ENERGY BLOCKAGE REMOVAL
|2005 AND 2006|
The Great Zen Master Ta Hui
THE GREAT AFFAIR
THIS AFFAIR IS LIKE THE BRIGHT SUN IN THE BLUE SKY, SHINING CLEARLY, CHANGELESS AND MOTIONLESS, WITHOUT DIMINISHING OR INCREASING. IT SHINES EVERYWHERE IN THE DAILY ACTIVITIES OF EVERYONE, APPEARING IN EVERYTHING. THOUGH YOU TRY TO GRASP IT, YOU CANNOT GET IT; THOUGH YOU TRY TO ABANDON IT, IT ALWAYS REMAINS. IT IS VAST AND UNOBSTRUCTED, UTTERLY EMPTY. LIKE A GOURD FLOATING ON WATER, IT CANNOT BE REINED IN OR HELD DOWN. SINCE ANCIENT TIMES, WHEN GOOD PEOPLE OF THE PATH HAVE ATTAINED THIS, THEY'VE APPEARED AND DISAPPEARED IN THE SEA OF BIRTH AND DEATH, ABLE TO USE IT FULLY. THERE IS NO DEFICIT OR SURPLUS: LIKE CUTTING UP SANDALWOOD, EACH PIECE IS IT.
SINCE THERE IS NO PLACE TO LOCATE IT, BUDDHA IS ILLUSION AND DHARMA IS ILLUSION: THE THREE WORLDS, TWENTY-FIVE STATES OF BEING, THE SENSE ORGANS, SENSE OBJECTS, AND CONSCIOUSNESS ARE UTTERLY EMPTY. WHEN YOU GET TO THIS REALM, THERE'S NO PLACE TO PUT EVEN THE WORD `BUDDHA'; IF EVEN THE WORD `BUDDHA' HAS NO APPLICABILITY, WHERE IS THERE TRUE THUSNESS, BUDDHA-NATURE, ENLIGHTENMENT OR NIRVANA? THUS THE GREAT BEING FU SAID, "FEARING THAT PEOPLE WILL GIVE RISE TO A VIEW OF ANNIHILATION, WE PROVISIONALLY ESTABLISH EMPTY NAMES."
In all the sutras up to now, Ta Hui has not been able to establish himself as an enlightened being. He is trying hard, he is using the most logical and intellectual methods, but they are empty; they don't carry any weight. For example, when he says, "All the senses, self-nature, dharma, all are illusory," one has to ask him, "To whom are you talking?" And, "Who is talking?" He has used the word `illusory' without understanding its implications.
Anybody who is not aware of both the intellectual potentialities and the nature of `no-mind' will not be able to figure out whether this man is authentic or pseudo.
Before I go into his sutras, I am reminded of a beautiful incident about the Adi Shankaracharya, the first shankaracharya, who established four temples -- the four seats of shankaracharyas for all the four directions. Perhaps in the whole world, he is the most famous of those philosophers who are trying to establish that everything is illusory. Without doubt he was a great logician, because he went on conquering other philosophers; he moved all over the country and defeated all other schools of philosophy. He established his philosophy as the only right vision, the only right perspective: that all is maya, illusion.
Shankaracharya was in Varanasi. One day, early in the morning -- it was still dark because traditionally the Hindu monks take a bath before sunrise -- he took a bath. And as he was coming up the steps, a man touched him on purpose, not accidentally, and told him, "Please forgive me. I am a sudra, I am untouchable. I am sorry, but you will have to take another bath to clean yourself."
Shankaracharya was very angry. He said, "It was not accidental, the way you did that; you did it on purpose. You should be punished in hell."
The man said, "When all is illusory, it seems only hell remains real." That took Shankaracharya aback.
The man said, "Before you go for your bath, you have to answer my few questions. If you don't answer me, each time you come up after your bath, I will touch you."
It was lonely and nobody else was there, so Shankaracharya said, "You seem to be a very strange person. What are your questions?"
He said, "My first question is: Is my body illusory? Is your body illusory? And if two illusions touch each other, what is the problem? Why are you going to take another bath? You are not practicing what you are preaching. How, in an illusory world, can there be a distinction between the untouchable and the brahmin? -- the pure and the impure? -- when both are illusory, when both are made of the same stuff as dreams are made of? What is the fuss?"
