Just before Ninakawa passed away the Zen master Ikkyu visited him. “Shall I lead you on?” Ikkyu asked.
Ninakawa replied, “I came here alone, and I go alone. What help could you be to me?”
Ikkyu aswered, “If you think you really come and go, that is your delusion. Let me show you the path in which there is no coming and going.”
With his words, Ikkyu had revealed the path so clearly that Ninakawa smiled and passed away.
Death is the crescendo, the highest peak that life can attain. In the moment of death much is possible. If you have been preparing and preparing, meditating and waiting, then at the moment of death enlightenment is very easily possible – because death and enlightenment are similar. A master, one who is enlightened, can easily make you enlightened at the moment of death. Even before, whenever it happens, you have to be ready to die.
What happens in death? Suddenly you are losing your body, suddenly you are losing your mind. Suddenly you feel you are going away from yourself – all that you believe to be yourself. It is painful, because you feel you are going to be drowned into emptiness. You will be nowhere now, because you were always identified with the body and the mind, and you never knew the beyond; you never knew yourself beyond the body and the mind. You got so fixed and obsessed with the periphery that the center was completely forgotten.
In death you have to encounter this fact: that the body is going, now it cannot be retained any more. The mind is leaving you – now you are no more in control of the mind. The ego is dissolving – you cannot even say ‘I’. You tremble with fear, on the verge of nothingness. You will be no more.
But if you have been preparing, if you have been meditating – and preparation means if you have been making all efforts to use death, to use this abyss of nothingness – rather than being pulled into it you have been getting ready to jump into it, it makes a lot of difference. If you are being pulled into it, grudgingly – you don’t want to go into it and you have been snatched – then it is painful. Much anguish! And the anguish is so intense that you will become unconscious in the moment of death. Then you miss.
But if you are ready to jump there is no anguish. If you accept and welcome it, and there is no complaint – rather, you are happy and celebrating that the moment has come, and now I can jump out of this body which is a limitation, can jump out of this body which is a confinement, can jump out of this ego which has always been a suffering – if you can welcome, then there is no need to become unconscious. If you can become accepting, welcoming – what Buddhists call tathata, to accept it, and not only to accept, because the word accept is not very good, deep down some nonacceptance is hidden in it – no, if you welcome, if it is such a celebration, an ecstasy, if it is a benediction, then you need not become unconscious.
If it is a benediction, you will become perfectly conscious in that moment. Remember these two things: if you reject, if you say no, you will become totally unconscious; if you accept, welcome, and say yes with your full heart, you will become perfectly conscious. Yes to death makes you perfectly conscious; no to death makes you perfectly unconscious – and these are the two ways of dying.
A Buddha dies totally accepting. There is no resistance, no fight between him and death. Death is divine; you die fighting.
If a man has been preparing, getting ready, at the moment of death the master can be miraculously helpful. Just a word at the right moment and the flame inside suddenly explodes, you become enlightened – because the moment is such, so intense, you are so concentrated at one point.
This is happening in this story. Ikkyu is one of the greatest masters, a very rare, revolutionary, nonconformist. Once he stayed in a temple. The night was very cold and there were three wooden Buddhas in the temple, so he burned one Buddha to warm himself. The priest became aware – he was fast asleep, it was in the middle of the night and the night was very cold – he became aware that something was going on, so he looked.
Buddha was burning! – and this man Ikkyu was sitting, happy, warming his hands. The priest became mad; he said, “What are you doing? Are you a madman? – and I thought you to be a Buddhist monk, that’s why I allowed you to stay in the temple. And you have done the most sacrilegious act.”
Ikkyu looked at the priest and said, “But the buddha within me was feeling very cold. So it was a question whether to sacrifice the living Buddha to the wooden one, or to sacrifice the wooden one to the living one. And I decided for life.”
But the priest was so mad with anger, he couldn’t listen to what Ikkyu was saying. He said, “You are a madman. You simply get out of here! You have burned Buddha.”
