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Chapter 3: Beyond this nature there's no Buddha
Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Bodhidharma
IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND BY YOURSELF, YOU'LL HAVE TO FIND A TEACHER TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF LIFE AND DEATH. BUT UNLESS HE SEES HIS NATURE, SUCH A PERSON ISN'T A TEACHER. EVEN IF HE CAN RECITE THE TWELVEFOLD CANON, HE CAN'T ESCAPE THE WHEEL OF BIRTH AND DEATH. HE SUFFERS IN THE THREE REALMS WITHOUT HOPE OF RELEASE.
LONG AGO, THE MONK GOOD STAR WAS ABLE TO RECITE THE ENTIRE CANON. BUT HE DIDN'T ESCAPE THE WHEEL BECAUSE HE DIDN'T SEE HIS NATURE. IF THIS WAS THE CASE WITH GOOD STAR, THEN PEOPLE NOWADAYS WHO RECITE A FEW SUTRAS OR SHASTRAS AND THINK IT'S THE DHARMA ARE FOOLS. UNLESS YOU SEE YOUR MIND, RECITING SO MUCH PROSE IS USELESS.
TO FIND A BUDDHA, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS SEE YOUR NATURE. YOUR NATURE IS THE BUDDHA. AND THE BUDDHA IS THE PERSON WHO'S FREE, FREE OF PLANS, FREE OF CARES. IF YOU DON'T SEE YOUR NATURE AND RUN AROUND ALL DAY LOOKING SOMEWHERE ELSE, YOU'LL NEVER FIND A BUDDHA. THE TRUTH IS, THERE'S NOTHING TO FIND. BUT TO REACH SUCH AN UNDERSTANDING YOU NEED A TEACHER. AND YOU NEED TO STRUGGLE TO MAKE YOURSELF UNDERSTAND. LIFE AND DEATH ARE IMPORTANT. DON'T SUFFER THEM IN VAIN. THERE'S NO ADVANTAGE IN DECEIVING YOURSELF. EVEN IF YOU HAVE MOUNTAINS OF JEWELS AND AS MANY SERVANTS AS THERE ARE GRAINS OF SAND ALONG THE GANGES, YOU SEE THEM WHEN YOUR EYES ARE OPEN. BUT WHAT ABOUT WHEN YOUR EYES ARE SHUT? YOU SHOULD REALIZE THEN THAT EVERYTHING YOU SEE IS LIKE A DREAM OR ILLUSION.
IF YOU DON'T FIND A TEACHER SOON, YOU'LL LIVE THIS LIFE IN VAIN. IT'S TRUE, YOU HAVE THE BUDDHA-NATURE. BUT WITHOUT THE HELP OF A TEACHER YOU'LL NEVER KNOW IT. ONLY ONE PERSON IN A MILLION BECOMES ENLIGHTENED WITHOUT A TEACHER'S HELP.
IF THOUGH, BY THE CONJUNCTION OF CONDITIONS, SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS WHAT THE BUDDHA MEANT, THAT PERSON DOESN'T NEED A TEACHER. SUCH A PERSON HAS A NATURAL AWARENESS SUPERIOR TO ANYTHING TAUGHT. BUT UNLESS YOU'RE SO BLESSED, STUDY HARD. AND BY MEANS OF INSTRUCTION, YOU'LL UNDERSTAND.
PEOPLE WHO DON'T UNDERSTAND AND THINK THEY CAN DO SO WITHOUT STUDY ARE NO DIFFERENT FROM THOSE DELUDED SOULS WHO CAN'T TELL WHITE FROM BLACK. FALSELY PROCLAIMING THE BUDDHADHARMA, SUCH PERSONS, IN FACT, BLASPHEME THE BUDDHA AND SUBVERT THE DHARMA. THEY PREACH AS IF THEY WERE BRINGING RAIN. BUT THEIRS IS THE PREACHING OF DEVILS NOT OF BUDDHAS. THEIR TEACHER IS THE KING OF DEVILS. AND THEIR DISCIPLES ARE THE DEVIL'S MINIONS. DELUDED PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW SUCH INSTRUCTION UNWITTINGLY SINK DEEPER IN THE SEA OF BIRTH AND DEATH.