Shankaracharya, who had been conquering great philosophers, could not answer this simple man because any answer was going to be against his philosophy. If he says they are illusory, then there is no point in being angry about it. If he says they are real, then at least he accepts the reality of bodies... but then there is a problem. If human bodies are real, then animal bodies, the bodies of the trees, the bodies of the planets, the stars... then everything is real.
And the man said, "I know you cannot answer this -- it will finish your whole philosophy. I'll ask you another question: I am a sudra, untouchable, impure, but where is my impurity -- in my body or in my soul? I have heard you declaring that the soul is absolutely and forever pure, and there is no way to make it impure; so how can there be a distinction between souls? Both are pure, absolutely pure, and there are no degrees of impurity -- that somebody is more pure and somebody is less pure. So perhaps it is my soul that has made you impure and you have to take another bath?"
That was even more difficult. But he had never been in such trouble -- actual, practical, in a way scientific. Rather than arguing about words, the sudra had created a situation in which the great Adi Shankaracharya accepted his defeat. And the sudra said, "Then don't go take another bath. Anyway there is no river, no me, no you; all is a dream. Just go in the temple -- that too is a dream -- and pray to God. He too is a dream, because he is a projection of a mind which is illusory, and an illusory mind cannot project anything real.
What Ta Hui is saying here is something similar. He does not understand the implications. Let us look into each sutra.
THIS AFFAIR -- this affair of enlightenment -- IS LIKE THE BRIGHT SUN IN THE BLUE SKY, SHINING CLEARLY, CHANGELESS AND MOTIONLESS, WITHOUT DIMINISHING OR INCREASING. IT SHINES EVERYWHERE IN THE DAILY ACTIVITIES OF EVERYONE, APPEARING IN EVERYTHING. THOUGH YOU TRY TO GRASP IT, YOU CANNOT GET IT; THOUGH YOU TRY TO ABANDON IT, IT ALWAYS REMAINS. IT IS VAST AND UNOBSTRUCTED, UTTERLY EMPTY.
These words he must have borrowed, because these are the words of a man who knows. Each single sentence is impeccably true. This affair -- the affair of enlightenment or liberation or self-realization -- is like the bright sun. It has been the experience of thousands of mystics that when they reach the highest peak of their consciousness there is an explosion of light, something like an atomic explosion.
One of the great mystics, Kabir, says, "It is shining so much that it seems one thousand suns have risen suddenly around me. Wherever I look, the sun that I used to see seems completely paled... the brightness of these one thousand suns is so much. It has purified every fiber and cell of my being, as if I have passed through fire the way gold does. All that is not gold is destroyed by the fire and only the pure gold comes out.
"Passing through this experience of one thousand suns, for the first time I know what purity means -- its fragrance, its freshness, its absolute newness. It is never stale, it is never past, it is never present, it is never future. You cannot divide it into time segments. It always is; it is the very nature of existence itself."
So Ta Hui is quoting these words without quotation marks, which is one of the cunning strategies of all the intellectuals of the world. They go on stealing from every source, and pretending that it is their own experience. But they cannot manage it -- sooner or later something immediately shows their stupidity.
THIS AFFAIR IS LIKE THE BRIGHT SUN IN THE BLUE SKY, SHINING CLEARLY, CHANGELESS AND MOTIONLESS, WITHOUT DIMINISHING OR INCREASING. IT SHINES EVERYWHERE IN THE DAILY ACTIVITIES OF EVERYONE, APPEARING IN EVERYTHING. THOUGH YOU TRY TO GRASP IT, YOU CANNOT GET IT; THOUGH YOU TRY TO ABANDON IT, IT ALWAYS REMAINS. IT IS VAST AND UNOBSTRUCTED, UTTERLY EMPTY.
These sentences are certainly stolen from someone who knows. And the reason I am saying they are stolen is because just as we enter into further sutras it becomes clear that he is not aware that they are showing his ignorance.
