Small intervals of light
A MONK ASKED CHORO, WHO HAD BEEN A DISCIPLE OF TANKA, "THE BUDDHAS OF THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE TURN THE GREAT WHEEL OF DHARMA IN FLAMES OF FIRE - IS IT CORRECT OR NOT?"
CHORO SAID, LAUGHING, "I HAVE DOUBTS, AFTER ALL."
THE MONK ASKED, "WHY DO YOU DOUBT?"
CHORO SAID, "THE FRAGRANCE OF WILDFLOWERS FILLS THE PATHWAYS, BUT THE HIDDEN BIRDS DON'T KNOW IT IS SPRING. IS THERE ANYONE WHO IS NOT DEFILED BY MYSTIC WONDER?" AFTER A LONG SILENCE, CHORO CONCLUDED, "THIS ONE SPOT COULD NOT BE WASHED AWAY EVEN IF YOU DUMPED THE WATERS OF THE OCEAN ON IT."
First, the questions from sannyasins.
The first question:
THESE ZEN SUTRAS SEEM TO COME FROM A TIME WHEN THERE WERE MANY ENLIGHTENED ONES IN THIS WORLD. WHAT BROKE THE CHAIN OF ENLIGHTENMENT, AND LEFT OUR PLANET WITH A SINGLE PRECIOUS AND UNHIDDEN FLAME OF BUDDHA NATURE?
HOW IS IT WE HAVE EVOLVED INTO SUCH AN UNENLIGHTENED PLANET WHEN WE WERE ONCE BLESSED WITH SO MANY MASTERS?
The question is significant, and many of you may have wondered about it. What happened to human consciousness that it has fallen deep into darkness? Why don't we see so many buddhas?
The reason is very clear: the little man we talked about yesterday destroyed every possibility for enlightenment.
It is not just in one country. Around the world, whenever there was a man of immense consciousness, the masses were against him, the masses were violent.
One Christian was asking me - an old friend - "Do you think Jesus will come again?" I said, "I don't think, I am absolutely certain if he is intelligent, he will not come again. What you did with him last time - that's enough to prevent him from coming back. You have poisoned Socrates, Anaxagoras, you have crucified Jesus, al-Hillaj Mansoor, Sarmad..."
The masses have never been respectful to the living buddha. So many attempts were made on the life of Gautam Buddha, and finally he died from poisoning. This misbehavior of the ordinary, unconscious, but the majority of people, simply prevents.
I have been poisoned, jailed, for no reason at all... fined four hundred thousand dollars, and I don't have a single dollar with me. Twenty-one countries have closed their doors by law, saying that I cannot enter.
Sometimes it seems the politicians are the most stupid people around. They have passed laws in their parliaments that my jet airplane cannot even land and refuel on their airports, because my presence - in my airplane, on the airport - can contaminate and destroy their morality, their religion of two thousand years' standing...!
I have been expelled from Greece - threatened, and under the pressure of the archbishop of Greece, the government had to deport me. The threat was that if I was not deported, all the people who were living with me on the beautiful island of Crete - that place would be dynamited. And fifty persons at least were there with me - all would be burned alive.
The reason? I had not even gone outside the boundary of the house, but the same reason again and again: I would corrupt their morality, I would destroy their religion. Such a fear has prevented people from moving deeper into themselves.
My secretary, Anando, says to me, "You are a bad example for enlightenment. Twenty-one countries are closed for you. One country has poisoned you, jailed you, dragged you into six jails in twelve days without any evidence..."
And they have admitted it now, that there was no direct evidence of any crime, "but we simply wanted the commune to be destroyed."
One wonders why America should be worried about a small commune which was living in a desert. The nearest village was twenty miles away. We were a self-sufficient commune, and slowly transforming the desert into a beautiful oasis. But the orthodox, fundamentalist Christians became worried. The fear was that young people were moving into the commune from their flock.
And just now the Attorney General of Oregon has made the statement: "We had no reason. And we had put five million dollars into research to find some crime against him." They have come to India, they have come to Poona, they have been to Bombay. They have even gone to my birthplace, to my university, to the school, to the college... everywhere to find some hint. But they could not, because there was nothing.
I am the laziest man. I cannot commit a crime; it is too much work. If not doing anything is a crime, then I am certainly a criminal. If just being silent, rejoicing into my own aloneness is a crime, then I am certainly a criminal.
But if you behave with every conscious being in such a murderous way, certainly nobody is going to be interested in the very word 'enlightenment'. It will create fear; you will be in unnecessary danger.
