Maneesha, in the world of Zen, Bukko is something like George Gurdjieff. When George Gurdjieff for the first time said, "You all don't have souls. Unless you achieve a crystallization of your being, you will live and die just as a signature on the sand; winds will come and you will be forgotten. There will not be left a single trace of you," it shocked the whole spiritual world, because all the religions and all the spiritual traditions at least agree on one thing, that the soul is immortal. You have it whether you know it or not and it can never die.
Death happens to the body, not to the soul. It is simply a separation from the body and a movement into a new body. But the journey of the soul is eternal: body to body, species to species. Finally it achieves its nature, matures, and it is revealed to it that it is the buddha.
That has been a common understanding around the whole world for centuries.
Gurdjieff was alive just fifty years ago. He made a point of it that not everybody has a soul, the soul has to be earned. This was a very new idea, that you have to deserve it.
Ordinarily you are just an empty bottle; inside there is nothing. You have to earn, you have to be worthy, you have to gather your consciousness in such a crystallized way that it can pass through death without dying.
So according to George Gurdjieff, only a few people live eternally, most people are just experimental. They are born, they do all kinds of stupid things, and the final stupidity -- they die. But they don't leave even a trace in the world of eternity. Only very few people, like Gautam Buddha, achieve to the eternal. And because of these few people, the fallacy has come into being that everybody has an eternal being: Buddha achieved it, Mahavira achieved it, Bukko achieved it. Gurdjieff's logic was, because these few have achieved it, people think everybody else has it -- just he has not discovered it.
Gurdjieff was not ready to agree on only discovering, because discovery means it already exists -- you have just to pull back the curtains. Gurdjieff used a word never before used in spiritual experience, and that was 'crystallization'. You have this small life and this small consciousness. You can make it so concentrated, so hard, like a diamond, that it can pass through fire without being burned. But unless you do it, don't hope.
Have you ever observed that coal has the same chemical elements as a diamond? There is no chemical difference between diamonds and coal, but coal has no value. What has happened to the diamond? How has it become the diamond? A piece of coal, for millions of years, under tremendous pressure, becomes crystallized, and because the heat has been tremendous, now no fire can burn it. It is the hardest thing in the world. Crystallization means a coal becoming a diamond.
I am prefacing Bukko's statement with Gurdjieff. Perhaps Gurdjieff was not aware of Bukko at all. He traveled in India, he traveled up to Tibet, but he never went to Japan or China. He gathered from Mohammedan mystics, Hindu mystics and Tibetan mystics many secrets of crystallization. I don't think he even heard the name of Bukko; otherwise he would have found at least one person who agrees with him. Bukko's idea is also the same. The terminology is almost similar but being in a Buddhist world he uses different words. But the sense and the fragrance can be caught by anyone who is acquainted with Gurdjieff.
I would like you to understand Bukko as a predecessor of George Gurdjieff; George Gurdjieff is not alone. And they have a point. I don't agree with either of them but I certainly appreciate their idea -- their idea is a device. To say to you that, "You are just empty, without any soul, unless you earn it," is very necessary for sleeping people, for unconscious people, for their awakening. Even if you are fast asleep and the idea suddenly occurs to you that "I am empty," you will jump out of the bed and try to look: What is the meaning of my life? Who am I?
I have told you Mulla Nasruddin's famous anecdote ... He had come to Kaaba for a great fair that happens every year -- millions of Mohammedans go to the stone of Kaaba to worship it. There was so much crowd; every caravanserai, every hotel, every possible place was completely filled. He went around ... finally he collapsed before a hotel manager.
He said, "I will die. The whole day I have been searching for somewhere to stay and I have not been able to find a place. You have to help me; otherwise my death will be on your head."
The manager said, "It is very difficult. Every room is full, just ... I am a little concerned but I will tell you one thing. One room has two beds, and one bed is unoccupied. The other fellow is fast asleep, so if you can silently go to sleep without disturbing the other fellow -- because it is against the laws of the hotel -- I can allow you. And in the early morning you will have to leave."
