Maneesha, a great master on his own authority, Nangaku, is working on a greater master, Ma Tzu, who is just a seed right now, but contains a great buddha.
You are also seeds. It is up to you if you remain closed. Then you will never know your ultimate nature as a buddha. A little courage, a little opening, a little dying of the cover of the seed and the buddha starts sprouting in you.
You cannot blame the climate. The rains are there. The clouds have even entered into the auditorium, they are just passing before my eyes. So close are the clouds . . . but the strange thing is that the closer the clouds are, the more the seed becomes afraid. Afraid of the unknown, afraid of . . . one never knows what is going to be outside. Hidden inside a cover, the seed feels safer, more secure.
On the path of Zen, you have to learn these important words: openness, joy in insecurity – a challenge from the unknown has always to be welcomed. That is the way of growing up. Most of the people in the world, who Wilhelm Reich has called “little men,” die as little men, although their destiny is not to be little men. Wilhelm Reich was perfectly right in respect of the masses, the crowd, to call his book Listen, Little Man. But he was absolutely wrong because he could not see that hidden in the little man is the greatest buddha.
He simply condemned the little man because all the little men were condemning him. He was a genius; not a buddha but an intellectual giant, and he has been condemned by the crowds. Finally he was forced within the walls of a madhouse. And he was saying immensely sensible things. He was bringing a new territory to be explored.
But all those fearful people, afraid of the unknown, afraid of losing the security and the safety of the bank balance, forced him into a madhouse. And he was not mad. In his madhouse days he wrote his best books. They are evidence that he was not mad. But the politicians and the crowd and the government all conspired to force him to live in a madhouse. They all laughed at his immensely valuable discoveries about human energy. Naturally he was angry.
So when he wrote the book Listen, Little Man, it was not out of compassion, it was out of reaction. They had done harm to him, and he at least was able to condemn them. His book is beautiful in describing the little man. But the essential part of the little man is the seed, his potentiality, which Reich completely forgets in his anger.
Otherwise, he was very close to becoming enlightened. But in his anger, his reaction, he was incapable of seeing the point that the people were bound to condemn him – his being a genius was enough reason for their condemnation. They were bound to crucify him and it had to be understood as the natural course of things. But he could not take it as the natural course of things. He could not understand that it is something that has to happen to every genius who opens the doors of insecurity.
And because of this great cloud of anger, he was completely blind, unable to see that the little man is a buddha, hidden deep down as a seed.
Nangaku is instructing Ma Tzu.
After his first instructions from his master, Nangaku, on the meaning of the dharma, Ma Tzu felt as if he were drinking the most exquisite nectar.
After bowing to the master, Ma Tzu asked him, “How must one be attuned to the formless samadhi?”
The first thing to understand is the meaning of dharma. Unfortunately, the Sanskrit word ‘dharma’ – or the Pali word which Buddha used, ‘dhamma’ – has been wrongly translated as ‘religion’ by the theologians, and by scholars it has been translated as ‘law’, the ultimate law. Both have missed the point.
Dharma is not religion. In fact if you go to the roots of the words, religion means that which binds you, and dharma means that which frees you. They are absolutely contrary to each other. Dharma simply means your intrinsic nature. It is not written in scriptures and nobody can tell you what your dharma is. You have to find it yourself. This is a great dignity, conferred on the individual by existence, that you don’t have to live on borrowed knowledge. The living source of life is just flowing close by. Why not drink it and be quenched?
Ma Tzu says, after understanding the meaning of the dharma, that He felt as if he were drinking the most exquisite nectar. The deeper you go in your meditations, the closer you will come to the eternal stream of your life sources. It is pure nectar, because it declares your immortality, it declares your eternity. It declares that death is a fiction; it has never happened and will never happen to anyone. One only changes the house; one gets into another form or maybe into the formless existence.
Ma Tzu’s statement that He felt as if he were drinking the most exquisite nectar shows his tremendous understanding. He is very new in meditation; he is so young. But age has nothing to do with your realization. It is not that when you get old, you will be able to become a buddha easily. On the contrary, the older you become the more difficult it becomes for you to drop your lifelong habits, concepts, ideologies.