UNLESS THEY SEE THEIR NATURE, HOW CAN PEOPLE CALL THEMSELVES BUDDHAS? THEY'RE LIARS WHO DECEIVE OTHERS INTO ENTERING THE REALM OF DEVILS. UNLESS THEY SEE THEIR NATURE, THEIR PREACHING OF THE TWELVEFOLD CANON IS NOTHING BUT THE PREACHING OF DEVILS. THEIR ALLEGIANCE IS TO MARA, NOT TO THE BUDDHA. UNABLE TO DISTINGUISH WHITE FROM BLACK, HOW CAN THEY ESCAPE BIRTH AND DEATH?
WHOEVER SEES HIS NATURE IS A BUDDHA. WHOEVER DOESN'T IS A MORTAL. BUT APART FROM OUR MORTAL NATURE IF YOU CAN FIND A BUDDHA-NATURE SOMEWHERE ELSE, WHERE IS IT? OUR MORTAL NATURE IS OUR BUDDHA-NATURE. BEYOND THIS NATURE THERE'S NO BUDDHA. THE BUDDHA IS OUR NATURE. THERE'S NO BUDDHA BESIDES THIS NATURE. AND THERE'S NO NATURE BESIDES THE BUDDHA.
Sanskrit, Prakrit, and Pali, three languages used in the past by the enlightened people of this land, have a very rich vocabulary as far as inner experiences are concerned. The West today has a very exact language to express scientific research, discoveries, inventions and technologies, but the Eastern languages don't have this. However, as far as the interior experience is concerned, the Eastern languages are immensely rich while the Western languages are absolutely poor. Of these three languages, Sanskrit has been used by the Upanishads and the Hindu mystics, Prakrit has been used by Mahavira and all the Jaina mystics and masters, and Pali has been used by Gautam Buddha.
Just for the word `teacher', they have many words, all with slight differences. The first word is SIKSHAK; that means a man who only imparts information. He may know, he may not know -- that is irrelevant. But his information is correct; he is a man of the mind.
The second word, which goes a little deeper into experience, not just information, is ADHYAPAK. That teacher is not only an informer but he himself is informed. It is not only a mental thing for him; it is part -- but only a part -- of his heart, too.
And the third word is UPADHYAY which goes a little more deeper into experience. This teacher's information is more alive than the previous two. He has traveled the path, but he has not reached the goal.
And then finally the ACHARYA, who has reached the goal, and the information that he imparts is his own experience. He is his own authority, his own argument; his own presence is the whole evidence.
But in English there is only one word, teacher, which is used for all kinds of people. The other word is master, which is not used very much by the English speaking people themselves. But I would like to use the word master, equivalent to the word acharya: One who knows, not only through mind, but through experience.
Most of the sutras in this part are unpolluted. The disciple has simply noted them down as Bodhidharma must have spoken them.
IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND BY YOURSELF, YOU WILL HAVE TO FIND A TEACHER.
Instead of teacher, the word master would be right because a teacher is one who teaches you about things of the outside world. Even if he teaches about the inner experiences, it is borrowed. He may be knowledgeable but he is not knowledge itself. To make the distinction, the translator has made the point in a different way.
IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND BY YOURSELF, YOU WILL HAVE TO FIND A TEACHER TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF LIFE AND DEATH. BUT UNLESS HE SEES HIS NATURE, SUCH A PERSON IS NOT A TEACHER.
It is better to call a man who has reached to the highest peaks of experience a master, and leave the word teacher for those who impart knowledge from one generation to another. And master, also has a dignity of its own.
The teacher is almost like a computer. He has read, he has studied, he may have crammed all scriptures but his presence does not indicate that he knows anything. His actions are not arguments for what he says. His sayings come only from the superficial layer of the mind; they are not coming from the innermost core of his being. The teacher cannot teach without words. But the master, on the contrary, cannot teach without silences. If he uses words, it is only to create silence.
The master is a living example of what he is saying. The teacher simply shows a very well-versed, educated mind. The master shows a transformed being, a luminous presence. Anybody who has eyes can see it ...his grace, his beauty, his blissfulness, his laughter; even in his silence much is said, without words. Even his silence is a song of the ultimate; even unmoving, he is a dance expressing the dance of the whole universe. The master is so far away from the teacher that it is better to use the word separately.
