You Have My Marrow
AFTER NINE YEARS, BODHIDHARMA, THE FIRST ZEN PATRIARCH, WHO TOOK ZEN TO CHINA FROM INDIA IN THE SIXTH CENTURY, DECIDED THAT HE WISHED TO RETURN HOME. HE GATHERED HIS DISCIPLES AROUND HIM TO TEST THEIR PERCEPTION.
DOFUKU SAID: 'IN MY OPINION TRUTH IS BEYOND AFFIRMATION OR NEGATION, FOR THIS IS THE WAY IT MOVES.' BODHIDHARMA REPLIED:
'YOU HAVE MY SKIN.'
THE NUN SOJI SAID: 'IN MY VIEW, IT IS LIKE ANANDA'S INSIGHT OF THE BUDDHA-LAND -- SEEN ONCE AND FOREVER.' BODHIDHARMA ANSWERED:
'YOU HAVE MY FLESH.'
DOIKU SAID: 'THE FOUR ELEMENTS OF LIGHT, AIRINESS, FLUIDITY, AND SOLIDITY, ARE EMPTY, AND THE FIVE SKANDHAS ARE NO-THINGS. IN MY OPINION NO-THING IS REALITY.' BODHIDHARMA COMMENTED: 'YOU HAVE MY BONES.'
FINALLY, EKA BOWED BEFORE THE MASTER AND REMAINED SILENT.
BODHIDHARMA SAID: 'YOU HAVE MY MARROW.'
I can see clouds a thousand miles away, hear ancient music in the pines.
Of what music have I been talking to you? The Hindu mystics have called it AUMKAR, the ultimate sound or, even better, they have called it the ANAHATA, the soundless sound -- the sound that is uncreated, the sound that has always been there, the sound of existence itself. It is surrounding you; it is within you, without you; you are made of it.
Just as modern physics says that everything is made of electricity, so Eastern mystics have said that everything is made of sound. On one thing modern physics and ancient mystics agree. Modern physics says sound is nothing but electricity, and ancient mystics say electricity is nothing but sound.
It seems that if you observe the eternal music from the outside, as if it is an object, then it appears like electric energy. If you feel it, introspectively, not as an object but as your very being, as your subjectivity. then it is heard as sound -- ANAHATA; then it is heard as music. This music is constantly there, you need not do anything else except listen to it.
Listening is all that meditation is about -- how to listen to that which is already there.
In a small school it happened that a small boy sitting in the rear of the classroom appeared to be daydreaming.
'Johnny,' asked the teacher, 'do you have trouble hearing?'
'No ma'am,' he replied, 'I have trouble listening.'
I know you can hear, there is no trouble about it -- but you cannot listen. Listening is totally different from hearing. Listening means hearing without mind; listening means hearing without any interference of your thoughts; listening means hearing as if you are totally empty. If you have even a small trembling of thinking inside, waves of subtle thoughts surrounding you, you will not be able to listen, although you will be able to hear. And to listen to the music, the ancient music, the eternal music, one needs to be totally quiet -- as if one is not. When you are, you can hear; when you are not, you can listen.
How not to be is the whole problem of religion: how to be in such a deep silence that being becomes almost equivalent to non-being, that there remains no difference between being and non-being, that the boundaries between being and non-being disappear. You are, and yet in a certain sense you are not; you are not and yet in a certain sense, for the first time, you are.
When thought is not disturbing you.... Thoughts are like ripples on the lake, silence is like no ripples on the lake. Just being. Suddenly you become aware of a music that has always surrounded you. Suddenly it enters from everywhere. You are overwhelmed. You are possessed.
This is the first thing to understand. You will not be able to know-truth unless you have become capable of listening to the ancient music of AUMKAR. This music is the very heartbeat of existence; this music is the very door of existence. You will not be able to enter the temple of God -- but this music is the bridge. Only on this music, riding on this music, will you enter him. The kingdom of God is available only to those who have become capable of listening to the eternal music.
It has been heard; I have heard it, you can hear it. Nobody except yourself is barring the path; nobody is hindering, If you are missing, you are missing only on your own account.
There is not a wall between you and the music; even if there is felt to be a wall it is only of your own thoughts. And even then the music goes on penetrating you. You may not listen to it but it goes on massaging your whole being, it goes on nourishing you, it goes on giving you life, it goes on rejuvenating you. Your heart throbs in the same rhythm as the heart of the whole.