So Ikkyu started to poke the burned Buddha – ashes were there, the statue was almost completely finished. He started to poke with a stick. The priest asked, “What are you doing?”
He said, “I am trying to find the bones of Buddha.”
So the priest laughed, he said, “You are either a fool or a madman. And you are absolutely mad! You cannot find bones there, because it is just a wooden Buddha.”
Ikkyu laughed, he said, “Then bring the other two. The night is still very cold and the morning is still far away.”
This Ikkyu was a very rare man. He was turned out immediately, out of the temple. In the morning he was sitting just on the side of the street outside the temple – worshipping a milestone, putting flowers, doing his prayers. So the priest said, “You fool! In the night you misbehaved with Buddha. What have you done? You have committed a sin, and now what are you doing with this milestone? This is not a statue.”
Ikkyu said, “When you want to pray, everything is a statue. At that time the buddha within was feeling very cold. At this time the buddha within is feeling very prayerful.”
This man Ikkyu had thousands of disciples all over the country, and he used to wander from one place to another to help disciples. This story is about one of his disciples, Ninakawa. He was just on the verge, almost enlightened. But ’almost enlightened’ means nothing; you can move back, from the last point also you can fall. Unless it has happened, it has not happened. From the very last moment, when only one step remains and you will become an enlightened one, you can come back. This Ninakawa was almost enlightened but still in the grip of the scriptures, because unless you reach to the truth, it is very difficult to get out of the grip of the scriptures.
It is very difficult to get out of the prison of words. It happens only when you are really enlightened. Then you can see that words are just words: nothing is there, they are not substantial, they are made of the stuff dreams are made of. They are just ripples in the mind, nothing else; sounds in the mind. And the meaning? Meaning is given by us; it is not there; no word is meaningful. And any word can become meaningful by common agreement.
So it is just a social phenomenon, not concerned with truth at all. But people live by words: if someone says something against Jesus and you are a Christian you will be ready to kill him, or be ready to be killed – it is a question of life and death. Someone says something against Mohammed, a Mohammedan gets mad. Just a word – ‘Mohammed’ is just a word, ‘Jesus’ is just a word – but people live by words. […]
Have you ever thought, if your scriptures are burned, what will happen to you? If your mottos are burned, what will happen to you? If your words are burned, what will happen to you? You will be in a very sad plight. That’s why, if someone says anything against the Bible, you become mad. It is not because he is saying something against the Bible – he is burning your motto. You depend on the word. And you depend on the word because you don’t know what truth is. If you come to know what truth is you will throw all the words, you will burn all the mottos. […]
This Ninakawa was struggling his whole life, meditating, sitting, using many techniques, trying in every way to become calm and quiet and still; but he was still in the grip of scripture. The day he was dying Ikkyu visited him. That was the moment now to push this man into the infinite abyss. He may miss, because at the time of death, if scripture is there, you will miss.
You need to be totally vacant, you need to be totally empty; only then can you meet death, because death is emptiness. And only the alike can know the alike, the same can understand the same. If you are filled, even with a single word, you will miss, because then the mind is there – and death has no mind, death has no thought; death is simply falling into emptiness.
So Ikkyu came to push this disciple at the last moment. He had been missing his whole life – he should not miss this last moment. And I also tell you: if you miss your whole life, then there is only one possibility and only one hope – at the moment of death. But no need to wait for it, it can happen right now. If it is not happening right now, then go on trying. But get ready for death. If you are ready, I will be there to push you. If you are ready, then it is very easy: just a little jerk, and the mind blows.
Just before Ninakawa passed away the Zen master Ikkyu visited him.
Masters have been visiting always. It may not have actually happened, remember that; it may not have actually happened. It may be, it is possible, that nobody else than Ninakawa saw the master visiting him. It may have actually happened, but that is irrelevant. One thing is certain: that while Ninakawa was dying, just at the last moment the master was there. This dialogue happened with Ninakawa and Ikkyu. There may have been many others there, they may not have heard it at all; they may not have seen Ikkyu coming at all. It was or it was not a physical visit. But it happened, and it did… whatsoever was needed was done.
