless I know that I am that? To be unborn and deathless is to embody it; that is the only way. To be timeless is to grasp it.'
'That is so, that is so' asserted the Master. The push has worked; the Master could not provoke him into any nonsense. The temptation was given; the Master could not succeed in tempting him. Otherwise, the easy way, the way of least resistance, would have been for him to have fallen into the trap. But he remained out of it.
Huineng said 'That is so, that is so.'
At this Yoka acted according to the prescribed ceremonial, and prostrated himself. Now, see the beauty of it. Now it is happening spontaneously, now it is not something formal; it is of the heart, it is of the being itself. The moment the Master says 'That is so, that is so' -- this affirmation from the Master's side, and great reverence arose in him. Not a traditional reverence, not anything of the head and the concept, not that 'He is enlightened' -- he has heard, so he has to bow down. In this moment when the Master spoke to him with his grace -- he showered in his affirmation on this new arrival -- his heart moved; there was a contact.
This is real meeting: the Master has found his disciple and the disciple has found his Master. Immediately, that which had been prescribed in the scriptures happened on its own, not according to the prescription, not because of the prescription, but because of some real encounter.
At this Yoka acted according to the prescribed ceremonial, and prostrated himself
See the difference; the difference is great. You go to somebody -- you have heard he is a great sage -- and you bow down. If it is only because you have heard that he is a great sage, then you are not bowing down really; you are bowing down to the people who have said that he is a sage, not to him. You are a victim of the propaganda, you have been conditioned by the public opinion. You are bowing down to the public; your bowing down has nothing to do with this person, this real person. When you look into the eyes and you find the sage there... and not according to your ideas, because you may have certain ideas how a sage should be. If according to your ideas a person is a sage and you bow down, you are bowing down to yourself; you are paying respect to your own self, you are patting your own back, you are saying to yourself 'How true I am! Look, this is what I have always thought a sage should be, and here is a sage who is a proof that my thinking is right.' It is self-enhancing, ego-enhancing.
But when you really look into the eyes of a sage, you feel his energy and make yourself available to his being, something moves in the heart and suddenly you find yourself bowing down, that is a totally different matter -- not of this world, not earthly; it is divine. That is the meeting of a Master and a disciple, that is true initiation.
At this Yoka acted according to the prescribed ceremonial, and prostrated himself, then soon after bade farewell to the Master. 'Aren't you in a bit of a hurry to be off?' said the Master. Immediately, he bowed down, prostrated himself, and said 'Now, thank you for all that you have done to me. I must leave now.' The Master said 'Aren't you in a bit of a hurry to be off?'
Yoka replied 'Motion has no real existence, so how can there be such a thing as "hurry" ?' Another encounter, now it starts from the side of the disciple. The Master is happy; he has assented, he has said 'That is so, that is so.' One part is fulfilled, but the dialogue, to be total, has to have another part too. Now the disciple provokes the Master, he says 'Motion has no real existence; it is all relative.' So says modern physics. Buddhism has always been saying so. Modern physics, agrees on many points with Buddha's intuition; in fact, modern physics is almost Buddhist. If ever there is going to be any meeting between science and religion, it will happen between Buddhism and science, through Buddhism and science. Christianity lags far behind -- looks almost childish, so does Judaism, so does Islam. Hinduism comes a little closer,Jainism a little more close, but Buddhism is just parallel. Whatsoever modern science has discovered was discovered by Buddha twenty-five centuries before. Of course, in a different language it has been expressed -- it is not the language of mathematics, it is the language of poetry -- but the message is the same; that poetry can be translated into mathematics.
'Motion has no real existence, so how can there be such a thing as "hurry"?'
The Master said 'Who knows that motion is unreal?' If motion is unreal then the knower of it cannot be real. Who knows? Who is the witness of it? If the dream is unreal, the dreamer cannot be real. When the dream is found to be unreal, the dreamer is also found to be unreal. They appear together, they disappear together -- they are aspects of the same coin. 'If motion is unreal' the Master says 'then who knows? Who is this declaring motion to be unreal or relative?'
Yoka said 'You yourself are discriminating in asking such a question. You ask me why I am in such a hurry. You discriminated, you created time with your question. I am simply being polite in answering you. You are the cause of it.'
