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STUDENTS EXPERIENCES 2005 AND 2006
Chapter 8: Everybody has the right to be wrong
Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Bodhidharma
AMONG SHAKYAMUNI'S TEN GREATEST DISCIPLES, ANANDA WAS FOREMOST IN LEARNING. BUT HE DIDN'T KNOW THE BUDDHA. ALL HE DID WAS STUDY AND MEMORIZE. ARHATS DON'T KNOW THE BUDDHA. ALL THEY KNOW ARE SO MANY PRACTICES FOR REALIZATION, AND THEY BECOME TRAPPED BY CAUSE AND EFFECT. SUCH IS A MORTAL'S KARMA: NO ESCAPE FROM BIRTH AND DEATH. BY DOING THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT HE INTENDED, SUCH PEOPLE BLASPHEME THE BUDDHA. KILLING THEM WOULD NOT BE WRONG. THE SUTRAS SAY, "SINCE ICCHANTIKAS ARE INCAPABLE OF BELIEF, KILLING THEM WOULD BE BLAMELESS, WHILE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE REACH THE STATE OF BUDDHAHOOD." ...PEOPLE WHO SEE THAT THEIR MINDS ARE THE BUDDHA DON'T NEED TO SHAVE THEIR HEADS. LAYMEN ARE BUDDHAS TOO. UNLESS THEY SEE THEIR NATURE, PEOPLE WHO SHAVE THEIR HEADS ARE SIMPLY FANATICS.
BUT SINCE MARRIED LAYMEN DON'T GIVE UP SEX, HOW CAN THEY BECOME BUDDHAS?
I ONLY TALK ABOUT SEEING YOUR NATURE. I DON'T TALK ABOUT SEX SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU DON'T SEE YOUR NATURE. ONCE YOU SEE YOUR NATURE, SEX IS BASICALLY IMMATERIAL. IT ENDS ALONG WITH YOUR DELIGHT IN IT. EVEN IF SOME HABITS REMAIN, THEY CAN'T HARM YOU. BECAUSE YOUR NATURE IS ESSENTIALLY PURE. DESPITE DWELLING IN A MATERIAL BODY OF FIVE AGGREGATES, YOUR NATURE IS BASICALLY PURE. IT CAN'T BE CORRUPTED. ...ONCE YOU STOP CLINGING AND LET THINGS BE, YOU'LL BE FREE, EVEN OF BIRTH AND DEATH. YOU'LL TRANSFORM EVERYTHING. YOU'LL POSSESS SPIRITUAL POWERS THAT CAN'T BE OBSTRUCTED. AND YOU'LL BE AT PEACE WHEREVER YOU ARE. IF YOU DOUBT THIS, YOU'LL NEVER SEE THROUGH ANYTHING. YOU'RE BETTER OFF DOING NOTHING. ONCE YOU ACT, YOU CAN'T AVOID THE CYCLE OF BIRTH AND DEATH. BUT ONCE YOU SEE YOUR NATURE, YOU'RE A BUDDHA, EVEN IF YOU WORK AS A BUTCHER.
BUT BUTCHERS CREATE KARMA BY SLAUGHTERING ANIMALS. HOW CAN THEY BE BUDDHAS?
I ONLY TALK ABOUT SEEING YOUR NATURE. I DON'T TALK ABOUT CREATING KARMA. REGARDLESS OF WHAT WE DO, OUR KARMA HAS NO HOLD ON US. ...IN INDIA, THE TWENTY-SEVEN PATRIARCHS ONLY TRANSMITTED THE IMPRINT OF THE MIND. AND THE ONLY REASON I'VE COME TO CHINA IS TO TRANSMIT THE INSTANTANEOUS TEACHING OF THE MAHAYANA: THIS MIND IS THE BUDDHA. I DON'T TALK ABOUT PRECEPTS, DEVOTIONS OR ASCETIC PRACTICES ....
LANGUAGE AND BEHAVIOR, PERCEPTION AND CONCEPTION ARE ALL FUNCTIONS OF THE MOVING MIND. ALL MOTION IS THE MIND'S MOTION .... THE MIND NEITHER MOVES NOR FUNCTIONS. BECAUSE THE ESSENCE OF ITS FUNCTIONS IS EMPTINESS. AND EMPTINESS IS ESSENTIALLY MOTIONLESS.
HENCE, THE SUTRAS TELL US TO MOVE WITHOUT MOVING, TO TRAVEL WITHOUT TRAVELING, TO SEE WITHOUT SEEING, TO LAUGH WITHOUT LAUGHING, TO HEAR WITHOUT HEARING, TO KNOW WITHOUT KNOWING, TO BE HAPPY WITHOUT BEING HAPPY, TO WALK WITHOUT WALKING, TO STAND WITHOUT STANDING. AND THE SUTRAS SAY, "GO BEYOND LANGUAGE. GO BEYOND THOUGHT." ...I COULD GO ON, BUT THIS BRIEF SERMON WILL HAVE TO DO.