“Shall I lead you on?” Ikkyu asked. Ninakawa replied . . .
A man of scripture, particularly Buddhist, because in Buddhism the guru is not accepted. Buddha is the greatest guru, but in Buddhism the guru is not accepted. They have a reason for it. Because the human mind is so complex, it creates trouble everywhere: the guru is to liberate you, but you can make a bondage out of him. Hindus have been teaching that without the guru, without the master, there is no liberation. And this is true, absolutely true, but by the time of Buddha it became a bondage.
Without the guru, without the master, there is no liberation. So people started becoming slaves of masters, because without them there is no liberation. Look at the human mind and the stupidity: a master is to liberate, but you can become a slave to the master because only he can liberate; then you can become just docile. Much slavery was created; nobody else on this earth has created such a deep slavery as Hindus. You cannot come across a single revolution in the whole history of Hinduism against the priest. No – the whole thing was so settled and so fixed and systematized, and everybody was aware that if you rebel against the priest there is no liberation – he is the guru, he is the master.
The untouchables – the sudras – have existed in the most miserable condition. They are the greatest of slaves and they have the longest history of slavery, but never have they revolted against it, because it was not possible. The guru, the master, the brahmin – he is the door to the divine. You have missed this life, and if you rebel you miss the other also – so remain a slave.
Then came Buddha, and he said, “No need for the guru” – not because there is no need for the guru: he said no need for the guru, and he meant no need to become a slave – but that was the only way to say it. So Buddha says, “Be a light unto yourself. Nobody is needed to lead you. Nobody is needed to guide you. You are enough unto yourself.”
This is the greatest possibility of being free, of freedom. But you can misuse this also, this is the problem. Then you think that if there is no need for a master, then why listen to the Buddha? If there is no need for the master, then why go to the Buddha? If I am totally independent, then I am Buddha myself. That happened through Buddhism: slavery didn’t happen, but deep egoism happened. But both are the two extremes: either you become an egoist – because no guru, no master, nobody to follow – or you become a slave, because without the guru there is no liberation.
Can’t you be in the middle? Can’t you just stand in the middle without moving to the extreme? If you can be in the middle, the mind disappears.
Ikkyu came, and he said, “Shall I lead you?”
Ikkyu asked the basic Buddhist question, and Ikkyu knows that if he is still burdened with the scripture he will say, “No, who can lead anybody? Nobody is a guru. Every soul is absolutely independent. I am a light unto myself.” If he is burdened with the scripture, this will be the response. If he is not burdened with the scripture, then the response can be any – infinite possibilities open.
Ninakawa replied, “I came here alone . . .” ‘This is what Buddha says “. . . I go alone. What help could you be to me?”
Everybody is born alone, goes alone; and in the middle of these two, coming and going, you may delude yourself that you are with somebody, but you still remain alone. Because if you are in the beginning alone and in the end alone, how in the middle can you be with somebody? The wife, the husband, the friend, the society, are all illusions. You remain alone, aloneness is your nature. You can be deluded, that’s all. You can have dreams, that’s all, but the other remains always the other and there is no meeting point. This is the basic Buddhist teaching to make man free.
That’s why Buddha even denied God, because if there is God how can you be alone? He is always there. Even when you are in your bathroom he is there – because he is omnipotent, omnipresent. You cannot escape him; wherever you go he will be there. He is the cosmic eye, the cosmic spy, following you. Whatsoever you do, he will be looking! It is very difficult to escape God; if he is, then he is everywhere. You cannot hide – this is beautiful if you can understand – and religious people used it to help.
Hindus, Mohammedans, Christians, they have all used the omnipresence of God. It is a great help, because if you can really feel God following you like a shadow everywhere, you will become very, very much alert and aware – because he is there. You are not alone, you cannot relax into sin, you cannot relax into ignorance, sleepiness – he is there. The presence will make you alert.