The Master was immensely happy and exclaimed 'You have grasped birthlessness splendidly!' Because if one can know, if one can see, that time is unreal, then birth and death have both disappeared -- because they exist in time, they are events of time. If time itself is unreal, then birth and death disappear. This is liberation. And that's what happens in deep meditation: you come to see that time is unreal.
The moment mind stops, time stops; they stop together. Hence Buddhists say: Mind is time. They are synonymous, they are two names for the one phenomenon. It is the movement of mind that creates the movement of time. It is the moving mind that creates the illusion of a moving time. Once the mind stops, is in utter silence, thoughts disappear and nothing is moving, all time disappears. Each time you penetrate into meditation, time stops, the clock stops, the world stops. Then you are neither in the past nor in the future nor even in the present; you simply are. There is no time -- you cannot relate yourself with time. So the best definition of meditation is 'a state of no-time' or 'a state of no-mind'.
The Master said 'You have grasped birthlessness splendidly!'
But Yoka remarked again 'Has the expression birthlessness any meaning whatever? If there is no time, there is no birth. If there is no birth, what is the meaning of birthlessness?' All meanings depend on their opposites. If somebody asks you what light is, you will have to bring darkness in to define it. If somebody asks you what health is, you will have to bring disease in to define it. All words have meaning in the context of their opposites. 'If birth does not exist, what is the meaning of birthlessness?' Yoka attacks again. He could not provoke the Master the first time; he wanted to drag the Master into a debate.
But you cannot drag the Master into a debate; he is not there to fight, he is not there to argue. That's why he assents happily 'You have grasped birthlessness splendidly!' This is no way to argue. Argument means that even if you are not right, even if you see that you are not right, you go on insisting that you are right and the other is wrong. Argument is an ego trip, an ego number. You cannot argue with a Master because there is nobody. You can have a dialogue with a Master but no argument. Whenever he will see the point that you have come close to truth, he will immediately affirm it, he will say 'This is so, that's so. You are right.' It is not a question of who is right, the question is always of what is right.
See the difference. When you are discussing with somebody it is never a question of truth, the question is 'Who is right, you or I?' You will come across so many instances like this in Buddhist scriptures, and sometimes you will have the feeling a great dialogue, a great discussion, a great argument, is going to set in. And if you are accustomed to reading Western books, the dialogues of Plato where Socrates goes on and on arguing and arguing, you will expect something like that. But you will be frustrated because with a Master the moment anything comes close to truth, he immediately affirms. Whether it comes from you or anybody else -- that does not matter. Truth matters; from whom it is coming is irrelevant. It is not an ego conflict.
Yoka wanted to drag the Master... He wanted to test the Master, to examine whether he has really found a sage or it is just an illusion. The man has tremendous beauty, grace, has eyes of great depth, has great love energy around him, but one should be cautious -- all these things may be just cultivated. If one practises long enough, things almost start looking as if they are real. So again he says 'Has the expression birthlessness any meaning whatever?'
The Master countered 'If it had no meaning, how could anybody discriminate?' We can discriminate only if there is meaning in words. If there is no meaning in words then there is no possibility of discrimination. Then you cannot say 'This is day' and then you cannot say 'This is night.' How will you discriminate if there is no meaning in words? If words are just meaningless then no discrimination is possible.
Yoka said 'Discrimination also has no meaning.' He goes on insisting deeper and deeper: he wants to see whether the Master becomes angry, whether the Master says something which shows that all this 'sageness' is just cultivated.
The Master was so happy, he laughed. He pulled Yoka close to him, he blessed him and said 'Very good indeed!'
This is a strange dialogue. What do you feel in this unique dialogue? What is its uniqueness? It is unique because here are two men of infinite power facing each other without any competition; two men of truth facing each other without any argument. This only happens when the power is real. Only real power is capable of accepting the truth of the other. When the power is not real you are always defending: you are afraid you may be exposed. When the power is not real you move cautiously; you cannot say the other is right because then you are wrong. When the power is unreal it is always ego power. The real power is not yours; the real power is of the whole, of the total. This only happens when the power is real. Real power means pure power, not over others.
