What is the essence of Buddha Dharma – The religion of the Buddha?
If you reach the Zen of Buddha, at that very moment you accomplish everything.
In your dream there are many pathways, but when you wake up, they are reduced to nothing. Neither error, nor happiness, nor loss, nor gain.
Do not try to find anything in the essence of your being. It is a long time since you wiped the dust from your mirror, now it is time for you to see its brilliancy perfectly.
Who can not-think, all is his. If you practice charity in order to become Buddha when will you succeed? Never – A thousand times never.
Drink and eat according to your true nature. All things in the universe are impermanent, and therefore all existence is void. That is the whole understanding of Buddha.
This is the essence of Buddha Dharma, the religion of the Buddha. First: it is not a philosophy that you can understand intellectually; you have to become a Buddha to know it. Hence Yoka says:
If you reach the Zen of Buddha – the state of the Buddha – at that very moment you accomplish everything.
Nothing is missing when you reach the ultimate state of awakening; all is fulfilled, you are utterly contented. Life is known for the first time as a great significance, as a great dance, a celebration. Life is known for the first time as absolutely perfect. There is no complaint, no desire, no hankering for things to be other than they are. One is simply contented, totally contented. All desiring disappears.
And what is the state of Buddha? What is this “Zen of Buddha” Yoka is talking about? It is the state of no-mind. Hence Yoka says:
Who can not-think, all is his.
The greatest thing in life to experience is a state of no-thought. The greatest art of life is to be able to be without mind. Even if it happens for a single moment – just a glimpse – you have reached the beyond and you have crossed the point of no-return.
Don’t go on thinking about it – what it is. By thinking you will go on missing it. Thinking is the sure way of missing the Buddha Dharma; non-thinking is the way to achieve it. It is your own nature!
Buddha does not talk about some great mysteries, hidden secrets, esoteric knowledge. He does not believe in mythology; he is not an occultist. He is a very simple man, very ordinary. He believes in the ordinary existence. He says your day-to-day life is all there is. If you can live it joyfully, silently, understandingly, watchfully, there is nothing else to be done. Your very ordinary life starts becoming extraordinary.
Drink and eat according to your true nature.
Just remember: don’t distort your nature, remain true to your nature. Listen to your own nature and follow it. Don’t follow anybody else.
Buddha says, “Even if you meet me on the way, kill me immediately.” He is saying: Don’t follow me, just take the hints. Try to understand, imbibe the spirit. Feel my presence and then go on your way. Live according to your own light, howsoever small it is; but if it is yours and you live according to it, it will go on growing.
Buddha says, “Be a light unto yourself.” That is his greatest message. Nobody else in the whole world, in the whole history of humanity, has been so respectful towards others as Gautam the Buddha. “Be a light unto yourself.”
Buddhas only point the way – fingers pointing to the moon. You have to follow, and you have to follow according to your nature. You have to be silent, quiet, so you can listen to the still small voice within you, and then follow it. Wherever it leads it is good. Go in deep trust, following your own voice. Be spontaneous, natural, ordinary. This is the way of being extraordinary. Be ordinary but aware, and the ordinary becomes the sacred.
All things in the universe are impermanent…
So don’t be worried. All things are impermanent: pleasure and pain, friendship and enmity, poverty and richness, success and failure, birth and death. All is in a flux, all is impermanent, so why be worried? Everything goes on changing. Don’t cling – clinging brings misery, clinging shows your misunderstanding. The moment you cling to something you are living with the idea that it can be permanent. Nothing can be permanent, and nothing can be done about it. It is just the nature of things to be impermanent.
You are trying to catch hold of rainbows. They are beautiful, but you cannot catch hold of them – one moment they are there and another moment they are gone. So don’t cling to anything because everything is impermanent. And don’t desire anything because even if you get it, you will lose it. If you don’t get it, you will be frustrated. If you get it and lose it, you will be frustrated. Either way you will be in misery, you are inviting misery. So don’t desire anything and don’t cling to anything.
Whatsoever comes, accept it. Buddha calls it tathata, suchness. Just accept it, live through it silently, without being disturbed by it. Misery comes, it will go. Happiness comes, it will go. Everything passes away, nothing abides, so there is nothing to worry about.
Go on passing through all kinds of experiences, and then you will know that one can pass through the world uncontaminated, uncorrupted. One can live in the palaces without clinging, then he is a sannyasin; and one can live in a hut and can cling to the hut, then he is not a sannyasin.
That’s why I don’t tell you to renounce the world, I simply say: Be watchful. That is the essence of Buddha’s message.
People ask me, “But Buddha renounced the world. Why did he renounce?” He renounced when he was not a Buddha. He renounced when he was as ignorant as anybody else. He renounced in ignorance.
When he attained the truth, when he experienced the truth and came back home, his wife asked him only one question. “Just tell me one thing,” she asked. “Whatsoever you have attained… I can see you are a transformed being. You have become luminous, you are no longer the same person. The old is gone, you are reborn. It is so clear to me – even a blind person like me can see it. But just answer me one question. Whatsoever you have attained, was it not possible to attain it living here with me in this palace?”
And the story is: Buddha remained silent, looking downwards. The wife was right. He didn’t say anything.
In the East, not saying anything is thought to be a sign of agreement: Mounam sammati lakshanam. “To be silent means I agree with you.” It says more than Buddha saying yes. His silence says more, it is more pregnant with meaning.
He immediately felt it: “She is right.” Whatsoever he had attained could have been attained anywhere. There was no need to go into the jungle.
There is no need for you to go anywhere. Wherever you are you can assert your Buddhahood, you can become awakened.
The essence is to slip out of the mind, to get out of the mind. The mind is the world. The mind is full of desires, full of clingings, attachments, longings. Get out of the mind! Create a little distance between you and the mind. Be a watcher, a watcher on the hills, and you will be surprised: as you watch the mind, the distance becomes bigger and bigger. As you watch the mind, as you become more and more established in watching, the mind recedes farther and farther away. One day it happens: you cannot hear the chatter of the mind; it is no longer there. It is simply, absolutely silent. In that silence, truth descends in you. In that silence, you encounter yourself, you encounter your innermost core. And that is the innermost core of the whole existence. Your being is the being of all.
We are separate as minds, as bodies, but not as consciousness. In consciousness we meet, we are one. That consciousness is God. That meeting, that oneness where all differences dissolve, where we are no longer separate ice cubes, where we have melted and disappeared into the universal, Buddha calls nirvana. The word is beautiful; it means cessation of the ego. When the ego ceases you are God, you are a Buddha, you are a Christ. It is the ego that is giving you a limitation. It is the ego that is making you live in a prison. Get out of the ego! And nobody is preventing you – it is your own clinging, it is your own attachment. You have become too attached to your chains, you have become too attached to your prison cell. You think it is your home, and it is not. Come out of it! Wake up!
To be awake is to be a Buddha. And Yoka is right.
If you reach the Zen of Buddha – the state of Buddha – at that very moment you accomplish everything.
Excerpt from Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Discourse #3
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