Bodhidharma's teachings in these sutras are profoundly interesting and of great importance for all pilgrims of truth. But there are a few false statements. And for the first time, perhaps these false statements are not due to the misunderstanding of the disciples; these false statements have been made by Bodhidharma himself.
Hence, before I go into the sutras, I would like to make clear a few things.
First, the teachings of Gautam Buddha have created two kinds of seekers: one is called ARHATA and the other is called BODHISATTVA.
The arhata is someone who makes every effort to become enlightened and once he is enlightened he completely forgets about those who are still groping in the dark. He has no concern with others. It is enough for him to become enlightened. In fact, according to the arhatas, even the great idea of compassion is nothing but again another kind of attachment -- and it has some significance to be understood.
Compassion is also a relationship; howsoever beautiful and great, it is also a concern with others. It is also a desire. Although it is a good desire it makes no difference. According to the arhatas, desire is a bondage whether it is good or bad. The chains can be made of gold or of steel, it doesn't matter; chains are chains. Compassion is a golden chain.
The arhata insists that nobody can help anybody else at all. The very idea of helping others is based on wrong foundations. You can help only yourself.
It may occur to the ordinary mind that the arhata is very selfish. But if you look without any prejudice, perhaps he also has something immensely important to declare to the world: Even helping the other is an interference in his life, in his lifestyle, in his destiny, in his future. Hence, arhatas don't believe in any compassion. Compassion to them is another beautiful desire to keep you tethered to the world of attachments. It is another name -- beautiful, but still just a name for a desiring mind.
Why should you be interested that somebody else becomes enlightened? It is none of your business. Everybody has absolute freedom to be himself. The arhata insists on individuality and its absolute freedom. Even for the sake of good, nobody can be allowed to interfere in anybody else's life.
Hence the moment he becomes enlightened, the arhata does not accept disciples, he never preaches, he never helps in any way. He simply lives in his ecstasy. If somebody on his own can drink out of his well he will not prevent him, but he will not send an invitation to you. If you come to him on your own accord and sit by his side and drink his presence, and get on the path, that is your business. If you go astray, he will not stop you.
In a certain way this is the greatest respect ever paid to individual freedom -- to the very logical extreme. Even if you are falling into deep darkness, the arhata will silently wait. If his presence can help, it is okay, but he is not going to move his hands to help you, to give you a hand, to pull you out of a ditch. You are free to fall in a ditch and if you can fall in a ditch, you are absolutely capable of getting out of it. The very idea of compassion is foreign to the philosophy of the arhatas.
Gautam Buddha accepted that there are a few people who will become arhatas. And their path will be called HINAYANA, "the small vehicle," the small boat in which only one person can go to the other shore. He does not bother to create a big ship and collect a crowd in a Noah's Ark and take them to the further shore. He simply goes himself in his small boat, which cannot even contain two. He is born alone in the world, he has lived and died millions of times alone in the world; alone he is going to the universal source.
Buddha accepts and respects the way of the arhata -- but he also knows there are people who have immense compassion and when they become enlightened, their first longing is to share their joy, to share their truth. Compassion is their way. They also have some profound truth.
These people are called bodhisattvas. They provoke and invite others to the same experience. And they wait on this shore as long as possible to help all seekers who are ready to move on the path, and who just need a guide; they need a helping hand. The bodhisattva can postpone his going to the further shore out of compassion for blind people groping in darkness.
Buddha had such a comprehensive and vast perception that he accepted both -- that this is simply the nature of a few people to be arhatas, and it is also simply the nature of a few other people to be bodhisattvas.
And this is the standpoint of Gautam Buddha, that such is the case, nothing can be done about it -- an arhata will be an arhata and a bodhisattva will be a bodhisattva. Their natures have different destinies, although they reach to the same goal finally. But after reaching the goal there is a parting of the ways.
The arhatas don't stay on this shore even for a single moment. They are tired, they have been long enough in this wheel of SAMSARA, moving through birth and death millions of times. It has already been too much. They are bored and they don't want to stay even a single minute more. Their boat has arrived, and immediately they start moving towards the further shore. This is their suchness.
And there are bodhisattvas who can tell the boatman, "Wait, there is no hurry. I have lingered on this shore long enough -- in misery, in suffering, in anguish, in agony. Now all that has disappeared. I am in absolute bliss, silence and peace, and I don't see that there is anything more on the other shore. So as long as I can manage, I will be here to help people."
Gautam Buddha is certainly one of those people who can see the truth even in contradictions. He accepts both without making anybody feel lower or higher. But bodhisattvas call their path -- against the path of the arhatas -- MAHAYANA, "the great vehicle," the great ship. The other is just a small boat. Poor fellows, they simply go alone. And there has been a continuous conflict for twenty-five centuries after Gautam Buddha, between these two different approaches.