Whenever your heart falls out of line with the whole you are in trouble, you are ill; whenever the heart is in rhythm with the whole you are healthy. Let this be the definition of health. Whenever there is no conflict between you and the whole, not even a rumor of conflict, you are healthy. To be whole is to be healthy. To be whole is to be holy. And what is the way to be holy, healthy, whole? Your heart should beat in the same rhythm as the heart of the whole. You should not fall out of line, out of step. It is a great cosmic dance. It is a great harmony. When you sit still, silent, not doing anything, meditative, prayerful, suddenly you start merging into the whole. You come closer and closer and closer and your steps are no longer heard as separate from the whole. You become part of this great symphony. Suddenly you are healthy, holy, whole.
How to come to this tuning with the whole? Why are you missing it?
You are constantly in discord, you have many contradictions within you. Those contradictions go on like a tug of war within continuously, day and night, awake and asleep. You are constantly pulled into opposite directions. This tense state of affairs does not allow you to listen.
Even when you are in love you go on fighting. Even in love, you don't fall into step with the whole. Even lovers go on fighting with each other; otherwise love can become a door to the ancient music. Hence Jesus says that God is Love. If you love somebody at least drop all conflict with him, or with her, with your child, with your wife, with your brother, friend, with your Master -- drop! But even there conflict continues; a subtle way of fight continues. Because you are constantly in conflict within yourself, whatsoever you do is going to be an extension of the same conflict, a reflection of the same disharmony. This is making you incapable of listening.
I have heard an anecdote.
In Eastern Europe, half a century ago, when marriages were still arranged by marriage- brokers, young Samuel had been introduced to the young woman of whom the marriage- broker had sung a gorgeous hymn of praise.
After a short interview, Samuel motioned the marriage-broker into a corner and said to him, in a furious whisper, 'What is this woman you have brought me? She is ugly. She has a cast in one eye. She's unintelligent and she has bad breath.'
The marriage-broker said, 'But why are you whispering? She's deaf also.'
God is whispering. God is a whisper. And you are deaf and God cannot shout. He is incapable of it because he cannot be aggressive, because he cannot interfere, because he cannot trespass, because he respects your freedom. He whispers and you are deaf. The whole of existence is a whisper -- it is very subtle. Unless you are tuned, unless you have become capable of listening to the whisper, you will not be able to understand -- you will not be able to hear the music.
And you have become very gross. You cannot even hear if God starts shouting. Jesus told his disciples, 'Go to the house-tops and shout from there. Tell people what has happened to you.' He had to tell his disciples to shout because people are deaf; A great sensitivity is needed. To be religious is to be tremendously sensitive... and now comes the irony:
religions have made you, on the contrary, more insensitive. They have made you almost gross by their constant talk of conflict, struggle, fight, ascetic methods; they have made religion a battle-ground also. Jainas call their Teerthankara, Mahavir. Mahavir means the great warrior. As if there is a constant war with truth, as if truth has to be conquered....
No, truth is not to be conquered; you are to be conquered by truth. Truth... just to think in terms of conquering it is absurd. You have to surrender to it. If you fight with your methods, yogas, techniques, you will become more and more gross. You will not be able to feel subtle, delicate experiences that are constantly happening all around you.
Have you watched? If you are a musician, your ears become very, very sensitive. If you are a painter, your eyes become tremendously sensitive. Then you see colors others have never seen. Then green is not just green: there are a thousand and one shades of green.
Then each leaf of a tree is different -- has a different shade of green, is unique, is individual. If you are a poet, then each word has its own romance; then each word has its own subtle music, a poetry around it. There are poetic words and there are non-poetic words. If you are a poet you become capable of seeing poetry everywhere -- wherever you look, you look with the eyes of a poet. You see something else which cannot be seen except by you. Whatsoever you do, you become more sensitive about it.
Religion needs total sensitivity of all the senses: of the eyes, of the nose, of the ears, of the taste, of the touch, because religion is not a part of life, it is the whole. You can have a musical ear and you may not have eyes at all. In fact blind people have better musical ears because their whole energy starts moving through the ears. Their ears become very, very sensitive because the eyes are not there, and through eyes moves eighty per cent of your energy. Eyes closed, the energy moves through the ears. Blind people become very, very musical. They start listening to subtle sounds of which you have never been aware.
A blind person starts recognizing people by the sound of their footsteps.
I used to go to a blind man. Whenever I would enter his room he would immediately recognize me. So I asked him, 'How do you do it?' He said, 'Because of your footsteps.