I would prefer to say: If you don't understand by yourself, you will have to get a master, because the master knows his own nature. And by knowing his own nature, he also knows the nature of every living being because it is the SAME nature. By knowing himself, he knows you too. His knowledge, his knowing, is a bridge between him and his disciples.
EVEN IF THE TEACHER CAN RECITE THE TWELVEFOLD CANON, HE CAN'T ESCAPE THE WHEEL OF BIRTH AND DEATH. HE SUFFERS IN THE THREE REALMS WITHOUT HOPE OF RELEASE.
Just knowledgeability is not going to give you the experience of your immortality or your eternity or your oneness with the whole. It fills your mind with many words, but it leaves your being empty and hollow. You don't know anything firsthand, and truth can only be known firsthand. The moment it is secondhand, it is no longer truth; it is just a dead word, with no life.
The man of great knowledge, a scholar, a pundit, a rabbi, is not going to get free from the wheel of birth and death. And he is not going to be free from the suffering in the three realms. According to Gautam Buddha, heaven, the earth, and hell, all three are nothing but different kinds of sufferings. Buddhism reaches to the highest peak, because even heaven is not considered to be the ultimate home. It is still a suffering -- very refined suffering, but suffering all the same. One has to be free from all three; then it is nirvana, then it is enlightenment.
LONG AGO, THE MONK GOOD STAR WAS ABLE TO RECITE THE ENTIRE CANON. BUT HE DID NOT ESCAPE THE WHEEL BECAUSE HE DID NOT SEE HIS NATURE. IF THIS WAS THE CASE WITH GOOD STAR, THEN PEOPLE NOWADAYS WHO RECITE A FEW SUTRAS OR SHASTRAS AND THINK IT'S THE DHARMA ARE FOOLS.
It can be taken for granted that Bodhidharma must have said this. It is beyond the capacity of a disciple to call knowledgeable people who can recite all the Buddhist sutras, fools. Only Bodhidharma can do that, not out of any arrogance, not out of any ego, not to condemn them, not to humiliate or insult them, but for Bodhidharma, it is simply the fact.
And the fact has to be stated. He is not a man of manners and etiquette and all that rubbish. He simply says whatsoever is the truth. I absolutely agree with him. My own experience with great learned scholars is that they are learned fools. They have big degrees, great honors from universities, but as far as their own consciousness is concerned, it is of the same quality as anybody else's. They are just parrots. And perhaps parrots are more intelligent than your pundits.
I have heard about a parrot: It was wintertime and the lady to whom the parrot belonged used to cover the parrot and his cage with a thick blanket so that he would not feel cold. In the day she used to remove the blanket. One day she removed the blanket as the sun was rising and the parrot started singing, the way all parrots sing, not a song taught to him, but a song that is natural and spontaneous to all the parrots even if they are wild -- meaningless to us, but tremendously joyful to them. And just then the lady heard her husband's car stopping near the porch. Her husband was on an emergency army duty, so once in a while he used to come home without notice.
She immediately put the blanket back on the parrot and went to her bed. The parrot said, "My god, today's day has been very short." Now nobody has taught him this. This was coming out of his own intelligence. It was strange ...every day the blanket was removed in the morning, and in the evening the blanket was put back. What happened today? The day had been really too short.
But your so-called learned people around the world don't have even that much intelligence, for the simple reason that their knowledge becomes mountainous and every possibility of intelligence becomes lost in their knowledge. The burden of knowledge is too heavy. They cannot afford to be intelligent against their knowledge.
They are certainly fools -- fools because they are not only deceiving others by talking to them about things they know nothing of, but because they are also deceiving themselves. And they are wasting their life in mere words.
Authentic life consists of experiences, not mere words. You can go on repeating "love, love, love", your whole life, and still you will not have an experience of love. And the moment you have the experience of love, you will be suddenly surprised that the experience is so vast that the word `love' cannot contain it; it is too small.
If this is the case with love, what will be the case with truth? -- because truth is infinite, eternal. To know it means to become silent.
Just the presence of truth, the feeling of it, leaves you in a state of awe. All words fall short.
