Maneesha, Bukko has come to the ultimate expression of the experience of one’s own being. Very rarely has a master succeeded to such a point as Bukko has in his statements.
Listen carefully, because rarely will you meet a Bukko again.
Taking things easily and without forcing, after some time the rush of thought, outward and inward, subsides naturally, and the true face shows itself.
That’s what I have been telling you. To be a buddha is not a difficult job. It is not some achievement for which you need a Nobel Prize. It is the easiest thing in the world, because it has already happened without your knowing.
The buddha is already breathing in you. Just a little recognition, just a little turning inwards . . . and that has not to be done forcibly. If you do it forcibly you will miss the point. It is very delicate. You have to look inward playfully, not seriously. That’s what he means by “taking things easily.” Don’t take anything seriously.
Existence is very easy. You have got your life without any effort; you are living your life without any effort. You are breathing perfectly well without being reminded; your heartbeat continues even in your sleep — so easy is existence with you! But you are not so easy with existence. You are very close-fisted. You want everything to be turned into an achievement.
Enlightenment cannot be an achievement. That which you have already — how can it be an achievement? The authentic master simply takes away things which you don’t have and you believe you have, and he gives you that which you already have. You are having many things which you don’t have at all, you just believe that you have them. The master’s function is that of a surgeon, to cut all that is not you and leave behind just the essential core — the eternal being.
It is a very easy phenomenon; you can do it on your own. There are no problems and no risk in taking things easily, but people take things very tensely. They take things very seriously, and that spoils the whole game.
And remember, life is a game. Once you understand it as a game, a deep playfulness arises on its own accord. The victory is not the point; the point is to play totally, joyously, dancingly.
What is called playfulness is very essential in the inquiry of your own being.
Taking things easily and without forcing, after some time the rush of thought, outward and inward, subsides naturally, and the true face shows itself.
When I say to you that meditation is nothing but thoughtlessness, you can misunderstand me. You are not to do anything to become thoughtless, because whatever you will do will be again a thought. You have to learn to see the procession of thoughts, standing by the side of the road as if it does not matter to you what is passing by. Just the ordinary traffic — if you can take your thoughts in such a manner that they are not of much concern, then easily, slowly, the caravan of thoughts which has continued for thousands of years disappears.
You have to understand a simple thing, that giving attention is giving nourishment. If you don’t give any attention but remain unconcerned, the thoughts start dying on their own. They don’t have any other way to get energy, any other source of life. You are their energy, and because you go on giving them attention, seriously, you think it is very difficult to be free from thought. It is the easiest thing in the world, but it has to be done in the right way.
The right way is just to stand by the side. The traffic goes on — let it go. Don’t make any judgment of good and bad; don’t appreciate, don’t condemn. That is what is meant by being easy. It is all okay.
Without forcing . . . and that is something that has to be remembered, because our natural tendency is that if we have to become thoughtless, why not force the thoughts? Why not throw them out? But by the very act of forcing them, you are giving them energy, you are giving them nourishment, you are taking note of them and you are making them important — so important that without throwing them, you cannot meditate.
Just try to throw out any single thought, and you will see how difficult it is. The more you throw it the more it bounces back! It will enjoy the game very much, and you are going to be defeated finally. You have taken a wrong route. […]
You cannot repress any thought. The very repressive process gives it energy, life, strength. And it weakens you because you become a defeated partner in the game. The easiest thing is not to force but to be just a witness. If a monkey comes, let him come. Just say “Hello!” and he will go. But don’t tell him to go. Just be a witness that a monkey has come, or a thousand monkeys have come. What does it matter? It is none of your business. They may be going to some gathering, some religious festival, so let them go. It is none of your concern. And soon the crowd will disappear, seeing that “the man is not interested.”
All your thoughts are in the same category. Never force any thought to go away; otherwise, it will rebound with greater energy. And the energy is yours! You are on a self-defeating track. The more you throw it away the more it will come back.
Hence, what Bukko is saying is the only way — I say the only way — to be thoughtless: don’t pay any attention. Just remain silently watching all kinds of things . . . monkeys and elephants, let them pass. Soon you will find an empty road, and when you find an empty road, you have found an empty mind — naturally. Everything outward and inward subsides and there is the tremendous silence which easiness brings.