Of course, only these few enlightened people whom you have killed, or tried to kill, have helped humanity to become a little more conscious.
But people have seen how the masses have behaved with Jesus, how the masses have behaved with Sarmad. The masses have created a barrier for anybody interested in his own consciousness.
It has nothing to do with society, it has nothing to do with the crowd. But people are afraid, very much afraid of those who know themselves. They have a certain power, a certain aura and a certain magnetism - a charisma that can take out alive, young people from the traditional imprisonment.
And there are so many prisons: Christianity, and Hinduism, and Mohammedanism, and Jainism, and Buddhism... wherever there is an organized religion, it becomes militant.
Christianity clearly defines itself as a militant religion. Then it becomes a question of growing in numbers - not growing towards heights, but widening the empire. It becomes politics, it is no longer religion. All the so-called religions are just political strategies.
The enlightened man cannot be enslaved - that is the difficulty - and he cannot be imprisoned.
His individuality and his rebellion make the vested interests - the priests and the politicians and the pedagogues... "It is better to finish people like Socrates - they are creating a disturbance in the mind of people."
Every genius who has known something of the inner is bound to be a little difficult to be absorbed; he is going to be an upsetting force. The masses don't want to be disturbed, even though they may be in misery; they are in misery, but they are accustomed to the misery. And anybody who is not miserable looks like a stranger.
The enlightened man is the greatest stranger in the world, he does not seem to belong to anybody.
No organization confines him, no community, no society, no nation. His rebellion is so total that it makes the unconscious crowd antagonistic. Such a man cannot be tolerated alive; he can be worshipped when dead.
You can worship a Buddha when dead. You can worship a Jesus when dead. But not even a single enlightened person has been respected, loved, by the blind and the deaf and the unconscious masses. This has become a barrier. That's why you don't find so many enlightened people.
But if you are ready to take the risk, you are capable of becoming a buddha any moment you decide, because it is not a question of going anywhere, it is simply looking inwards.
The Hindu mythology about the history of consciousness is worth mentioning....
The first age of humanity, the very beginning, is called satyuga, the age of truth. Every man is naturally a buddha, just like a child - no fear, no greed, a perfect balance. To describe the balance, they say that the first age is like a table which has four legs, perfectly balanced.
The second age - one leg falls away. Still there is some balance, but that old certainty is no longer there. Because of the three legs, the second age is called treta; treta means three.
And the third - another leg falls away, man is becoming poorer and poorer. The third age is called dwapar; dwapar means two legs.
And we are in the fourth stage. It is a beautiful symbology: we have lost all balance, we are only standing on one leg. How long can you stand on one leg? And life has become inwardly poorer....
This metaphor of describing ages is not just a metaphor. It certainly has significance and meaning.
It shows that man has become less and less alive, less and less connected with the totality, less and less joyful. Sadness has gathered all around, and the night seems to be unending.
And because everybody is miserable, any new child, a newcomer into the world, thinks such is life, accepts it. Everybody is miserable, everybody is in turmoil, everybody is in anxiety, so perhaps this is the way life is... unless you come across a buddha, and that has become more and more rare, more and more difficult.
When you see a buddha, the first unconscious reaction is to reject him because he offends you.
His very presence is a challenge - "Why is he so happy and peaceful, and why am I in such an anguish? He should live according to everybody else, according to the crowd. Why is he living as an individual in his own right? He should be a sheep, he should not be a shepherd." They cannot tolerate it. Their own best and the highest peaks of consciousness which can make them aware of their potentialities, they destroy.
Yes, they can worship...
Before dying, Buddha said to his disciples, "Don't make my statues. If you want to remember me by something, just remember me by this tree. Plant this tree, this bodhi tree, wherever you want a memorial for me."
For three hundred years, rather than planting trees - this is the unconsciousness of man - people made temples, and made marble trees inside the temple. And finally after five hundred years, they thought, "What is the meaning of a marble tree? Why not make a Buddha?"
And at that time there was neither a photograph nor a painting of Gautam Buddha. Just by chance, Alexander the Great had come to India, and he had a beautiful Greek face. What you see as Buddha's face is really the face of Alexander the Great. Buddha is modeled on him. And it is a well-known fact - because there was nothing else to do, a beautiful face... Buddha died at the age of eighty-four; Alexander the Great was only thirty years of age. That's why all the statues of Buddha look like a thirty-year-old man, they don't show an old man of eighty-four years old, tired.
