Maneesha, man is by birth a buddha - every man, good or bad, right or wrong, sinner or saint, it does not matter. As far as one's buddhahood is concerned, it remains untouched by what you do, by what is your behavior. Because this is the case, the problem arises that if everybody is a buddha then why this effort and endeavor, this seeking and searching for buddhahood?
This question was asked not only to Dogen, it was also asked to Gautam Buddha himself, who is only one buddha in the long line of buddhas who have passed before him and after him; but perhaps the most prominent, perhaps the most recognized. To satisfy the ordinary questioner Buddha said, "It will come in its own time," just as flowers come in their own time and clouds come in their own time and the sun rises in its own time.
In existence there is a continuity of timing. It is not that today the moon will be a little late or the sun will continue a little longer. There is absolute certainty that everything happens in nature when the right time comes, so the right time simply means the right opportunity, the right climate, the right readiness, receptivity. And then you need not be worried about buddhahood, because as far as buddhahood is concerned you already have it. What is missing is a recognition. You have forgotten your name, that is all that is missing. Perhaps a certain situation is needed in which you can be reminded about your name.
Before I talk about Dogen's sutra I would love to share with you an incident in Edison's life. He was such a prominent scientist, such a great teacher, that nobody ever referred to him by name. His parents died early and he was so involved in his work that he had no friends. All that he had were scientists who were studying under him. Obviously they could not call him by his name, Edison.
They all called him 'Professor'.
Slowly slowly he himself forgot what his name was. If for fifty years nobody uses your name and then suddenly somebody calls you by your name, it is possible you will get a shock. You will feel that somehow you remember this fellow ... a memory, a faraway echo in the mountains. But ordinarily this does not happen because every day you are reminded of your name.
It was a special case with Edison. His parents died early, and he was a genius from his very childhood. He alone was capable of inventing one thousand things which had never existed in the world. You will not be able to find anything around you on which there is not Edison's signature.
In the first world war the ration card was for the first time introduced, and everybody had to go to the office to register. Obviously every office where names were registered was crowded, people were standing in queues. Edison also stood in a queue. When the man standing ahead of him gave all the information and got his ration card and went away, the clerk looking at the list called the name loudly, "Will Mr. Edison come up now?" And Edison looked here and there. He could not remember ... there was a certain memory that he used to know a fellow of the name Edison, but not for fifty years had anybody called him by his name.
A man in the queue recognized that the fellow standing in front was the famous Edison, and he was looking here and there. The man said, "The one you are looking for, you are. Have you forgotten your name, Professor?"
He said, "My God, it is good that you reminded me, otherwise I would have lost my ration card. I was trying hard to remember; the name seems to be familiar, but I could not connect it with myself.
For fifty years people have been calling me 'Professor', 'Doctor', but nobody has ... because I don't have any friends, I don't have my parents."
Buddhahood is nothing but another name of your basic nature, your essential nature. And nobody has ever pointed it out to you. On the contrary, everybody has been sticking names, degrees ...
creating a personality around you, and slowly slowly you start accepting it. If everybody is saying that you are intelligent, very intelligent, you start believing it.
We are all victims of a crowd. One of my professors, S.S. Roy, did not agree with me. He said, "It is impossible to forget one's own name. This story of Edison must be your creation."
I said, "Please give me some time to prove it."
He said, "What can you prove?"
I said, "You just wait." And after two, three days, when things were forgotten, I went to his house, told his wife ... Rajendra Anuragi here knows professor S.S. Roy - he was also a student in the same university at that time. I told his wife, "When Professor Roy wakes up in the morning you just do a little kindness for me."
She said, "Whatever you want ... what do you want?"
I said, "It is very small. You just ask him, 'Why are you looking so pale? Have you been suffering from fever? Could you not sleep well? Is something bothering you? Are you having a headache?"
And whatever he says, just note it down exactly in his own words, and I will collect that note later on.'
She said, "I don't understand what you are doing."
I said, "It is just an experiment. Later on I will explain to you, but right now don't ask more than that."
Then I told his gardener, "When he comes out, you ask him, 'What happened to you? You are looking so sick, and where are you going? Just go in and rest, and I will call the doctor.'"