He said, "I am absolutely willing." Feeling a great relief, he went into the room. But Mulla was Mulla -- his nature ... He could not resist to say at least good night to the other fellow.
The other fellow was dead. That's why the manager had said, "Silently you go to sleep -- don't disturb the other fellow. He is fast asleep." But when he did not answer good night, Mulla pushed him from this side and that side, and finally tried to open his eyes. And when he saw that that man was dead, he freaked out.
The whole hotel gathered and the manager said, "I was afraid of this -- and you did this.
What was the need for you? You had a bed, you simply should have gone to sleep. What were you doing with that fellow? He is fast asleep."
Mulla said, "Fast asleep? My God, I cannot sleep in this room. He is dead!"
But the manager was a mystic, and he said, "You only think that you are alive. He also thinks he is alive. I have tried the whole day to persuade him that 'You are not alive,' but he does not listen. Now, you think you are alive -- do you have any proof that you are alive?"
Mulla said, "Never in my life has anybody asked for proof of my life, and I don't know whether really I am alive or just fast asleep like that fellow, only speaking in sleep. Many people speak in sleep, have great dialogues."
According to George Gurdjieff, this is your situation. You sleep, you wake up in the morning, you do everything according to a routine, but is there really a soul in you? Do you think you will be able to pass through the funeral pyre? Is there anything in you that you have touched, felt, experienced, that will not be burned?
Perhaps you have never thought about it. You have simply believed the idea of all religions that everybody has a soul, an immortal soul. It is a good idea, that you will be here always, enjoying different ways of being: sometimes a tiger, and sometimes an elephant, and sometimes a man -- but you will be here. That idea has gone so deep in man's mind that he does not feel the necessity to discover it; there is no need.
To create the need Gurdjieff and Bukko both insisted that as you are, you are really empty.
You can be filled with fulfillment and contentment, with tremendous joy and celebration, but you will have to do something.
THE WAY OUT OF LIFE-AND-DEATH IS NOT SOME SPECIAL TECHNIQUE.
To go beyond life-and-death there is no certain technique. The essential thing is to see through to the root of life-and-death. Do you know you have roots? You know perfectly well any tree uprooted is going to die. Roots are hidden underneath the ground. Just because you don't have roots in the ground, because you walk here and there ...
Have you heard about trees in Africa which walk? Not very fast, no traffic rule is needed, but they go on moving towards the sources where more water is available. What will you say -- their roots are their legs? Nothing can exist without roots.
In the same part of Africa where trees move -- sometimes miles from their place -- another kind of tree also exists: the cannibal tree. It has big leaves and a very intoxicating fragrance so that any bird that comes close is bound to have a little desire to experience it. And the flower is so full of juice that it is irresistible. It has not yet been heard of that any bird has renounced and passed beyond the tree; no bird can do that. The bird simply sits on the flower, drinking.
While the bird is drinking the juice, the flower closes and crushes the bird.
Rather than the bird drinking the tree, the tree drinks the bird. And as the bird is completely squeezed out, the flower opens again, throwing the dead body outside, waiting for somebody else. Its flowers are very big -- even a human being can be caught in them -- and very strong, very muscular.
It has eaten a few human beings! Ordinarily it does not happen because those flowers open too high up ... unless some fellow like Mulla Nasruddin climbs the tree and tries to look inside the flower -- what is happening there? But it will eat birds of any kind, any size. Once in a while if some accident happens -- perhaps in a high wind the tree has fallen and a man is passing by ... You cannot go away without having a closer look, because so much fragrance you have never smelt, and it is so intoxicating, alcoholic. When you come close the flower gives you a good hug, but then you cannot get out of the hug. He sucks all your blood and leaves you just as an empty shell. Have you ever thought that you are an empty shell?
But Bukko and Gurdjieff both insist ... although they know everybody has the potentiality of becoming a buddha. But that does not mean that you can simply remain believing it. You have to be awakened, and you cannot be awakened unless you are really shocked. This is their way of shocking people into awakening.