Just two years ago Pope the Polack was in India and he was surprised to see that the very poor and the orphans who have been converted to Christianity were doing the same in their churches as they had been doing before: burning incense, bringing flowers for Jesus Christ. He could not believe what the priests were doing, because these people were doing exactly what they used to do in their temples. Instead of Krishna, now Christ is there, everything else is the same.
But the priests told him that they had to make a few considerations, a few compromises. These people cannot understand a religion without incense, without flowers. And the pope conceded that for Indian Christians it is okay.
As you become old, it becomes very difficult to change your ideology, your lifelong belief. It becomes hardened. The old man becomes hard, and in the same way everything around him becomes hard. The best situation in which to grow into your potential is childhood. Next to it is your youth. Most probably the childhood will be spoilt by the parents, by the priests.
The authentic religion has to depend on youth, because youth has a certain rebelliousness natural to it. A young man can rebel against the whole past without any guilt. He can clean his heart of all the old dead scriptures and statues, and the challenge of the unknown stirs his heart. He wants to accept the greatest challenge, and this is the greatest challenge in life – to allow your seed to open to the unknown skies, to the winds, the sun, the rain; one never knows what is going to happen.
There is nobody to guide the seed, there are no scriptures for the seed to read. The seed is taking a risk by coming out, and you should understand that the risk is not small. The risk is exactly a death. The seed has to die in the soil; only then the sprouts of the potentiality of the seed will start growing. Perhaps it will become a rose flower, or a lotus, or some other kind of flower. It does not matter. What matters is flowering, not the name of the flower. A wild flower is as beautiful as the most precious rose. They are brothers in one way, that they both have come to their flowering. They have both enjoyed the joy of growth, they both have seen with their own eyes what was hidden in their seed. They have both taken the same risk and the same challenge.
In fact, it is a death and a resurrection. The seed dies and resurrects into many flowers, into many fruits, into many seeds. It is said that a single seed can make the whole earth green. Just one plant is not its potential. On that one plant there will come thousands of seeds again, each seed again carrying thousands of seeds.
Just a single seed can fill the whole earth with absolute greenness. Such tremendous possibility in a small seed! And you are a living seed, conscious. The most precious thing in existence is within you: consciousness. The seed is groping in the dark, still finding the way. And you are conscious, you have a little light, but you don’t move from your position, you remain a little man. In fact you hate all those who have gone to the other shore because their very going condemns you, that you have failed to fulfill your own destiny.
After bowing to the master, Ma Tzu asked him, “How must one be attuned to the formless samadhi?”
The master must have said to him that unless you become attuned with existence in utter silence, you cannot know the dharma, the very principle of life and existence. Ma Tzu’s inquiry is that of an honest seeker. He loved what was said, he felt it as if it was exquisite nectar – but he would not believe it. There are still things to be settled. His question is not the question of a student, it is the question of a would-be master.
“How must one be attuned to the formless samadhi?”
He cuts out all unnecessary questions and comes exactly to the right thing, how one should be attuned to the formless samadhi.
Samadhi is a Sanskrit word, very beautiful in its meaning. It comes from a root which means, when there is no question and no answer, when your silence is so profound that you don’t even have the question; answers are left far away but you don’t have even the question. Such innocence which is just silent is called samadhi. And in this samadhi you can fall in tune with the heartbeat of the universe. Only in samadhi can you become one with the whole. There is no other way.
Every day what we are doing in the name of meditation is moving towards samadhi. Meditation is the beginning and samadhi is the end. Ma Tzu’s question is that of a potential buddha. He is not asking about non-essentials, just the very essential.
The master said, “When you cultivate the way of interior wisdom, it is like sowing seed. When I expound to you the essentials of dharma, it is like the showers from heaven. As you are receptive to the teaching, you are destined to see the Tao.”
Tao is Chinese for what we call samadhi; the Japanese call it satori, the Chinese call it Tao. Tao is perhaps the best of all these expressions, because it is not part of language. It simply indicates something inexpressible, something that you can know but cannot say, something that you can live but cannot explain. It is something that you can dance, you can sing, but you cannot utter a single word about it. You can be it; you can be the expression of Tao, but you cannot say what it is that you are expressing.
Ma Tzu again asked: “Since the Tao is beyond color and form, how can it be seen?”
You have to understand this dialogue very deeply, because it will give you the right direction for what has to be asked. There are thousands of things to ask, but the essentials are very few and unless you start by asking the essentials, you will not come close to the truth.