UNLESS YOU SEE YOUR no-MIND .... Here the disciple falls back to his own understanding; he again uses the word `mind'.
UNLESS YOU SEE YOUR no-MIND, RECITING SO MUCH PROSE IS USELESS.
And if you know your no-mind, then too reciting so much prose is useless because then there is no point in reciting it. You have come to the very source from which every buddha has spoken. Now there is no meaning in scriptures, sutras, and shastras. The holy books can't give you more than you know already.
TO FIND A BUDDHA, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS TO SEE YOUR NATURE.
That's what I have been telling you again and again. The only way out of ignorance and out of this dark night of the soul is to be aware of your own being, aware of your own awareness. In that moment when you are aware of your own awareness, everything stops, time stops. Suddenly you are beyond time and beyond space, and a door opens which makes you part of the whole. This is the inner mathematics, that the part of the whole is not smaller than the whole. That will be difficult to understand. The part of the whole is equal to the whole, because the whole cannot be divided into parts. Division is not possible.
That's why we call the real authentic being in you `individual'. Individual means indivisible -- that which cannot be divided. So the moment you feel yourself part of the whole, that is the beginning -- the first encounter with the whole. Soon you will realize you are not the part, you are the whole because there is no possibility of any division.
YOUR NATURE IS THE BUDDHA. AND THE BUDDHA IS THE PERSON WHO IS FREE, FREE OF PLANS, FREE OF CARES. IF YOU DON'T SEE YOUR NATURE AND RUN AROUND ALL DAY LOOKING SOMEWHERE ELSE, YOU WILL NEVER FIND ENLIGHTENMENT.
The truth is, there is nothing to find so all your running is useless. I can testify this statement must be coming from Bodhidharma himself.
There is nothing to find. You are all.
The finder itself is the treasure; there is nothing else to find. Hence, I have told you that Jesus' statement, "Seek, and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be opened unto you, ask and it shall be given," is beautiful, poetic, impressive, but not true.
If you follow Bodhidharma, he will say, "Seek, and you shall never find," because every seeking takes you away from yourself. Who are you trying to find? You are the one, you are the buddha. Where are you going?
Do not knock, otherwise the door will be closed because your very knocking is a desire, is a demand -- and a buddha has no desire, no demand. That's why the door is always open for him.
Do not ask, otherwise you will go on missing. Who are you asking? There is no one to give it to you. You have already got it. In asking you are wandering away, you are looking up to somebody else. And nobody can give it to you. There is no question of giving it to you, you have got it already.
So all that is needed is neither seeking, nor knocking, nor asking. All that is needed is to be aware of your own nature and you have found it. There is nothing to find. But to reach such an understanding you need a master.
Why do you need a master? Because you already have the truth within you, why can't you just relax and become conscious of it?
The problem is that for ages your consciousness has been wandering all over the world. It has forgotten the way to come home. It has been a long, long time since you left home and now you don't know whether you have a home or whether you ever had a home. Your remembrance of home seems to be as if you have seen it in a movie or in a dream, or you have read about it somewhere. It is a faraway echo in the valleys; it does not give you a certainty.
Hence, the need of a master. The master is nothing but a certainty. His presence makes it absolutely certain that there is much more within you than you ever dreamt of. His eyes give you a glimpse of your own possibility. His silence provokes a silence in you and his authority triggers a process in you.
Bodhidharma is right:
BUT TO REACH SUCH AN UNDERSTANDING YOU NEED A TEACHER. AND YOU NEED TO STRUGGLE TO MAKE YOURSELF UNDERSTAND. LIFE AND DEATH ARE IMPORTANT. DON'T SUFFER THEM IN VAIN. THERE IS NO ADVANTAGE IN DECEIVING YOURSELF.
And everybody is deceiving: a few are deceiving by earning money and thinking that when they are super-rich they will have reached to the realization of their potential; a few are deceiving by accumulating knowledge; a few are deceiving by becoming powerful, respectable; a few are even deceiving by becoming saints, ascetics. But whatever you do, unless it leads to awareness of your nature, it is a deceiving.