Now body and mind, free from all motivations, always appear as void and absolute sameness.
When you are in the state of no-mind, which is equivalent to thoughtlessness . . . when there is no thought cloud moving in your mind, you attain to the clarity of no-mind. Mind is simply a combination of all the thoughts, of all the clouds. Mind has no independent nature of its own. When all the thoughts are gone and the sky is clean and clear, you will see that everything that you have paid so much attention to is nothing but emptiness. Your thoughts were all empty. They contained nothing; they were void. Whatever you thought they contained was your own energy. You have withdrawn your energy — just the empty shell of the thought falls down. You have withdrawn your identity and immediately the thought is no longer alive. It was your identity that was giving it life force.
And strangely enough, you thought that your thoughts were very strong and it was difficult to get rid of them! You were making them strong, you were cultivating them. Just by forcing them, you were getting into a fix.
I agree with Bukko. I have agreed out of my own experience that you can simply sit or lie down and let the thoughts pass by. They will not leave even a trace. Just don’t get interested . . . and don’t be disinterested either, just be neutral. To be neutral is to be easy, and to be neutral is to take back the very life force that you have given to your thoughts.
Suddenly, a man of no thought becomes so full of energy — energy which he had spread into the thoughts unnecessarily. He was weak because he was nourishing thoughts, which leads nowhere. They promise — thoughts are politicians. They promise great things to come, but the moment they have power, they forget all their promises. This has been going on for centuries.
Those promises are just seductive. Your thoughts are promising you many things: “You can be this, you can be that.” And they drive you, they give you motivation to become the greatest leader in the world, to become the richest man in the world. They drive you into ambitions, they become your masters. It is one of the weirdest phenomena that the servants become masters, and the master becomes just a servant. The moment you take your energy back you become a tremendous force, gathered in your own being and center.
This is the first and the most important thing to understand: never force anything, just let it go easily. If you ever want to find out what the secret of your life is, then you have to go inwards. And thoughts are always going outwards; every thought takes you outwards. When all thoughts cease, there is nowhere to go — you simply are at home.
This at-homeness is meditation.
Utter silence and peace prevails.
In this silence every ambition seems to be stupid; the whole world of objects seems to be nothing but a dream. And your own being shines in its brightness of heaven, at the center of the vast expanse of phenomenal things, and needing no polishing or cleaning.
Your own being is so pure, so unpolluted, not even a particle of dust has ever reached there — cannot reach. Only your consciousness can reach there, and consciousness arises in you with no-mind. With no-mind you become so wakeful, so watchful — nowhere to go outside, because all thoughts are gone. So you turn inwards, and for the first time face your own original being.
This is beyond all concepts . . .
What you are going to face in your meditation is beyond all concepts.
This is a very pregnant statement. . . . beyond being and non-being. We are using the word `being’ because you will not be able to understand, while your thoughts are there, that something beyond being and beyond non-being is in existence within you. But when thoughts are gone, the first encounter is with a being, an individual being, bright and clean. And as you enter this being, you find yourself going beyond your individuality into the universal, which is beyond being and non-being. This is what ultimate enlightenment is. And Bukko has put it in the simplest possible way.
Leave your innumerable knowings and seeings and understandings, and go to that greatness of space. When you come to that vastness, there is no speck of Buddhism in your heart.
He is really a great master. His love towards Buddha is great, but that does not mean that he is a follower of Buddha. He is saying that when you enter into this great space, you will not find anything — no speck of Buddhism even in your heart. And when there is no speck of knowledge about you — you will not know anything, even about yourself — you will have the true sight of the Buddhas and the great masters.
Buddha himself had a great difficulty. Perhaps no man has had such a great difficulty in explaining his experience. In this country, the self, atma, has been considered to be the ultimate experience. The two other religions of this country, Hinduism and Jainism, have both emphasized that to know your self is all, there is nothing beyond it. Now, Buddha was going against all of India’s traditions by saying that the self is only a door to no-self. Don’t stop at the door, it is a bridge to be passed. Don’t make your house on the bridge because a vaster universe is ready to welcome you if you can leave this small idea of your self.