As Nangaku mentioned the Tao, Ma Tzu immediately asked: “Since the Tao is beyond color and form, how can it be seen? – you are saying that if you enter into samadhi, you will see the Tao.”
The master said: “The dharma-eye of your interior spirit is capable of perceiving the Tao. So it is with the formless samadhi.”
It was for this reason that the East had to develop the concept of the third eye. These two eyes can see only the form, the color, but they cannot see the formless and the colorless. For the formless and colorless they are blind. In samadhi you close these eyes and a new perceptivity, which can be metaphorically called ‘the third eye’, arises in you; a new sensitivity which can feel and see what is not possible for your outer senses.
The dharma-eye, which is the third eye of your interior spirit, is capable of perceiving the Tao. When I say to you in meditations, “Go deeper, look deeper,” I am trying in every way so that your third eye, which has remained dormant, opens up.
Ma Tzu still asked, “Is there still making and unmaking?”
Can we do something inside? Can we make a buddha inside? Is there still some creativity inside? It is a very profound question.
To this, the master replied, “If one sees the Tao from the standpoint of making and unmaking, or gathering and scattering, one does not really see the Tao. Listen to my gatha.”
He says that as far as your inner world is concerned your buddha is already there; you don’t have to make it. Everything is as it should be in your inner world.
I am reminded of the Russian scientist, Kirlian, who brought a new vision to the objective scientist; its implications are immense. He was a great photographer and he went on perfecting and refining his lenses. His whole idea was that if something is hidden in a seed as a potential, then perhaps the photograph of the potential can be caught with a better lens.
It was a very strange idea, but scientists and mystics and philosophers and poets are all a little bit crazy. Everybody tried to persuade him: “Don’t do such nonsense, how can you see the rose in the seed?”
He said, “If it is going to be, then it must be present in some way – perhaps our eyes are not capable of seeing it.” And finally, he succeeded. He managed to create lenses which could take a photograph of what was going to happen in the future. He would put the seed in front of his camera and a photograph would come of a rose flower.
And then he would wait for the seed to die into the soil – and it was one of the miracles of modern genius, that when the real rose came, it would be exactly the same as the photograph. He has caught the future in his net.
He became convinced that if it is true about the seed then it can be used in many things. For example, Kirlian photography has now become an absolute must in Russian hospitals. People come just to be checked, to see if there is any possibility of disease in the future.
His lenses have become even more refined now after his death; a whole school of Kirlian photographers has been working on it. They can see at least six months ahead. If you are going to be sick in six months’ time, the photograph will show it – that after six months you will have cancer.
There is no other way to find it out, but it can be treated although it has not become manifest. It is a tremendous blessing to medicine. We can cure people before they become sick.
What we see with our eyes is not all. Even in the outside world our eyes have limitations. Kirlian photography has gone beyond our eyes into the objective world. In the same way the third eye opens in the inner world and brings you your whole potentiality in its fullness. You don’t have to do anything, you have just to recognize it. A buddha is not made, a buddha is only remembered.
Nangaku said, “Listen to my gatha.” That is an ancient way; ‘gatha’ means poetry. “What I could manage to say in prose, I have said. Now listen to my poetry. Something that I have not been able to say in prose can be said in poetry.
“The ground of the no-mind
Contains many seeds
Which will all sprout when
Heavenly showers come.”
They have come and now it is up to you to take the challenge.
“The flower of samadhi
Is beyond color and form.
How can there be any more
It is said that at this, Ma Tzu was truly enlightened, his mind having transcended the world of phenomena. He attended upon his master for a full ten years. During this period, he delved deeper and deeper into meditation.
In my house there is a cave,
And in the cave is nothing at all –
Pure and wonderfully empty,
Resplendent, with a light
Like the sun.
A meal of greens will do
For this old body,
A ragged coat will cover
This phantom form.
Let a thousand saints appear
Before me – I have the
Buddha of heavenly truth!
Once you have looked into your inner cave and found the light, the life, the very source of your being, then the so-called saints don’t mean anything. They are just moralists, following a certain system of morality, beliefs, but they don’t have the truth. If you have the truth then even a thousand saints cannot weigh more than your buddha. Your buddha is the ultimate and it is not borrowed. You have discovered it.
Maneesha has asked:
From Ma Tzu: The Empty Mirror, Discourse #2
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