Maneesha, this is the first day of a new series of talks, devoted to the full moons. The moon is an ancient symbol of transforming the hot rays of the sun into cool, peaceful, beautiful rays. It has nothing of its own. When you see the moon, you are seeing only a mirror which is reflecting the rays of the sun. Those reflected rays are just like the ones you can see when the sun is reflected in a river.
The moon is a mirror but not only a mirror, it is also a transforming agent. It changes the heat rays into cool, peaceful rays. That is the reason why the moon has become the most significant symbol in the East.
This series is dedicated to the full moons. In the series itself we are going to discuss one of the most unique masters, Dogen.
Before I enter into the sutras, it will be good for you to know something about Dogen. That background will help you to understand his very condensed sutras. Apparently they look contradictory. Without the background of Dogen's life pattern they are like trees without roots, they cannot bring flowers. So first I will talk about Dogen's life structure.
Chinese is perhaps the most difficult language in the world, because it has no alphabet. It is pictorial and to read it means years of hard work to memorize those symbols. To the born Chinese it is not so difficult, because from the very birth it becomes ingrained into his mind, but anybody who is studying Chinese from the outside world ...
I have been told by friends that it takes ten years at least, if one works strenuously; thirty years if one works the way any ordinary student will work.
At the age of four, to understand Chinese - and not only Chinese, but Chinese poetry; that makes it even more difficult. Because to understand the prose of any language is simple, but the poetry has wings, it flies to faraway places. Prose is very marketplace, very earthly; it creeps on the earth.
Poetry flies. What prose cannot say, poetry can manage to indicate. Prose is connected with your mind, poetry is more connected with your heart; it is more like love than like logic.
At the age of four, Dogen's understanding of Chinese poetry immediately showed that he was not going to be an ordinary human being. From that very age his behavior was not that of a mediocre child; he behaved like a buddha, so serene, so graceful, not interested in toys. All children are interested in toys, teddy-bears ... who cares about poetry?
But, fortunately or unfortunately, his father died when he was only two years old and his mother died when he was seven. Dogen used to say later on to his disciples, when he became a fully-fledged master in his own right, that everybody thought it was a misfortune:
"What will happen to this beautiful, intelligent child?"
But in his deepest heart he felt it was an opportunity; now there was no barrier.
Modern psychologists will perhaps understand it: you may be grown up - fifty, sixty, seventy - your father and mother may be dead ... still they dominate you in a very psychological way. If you silently listen to the voices within you can work out that, "This voice comes from my father, or from my mother, or from my uncle, or from my teacher, or from the priest."
Dogen used to say, "It was a great opportunity that both the people who could have distracted me, who loved me and I loved them ... and that was the danger. They died at the right time. I am infinitely grateful to them just because they died at the right time without destroying me."
It is something very strange for a seven-year-old child to understand this. It has been discovered only now by the psychologists that man's greatest barriers are the father, the mother. If you want to be a totally free consciousness you have to drop, somewhere on the way, your teddy-bears, your toys, the teachings that have been forced upon you. They have all been of good intent, there is no question about it, but as it is said in an ancient proverb, "The path to hell is paved with good intentions."
Just good intentions are not enough; what is needed is a conscious intention, which is very rare. To find a father and mother with a conscious meditative energy is just hoping for the hopeless.
When his mother died Dogen was translating the most significant Buddhist scripture, abhidharma - "the essence of religion" - from Chinese into Japanese. He showed every sign of a tremendous future. And at the age of seven, when his father and mother had both died, the first thing he did - which is unbelievable - was to become a sannyasin. Even the neighbors, relatives, could not believe it. And Dogen said, "I will not miss this opportunity. Perhaps if my father and mother were alive, I might not have left the world in search of truth." He became a sannyasin and started searching for the master.
There are two kinds of seekers who become interested in truth. One starts looking for scriptures:
he may become a great intellectual, he may become a giant, but inside there will be darkness. All his light is borrowed, and a borrowed light is not going to help in the real crises of life.