This distinction has to be understood. There are two kinds of power in the world: one is power over others, that's what political power is. Kings have it, and the politicians and the dictators, but it is impotent; deep down it is poor. They are hiding something -- their impotence -- in the clamour of power. They are just creating the power around themselves so that they need not face their impotence. The religious power, the spiritual power, is not power over others; it is simply power, it is just pure power. It has no reference to the other, that's why it can be so humble, so innocent. The pure power is that which the sages have pre-eminently and the politicians and the dictators are most lacking in. That's why I say again and again that politics and religion are diametrically opposite. A politician cannot be religious; it is intrinsically impossible. A religious person cannot be a politician; that too is intrinsically impossible. They move into different kinds of power. One is power over others, the other is simply emptiness inside and the power is God's. It descends in you; because you are empty, you become full of it. The power over others is destructive. The pure power is pure creativity.
Before we enter the sutras there are a few things to be noted. Hubert Benoit calls Zen 'the doctrine abrupt' as opposed to all others which he names 'progressive doctrines'. For the first, for Zen, he uses the singular, and for the others the plural -- because the doctrine abrupt can only be one. But there can be as many progressive doctrines as there are people; each one has to progress in his own way. So there can be millions of progressive doctrines -- he is right in using the plural -- and the abrupt doctrine can only be one. It can't be different for different people, because it is abrupt. It doesn't depend on you, who you are, it depends only on one thing: that you disappear. And the disappearance is abrupt, sudden. This point has to be understood because it is very fundamental to Zen.
Yoga is a progressive doctrine; Zen, the doctrine abrupt. That is its fundamental vision -- of great beauty and grandeur. It simply means one thing: that Buddhahood is not something to be attained. In Yoga the SAMADHI has to be attained: you have to improve upon yourself, you have to go on and on working on yourself. It is a great programme of improvement, of achievement, of accomplishment. In Zen all that you have to find is that you are already a Buddha, that there is no accomplishment, that there is no growth, that there is no attainment, that Buddhahood is everybody's inner nature.
Everybody is a Buddha; whether you know it or not makes no difference. A few Buddhas are fast asleep and snoring, a few Buddhas have become awakened, but both are Buddhas.
In Zen there is no method. Not that Zen Masters don't give methods to their disciples, they do give -- they give methods only to prove to you, to your heart's desire and contentment, that all methods are useless. They give methods so that you work on the method, and slowly slowly you see the futility of it. The moment you see the futility of one method and you are finished with that, a higher method will be given to you and so on and so forth. Higher and higher methods will be given; and ultimately, slowly slowly, you will cling ate all the methods because you will see the futility of them all.
One day you will come to the point where you will see that there is nothing to be attained, nowhere to go. That moment in Zen is called 'the great doubt'. That moment is known in the West through Christian mystics as 'the dark night of the soul'. It is really a dark night of the soul, the great doubt. Nothing to be attained, nowhere to go, all future disappears; you are in a kind of shock. Then who are you? Then what are you doing here? Then why this existence? All seems meaningless if there is no attainment, if there is no way to reach and nowhere to reach and nobody to reach. Then what is all this? A great doubt arises.
This doubt precedes SATORI. This great doubt, this dark night of the soul, always precedes SATORI. Either you fall back because of the doubt -- you start moving again into methods, you start clinging again to methods, paths and ways, and scriptures and principles and philosophies and doctrines. You fall back; just to avoid the doubt you start clinging to something again. But if you are really courageous... And this is real courage: that you remain in doubt, and you don't fall back, and you don't cling to anything again. You leave yourself in this dark night of the soul, helpless, lost -- utterly lost, seeing no meaning and seeing no future. If this courage is there, SATORI happens. Suddenly, out of this great doubt, and the pain and agony of it, you become awakened.
A parallel exists in nightmares. You must have seen it happening again and again: if the nightmare is too horrible, the dream is broken. You can go on dreaming sweet dreams the whole night; there is no problem. The dream is so sweet that it is like a lullaby: it keeps you drunk, intoxicated. But if the dream is horrible? -- you are being chased by a tiger, and the tiger is coming closer and closer and closer; and the fear... and your heart is beating fast, and your breath is no more rhythmic, and you are perspiring; and you are running and running, and there seems to be no escape, and then suddenly you see that the path has ended in an abyss, there is no way to go; and the tiger is coming closer and closer, you can almost feel his breath on your back; and then his paw... and a fountain of blood rushes out of your back -- can you go on remaining asleep? The nightmare is too much; it is bound to destroy your sleep. Abruptly, suddenly, you are awake. It is like a sudden jump from one state of consciousness to another. A moment before you were asleep, now you are awake. There is no tiger, just your wife -- and her hand on your back, and her breath... All has disappeared.
