Gautam the Buddha is one of the most unique expressions of human consciousness. It is difficult to conceive of someone going beyond him, but Mahakashyap, his disciple, really did go beyond him.
Gautam Buddha's whole life was a fight against the whole tradition, the orthodoxy. He could not express himself; his energy was more involved in destroying the false so that the truth could be seen clearly.
Mahakashyap had a unique position. He had nothing to destroy - Gautam Buddha had already done that. His whole energy moved into creativity. That is where he transcends Buddha.
Mahakashyap lived mostly in silence with Gautam Buddha; hence he was not a great master. When he became enlightened, he was not articulate. Only those who were ready to understand silence could become his disciples, and certainly such people are very rare.
Mahakashyap could not create a great movement like Gautam Buddha, but in a different way he created a very solid movement of the selected few. Gautam Buddha's work is widespread, but because it is widespread everybody gets a very small quantity of it. Mahakashyap has only a few disciples, who can be named on ten fingers. As far as numbers are concerned, nobody would consider him comparable to Buddha, but because he was a silent master the people who came to him were of a different quality, very receptive.
Buddha's story will make you understand it. He used to say, "There are horses which, unless you whip them, will not move. There are horses to which you simply have to make the noise of a whip - you need not touch their bodies - and they will move. And there are horses which will move simply with the shadow of the whip - and they are the best quality horses." And he used to say that disciples are also of those three kinds.
Mahakashyap got the third kind of disciple, who could see the shadow of the whip and move.
Because it was a silent transfer of energy, not through words, there is no scripture. It was person to person, heart to heart, so there is no record.
In this lineage a few names stand out. Bodhidharma is the greatest... in a few ways reaching higher than Mahakashyap. In other words it can be said that Gautam Buddha created a revolution which culminated in Bodhidharma. If Gautam Buddha is the source, then Bodhidharma is the ultimate flowering. He had all the qualities of Gautam Buddha, all the qualities of Mahakashyap, and a few qualities of his own.
For example, he was the first one in history to be outrageous. Buddha is very cultured; obviously - he is a prince, trained in the manners of the court. He cannot be outrageous. Mahakashyap is a silent master; the question of being outrageous does not arise. Bodhidharma is very outrageous, very straightforward. Whatever he says hits the person almost like a sword. Naturally he also could not transform many people.
People were afraid of him, even emperors were afraid. They wanted to see the man; they had heard so much about him. His ways and methods were unique, and those who had been courageous enough to remain with him changed totally into a new form of humanity. The man suddenly became famous. But side by side, a fear was created in people who wanted to see him, meet him, because nobody knew what he would do, how he would act. He is the most unpredictable master ever.
After Bodhidharma there have been many other patriarchs, but Bodhidharma is the last Indian patriarch of Zen. He crossed the Himalayas and went to China. Asked where he was going, he said, "In search of lions. I cannot work with cowards." And he was right: the country was full of cowardly foxes.
China was still a fresh land, just turned towards Buddhism. Even the Emperor Wu, who must have been at that time the greatest emperor in the world, because he ruled over the whole of China, was waiting with eagerness to meet Bodhidharma.
He had met many humble, meek, beautiful, nice Buddhist monks. He had heard stories about Bodhidharma - stories were coming ahead of him, that he was not a meek person, not a humble person, neither egoistic nor arrogant; that he was a very simple and sincere person, but he did not go in a roundabout way, he went directly to the point. He functioned like a surgeon - even though it hurt, he could remove cancers from people's psyches.
Wu had come to receive him at the border. He presented himself and told Bodhidharma, "I have opened all my treasures for Gautam Buddha. There are thousands of monks, hundreds of monasteries, temples, sculptures, thousands of translators working on every word of Buddha's to translate them into Chinese. What will be my reward?"
Bodhidharma looked at him with his very stern eyes and said, "Reward? - you will fall into the seventh hell."
Wu was crestfallen. He could not believe it; what kind of man was this? Still, he was a man of great patience, and knowing about Bodhidharma, he said, "I have not done anything wrong. Why should I fall into the seventh hell?"
Bodhidharma said, "It is not a question of doing wrong or right; you have done it with a wrong motive - you want a reward. There is a desire to be rewarded; you are still childish. Can't you do something as a reward in itself? If you cannot do something as a reward in itself, forget all about religion.
"If the reward is in the future, the monks who have been telling you that you will reach to the seventh heaven have been befooling you, cheating you; or perhaps they themselves are fools. Religion has nothing to do with the future. Its whole concern is this moment, lived in its totality. And it brings its own reward. If you have really loved Buddha, then whatever you have done, you should have enjoyed. You have already received the reward.