And the gardener said, "But what is the purpose of all this? He is perfectly healthy!"
I said, "That is not the point. I will explain the whole thing to you later. Whatever he says, keep this card with you, write it down exactly in his own words."
And this I did from his house up to the philosophy department. The postmaster used to live in between, and another professor - I told them, "Just be kind enough to participate in an experiment."
And the final person was the peon of the philosophy department. I told him, "You don't bother, you just ..." - he was a strong and big man - "you just take hold of Professor Roy as he enters, and whether he struggles or not, you lie him down on the sofa."
He said, "What are you saying? I will be kicked out from my service!"
I said, "Nobody can kick you out. I make the guarantee."
But he said, "This is a strange kind of experiment. Is it an experiment on me or on Professor Roy? I have children and a wife and old parents, and I am a poor man. don't disturb my job."
I said, "It is nothing to do with you. You simply do it."
He said, "Okay, if you say so." He knew that I was so much loved by Professor Roy. He said, "If you are saying, I will do it, just because of you."
And I said, "Take this card. Whatever he says, write it down, and I will collect it just within a few minutes."
I followed Roy from his house. As he was moving onwards I started collecting the notes. To the wife he said, "What? I am perfectly healthy. I have slept well. Who said to you that my face is looking pale?"
She said, "There is no need for anybody to say, I can see you are looking pale."
He said, "All nonsense. Just female rubbish!"
But a doubt arose in him. As he was getting ready to go to the university the gardener took his hand and told him, "What are you doing? You cannot even walk rightly, you are wobbly! Just go in and rest. I will go and call the doctor."
And to him he said, "Yes, I think I need some rest. The whole night it seems I have not rested, and a little fever also seems to be there, but it is not too much. At least I can go up to the university, tell the head of the department and come back."
And the postmaster who was his great friend, he looked so much afraid, and said, "No, I will not let you go alone. I'm coming with you."
He said, "I'm really sick. I am feeling very weak. It is very kind of you to offer."
The postmaster said, "You can take my car."
He said, "No, there is no need to take your car, I will manage. But if I need your car I will phone from the office. But I am feeling a kind of trembling, strange. In my whole life I have never felt such a trembling."
All these notes I was collecting. And the peon did a great job. He jumped over professor S.S. Roy and he was struggling and saying, "What are you doing? You idiot!" And he put him down on the sofa, pressed him down, and he said, "You need to be in bed. You are so sick. Do you want to commit suicide?"
Professor S.S. Roy's statement on the peon's note was, "Yes, it was wrong for me to come out. You just phone the postmaster to bring his car to take me back home, and inform the medical officer to come and check me. There seems to be something very wrong. Everybody is able to recognize it."
And then I entered the office where he was resting on the sofa, almost ready to die. I said, "Wait!"
And I told the peon on the way, "don't call anybody, for the car or for the doctor. There is no need. I will take care."
I said, "There is no need to die right now. One day you will have to die, but just take a few minutes' time. You just look at these notes ... what you said to your wife."
He said, "You are a strange student, you would have killed me. Just another two persons more ...
And if they had said, 'You have died,' I would have believed it."
I said, "This is just in answer to our controversy."
If people go on saying something to you again and again you start believing it in spite of yourself.
You may doubt the first time, but when it goes on being said continuously a belief arises in you, and you forget the doubt.
You have been told that you are sinners. You have been told that you are born in sin, and strange arguments have been provided to you why you are born in sin: because Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Now the Christian theologians say that although six thousand years have passed since Adam and Eve were removed by God from their place in the Garden of Eden, because they had disobeyed ... He had told them not to eat from two trees: one tree was the Tree of Knowledge, and the other was the Tree of Eternal Life.
I think Adam and Eve did exactly what anybody with any intelligence would do. These are the two things: wisdom and eternal life - what else do you want? And God is providing you with everything else, that means just chew like the buffalos, sit under trees. And the tree he had prohibited was an apple tree.