Once you start looking inwards, you will find your roots. Those roots are not in the earth and those roots are not in heaven. Those roots are in your own being, connected with the universal being. Neither can you see your own being, nor can you see the universal being. But once you feel your roots, you have come to a place from where you can take the jump into the universal life.
Then fire does not matter. Then you are beyond ordinary material things. Then no sword can cut you and no fire can burn you. Now there is no life and no death, but a totally new phenomenon which is beyond.
The other ordinary fallacy is that by being spiritual you will overcome death. But you don't understand that you can overcome death only if you overcome life also. They are both part of one coin, two sides; you cannot have a coin which has only one side. The moment you transcend death, in the same moment you transcend life. Then what remains? All that we know is our mundane life ... and then one day people are carrying you towards the burning ghat. We don't know anything at all beyond life-and-death.
Bukko's approach is:
THE WAY OUT OF LIFE-AND-DEATH IS NOT SOME SPECIAL TECHNIQUE; THE ESSENTIAL THING IS TO SEE THROUGH TO THE ROOT OF LIFE-AND-DEATH.
From where this life is arising, from the same place death will arise. To be more accurate, life and death both are walking together. They are two wings, or two legs -- side by side.
Every day you live, every day you die. It is not that after seventy years, one day suddenly you die. It is not possible so suddenly, for no reason -- just lying in your bed and you die. And what have you been doing for seventy years? Seventy years' training of life ends in a single moment? No, the more accurate account is that you start dying the day you are born.
Every day you are living and dying, living and dying; both processes are together. At a certain point in the journey -- seventy years, eighty years, ninety years -- the energy that was carrying you is finished. The roots no longer support you, the roots no longer nourish you; you shrink, you close your eyes and you die.
All the meditations are in fact in the search for the roots from where the life has arisen and to where the life goes back -- to where? If we can find the roots, we can find from where it is getting its nourishment. And to know the universal life as your nourishment, you have gone beyond life-and-death. This is the authentic Zen experience.
THAT ROOT IS NOT SOMETHING THAT FELL FROM HEAVEN OR SPRANG UP FROM EARTH. IT IS AT THE CENTER OF THE FUNCTIONING OF EVERY MAN, LIVING WITH HIS LIFE, DYING WITH HIS DEATH, BECOMING A BUDDHA, MAKING A PATRIARCH.
Whatever you do, at the center of your being is the root that is connecting you with the universal life source.
THESE ARE ALL IN DEPENDENCE OF IT, AND ONE WHO GOES INTO ZEN HAS TO PIERCE AND BREAK THROUGH THIS THING.
WHAT IS CALLED ZEN SITTING IS NOT SOME SORT OF OPERATION TO BE PERFORMED, AND TO TAKE IT SO IS WRONG. IN OUR LINE, IT IS SIMPLY REALIZING WHAT ONE'S OWN TRUE HEART REALLY IS, AND IT IS NECESSARY TO PLEDGE ONESELF TO THE TRUE HEART.
GOING INTO ZEN IS SEEING ONE'S ORIGINAL NATURE, AND THE MAIN THING IS TO MAKE OUT WHAT ONE WAS BEFORE EVEN FATHER OR MOTHER WERE BORN. FOR THIS ONE MUST CONCENTRATE ONE'S FEELING AND PURIFY IT, THEN, ELIMINATING ALL THAT WEIGHS ON ONE'S THOUGHT AND FEELING, ONE MUST GO TO GRASP THE SELF.
WE ARE SAYING THAT THE SELF SEEKS TO GRASP THE SELF, BUT IN FACT IT IS ALREADY THE SELF, SO WHY SHOULD IT GO TO GRASP THE SELF?
IT IS BECAUSE IN THE MASS OF KNOWINGS AND PERCEIVINGS AND JUDGMENTS, THE TRUE SELF IS ALWAYS SO WRAPPED UP IN THE DISTINCTIONS AND EXCLUSIVITIES THAT IT DOES NOT EMERGE TO SHOW ITSELF AS IT IS.
Bukko's way is very special in the lineage of Zen masters. He ends up in the same place but he follows a very different route.