Your footsteps are different from anybody else's.
Each thing is different -- just as your thumb impressions are different from anybody else's in the world, past, present, or future, in exactly the same way the sound of your footsteps is different, unique. Nobody has walked that way before, and nobody is going to walk that way again. But we cannot recognize people by their foot-sounds -- impossible.
The ear can be very, very sensitive -- then you become a musician. If the eyes are very sensitive, you become an artist, a painter, a sculptor. But religion is your total being. You become sensitive in all the ways possible. All the doors of your house have to be opened so the sun can come in and the sunshine can come in; so the fresh breeze can come in and keep you constantly alive and young and pure and vital. Be sensitive if you want to be religious.
What I am saying is almost the opposite to what you have been trained to look for. If you go to your religious people, the so-called saints, you will find them almost dull. They are not sensitive; in fact, they are afraid of sensitivity. They have been trying to eat food without tasting it: they call it ASSWAB. They have made it a great method. Mahatma Gandhi used to teach his disciples: 'Eat but without tasting.' Now if you do that, by and by you will lose the delicate sensitivity of your tongue. Then you will not be able to taste God. If you cannot taste food, how can you taste God? God is food also and in food, God is hidden. The Upanishads say: ANNAM BRAHM -- Food IS Brahma. Now if you cannot taste food -- you can dull your tongue, your tongue can become almost dead, you can simply go on stuffing yourself without tasting -- then you are losing one dimension of reaching to God. Then you will not be able to understand when Jesus says, 'I am your food, eat me.' Impossible to think of it -- you will eat Jesus also without tasting him.
Islam became afraid of music because music has tremendous power over humanity and it is good that it has. Wherever religion sees that something has tremendous power over humanity, religion becomes competitive, jealous. Food has tremendous power over humanity. There are many people who live to eat -- who don't eat to live. Religion became afraid. Their God became jealous of food. A competition arose. They said kill this sensitivity of taste, otherwise people will choose food rather than choosing God.
Music has tremendous power. It can possess. It can almost make you ecstatic. alcoholic.
Islam became afraid. Music was debarred. Music was thought to be irreligious because the ecstasy should come from God not from music -- as if the music comes from somewhere else.
It happened in an Emperor's court that a musician came. He was a very rare genius, and he said, 'I will play on my veena, on my instrument, only with one condition: that nobody should move his head while I am playing. Nobody should move his body. People should become like stone statues.'
The Emperor whom he told that this condition had to be fulfilled, was a madman. He said, 'Don't you be worried. If somebody moves his head, his head will be cut off immediately.'
The whole town was made alert -- that if they came to listen to the musician, know well that it was risky. Come prepared, don't move, particularly the head. Thousands of people wanted to come. They had long cherished the idea of hearing this musician, and now he had come with such a dangerous condition, almost absurd. Who has ever heard of any musician asking for such a condition to be fulfilled? In fact, musicians become happy when people sway, and their heads move and their body energy starts a subtle dance.
They feel happy because their music is possessing people, their music is effective people are moved.
Emotion is a movement; hence the word 'emotion'. It comes from motion.
When people are moved, thrilled, stirred, a musician feels happy, rewarded, appreciated.
So what type of man was this? Only a very few people came. Only people who were madly in love with music, who said, 'Okay, at the most we can be killed, but this man has to be heard.' Just a very few people came.
The King had made arrangements: soldiers were standing all around with naked swords.
Then the musician started playing on his veena. For half an hour nobody moved. People were like yogis -- sitting like stone Buddhas, unmoving, as if dead. Then suddenly the people were possessed. As the musician entered deeper. deeper, deeper. a few heads started moving and swaying. Then a few more.
When the musician finished in the middle of the night, many persons were caught. They were to be beheaded. but the musician said, 'No. No need to kill them. In fact these are the only people who have the capacity to listen. Don't kill them. The others who have remained like statues have to be thrown out. Now I will sing only for these people. These are the real listeners.'
The King said, 'I don't understand.'
The musician said, 'It is simple. If you cannot be possessed so much that even life becomes irrelevant, you are not possessed. If you cannot risk life, then music is secondary and life is primary.'
A moment comes when you can risk life; then music becomes primary, then music becomes ultimate. Then you hear the ancient music in the pines -- not before it.
