I heard you say that the center of our Buddhahood is at the hara point inside the body. Is there also a sleeping buddha energy in our hearts and in the third eye?
Do we all have the same potential of remembering, each one with his or her unique expression of creativity?
The hara center is the source of all your energy. It can grow just like a tree grows from the roots into different branches.
According to a different calculation of Patanjali, the energy can be divided into seven centers, but the original source remains the hara. From the hara it can go up.
The seventh center is in the head, and the sixth center is what you call the third eye. The fifth center is in our throat, and the fourth center is exactly in the middle: the heart. Below the heart there are three centers, above the heart there are three centers. But all these seven centers grow like a tree from the original source of the hara. That’s why, in Japanese, suicide is called hara-kiri. People don’t cut their throats, they don’t cut their heads. They simply pierce a small knife into the hara center – just exactly two inches below the navel – and the person dies. And you will not know at all that somebody has committed suicide. Just the energy is released from the body, the source is opened.
I am trying to take you to the very original source. From there, it is up to you to bring your energy into any center you want.
Between the first center, the hara, and the seventh center in the head, the energy can move just like the energy moves into different branches of a tree – from the roots to the uppermost flowering. The hara is the source. When it blossoms, it reaches suddenly to the seventh center, piercing your heart, your throat, and at the seventh center it blossoms as a lotus. Man is also a flowering tree.
These are different ways of looking at things. Patanjali’s yoga is one of the ways; Zen is a totally different approach. To me, Zen seems to be more scientific, while Patanjali seems to be more intellectual and philosophical. Zen begins from the very source.
The buddha is not lying anywhere else other than in the hara; he is not lying in the heart. The energy can be brought to the heart, then the expression will be love. The energy can be brought to the third eye, then you will be able to see things which are not ordinarily visible – auras of people, auras of things, a certain kind of X-ray energy that goes deeper into things. If the same energy moves into the seventh center, according to Patanjali, samadhi is attained – you become enlightened.
But these are different calculations. Rather than talking about samadhi, I would rather encourage you to enter into the source of energy from where everything is going to happen. I don’t like to talk about the flowers much, because that talk will remain simply conceptual. My approach is more pragmatic.
I want you to experience your sleeping energy. And the moment you reach there, it awakens. It sleeps only if you are not there. If your awareness reaches to the source, it wakes up, and in its waking is the Buddhahood. In its waking you become for the first time part of existence: no ego, no self, a pure nothingness.
People are afraid of the word ‘nothingness’. In the second question that fear is clear.
The second question is:
Though you have infused the sutras with life and humor, for me, Zen remains the stark beauty of the desert, and I long for something else.
Why can’t I drop the idea that my way is not via emptiness, but fullness? I still carry this longing for some kind of union, a melting outwards rather than dissolving into nothingness inside.
With whom are you going to melt outside? You don’t know even who you are. And who has told you that Zen is a “stark beauty of the desert”? Zen is perhaps the most beautiful path, full of flowers, songs, joy and laughter.
But the idea of nothingness creates a certain fear of dissolving into a desert. It is just your mind that makes the difference between emptiness and fullness. In realizing either, you will be realizing the other too, because they are two aspects of one thing, of one phenomenon which can either be called nothingness, or can be called fullness.
Zen has chosen rightly to call it nothingness, because fullness can give you misunderstandings. The moment you think of fullness you start imagining. The moment you think of melting into someone outside, immediately a God, a paradise, a heaven, and all kinds of imaginations arise. And those imaginations will prevent you from going anywhere.
I am not helping your imagination at all. I am trying to uproot your imagination in every possible way. I want to leave you without images, in utter silence, in nothingness, because that is the only way to attain fullness.
When the dewdrop disappears in the ocean, it is not that it becomes nothing. Yes, it becomes nothing but it also becomes the ocean. In its disappearing as a dewdrop, on the other side it is also becoming the whole ocean. So the fullness and nothingness are not two things, only two concepts of the mind, but in reality, only two ways of saying one thing. Emptiness, or nothingness, is better because it does not allow any imagination to arise.
Fullness is dangerous. If rightly used there is no problem. Fullness will also dissolve God, and paradise, and heaven and hell, and incarnation. But mind is capable of using the idea of fullness in a way that it cannot use the word ‘nothingness’. To prevent the mind from using the word ‘fullness’ and preventing you from realizing the reality, from Gautam Buddha onwards the word ‘nothingness’ has been chosen. But nothingness is not absence; nothingness is not dead. Nothingness is fullness, but so full that you cannot define it, and you cannot make a limit or a boundary to it.
Unbounded fullness and nothingness, in experience, mean exactly the same. But for the beginner, the word ‘fullness’ is dangerous – and everybody is a beginner.
Begin with something which is less capable of taking you astray from reality. Fullness can be used only by a master who knows that nothingness and fullness are synonymous. But for the beginner it is dangerous, because for him fullness means something opposed to nothingness. If ‘fullness’ is synonymous with ‘nothingness’, then there is no problem. Then the desert becomes the ocean, then there is only beauty and song and dance.
Nothingness gives the idea to the mind that everything will be lost. You will be lost, but the truth is, the moment everything is lost, including you, you have gained the whole universe – all the stars within you, and the vast universe inside your heart. It is not losing anything, so don’t be worried about nothing.
The questioner goes on:
Is this just my refusal to grow up? Am I fooling myself? Are we all to embrace the Zen Manifesto no matter what ‘type’ we feel we are?
There is no question of type. All types are just superficial. At the innermost core there is only one existence. The Zen Manifesto is not for a particular type, it is for all – for men and for women, and for black and white, and for Hindu and Mohammedan, and for Christian and Buddhist. It does not matter what kind of conditioning you have been brought up in, Zen is simply a technique of entering into your veryness. The entrance is so deep that nothing remains, and all is found.
Gurdjieff has written a book, All and Nothing. I would like to withdraw the word ‘and’, because all is nothing; there is no question of ‘and’. Whatever type you are – introvert, extrovert – it does not matter, you are all part of the same existence. And when you relax into existence, all your differences disappear; only oneness remains. You can call that oneness whatever you like, but basically it is nothingness. You can give it any color; you can call it by any name, but don’t start calling it by another name from the beginning, because that can take you astray. Somebody may think that he can call it God, then he will start worshipping a God which is man manufactured.
For the beginner, nothing is the most secure path to avoid the mind playing games. Nothing is beyond the reaches of the mind, so it cannot play games with it. But anything else you name it, mind is capable of playing games with it.
The whole effort of meditation is not to allow the mind to play games. It has been playing games for centuries. One has to come to the point of seeing all the games of the mind: all the gods, all the messiahs, all the prophets, all the religions, all the philosophies.
Existence is available to a silent being, not to the learned, not to the well informed, not to the scholar. It is available to the innocent, and meditation is a way of becoming innocent again. Getting back your childhood, being reborn, knowing nothing, a silence, a joy, a blissfulness arises which is indestructible, which is eternal.
From The Zen Manifesto: Freedom from Oneself, Chapter Seven
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