He is saying: first you have to encounter your heart, the very center of your being. And as you encounter it, hold on to it. The holding of your own self is necessary because so many judgments, imaginations, theories, rationalizations have been forced upon you. They drag you away from yourself; otherwise every child is born with a pure self. Just turning his eyes in, he will encounter himself, there is no need to grab. But for you, you are lost in a crowd of many conceptions, many ideas about the self -- what it is, how it functions, whether it is or not.
So the first thing is to find the center of your functionings. One thing is certain, that you are functioning: speaking, talking, walking, breathing. One thing is certain -- you are functioning, so we are not moving from any theoretical point.
That is the contribution of Bukko and Gurdjieff both: they always move from a real point, not a point of belief. The only thing that you know about is that you are a functioning mechanism. Your mind thinks, your heart falls in love, you feel hungry, you drink water when you feel thirsty. All that you know about you is so many functions. These are not theorizations; it is not a question of being a Hindu or being a Mohammedan. When you are thirsty, whoever you are, water is needed to quench the thirst. You cannot say, "I am a Catholic -- how can water quench my thirst if it is quenching the thirst of the Protestant?"
The actual functioning should be your starting point. Then just look inwards to find the center -- from where these functions are arising. From where you become hungry, from where arises the thirst. Where is the point from where the breathing arises? Just choose these functions, any function. For example, Buddha has chosen breathing; it is one of the functions.
From where does it arise? When you breathe, just watch. But breathe fully, because nobody breathes fully.
You will be surprised that our breathing reaches only to thirty percent. Seventy percent of our lungs are full of carbon dioxide; they never breathe. Only when you are running or doing some gymnastics do you start breathing more. To breathe one hundred percent without running, just sitting and taking in the breath, in silence, to its deepest source, you will find the roots not only of breathing, but of hunger, of thirst, of intelligence, of everything.
When I say "Go to the center" that's what I mean. Every day we "go in" in meditation.
People think that just by closing the eyes you are in. If you were just-born, certainly you would be in. But there is so much garbage, so many scriptures and so many scholars standing in between you and your real self that before you go anywhere they will say, "Where are you going? I have the answer. There is no need to torture yourself. Just say, 'I am the immortal self' and you will be back home. Why bother unnecessarily? Aham brahmasmi -- I am the ultimate."
I have asked many Hindu sannyasins, "Have you really experienced it -- aham brahmasmi -- or just read it in a scripture?" If they are alone, without their disciples, they will say, "To be true, we have not reached to that point yet, but someday we will reach. At least we have understood the scripture." It is just scripture. It is not your experience. All religions have managed to turn humanity into parrots.
A bishop used to have a parrot -- a very unique specimen. He used to give the whole Sermon on the Mount. And everybody was surprised about his authority, accuracy. The parrot died and the bishop was very sad. He went to every pet shop, and finally at one shop the man said, "I have the right parrot for you, come within. It is very special." The parrot was very beautiful, and the man described him: "Do you see around one of the legs of the parrot a small thread, and around the other leg another small thread?"
The bishop looked and he said, "Yes."
He said, "If you pull one thread he will immediately give you the Sermon on the Mount."
The bishop said, "That's what I have been looking for. And what about the other leg?"
He said, "If you pull the other leg he will give you a lecture on the Koran. He has been trained for both religions, so anybody can purchase him, either a Mohammedan or a Christian."
The bishop said, "This is even better -- just for a change ..." But the bishop said, "I have an inquiry. If I pull both threads together, what will happen?"
The parrot said, "You idiot! I will fall flat on the ground. What will happen? This way you must have killed your last parrot. I refuse to go with this man."
The owner of the pet shop said, "You have disturbed my parrot -- he is a very intelligent person, and you asked such an unintelligent question. If you pull both legs, obviously he will fall."
All the religions have converted everybody into a parrot. And people are perfectly satisfied with being parrots; it is so easy, so simple. But the experience needs tremendous energy to inquire, a great love to find out who you are, where are your roots.