Bodhidharma belongs to the bodhisattvas. Hence, he is making many statements against arhatas which are not true.
I don't belong either to arhatas or to bodhisattvas. I don't belong to Gautam Buddha's path at all. I have my own vision, my own perceptivity. Hence I have no obligation to agree with Bodhidharma on every point -- and particularly on this point; even Gautam Buddha would not have agreed with him. He follows a particular party line.
Secondly, he was an outrageous person, very ferocious. If you have seen his picture ...you can use it for making your children afraid. But that is not his true picture; he was a prince, the son of a great South Indian king, Suha Verma -- it was a great empire of the Palavas. He must have been a beautiful man. But those pictures don't represent his actual photographs. They depict his strange personality, his outrageousness.
So a few things he can say which you need not agree with. I will make it clear where he is saying wrong things just because he belongs to Mahayana, a particular party, a particular ideology. I have immense respect for both arhatas and bodhisattvas, the same way as Gautam Buddha had.
The first sutra:
AMONG SHAKYAMUNI'S TEN GREATEST DISCIPLES ... Shakyamuni is one of the names of Gautam Buddha, because he belongs to the clan of the Shakyas; his empire was an ancient empire belonging to the clan of the Shakyas. It was a warrior race, dwelling just on the boundary line of Nepal and India. Because of the Shakya clan, he is called Shakyamuni. MUNI means one who has attained to ultimate silence.
AMONG SHAKYAMUNI'S TEN GREATEST DISCIPLES, ANANDA WAS FOREMOST IN LEARNING.
Now, Ananda is a special case, and something has to be understood about him. Ananda was a cousin-brother to Gautam Buddha, and a few years elder to him. And it is part of the Eastern culture that the elder brother is almost like a father, even though he may be a elder cousin-brother.
When Ananda came to Gautam Buddha to be initiated as a disciple, he said, "Listen, Siddhartha" -- Siddhartha was Gautam Buddha's name given by his parents. He did not address him as Gautam Buddha, he addressed him, "Listen, Siddhartha" -- he was just his younger brother. "I am going to be initiated by you into sannyas, on the path. Once I am your disciple I will no longer be your elder brother. Once I am your disciple, you will be in a position to order me and I will have to obey. Right now I am in a position to order you and you will have to obey. Before the situation changes, I want a few conditions to be remembered."
Gautam Buddha said, "What are the conditions?"
Ananda said, "They are not very great, but to me they mean much. One, promise me while I am still your elder brother that after I become your disciple, you will not tell me to go away from you to preach the message to the masses. No, I am going to be with you day and night, your whole life. I want to take care of your body, your comfort, your health. You cannot prevent me. This promise you have to give right now, before I am no longer in a position to say anything."
Buddha said, "Granted" ...because as a younger brother, there is no other way in the East. You have to accept, respectfully, those who are elder.
Ananda said, "And the second condition is that I can ask any question -- relevant, irrelevant, meaningful, meaningless -- and you cannot say, `Wait, someday you will understand.' You will have to answer me immediately; you cannot try to postpone. You cannot find excuses ...`Tomorrow I will see.' Whenever I ask the question, immediately you have to give me the answer."
Gautam Buddha said, "Granted."
And Ananda said, "Third, if I bring someone to meet you -- even in the middle of the night when you are asleep -- you cannot say no. You will have to meet the person, whoever he is."
Gautam Buddha laughed and said, "Granted."
But Ananda said, "Why are you laughing?"
He said, "That is not part of the conditions. Now you get initiated, and then you can ask the question why I have laughed. Whenever you ask the question, I will answer it -- but the three conditions are complete."
Ananda became a disciple and lived with Gautam Buddha for forty-two years continuously, day in, day out. Springs came and went, seasons changed, year by year; he was just like a shadow to Gautam Buddha.
But many people came after Ananda and became disciples and became enlightened -- and Ananda remained without enlightenment. After twenty years he asked Gautam Buddha, "What is happening? People who have come after me have become enlightened ...and I have been so close to you. Nobody has heard you more than I have heard you, nobody has the intimacy that I have with you. Why am I not becoming enlightened?"
Gautam Buddha said, "Now you can understand why I laughed -- remember? Twenty years before when you asked, before initiation, for three conditions, I laughed. This was the reason: because your conditions would be a barrier. You cannot forget that you are my elder brother. Even though you have become a disciple, deep down you know that you are my elder brother. That is your subtlest ego -- although you have been with me more than anybody else, and you have heard me better than anybody else. You have become so knowledgeable, so learned, you have memorized every sermon that I have given. You have an immense memory but you don't have any experience of your own. You can repeat mechanically everything that I have said in twenty years. But your subtle ego, that you are my elder brother and you have a special privilege of three conditions, is functioning as a barrier. You will not become enlightened until I die."