This is the right use. But otherwise, the presence can become a bondage, a heavy burden, anxiety. […]
This can become a deep anxiety, a neurosis; this can create guilt, and then you have missed. And remember: every key that can open a door can destroy the lock also if you use it wrongly. There is a way, a right way to use a key; only then it opens the lock. If you use it wrongly, the lock may be destroyed. And as the mind is, it always uses keys in a wrong way. Then somebody is needed who must say to you, “Throw this key, because this key is now useless. This is only destroying the lock, not helping you in any way.”
Buddha said no guru is needed – because in his time the guru meant the brahmin. Krishnamurti is saying the same thing: no guru is needed. But there is another possibility – it may give you freedom. If it gives you freedom it is perfectly okay. But it may give you egoism and that’s the problem, there is the rub. If it gives you egoism, you may not become a slave to somebody else, but you have become a slave to your own ego. And remember, nobody can be such a dangerous master as your ego can be. Nobody can make you so blind as your ego can make you. Nobody can lead you to such hells as your ego can lead you.
Ikkyu just wanted to know whether this man is still clinging to the scriptures, or he has come to understand Buddha. Understanding is different, clinging is different. Clinging is to the dead letter. If he has understood, then Buddha is the greatest master. If he has not understood, then he will not allow; even at the point of death, he will cling to the scriptures.
Ikkyu was standing there, and was asking, “Can I lead you? Shall I lead you on? . . . Because the path is unknown. You have never been through it; I have been along it. I know how to die; I know how to celebrate death. I know how to lose yourself into death, and then you never lose; then the real self is born for the first time. I know the secret of dying and rebirth. Can I lead you on?”
Ninakawa replied – he refused – he said: “I came here alone, and I go alone. What help could you be to me?”
And he was in need of help. If he was not in need of help, he would have simply laughed, smiled; he would have said, “Thank you.” There was no need to use these words from the scriptures. Why do you use scriptures? They are rationalizations. Whenever you are uncertain you use the scripture, because the scripture is very certain. Whenever you are in doubt, you use Buddha, Krishna, Christ, because they can hide your hesitation, they can hide your reality, they can give you a false confidence.
Whenever you are using others’ words you are hiding your ignorance. This man was not saying, “I came here alone” – this was not his experience. He was not saying “… And I go alone.” He was repeating words, and you cannot deceive a master with words.
Ikkyu answered, “If you think you really come and go . . .”
These are the most beautiful words ever uttered – the essence of all the Upanishads, the essence of all Buddhas and Mahaviras, just in one sentence.
“If you think you really come and go, that is your delusion. Let me show you the path on which there is no coming and no going.”
This is really very difficult and subtle.
Says Ikkyu, “If you think you really come and go, then the ego is there. Who comes? Who goes? If you think you come and go, you don’t know; then you are simply repeating Buddha’s words” – there is the catch.
If you have come to know that “I come alone, and I go alone,” then there is no coming and no going, because the soul is never born, never dies. Life is an eternal continuum. It continues. It never comes, never goes. This body may have been born, this body may die – but that life, the energy, the self, the soul, or whatsoever you call the consciousness that exists in this body, has never been born and will not die. That consciousness is continuous. There has never been any break in it.
If you really know, then you know that there is no coming, no going. Who comes? Who goes? If you don’t understand, if you have not realized this, then you will say, “I come alone.” But then this ‘I’ is the ego; then this ’I’ is not the self. When you say, “I go alone,” the emphasis is on ‘I’ – and the ‘I’ is the bondage. If there is no ‘I’, suddenly you will see that you have never been born and are never going to die; then there is no beginning and no end.
Says Jesus . . . somebody asked Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we have been waiting for? Who are you? Tell us about you.”
Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am.”