EVEN IF YOU HAVE MOUNTAINS OF JEWELS AND AS MANY SERVANTS AS THERE ARE GRAINS OF SAND ALONG THE GANGES, YOU SEE THEM WHEN YOUR EYES ARE OPEN. BUT WHAT ABOUT WHEN YOUR EYES ARE SHUT?
They all disappear. Bodhidharma is saying that this is just a small experiment for you. As you close your eyes, your palaces disappear, your whole world disappears almost in the same way as when in the morning, you open your eyes, all your dreams disappear. And have you ever watched one very strange thing? In the day sometimes, you can suspect perhaps it is not real because there is no way to be certain about its reality. You are sitting here -- can't you think it is just a dream? It is possible that you are dreaming. How do you know that it is true and not a dream? The only difference is that your eyes are open. But in a dream in the night -- you never suspect in a dream that it may be a dream. This is one of the strangest mysteries. In real life, fully awake, you can doubt its reality; in a dream nobody ever doubts the reality of the dream. Nobody thinks it is a dream. It is so real.
Bodhidharma is trying to give you an example. When you die, your eyes will be closed .... In the East it is a tradition: the moment somebody dies, immediately his eyes are closed. From my very childhood I have been interested in the idea -- why? Let him die if he wants to die with open eyes. Why should others be interfering -- you cannot even allow him a little freedom of keeping his eyes open after death? I asked everybody, because whenever somebody died I was always present. The moment I heard somebody had died in the neighborhood or somewhere, I immediately went to see the whole thing, what was happening. And I have asked many but nobody was able to answer why it mattered, why they closed the eyes.
Most often people die with open eyes. It is very rare to die with closed eyes for the simple reason that for closing the eyelids, you need life energy; just as you cannot die with a fist, because to keep your hand as a fist you need a certain life energy. Everybody dies with an open hand; now there is no more energy, how can you keep the fist? In the same way almost everybody dies with open eyes.
And my own understanding is, although nobody has been able to tell me .... I have asked great saints and they said, "You bring such strange questions. We have never thought about it and there is no mention of it in any scriptures. It is just convention."
But I said, "It goes on and on. I cannot accept that it is absolutely meaningless because I can see the meaning. When a man dies, his eyes turn upwards. In a dead man's open eyes you will see only the white -- all the black part, the real eye, turns upwards. That creates fear in people. Just to see somebody's eyes open and all white gives them fear. It also happens in your sleep; your eyes turn up. That is a rest for the eyes. And now the eyes have gone into complete rest and so as not to provoke fear in people, the eyes are immediately closed."
And in a philosophical sense, the eyes are closed because now the world no longer exists for you to see. You are not; the world has disappeared for you. The moment a man dies he cannot take his empire with him, he cannot take his knowledge with him, he cannot take his prestige, respectability, honor with him. All that he can take with himself is his awareness of his own nature. That is your only wealth. And if you are not earning that wealth, you are wasting a tremendous opportunity.
YOU SHOULD REALIZE THEN THAT EVERYTHING YOU SEE IS LIKE A DREAM OR ILLUSION, because death is going to take it all away. That which death cannot take is the only criterion for reality.
IF YOU DON'T FIND A master SOON, YOU WILL LIVE THIS LIFE IN VAIN. IT IS TRUE, YOU HAVE THE BUDDHA-NATURE. BUT WITHOUT THE HELP OF A master YOU WILL NEVER KNOW IT. ONLY ONE PERSON IN A MILLION BECOMES ENLIGHTENED WITHOUT A master's HELP.
This I can say is coming directly from Bodhidharma. This is beyond the capacity of an ordinary recorder of notes; a disciple, however learned, cannot manage to say this: ONLY ONE PERSON IN A MILLION BECOMES ENLIGHTENED WITHOUT A master's HELP. Even Bodhidharma has not become enlightened without a master's help.
But the possibility remains because it is your self-nature. In fact, there is no need at all of any master. If you are courageous enough to enter within yourself without bothering whether you are going to find something there or not, you will find it without the help of the master.
What is the help of the master? He only gives you a certainty, because you are not adventurous -- otherwise, what is the need of certainty? It is YOUR life and you have the right -- and you should have a longing -- to know what it is all about.
