Is there anything you can say about what is happening to Vimalkirti?
Nothing is happening to Vimalkirti – exactly nothing, because nothing is nirvana. The West has no idea of the beauty of nothingness. The whole Western attitude is extrovert, oriented towards things, oriented towards actions. ‘Nothing’ sound like emptiness – it is not so.
This is one of the greatest discoveries of the East: that nothing is not empty, on the contrary it is just the opposite of emptiness. It is fullness, it is overflowingness.
Break the word ‘nothing’ in two, make it ‘no-thingness’, and then suddenly its meaning changes, the gestalt changes.
Nothing is the goal of sannyas. One has to come to a space where nothing is happening; all happening has disappeared. The doing is gone, the doer is gone, the desire is gone, the goal is gone. One simply is – not even a ripple in the lake of consciousness, no sound.
The Zen people call it ‘the sound of one hand clapping’. Now, one hand clapping cannot create sound; it is soundless sound, the omkar, just silence. But silence is not empty, it is very full. The moment you are absolutely silent, absolutely attuned with nothingness, the whole descends in you, the beyond penetrates you.
But the Western mind has overpowered the whole world: we have become ‘workaholics’. And my whole approach is to help you to become zeros. The zero is the most perfect experience in life; it is the experience of ecstasy.
Vimalkirti is blessed. He was one of those few of my chosen sannyasins who never wavered for a single moment, whose trust has been total the whole time he was here. He never asked a question, he never wrote a letter, he never brought any problem. His trust was such that he became by and by absolutely merged with me. He has one of the rarest hearts; that quality of the heart has disappeared from the world. He is really a prince, really royal, really aristocratic! Aristocracy has nothing to do with birth, it has something to do with the quality of the heart. And I experienced him as one of the rarest, most beautiful souls on the earth. It is not a question at all of asking about him: What is happening?
Of course, one tends to think in the old ways in which one was brought up, and more particularly so about a German!
I have heard:
One German reached heaven and knocked on the doors. St Peter opened a small window and looked out. He asked, ‘How old are you?’ Then he looked in the records and was very puzzled because the German said, ’Seventy.’
He said, ‘This can’t be right. According to your record of working hours you must be at least one hundred and forty-three years old!’
The German continuously works. The German represents the ultimate in Western mind, just as the Indian represents the ultimate in Eastern mind. The Indian is always sitting silently, doing nothing, waiting for the spring to come so that the grass can grow by itself. And it really grows!
Little Joey was sitting outside under a tree when he heard his mother cry out from the house, ‘Joey, what are you doing?’
‘Nothing, Mom,’ he answered.
‘No, really, Joey, what are you doing?’
‘I said I ain’t doing anything.’
‘Don’t lie to me! Tell me what you are doing!’
At this point Joey gave a deep sigh, picked up a stone and tossed it a few feet. ‘I’m throwing rocks!’ He said.
’That’s what I thought you were doing! Now stop it immediately!’
‘Golly!’ Joey said to himself. ‘No one will let ya do just nothin’ anymore!’
Something has to be done… Nobody believes – you will not believe me when I say Vimalkirti is doing nothing, is just being.
The day he had the hemorrhage I was a little worried about him, hence I told my doctor sannyasins to help him remain in the body at least for seven days. He was doing so beautifully and so fine, and then just to end suddenly when the work was incomplete… He was just on the edge – a little push and he would become part of the beyond.
In fact, that’s the reason why I want one of the most modern medical centres to be in the commune. If somebody is just on the verge and can be helped medically to remain in the body for a few more days, then he need not come back to life again.
Many questions have come to me about what I think of living through artificial methods. Now, he is breathing artificially. He would have died the same day – he almost did die. Without these artificial methods he would have already been in another body, he would have entered another womb. But then I will not be available here by the time he comes. Who knows whether he will be able to find a Master or not? – And a crazy Master like me! And once somebody has been so deeply connected with me, no other Master will do. They will look so flat, so dull, so dead!
Hence I wanted him to hang around a little more. Last night he managed: he crossed the boundary from doing to non-doing. That ‘something’ that was still in him dropped. Now he is ready, now we can say goodbye to him, now we can celebrate, now we can give him a send-off.
Give him an ecstatic bon voyage! Let him go with your dance, with your song!
When I went to see him, this is what transpired between me and him. I waited by his side with closed eyes – he was immensely happy. The body is not at all usable anymore… The surgeons, the neurosurgeons and the other doctors were worried; they were asking again and again, enquiring about what I was up to, why I wanted him to be in the body, because there seemed to be no point in it – even if he somehow managed to survive his brain would never be able to function rightly. And I would not like him to be in that state. It is better that he goes.
And they were worried about why I wanted him to go on breathing artificially. Even his heart stopped once in a while and then, artificially, his heart had to be stimulated again. His kidneys began to fail yesterday, his skull has been drilled – there was such a great swelling inside. This was something congenital; it was bound to happen – it was a programme in his body.
But he managed beautifully: before it could happen he used this life for the ultimate flowering. Just a little bit had remained; last night even that disappeared.
So last night when I told him, ‘Vimalkirti, now you can go into the beyond with all my blessings,’ he almost shouted in joy, ‘Farrr out!’ I told him, ‘Not that long!’
And I told him a story…
The crow came up to the frog and said, ‘There is going to be a big party in heaven!’