I am reminded of a Christian priest who used to repeat in every sermon Christ' is saying,
Everybody liked his sermons, he was quoting such great statements. But in one place a man really stood up and slapped the priest on one of his cheeks. The priest was shocked, because he had just been quoting Jesus. But anyway, to save his face, he gave his other cheek. And that man must have been a real rebellious type; he slapped the other one, too. Now this was too much!
The priest jumped at the man and started beating him. And the man said, "What are you doing?"
He said, "The scripture stops with the second cheek. Now I am here and you are here: let us decide this."
Borrowed scriptures won't help in actual encounters. In life there are everyday realities to be faced.
In death the ultimate reality has to be faced. And borrowed knowledge is not going to help at all.
The second type of seeker does not go towards the scriptures, but starts searching for a master.
These are two different dimensions: one is looking for knowledge, the other is looking for a source which is still alive. One is looking for dead scriptures, the other is looking for a living scripture whose heart is still beating and dancing, in whose eyes you can still see the depth, in whose presence you can see your own potential.
This second type is authentically the seeker for truth. The first type is only a seeker for knowledge.
You can have tons of knowledge and still you will remain ignorant. The man who has found the master may have to drop all his knowledge so that he can become open and vulnerable to the master's presence, so that he can dance with the master's heart. In this dance there happens a synchronicity, both the hearts slowly settle into the same rhythm. This rhythm is called the transmission. Nothing visible is given - no teaching, no doctrine - but invisibly two hearts have started dancing in the same tune. All that the master knows slowly goes on this invisible track and pours into the hearts of the disciples to the point of overflowing.
Dogen shows his intelligence, certainly, that he never turned to the scriptures. While his mother was alive, he was translating abhidharma, one of the most important Buddhist scriptures, from Chinese into Japanese. If his parents had lived, he might have become a great scholar. After his parents had died, he burned all that he had translated with that scripture, abhidharma.
It is so unbelievable. A seven-year-old child had the great insight that, "Words won't quench my thirst. I have to go in search of a living source, of someone who has known not by words, but by actual experience; one who is existentially a buddha."
The search for the master is the search for the buddha.
AT THE AGE OF THIRTEEN DOGEN WAS FORMALLY INITIATED. It was not easy to be initiated, one had to prove one's capacity, potentiality, possibility. One had to prove that one will not betray on the path, that one will not waste the time of the master, that one will wait infinitely. So he had to wait until the age of thirteen, and then:
This is the sutra that made him troubled to the very core of his being.
A very significant question. If everybody is a buddha, then to recognize it should be the simplest thing in the world. If you are potentially a buddha, then the barriers cannot be much; they cannot hinder you. Nothing can hinder you. A rose bush brings roses, a lotus seed brings the lotus. If every man is a seed buddha, then why so much discipline? He was only fourteen years of age, and just one year before he had been initiated, but this sutra disturbed him immensely.
It is obvious that if to be a buddha is our nature, then it should be the simplest thing ... without any discipline, without any effort - just a natural phenomenon, as you breathe, as your heart beats, as your blood runs in the body. There is no need of all the nonsense that has been forced upon people to become buddhas, to achieve buddhahood.
At this point he left his teacher because the teacher could not answer him. The teacher was just a teacher. He could teach the sutras, but he could not answer. He could realize the great significance
of the question. Either buddhahood is not everybody's nature ...
it is some faraway mountaintop, that you have to travel through all kinds of hardships to reach. But if it is your very nature, then this very moment you can realize it - there is no need even to wait for a single moment. But the teacher could not say that, because he himself had not realized buddhahood. He had been teaching Buddhist scriptures, and not a single student had ever said, "This sutra is contradictory."
Teachers are many. Just to graduate into a certain branch of knowledge is not anything unique or special. But to find a master is really arduous, in that they both speak the same language - the teacher, the master. And sometimes it may be that the teacher speaks more clearly, because he is not worried about his own experience. The master speaks hesitantly, because he knows whatever he is saying is not perfectly appropriate, does not express the experience itself ... that it is a little way off.
The teacher can speak with full confidence because he knows nothing. The master either remains silent or, if he speaks, he speaks with a great responsibility, knowing that he is going to make statements which appear to be contradictory, but which are not.