In the very fact of God's prohibiting, God dies as love, God dies as compassion. Otherwise, if God were the Father, he would have told the children, "These are the two trees that you should not forget:
wisdom and eternal life." But this was reminded to Eve by the devil. The devil seems to be the first revolutionary in the world. He persuaded Eve.
I looked at this story from many angles. Why did he not persuade Adam? Because even if Adam is persuaded he will be obstructed. If Eve insists on not eating it, poor Adam is after all only the poor husband. Rather than persuading the husband he persuaded the wife. And since that time every advertisement is for the wife. Every church functions because of the support of the woman.
But his argument was right, and he had chosen the right person to persuade. He said, "God has prohibited you. Do you know the reason why? If you eat these two fruits, wisdom will make you enlightened, and eternal life .... And you will be just as powerful and as potent as God himself. And God is jealous of that; he does not want you to become gods. He wants you to remain worshippers - saints, sinners, but never gods. But these two fruits can make you real gods."
Strangely enough the religions which do not believe in God, their ultimate goal is freedom. And the religions that believe in God, their ultimate goal is salvation. A savior will come, you yourself are absolutely helpless. A messiah will come who will save you. They have been waiting for six thousand years, and he does not come. And once in a while if somebody gets insane enough and proclaims, "I am the one you are waiting for," they kill him.
It is a strange humanity. You are waiting for the person and if somebody tries .... It was not only Jesus. Jesus has become more prominent because a great religion arose behind him. There were other people: John the Baptist was killed because he proclaimed not even, "I am the prophet,' but simply, "I am creating the right atmosphere for the prophet to come." He was beheaded. He proclaimed Jesus as the prophet for whom he had been making the way. And Jesus was crucified.
The same has been the behavior all around the world.
Religions don't want you to be intelligent. The fruit of intelligence has been abandoned. If you become wise it is going against God. That's why all religions which believe in order and obedience don't preach meditation. These are very intricate matters. Why does Christianity not preach meditation? Why is there no place in Mohammedanism for meditation? For the simple reason that meditation is really both those trees together. It will bring you enlightenment and it will bring you an absolute, indubitable certainty that you are God, that everything is divine. In your godliness even the smallest grass leaf becomes divine, just as the biggest star. The whole universe becomes just a vibration of divine dance. But you have to feel it first in your heart, and all your so-called religions are driving you away from it: Pray to God!
I have heard about Michelangelo .... He was painting the ceiling of a famous cathedral. It was getting a little dark, and an old woman was praying to God, not knowing at all that above her on the ceiling Michelangelo was doing some painting. And he was getting tired lying on the long ladder.
He listened to what this old woman was saying. She was asking God, "A little money won't be bad.
I need it, because I don't have anybody to support me. You have taken everybody away." She was praying particularly to Mary, Jesus Christ's mother, because being a woman she will understand the troubles of an old woman.
Michelangelo, tired of his work, just wanted to enjoy the moment. He said, "I am listening to you. I am Jesus Christ."
The woman must have been a great woman. She said, "Shut up! I am talking to your mother directly!"
Michelangelo has written, "I could not believe it. I had offered, but she simply refused. She said, 'Shut up!' In the darkness she could not even see."
All these religions are trying to humiliate humanity. Their whole business and exploitation and oppression depend on you, your fear, your greed, your death, your disease. If you start feeling yourself divine and can enjoy not only life but death too, with the same dance, what will be the purpose of the priests? And there are millions of them all over the world, just living like parasites.
They may be Hindu, they may be Mohammedan, they may be Christian, they may belong to any religion, but priesthood is the ancientmost profession of parasites.
If you enter into yourself and find the truth, you will be surprised to see that what was within you was ignored with every effort, so that the exploitation could continue.
Buddha's attitude is that you are a buddha, it is not a question of achieving buddhahood. You are a buddha, all that you need is a mirror to see your face, your original face - a recognition, a remembrance. You have forgotten who you are.
This ignorance is being exploited by the churches, by the temples, by the priests, by the rabbis, by the pundits, by all kinds of theologians. They are creating barriers which are arbitrary, which if you want you can throw off in a single moment. But they have made you so much afraid - not believing in God means you will fall into hell.