Now there are more statues of Gautam Buddha than anybody else. In Arabic, even the word 'buddha' has become synonymous with statue. It has taken a little different form; the statue is called the budt. But it is really the name of Buddha, because only his statues were all around the world. They have been discovered far away in Mongolia, in China, in the Caucasus, in Afghanistan.
In fact, his statue became one of the most loved objects for any great sculptor. If you could make a great statue of Buddha, that showed that you were really a creative artist.
Miles of caves have been carved, turned into statues of Buddha. And the same man, while alive, we tried to kill many times. It was just an accident that we did not succeed - just as America has failed in killing me.
Two days ago a sannyasin informed me that a man has been jailed in America for one and a half years. And the charge was that he had advertised in 1984, while I was there, that he was willing to kill anybody if half a million dollars were made available to him. From this advertisement he was caught. And the sannyasin went to the jail to ask the man, "Did you receive any answer to your advertisement?"
He said, "I did, I received it from a government agency. But I am a professional killer, and I know how governments work. They will promise you half a million dollars - and they gave me the whole plan..."
We had a small lake near the entrance of the commune, Krishnamurti Lake. They had given him a plan, knowing that I always went for a drive past Krishnamurti Lake... and that is a silent place; the commune is left behind, and for twenty miles there is nobody.
"So you plant a bomb there which functions from remote control. And you hide - we will tell you where. We will take you there by helicopter so nobody can trace it. And after the car and the person in it have exploded, we will take you away in the helicopter."
But a professional killer knows perfectly well.... He simply refused. He knows that governments do this business, but they never give the money. On the contrary, you perform, and then they give you a shot, so that all evidence is removed. Instead of half a million dollars, you receive death as a reward.
That is a well-known fact all around the world.
Government agencies go on killing people, and they always kill the killer. In that way money is saved, and also the evidence is removed. Knowing this, he refused. But because he had advertised, the court sent him to jail although he had not committed anything.
This new evidence shows the interest of the American government in killing me. This sannyasin is trying to find more and more sources. He wants to write a whole book about the conspiracy to murder me.
If this is the way you behave with people who are peaceful and silent and aware, and who are really indicators of your own potential, then certainly there will be less and less buddhas in the world. Or even if there are buddhas, they will remain silent. To declare is to create antagonism. There are still a few enlightened people around the world, but they don't want to be unnecessarily in trouble.
I have loved trouble from my very childhood. So when it came to enlightenment, I said, "Let it be the last trouble." I am enjoying it every inch.... But it shows you how the unconscious mind has been preventing people from becoming enlightened.
I have not committed any sin, and I have been punished, dragged from jail to jail. It became known later on that the United States Attorney had asked the National Guard to arrest me. But they said, "Without any evidence, without any order from the court, we cannot do it." The U.S. Attorney General, Ed Meese, who has been accused of many crimes and has had to retire in disgrace, had even asked the commander-in-chief of the army.... And the commander-in-chief laughed. He said, "Never in history has an army been sent against a single individual. And not only that, but you don't have any evidence; otherwise why don't you ask a court first to give an arrest warrant?" They had nothing to persuade a court to arrest me.
And when I was arrested, I was arrested by twelve people with loaded guns, and I asked, "Where is the arrest warrant?" They had no arrest warrant. They had only a piece of paper on which a few names were written. I told them, "These are not the names of the people you are arresting. You can see our passports." Six sannyasins were with me - they are here - not a single name was on that paper. Still they would not listen.
And I wondered that America is thought to be a democracy, and here people are being arrested without any arrest warrant from any court, without any reason or rhyme.
And I wondered at my own attorneys, because when they started asking for bail in the court... One of my attorneys was a sannyasin. I told him, "You are starting from the wrong point. First you should ask on what grounds we have been arrested: 'You don't have any arrest warrant, and the paper you have does not have any of the names of the people you are arresting. The question of bail does not arise.'"
But the sannyasin was a young attorney, and he had called the best attorneys he knew. This is how bureaucracy works. He told me, "We will do everything. You simply be silent, because any word from you may cause trouble. Right now they don't have any evidence against you."
I still think it was wrong of my attorneys to start by asking for bail. The first question should have been, "Why have these people been arrested?" The people who arrested me should have been punished. The question about bail should not have arisen. But they started from a wrong question, and discussed bail. The six sannyasins were bailed out - everyone except me.
Even the attorney for the government said after three days of stupid talking - there was nothing in their hands, but finally he said, "I accept that I have not been able to prove any crime."