The great doubt is the point where one feels the greatest nightmare, where one's whole life turns into a nightmare with open eyes. When you see that the whole of life has lost meaning... Because life has meaning only if you have goals. When you are enchanted by goals, life has meaning; when there are no goals, meaning disappears. Suddenly you see that you don't have any ground underneath your feet; you are hanging in emptiness. You are falling like a dead leaf into some unknown, bottomless pit, and it is all dark, and there is not even a ray of light.
This is the work of a Zen Master: to push you into this great doubt. Once this happens, SATORI IS bound to happen unless you fall back again and start dreaming sweet dreams.
To be with a real Master is to be in a fire. To be with a real Master is to face your death, is to face your annihilation. That's why Zen is known as the sudden enlightenment, the doctrine abrupt.
Hubert Benoit also says that SATORI has two meanings. One is the SATORI-state in which everybody is: the birds and the trees and the mountains and you and all the Buddhas -- past, present, future. The whole existence is in the state of SATORI. This is another way of saying that God is everywhere, in everything; that God is the soul of everything. Buddhahood is everybody's nature. And the second is the SATORI-event. Every man is from all eternity in the state of SATORI. The SATORI-event is only that historic, anecdotal instance when man suddenly ceases not recognizing that he has always been in the SATORI-state.
You are a Buddha. When you recognize it, or when you remember it, that is the SATORI-event. The SATORI-event is only a window into the SATORI-state, and this SATORI-event has apparent reality only in the eyes of the man who has not yet experienced it. One who has experienced it recognizes that he has always been in SATORI. That is why we cannot speak of progress, evolution, attainment, realization, etcetera, etcetera.
Yoka's Master, Huineng, says 'There is no accomplishment. There is no realization.' And then it follows as a matter of course that the efforts towards realization are all useless.
Then why do the Zen people make efforts? -- just to see their futility. Slowly the futility is proved, and then one is left only with a constant question. In Zen it is called 'the great doubt'; this precedes the SATORI-event. The realization of SATORI consists in realizing that the idea of realization is illusory, and the idea of THE WAY to realization is illusory, because all is realization from the very beginning -- it is already the case.
This is the most fundamental vision of Zen. If you understand it, then Yoka Daishi's SHODOKA, the Song of Enlightenment, can be easily understood.
Now the song:
DO YOU NOT SEE HIM,
THE REALLY WISE MAN, ALWAYS AT EASE, UNMOVED?
HE DOES NOT GET RID OF ILLUSION, NOR DOES HE
SEEK FOR THE (SO-CALLED) TRUTH.
IGNORANCE IS INTRINSICALLY THE BUDDHA NATURE,
OUR ILLUSORY UNREAL BODY IS THE COSMIC BODY.
Statements of immense significance. Statements of great rebellion against all orthodox religions. Statements that can shock you. Statements which never relate with religions such as Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, Islam. Buddhism is the highest vision possible.
DO YOU NOT SEE HIM...?
The Buddha is within you. Do you not see him?
THE REALLY WISE MAN, ALWAYS AT EASE, UNMOVED?
Have you never experienced something in yourself that remains always unmoved? If you look, you will find. You are in pain, but something remains above it: that is your Buddha nature. You are in great misery; just look a little deep, just search a little deep, dig a little deep, and you will find something hidden there which is untouched by the misery. There is great turmoil in your mind -- thoughts and thoughts, and the traffic goes on and on; it is a mad traffic -- but can't you see that there is a witness to it all? a watcher on the hills?
That is your reality. That is Buddha hiding in you.
And it is already there; just a recognition is needed.
DO YOU NOT SEE HIM,
THE REALLY WISE MAN, ALWAYS AT EASE, UNMOVED?
HE DOES NOT GET RID OF ILLUSION...