I have come upon stories that in the Middle Ages priests used to be so emphatic about the tortures of hell, that you will be burned in an eternal fire; and yet you will not die - that solace they cannot give. You will be pulled out and put in the oven again, this side burned and that side burned ... there are cases on record that many women used to faint just listening to these preachers. The whole idea was so ferocious, that you will never die and always in and out of the oven, a little rest and then back ...
I have heard a story that Morarji Desai died. In a way it would be good. Since the Supreme Court has made him homeless, that would be one way to find a home. And thinking himself a great mahatma, he was convinced that he would reach to heaven, but what he saw was that he was being dragged into hell. He shouted, he tried hard to convince them, "I am the ex-prime minister of India, a great follower of Mahatma Gandhi. The whole day I have been spinning on the wheel. What do you mean? Hell is for sinners, not for mahatmas."
But the devils wouldn't listen. They said, "Be silent. You will be given a choice because you have been a prime minister. This much favor we can do. There are three layers of hell, you can choose the one you want."
Seeing no possibility of escaping, Morarji agreed. They took him to the first section, and what he saw he could not believe: people were being beaten, blood was flowing. Death is impossible in hell, remember. That point you have always to remember: death is impossible, only torture. You cannot commit suicide. In hell that is not possible. You cannot escape, there is no exit.
Seeing that bloody place, people being tortured, beaten, he said, "I would rather like to see the other two before I choose."
In the second place, the Christian oven ... People are being pulled in and out and cooked, and they are still alive! He said, "This is not possible for me. I am a vegetarian. I cannot even look at such a scene."
He was taken to the third. It looked a little better, not very much, but compared to the other two ....
People were standing up to their neck in all kinds of shit, and drinking coffee and tea and Coca-Cola.
Everybody had to choose, whichever he wanted. He said, "This is not good, but what else to do?
Those other two ..." And he was a confirmed urine drinker for sixty years, so it was not very bad. It was good that he was accustomed and had rehearsed well. He had done his homework. He said, "I will choose this."
But he was not aware that it was only a coffee break. Just as he finished his coffee a bell rang and a devil shouted, "Now everybody stand on your head!"
All kinds of fear ... if you don't believe in God. People think it is better to believe rather than to get into trouble. Sardar is thinking to himself about which of the three he would choose. Unfortunately there is no fourth, you have to choose between the three. And they were all nasty.
Man has been told by all religions that he is not what he should be. So try hard to be virtuous, try hard to be austere, try hard and pray continuously - a Mohammedan prays five times a day. And do all kinds of distortions of the body in the name of yoga, which is already a section of hell. The difference is just that here you are doing it on your own, in hell the devils do it for you - distort you, somebody is pulling your leg, somebody is giving you a neck stretch ...
And I know perfectly well what it means because my neck has been stretched. You have to say that it is absolutely okay, just to get them to stop. Otherwise if they go on stretching, soon your head will be off the body! You are suffering and you have to say that you are cured. They have put my body in traction. Traction was used for the first time by Christian missionaries and Christian churches in the Middle Ages for poor women who were declared to be witches. And finally that strategy of traction ....
By chance it happened that somebody was suffering from a bad back when her body was stretched.
For thirty years she had suffered from a bad back, suddenly her back settled down and there was no pain, and she could not believe it. From the church the traction machine has moved to the hospitals.
Here one of my very loving doctors, Dr. Hardikar - his name in English means Dr. Hard - worked on me. He is nice, but the things that he does .... The whole body is pulled, legs are pulled to one side, the head is pulled to the other side. Soon you start feeling that you are going to break up somewhere in between. That's why I say it is absolutely certain that in hell they have very primitive traction mechanisms - you don't die there. And my feeling is that the people who say they are cured are not really cured. It is my own experience. You have to say it, otherwise they are ready to give you more traction. Either you die or you say that you are cured - you don't have any other alternative.
Religion has been living on fear. And it has been creating disciplines like fasting - torture yourself in every possible way. The more you torture, the more God is happy with you. It is a strange argument, why does my being tortured make God happy? Is he a sadist? Is he mad, or what? My fasting makes him happy. I am suffering, I am hungry, my whole body is asking for food, and God is feeling very happy. I don't see any relationship between this and the idea that God is love - what kind of love? - that God is compassion. What kind of compassion? To achieve to him you have to go through all kinds of torture unnecessarily.