But the magistrate said - a woman magistrate... For the first time I had a thought that perhaps a woman in power may prove more dangerous than a man. That woman magistrate said, "You have not proved anything, but still I refuse to give him bail. The reason? The reason is that he is an influential man, he has thousands of followers. The maximum bail is only half a million dollars. He can jump bail; there are inexhaustible sources behind him." Not because of any crime, but because of the possibility of my jumping bail, she refused.
But the real reason was to drag me through six jails. A journey of six hours was done in twelve days. Only now do we know from poison experts that they were poisoning me in small doses; that's why it took them twelve days. If that amount of poison is given in one big dose, the person will die immediately. And they were worried that they would be condemned by the people of America, so they did not want me to die in the jail. Slowly giving me poison over a long stretch of twelve days would not kill me inside the prison, but it would have destructive effects for my whole life.
And later on they admitted, "We were not at all interested in making him a martyr, otherwise he would have been another Jesus. Then a Christianity would have followed, and we would have been condemned all around the world."
You misbehave with the enlightened people. Never, not in a single case, have you behaved with love and respect. How can you expect many more people to be enlightened? The whole atmosphere is against enlightenment.
Our effort here is to create buddhas - not one or two but millions, so that they cannot be destroyed so easily. We want to create a wildfire of awareness surrounding the whole earth. Never before has such a great experiment been done. Only individuals have become enlightened, have been tortured by the masses.
I want the world to know that this is not a place where we are going to be satisfied with one enlightened master. Thousands of sannyasins have to become buddhas.
They can prevent me from entering all those twenty-one countries, but they cannot prevent my sannyasins from reaching here. I don't have to go there to "corrupt their morality," I will send my ambassadors, my messengers. My sannyasins can do it, I don't have to do it. Even my sannyasins can destroy their so-called religions; they don't have any depth.
The second question:
LISTENING TO YOU, I UNDERSTAND THAT ALL THOSE BEAUTIFUL ZEN MASTERS JUST HELP US OPEN UP FOR THE BLISS AND ORDINARINESS AROUND THE CORNER.
IT'S EASY HERE, WHERE MIRACLES HAPPEN BEFORE BREAKFAST AND THEN NEVER STOP, BUT HOW TO MAKE IT WORK THE SAME WAY IN EVERYDAY LIFE AND IN SOCIETY?
If it has really happened to you, the question will not arise. If you have imagined it, only then will the question arise.
Here, it is easy to imagine before breakfast that you are enlightened. Here, there are so many enlightened people, so it is very easy. Nobody is against enlightenment, everybody is supportive; it is easy to imagine.
The test, the fire test, will be out there in the society. If your enlightenment disappears, it has never happened. If it has happened, no society, no culture can destroy it. It is such a force, such an eternal life, nobody can even touch it, so don't be worried about society. Just let your enlightenment be a reality, not an imagination.
Once it is a reality you are no more, only enlightenment is - a flame, a fire which cannot be put out, put off. You can be killed, but your enlightenment cannot be killed. You can be crucified and poisoned, but your enlightenment remains a witness even on the cross.
And when there are thousands of enlightened people, the society will not have the courage. Where are you going to have so many crosses? If enlightenment becomes a great phenomenon around the earth, then no enlightened man or master is in danger. He can have his life unhindered, unhampered, uncrippled by the society.
The society could manage to kill Socrates, because Socrates was alone.
The society could crucify Jesus because he was alone.
I am not teaching any cult here, any creed. I want you to taste the very life source. Then nobody can take it away.
The third question:
THE OTHER NIGHT YOU PIERCED THE ONION TO THE CORE; THEN NEW PROTECTIVE LAYERS SPRANG UP.
IT SEEMS ONE STEP FORWARD IS FOLLOWED BY TWO STEPS BACKWARDS; A MOMENT'S LIGHT MAKES THE ENSUING DARKNESS DEEPEN.
IS THIS PART OF THE PROCESS?
It is natural. You have remained with layers of personality and individuality for so long that when you drop one layer, you start feeling tense and worried - "What is going to happen?" You feel as if you are standing naked, and somebody has taken away your clothes. You immediately run and find some other clothes, some other layer of personality to cover yourself. You have always remained hidden. It is just an old habit; it will disappear.
Many times you will put the personality back, but soon you will start seeing that this personality cannot be your very existence, because sometimes you can put it off and sometimes you can put it on. It is something separate from you. And as this experience of separation deepens, you will not put any layers upon your hidden splendor.