There is no need to get rid of any illusion. Illusion is illusion. Knowing it as illusion is enough; there is no need to get rid of it. That's why the Zen Master goes on living in the world, in the market-place. He is not an escapist; he is not afraid of the world. He is not like the vedantists who say 'The world is illusory, so we have to renounce it.' Just see the ridiculousness of it. If the world is illusory, what is there to renounce? How can you renounce an illusion? And not only that, but these people renounce the world, they go to the Himalayan caves and they sit there greatly satisfied that they have renounced. What have they renounced? If it is illusory, it cannot be renounced, and if it is not illusory then you are a fool to renounce it. Either way it cannot be renounced. If it is real, there is no way to renounce it -- there is no need either. If it is unreal, how can you renounce it?
Seeing that it is illusory is enough. Seeing it, the gestalt changes; suddenly you are no more concerned with the illusion around you, you are centred in the witnessing consciousness.
HE DOES NOT GET RID OF ILLUSION, NOR DOES HE
SEEK FOR THE (SO-CALLED) TRUTH.
He is not a seeker, because a seeker lives in the future. To live in the future is to live in desire, and to live in desire is to live in the world. This is Zen renunciation: not to live in the future, because the future is not; not to live in desire. It does not matter whether you desire money or meditation, SAMSARA or SAMADHI. What you desire makes no difference -- any object of desire will do -- desire will persist. Desire is the problem. So the real man of Zen does not seek the so-called truth.
See the point. Yoka is calling it 'the so-called truth'. All truths are so-called because the real truth cannot be uttered. All truths are man-made.
Just two or three days ago a sannyasin wrote a letter to me. Doing Intensive Enlightenment he came to see that just in his belly, close to the diaphragm, there is a hard plate of steel that is dividing him into two, and because of it he cannot be one and whole. There is only a small hole in it through which he connects with the lower part of his body. And he was very puzzled because underneath the hole he saw written 'Made in USA. Patent applied for.' Then he became very worried -- 'What is this?' Whether you have a steel plate made in the USA or in India it is still man-made.
Your misery is man-made. Your suffering is man-made. YOU have used your creativity to produce it. YOU have misused your creative forces. And once you have created something in your mind, it is real unless you withdraw your support. All that looks real to you is real because you are supporting its reality; you go on feeding and nourishing it. Withdraw your support. You need not go out of the market-place; you can just withdraw wherever you are. And the way to withdraw is: just be a witness to it, just see it silently, with no judgement.
HE DOES NOT GET RID OF ILLUSION, NOR DOES HE
SEEK FOR THE (SO-CALLED) TRUTH.
IGNORANCE IS INTRINSICALLY THE BUDDHA NATURE...
So don't be worried. Even if you are ignorant, don't be worried; you are still a Buddha -- just not aware. You are a rich man, and you are asleep and you dream that you have become a beggar. But you have not become a beggar; you are still rich. Your treasure is still yours, your bank balance is yours, and in the morning when you get up, you will not need to get rid of the beggar and you will not need to seek the treasure. You will know that it was always there, even while you were thinking that you were a beggar.
This whole world is our created and sustained dream.
OUR ILLUSORY UNREAL BODY IS THE COSMIC BODY.
And don't create any distinctions that 'this is unreal' and 'that is real'. All is one.
GETTING RID OF THINGS AND CLINGING TO EMPTINESS IS AN ILLNESS OF THE SAME KIND...
But beware: it happens that people try to get rid of things and then they cling to emptiness. That's what the old sannyas is: getting rid of things and then clinging to emptiness. But if you cling to emptiness, you have reduced emptiness to the biggest thing that is possible in the world. Now that is your treasure, now that is your possession; now you have to be very very cautious to protect it. Just a dog barking can destroy it. A child playing and shouting can destroy it.
Look at the so-called religious. Small things disturb them. Just the children playing by the side of the road and their meditation is disturbed. The wife talking a little loudly to the neighbour, and their prayer is disturbed. If you have one religious, so-called religious person in your house, he will drive the whole family neurotic. This is not a way to be religious, this is a way to dominate people, to torture them; it is a way of becoming powerful over them in the name of religion. 'Daddy is meditating', and the children cannot play, the wife cannot talk loudly, you cannot put the radio on, you cannot watch TV. 'Daddy is meditating.' And he may be simply meditating to have this control; otherwise, nobody listens to him, the wife never takes any care... And children are children: they don't bother much about the old man. But when he meditates, then the whole house is silent, that is his politics. Make a slight noise, and he is disturbed, he is annoyed, he is angry, he is in a rage, and he will take revenge.