"Asking for a reward simply means that what you have done was not your love, was not your love affair - it was business. And I am shocked that even being an emperor, you are nothing but a businessman. I will not enter into your empire. I had come in search of lions, but if the emperor himself is not a lion, then it is futile."
And he went into the mountains. Before he went to the mountains, Wu asked, "Forgive me, your teaching is so new.... Nobody ever told me that this moment is all, but I can see there is truth in it.
I can see it in your eyes - you are a living proof of it. Don't leave me like this. At least before you go you have to help me to get rid of the ego - because in every scripture Buddha goes on saying, 'Drop the ego.' I have been trying in every possible way, but everything fails."
Bodhidharma said, "I never say to anybody, 'Drop the ego;' I do it myself. You come early - four o'clock in the morning, alone, without your bodyguards, without your sword - to the temple I am staying in and I will finish your ego forever."
The emperor could not sleep, thinking whether to go or not to go: "The man seems to be crazy! How can somebody else destroy your ego? I have never heard of it, and I have been listening to so many mystics. They all say, 'You have to do it yourself, nobody else can do it.' This is the first man... and he seems to be so certain... and the way he looks and the way he talks, also create fear, and he has asked me to come alone - no bodyguards, no sword - at four o'clock, while it is still very dark; 'Come, I will be waiting in the temple, and I will finish it forever.'"
He had been to wars, and he had never worried, but this man was creating great fear in him; he can do anything. He has a great staff in his hand; he might hit him or..."One never knows, because I will be alone. I have never been alone." Many times he decided, "Forget all about it," but he could not sleep. At four o'clock, he had to go: the man had such charisma.
And as he arrived, Bodhidharma said, "So finally you decided to come - and the whole night you wavered."
Wu said, "How do you know?"
Bodhidharma said, "There is no question of knowing. Ego is such a phenomenon that if somebody promises to destroy it, it is going to create a great wavering in you: 'To go to that man or not to go to that man?' But you are courageous, and I am happy. Now sit down and close your eyes. And just try to find the ego, where it is. And the moment you catch hold of it - I am sitting in front of you with my staff - one hit and the ego will be finished."
The Emperor Wu could not understand what to make of it. What was he saying? But there was no other way than to do what he was ordering. So he sat in front of him. For the first time in his life, with closed eyes, he tried to find the ego, knowing that Bodhidharma was sitting there with his staff - a dangerous man.
"And what does he mean that he will give one hit and it is finished? He ill finish me - or the ego?
But now whatever is going to happen is going to happen. It is better to give it a try."
Wu looked all over inside: he could not find any ego anywhere. Ego is just imagination; it is not a reality, something that you can find. And as he was searching for the ego - and so totally, because that madman was sitting in front of him with his staff - thoughts stopped, time stopped. How two hours passed he had no idea, but he felt for the first time such a great silence, such peace.
As the sun was rising, his face was also lit with a new light. Bodhidharma shook him and told him, "It is enough. You have not found it because it is not there. Those who have looked for it have never found it, and those who go on trying to find out how to drop it, how to get rid of it, how to be free of it, remain confined in the same prison, because they never look for it first. Before you start thinking of dropping something you should find out where it is. You cannot drop something which does not exist."
Emperor Wu touched Bodhidharma's feet and said, "I am relieved of a burden that I thought was impossible to get rid of in this life, because those scriptures say it takes lives and lives to get rid of the ego - and you managed to finish it within seconds."
Bodhidharma said, "I have not finished it, it was not there. It has never been there - it was only your belief."
Bodhidharma had his own way. Wu tried hard to persuade him to enter the empire. Bodhidharma said, "You have missed - that chance you have missed; but you can always come to me. I will remain in this temple, and I will remain in the same position, sitting before a wall, facing the wall, and I will turn only when the right person comes to enquire. I am not interested in curiosity-mongers or in philosophers. Only if a real seeker comes, only then will Bodhidharma look at him, otherwise he is finished."
It is said that for nine years he sat facing the wall. And then his successor appeared. He cut off one of his hands, threw it before him and said, "Turn, otherwise I am going to cut off my head too." And Bodhidharma had to turn. You cannot refuse such a man, who in advance has cut off his hand, and is ready to cut off his head if you don't turn.
