The problem with every awakened soul has always been the same: before awakening it is the very fact of awakening that is his problem. After awakening, it is again the awakening that comes as a problem — how to express it?
To experience something is one thing, and to express it is totally another. It is possible to feel at ease with existence, in a deep suchness, but how to say it? It is possible to listen to this beautiful evening, the dance of the rain and the silent joy of the trees, but how to say it? Words are so poor, and life is so rich. Life is so vast and words are so small. Just feel this very moment, and you will be able to see its immensity, its tremendous beauty, its splendor, its silence, its song. The heart feels it. The being is showered with flowers. The whole universe is so poetic. It is always poetry; it is never prose. If you just have eyes and sensitivity, life is always a rejoicing. And the deepest source of life is within you.
The whole effort of a seeker is to be awake to the source of being within — which is eternal, immeasurable, immortal. But then the problem arises … a deep urge, an irresistible longing to share it. All the masters, all those who have become awakened, have struggled hard in different ways, rational, irrational. They have even taken recourse to absurdities, just to give you a hint.
Ta Hui is facing the same situation. He has arrived home, and now he wants to invite all those who are still wandering in the darkness. He wants to send the invitation, but where are the words? He is trying his hardest. This morning he gave you two words. One was the great affair of suchness — experiencing life as it is without bringing your mind in — and the second word was faith. Faith is a natural outcome of the experience of suchness. It certainly is a great affair.
Now he will be trying in these last sutras, for a few days more, from different angles, to approach this great affair again and again. One never knows what will penetrate to your heart. There is not much to say, but there is much to show. Every effort has been made, certainly, by different teachers in their uniqueness. Ta Hui will be describing other masters too.
This evening the sutra is, be thouroughgoing. Ordinarily people are never thoroughgoing. They are always lukewarm, just so-so, wishy-washy, half-hearted, always thinking with a divided being: To be or not to be? A person who is divided takes one step forward and immediately takes another step backward. He remains in almost the same place as he has always been, although he is making every effort to move.
I have heard about a small child … it must have been a rainy day like today. The child was always a latecomer to the school, and he was always ready with some excuse. That day the excuse was absolutely clear — it was raining hard.
The child said to the teacher, “Before you ask, I can answer the question today. At least today the excuse is absolutely clear. The muddy road to the school is so slippery that you will not believe me, teacher: I would take one step forward, and I would slip two steps back!”
The teacher said, “If this is true, then how did you manage to reach here?”
The boy said, “I started walking towards my home, then finally I managed to reach the school.”
Every man is in search. It may be better to say that every man is a search, a longing for something; he does not understand exactly what, but something is missing, something is incomplete, something is not entire. There is a gap, and that gap allows no one to remain at rest; it asks to be filled, and unless it is filled, you will never feel that you really are.
George Gurdjieff wrote a book, Meetings with Remarkable Men. One of his disciples asked him, “What is the definition of a remarkable man?”
He said, “An ordinary man is still trying to find where he is, whether he is or not; a remarkable man is one who has found.”
Everybody is a search, a hunger, an appetite, a thirst, a longing — a longing to know oneself and a longing to know through oneself the whole beautiful universe. Certainly one of the most important things should be, be thoroughgoing. Don’t run in all directions; remain one-pointed, remain crystallized.
Life is small and time is moving fast. If you go on only thinking and never taking a solid step towards transformation, towards awareness, towards crystallization, it is not going to happen on its own accord. It cannot happen in a confused mind. Even at the last moment when a person is dying, if you ask him, “Are you certain, can you tell us what you wanted to be in your life?”, ninety-nine point nine percent of people will not be able to answer it.
Gertrude Stein, a woman of tremendous genius, one of the greatest women in the whole of history was dying. Her very close, intimate friends were sitting in silence when suddenly she opened her eyes and said, “What is the answer?” The friends were shocked because the question had not been asked, so how can you say what is the answer? But to a dying woman they could not be hard. A great silence fell over them, but somebody managed to ask her, “You are asking what is the answer — Gertrude Stein laughed and said, “Okay then, tell me: What is the question?” And that was her last statement. She died.
In this small incident is contained the life of millions of people. They don’t know what is the question and they don’t know, of course, what is the answer. And still they are running all over the place in all directions.
Be thoroughgoing means, have a determination that you are going to discover yourself, whatsoever the cost. Having life without knowing it is almost equal to not having it. Living and not knowing what it is, is very humiliating. Loving and not knowing what it is, is unforgivable.
When Ta Hui says, be thoroughgoing, he means: put every iota of your energy, stake everything on a single arrow and then perhaps you may be able to come home. You may be able to discover that which is missing. In fact, the reality is that the moment you are absolutely thoroughgoing, one-pointed, single-minded, with an undivided heart, this very thoroughgoingness is the arrival. You don’t have to go anywhere. In this totality, in this intensity, the flower blossoms.
From The Great Zen Master Ta-Hui, Discourse #30
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