Myself of long ago,
No final destination,
Nothing of any value.
He is giving you the very manifesto of Zen. Myself of long ago, in nature . . . I have disappeared in nature, I don’t know when, I have not kept a diary and I don’t remember that I was anything else at any time.
Myself of long ago, in nature non-existent: I don’t find myself, I find only nature. No final destination . . . I am going nowhere. There is no final destination, because final destination will mean death.
Life is a continuity always and always. There is no final destination it is going towards. Just the pilgrimage, just the journey in itself is life, not reaching to some point, no goal – just dancing and being in pilgrimage, moving joyously, without bothering about any destination. What will you do by getting to a destination? Nobody has asked this, because everybody is trying to have some destination in life. But the implications…
If you really reach the destination of life, then what? Then you will look very embarrassed. Nowhere to go . . . you have reached to the final destination – and in the journey you have lost everything. You had to lose everything. So standing naked at the final destination, you will look all around like an idiot: what was the point? You were hurrying so hard, and you were worrying so hard, and this is the outcome.
I have told you about one of Rabindranath’s stories. It is a song. The story says in song, “I have been searching for God for centuries. Sometimes he was around the moon, but by the time I reached there he had moved to some other star. I saw him at another star, but by the time I reached there he had moved again. This went on and on, but there was great joy in that he is there, and one day I am going to find him. How long can he hide? How long can he escape?
“And it happened that one day I reached a house where there was a board saying that this was the house of God. I had a great sense of relief that my destiny was fulfilled. I went up the steps and I was just going to knock on the door when I became aware that, ‘Just wait, have a second thought! What are you going to do if God comes and opens the door? What will you do next?’”
Your whole life has been a journey, a pilgrimage, finding, searching. You are trained as a runner since millions of years, and suddenly you meet God and you don’t have anything to say. What will you say?
Have you ever thought that if you meet God by chance, neither will you have anything to say, nor will he have anything to say? You unnecessarily burned yourself out, finished. Final destination means ultimate death.
Ikkyu is right when he says, “No final destination, nothing of value” – everything is just to enjoy and dance and sing. But don’t ask about value; don’t ask what is virtue and what is good. Rejoice in everything, and go on in different pilgrimages knowing perfectly well that life is not going to end anywhere, the journey will continue, the caravan will continue. There is no place where the road ends.
Maneesha has asked:
Our beloved master,
When there is nothing to perceive – no input from the body or the mind and so one has nothing by which to define oneself – is what is left witnessing? There does not even seem to be a witness, but just the awareness that there is no one there.
That’s exactly right. There is no witness, there is only witnessing. There is only consciousness, but no personality to it, no form. There is only awareness, like a flame arising from nowhere and disappearing into nowhere, and just in the middle you see the flame.
Have you watched a candle, where the flame goes? Gautam Buddha himself used as the word for the ultimate experience, blowing out the candle. Nirvana means blowing out the candle. Nothing is, just a pure awareness, not even confined into your individuality, but just a floating cloud, no firm shape – a tremendous isness, a great joy.
But it is not your joy; you are absent. Then arises in your absence the joy, the blissfulness. The moment you are not, then the witnessing is pure. And this witnessing brings the greatest benediction possible. This witnessing is the buddha.
From Rinzai: Master of the Irrational, Discourse #7
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