It is not part of the process, it is part of your habitual conditioning.
It reminds me of Little Albert who reached school late as always. But today he had a perfect excuse; he said to the teacher, "It is raining, and it was very difficult. I took one step forward and I slipped two steps backwards."
The teacher said, "Okay, but then how did you manage to reach here?"
He said, "I simply started going towards home - one step forward, two step backwards... Finally, I managed to get here, but that's why I am late."
Don't find excuses; it is not part of the process. That will be an excuse, and you will feel consoled; it is just your old habit, old addiction. It takes a little time, but once you have tasted a little bit of Zen, the process has started transforming you.
It may take a little time, but certainly and surely it is going to destroy all your layers and reveal to you the reality where you are not, but the whole existence is. Only in the whole can you rejoice.
Separation is a false idea; you are not separate. And this separation creates all kinds of anxiety, tension, but you go on protecting yourself. But how long are you going to do it?
I always hope, even against hope, that one day you will get tired and you will drop this old garbage, and the fresh flame of joy, of bliss, of benediction will arise in you. It is already there, just the old garbage prevents you from seeing it.
A MONK ASKED CHORO, WHO HAD BEEN A DISCIPLE OF TANKA, "THE BUDDHAS OF THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE TURN THE GREAT WHEEL OF DHARMA IN FLAMES OF FIRE - IS IT CORRECT OR NOT?"
CHORO SAID, LAUGHING, "I HAVE DOUBTS, AFTER ALL."
THE MONK ASKED, "WHY DO YOU DOUBT?"
CHORO SAID, "THE FRAGRANCE OF WILDFLOWERS FILLS THE PATHWAYS, BUT THE HIDDEN BIRDS DON'T KNOW IT IS SPRING. IS THERE ANYONE WHO IS NOT DEFILED BY MYSTIC WONDER?" AFTER A LONG SILENCE, CHORO CONCLUDED, "THIS ONE SPOT COULD NOT BE WASHED AWAY EVEN IF YOU DUMPED THE WATERS OF THE OCEANS ON IT."
It is a very beautiful sutra. It shows how humanity goes on missing: it turns symbols into facts, and then it lives in those fictions which have been only symbols. For example, this sutra is said repeatedly by Gautam Buddha: "The awakened one moves the wheel of dharma in flames of fire."
But Choro is right when he says laughing, "I have doubts about it." This man is taking the metaphor as if it were factual - there is no wheel, and there is no fire.
On the contrary, CHORO SAID, "THE FRAGRANCE OF WILDFLOWERS FILLS THE PATHWAYS, BUT THE HIDDEN BIRDS DON'T KNOW IT IS SPRING."
For a buddha it is always spring.
For a buddha even fire becomes cool.
For a buddha even the darkness of the night is a light, because he himself is light; wherever he moves his light surrounds him.
Choro is right when he says, "I have doubts about it - this statement of moving the wheel of dharma in flames of fire." Buddha has used that symbol, but his context has to be remembered.
Just a few minutes ago, I was telling you about the difficulty of enlightenment in a world which is absolutely unconscious. This is the fire. And to move the wheel of birth and death... That is the whole work of the awakened master - to make you aware that you have never been born, and to make you aware that you will never die.
Birth and death are only episodes in an eternal existence.
This wheel of birth and death - you have to jump out of it. And certainly, because of the unconsciousness of the people, you will have to face fire. But it is only symbolic.
Inside, you will find the fragrance of wildflowers.
Inside, you will find for the first time, the eternal juices of life.
Inside, you will find that the spring has come, and a spring that is not going away; it is your very nature.
These roses will go on growing in you. This fragrance will go on becoming more and more deep, more and more mysterious.
Choro is right. He is trying to help the monk not to get caught into a metaphor. The metaphor has its own context and its own meaning. But out of context, one can become worried: if enlightenment is moving a wheel in the flames of fire, then why unnecessarily get into such trouble? What is the point of moving the wheel of life and death? And in fire?
Life is already too much misery. If you take this symbol without understanding its context, it will look like enlightenment is inviting more misery. That's why Choro laughed and he said, "I have doubts."
He is not saying he has doubts about Buddha, he is saying, "I have doubts about your understanding."