The real man of religion just becomes calm and quiet; not because the situation is calm and quiet, but just because he is no more attached to anything whatsoever. He is not attached to the world, he is not attached to God; he is simply not attached. He is not hankering for the worldly things and he is not hankering for the other-worldly things; he is not hankering at all. He is at ease.
DO YOU NOT SEE HIM,
THE REALLY WISE MAN, ALWAYS AT EASE, UNMOVED?
GETTING RID OF THINGS AND CLINGING TO EMPTINESS
IS AN ILLNESS OF THE SAME KIND...
There is no difference. There are people who are very virtuous, but their virtue is a kind of currency -- currency of the other world. They are hoping to live in heaven with all the pleasures and gratifications that they have denied themselves here. And they are feeling very good and very piously egoistic seeing others being sinners. And they know deep down that these people will have to suffer in hell, and for eternity. They are hoping that this happens.
Do you call these people religious? Then who will be unreligious? It is the same kind of disease. Remember it always, the mind is so cunning that it can change the disease to the opposite disease, but the innermost reality remains the same. You were depending on money; you can renounce the money and depend on renunciation. You were thinking money is going to make you happy, now you are thinking renunciation is going to make you happy. Nothing has changed: it is the same kind of disease.
IT IS JUST LIKE THROWING ONESELF INTO A FIRE
TO AVOID BEING DROWNED.
Now, the fire and water look opposite; so if you are being drowned, you can throw yourself into a fire thinking that the fire will save you. The opposite can never save you. Or you are on fire and you jump into the water -- and get drowned -- thinking that the water will save you. The opposite cannot save you because the opposite only appears to be the opposite; it is not. The fire and the water are in conspiracy. The world and the other-world are in conspiracy.
See the point. And don't jump into the opposite, just remain in the middle, a watcher, a witness, and you are out of it all.
WHEN ASKED 'WHAT IS YOUR RELIGION?'
I ANSWER 'THE POWER OF THE MAKAHANNYA.'
SOMETIMES AFFIRMING THINGS, SOMETIMES DENYING THEM,
IT IS BEYOND THE WISDOM OF MAN.
SOMETIMES WITH COMMON SENSE, SOMETIMES AGAINST IT,
HEAVEN CANNOT MAKE HEAD OR TAIL OF IT.
Yoka says 'When I am asked "What is your religion?" I say MAKAHANNYA.' That is the Japanese for MAHAPRAGYA; it means 'the great wisdom'. A beautiful answer. He does not say Christianity, he does not even say Buddhism -- not even Zen; he simply says the great wisdom, MAHAPRAGYA.
What is this MAHAPRAGYA? Witnessing. Watching. Becoming more and more aware of the reality that is you, Coming to grips with your innermost core.
Wisdom has not to be gathered from the outside. It is inside you; it is your innermost reality. The light is already burning there, but you are keeping it at the back. Turn about! A one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn is needed. And the sun that used to rise in the morning starts rising in the evening.
'I answer "The power of MAHAPRAGYA, the great wisdom."'
And what is the great wisdom?
HEAVEN CANNOT MAKE HEAD OR TAIL OF IT.
... because it is spontaneity.
The ordinary wise man has ready-made answers. He is a robot, he is a computer. You ask the question and the answer is already there, you push the button and the answer comes out; it is mechanical. It is not so with the great wisdom. If you ask a Christian a certain question, immediately the answer comes. He is quoting the Bible; it is not his answer. It may have been Jesus' answer, but who knows? Jesus may not have been reported rightly. Down the centuries his message may have been corrupted -- there is more possibility that it has been corrupted. Thousands and thousands of interpretations... and the way that he expressed it is bound to be totally different than the way we will understand it, because twenty centuries have passed; words don't carry the same meaning anymore; a lot, a great deal has changed. So much water has gone down the Ganges. So when a Christian answers, he is simply quoting; whatsoever he is saying is within inverted commas. Hence it is false. Anything that is within inverted commas is false; it is not yours, it is not authentic. And you can go on asking the question again and again; the answer will remain the same. That is the way to judge it, that is the criterion by which one should judge it. If the answer remains the same in different situations then the answer is mechanical. You ask in the morning, and the answer is the same. And you ask in the afternoon, and the answer is the same. And you ask in the evening, and the answer is the same -- because the answer is ready-made. It is just a gramophone record: you push the button, it plays. It is a tape.