And actually, that's how it happened. After forty-two years' initiation, Gautam Buddha died. And amongst ten thousand disciples, Ananda was the first who burst into tears when Buddha said, "Now I want to say goodbye to you all. My body is old and tired, and whatever I wanted to say, I have said. I want now to go into ultimate rest."
Ananda was sitting on his right side and he burst out like a small child, although he was older than Gautam Buddha. And Gautam Buddha said, "Why, Ananda, are you crying and weeping? I am not dying ignorant, I am dying absolutely fulfilled, enlightened -- and not an ordinary enlightenment, an enlightenment which has never been excelled before. And I am also dying immensely fulfilled because never before have so many disciples of a single master become enlightened. I am going into ultimate rest, because there is no death for me."
Ananda said, "I am not weeping for you. You misunderstood me. I am weeping for myself -- that for forty-two years I have been following you like a shadow, day in, day out, and I have not become enlightened yet. I am still as unconscious as ever. What will happen to me when you are gone? And I don't think that in ages to come I will ever meet anyone of your caliber, nor will I have such an opportunity to be so intimate and so close. You are leaving me in a darkness that seems to have no dawn."
Gautam Buddha laughed again, and even with tears in his eyes, Ananda could not resist asking him, "Why are you laughing? You laugh at strange moments."
Gautam Buddha said, "Within twenty-four hours you will know. Because once I am dead, within twenty-four hours you will become enlightened. Once I am dead, you are no more my elder brother. Once I am dead, your subtle ego will also disappear; it cannot disappear while I am alive."
And actually it happened in the same way: within twenty-four hours, Ananda became enlightened. He did not leave the place, he did not eat or drink or go to sleep. He remained sitting there with his eyes closed, under those two saal trees where Gautam Buddha had lain down and entered into eternal sleep.
Ananda remained in the same place with closed eyes, with an absolute determination that he would open his eyes only if his eyes of the inner opened. If he becomes enlightened, only then will he see the outside world again with his eyes. Otherwise, he will remain within himself.
First he wants to see his own self-nature; then only will he move his eyes or move his body from this place. Otherwise he will die here. With such determination, with such absolute commitment .... The night that had been seen by him as without a dawn, ended quickly, within twenty-four hours. He was enlightened. But he remained an arhata. That was his uniqueness, to be an arhata.
The condemnation by Bodhidharma of Ananda on one point is right, on another point is wrong. He says: ANANDA WAS FOREMOST IN LEARNING, BUT HE DID NOT KNOW THE BUDDHA. That's true.
ALL HE DID WAS STUDY AND MEMORIZE. That's true.
ARHATS DON'T KNOW THE BUDDHA.
That's wrong. Arhatas become themselves buddhas; there is no question of their not knowing the Buddha. Yes, as a scholar, as a great learned man, as a man immensely studious and a man of tremendous memory, he has not known what the nature of enlightenment is, what is buddhahood. But it is not because of his being an arhata. The moment he became enlightened, THEN he became an arhata. The arhatahood or bodhisattvahood comes after enlightenment, not before.
Only when you become enlightened do you realize what is your nature. Is there any desire for compassion, or no desire for any compassion? Are you ready to leave this shore immediately, or are you going to stay here to help a few people to become enlightened?
I know this statement that ARHATAS DON'T KNOW THE BUDDHA is not the fault of the person who has taken the notes. It is Bodhidharma's statement, because he is a bodhisattva and the conflict between bodhisattvas and arhatas is twenty-five centuries old. They go on condemning each other. They simply cannot understand a person who becomes enlightened and has no compassion.
The bodhisattva cannot understand that enlightenment is possible without compassion and the arhata cannot understand that a man of enlightenment still has a desire to help; he has not yet become desireless. He still wants to interfere into other people's lifestyle. If they don't want to awaken, who are you to awaken them? Then just move silently so that their sleep is not broken ...to the arhata that is real compassion. You don't want to interfere in anybody's life; everybody has to live his own life according to his own light, according to his own individuality. And whenever his time comes to become enlightened, he will become enlightened. You cannot force anybody to become enlightened. It is not something that somebody can be persuaded, or somebody can be seduced into.
Neither the arhata can understand the bodhisattva, nor the bodhisattva can understand the arhata. They are such diametrically opposite poles. That's why I say this mistake is not of the note-taker, this mistake comes from Bodhidharma himself; he is not an arhata.
Now, Buddhist countries are divided into sections. For example, Japan belongs to Mahayana, the land of the bodhisattvas, and Sri Lanka belongs to Hinayana, the land of the arhatas. In Sri Lanka there is no respect for Zen at all. If you talk about Bodhidharma in Sri Lanka, they will simply laugh at you -- "That man was mad!" And if you talk about arhatas like Ananda in Japan, they will simply say, "That man was utterly selfish; his whole life he was so blindly selfish that he was putting conditions on Gautam Buddha and when he became enlightened, then he simply disappeared, went to the further shore, into eternity -- without bothering for a single moment that there are people who need a few guidelines, a few hints; who are borderline cases, just a little push and they will take the quantum leap."