Bodhidharma said, "Wait! You are the right man - I have been waiting for you." He became his successor, and before leaving China to go back to the Himalayas in his old age.... The Himalayas have been for centuries the place where the awakened ones, the masters, the mystics have loved to die - it is so peaceful.... Before going he called his four chief disciples and asked them, "What is Zen? This is going to be your examination - a single question - because I want to choose my successor."
The man who had cut off one of his hands was also among them. One man said, "Zen is silence, peace, the experience of oneself."
Bodhidharma said, "You have my boots." That's how he was - his way of expression was his own.
The second one said, "Zen is the transformation of consciousness into superconsciousness."
And Bodhidharma said, "You have my flesh."
He turned to the third, and the third said, "Zen is, but can only be experienced, it cannot be explained.
I hope you will forgive me."
Bodhidharma said, "You have my marrow."
He turned to the fourth, and the fourth was the man who had cut off his hand. He didn't say a single word. He simply bowed down, touched the feet of Bodhidharma, and tears of gratitude dropped onto his feet like flowers.
Bodhidharma hugged him and told him, "You have it. Now you will be in my place."
In this way Zen has gone on to many other Chinese mystics, and from China it moved to Japan. It is still alive... the story of a miracle. Twenty-five centuries have not been able to destroy it. With no scriptures, with no temples, with no special commandments, just from one heart to another heart a transmission beyond words.... It is still alive.
When I was arrested in America, on the first day among the many phone calls and telegrams I received, one phone call was from a Zen master in Japan. He had phoned the president, he had phoned the jailer, and he had told the jailer that he would like just a word with me.
He told the jailer, "You have committed one of the greatest crimes of the century, because we teach Zen through his books in our monastery. Although I am an enlightened master, I am not articulate.
Whatever he says I know is right; but the way he says it, only he can say it - I cannot."
The jailer gave the phone to me, and the old man - I don't know him - simply said, "I know that wherever you are, you will be in bliss, so it is pointless to ask you, 'How are you?' I just wanted to convey to you that those who know, are with you; and those who do not know, don't count."
By the evening the phone calls had become so many that they had to put two or three other phone operators on. The telegrams were so many that they had to arrange a few more clerks. And the jailer, in the night, told me, "You have created such a chaos in the jail! In this jail there have been cabinet ministers, candidates for the presidency, but we have never seen such love pouring in from all over the world. You can be certain that no government can harm you - the whole world's eyes are watching. They can harass you, but nobody can harm you - they cannot take the risk."
When that old voice said to me on the phone, "Those who know, are with you, and those who do not know, do not count," all these people - Bodhidharma and Mahakashyap and Gautam Buddha - were whispering in the voice of that old man. He is a living line. He has sent his disciples to India also, and one of his nuns used to come every year to the commune festivals in America.
Zen is still a living current, and it is the only living current. Out of hundreds of schools that have been born in the world, most of them have died; and they died because they became organized religions.
They died because they became more interested in converting people than in transforming people.
They became more interested in the past and in imposing the past on people than in freeing people from the past and opening them up to the future.
Any truth remains alive if it remains open to the future.
The mother is a natural phenomenon, the father is not. The father is a social institution - among the animals there is no father. In nature the father has such a small job to do that he does not become intrinsic to your being, although half of you is the contribution of man, half the contribution of woman.
But man's contribution is half only at the time of insemination - then his is half and the mother's part is half - but as time goes on the mother's half becomes bigger and bigger. Your bones, your blood, your flesh, your marrow - everything is from your mother.
The father was only a trigger. He initiated a process. In the beginning it was difficult without him, but once the process is initiated, he is no longer essential. That's why in animals the institution of fatherhood does not exist. Man has made it an institution. But for centuries man also lived without the father.
In every language of the world, 'uncle' is an older word than 'father'. Because marriage was not settled, it was not certain who the father was. Men and women were free, for thousands of years, so all the men of an age to be one's father were called 'uncle'. One of those uncles must be one's father, but there was no way to know.
It was only with private property that the father came into being. As man started gathering private property, as powerful people started gathering more private property than others, their interest became very much concentrated on ensuring that their property, after their death, went to their own children. So it had to be made absolutely certain that their children really were their children.
That was the beginning of the bondage of woman. All her freedom was destroyed, all her movement was destroyed. She was confined to the home, reduced to a subhuman species - no education, no financial status, no social prestige, no religious equality.
Karl Marx used to think that when communism came and private property was no longer relevant, when property became communal, then marriage would automatically disappear. And it was disappearing. In the early days of the revolution it started disappearing. It was forcibly brought back because suddenly the people who were in power became aware that if there is no family, then the life of the state is not very long.
