Wherever you mind is wandering, internally or externally, at this very place, this.
This mind is the door – this very mind. Wherever it is wandering, whatsoever it is thinking, contemplating, dreaming, this very mind, this very moment, is the door. This is a very revolutionary method because we never think that the ordinary mind is the door. We think that some super-mind – a Buddha, a Jesus – can enter, that they have some superhuman mind. This very mind that you have – this mind which goes on dreaming and imagining relevant or irrelevant thoughts, which is crowded with ugly desires, passions, anger, greed, all that is condemned, which is there beyond your control, pulling you here and there, pushing you from here and there, constantly a madhouse – this very mind, says this sutra, is the door. Wherever your mind is wandering – wherever remember; the object is not relevant – wherever your mind is wandering, internally or externally, at this very place, this.
Many things have to be understood. One, the ordinary mind is not so ordinary as we think. The ordinary mind is not unrelated to the universal mind: it is part of it. Its roots go down to the very center of existence; otherwise you cannot be. Even a sinner is grounded into the divine; otherwise he cannot be. Even if the devil is there, he cannot be without divine support.
Existence itself is possible only because of the groundedness into the being. Your mind is dreaming, imagining, wandering, tense, in anguish, in misery. Howsoever it moves and wheresoever it moves, it remains grounded in the totality. Otherwise is not possible. You cannot go away from existence; that is impossible. This very moment you are grounded in it.
So what is to be done? If this very moment we are grounded in it, then it will appear to the egoist mind that nothing is to be done. We are already the divine, so why so much fuss? You are grounded in the divine, but you are unaware of the fact. When mind is wandering, there are two things – the mind and the wandering, the objects in the mind and the mind itself, clouds wandering in the sky and the sky. There are two things – the clouds and the sky.
Sometimes it may happen, it happens, that there are so many clouds that the sky disappears, you cannot see it. But even if you cannot see it, it has not disappeared; it cannot disappear. There is no way to help the sky to disappear. It is there; hidden or unhidden, visible or invisible, it is there.
But clouds are also there. If you pay attention to the clouds, the sky has disappeared. If you pay attention to the sky, the clouds are just accidental, they come and they go. You need not be too much worried about them. They come and they go. They have been coming, they have been going. They have not been destroying the sky even an inch, they have not made the sky dirty; they have not even touched it. The sky remains virgin.
When your mind is wandering, there are two things: one is the clouds, the thoughts, the objects, images, and the other is the consciousness, the mind itself. If you pay too much attention to the clouds, to objects, thoughts, images, you have forgotten the sky. You have forgotten the host; you have become too much interested in the guest. Those thoughts, images, wandering, are just guests. If you focus yourself on the guests, you forget your own being. Change the focus from the guests to the host, from the clouds to the sky. Do it practically.
A sex desire arises: this is a cloud. Or greed arises to have a bigger house: this is a cloud. You can become so obsessed with it that you forget completely to whom it has arisen, to whom it has happened. Who is behind it? In what sky is this cloud moving? Remember that sky, and suddenly the cloud disappears. You need just a change of focus from the object to the subject, from the outer to the inner, from the cloud to the sky, from the guest to the host – just a change of focus.
Lin-Chi, one Zen master, was speaking. Someone from the crowd said, “Answer me only one question: Who am I?
“Lin-Chi stopped speaking. Everyone was alert. What answer was he going to give? But he didn’t answer. He came down from his chair, walked, came near to the man. The whole crowd became attentive, alert. They were not even breathing. What was he going to do? He should have answered from the chair; there was no need. The man became afraid, and Lin-Chi came near him with his piercing eyes. He took the man’s collar in his hand, gave him a shake and asked him, “Close your eyes! And remember who is asking this question, ‘Who am I?’” The man closed his eyes – afraid, of course. He went within to seek who had asked this question, and he would not come back.
The crowd waited and waited and waited. His face became silent calm, still. Then Lin-Chi had to shock him again. “Now come out and tell everybody, ‘Who am I?’”
The man started laughing and he said, “What a miraculous way of answering a thing. But if someone asks me this now, I am going to do the same. I cannot answer.”
It was just a change of focus. You ask the question “Who am I?” and your mind is focused on the question and the answer is hidden just behind the question in the questioner. Change the focus; return to yourself.
This sutra says, “Wherever your mind is wandering, internally or externally, at this very place, this.” Move from the objects to the mind itself, and you are no more an ordinary mind. You are ordinary because of the objects. Suddenly you become a buddha yourself. You are already a buddha, you are just burdened with many clouds. And not only are you burdened: you are clinging to your clouds, you won’t allow them to move. You think that clouds are your property. You think that the more you have, the better: you are richer. And your whole sky, your inner space, is just hidden. In a way, it has disappeared amidst the clouds and clouds have become your life. The life of the clouds is sansara – the world.
This can happen in a single moment even, this change of focus – and it always happens suddenly. I don’t mean that you need not do anything and it will happen suddenly; you will have to do much. But it will never happen gradually. You will have to do and do and do, and one day, suddenly, a moment comes when you are at the right temperature to evaporate. Suddenly there is no water; it has evaporated. Suddenly you are not in the object. Your eyes are not focused to the clouds: suddenly they have turned inward to the inner space.