But great wisdom is totally different; and the most distinguishing thing about it is its spontaneity. In the morning it is one thing, in the afternoon, another, and by the evening nobody knows -- even HEAVEN CANNOT MAKE HEAD OR TAIL OF IT. Why? -- because it is so spontaneous, so utterly of the moment. It is a response.
SOMETIMES AFFIRMING THINGS...
You ask the Buddha 'Is there God?' and sometimes he says 'Yes. What else? Only God is.' And you ask the Buddha another day 'Is there God?' and he says 'No. Never heard of it. What nonsense are you talking about? God?' And the third time you ask him 'Is there God?' and he closes his eyes and sits, silent, answering not at all. Or the fourth time you ask him about God, and he says something about something else. Not talking about God at all, he talks about something else. He responds to the question -- in fact, more to the questioner than to the question. He responds to the totality: the context of the question and the questioner, the mood, the climate. It is not a ready-made phenomenon.
SOMETIMES AFFIRMING THINGS...
So this is the criterion for judging the great wisdom: it is never mechanical, it is never repetitive.
SOMETIMES AFFIRMING THINGS, SOMETIMES DENYING THEM...
It is always inconsistent. It is only consistent in its inconsistencies, because life is so. It has no fixed ideas to propound. It is like a mirror: a monkey comes before the mirror, and the monkey is reflected; and a donkey comes before the mirror, and the donkey is reflected. And you come before the mirror in anger, and anger is reflected. And you come before the mirror in great love and joy, and love and joy are reflected. The mirror has no ideas how things should be, the mirror allows freedom. So whatever is, the mirror reflects.
SOMETIMES AFFIRMING THINGS, SOMETIMES DENYING THEM.
IT IS BEYOND THE WISDOM OF MAN.
The great wisdom is beyond your so-called wisdom -- the wisdom of man. The wisdom of man is very consistent; it is never self-contradictory. It keeps to a particular line: it is linear, it is one-dimensional. Hence it is false because life is multi-dimensional. Life is many things together: life is all things together. Life is paradoxical. The great wisdom is paradoxical.
Remember it. Whenever you come across a person who is very consistent, know well that he is a philosopher but not a wise man. He has a philosophy, a system, in which he has become obsessed, fixed, rooted. A wise man is a flux, river-like; a philosopher is frozen like ice. That's why philosophy is cold, religion is warm. It has the warmth of love because it flows; it goes on flowing. It is a movement; it is alive.
IT IS BEYOND THE WISDOM OF MAN
SOMETIMES WITH COMMON SENSE, SOMETIMES AGAINST IT...
The great wisdom sometimes agrees with common sense and sometimes is absolutely against it. There is no way of deciding how the really wise man will respond, there is no way of predicting; he remains unpredictable. This should be the criterion for finding a Master: if you can find a man who lives in paradox and yet in poise, who lives in paradox yet utterly calm...
DO YOU NOT SEE HIM,
THE REALLY WISE MAN, ALWAYS AT EASE, UNMOVED?
... who lives, but with no ideas how to live; who simply lives, who innocently lives; and who is like a mirror reflecting all that passes by; who does not project anything but only reflects; who does not ACT ON life but is only receptive.
A really wise man is feminine, receptive, passive. That's why Buddha looks so feminine. That quality of passiveness, that quality of receptivity... He is just a receptacle. He reflects life: he allows life to reflect in him, to be reflected through him. He sings the song that existence wants to sing through him. He has no ideas of his own; he does not hinder.

This song is also a song of MAHAPRAGYA. This is one of the most beautiful songs ever sung -- because there is no singer in it, because the song has sung itself.

 

 

Next: Chapter 2: Waiting, Just Waiting, Question 1

 


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