LIKE A GOURD FLOATING ON WATER, IT CANNOT BE REINED IN OR HELD DOWN. SINCE ANCIENT TIMES, WHEN GOOD PEOPLE OF THE PATH HAVE ATTAINED THIS, THEY'VE APPEARED AND DISAPPEARED IN THE SEA OF BIRTH AND DEATH, ABLE TO USE IT FULLY. THERE IS NO DEFICIT OR SURPLUS: LIKE CUTTING UP SANDALWOOD, EACH PIECE IS IT.
The first thing that he has wrong is that enlightened people are not, and cannot be called, good people. One can become a good person without being enlightened; in fact one can become a good person even without believing that there is consciousness, soul, or God. Do you think the atheists have not produced good people? Epicurus in Greece was a great atheist but you cannot find a better man; you cannot find anything to blame in his life.
In India there has been a big school of atheists called Charvakas. They did not believe in any other world, in God, in reincarnation, in the existence of the soul. They were purely materialists, but they produced such good people that even the theist Hindu scriptures mention their originator with great respect as Acharya Brespati, the great master Brespati. They don't agree with his ideas, but they cannot disagree with his character, with his goodness.
The enlightened person is beyond good and evil. You cannot confine him to the word good. He is neither good nor evil, he is simply aware. Good passes in front of him and evil passes in front of him, and he remains unaffected. Whatever he does, he does not follow any ethical code or any morality; he simply follows his own awareness. So the good is not a goal for him, it is simply a by-product of his awareness. He is not doing virtuous things and he is not waiting for any reward. He is simply conscious; he has eyes.
Do you think that because you have eyes and you can see the trees and the sun, you need some reward for it? Or because you can see the door and can go out or come in, do you think you need some reward for it?
The man of awareness simply has eyes.
The moralist has no eyes of his own. He is practicing what has been said traditionally to be good. He does not know exactly whether it is good or not; people just say it is good. He is born amongst people who believe it is good, and because by doing it he is honored, respected -- his ego is fulfilled -- he goes on doing it. It is a beautiful arrangement; here it is ego-fulfilling and there in the other world, after death, he will be showered with great rewards. He is really doing a good business.
The enlightened man has no reward. He has the greatest thing in the world: a total awareness. Now nothing can be added to his richness. He is neither good nor bad; this is where Ta Hui shows his ignorance about the enlightened people.
Secondly he says, they've appeared and disappeared in the sea of birth and death. That is absolutely wrong. Once a man is enlightened, he never comes back into a womb; he goes beyond birth and death. Good men are bound to be born, are bound to die, but not the enlightened one. The very foundation of enlightenment is to get free from the wheel of birth and death, and to enter into universal life -- formless, without a body. A body is a confinement, it is an imprisonment. Consciousness need not have a body; it can be just pure, formless space.
Once a man is enlightened, he never comes back into another body. And because Ta Hui is saying that "he appears and disappears in the sea of birth and death," he is showing his ignorance about the whole affair of enlightenment.
The last sentence is certainly beautiful and significant, but it is again stolen; it is stolen from Gautam Buddha himself. Buddha was always asked, "Does the experience of awakening, in different people, have the same taste, the same flower, or is it different?" And he has used two statements. One is: "The sea is vast, but you can taste it from anywhere and it is always salty; it has the same taste." And second: "Like cutting up sandalwood, each piece is it." You can cut the sandalwood into many pieces, but each piece will have the same fragrance; it will not be different in different pieces.
This is a famous statement of Gautam Buddha. Ta Hui has simply used it.
THERE IS NO DEFICIT OR SURPLUS: LIKE CUTTING UP SANDALWOOD, EACH PIECE IS IT.
SINCE THERE IS NO PLACE TO LOCATE IT, BUDDHA IS ILLUSION AND DHARMA IS ILLUSION.
The reason that he is giving for why buddha is illusion and why dharma, the nature of enlightenment, is illusion is that you cannot find a place to locate them. Can you find a place to locate space? Can you find a place to locate time? Is time illusory? Is space illusory?
Just because you cannot locate them... they are formless, hence location is not possible. If you make it a criterion that anything that cannot be located and pointed at is not real, then only things which have boundaries will be real and things that don't have any boundaries will not be real. Then your body will be real, because it can be located, and your consciousness will be unreal, because it cannot be located.