And once you have been convinced that God is a difficult goal to achieve ... millions have tortured themselves that way, and not a single one of them has ever reached to any realization of bliss.
Those who have reached are a different kind of people. They don't say God is a goal - God is your nature! Just be natural; and silently, without even making the noise of footsteps, the buddha within you awakens.
Dogen says, quoting Buddha,
You are all its momentary manifestation. Everything in the world is its momentary manifestation.
Somewhere nature has blossomed into a rose, somewhere it has become a bird flying in the sky, somewhere it is a pine tree reaching to the stars, and somewhere it is a human being. These are all momentary manifestations of the same nature.
The word 'buddha' comes from the Sanskrit root buddh. 'Buddh' means awareness. In any form you can become aware. But the human form is the easiest one from which to become aware. If you miss this opportunity you are missing something that you may find only after millions of years of search.
Being a pine tree or a mountain rock - these are all manifestations. But no mountain has become a buddha, and no pine tree in its tremendous beauty has ever become enlightened. No animal, no bird, no tree, no sun, no moon, in all their beauty ... they are manifestations of the same nature, but only man is capable of becoming aware of this self-nature. This double awareness - awareness of awareness - is man's grandeur. It is his treasure.
In the whole existence only man is capable, and if you miss this you don't know what you have missed. You have missed the greatest blissfulness that is possible, the greatest peace and silence and understanding, the greatest fearlessness and freedom.
Buddha's statement is that everything correctly understood is only a momentary manifestation of the same nature. A buddha is a recognition of this innermost life that throbs in everything - in the grass, in the water, in the clouds, in human beings. Wherever there is life, it is God in some form. This is a great declaration.
It has been a long tradition and controversy amongst the followers of Buddha - "What does he mean by the right time?" It can be misunderstood, as Dogen says. It can be misunderstood, that if it is going to happen at the right time then just enjoy your rented bicycle, why waste your time unnecessarily? Find a girlfriend or a boyfriend or any kind of friend, or just go to the movie. Do anything stupid, because at the right time buddhahood will appear - it does not matter, meanwhile, what you are doing.
People have used this statement to do anything they want - gambling, accumulating possessions, being rich, being powerful - because there is no need for them to make any special effort. At the right time the buddha-nature will manifest itself. This is one kind of misunderstanding.
By 'right time' Buddha does not mean that you have to postpone this moment, that when the right time comes .... It never comes. It is always the same time. And it is not something from outside that happens to you, it is something that blossoms within you.
So what is the meaning of 'the right time'? One misunderstanding is that you just go on doing the mundane activities. The other misunderstanding is to bring the right time close by austerities, by fasting, by prayer, by going to the church or to the temple, by standing on your head, by doing all kinds of contortions, by torturing yourself unnecessarily - to bring the right time close. That is another distortion, another misconception of Buddha's statement.
What is the right time? Dogen says,
There is no need, according to this misconception, to go to a master. But the whole misunderstanding is about the right time, what is the right time. Every moment is the right time. Just you need a little courage to risk your knowledgeability, to risk your ego, to put at stake everything that you think is valuable. Search within yourself for the only thing that you can neither borrow from anybody, nor give to anybody. That is your nature. And that nature is always in the present. Hence the present is the right time. Neither yesterday nor tomorrow - today! This very moment you can become a buddha.
The right time is not to come. It has always been here. Dogen says,
In fact it never comes, never goes. It is always here. The ocean remains, the fish is born and one day disappears. Just like a wave - a little more solid, but just like a wave. The sky remains; once in a while it is clouded, but those clouds come and go, leaving the sky unscratched.
Talking about our buddha-nature is talking about our inner, interiormost being, our very sky. Our thoughts are just clouds, they come and go. Our emotions are just smoke ... momentary. Everything is momentary. Our childhood goes, our youth goes, our old age goes, our life itself goes. In all this only one thing remains the same, and that is the present awareness. On this account Dogen is saying that the right time has already been here. You don't have to wait for it.