What is this self that you carry, that all the traditions of this country and other countries think so much of? Hundreds of philosophers came to Gautam Buddha, saying, “What you are saying goes against the Vedas, against the Upanishads.”
He said, “What can I do? It is my own experience; I cannot deny it. The self has to be transcended; only then you become one with the universe. The dewdrop has to disappear into the ocean.”
Why cling to the dewdrop?
What are you gaining by it?
Have you ever observed? — all the religions teach that you should liberate yourself from misery, from sin. You should earn virtue so that you can make a place in paradise. “You” are the center of all the religions — but not of Zen.
All the religions say, “Liberate yourself from your attachments.” Only Zen has the strange courage to say, “Liberate yourself from yourself!” Liberating yourself from your attachments is child’s play. The real, authentic seeker finally liberates himself not only from other things but even from himself. He drops the very idea that ‘I am’. Existence is.
Looked at from this viewpoint, it can be said that you are the center of all misery. And however you try, you will find you are only changing misery, from one misery to another misery. Maybe in the gap you feel a little light. From one marriage to another marriage — just in the meantime, while you have to wait, you feel good. But this goodness is not going to last, you are already filling in the form for another marriage. You are the problem. All other problems are just your children — a bus load of children, and you are the driver.
Buddhism, particularly, introduced the idea that it is not a question of dropping this greed, that anger, this passion, that possession. The question is of dropping yourself completely, disappearing into the universal energy from where we have arisen. In India, Buddha was not understood. I am experiencing the same thing. In India I am not understood, because India has, for ten thousand years or more, believed in the self as the ultimate value.
Self is not the ultimate value. What are you going to do with the self when you find it? Just sitting stupidly, looking weird to everybody. Just for a moment think: You have found your self, now what are you going to do? And remember, once you have found it, you cannot escape from it. It clings like German glue! It is not Indian glue . . .
Buddha took a tremendous step in the world of consciousness when he said, “The self is only a stepping stone. Step beyond it! And going beyond it, you are just empty.” But this “empty” is not nothingness. The word that Buddha used has been translated either as “emptiness” or as “nothingness,” but in English both words have a negative connotation. Buddha’s word was shunyata. It is not a negative phenomenon.
Bukko gives it perhaps the best expression I have come across:
When you can go and come in all regions equally, when there is nothing specially yours, no within, no without, when you conform to high and conform to low, conform to the square and conform to the round, that is it.
When you are simply available, with no self, you don’t have any boundaries anymore. Without boundaries you can conform to anything.
The emptiness of the sea allows waves to rise . . .
And your emptiness will also allow waves of blissfulness, peacefulness, splendor and unknown glory. You are at the highest peak available to any consciousness. But all these are still waves according to Bukko. That’s why I say he has made a great statement.
The emptiness of the sea allows waves to rise; the emptiness of the mountain valley makes the voice echo . . .
It is empty; otherwise how can it echo the voice?
Just nearby in Matheran, there is an echo point. A very clear echo point — I have seen other echo points in other mountains also. Whatever you say it simply repeats, the whole valley. If you bark like a dog, the whole valley barks like a dog. If you sing a song, the whole valley sings the song. Its emptiness allows it to conform to anything.
And Bukko is saying that when you are utterly empty of being and no-being, of mind and no-mind . . . When you are just merged into the universal it can be said from one side that you are empty, but from the other side you are so full that now you can conform to anything. You can be the moon, you can be the rose, you can be the clouds. Or you can just remain the empty sky.
For the first time you are free to be anything you want. For the first time your emptiness allows you to experience existence from different angles. It is a vast phenomenon. We know only small parts of it because our self-ness creates a boundary. We cannot go beyond the boundary.
The emptiness of the heart makes the buddha.
Once your heart is empty, you are the buddha — serene, silent, utterly blissful, at home. When I say to you that you are a buddha, I mean it. It is just that you have to recover from your dreams, afflictions, addictions. You just have to penetrate deeply to the point where even the self starts disappearing and the door opens to the vast, to the infinite. To be a buddha is the ultimate experience of joy, of eternity, of immortality, freedom and liberation.
And nobody else can do it for you. It is simple: you have to do it yourself.