It never happens gradually that one part of your eyes has turned inward and one part is with the outward clouds – nor does it happen in percentages, that now you have become ten percent inner and ninety percent outer, now twenty percent inner and eighty percent outer – no! When it happens it happens a hundred percent, because you cannot divide your focusing. Either you see the objects or you see yourself – either the world or the Brahman. You can come back to the world, you can change your focus again; you are the master. Really, only now are you the master – when you can change your focus as you like.
I remember Marpa, one Tibetan mystic. When he realized, when he became a Buddha, when he turned inward, when he came to encounter the inner space – the infinity, someone asked him,
“Marpa, how are you now?”
Marpa’s answer is exceptional, unexpected. No buddha has answered that way. Marpa said, “As miserable as before.”
The man was bewildered. He said, “As miserable as before?”
But Marpa laughed. He said, “Yes, but with a difference, and the difference is that now the misery is voluntary. Sometimes, just for a taste of the world, I move outwards, but now I am the master. Any moment I can go inwards, and it is good to move in the polarities. Then one remains alive. I can move!” Marpa said, “I can move now. Sometimes I move in the miseries, but now the miseries are not something which happen to me. I happen to them and I remain untouched.” Of course, when you move voluntarily, you remain untouched.
Once you know how to change your focus inwards, you can come back to the world. Every buddha has come back to the world. Again he focuses, but now the inner man has a different quality. He knows that this is his focusing. These clouds are allowed to move. These clouds are not masters; they cannot dominate you. You allow them, and it is beautiful. Sometimes, when the sky is filled with clouds, it is beautiful; the movement of the clouds is beautiful. If the sky remains itself, the clouds can be allowed to move. The problem arises only when the sky forgets itself and only clouds are there. Then everything becomes ugly because the freedom is lost.
This sutra is beautiful. Wherever you mind is wandering, internally or externally, at this very place, this. This sutra has been used deeply in Zen tradition. Zen says your ordinary mind is the Buddha-mind. Eating, you are a buddha; sleeping, you are a buddha; carrying water from the well, you are a buddha. You are! Carrying water from the well, eating your food, lying down on your bed, you are a buddha. Inconceivable! It looks puzzling, but it is the truth.
If when carrying water you simply carry the water, if you don’t make any problem out of it and you simply carry water, if your mind is unclouded and the sky vacant, if you are just carrying water, then you are a buddha. Eating, just eat without doing anything else. When we are eating we are doing thousands and thousands of things. The mind may not be here at all. Your body may be eating just like a robot; your mind may be somewhere else.
One university student was here some days before. His examination is coming near, so he came to ask me, “I am very much confused and the problem is this: I have fallen in love with a girl. While I am with the girl, I think of my examination, and while I read I think only of my girl. So what to do? While reading, studying, I am not there; I am with my girl in my imagination. And with my girl, I am never with her; I am thinking about my problems, about my examination which is drawing near. So everything has become a mess.”
This is how everyone has become a mess, not only that boy. While in the office you think of the house; while in the house you are in the office. And you cannot do such a magical thing. While in the house you can be only in the house, you cannot be in the office. And if you are in the office, you are not sane, you are insane. Then everything gets into everything else. Then nothing is clear. And this mind is a problem.
While drawing water from a well, carrying water from a well, if you are simply doing this simple act, you are a buddha. So many times, if you go to Zen masters and ask them, “What do YOU do? What is your sadhana? What is your meditation?” they will say, “While feeling sleepy, we sleep. While feeling hungry, we eat. And that is all, there is no other sadhana.” But this is very arduous. It looks simple: if while eating you can just eat, if while sitting you can just sit – not doing anything else, if you can remain with the moment and not move away from it, if you can be merged with the moment with no future, no past, if this moment now is the only existence, then you are a buddha. This very mind becomes a Buddha-mind.
When your mind wanders, don’t try to stop it. Rather, become aware of the sky. When mind wanders, don’t try to stop it, don’t try to bring it to some point, to some concentration – no! Allow it to wander, but don’t pay much attention to the wandering – because for or against, you remain concerned with the wandering.
Remember the sky, allow the wandering, and just say, “Okay, it is just traffic on the road. Many people are moving this way and that. The same traffic is going on in the mind. I am just the sky, not the cloud.” Feel it, remember it, and remain in it. Sooner or later you will feel that the clouds are slowing down and there are bigger gaps between the clouds. They are not so dark, not so dense.
The speed has slowed down, and intervals can be seen, and the sky can be looked at. Go on feeling yourself as the sky and not the clouds. Sooner or later, someday, in some right moment when your focus has really gone inwards, clouds will have disappeared and you are the sky, the ever-pure sky, the ever-virgin sky.
Once you know this virginity, you can come back to the clouds, to the world of the clouds. Then that world has its own beauty. You can move in it, but now you are a master. The world is not bad; the world as the master is the problem. With you as the master, you can move in it. Then the world has a beauty of its own. It is beautiful, it is lovely, but you need to know that beauty and that loveliness as a master within.
From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #39
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