I had no master in my life. Many times I have come across enlightened people, but I simply told them to just leave me alone. What can their help do? Just give me a certainty. But I was capable of going without certainty. In fact it is more juicy to go without any certainty, not knowing at all where you are going, whether you are going to find anything or not.
When you go with certainty it is as if you are seeing a film twice. Everything is certain, you know exactly now what is going to happen. The new man I have been talking about all my life will not need masters, because he will be so full of adventurous spirit that he would like to go within himself just out of sheer adventure, to see what is there at the very source of life.
But up to now it has been happening: ONLY ONE PERSON IN A MILLION BECOMES ENLIGHTENED WITHOUT A TEACHER'S HELP. Perhaps I am that one person, because I don't know of any enlightened people in the whole history of mankind who have not had a master. But Bodhidharma recognized the fact and the possibility, although he himself had a master. And I am fulfilling his statement: ONLY ONE PERSON IN A MILLION BECOMES ENLIGHTENED WITHOUT A TEACHER'S, a master's HELP.
IF THOUGH, BY THE CONJUNCTION OF CONDITIONS, SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS WHAT THE BUDDHA MEANT, THAT PERSON DOES NOT NEED A master. SUCH A PERSON HAS A NATURAL AWARENESS SUPERIOR TO ANYTHING TAUGHT. BUT UNLESS YOU ARE SO BLESSED, STUDY HARD. AND BY MEANS OF INSTRUCTION, YOU'LL UNDERSTAND.
These last sentences cannot be from Bodhidharma. First, knowing your nature does not come by studying. You can go on studying all the scriptures of the world and still you will not know yourself. Nor does it come by instruction; instruction means information from outside. Then how does it come?
It comes through communion with the master, through falling in love with someone who has reached, seeing in him your own future. You are just a seed and he has come to blossom. That gives you a longing to move upwards and to become a flower yourself. It is not a question of study, it is not a question of instruction; it is a question of deep love for the master. Hence I say these statements are not from Bodhidharma; they cannot be. Even if Bodhidharma were here and even if he were to say that they are his statements, I will refuse to believe it. They are not his statements. A man like Bodhidharma cannot say such rubbishy things.
PEOPLE WHO DON'T UNDERSTAND AND THINK THEY CAN DO SO WITHOUT STUDY ARE NO DIFFERENT FROM THOSE DELUDED SOULS WHO CAN'T TELL WHITE FROM BLACK.
These are the disciple's notes. He is again emphasizing the fact of studying.
You all know people of great learning, great knowledge, but in whom deep down, there is no light; they don't radiate a blissfulness. In fact, their studies make them serious. Rather than making them light, they make them burdened. They know too much without knowing anything and it becomes a great tension in their being, because actually they know nothing but they have accumulated so much information. People worship them, people respect them, so they cannot accept the fact that all our knowledge is superficial. It has not grown within our own being, it has no roots in us. All these flowers have been purchased from the marketplace. They have not grown in our own being.
I have heard about a man who had gone fishing. The whole day he tried and could not get a single fish. Now he was worried about his wife so he went to the fish market and purchased three beautiful big fish, but on a condition. The fisherman who was selling those fish could not understand the condition which was very strange, and it was the first time he had come across such a thing. The man was ready to pay the price, whatsoever the fisherman was asking, but the condition was that he had to throw the fish and the man would catch them. The fisherman said, "There is no problem. I will throw, you catch, but I don't understand ...what is the point of it?"
The man said, "You don't understand but I don't like to lie. When I go home, my wife will ask how many fish I have got. I will show the three fish I have caught with my own hands. I want to be exactly true."
Such a man can deceive his wife, but can he deceive himself? And is this really true or just a falseness covered with the name of truth? And that is the situation of all your so-called learned people. They have caught fish, not from the lake but from a fisherman and his shop in the market, and they have certainly caught them. But they themselves know that they have not caught, they have purchased -- and truth cannot be purchased.
You have to catch hold of your inner light with your own awareness. Other than that there is no way.