The frog opened his big mouth and said, ‘Farrr out!’
The crow went on, ‘There will be great food and drinks!’
And the frog replied, ‘Farrr out!’
‘And there will be beautiful women, and the Rolling Stones will be playing!’
The frog opened his mouth even wider and cried, ‘Farrr out!’
Then the crow added, ‘But anyone who has a big mouth won’t be allowed in!’
The frog pursed his lips tightly together and mumbled, ‘Poor alligator! He will be disappointed!’
Arup, Vimalkirti is perfectly beautiful. He will not need to come back again into a body; he is going awakened, he is going in the state of Buddhahood.
So you all have to rejoice, dance and sing and celebrate! You have to learn how to celebrate life and how to celebrate death. Life is really not as great as death can be, but death can be great only if one achieves the fourth state, turiya.
Ordinarily it is difficult to get disidentified from the body and the brain and the heart, but it happened very easily to Vimalkirti. He had to become disidentified because the body was already dead – it has been dead for five days – the brain was already lost, the heart was far away.
This accident is an accident for the people who are on the outside, but for Vimalkirti himself it has proved a blessing in disguise. You cannot get identified with such a body: the kidneys not functioning, the breathing not functioning, the heart not functioning, the brain totally damaged. How can you get identified with such a body? Impossible. Just a little alertness and you will become separate – and that much alertness he had, that much he had grown. So he immediately became aware that ‘I am not the body, I am not the mind, I am not the heart either.’ And when you pass beyond these three, the fourth, turiya, is attained, and that is your real nature. Once it is attained it is never lost.
He used to love my jokes and this will be the last lecture for him, so two jokes for him:
An Italian couple was rushing to the hospital as the wife was about to have a baby. On the way there was a terrible automobile accident and the husband ended up in the hospital in a coma.
When he finally came to he was told he had been in a coma for three months and that his wife was fine and he was the proud father of twins, a boy and a girl.
As soon as he could he left the hospital to be with his family and after being home for a little while he asked his wife the names she had given the children.
The wife replied, ‘Well-a, in keeping with-a Italian-a tradition, I didn’t name them. It’s-a the man’s-a place to name-a the newborn babies, and since you were unconscious the job-a went-a to your brother.’
Hearing this, the husband got very upset, saying, ‘My brother is an idiot-a! He doesn’t know-a anything! So what-a did-a he name them?’
The wife said, ‘He named the girl-a Denise.’
‘Hey,’ the husband said, ‘that’s-a not-a bad! And-a the bambino?’
‘The boy he named Da nephew.’
Abe Einstein owned a company which manufactured nails in Ohio. He was doing so well that he could afford to spend the winter vacationing in Miami. The only problem was that he did not believe that his son, Max, had the good sense to run the business in his absence. Abe’s friend, Moishe, convinced him to take the winter off, pointing out that Ma Abe was having a great time in Miami until he received a copy by post of the magazine, Nails Quarterly. In the magazine was a full-page colour ad for Einstein’s Nails with a picture of Jesus nailed to the cross. The caption read: ‘They Used Einstein’s Nails!’
Abe called Max immediately, ‘Don’t ever say such a thing again!’
Max assured his father that he understood. Abe felt assured until he got the next issue of Nails Quarterly, containing an ad showing Jesus lying on the ground below the cross with the caption: ‘They Didn’t Use Einstein’s Nails!’
These are the ‘three L’s’ of my Philousia: life, love, laughter. Life is only a seed, love is a flower, laughter is fragrance. Just to be born is not enough, one has to learn the art of living; that is the A of meditation. Then one has to learn the art of loving; that is the B of meditation. And then one has to learn the art of laughing; that is the C of meditation. And meditation has only three letters: A,B,C.
So today you will have to give a beautiful send-off to Vimalkirti. Give it with great laughter. Of course, I know you will miss him – even I will miss him. He has become such a part of the commune, so deeply involved with everybody. I will miss him more than you because he was the guard in front of my door, and it was always a joy to come out of the room and see Vimalkirti standing there always smiling. Now it will not be possible again.
But he will be around here in your smiles, in your laughter. He will be here in the flowers, in the sun, in the wind, in the rain, because nothing is ever lost – nobody really dies, one becomes part of eternity.
So even though you will feel tears, let those tears be tears of joy – joy for what he has attained. Don’t think of yourself, that you will be missing him, think of him, that he is fulfilled. And this is how you will learn, because sooner or later many more sannyasins will be going on the journey to the farther shore and you will have to learn to give them beautiful send-offs. Sooner or later I will have to go, and this is how you will also learn to give me a send-off with laughter, dance, song.
My whole approach is of celebration. Religion to me is nothing but the whole spectrum of celebration, the whole rainbow, all the colours of celebration. Make it a great opportunity for yourself, because in celebrating his departure many of you can reach to greater heights, to new dimensions of being, it will be possible. These are the moments which should not be missed; these are the moments which should be used to their fullest capacity.
I am happy with him… and many of you are getting ready in the same way. I am really happy with my people! I don’t think there has ever been a Master who had so many beautiful disciples. Jesus was very poor in that sense – not a single disciple became enlightened. Buddha was the richest in the past, but I am determined to defeat Gautam the Buddha!
Taken form Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap and Zing, Discourse #15
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