These are the beautiful contributions to the world of those who are seekers of the mysteries. Even doubts are our nature, so they are nothing to be condemned. If a doubt arises it is a cloud that has come into the sky, but the sky is not going to be scratched by the cloud. The cloud will disappear; as it has arisen it will be gone.
And anyway, whatever happens in the world is part of the universe. It is immensely significant to understand that even doubts are our buddha-nature.
Because if it is a question of coming and going, like seasons ... the rain comes and goes, the winter comes and goes, the spring comes and goes. If buddha-nature is dependent on time, then as it will come it will go. It cannot be dependent on any causality, it cannot be dependent on any time. The fact is it is already there, only you have to be awake enough to recognize it. The right time is this time, this moment! Zen's insistence on this moment is immense. It does not allow any postponement.
It is really saying .... An ancient Zen story: A man was known as a master thief, because he had never been caught in his life, and he had stolen from every palace, from every rich house. In fact the situation had come to such a point that people bragged about it - that the master thief has entered in their house.
This master thief met Rinzai, who looked into his eyes and said, "don't be worried. Whatever you are doing, do it totally, and you are expressing buddha-nature."
But the man said, "You don't know what I am doing."
He said, "don't bother. Whatever you are doing ... I know you - you are a master thief. I am really jealous of you. I am not such a great master as far as meditation is concerned. You are a greater master as far as stealing is concerned. Just do it totally, and you will find your buddhahood in your totality."
There have been butchers who have become masters, and their masters did not prevent them from the profession of butchery because they were so perfect, they were so total in whatever they were doing. This is the only religion in the whole world which allows you everything. Do it totally, with absolute awareness, and all your activities become buddha-activities. There is no need to change what you are doing. If you are painting, then be a painter so deeply that you disappear and only the painting remains. If you are a musician, drown yourself in your music, so that the music remains but you are not. And your buddhahood will manifest in thousands of ways.
This is the only religious approach in the whole world and the whole of man's history that accepts all man's activities without rejecting anything. You can make everything a prayer, everything a meditation, everything your offering to the universe.
A Zen poet:
These are pictorial haikus. Sitting silently, a meditator opens his eyes and sees the raging wind's companion in the sky: the single moon. But the moon does not move, does not waver because of the raging wind. If you can find yourself the center of the cyclone you have found the moon - no raging wind, no thought, no emotion, nothing can disturb it. It is undisturbable.
A haiku by Issa:
Just fragments of experience. Nobody will call them great poetry; they are not of the same category.
They have their own category. What he is saying is, "In silent meditation, I saw ... LOST IN BAMBOO, BUT WHEN MOON LIGHTS - MY HOUSE."
Just a picture ... and one becomes a mirror. This haiku is just a mirror of a house, hidden in the thick grove of bamboos; and the moon comes, and suddenly the house that was hidden in the darkness becomes light.
A haiku by Basho:
Enjoying everything - the moon, the cloud, the monsoon shower - because everything to the meditator becomes so divine that it is an expression and manifestation of the same original source.
Maneesha has asked:
Maneesha, you are right. Nobody can put you wrong! As you are, you are the buddha. It does not matter that you are sitting in a different posture. It does not matter that you are a woman and not a man. It does not matter that you don't walk like Buddha, you don't talk like Buddha. Whatever you do, you cannot do anything that is not a manifestation of buddhahood.
To understand this point is to reach a great height of consciousness. The thief is fulfilling his part, he just has to do it perfectly. And if you are not a buddha - that is just an idea, a cloud that has covered the moon; it will pass away. Clouds don't remain forever.
And I can understand, Maneesha. It will remain difficult until you become enlightened. But every night you become enlightened, and again you forget. What to do with your impossibility, your stubbornness, your insistence that "No, I am not a buddha"? It is up to you. If you insist, that too is a manifestation of buddhahood. That is what Zen is all about - to tell you that whatever you do, just do with full awareness. You are a buddha, you cannot be otherwise. It is impossible not to be a buddha. You can doubt it, you can deny it, but the doubt and the denial are all potentialities of your buddhahood.