Abraham must have been thousands of years before, and Jesus says, “Before Abraham was, I am.” The sentence is really very absurd, logically absurd, grammatically wrong: “Before Abraham was, I am.” Abraham is in the past; Jesus says, “Before he was…” and Abraham is the first prophet. There is every possibility that Abraham is just a changed name of Ram, because in old Hebrew it is not Abraham, it is Abram. And Ab simply means respect, just like Shree Ram; it is just to pay respect.
There is every possibility that Abraham is no one else than Ram.
Says Jesus, “Before Abraham was, I am.” For Abraham he uses the past tense: he has been and is no more; the manifestation was there and now is no more. But “I am,” because “I am always: I was, I am here, I will be.”
The innermost consciousness knows no birth, no death; knows no past, no present, no future; knows no time. It is eternal, and eternity is not part of time.
Said Ikkyu, “If you think you really come and go – if you think that there is a coming and going – You are in delusion. Let me show you the path on which there is no coming and going.”
What have buddhas been doing? They have simply been showing you that you are perfect – as you are. No change is needed. You have not to go anywhere, you have not to move a single inch. As you are, you are in your perfect glory, here and now. There is no coming and no going. Just become aware of the phenomenon that you are. Just become aware who you are! Just be alert! And then nothing is to be achieved, no effort is to be made, because from the very beginning, before Abraham was, you are. You have seen the creation of the world, you will see the end of the world, but there is no beginning to you and no end to you.
You are the witness, and the witness cannot have any beginning and cannot have any end. If you had been alert, you would have seen your own birth. If you can die consciously, you will see that death is happening in the body and you are just an onlooker. So the body dies, and you are just the witness. And if you can be a witness in the death, then in the next life, in the birth, you will be a witness. You will see that the mind is choosing a womb: hovering all around the earth, finding a woman, a couple, making love – you will see it.
Just as if you are hungry: you go to the market, and you can be a witness that your eyes, your mind is looking at the hotels, restaurants, to find the right place where you can have your food. You are hungry, but if you get too identified with the hunger then you cannot be a witness. Otherwise, hunger is there, but you are not the hunger. How can you be the hunger? – otherwise who will know that you are hungry?
Hunger, to be known, needs someone else beyond the hunger who can look and see, who can become alert. If you can become alert in hunger, then you can see how your mind is searching for a right place to have your food. The same happens after death: your mind is in search of a right womb. You choose, you see what is happening.
If you are in search of a particular womb, if you are a very good soul or a very bad soul, then you may take many years to find a right womb – very difficult. If you are just an ordinary person, just normal, nothing special good or bad, neither a Hitler nor a Gandhi, then you can be born immediately; there is no need, because everywhere ordinary, normal, standard wombs are available. Then, this moment you die and the next moment you are born – not even a single moment is lost. […]
If you die consciously and are born consciously you will know that there is no birth and no death, only a body has been chosen. You remain the same, only the house changes. If you change your old clothes, do you say this is a new birth, I am born? No, because you have only changed the clothes; you remain the same.
This is how one who becomes alert comes to know that all changes are just changes of dresses and houses and places, situations, circumstances, but you remain the same; the center never changes, it is eternal.
Says Ikkyu, “If you think you really come and go that is your delusion. Let me show you the path on which there is no coming and going.”
What is that path? Is there really a path? Because we have to use language, that’s why he says ‘path’. Otherwise, there is no path, because a path always leads somewhere. No path can lead to you because you are already there. If you want to come to me there is a path, has to be. If you come to somebody you have to follow a path, go through a passage, a bridge, something or other – because you are moving outward. But if you want to go inward there is no path. You are already there. A sudden jerk is needed and you simply feel that you are there.
It is just like when you dream in the night: you fall into sleep in Poona, and in the dream, you are back at your London home, or in New York, or in Calcutta, or in Tokyo, and in the dream, you completely forget that you are in Poona. Then what is needed? Just a jerk. Somebody comes and wakes you up. Will you wake up in London, Tokyo, New York, or in Poona? It would have been very difficult, it will create a very absurd world, if you are dreaming of New York and suddenly somebody wakes you and you wake up in New York! Then this world would have been a nightmare. But you wake up in Poona; the dream disappears.