But if Bodhidharma had not been prejudiced, if he had also been capable to understand the position of the totally opposite standpoint, he would have said, "Pundits, learned people, scholars don't know the Buddha." And then it would have been perfectly right. To use the word ARHATA is simply not only wrong, but shows a very fanatic attitude: "Only I am right and everybody else is wrong." I would like to exchange the word ARHATAS for pundits, scholars, learned people -- just to help Bodhidharma come to his senses.
PUNDITS DON'T KNOW THE BUDDHA. ALL THEY KNOW ARE SO MANY PRACTICES FOR REALIZATION, AND THEY BECOME TRAPPED BY CAUSE AND EFFECT. SUCH IS A MORTAL'S KARMA: NO ESCAPE FROM BIRTH AND DEATH. BY DOING THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT HE INTENDED, SUCH PEOPLE BLASPHEME THE BUDDHA.
This statement can be true about the pundits, but this statement is absolutely wrong about arhatas. And this shows his fanatic attitude when he says, KILLING THEM WOULD NOT BE WRONG.
I cannot agree with him. He is saying, "Killing the arhatas would not be wrong." And according to Gautam Buddha even killing an ant is wrong and the arhata is at least something better than an ant.
But this is his fanatic attitude -- and it is because of this fanatic, outrageous attitude that his picture has been depicted so ferociously. It is certain he would not have bothered: if there was any need to kill an arhata he would have killed. He was a man of his word; what he says he means. You cannot try to say that it is only symbolic. Bodhidharma does not speak in symbols, he says exactly what he means:
KILLING THEM WOULD NOT BE WRONG. THE SUTRAS SAY, "SINCE ICCHANTIKAS ARE INCAPABLE OF BELIEF, KILLING THEM WOULD BE BLAMELESS, WHILE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE REACH THE STATE OF BUDDHAHOOD."
Now, something else has to be understood -- this word, ICCHANTIKAS. It means people who are one-dimensional, who know only one aspect of truth.
And opposite to icchantikas are people like Mahavira and the Jaina tirthankaras; they are called ANICCHANTIKAS, people who look from every aspect of the truth. Mahavira was so deeply rooted in the attitude of being multidimensional that he was the first man in the whole history of mankind to bring in the theory of relativity.
It took twenty-five centuries for the West.
Only Albert Einstein, through a very different path as a scientist, brought the same message, the same philosophy of the theory of relativity. Mahavira says that whatever you say is only relative. He was so much in his theory of relativity that he never made a single statement about anything -- because any single statement will only show one aspect. What about other aspects?
He found that every truth has seven aspects. So you ask him one question and he will answer with seven answers, and those seven answers will be contradicting each other. You will come back from meeting Mahavira more confused than you have ever been -- and he was the most clear person who has ever walked on the earth. But his approach was multidimensional.
For example, if you ask Mahavira, "What do you think about God?" ...in the first place, he never started his statements without the word "perhaps." Every statement begins with "perhaps," because to be certain is to be a fanatic. "Perhaps" keeps you open: the other can also be right, the opposite can also be right. "Perhaps" does not close the door, it keeps you alert and aware about other possibilities.
You ask about God: the Christians are icchantikas; they will say, "Yes, there is one God and only one God." You ask the Mohammedans, they say there is only one God. These are icchantikas. They believe in a way which can only be called one-dimensional. They don't look at other possibilities -- they are afraid to look at other possibilities. That's why they have one God and one prophet -- not even two prophets for the Mohammedans, because there is danger: if you take two prophets, they may contradict each other, they may say something, they may not agree with each other. There will be trouble.
It is better to remain with one prophet, one God, one holy scripture. These are people who are afraid of a multidimensional reality.
Against these are people like Mahavira who go to the other extreme: they will not say anything in an absolute way, they will always state everything relatively. You ask about God and Mahavira has seven statements and you cannot figure out whether God is, or not.
Of those seven statements, the first statement is:
"Perhaps God is -- but PERHAPS. I cannot be absolute; neither can you be absolute. There is a possibility." A relative statement -- "Perhaps there is a God." This is his first statement.
His second statement: "Perhaps there is no God, because who knows? -- there is every possibility that the atheist may be right. Nobody has ever seen him. So all that we can say is, perhaps there is no God."
But after hearing these two statements -- "Perhaps there is God, perhaps there is no God ..." one is bound to ask, then what am I going to believe? Hence comes his third statement: "Perhaps both are true." But naturally, you are going to ask, "How can both be true?"