But every teacher wants to be known as a master. For the seeker this creates a problem. Myozen also proclaimed himself a master, but time proved that he was not a master.
He changed his plan to go back to Japan and went again to the same monastery where he had been.
The old master, who was just a teacher, was dead, and he had been succeeded by Ju-ching - a man who had soared high and touched the peaks of consciousness, who had dived deep and touched the depths of his being, who had moved vertically upwards and downwards, who had traveled through all his conscious territory. This man Ju-ching proved to be a man who answered doubts, settled them, because Dogen was still carrying the same question: that if buddhahood is your nature, then why is any discipline needed?
It was Ju-ching who said, "No discipline is needed. No discipline, nowhere to go, no way to be traveled ... just be, silent, settled, at the very center of your being, and you are a buddha. You are missing it because you are looking and trying everywhere else except within you. You will never
find your buddhahood by changing this monastery for another monastery, this master for another master. Go in!"
Ju-ching is known as one of the finest masters, a very fine sword that cuts things immediately.
His presence, his fragrance, his grace ... Dogen remained with him, never asking a question, just drinking the very presence of the master, the very atmosphere, the very climate - getting drowned.
And a moment always comes ... An ancient Tibetan proverb says, "If the disciple is ready, the master appears." The whole question is of the disciple being ready. But the disciple can be ready only if he comes across a man of consciousness - not a man only of words, but a man of the experience - who has been to the highest peaks, to the lowest depths. And just being close to him one can feel the vibe, the coolness.
He radiates the truth; and if you are ready, suddenly something clicks. All doubts disappear, you know you have found the master. Now there is nothing to be asked. Whatever is needed, the master will give it. In fact, it is only because of the poverty of language that we say, "The master will give it."
The truth is, when you are ready it simply showers on you - the master cannot even prevent it. The master is already radiating, just the doors of your being are closed. So those vibrations, and they are simply vibrations, return back. If the doors are open, nothing is said and everything is understood.
When Dogen became a master in his own right, when Ju-ching declared to him, "Now, no more play the role of being a disciple," at that moment he hit Dogen and said, "You have come to understand; now be compassionate on the blind humanity. Now don't go on sitting by my side. You are a buddha.
Just because you were wandering here and there, you could not understand. Then sitting by my side, silently ... I have not given you anything. You have simply become centered, and in this centering is the inner revolution."
Now these are tremendously valuable statements. He is saying, "Don't ask about the way - there is no way."
TO STUDY THE WAY IS TO STUDY THE SELF. The way leads away, and the further you go in search, the more you are lost. Drop all going and remain at home, just doing nothing. As Basho has said:
And Basho was just sitting there, so he wrote a small poem, sitting silently, doing nothing:
A frog jumps in the ancient pond.
A little sound and then great silence.
We are little sounds in a great silence. Between us and the universe there is not much more difference than between a sound and silence.
In every temple in the East we have used different kinds of bells. Even today they are used without any understanding. The reason is to give you a message - you ring the bell, a sound is created from nowhere. It echoes in the empty temple, it re-echoes, and every echo becomes more silent, more silent, and finally it disappears. Our existence is nothing but a sound in an immense ocean of silence.
Don't bother about the way, just study yourself.
Who is going to study the self? The one who is going to study the self has already dropped the self.
The one who is studying the self is the witness - your real self.
Then it does not matter in what situation you are - any situation will make you enlightened. People have become enlightened in every kind of situation you can imagine. The question is, if the self is dropped - then you may be chopping wood or carrying water from the well, it does not matter.
The moment there is no self - only a witnessing, a silent watchfulness - you are enlightened by all things.
To be enlightened simply means: neither I exist nor you exist. What exists is something transcendental to I and thou, something more, something bigger and higher.
In such a small passage he has condensed so much. Each sentence could have become a scripture.
Once you have become enlightened, it is not that every day you have to remember that you are enlightened; that every morning, shaving before the mirror, you have to remember that you are enlightened; or going to the market, you have to remember not to behave against enlightenment.
Once you have become enlightened your every act is automatically of awareness, of consciousness.