Buddhas have been teaching this: that there is no need to go anywhere, because you are already there where you want to go; but you are in a dream. Only in a dream have you moved from the center – you cannot move from there. You are there. For millions of lives, you may have been dreaming, but you have not moved from the center where you are. Nobody can move. Just a jerk, just somebody to shock you . . . you become alert and suddenly the dream disappears. The dreamland and New York and London, they disappear, and you are here and now.
This jerk, this shock can be given very easily at the moment of death – because the whole body-mind is going through a great change. Everything is in chaos. In a chaos you can be made alert more easily because everything is uncomfortable. When everything is comfortable it is difficult to bring a man out of the dream – nobody really wants to come out of a comfortable dream. Only when the dream becomes a nightmare, then you scream. […]
Dreams are effective, they go deep, because in an unconscious mind the distinction is really very vague; what is dream and what is real is very vague. They are mixed, the boundaries are not so clear-cut, the boundaries are blurred.
Have you seen a child waking, and weeping because he has lost a toy he saw in the dream? “I am looking around for the toy – where has the toy disappeared to?”
But this child never dies in you. It dies only when you make much effort to become alert; only then the dream and the reality become clear-cut distinctions. And once the vagueness is lost, once the boundaries are not blurred, once you become aware what is dream, what is reality, the dream stops – because then the dream cannot continue. If you have become aware the dream cannot continue. Even in a dream, if you become aware that this is a dream, the dream will stop immediately.
So you never become aware in a dream that this is a dream, you always feel this is real. For anything to continue, your feeling is needed that this is real. You give reality through the feeling. If you withdraw the feeling, the dream disappears and only the reality remains.
It is a dream that you are in this world, and it is the reality that you exist in the divine. It is a dream that you are in the market; it is the reality that you have never moved from the very center of existence, from God. It is a dream you have moved in the market – and a dream can continue, there is no time limit. If you think you are the body, this is a dream – you have never been a body. If you think you are born and you die, this is a dream – you have never been born and you can never die; that is impossible.
Said Ikkyu, “This is your delusion if you say, ‘I come and I go.’ There is no one to come and no one to go. And there is no place to come to and no place to go to. Let me show you the pathless path. Because then there can be no path – because if there is no one to come and no one to go, no place to come to and no place to go to, then how can the path exist? So let me show you the pathless path on which there is no coming and no going.”
With his words, Ikkyu had revealed the path so clearly that Ninakawa smiled and passed away.
It happened! You have heard the words – but you are not Ninakawa, you are not that ready, you are not on your deathbed – that’s the problem. You are still hoping for something in life, your dream still has much meaning for you, you have investments in your dream. You may have a desire to come out of the dream, but this desire is only half-hearted. The other part goes on saying, “Dream it a little more, it is so beautiful.” […]
You may be having nightmares; in those moments you feel, “How to drop out of the dream?” – but you have beautiful dreams also; not only hellish dreams, you have heavenly dreams. And that’s the problem: unless you become aware that even a heavenly dream is a dream and useless, you are not on the deathbed. Your desire continues, you go on watering the world of dreams, feeding it, helping it to grow.
Ninakawa was on his deathbed, he was dying, there was no future left. He was in a chaos. The whole system, the whole adjustment of body, mind and soul was getting looser and looser. Things were falling apart; he was not together. The nightmare was intense, because it is most intense in death. He was simply miserable in that moment: death and no future.
If there is no future you cannot dream, because dreams need space, time to move. That’s why death looks so dangerous, because it allows no time to think. You cannot hope, because there is no tomorrow. Death does not kill you, it simply kills the tomorrow, and tomorrow has been your very existence. You have never lived today; you have been always postponing for tomorrow. And death kills the tomorrow, it simply burns your calendar – suddenly the clock stops, time doesn’t move.
Without time what can you do? How can the mind think, desire, dream? Death closes the door – that is the fear.