Then comes his fourth statement: "Perhaps both are not true." And this way he goes on -- seven statements -- and you will be so confused ..."Perhaps it was not right to ask the question! I was better off before." It is because of this multidimensional, relative approach that Mahavira could not get many followers. There can be very few crazy people who don't care what it means, who simply fall in love with the personality of Mahavira. He is a beautiful man of immense presence and grandeur -- so a few crazy people can fall in love with him. They don't care what he says. They only care what he is: "Don't be bothered with what he says; just look at his beauty, his light -- his eyes with such grandeur and depth, and his whole life such a song, such an ecstasy. Don't bother with what he says; it is none of our business. The MAN is right. His statements may be right, may not be right. He himself says `perhaps.'"
But Bodhidharma's statements that: SINCE ICCHANTIKAS ARE INCAPABLE OF BELIEF, KILLING THEM WOULD BE BLAMELESS, WHILE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE REACH THE STATE OF BUDDHAHOOD ...I cannot support this statement.
Icchantikas, the people who believe in absoluteness of truth have a right to exist and live according to their light -- just as people who believe in a relative perception of truth have the right to live, and to live according to their own vision. Everybody has the right to live according to his own experience and find his way. Nobody has the right to kill anybody.
But Bodhidharma is in a way very sincere. He is simply saying what he sincerely feels. His sincerity cannot be doubted -- his statement can be denied, but his intention cannot be denied. Christians have been killing Mohammedans, Jews; Mohammedans have been killing Hindus; Hindus have been killing Buddhists. Although nobody says "Go and kill those who don't believe in your philosophy," that's what has been happening all over the world. At least Bodhidharma is sincere. He has never killed anybody but he is saying his attitude in clear-cut terms, that his understanding is so valuable to him, so true, that even if a person who does not follow his understanding has to be killed, it is blameless. Although he has never killed anyone ...he has a ferocious way of speaking, way of living, but he has a very soft heart.
But religions have been doing the act without saying it. No religion in the world can be said to have behaved lovingly, respectfully, towards others. Every religion thinks they are the only right people; they have the monopoly on truth and everybody else is wrong.
My own approach is that everybody has the right to be right or to be wrong. And if somebody decides to be wrong, still he has to be given every respect and every love. It is his decision, and if he wants to live his decision, it is nobody's business to interfere in his life and in his philosophy. ...PEOPLE WHO SEE THAT THEIR no-MINDS ARE THE BUDDHA DON'T NEED TO SHAVE THEIR HEADS.
There I can agree with Bodhidharma totally. If you see your nature, then there is no need to do any stupid thing: shaving your head or being naked or standing on your head or doing all kinds of contortions of your body which are good in a circus but not in the search of truth, in the search of your own nature, in the search of God.
LAYMEN ARE BUDDHAS TOO.
There I can agree with Bodhidharma with absoluteness. It is not only for the monks to find the truth. Even a layman -- if he finds a little time to be silent and to be meditative and discovers his self nature in his own home, in the marketplace, he will become the buddha. There is no problem that he has to be in a monastery, or that he has to renounce the world. This is my emphasis too, that nobody needs to renounce the world.
The world is not the problem, the problem is your unawareness. Renounce your unawareness, don't be bothered with the world. What can the world do to you? You can live in a palace, the palace cannot prevent your enlightenment. You can live in absolute poverty, poverty cannot help your enlightenment. In poverty or in richness, in a poor man's hut or in a palace, the basic thing is your meditativeness, your awareness. Wherever it happens, you will become enlightened. You don't have to renounce anything.
It is absolutely true:
LAYMEN ARE BUDDHAS TOO. UNLESS THEY SEE THEIR NATURE, PEOPLE WHO SHAVE THEIR HEADS ARE SIMPLY FANATICS.
It is something to be understood that Bodhidharma is himself making statements which are statements of a fanatic -- but it is always easy to see a small straw in somebody else's eye, and it is very difficult to see even a camel in your own eye. People never think about their own statements, about their own behavior, about their own life. They are always looking at others -- they are very artful, articulate in finding what is wrong with somebody else -- and they may be carrying thousands of wrongs themselves and they remain completely unaware. But this is human nature, this is human frailty.
The disciple asks Bodhidharma: BUT SINCE MARRIED LAYMEN DON'T GIVE UP SEX, HOW CAN THEY BECOME BUDDHAS?
And here I can support Bodhidharma with my total being. What he says is of tremendous importance, because he was saying it fourteen hundred years ago. Sigmund Freud was not born yet; Alfred Adler was still far away in the future; Havelock Ellis or Carl Gustav Jung or Assagioli or Masters and Johnson -- people who have been working deeply in the study of man's sexuality had not come into existence yet. But what Bodhidharma says is so luminous, so grand and so great that even this simple statement could have made him a pioneer.
He says: I ONLY TALK ABOUT SEEING YOUR NATURE. I DON'T TALK ABOUT SEX SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU DON'T SEE YOUR NATURE. ONCE YOU SEE YOUR NATURE, SEX IS BASICALLY IMMATERIAL.