Soon you forget all about enlightenment because it has become your very body, your very bones, your very blood, your marrow - it has become your very being. Now there is no need to remember it.
There have been masters who have forgotten completely that they are enlightened because there is no need to remember it. Their masters have hit them on their heads. The Zen stick came into existence for very certain purposes. One of the purposes was that somebody who has become enlightened and is still sitting silently has to be hit to be made aware, "Now go away! Get on! Pick up your rented bicycle! What are you doing here?"
Enlightenment does not happen twice - once is enough. The master hits as a reward, to remind you, "Now there is no need to be near me."
There are beautiful stories ...
Mahakashyapa became enlightened, and he would not even come near Buddha. He used to sit far away, under a tree; for years he had been meditating there. He became enlightened ... now he was afraid to come close to Buddha because he would recognize. Buddha himself had to walk towards Mahakashyapa and say, "Mahakashyapa, don't try to deceive me. Now there is no need to sit under this tree. Get on and move! There are millions of people who are still groping in darkness, and you are sitting here enlightened. Take this fire of your enlightenment and make as many people aflame as possible."
Mahakashyapa had tears in his eyes. He said, "I have been hiding, who told you? I know that now this has happened a difficulty ... I am enlightened, and I cannot go near to you. I want to touch your feet, but I touch your feet, make the gesture of touching your feet, just from far away under the tree.
Because I know, once one is enlightened he will be sent away."
Another disciple of Gautam Buddha, Sariputta, made it a condition. When he took initiation he was already a very famous scholar of his time.
He made it a condition, "If by chance I become enlightened, please don't send me away. I want to remain always by your side. If enlightenment means that I will have to go away, I will not become enlightened, so it is up to you."
Buddha said, "Don't be worried. First become enlightened, then we will see."
He said, "No, I want it as a promise. Enlightenment is certain by your side. And if you don't give me a promise, you will be the barrier to my enlightenment."
Buddha said, "You are putting me into difficulty. If everybody starts saying, 'Don't send us away," how I am going to manage?" - already ten thousand sannyasins were moving with him from one village to another village.
He said, "Sariputta, you are such a great scholar, you should understand. Because enlightenment is not only enlightenment, it is also a great responsibility. You have come to realize the ultimate peace, the joy, the blissfulness." Now it is your responsibility to share it, go as far away as possible. Now there is no point in sitting by the side of the master.
I have explained to you what transmission is: it is not through words, it is through the presence. It is through being close, in trust, in love, that something jumps from the master's inner being and makes you aflame. It is a quantum leap of consciousness. It is almost like two candles: one is lit, another is unlit. If you bring both the candles closer, there will come a moment when the flame of the lit candle will take a jump - you can see the jump - and the unlit candle also becomes lit. And the lit candle does not lose anything. The unlit candle was carrying the possibility, the potentiality; it just needed an opportunity.
The master is the opportunity.
Everybody is a buddha, either awake or asleep. Only this small distinction exists; otherwise there is no lower or higher. There is nothing wrong in being a sleeping buddha - it is your choice. A little more sleep is not going to harm anybody - just don't snore, because that will create a disturbance in other people's sleep.
A Catholic priest was in great difficulty. An old man, the richest man of his congregation, used to sit in front of him, and he used to come with his small grandchild. And the old man, as the sermon would start, would start snoring. It was such a disturbance to the priest, but the man was rich and he was donating so much to the church that he could not be interfered with. But somehow it had to be stopped; otherwise sooner or later everybody would be sleeping, snoring, and he would be preaching to them. This disease had to be stopped.
He tried to find a way. He pulled the little child aside when they were leaving and asked him, "Can you do something, for God's sake?"
He said, "I never do anything without money. I don't know God or God's sake - just money." A real businessman's son.
The Catholic priest said, "Okay. I will give you a quarter dollar if you keep the old man awake.
Whenever he snores wake him up - just hit him with your knee."
He said, "In advance, because I don't do anything without the money in advance. And if the old man comes to know, there is going to be trouble. So better give me the advance first, I am taking a risky job." The priest had to give him a quarter dollar.