Why does death make you so afraid and trembling and scared? Because there seems to be no beyond, no possibility to escape from it. You cannot do anything because you cannot think, and you know only one thing: thinking, nothing else. Your whole life has been a thinking. Now, death allows no thinking. Only a man who has been meditating and has realized no-thinking before death will not be afraid – because he knows that thinking is not life.
And he knows a different plenum of existence. He knows the depth, not the length of existence. He is not moving from this moment to that, he is not moving from today to tomorrow. He is moving in this moment, deeper and deeper and deeper; in today, deeper and deeper and deeper. He is moving here and now, in the depth.
You touch this moment, and you move to another moment; you have a horizontal movement: from A to B, from B to C, from C to D. And a man who meditates goes on moving from A1 to A2 to A3 – in the depth – not to B. He has no tomorrow. This here and now is the only existence, then how can there be death for him? This moment you are alive; only in the next moment can you die. This moment no one has ever died. This moment you are alive, and this man who meditates moves into this moment – how can he die?
Death will happen on the periphery; he will come to know about it. It will be just as you come to know about a neighbor who is dead: he will come to know about it, that the body is dead – this will be news. He may even feel sorry for the body, but he is not dying.
Ninakawa was a meditator just on the verge of enlightenment, still clinging. You can take a jump into the abyss, but still you can cling to a creeper – and you can go on clinging, afraid. You are almost in the abyss, sooner or later you will fall, but still for a moment more the mind says, “Cling!” He was clinging to the scriptures, to the buddhas, to the words, the doctrines. He was still repeating knowledge. Just a creeper – sooner or later he will have to leave this, because when life leaves you, how can words be retained? They will leave you.
With this, Ikkyu’s revelation, he understood, he left the clinging. He smiled and passed away.
You never smile. Either you weep or you laugh, but you never smile. A smile is just in the middle, it is difficult for you. Either you weep or you laugh – they are the possibilities, the two extremes. Try to find out what this phenomenon of a smile is.
Only a buddha smiles, because it is just in the middle. A smile has both a sadness in it, the sadness of the tears, and the happiness of laughter. A smile has both. Smiling is never simple laughter: it has the expansion of laughter and the depth of sadness – it is both. Look at Buddha, meditate on him, and you will see in his face both a sadness and a happiness; a blissful flowing of his being and still a deep sadness.
With these two chemicals, so to say, a smile is created. When you feel sad for everybody, when you feel sad for the whole existence because they are unnecessarily suffering…. You cannot imagine the sadness of a buddha, it is difficult for you. You only think that a buddha is happy. He is happy as far as he himself is concerned, but for you? You cannot conceive his difficulty – because he sees you, and you are unnecessarily suffering, and nothing can be done, you cannot be helped. A disease that is not there – and incurable! And he knows that just by the corner, just a turn of your being, and everything will be solved. But you will not take that turn. You will jump and you will do many things, but you will always miss that turn. You will grope in the dark, but somehow, miraculously, you always miss the door. You know how to miss the door; you are perfect in that: how to miss the door and always go on groping.
A buddha is in difficulty because he has realized something which is there with you already. The same blissful existence, the same beauty, the same ecstasy that he has, you have. And you go on crying, and you go on beating your chest, and you are in such a suffering – and nothing can be done. A sadness…
It is said about Buddha that when he reached the door – the final door beyond which there is no door, and you cannot come back; that is the ultimate – when he reached the door of nirvana, the door was opened for him and there was welcome. Because once in millions of years somebody reaches to the ultimate. But he turned his back towards the door and looked at the world – and they say he is still standing there; he has not entered.
The doorkeeper asked, “What are you doing? You have been endeavoring for this for many, many lives. Now the door is open, come in.”
And Buddha said, “Unless everybody who is suffering out there enters, I cannot enter. I will be the last to enter.” This is the sadness.