No tree denies, no bird denies, no animal doubts. It is only man who has doubts, who cannot accept, "Such a poor creature like me, and a buddha?" He is perfectly ready to worship a buddha. He is perfectly ready to pray before man-made stone statues. But this seems to be too much, to accept the fact that, "I am a buddha."
And I say unto you that it is simply a question of getting tired of not being a buddha - that's how it happened to me. I tried and tried and tried, and then finally I said, "It is better to be a buddha without effort." And since then I have been a buddha. Not for a single moment have I been otherwise. Not for a single moment has any doubt arisen.
It just takes a little courage. Traditionally you have been discouraged, you have been humiliated. All that is needed is to revolt against all humiliation, to revolt against all false ideas imposed upon you, to express your dignity with joy. And to be a buddha is not a comparison, so there is no question of ego. It is not that if Maneesha becomes a buddha, then Chitten will become an ordinary human being sitting by the side of Maneesha, a buddha. Chitten is a buddha from the very beginning. He is a senior buddha! If you become a buddha today, there will be many who have become a buddha days ago. Yesterday a few became, the day before yesterday a few became. There is still time to give recognition to yourself, and express your dignity, and reject all ideas of humiliation and all ideas of destroying your dignity.
My whole effort here is not to train you for being buddhas, but just to give you courage so that you can accept your buddhahood without any fear.
And as the fear disappears, the clouds disappear, and the full moon in the night ....
Maneesha, I will try again today. Let us see whether I can put you right or not. I have been trying for thirty years continuously. I put people right and the moment I am gone they fall apart. In my presence they recognize that they are buddhas. In my absence a doubt arises. Maneesha sitting in her room, "My God, I, a poor girl, and a buddha? I have not renounced a kingdom, I have not done great austerities, I have not tortured myself, I have not disciplined myself."
Just today Shunyo told me that Zareen wanted her to wear a sari. Now the sari fits perfectly well with the Indian woman's curvature. It is very rare for a Western woman to look graceful in a sari - she looks a little weird. I cannot help it, it does not mean that I am denying, just the buddha has gone a little weird. And I had told Shunyo long ago, because once before she had tried a sari, and I had told her, "This is not for you. You are too long for it, and too straight!" On Zareen it fits. In fact, Zareen cannot use a robe. In the commune she had come to see me in a robe, and she looked like a balloon! I could not believe it - what has happened to her?
No Indian woman will look right in a robe, particularly a Zareen-type woman. The sari is a very inventive art on the part of Zareen-type women. It hides all unnecessary growth and keeps them tied together, otherwise they may fall and spread all over the place! And out of love she insisted - she told Shunyo, "It will take only five minutes." And Shunyo was telling me, "It took one hour to put the sari on me." And Zareen afterwards said to me, "She is exaggerating, it takes only five minutes!"
You are a buddha. It takes only five minutes! But you go on insisting every day, again and again asking, "Do you think I am also a buddha?" Or, "Do you think I am still a buddha?" You were a buddha yesterday, you are a buddha today, you will be a buddha tomorrow. Whatever you do, it does not matter. Your buddhahood is your very life.
You can change your clothes, you can change your accents, you can change your behavior, it does not matter. So many manifestations of buddhahood - it is a beautiful variety. If all looked like Buddha, just sitting under every tree, think of the boredom. Wherever you go you meet the same Buddha; wherever you look, under every tree, Buddha is sitting! You would commit suicide - that it is better to die than to live in a city where everybody is behaving like Buddha.
But still I insist that you are a buddha. I am not saying to you that you have to behave like Buddha; you have to be spontaneously yourself. And honestly and totally being yourself is what buddha- nature means.
Before we again enter into our buddha-nature, a little laughter will be alright. Before risking, it is always good to laugh, because you may die when I say die. If you are really total, you will die. Then Nivedano can go on hitting his drum ... you will not come back. But you come back so quickly that I suspect you don't die. You try hard, that I know, and everybody is managing to get in the right comfortable position. That is not allowed. When you are dying, die! That does not mean, "Now what comfortable position ..." Others will take care when you are finished. But you know perfectly well that it is only a rehearsal, the real drama has not started yet, and there is no hurry. Anyway you can die tomorrow.