The next Sunday morning, when the old man started snoring, the little boy hit him again and again to wake him up. The old man said, "What has happened to you? You used to sit silently. You have been coming with me always."
He said, "It is a business matter."
The old man said, "What do you mean?"
He said, "I am getting a quarter dollar to keep you awake."
The old man said, "That's simple - I will give you half a dollar to let me sleep."
He said, "Okay - in advance."
The old man gave him half a dollar and the boy stopped waking him up. The preacher made many signs to the boy, "Just do something!" But the boy closed his eyes, as if he was in great meditation.
After the church, the priest caught hold of the boy saying, "You are very cunning. You took the money in advance, and for half of the sermon you were doing perfectly well. Then why did you start behaving in such a way - as if you were meditating? For years I have been seeing you; you have never closed your eyes."
He said, "You don't understand: business is business."
The priest said, "What do you mean?"
He said, "The old man has given me half a dollar. Naturally, I had to stop. Now, if you are ready for one dollar next Sunday ... But it is always a risk; the old man may give me two dollars."
The priest thought, "This is a difficult thing for a poor priest. The rise of the price will go on, because that old man is rich, he can give anything."
He thought, "It is better to talk to the old man." He said to him, "I don't object to your sleep because sleep is not - according to the holy scriptures - a sin. You can sleep. But snoring ... that too is not sin according to any holy scripture, but it interferes with other sleepers. And to interfere in somebody else's life is certainly immoral. There are many others who are sleeping, I know. But who comes to the church? People who are utterly tired come to the church to have at least a good morning sleep. You are disturbing them. And this boy is going to prove a great businessman. He has already managed ... he asked for payment in advance."
The old man said, "There is no point in getting into competition because, whatever price has to be given, I will give. But for God's sake let me sleep - and I am going to snore. It is my birthright."
This much is the difference between your essential buddhahood and your snoring buddhahood. Just give a good shake ...
You will be surprised to know that there used to be two groups of Christians: one was called "Quakers" and the other was called "Shakers." In their church the Quakers quake just to keep themselves awake, and the Shakers shake just to keep themselves awake. I think those two groups, which have almost disappeared, represent the most essential part of any religion. Christianity is poorer because of the decline of those two groups.
It is perfectly right if you can help to wake up your buddha by shaking. What is wrong with it? What are you doing in the Dynamic Meditation? It is just a mix of shaking and quaking.
Soon you will be entering into our every evening's meditation and you will see that nobody ever has disturbed the sleep so much - not only their own, but for miles around nobody can sleep. We are determined to make everybody a buddha.
Maneesha has asked:
They are the same, just different expressions. One can say something positively; one can say the same thing negatively. But they both are saying the same. Remembering the self, the self will disappear. The more you remember, the more you will find it is not there.
Forgetting the self is the same. You are beyond yourself; don't cling to your "I", to your ego, to your personality. Just drop clinging to this cage, move out of the cage, and the whole sky is yours. Open your wings and fly across the sun like an eagle.
In the inner sky, in the inner world, freedom is the highest value - everything else is secondary, even blissfulness, ecstasy. There are thousands of flowers, uncountable, but they all become possible in the climate of freedom.
Before we enter into our meditation, I have to wake up all those who have fallen asleep by now.
Dodoski and Nerdski are sitting in the local jail charged with disturbing the peace and being drunk and disorderly.
That afternoon, Sergeant Crapski takes the boys to a big field to do some civic duty work while they serve their time.
"Okay," says the cop. "Like I told you guys before, you can start digging that trench."
The officer gives a shovel to each of them, points vaguely out at the ten-acre lot, and then walks away.
Nerdski looks around for a while, then turning to Dodoski says, "Dig what trench? I don't see any trench."
... Do any of you see?
Nerdski is out of work so he goes up to Beverly Hills. He goes around from mansion to mansion, offering to do odd jobs. Finally, at one huge estate, Nerdski knocks on the door.
"Got any work you need doing?" he asks.
"What can you do?" asks the owner.
"I'm a really good painter," replies Nerdski.