But religions have killed your sensitivities. Islam killed the ear; Hinduism and Jainism.
they have been killing the taste. And all the religions have been against the eyes. There are stories of saints who plucked out their eyes because they became afraid Eyes can lead them into desire, into passion.
In India a story is told about Surdas. He was moving from a town when he saw a beautiful woman. He became possessed. Then he felt guilty so he went home and plucked his eyes out.
But eyes are not the culprit. In fact, to see a beautiful woman -- nothing is wrong in it. If you really see a beautiful woman, and you have really sensitive eyes, you will see a glimpse of God there -- because all beauty is his. All forms are his. Surdas goes on singing about the beauty of Krishna but if Krishna's beauty is God's, what about that woman whose beauty attracted him? By whom did he become hypnotized? God is hypnotic. Plucking out your eyes is a crime against God.
If Surdas ever did it, then he is no longer a saint to me. He may be a great poet but not a saint. But I have been moving deeply into his poetry and I feel somehow the story seems to be fabricated. It must be a creation of the priests, of the so-called religious, the mediocre, the stupid, who don't understand life. Otherwise, every sensitivity leads to him, all roads go to him -- where else can they go? If the problem arises, it is not of the eyes...
the problem is that you don't have enough eyes. Then a woman looks like a woman. You don't have enough eyes.
If it happens to you, my suggestion is, clean your eyes; become more sensitive; train your eyes; let your eyes be more and more pure, unclouded -- and the woman will start transforming into divineness, and the man will become God, and the trees will disappear and they will be green flames of the Divinity, and the rivers will disappear and they will be nothing but constant flow of his energy.
All the religions have been against your senses. I'm not against, because my understanding is: whatsoever you are against, you are against God, because every door opens towards him and every path leads to him. Enhance your senses. Become more alive in your senses. Let your sensitivity be total and from every dimension you will have his glimpses.
Because of these wrong and foolish teachings you are constantly in conflict within yourself. Because of these foolish teachings you love a woman and you also feel guilty because you love her, because somehow it looks like a sin. You love a woman and you hate her also. because she is the cause of your sin. Of course you will take revenge. How can you forgive the woman who has drawn you into the mud -- as the religious people say? How can you forgive her?
Listen to your saints. Nobody seems to have forgiven the woman. Even after they have become great saints they go on taking revenge. Still somewhere deep in the unconscious the woman is lingering. They are still afraid. Then there is a constant fight, a quarrel.
even in love. So what to say of other things?
Love is closest to God because in love you tall in tune with another being; in love you are no more a solitary instrument. A small symphony is created between two persons. Then the children are born and the symphony has more members. It is becoming an orchestra:
children, family, friends. You are no more alone; you have become part of something bigger than you. And this has to go on growing so that one day the whole existence is your family. That is the meaning when Jesus says, 'God, my father.' His actual word is not 'father', his actual word is ABBA -- closer. 'Father' also looks a little clinical, smells of institutionalization. ABBA, BAPU -- they are so close, so intimate. A bridge has happened, God is not a faraway thing. 'God is ABBA and I am his son. I am his continuity. If he is my past, I am his future. That is the meaning of a son the same river flows.
A moment comes. if you go on growing in your sensitivity, when your family grows and the whole existence becomes your home. Right now, even your home is not your home; even in your home, you are not at home.
I have heard of an anecdote.
In some of the more remote sections of Tennessee there are still a few counties without any telephone. The Tennessee State Forest Service recently installed a telephone in one of these counties and linesmen tried to get a native to converse with his wife, then in a small town some thirty miles distant.
After much persuasion, Uncle Joe put the receiver to his ear. Just at that moment, there was a terrific thunderclap and the old man was knocked to his knees.
As he climbed to his feet, he turned and said, 'That's her all right. That sure is my old woman.'
Even in your home you are not at home. The very word 'wife' creates some uneasiness in you; the very word 'husband' creates some uneasiness in you. In Urdu, the word for husband is KASAM -- it also means the enemy. The original root from where it comes is Arabic. In Arabic, KASAM means the enemy, and in Urdu, it means the husband. Both are true; both are the meanings of the same word.
Even people we love, we don't love enough. In our love also, hatred goes on and on and continues. We are never one, we are never a unity; we are a divided self, divided against ourselves. This dividedness creates confusion, conflict, noise, and because of this noise it is difficult to listen to the eternal music.
If you go on continuously listening to this noise within you, by and by you completely forget that something else also exists by the side, by the corner. This inner noise becomes your whole life. The whole day you are listening to your inner noise -- a feverish state. In the night also you are listening to the same noise.