Ta Hui does not understand the implication of what he is saying. Just in the beginning he was talking about the affair of enlightenment, and there he did not mention at all that he was talking about an illusory affair. It was bright sun in the blue sky, shining clearly, changeless and motionless, without diminishing or increasing. it shines everywhere. A thing that shines everywhere, of course, cannot be located. You can locate a thing which exists somewhere, but a thing that exists everywhere cannot be located.
...appearing in everything. If it were appearing in some things, to locate it would be possible, but if it is appearing in everything.... If rocks are also buddhas, fast asleep, and they don't have any qualitative difference from enlightened beings.... They are aware and the rocks are fast asleep, but being asleep or awake doesn't make any difference to their basic reality.
In all those statements... he is saying, though you try to grasp it, you cannot get it -- you cannot grasp it because it is so vast, and so formless. Though you try to abandon it, it always remains. You cannot abandon it because it is everywhere; wherever you go you will find it. It is within you, it is without you. Those statements were absolutely right, but they are not his experiences.
The later sutras show that he cannot befool, he cannot deceive: Since there is no place to locate it, buddha is illusory. Suddenly, that which was shining in the blue sky like the bright sun has become illusory. And even the nature of awareness, which is dharma, has become illusory.
The three worlds -- hell, earth and heaven -- twenty-five states of being, the sense organs, sense objects, and consciousness are utterly empty. He is not leaving anything which is real. Then to whom is he talking? Their ears are illusory, their eyes are illusory, and so it is the case with Ta Hui himself.
All the senses are illusory. The sense of seeing the people to whom he is talking, the very fact of talking... if everything is illusory, then he is simply mad. What is the point of writing these sutras? For whom is he writing these sutras? And if everything is illusory, do you think that the paper on which these sutras are written... only the ink and the paper are real? -- although the man who was writing was illusory.
When you get to this realm, there is no place to put even the word `buddha.' But that does not make buddha illusory, it simply makes the word inapplicable. In that experience no word is applicable. All words are just tentatively used. When one has become awakened he cannot say anything about his experience of awakening. It is true: there is not even space to place the word `buddha.'
IF EVEN THE WORD `BUDDHA' HAS NO APPLICABILITY, WHERE IS THERE TRUE THUSNESS, BUDDHA-NATURE, ENLIGHTENMENT, OR NIRVANA?
And he was talking about `this affair' in the beginning of the sutras, where it extended throughout space. You could not grasp it because it was too vast, and you could not abandon it because where will you abandon it? Wherever you go, you will find it. You are in it, you ARE it.
Those statements were perfectly true. But now he is saying,
IF EVEN THE WORD `BUDDHA' HAS NO APPLICABILITY, WHERE IS THERE TRUE THUSNESS?
Now where is the great idea of true thusness, or buddha-nature, or enlightenment, or nirvana? Now everything is denied.
In these small sutras he has done a great job! What he says in the beginning, and says very clearly, he denies in the end. It is just intellectual gymnastics. It is true, the word `buddha' is arbitrary -- not because the existence of that for which we are using the word `buddha' is illusory, but because the experience is so vast that even the word `buddha' cannot contain it.
It is not that the experience of thusness is illusory; in fact it is one of the greatest disciplines of awareness that has arisen in thousands of years.
If one can say and feel and experience the nature of thusness, tathata, he will not be disturbed by pain, he will not be disturbed by pleasure, he will not be disturbed by failure, he will not be disturbed by success. He will simply say, "Thus is the case. Such is the way things happen in nature. I am just a witness. Right now success is passing in front of me like a cloud. Soon failure will follow, just as day is followed by night. This moment it is pleasure, soon it will bring pain, but I am absolutely aloof -- they don't even touch me. I am beyond their grasp."
This is one of the greatest approaches to reality that has come to man's understanding: the idea of `thusness' or `suchness.' And Ta Hui is saying it is illusory! and then that even enlightenment is illusory, buddha-nature is illusory, nirvana is illusory. One has to ask Ta Hui how you can call something illusory unless there is something real in existence; otherwise, how will you compare?