Zabriski takes Gorgeous Gloria out on a date. They are sitting in a quiet corner of the bar, sipping martinis, when Zabriski leans over and whispers in Gloria's ear, "What would you say if I asked you to marry me?"
"Nothing," replies Gloria. "I can't talk and laugh at the same time!"
It is monsoon in Poona, and Swami Deva Coconut meets Swami Veet Herschel on M.G. Road.
"Hi, Coconut!" says Herschel. "I have been meaning to ask you, can I have back the umbrella that you borrowed from me?"
"Oh, sorry," says Coconut. "I lent it to a friend of mine. Did you want it?"
"Not for myself," replies Herschel. "But the swami I borrowed it from says the owner wants it back!"
A Polack is badly injured in a car crash and he has to have a brain transplant. A team of surgeons put him to sleep, remove his brain, and go into the next room to get a new one. But when they return to the operating room, the Polack is gone.
The police search everywhere for him but without success - he has vanished. The doctors contact the international police and they check throughout the world for a brainless Pole.
Finally, five years later, they find him. He is wearing silly robes and a big hat and is living in the Vatican!
General Brahmachapatti has been in Ruby Hall Clinic for a couple of weeks for a minor operation.
The nurses are fed up with him. He is always complaining about the food and the service, waking up the nurses in the middle of the night, demanding cups of hot chocolate, and so on.
One morning a nurse comes into his room and says, "Good morning, general. Please take down your pyjamas and turn over - I need to take your temperature."
"But nurse," protests the general, "I always have the thermometer in my mouth, not my ass. Why this change?"
"This morning," explains the nurse, "we need a really accurate temperature, so that the lab can make an analysis."
The general grumpily agrees, takes down his pyjamas, turns over, and raises his bum in the air.
"Now, general," says the nurse, making the insertion, "this is a special thermometer and it needs to be left quite a long time to get an accurate result. So don't move until I come back."
In the next few hours many people come into the general's room, but all of them just gasp and leave quickly in embarrassment. Finally, the general's wife comes to visit him.
She walks in and stares at him in amazement, not knowing what to say.
"What is the matter with you, woman?" thunders the general. "Haven't you ever seen someone having their temperature taken before?"
"Yes, darling, I have," stammers his wife, "but not with a banana!"
Now, Nivedano ...
Be silent ...
Close your eyes ...
Feel the body frozen, no movement.
Collect your consciousness inward,
close to the very center.
The deeper you go,
the more you will find the realization,
the recognition of a buddha.
In this silent moment
there are only ten thousand buddhas
Make this experience as deep as possible.
And keep it alive in your ordinary activities
twenty-four hours. Every action
should be a reminder that you are a buddha ...
and your action is a manifestation of your nature.
don't act unnaturally,
don't act artificially, don't be a hypocrite.
Just be natural and you are a buddha.
So gather your consciousness
to crystallize it.
don't be worried what happens afterwards.
The world will continue ... you don't be worried,
As the body is lying dead,
you can enter into yourself more easily.
Unidentified with the body
you can see the open sky inside.
This is your eternity.
This is your reality.
This is it.
All else is commentary.
This experience is the only truth.
Such a beautiful silence ...
Such a blissful evening ...
You are the most fortunate beings
on the earth this moment.
Realize the dignity of it
and the honor of it.
Here my work is not for you to search
for the buddha,
so stop searching ...
and just look within.
He is sitting there inside you.
but not in a hurry.
Somebody may have died.
Just don't disturb the dead.
Those who are still alive,
come back. And sit silently for a few minutes
to remind yourself of the experience
you have passed through.
You are a rare assembly.
It used to be in the past ...
those days were golden,
when there were hundreds of assemblies
like this ...
recognizing their nature
and remembering it
in their actions and manifestations.
That golden world has disappeared.
But at least for you
this moment opens up the whole glory of being.
Yes, Beloved Master.
I have put you right?
Yes, Beloved Master.
Now can we celebrate this great gathering of buddhas?
Yes, Beloved Master.