Our effort here is not to create parrots. That is being done in every church, in every synagogue, in every temple, in every mosque. Our effort is to bring you to your own roots, because from those roots, slowly slowly you can sink deeper into the universal, into the ultimate. There is no other way.
It is not a technique, it is simply grabbing your original roots, from where you are coming.
Naturally you have to dig deep -- and without any fear because nothing can be taken from you.
The day you were born your destiny was decided, that you will die. Between birth and death, whatever you do is of no meaning.
Only one thing can be meaningful: if you can find the roots of birth and death. Then you can sit silently like a buddha, in utter peace, with no fear, in great ecstasy.
SEVENTY-SIX YEARS, UNBORN, UNDYING:
CLOUDS BREAK UP, MOON SAILS ON.
Zen has such a beautiful way of saying things.
SEVENTY-SIX YEARS, UNBORN, UNDYING:
CLOUDS BREAK UP, MOON SAILS ON.
He is giving you the idea how you have been moving. Clouds are there but the moon goes on moving. Once you have got hold of the moon, it does not matter whether clouds are there or not -- they don't leave their marks on the moon.
Issa wrote, on the death of his child:
THIS DEWDROP WORLD -- IT MAY BE A DEWDROP, AND YET ... AND YET ...
He loved his child very much -- the mother had died. He loved his small child and that child also died. On his death he wrote this small haiku ... not saying much, still it says much.
THIS DEWDROP WORLD -- IT MAY BE A DEWDROP.
Agreed, it is a dewdrop -- and particularly this small child.
AND YET ... AND YET ...
Yet a love arises. Yet one feels for it.
Zen is not against the world. On the contrary, it makes your dewdrop love into an oceanic love. It is absolutely for reality -- it is not an escape. It is a tremendous indulgence into the very roots of your being. And the man who knows his roots, only he lives. Others only pretend; others are simply actors acting somebody else's role.
A man who is original is not acting anybody's role, he is himself. And his authority does not come from anybody, it comes from the universe itself.
Question 1 Maneesha has asked:
I AM SERIOUSLY CONCERNED: LAST NIGHT WHEN YOU WERE SPEAKING OF THE SENSES, AS TRADITIONALLY CLASSIFIED, YOU DID NOT MENTION THE EIGHTH SENSE, THE SENSE OF HUMOR. WHAT HAPPENED?
I thought you would understand it without saying. All that we are doing here is practicing the sense of humor -- that's why I left it out of the count. But if you want, it can be counted in, because certainly only man has the sense of humor. No buffalo laughs -- and if you find a buffalo laughing you will run so fast. You will lose all control over yourself if suddenly your horse starts laughing!
The whole world is silent as far as laughter is concerned -- only man laughs. Man can laugh because he has a small consciousness. As the consciousness grows deeper, his humor also becomes deeper. At the ultimate peak, everything becomes a hilarious festival, a carnival.
Something about the sense of humor ...
Captain Kurtski, the pilot, turns on the public address system.
"We will be landing at Moscow airport in three hours' time. We hope you have had a pleasant trip. Thank you for flying Polack Airlines."
Then, forgetting to turn off the loudspeaker, he turns to co-pilot Cliffski.
"Take over, Cliffski," says Kurtski, his voice booming through the plane. "I'm going for a cup of coffee, and then I'm going to take that new stewardess, Gertie, and give her all my hot Polish machinery."
Gertie, the stewardess, hears this in the main cabin of the plane. She dashes towards the cockpit to tell Kurtski to shut up. On the way, she trips and nearly falls over, next to a little old lady.
"Don't be in such a hurry, dearie," says the little old lady. "Let him finish his coffee at least."
Paddy is feeling sad as he orders his tenth beer at the Loony Licker Pub.
"What's wrong, Paddy?" asks Igor, the bartender.
"I lost my dog," sobs Paddy.
"Why don't you put an advertisement in the newspaper?" suggests Igor.
"It is no good," moans Paddy. "My dog can't read."