Of course, this noise goes on creating layers upon layers around you. You become almost insulated; you become like a capsule, closed from every side. You don't live in my world, you don't live in your wife's world, you didn't live in your child's world -- you live in your own world, in a capsule. Your child lives in his world; your wife lives in her world.
In the world there are as many worlds as there are persons. Everybody is closed, into himself, and goes on projecting things out of these noises, goes on hearing things which have not been uttered, goes on seeing things which are not there, and goes on believing that whatsoever he is seeing is true. Whatsoever you have seen up to now is not true, it cannot be; because your eyes are not functioning as pure receptivities, they are functioning more as protectors. You go on seeing things that you want to see; you go on believing in things that you want to believe. Humanity lives in a sort of neurosis.
I have heard that once a man asked a psychiatrist, 'In simple, everyday terms, without any of that scientific jargon, what is the difference between a psychotic and a neurotic?'
'Well,' said the psychiatrist, after thinking a moment. 'you could put it this way. A psychotic thinks two plus two equals five. The neurotic knows perfectly well that two plus two equals four, but it worries the hell out of him.'
There are two types of people in the world: the psychotic and the neurotic. The psychotic has arrived, he has got the conclusions. He is the dogmatic person. He says, 'Only MY religion is the true religion.' He says, 'Only MY God is the true God.' He's absolutely certain. He is very dangerous. His certainty is not because of his experience, his certainty is because deep down he is very much uncertain, in deep conflict, turmoil. How to avoid it? He clings to a conclusion. He will not listen to anything going against his ideology. He may be a communist, or a Catholic, or a Hindu, or a Jaina -- it makes no difference. The psychotic person has already arrived, he has conclusions. He's no longer growing, he's no longer learning, he's no longer listening -- he lives out of his conclusions. He of course misses life, because life is a process, there is no conclusion to it. Life is always in the middle, there is no beginning and no end to it. And life is tremendously vast. All dogmas can have a certain truth about them but no-dogma is the truth. Cannot be. Life is so big that no dogma can comprehend it in its totality.
So a really intelligent person is hesitant. He's never dogmatic. He's ready to learn, ready to listen.
So many people come here. Whenever I see somebody who, while listening to me, is trying to compare notes with his conclusions, I know he's in deep trouble. And I can see from your faces whether you are comparing notes or listening to me. Sometimes you nod your head; you say, 'Right, you are perfectly right, this is also my principle.' You agree with me, not because you are listening to me -- in fact you are happy because you feel I am agreeing with you. Sometimes your head says, 'No.' You may not even be aware of what you are doing. It may be just unconscious. But the gesture is bringing something from your unconscious. You say, 'No, I cannot agree with this. This is against my conclusion. This doesn't fit with me.' Then you are not listening. You are psychotic. You may not be in much trouble and you may not need a psychiatrist yet, but that doesn't matter much -- it is only a question of degrees. Any day you can be in a psychiatric hospital. You are getting ready for it -- preparing.
And then there is the neurotic person. He's continuously in conflict -- even small things he cannot decide. The psychotic has decided even ultimate things and the neurotic cannot decide even small things. What dress to wear today? Have you watched women standing there before their cupboards so puzzled? They bring one sari and put it back -- and they bring -- and put back.... What dress to wear today? To help you out of such neurosis, I give you one color -- orange. Free. No need to worry. No alternatives left.
Both are in trouble: the one who has decided for ultimate things, he has stopped learning; and the one who cannot decide for trivia, he cannot learn, because he is in such a hell, such a confusion.
In my village, just in front of my house, lives a goldsmith. He is the -- sort of the person you will call neurotic. He will lock his door, he will go a few steps, and then come back again and shake the lock just to see whether he has locked it or not.
It has become a joke in the whole town. He may be in the market and somebody will say, 'Have you locked your door, or not?'
Now it is impossible. He will stop whatsoever he is doing, he will say, 'Wait, I will be coming,' and he will run back.
One day he was taking his bath in the river and somebody said something about the door.
He jumped out and naked he ran towards his home.
I have watched him. He will come back again and again and again. It has become almost impossible for him to do anything else. The lock.... Just think about his misery.
Ordinarily, you are both. these are extreme cases. Ordinarily you are both. In certain ways you are psychotic: you have decided the ultimate, that Jesus is the only Son of God, the only begotten Son -- this is psychosis. Then what about Buddha and what about Lao Tzu and what about Zarathustra? In certain matters you have decided and in certain matters you are completely in confusion. A part of your being is neurotic and a part of your being is psychotic. And because of this madness you cannot hear the ancient music which is always there.