FALSELY PROCLAIMING THE BUDDHADHARMA, SUCH PERSONS, IN FACT, BLASPHEME THE BUDDHA AND SUBVERT THE DHARMA. THEY PREACH AS IF THEY WERE BRINGING RAIN. BUT THEIRS IS THE PREACHING OF DEVILS NOT OF BUDDHAS. THEIR TEACHER IS THE KING OF DEVILS. AND THEIR DISCIPLES ARE THE DEVIL'S MINIONS. DELUDED PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW SUCH INSTRUCTION UNWITTINGLY SINK DEEPER IN THE SEA OF BIRTH AND DEATH.
UNLESS THEY SEE THEIR NATURE, HOW CAN PEOPLE CALL THEMSELVES BUDDHAS? THEY'RE LIARS WHO DECEIVE OTHERS INTO ENTERING THE REALM OF DEVILS. UNLESS THEY SEE THEIR NATURE, THEIR PREACHING OF THE TWELVEFOLD CANON IS NOTHING BUT THE PREACHING OF DEVILS. THEIR ALLEGIANCE IS TO MARA ... Mara is the buddhist equivalent of the devil. THEIR ALLEGIANCE IS TO MARA, NOT TO THE BUDDHA. UNABLE TO DISTINGUISH WHITE FROM BLACK, HOW CAN THEY ESCAPE BIRTH AND DEATH?
WHOEVER SEES HIS NATURE IS A BUDDHA. WHOEVER DOESN'T IS A MORTAL. BUT APART FROM OUR MORTAL NATURE IF YOU CAN FIND A BUDDHA-NATURE SOMEWHERE ELSE, WHERE IS IT? OUR MORTAL NATURE IS OUR BUDDHA-NATURE.
It only needs recognition. There is no other difference. One who recognizes and is aware of his nature is a buddha. One who does not recognize his own self-nature, who has never gone inwards, is a mortal. But the difference is only of recognition, of awareness; there is no qualitative difference between you and the enlightened man. The difference is only that he knows it and you are unaware of your own treasures.
Hence, Bodhidharma declares: OUR MORTAL NATURE IS OUR BUDDHA-NATURE. BEYOND THIS NATURE THERE'S NO BUDDHA. THE BUDDHA IS OUR NATURE, but unless we are aware we will remain mortals. THERE'S NO BUDDHA BESIDES THIS NATURE. AND THERE'S NO NATURE BESIDES THE BUDDHA.
The word `buddha' will be repeated again and again by Bodhidharma so you have to understand what it means. It is not a personal name of anybody. Buddha simply means one who is awakened. Gautam Buddha is the most famous awakened person but that does not mean that he is the only awakened person. There have been many buddhas before him and there have been many buddhas after him and as long as every human being can become a buddha, there will go on springing up new buddhas in the future.
Because everybody has the potentiality ...it is only for a time, the right time that you are waiting. Some day, tortured by the outside reality, in despair of having seen everything and found nothing, you are bound to turn inwards.
Gautam Buddha's personal name was Siddhartha. Gautama is his family name so his name was Gautama Siddhartha. Buddha is not his name, it is his awakening. Because I have named our discos ZORBA THE BUDDHA, the ambassador of Sri Lanka -- Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country -- the ambassador wrote a letter to me, saying, "It is very disrespectful and it hurts our religious feelings that you have given the name ZORBA THE BUDDHA to discos. Please take the Buddha out of it."
I wrote him a letter saying, "Perhaps you are a born Buddhist, but I am a buddha. And I have every right to call the discos, ZORBA THE BUDDHA; it has nothing to do with your Buddha ...you can be satisfied. If I were calling it "Zorba the Siddhartha", there would be a point to your being disturbed. But buddha is not a personal name; Gautam Buddha is only one of the buddhas amongst millions. And Zorba has every potential to become a buddha. I cannot prevent it and neither can you. And you are only a Buddhist, just a follower, an imitator. You don't even know exactly the meaning of the word `buddha'. You have never experienced what self-awareness is. So write to me again what you want."
He has been silent, he has not answered. And I don't think he has shown the letter to anybody else.
So whenever Bodhidharma uses the word buddha, remember he is not mentioning Gautam Buddha. He is saying awareness, enlightenment, liberation, total freedom -- all those qualities are in that word buddha. It is nobody's name and it is everybody's potential.
Next: Chapter 4: Buddhas don't practice nonsense
Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Bodhidharma
| GAIN ENERGY APPRENTICE
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