This is great insight, and from a man who was considered to be one of the greatest saints of Buddhism. The moment you become enlightened, sex is immaterial. It is just the same stuff dreams are made of; it will disappear on its own accord. You don't have to repress it, you don't have to go against it.
IT ENDS ALONG WITH YOUR DELIGHT IN IT. As you become more and more mature in your meditation, sex becomes less and less interesting. The day you become fully attuned with existence, sex disappears just like a dewdrop in the early morning sun.
And unless sex disappears on its own accord, it is very dangerous to drop it, to force it, because then you will create all kinds of perversions. And all the religions of the world have created perverted human beings: homosexuality, lesbianism, sodomy ...and people go on inventing strange, perverted expressions for their sexual energy because their religion condemns sex.
Sex is something natural, biological. Unless you transcend your biology, unless you transcend your body, unless you become attuned with something beyond mind, sex is going to remain there in some form or other. And if it is going to remain there, it is better that it remains natural, biological, because perverted sex is getting into a worse condition. Natural sex can be sublimated, perverted sex becomes more difficult to transform.
I have never heard of any homosexual ever becoming enlightened, I have never heard of any impotent man becoming enlightened. This cannot be just coincidental. In fact, the impotent man should become enlightened sooner than anybody else, because he is a born celibate! All other celibates are just lousy celibates, leaking from here, leaking from there -- the impotent person is absolutely certain to be celibate. But the impotent person has never become enlightened.
In fact, it is the sexual energy itself that transforms into your enlightenment. Because the impotent man has no sexual energy, he is in the worst condition; he cannot go higher, he does not have the energy to fly like an eagle across the sun. He cannot become a Gautam Buddha or a Bodhidharma.
Bodhidharma is saying that sex is immaterial; what is important is to know your self-nature, to know your being. And then everything that is needed will happen on its own accord.
EVEN IF SOME HABITS REMAIN, THEY CAN'T HARM YOU.
This is a very significant statement from a man of enlightenment. EVEN IF SOME HABITS REMAIN, THEY CAN'T HARM YOU.
For example, if you go on smoking ...I don't see that an enlightened man can in any way be disturbed by smoking. Enlightenment that gets disturbed by smoking or drinking tea or coffee will not be of much value. Your small habits -- playing cards ...I don't see that there is any possibility it can harm your enlightenment.
Bodhidharma here is immensely compassionate and understanding:
BECAUSE YOUR NATURE IS ESSENTIALLY PURE.
What you do does not make any difference. Once you know your essential pure nature then everything is allowed to you. Then you are capable to decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong. Because of this there have been such problems, so many difficulties in understanding each other. Small differences of habit have become such great barriers to understanding.
Mohammed used to eat in the night. In fact, Mohammedans fast in the day and eat in the night. On their religious days, the whole day they will fast from sunrise to sunset and in the night they will have a good feast. Now, Jainas cannot understand that at all. In the day you can eat, but in the night? And that too, on a religious day?
When Jainas fast they don't eat for days, and even water they drink only during the daytime, not in the night. Naturally, they think that Mohammedans are doing something wrong. But they don't know the situation in which Mohammed lived, in which Mohammedanism was born. It is a desert religion, where the day is so hot that it is easier to fast during the day. It is easier to feast during the night when things become cooler and when the sky becomes full of stars and the desert becomes a beautiful, silent place. In the day, it is just burning hot.
Ramakrishna continued to eat fish. Now, Jainas cannot accept Ramakrishna as enlightened. Can an enlightened man eat fish? But if you understand Bodhidharma's statement, you can forgive Ramakrishna ...just an old habit, just living in Bengal where rice and fish are the only food. From his very childhood he has been eating rice and fish, and everybody else is eating it too. Even when he became enlightened, the old habit continued. It becomes immaterial.
In this whole world, situations are different, climates are different. There are cold climates where alcohol may be an essential need. For example, in the Soviet Union it may be impossible even for the enlightened person not to drink vodka. It is so cold, it is freezing even your very blood -- a little warmth is needed.
A truly religious man is very understanding -- understanding of different people, of different conditions, different geographical situations, different climates, different ages, different patterns, different habits. And small things cannot disturb a great experience like enlightenment.
DESPITE DWELLING IN AN IMMATERIAL BODY OF FIVE AGGREGATES, YOUR NATURE IS BASICALLY PURE. IT CAN'T BE CORRUPTED.
Nothing can corrupt your consciousness. It is intrinsically incorruptible. ...ONCE YOU STOP CLINGING AND LET THINGS BE, YOU'LL BE FREE, EVEN OF BIRTH AND DEATH. YOU'LL TRANSFORM EVERYTHING. YOU'LL POSSESS SPIRITUAL POWERS THAT CAN'T BE OBSTRUCTED. AND YOU'LL BE AT PEACE WHEREVER YOU ARE. IF YOU DOUBT THIS, YOU'LL NEVER SEE THROUGH ANYTHING. YOU'RE BETTER OFF DOING NOTHING. ONCE YOU ACT, YOU CAN'T AVOID THE CYCLE OF BIRTH AND DEATH. BUT ONCE YOU SEE YOUR NATURE, YOU'RE A BUDDHA, EVEN IF YOU WORK AS A BUTCHER.