"Great!" says the man, handing him a can of green paint. "You can go round the back and paint the porch green. It is pretty big, so it will probably take you all day."
But two hours later, Nerdski knocks again at the front door. "I've finished that porch," he tells the owner.
"Wow," says the man. "That was really fast."
"No problem for me," says Nerdski proudly. "I'm a professional."
"Okay," says the man. "Here is your money."
"Thanks," says Nerdski and turns to leave. "By the way," he adds. "That's not a porch, it's a Ferrari!"
Kowalski is on holiday in a small town in the Italian Alps. After a few lonely nights he begins to feel the need for a woman. So he asks the local bartender how to find the ladies of the town.
"We gotta no prostitutes," replies the bartender. "The priest-a would never allow it. But the thing-a you want is-a kept out of sight."
"What have I got to do?" asks Kowalski.
The bartender explains that up in the mountains there are caves. "Go there after dark-a," he says.
"And shout-a 'Yoo-Hoo!'
into the cave. And if the lady calls back, 'Yoo-Hoo,'
you work out-a the price.
If she is busy, you get no answer."
So that night, Kowalski "Yoo-Hoo's" his way from cave to cave, but with no luck. Finally he decides to go back to town to get drunk, but at the bottom of the mountain he finds a cave that he has not seen before.
"Yoo-Hoo, Yoo-Hoo!" he shouts.
"Yoo-Hoo, Yoo-Hoo!" comes back the clear reply.
So Kowalski rushes into the cave - and is knocked flat by a train!
Jimmy is lost in the desert with two friends, Billy and Sammy. They wander around for two days, almost dying of thirst, until they come to a nunnery.
They knock on the door and the Mother Superior answers.
"Water, water, please give us water!" they groan.
"Oh, no," says the nun. "We had a man in here before. If you want to come in here for water, you have to let us cut off your pricks."
The three guys run back out into the desert. But two days later they figure that they will die anyway, so what the hell. They go back to the nunnery and say that they accept the condition.
They are brought in and the head nun takes Billy into another room. There is a short scream and then the nun comes back for Sammy. She takes him into another room and there is another, longer drawn-out, scream. But when she comes back for Jimmy, he is terrified.
"Just a minute!" he cries. "How did you cut their pricks off?"
"Simple," says the nun. "We ask them what their profession is. The first guy is a butcher, so we cut it off with a knife. The second guy is a carpenter, so we sawed it off."
At this point, Jimmy starts laughing hysterically with tears rolling down his cheeks.
"What's so funny?" asks the nun.
"You're gonna have trouble with me," laughs Jimmy. "I work for Kwality Ice Cream!"
Now ... everybody is awake.
Be silent ...
close your eyes ...
Feel as if you are frozen.
The deeper you can, the more you will experience your buddha-nature.
At the deepest point, you are the ultimate reality -
immortal, eternal, with all the blessings that you can ever conceive of.
Don't miss the opportunity.
It is the simplest thing in the world to go in ... because it is your own home.
You need not even knock on the doors.
In fact there are no doors inside.
It is an open space, an open sky.
But to know this open sky is to realize the deathless principle of your existence.
Deeper, deeper, and deeper ...
Drink this life juice to your heart's content.
And remember this peace, this silence, this blissfulness.
Around the day, whatever you are doing, don't forget it.
Like an undercurrent, let it remain there. And slowly, slowly it will change your whole life structure.
To make it more clear - sharply clear, Nivedano ...
You relax ...
let go ...
as if you have died.
One day you will.
This is just a rehearsal.
Leave the body, forget the mind ...
and move as deep as you can, like an arrow ... fast, hitting the very center.
This is the buddha.
(Drumbeat) Come back.
But come back as buddhas, knowing perfectly your eternal being.
Just sit down for a few seconds to recall the memory of the territory that you have traveled, of the center that you have touched.
Let it become your breathing, let it become your heartbeat.
To be a buddha is so simple, you don't have to go anywhere.
You have to just stop going anywhere, and just be within yourself.
Yes, Beloved Master.
Can we celebrate the ten thousand buddhas?
Yes, Beloved Master.