As far as Choro is concerned, "THE FRAGRANCE OF WILDFLOWERS FILLS THE PATHWAYS, BUT THE HIDDEN BIRDS DON'T KNOW IT IS SPRING." Only the awakened bird knows that the spring has come - the moment to dance, the moment to rejoice, the moment to experience the eternity of being. Choro has made a very significant statement. "IS THERE ANYONE WHO IS NOT DEFILED BY MYSTIC WONDER?" Only the dead are not defiled by mystic wonder. The more alive you are, the more you see wonders everywhere, all around you. The whole of life is such a mystery and such a blessing. The path is full of roses and no thorns.
AFTER A LONG SILENCE, CHORO CONCLUDED, "THIS ONE SPOT..."
He means by "this one spot," the wonder, the experience of the mysterious.
"THIS ONE SPOT COULD NOT BE WASHED AWAY EVEN IF YOU DUMPED THE WATERS OF THE OCEANS ON IT."
The man of Zen is a man who lives in mysteries. To him everything is mysterious. Nothing is to be taken for granted, everything is a miracle.
Life is a miracle, the songs of the birds are miracles, the flowers with so many colors... This whole existence, if your inner being is awake, becomes an unending series of mysteries.
IN THE THIN LIGHT AFTER SUNSET,
HE CLIMBS TO THE TEMPLE
AT THE SUMMIT.
In the East, two times have been thought to be mysterious, and when you are closer to the mystery of existence than any other time. In the early morning when the sun has not risen and the last star has disappeared - that light is cool because the sun is not present and the night is gone. That small interval is called in India, sandhya. It exactly means interval. In that space, meditation is easier.
And the same happens again at sunset. When the sun is setting and the night has not come yet, that interval again is a good moment to meditate. You will be surprised to know that because of these sandhyas, intervals, in India, prayer has been given the name sandhya.
My own feeling is that when the night is gone, your life is refreshed. When the sun has not risen, existence is more relaxed around you, the affairs of the day have not started yet. Sitting silently in this interval, you can enter into yourself more easily than at any other time. Hence, morning and evening have become traditionally times for prayer.
IN THE THIN LIGHT AFTER SUNSET,
HE CLIMBS TO THE TEMPLE
AT THE SUMMIT.
In the thin light when the sun is no more, his awareness reaches to the highest summit of the temple.
But that does not mean that you cannot meditate at any other time. It is just in India that these two moments have been thought to be very available - existence is closer to you, just a little look inwards...
But there are other mystics, for example, the Sufis, who have found the middle of the night to be the most vulnerable point to enter into the mysterious. They are also right.
In the middle of the night when everybody is asleep, when even trees are asleep and birds are asleep, and the whole world is silent, you can wake up and just sit in that silence. You will find it easier to enter into yourself.
But if you know the method of how to enter into yourself, you can enter at any moment. Even in the marketplace, doing your ordinary work, you can remain meditative. There is no need to choose particular moments. This moment is as capable of revealing the reality to you as any other moment.
IN HER BOOK, 'THE WORLD OF ZEN,' NANCY WILSON ROSS SAYS OF ZEN - IN PARTICULAR, WHEN WORKING ON A KOAN - "AGAIN AND AGAIN IT IS EMPHASIZED THAT ONE CANNOT TAKE HOLD OF THE TRUTH MERELY BY ABANDONING THE FALSE."
ISN'T TRUTH WHAT IS LEFT WHEN THE FALSE IS RECOGNIZED FOR WHAT IT IS? OR IS THERE MORE TO IT?
Maneesha, Nancy Wilson Ross in her book, THE WORLD OF ZEN, has come very close to the understanding of something which is beyond the mind. But whatever she is saying is only one side of the coin. About koans she is saying, "Again and again it is emphasized that one cannot take hold of the truth merely by abandoning the false."
The problem for any intellectual is that he cannot see beyond logic. The emphasis that she is reporting is there: one cannot attain to truth just by abandoning the false. In fact, in your very abandoning it you have accepted its reality. The false has not to be abandoned; the false has just to be seen that it is false, and it disappears.
Can you abandon your shadow? Run as fast as you can, and the shadow will run faster and faster with you. You don't have to run away from the shadow, you just have to see that it is a shadow, there is no need to run away. All those who have been renouncing the world are running away from shadows, and shadows always follow you. Shadows cannot be abandoned, they can only be recognized as shadows, and what remains is the truth.
So one cannot hold the truth merely by abandoning the false. Perhaps Nancy Ross does not know any actual experience, otherwise, she would have said that the moment you abandon anything false you are giving recognition to it. Every renouncement is a recognition, is giving reality to the false.
You don't have to run away from the false.
You have just to see the false and the false falls away, and what remains is the truth.