Meditation is to get out of your psychosis and to get out of your neurosis; it is simply to slip out of them. So you don't have any ultimate conclusion with you on one hand; and on another hand you are not worried about trivia. You are simply silent. You are simply being yourself, with no decision, with no conclusion, with no center, and not worried about small things. If you can be in a state where no thought interferes with your being, no thought passes by, suddenly you are overwhelmed.
Now this beautiful anecdote -- one of the most beautiful in the history of Zen. And, of course, it belongs to the first Zen patriarch, Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma is the genius of the absurd. Nobody has ever surpassed him.
When he reached China, the Emperor came to receive him. Rumors had arrived that a great man was coming -- and he was a great man, one of the greatest. The Emperor came, but when he saw Bodhidharma, he repented. He started thinking, 'It would have been better if I had not come. This man seems to be almost mad!' Bodhidharma was coming with one shoe on his foot and one shoe on his head.
Even the Emperor started feeling embarrassed to receive such a man, and when they were alone he asked, very politely, why he did this.
Bodhidharma said, 'This is just the beginning. I have to prepare my disciples. If you cannot accept this much contradiction, you will be incapable of understanding me, because I am all contradictions. The shoe is just symbolic. In fact I wanted to put my feet on my head.'
Bodhidharma took Zen from India to China. He planted the seed of Zen in China. He started a great phenomenon on its way. He is the father and, of course, Zen has carried the qualities of Bodhidharma all these centuries. Zen is one of the most absurd religions - - in fact, a religion has to be absurd because it cannot be logical. It is beyond logic.
I was reading an anecdote. When I read it I remembered Bodhidharma. Listen to it.
A great zoologist informed a colleague that he was trying to cross a parrot with a mountain lion.
'No!' exclaimed the other. 'What do you expect to get?'
'I don't know exactly,' the scientist admitted. 'but I will tell you this -- if it starts talking you had better listen.'
Reading this anecdote, suddenly Bodhidharma surfaced in me. He was the man who was also a lion. Ordinarily he would not speak but his silence was also terrible and terrific. He would look into your eyes absolutely silent, and he would go like a cold shudder through your spine. Or he would speak -- then too he was like thunder. Find a picture of Bodhidharma and look: very ferocious and still very sweet. A parrot crossed with a lion -- very sweet and very ferocious.
The whole Zen discipline has carried the same quality with it. Zen masters are very hard on the outside and very sweet on the inside. Once you have earned their love they are as sweet as honey, but you will have to pass through hardship. Bodhidharma, for nine years while he was in China, sat facing a wall, gazing at a wall. He was known in China as the man, the ferocious man, who gazed at the wall for nine years. It is said that his legs withered away -- sitting and just looking at the wall. People would come and they would try to persuade him, 'Look at us. Why are you looking at the wall?' And he would say, 'Because you are also like a wall. When somebody comes who is really not like a wall, I will look.' Then one day his successor came. And the successor cut off his hand and gave it to Bodhidharma and said, 'Look this way, otherwise I am going to cut off my head.' He turned, immediately about-turned, and said. 'Wait! So you have come. I was waiting for nine years for you.'
After nine years he came back to India. When he was coming back, this incident happened.
AFTER NINE YEARS, BODHIDHARMA, THE FIRST ZEN PATRIARCH, WHO TOOK ZEN TO CHINA FROM INDIA IN THE SIXTH CENTURY, DECIDED HE WISHED TO RETURN HOME. HE GATHERED HIS DISCIPLES AROUND HIM TO TEST THEIR APPERCEPTION...what they had learned from him, and what they knew about truth.
So he asked, 'What is truth? Tell me in short.' The first disciple, Dofuku, said, 'IN MY OPINION TRUTH IS BEYOND AFFIRMATION OR NEGATION, FOR THIS IS THE WAY IT MOVES.' BODHIDHARMA REPLIED: 'YOU HAVE MY SKIN.'
What the disciple said was true, but not truth. It was not wrong, but it was philosophical.
It was not experiential, it was not existential. He said, 'In my opinion...' as if truth depends on your opinion.