You can call something illusory only because something else is real. But if there is nothing real, then there is nothing illusory either. They have to exist together. He does not talk about what is real; in fact, all that is great and real, he is calling illusory. Now what is real? And if he says there is nothing which is real, then he has no right to call anything illusory.
THUS THE GREAT BEING FU SAID, "FEARING THAT PEOPLE WILL GIVE RISE TO A VIEW OF ANNIHILATION, WE PROVISIONALLY ESTABLISH EMPTY NAMES."
He goes on quoting enlightened people out of context. What the great master Fu said does not mean what Ta Hui wants it to mean. He has put it in a context: he is calling enlightenment, buddhahood, thusness, nirvana, all illusory, and then he quotes master Fu, fearing that people will give rise to a view of annihilation if they are told that everything is illusory....
That's why buddhas have not said that. They have talked about enlightenment and thusness and buddha-nature and nirvana, just so that people don't get the view of a total negativity, of an utter emptiness, annihilation.
We provisionally establish empty names. All these names are empty, but Fu's meaning is totally different. What Ta Hui wants him to mean is not his meaning. He is saying: "We are giving provisional, empty names -- but the empty names are given to realities, not to illusions. They are provisional and empty because they cannot contain the vast reality of nirvana, enlightenment, thusness, buddha-nature. So just to give a small indication we have used provisional, empty names." But once a person comes to experience himself, he will be able to see that all names were only provisional.
To tell them in the beginning that everything is illusory.... They are already in misery, they are in deep anguish, and he tells them that there is no possibility of getting beyond it because everything that can take one beyond is illusory! But very strange is the fact that he does not call people's misery illusory: their sadness is illusory, their egos are illusory, their intellects are illusory, their minds are illusory -- he does not mention these things.
And if everything is truly illusory, then what is the fear? If illusory people feel afraid, what is wrong in it? The people don't exist, so let them fear! Non-existential people are fearing annihilation; they are already no more -- so what more annihilation can happen to them?
No, the people are real, although their conception about themselves is not real. They have to find their authentic reality, and that authentic reality is so vast that we have to give it provisional names -- provisional, because once you have reached it you will see that those names were just utilitarian. They don't define and they don't confine the experience. That's what master Fu meant when he said, we provisionally establish empty names.
But if there is nobody, if master Fu is illusory and the people he is concerned about -- the ones that may become afraid of annihilation -- don't exist, then what is the problem? Everything is solved: there is no need of any preaching, there is no need of any scriptures, there is no need of any meditation, there is no need to go beyond your anguish, anxiety, misery. You yourself don't exist; how can you be miserable? Have you ever heard of somebody who does not exist feeling very much worried, someone who has never existed going through a migraine? The very idea is so stupid.
Ta Hui's whole approach is to pick up all the great statements from different masters, to compile them and give a fallacious impression to people that he himself is enlightened. But enlightenment is far away. He is living in a very deceptive state. He is deceiving others, but that is not so important; he is deceiving himself. And this is the case not only with Ta Hui; this is the case with ninety-nine percent of so-called religious scriptures.
I am talking about all this nonsense to make you aware that whenever you come across the same kind of nonsense again somewhere else -- beware! Don't get caught in it. Enlightened people have been respected so greatly that intellectuals have had a great jealousy, and they have tried in every way to imitate the enlightened people's statements. There are thousands of treatises which have been produced by intellectual people -- and they are clever enough. They have the acumen, the logic, the reason... they can deceive millions of people without any difficulty.
Ta Hui even deceived the emperor of China, who honored him by offering the title: `The Great Zen Master.' In fact, the word `Ta Hui' itself means `The Great Zen Master.' The word `Ta Hui' is not his real name; it has been conferred on him by the emperor of China. If he can deceive the emperor, what to say about ordinary people?
I am talking about Ta Hui just to make you aware. Don't get caught. Be very watchful. When you are reading something or listening to something, be alert and see whether those words are coming from a space of realization... or are they just mind games? And whenever you find any kind of mind game, throw it away.
Just the other day I was looking at a picture of a Zen master who is very famous in Japan for his actions. In the picture he is tearing up scriptures and throwing them away; scriptures are flying all around in the air while he is tearing them up. And he became famous for this act!
Looking into the picture, I was trying to find out whether Ta Hui's sutras are in them or not...