The family is the basic unit of the state, of the nation. If the family disappears then the next step will be that the state withers away. And Marx had said exactly that: first the family will go, then the state will go, then the nations will go. Then there will be only free human individuals, living in small communes. The children will belong, not to individuals, but to the commune.
But he was not aware of man's lust for power. He was just an economist, a theorist, without any understanding of human psychology; hence he missed a basic point. Now, in the Soviet Union, marriage is stronger than anywhere else. It is surprising: if you want to marry in the Soviet Union, you can marry immediately; but if you want a divorce it will take three to four years. They will create all kinds of hurdles.
Divorce is not favored, for the simple reason that the state does not want to wither away. It is better to preserve the family so that the state can remain in power and the dictatorship can continue.
You saw yourself in the mirror, and suddenly a glimpse of your mother. Every girl is a replica, in many ways, of the mother. She is the extension of the mother; the boy is the extension of the father.
And in the old world, when stability was perfect, it was absolutely certain - the girl behaved exactly like the mother, repeated the same pattern in her life. The boy repeated the father's pattern in his life.
Now things are a little disturbed. Man has come to know many things. One of them is that if you are really an intelligent person you should surpass your mother, your father, the past generation; otherwise you are meaningless. What is the purpose of your being here? Each child should surpass the generation that has given birth to it. Each student should surpass the professors that have given all their knowledge to him. Each disciple should surpass the master.
So when I said that Mahakashyap in a certain way surpasses Gautam Buddha, and that Bodhidharma in a certain way surpasses even Mahakashyap, you should not misunderstand me.
Gautam Buddha will be more than happy that one of his disciples has surpassed him, will be more than blissful that one of his disciple's disciples has surpassed both of them. This should be the longing, the blessing of each master - that his disciples surpass him. That is his success. Things are now in a flexible state.
You watched in the mirror, and suddenly you found your mother's face. Every person will find not only his mother's face, but he can go even further back - his mother's mother, his father's father; he can go further back.
But it happened of its own accord. If you make an effort it will be difficult, because effort makes you tense, and tension becomes a barrier. So if you really want to get into such experiences then hypnosis is the best method. You can simply relax, and somebody can hypnotize you and can take you back.
You can be taken back to your own past life, you can be taken back to your mother's past life. You are connected; you are just a branch of the same tree. Very few people have tried it. People have tried, in the East, to go into their own past lives. But I have made experiments. You can go into your mother's past lives, because you are a branch, but it will be only a psychological experiment, helping you to know that you are like a tree.
We also have our roots - invisible. We are connected continuously with the atmosphere, with the earth, with the moon. More people go mad on the full-moon night. More people become enlightened also on the full-moon night. More people commit suicide on the full-moon night; more people commit murder on the full-moon night.
The full-moon night seems to have tremendous impact on your mind, just as it has on the oceans - because man was born in the ocean, thousands and thousands of years ago - but the impact remains. Even today in your body, eighty percent is ocean water; that eighty percent of water is stirred.
We are continuously connected by breathing, by food, by water - everything that we are taking in.
These are our roots, and we have branches spreading far into the past and also into the future.
As a psychological experiment you can do it. It will not help you much spiritually, but it will be a little help in that it will give you the sense that you are not only a body, a sense that you are not alone, that you are connected with the whole. So in an indirect way it may support your spiritual growth.
But there is no need to go so roundabout when you can go directly.
It is very easy. First, imagination cannot be repeated again and again, but the past life experience will be repeated the same in detail again and again. Second, the imagination will start from A, go to B, then to C, from the beginning to the end. The past life experience will start just in the reverse order - from Z.
First you will die; when you go into the past life, what you will come across first will be your death.
Then you will move as if you are reading a novel from the back, or seeing a film backwards.
Imagination will be direct; it will start from birth and move towards death. The past life will start from death and move backwards to your middle age, to your marriage, to your love, to your childhood, to your birth. And if you can go on, then again the same pattern: first will come death. You are going backwards.
In imagination you are creating it, there is no need to go backwards. So this will be a definitive difference.
Second, imagination will go on changing. Today you will imagine one thing, tomorrow another thing.
Imagination is not a stable thing. But your past life is now a closed chapter. Whatever you do you will always go through the same experiences.
The difference is very clear-cut.
First, don't do anything about it - just watch. Doing will create problems. You will get mixed up by it; your emotions, your sentiments, your thoughts, may get mixed with it. Don't do anything; just remain aloof and watch.
Just by watching it will slowly disappear like smoke disappearing into the sky. You don't have to do anything at all.