In fact, it has happened: In Japan a butcher became enlightened. He was the butcher of the emperor, and when he became enlightened, even the emperor came to pay his respects. The emperor could not believe, because he had seen the butcher cutting animals just behind his palace ...and he asked him, "What about my kitchen? You have become enlightened, obviously you are not going to do your old profession."
The master laughed. He said, "No, I will continue. Now I can butcher animals with more compassion, with more love, with more grace. And anyway they will be butchered by somebody else, who will not be so compassionate as I can be, who will not be so graceful with them as I can be. When they are going to be butchered, what difference does it make?
"And as far as my enlightenment is concerned, it remains uncorrupted in any and every situation. My inner sky cannot be clouded again. I have come to a point from where one cannot fall back. So don't be worried; I will be coming back tomorrow, to my profession." And he remained alive for almost twenty years after his enlightenment. In the morning he would do his profession of killing animals and in the evening he would teach the disciples about enlightenment. And not only did he become enlightened, a few of his disciples also became enlightened.
Bodhidharma is right: if you understand that you are a buddha, if you see your nature, then even if you work as a butcher it is immaterial.
The disciple asked: BUT BUTCHERS CREATE KARMA BY SLAUGHTERING ANIMALS. HOW CAN THEY BE BUDDHAS?
I ONLY TALK ABOUT SEEING YOUR NATURE. I DON'T TALK ABOUT CREATING KARMA. REGARDLESS OF WHAT WE DO, OUR KARMA HAS NO HOLD ON US.
Once you know yourself, nothing has any hold on you. Your freedom is absolutely incorruptible. You cannot do anything that can go against your freedom. ...IN INDIA, THE TWENTY-SEVEN PATRIARCHS ONLY TRANSMITTED THE IMPRINT OF THE no-MIND. AND THE ONLY REASON I HAVE COME TO CHINA IS TO TRANSMIT THE INSTANTANEOUS TEACHING OF THE MAHAYANA: THIS no-MIND IS THE BUDDHA. I DON'T TALK ABOUT PRECEPTS, DEVOTIONS OR ASCETIC PRACTICES ....
LANGUAGE AND BEHAVIOR, PERCEPTION AND CONCEPTION ARE ALL FUNCTIONS OF THE MOVING MIND. ALL MOTION IS THE MIND'S MOTION .... THE no-MIND NEITHER MOVES NOR FUNCTIONS. BECAUSE THE ESSENCE OF ITS FUNCTION IS EMPTINESS, AND EMPTINESS IS ESSENTIALLY MOTIONLESS.
HENCE, THE SUTRAS TELL US TO MOVE WITHOUT MOVING, TO TRAVEL WITHOUT TRAVELLING, TO SEE WITHOUT SEEING, TO LAUGH WITHOUT LAUGHING, TO HEAR WITHOUT HEARING, TO KNOW WITHOUT KNOWING, TO BE HAPPY WITHOUT BEING HAPPY, TO WALK WITHOUT WALKING, TO STAND WITHOUT STANDING. AND THE SUTRAS SAY, "GO BEYOND LANGUAGE. GO BEYOND THOUGHT." ... I COULD GO ON, BUT THIS BRIEF SERMON WILL HAVE TO DO.
This statement seems to be difficult -- WALK WITHOUT WALKING, HEAR WITHOUT HEARING, SPEAK WITHOUT SPEAKING -- but it is not difficult at all, just a little understanding .... If you are speaking spontaneously -- unprepared, not knowing what word is going to be uttered by you -- you are speaking without speaking. Spontaneous action is without any activity on your part. You are simply allowing existence to sing its own song.
For example, right now I am speaking without speaking. I am simply allowing my whole being to respond to Bodhidharma's sutras, without knowing at all what is going to be my next word. Just as you hear it, I also hear it. Just as you are sitting there, I am also sitting there. This chair is empty. There is a way of speaking when you prepare, when you speak not with your moment-to-moment responsibility, but just repeat something parrot-like which you have rehearsed, which you have been practicing.
All the actions that are enumerated here and many more in your life, you can do in two ways. One is out of awareness, in the present moment -- unprepared, spontaneous, allowing existence to possess you, to speak through you or act through you. Then you are absolutely out of the trap of your actions or your words. You are just a watcher. You are not acting, you are simply watching whatever is happening.
This watchfulness, this witnessing is the ultimate secret of creating a religious life, of creating a life of transcendence, a life of spirituality, of enlightenment, of buddhahood.
Next: Chapter 9: Dead men don't bleed
Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Bodhidharma
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