Old lady Gilda runs the town drugstore with her sister, Maggie. One day, a large stranger comes to town and is feeling very horny. But the town is very quiet, and he cannot find anyone to help him relieve his hormonal harassment. So he decides to go to the pharmacy to get something to take for it. When he walks in he sees old lady Gilda at the counter.
"Excuse me," says the stranger, slightly embarrassed, "but I would like to see the boss."
"Well," says Gilda, "I am the boss."
"Oh," stammers the stranger, "then I would like to see a man clerk."
"Sorry," says Gilda casually, "we ain't got no man clerk. But you can tell me what you want, I won't be embarrassed."
"Okay," says the stranger. "I have got an awful erection. What can you give me for it?"
"Just a minute," says Gilda, and she goes back inside the store.
Five minutes later she returns.
"I have just been talking with my sister, Maggie, who makes up the prescriptions," says Gilda, smiling, "and we decided the best we can give you is the whole store and two hundred dollars."
You get it?
No, even Sardar Gurudayal Singh is silent. Late in the night think of it again. Then you will know what the sense of humor is.
It is training time at Camp Killjoy and the American General, Lard Peckerhead, is hosting a training camp for a group of Russian and Polack soldiers.
General Popov, the Russian officer, and Field Marshal Dogski, the Polack, are discussing courage with General Peckerhead.
"Let me demonstrate real courage," barks the Russian officer. "Climb up that telephone pole," he commands one of his men, "and jump straight down." The soldier obeys immediately, and is carried away by the medical team.
Not to be out-done, the American general yells, "I'll show you courage! Climb that telephone pole and jump down backwards," he screams at his soldier. The man does and is also carried away, broken and battered, by the medical team.
"That's nothing," says Field Marshal Dogski, the Polack. "Watch this. Hey, Klopski!
Climb that telephone pole, jump off, do a double-flip, and land on your head."
The soldier looks at the general, then yells back, "Fuck you, you stupid bastard!"
"You see, gentlemen?" replies Dogski, proudly. "Now, that is courage!"
(Drumbeat) (Gibberish) Nivedano ...
(Drumbeat) Be silent. Close your eyes.
Feel the body to be completely frozen.
Look inwards ... to the very roots of your being.
Deeper ... and deeper, as if you are digging a hole in the earth.
To reach to the roots is to discover the buddha within you, the eternal principal of life. A little more ... a little more ...
Sometimes one returns from only one step away -- if he had taken one step more, he would have found the roots. So until you find the roots go on digging -- they are there.
One thing is absolutely certain, that you have roots in existence. It is only a question of digging deep enough to find them. And you are prepared to reach to the roots and to reach the universal nourishment which is our eternal life.
Only once you have experienced this can you say, aham brahmasmi, I am the divine.
Before this experience you are just an emptiness.
With this experience life becomes a fulfillment, a great benediction.
Now, Nivedano ...
(Drumbeat) Relax ... let go, just be a watcher.
The body is lying there, the mind is lying there ...
You are not the mind, you are not the body, you are just the watcher.
This watcher is another name for your roots. This watcher is the original man, the buddha.
Let it sink into every fiber of your being, drink it deeply. It is the greatest moment in life -- to drink the divine.
What a beautiful evening ... so many drunkards, and such a great silence ... and the rain drops creating a song of their own, the coolness of the wind making your experience richer.
In this moment you are all one consciousness. It is no more a crowd of people, it is just one consciousness, one divine being pervading all of you.
It is just an atmosphere, an ocean in which you all have drowned.
(Drumbeat) Come back ... but come back as a buddha.
Come back slowly, peacefully, gracefully, collecting the experience ...
You have to carry this experience in your day-to-day life. Sit down for a few moments, remembering that you are a buddha. It is no more parrot talk, it is your experience -- you have been to the ocean yourself.
With deep authority sit down as a buddha.
Slowly slowly it becomes your normal, natural heartbeat.
The rains have come to rejoice with you, and to celebrate with you.
Yes, Beloved Master.
Can we celebrate the ten thousand buddhas?
Yes, Beloved Master.