The story is really beautiful. Nobody can stand at that ultimate door, that’s true; there is no door like that and no doorkeeper. You fall, and there is no way to stop yourself. The story is beautiful; that shows in a symbolic way the consciousness of a buddha – the trouble, his anguish, his suffering. It is not his suffering now; it is the suffering of others that makes him sad.
It is as if you have awakened but everybody else is fast asleep, and they are dreaming and dreaming nightmares – screaming, jumping, crying, weeping, and you know that these are just nightmares, but these people are so drunk and so fast asleep, you cannot help. If you try to wake them up they become angry. They say, “Why are you disturbing our sleep? Who are you?” You cannot wake them, and you have to see their suffering, and suffer it.
Buddha is sad – for you. Buddha laughs deeply, his whole being is filled with laughter – just like a tree has come to flower, everything has become a dance. And these both meet in him: the laughter that bubbles and goes on coming out – and still he cannot laugh because of you – and the sadness that you create. They both meet and the meeting creates a smile. A smile is both laughter and tears.
You cannot smile – you can laugh, you can weep. When you weep, how can you laugh? Because in weeping it is always for yourself; it is a single element. When you laugh, you laugh; how can you weep? – because laughing is for yourself. In Buddha, the ego has disappeared, now he is no more, the meeting has happened with the all. Two elements meet: his consciousness which has become perfect, and all around millions of consciousnesses which are perfect, suffering – unnecessarily suffering, suffering without any cause – these two meet, and a sad and yet happy smile comes to his face.
He cannot weep because what you are doing is so foolish. He cannot laugh because that will be too hard on you. At the most he can smile. This happened, so a smile has become a symbol of one who has become enlightened.
With his words, Ikkyu had revealed the path so clearly that Ninakawa smiled and passed away.
Then it was not a death, but just a passing – passing to another world, a passing to another birth; then nobody was dying. And if you can die with a smile, you know the art of dying, and the whole of religion consists in the art of dying, nothing else than that.
Now I will repeat the first story we started, so that you don’t forget it: forgetfulness is a trick.
These ten days we have been talking about No Water, No Moon. It will remain just a talk – words and words and words – if you are not ready to die. Be on your deathbed! Be a Ninakawa! Then these words are so clear, as Ikkyu’s never were. I tell you: these words are as clear as Ikkyu’s never were. You can also smile and pass away – remember:
The nun Chiyono studied for years but was unable to find enlightenment. One night, she was carrying an old pail filled with water. As she was walking along, she was watching the full moon reflected in the pail of water. Suddenly, the bamboo strips that held the pail together broke, and the pail fell apart. The water rushed out, the moon’s reflection disappeared – and Chiyono became enlightened. Afterwards, she wrote this poem:
This way and that way,
I tried to keep the pail together,
Hoping the weak bamboo
Would never break.
Suddenly the bottom fell out.
No more water;
No more reflection of the full moon
In the water–
Emptiness in my hand.
Go with emptiness in your hand, because that’s all . . . that’s all I can offer to you, and nothing is greater than that. This is my gift: go with emptiness in your hand. If you can carry emptiness in your hand, then everything becomes possible. Don’t carry possessions, don’t carry knowledge, don’t carry anything that fills the pot and becomes the water, because then you will be seeing only the reflection. In wealth, in possessions, in houses, in cars, in prestige, you will see only the reflection of the full moon. And the full moon is there waiting for you.
Let the bottom drop! Don’t try this way and that way to protect the old pail. It is not worth it. Don’t protect yourself, it is not worth it. Let the pail break down, let the water flow, let the moon in the water disappear, because only then will you be able to raise your eyes towards the real moon. It is always there in the sky – but emptiness in the hand is needed. Remain more and more empty, think yourself more and more empty, behave more and more as if you are empty. By and by, by and by, you will have the taste of it. And once the taste comes, it is so beautiful.
Once you know the taste of emptiness, you have known the very meaning of life. Carry emptiness, drop the pail of water which is your ego, your mind and your thoughts, and remember: no water, no moon – emptiness in the hand.
From No Water, No Moon, Discourse #10
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