Truth is independent of all opinions. What you think about truth is irrelevant; in fact, because you think, you will not be able to know what is. That which is can be known only when all thinking stops. when all opinions are thrown away, put aside. So I say, 'True, but not truth.' The opinion is not wrong, it is well-informed, but if is still an opinion; Dofuku has not experienced it himself. He seems to be of the philosophical bent.
He has been speculating, thinking, weaving and spinning theories. BODHIDHARMA REPLIED: 'YOU HAVE MY SKIN.'
If it had been just philosophical, Bodhidharma would not have said even this much. But he said, 'You have my skin -- the most outermost part. the very circumference of my being.' Why? Because he said that truth is beyond affirmation or negation It can neither be said about truth that it is, nor can it be said that it is not. He has some insight. He has groped in the dark through thinking, logic, but he has come to a certain insight. And that insight is beautiful. Nothing can be said about truth. You cannot say, 'God is,' you cannot say, 'God is not.' Because if you say, 'God is,' you will make God like a thing -- as a table is, the house is. Then God will become an ordinary commodity, an ordinary thing. And then, as linguistic philosophers say, the table can be destroyed. Whatsoever 'is', can become 'is not'. The house can be demolished. The tree is here today; tomorrow it may not be. So what about God? If you use the word 'is', then what about God? Can God be in a situation where he is not? Because wherever 'is' is used, 'is not' is the possibility also.
No, it cannot be said that 'God is' but can we say the opposite, 'God is not'? That too is not possible because, it he is not, what's the point of saying 'God is not'? Who are you denying, and for what? It he is not, he is not. What is the point of denial?
And people deny so passionately. that their very passion says. 'He must be. God must be.'
Look at the atheists who say. 'No. There is no God.' They are ready to tight. For something which is not, who fights? Why are you worried? I know atheists who have been thinking their whole life and trying to prove that God is not. Why are you wasting your life for something which is not? For centuries people have been writing books. and arguing and discussing about God is not. But why be concerned? It seems that God is. in some way. and you cannot rest at ease unless you prove that he is not -- otherwise he will go on challenging you. He will go on calling you. invoking you. so to put yourself at ease you have to create a philosophy that he is not. This is rationalization.
And then God is so vast.... Call it truth, as Bodhidharma would like. Buddhists don t like the word God. and they do rightly, because the word IS 50 corrupted and so many people have used it with such wrong connotations that it has almost become a dirty word. Truth must be both, because in truth existence and non-existence must meet. Existence cannot be alone -- it needs non-existence by the side. Just as the day needs the night, just as life needs death, existence needs non-existence. So the ultimate must comprehend both...that is what Dofuku said. But it is still philosophical -- on the right track, but still philosophical, just on the periphery. BODHIDHARMA REPLIED: 'YOU HAVE MY SKIN.'
It happened that Pierre Laplace was a mathematician, an astronomer, who in Napoleon's time wrote a ponderous five-volume work on celestial mechanics. In it, using Newton's law of gravity, he painstakingly worked out the motions of the solar system in finest detail.
Napoleon, who fancied himself (with only partial justification) an intellectual, leafed through the early volumes, and said to Laplace, 'I see no mention of God in your explanation of the motions of the planets.'
'I had no need of that hypothesis, sir,' said the scientist politely.
Another astronomer, Legrange, hearing of the remark, is reported to have said, 'But it is a beautiful hypothesis just the same. It can be used to explain so many things.'
To the philosophical mind God remains, at the most, a beautiful hypothesis. Not a truth, but a helpful hypothesis which can be used in explaining many things; at the most, a help to explanation -- just a theoretical need, not an existential need. When a philosopher talks about God, the God is cold, the God is not warm enough. You cannot love that God, you cannot worship that God, you cannot pray to that God, you cannot surrender yourself to that God -- it is just a hypothesis. How can you surrender to the theory of H20? Or to the theory of relativity? How can you surrender, how can you raise a temple to the theory of relativity? Howsoever beautiful it is, it cannot be revered, it cannot be worshipped, you cannot pray to it. It remains a hypothesis, a tool in your hands to explain a few things which cannot be explained otherwise. But a hypotheses can be discarded any moment; whenever you can find a better hypothesis, it can be discarded. Truth is not a hypothesis - - it is a lived experience.
That's why Bodhidharma said, 'You have only my skin.' Skin goes on changing. Every seven years your whole skin has gone through change. You don't have even a single cell of the same skin. If you live for seventy years, ten times your skin would have changed.