So as far as abandoning is concerned, Nancy Ross's statement is right - you cannot abandon the false. But she does not understand why the Zen masters go on saying it. They want you to understand the false as false, not to abandon it. Just the recognition of something as false, and you are free of it. You never had it, you were just imagining it.
That's why all kinds of therapies work - even homeopathy. It has been surveyed and found that it works in almost seventy percent of cases. Only in thirty percent of cases does it fail. The reason is that seventy percent of your sickness is just false; it does not need any real medicine, it needs only sugar pills. Homeopathy works, naturopathy works, ayurveda works... any kind of thing on those cases which are false. Your so-called miracle people are working only on the false. They can remove the false, because in the very first place it was not there.
I used to have a friend, a doctor of homeopathy, and he always discussed things with me. He was a homeopathy freak. But the poor fellow one day had to enter an allopathic hospital.
I went to see him. I said, "What happened? What happened to homeopathy?"
He said, "Now I understand. You are right. If a real disease is there, homeopathy cannot work. Now I am suffering from tuberculosis, and I know those sugar pills are just sugar pills."
But there are millions of people who are helped, so there is no harm. All kinds of "pathies" should be allowed, because there are all kinds of imaginary sicknesses. Then any kind of healing will help; just the touching by a man of miracles will help.
Jesus managed miracles, but he could not do anything when he was crucified. He was supposedly the very son of God, and even God could not do anything. And he had been making dead people come to life... but I think the whole thing was a drama. Lazarus must not have died; it must have been a strategy. He must have been lying down in the cave pretending to be dead, and Jesus called to him, "Lazarus!" - and he immediately came out of the cave. But it happened only once, he could not manage...
If a man can call the dead back to life, he should not be so miserly. And Lazarus was an old friend, so it looks like a well-managed miracle.
Christians go on saying that he touched the eyes of blind people and they started seeing immediately. Either these miracles are simply invented by the disciples... because the Bible was compiled three hundred years after, so there was not a single witness.
You will be surprised to know that the Roman emperor, Constantine, called a council after the crucifixion of Jesus - three hundred years after - and in the council, by voting, it was decided that he was divine. By voting...! After three hundred years, and under the compulsion of Constantine!
He was the president of the council, and he wanted to declare himself a prophet. And he did both - he declared, "Jesus is a prophet, but he is a failure; I am a prophet who is a success." And the council accepted it.
Rome became the capital of Christianity under Constantine. But they had to accept Constantine - at least for a few days while he was alive - as the real prophet. Later on, they forgot about him, but he is the man who compiled... there were many gospels. He chose a few and rejected others.
There is no reason why he chose a few and rejected others, and there is every possibility that all the miracles were invented under Constantine to create the great figure of Jesus Christ.
If he was able to cure sicknesses, and to bring dead people to life, then you cannot blame the masses who were asking him continuously, shouting, when he was on the cross, "Now do some miracle!"
He used to say, "God will come immediately to save me." But nobody came - nobody is there. He looked up in the sky - not even an angel, not even a single white cloud, the sky remained empty.
And in deep frustration he shouted, "Father, have you forsaken me?" But he had never adopted him in the first place. It was just a bogus, hocus-pocus, holy ghost.
The false has to be known only as false. You don't have to abandon it. Your abandoning shows that you have not understood its falseness. The very understanding of the false is the emergence of the truth.
Nancy Wilson Ross is one of those intellectuals who has been trying to introduce Zen to the West.
But it is not their experience. They are not themselves buddhas; they are just reporters. Hence, whatever they report - it may come very close to truth, but it cannot be the truth. Some mistake somewhere is bound to happen, because it is not their own experience.
Maneesha, there is only the false to see, and the truth reveals itself; there is nothing more. You live in unconsciousness, then the false appears as if it were true. When you wake up, the false disappears just like any dream.
Now it is time for Sardar Gurudayal Singh.
One evening, Basil and Babina Butt are making love in their bedroom when the door opens, and in walks their six-year-old son, Billy.
Basil freezes in midair in his missionary position. He turns and sees little Billy dressed up in full cowboy gear - hat, boots with spurs, six-shooter pistol, a big whip, and everything.
"What is going on, Billy?" grunts Basil Butt. "What are you doing here dressed like that?"
"Hey, Dad," shouts Billy, excitedly, "can I ride on your back like a bucking bull, while you screw Mom?"
Basil is shocked, but is beyond the point of no return, so he asks Babina. "Yes! Yes!" gasps Babina.