When you empty the heart, things appear as in a mirror, shining there without differences between them. Life and death as illusion, all the buddhas are one’s own body. Zen is not something mysterious; it is just hitting and piercing through.
I am reminded . . . A great industrialist had imported a totally new, sophisticated machine.
It worked so beautifully, a hundred times more productive than the older one, but one day it stopped. Nobody knew what to do.
The manufacturers were informed, and they said, “We can send our man. But his fee is ten thousand dollars plus all traveling expenses.”
The industrialist was losing thousands of dollars every day. He agreed; he said, “Send him immediately, right now.” The man came from the airport and without wasting a single moment, he took from his handbag a small hammer and hit the machine at a certain point and it started working.
The owner of the factory said, “But this is too much! Ten thousand dollars just for hitting it with this little hammer?” The expert said, “No, for hitting with the hammer just one dollar will do. The real thing is knowing where to hit.”
It is true, Zen is not something mysterious. It is just hitting and piercing through.
But don’t believe in Bukko. The point is where to hit. It is not mysterious, but the problem is where to hit. Once you hit at the right time, at the right place, it is really very simple; there is nothing mysterious about it.
That’s what I have been continuously trying to get you to experience, because there is no way to tell you where to hit. Everybody has to find the place by going deeper into himself, seeing where the light is coming from, where the life is coming from, and the moving in that direction without any fear. This is what he means by “hitting and piercing through.”
Then don’t stop. It will be very beautiful. Even in the beginning, the moment you see your light, your life source, it will have a tremendous beauty and there will be a desire to stop, that you have arrived. Don’t do that. Much more lies ahead. Until you are finished completely… when you look all around and you don’t find yourself — that is the goal.
This beyond is the buddha.
If you cut off all doubts, the course of life-and-death is cut off naturally. I ask you all: do you see it of don’t you? — How in June the snow melts from the top of Mount Fuji.
He is saying that just as in June the snow starts melting from Mount Fuji . . . so simply, without making any fuss. As June comes, the snow does not say, “Wait a little, I am engaged in something else and I have to wait a little.” No — no resistance, no delaying, no postponing. As June comes, the snow starts melting.
So when you reach to the point where you feel, “this is my center,” then start melting. Your June has come. Then start melting and disappearing. Your very disappearance is making you the whole universe.
Buddha has said, “When I disappeared, I saw stars within me, sun rising, sunset, full moon nights — everything within me, not without me. It was my boundary that had been keeping them out. Now the boundary is no more; everything has fallen in. Now I am the whole.”
At the time of his death the Zen monk, Guin, wrote:
All doctrines split asunder
Zen teaching cast away —
Fourscore years and one.
The sky now cracks and falls
The Earth cleaves open —
In the heart of the fire
Lies a hidden spring.
When all is dropping and disappearing, in the heart of all this disappearance is hidden your spring. From this point you will start growing new flowers that you have never seen before.
Maneesha has asked:
Our beloved master,
In the West, they say that love — two full hearts — makes the world go round. Judging by the casualty rate, full hearts don’t seem to be the answer. What is the world of the empty heart of zen?
In the first place, whatever is said in the West, that “love — two full hearts — makes the world go round” is all nonsense. Whether you are here or not, the world will continue to go round.
And two hearts full of love . . . where are you going to find them?
The world would have stopped long ago if it were dependent on two hearts full of love. Even to find one heart is very difficult; two is too much! But those are just mass-mind oriented proverbs, not statements of a man like Bukko. When Bukko says the empty heart is the buddha, he is talking about a very authentic experience. And it does not depend on anybody else.
Love is both, a joy and a misery, because two are involved. Wherever there is duality, there is going to be conflict. You can put the conflict aside for a few days on the honeymoon, but after the honeymoon the conflict arises on every point. What kind of curtains? — and immediately there are two voices. What kind of carpets, and what kind of literature, what kind of furniture? On every point you will find that those great lovers are in absolute disagreement! There is the beginning of real love, which always ends in divorce.
The world of religion is not the world of duality. It is a world of oneness. You have to find your own heart, utterly empty, empty of all rubbish. And when your heart is empty of all rubbish, you are the buddha. There is no other experience which goes beyond it.
From The Buddha: The Emptiness of the Heart, Discourse #1
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