Skin is your outermost part. It can be replaced very easily. It is being replaced every moment. It is just the bag in which you are -- it is not very, very essential. It is not your being -- just the outer wall of your abode.
THE NUN SOJI SAID: -- the second disciple 'IN MY VIEW, IT IS LIKE ANANDA'S INSIGHT OF THE BUDDHA-LAND -- SEEN ONCE AND FOREVER.'
BODHIDHARMA ANSWERED: 'YOU HAVE MY FLESH.'
A little better than the first -- deeper than the skin is flesh. A little better because this is no more a philosophical standpoint; it comes closer to experience, but the experience i8 borrowed. She says, 'IN MY VIEW, IT IS LIKE ANANDA'S INSIGHT OF THE BUDDHA-LAND.'
Ananda was the chief disciple of Buddha who lived with him for forty years continuously, like a shadow following him. So the nun said that truth is like Ananda's insight of the Buddha-land -- of that land of paradise, land of light. Once seen it is seen forever. Then you can never forget about it; it is a point of no return. Once known, it is known forever; then you cannot fall from it.
But, the experience is not her own. The insight is Ananda's. She is still comparing. Her answer is theological, not philosophical -- theological, as a Christian theologian goes on talking about the experience of Jesus, and a Buddhist goes on talking about the experience of Buddha, and a Jaina goes on talking about the experience of Mahavir. It is second-hand, not first-hand; leaning more towards the existential, but still theological; more contemplative than the first -- the first is more speculative, the second is more contemplative -- better, but yet far away.
Then the third disciple, Doiku, said, 'THE FOUR ELEMENTS OF LIGHT, AIRINESS, FLUIDITY, AND SOLIDITY, ARE EMPTY, AND THE FIVE SKANDHAS ARE NO- THINGS. IN MY OPINION NO-THING IS REALITY.' BODHIDHARMA COMMENTED: 'YOU HAVE MY BONES.'
Still deeper, but not yet home. The statement is true but it is still a statement. The truth is said better than the other two but it is still said -- and the truth cannot be said. Once you say it, you falsify it. The very saying makes it false. He's right. The four elements of light, airiness, fluidity and solidity -- that means the whole existence are empty. There is no substance in them. It is just like a dream; it is of the same stuff as dreams are made -- maya, illusory. No-thing is reality. Nothingness is reality. Right...but he is trying to say something which cannot be said.
Wittgenstein has said that it is better to keep silent where saying is going to falsify. Keep quiet if it cannot be said because whatsoever you say will be a betrayal of the truth.
BODHIDHARMA COMMENTED: 'YOU HAVE MY BONES.' You have come very, very close, but still missed.
FINALLY, EKA BOWED BEFORE THE MASTER AND REMAINED SILENT.
BODHIDHARMA SAID: 'YOU HAVE MY MARROW' -- you have my very soul.
Eka bowed before the Master. That was his statement -- bowing down in deep gratefulness, a gesture of thankfulness, and then remaining silent. This is the true statement and it is not a statement at all. It is only through silence that truth can be said because it is only through silence that the truth is heard. It is through silence that one comes to hear the ancient music in the pines. And only through silence can you say it without betraying it.
Eka did two things. He bowed down -- that is a gesture; a gesture of deep reverence, respect, gratefulness, gratitude. That moment Bodhidharma could see an emptiness bowing down before him. There is nobody in this fourth disciple Eka, he is just emptiness within. He is what the third was saying -- emptiness, nothingness. He has the experience of what the second was saying -- Ananda's Buddha-land. He is what the first was trying to utter philosophically: beyond yes and no. Only silence is beyond negation and affirmation; only silence is neither atheistic nor theistic; only silence is religious; only silence is sacred. To Show that sacredness of silence he bowed down and then he kept silent. He really said it without saying it. That is the only way to say it and there is no other way.
BODHIDHARMA SAID, 'YOU HAVE MY MARROW' -- you have my innermost core of being.
I can see clouds a thousand miles away, hear ancient music in the pines. You can also hear it. It is your birthright. If you miss it, only you, and ONLY you will be responsible for it. Listen in the pines.... Just listen. In this very moment it is there. You have to be just like Eka, in deep gratefulness, in silence. It is immediately here and it has never been otherwise. A turning-in is needed, PARABVRUTTI.
Someone asked Buddha, 'What is the greatest miracle?'
He said, 'PARABVRUTTI, turning in.'
Turn in, tune in, and you will be able to see clouds a thousand miles away and you will be able to hear the ancient music in the pines.