"Quick! Climb on, Billy! And Basil, let's get going!"
So the love making increases in intensity, and little Billy is getting bounced around like a bullrider at a Wild West show.
"Yaa-Hoo!" shouts Billy, digging his spurs into his dad's ass. "Ride 'em, cowboy!"
All this drives Basil into a mad, passionate frenzy, and Bambina starts moaning and making all kinds of animal noises.
Billy is whipping his dad, urging him on, until the bucking gets so wild, that Billy throws down his whip, and hangs onto his father's hair for dear life.
At this point, Billy leans down close to his father's ear, and whispers, "Hold on tight, Dad! This is where me and the postman usually get thrown off!"
Big Black Leroy and Big Black Rufus are fighting over Mabel, the beautiful black girl who is new in town. Mabel gets tired of the two guys arguing all the time, so she decides to settle things.
"Listen, you guys!" she snaps. "You two can have a swimming race across the river, and whoever wins can be my man!"
Rufus and Leroy agree to the competition. So they walk across the bridge to the far bank, strip off all their clothes and plunge into the river.
They are swimming as fast as they can towards her, when Mabel decides that she really prefers Leroy and tries to encourage him a little. So she pulls up the edge of her skirt in Leroy's direction.
Leroy slows down.
The next time Leroy looks up, Mabel pulls her skirt up to her waist and exposes her bare contraption.
Immediately, Leroy stops dead in the middle of the river.
"Leroy, sugar!" cries Mabel. "What is the matter?"
"Dammit, Mabel!" shouts Leroy. "Pull your skirt down! My rudder is stuck in the mud!"
At the Humpty Dumpty Elementary School, one afternoon, Miss Tickletit, the teacher, gives the children their final assignment for the day.
"Now, boys and girls," she says sweetly, "I want you to open your notebooks, pick up your pencils, and write a beautiful story beginning with the words: If I had five million dollars..."
All the little kids begin writing feverishly, except for Little Albert who continues to do what he has been doing all afternoon - looking out of the window watching the little girls doing gymnastics.
Miss Tickletit sees Albert, and calls out, "Albert! Everybody else is writing, why don't you do your work?"
"Ah!" replies Albert, lighting up a cigarette. "Work? With five million dollars?"
Close your eyes... and feel your body to be completely frozen.
This is the right moment to enter inwards.
Gather all your energies, your total consciousness, and rush towards the center of your being, which is exactly two inches below the navel inside the body.
Faster and faster, with an urgency as if this is going to be your last moment.
Deeper and deeper.
As you come close to the center of your being, a great silence descends over you, and flowers of peace blossom within your being.
At the very center there is a flame, the fire of your life. It is part of the whole existence.
Symbolically, this flame is called the enlightened consciousness, the buddha; it is your intrinsic nature. You are no more, there is only a pure consciousness, unbounded.
This is a great opportunity to witness.
Witness that you are not the body.
Witness that you are not the mind.
Witness that you are only witnessing, only pure consciousness.
Relax into it....
Drop all your separations. You are one with the whole.
This is the most blissful experience, the greatest ecstasy possible. You are a buddha in this moment.
If you can remain aware and relaxed around the clock, you will know the beauty and the grace of every moment, of every inch of life.
What is possible in this moment is possible in every moment. This is simply to show your potential.
You have to bring all this silence and peace and this awareness to your day-to-day life.
Collect all these experiences: the silence, the bliss, the ecstasy, the divine drunkenness, and persuade the buddha to follow you. He has to come and become your very being.
He has been hiding inside you because you never went in, you never requested him. Make the request, persuade him.
These are the three steps: first, you persuade the inner light, the buddha, to come behind you; the second step, you become a shadow behind the buddha; and the third step, your shadow, recognized as shadow, disappears, and only the presence of the buddha remains.
That is your truth, and that is everybody else's truth. That is the truth of the whole existence.
Existential truth is the Manifesto of Zen.
Now, come back.
Come back, but remembering, watching, silent, graceful.
Sit for a few moments just to remember where you have been, the golden path that you have gone through, the center and the silence of the center, the center and your disappearance in it.
Your witnessing has to become slowly slowly, your very life.
I don't teach any morality. To me, awareness is the only morality, the only ethics, the only religion, because out of awareness you cannot do anything wrong. It is always your unconscious mind which forces you to do wrong things.
As awareness grows, slowly slowly, your whole being becomes luminous, there is no dark spot inside you.
That day you have become a buddha.
That day is the most blessed day of your life.