Is it not necessary to desire, to long and to seek truth and avoid the untrue, to seek truth ad renounce the false?
Divyananda, there is no way to seek truth because truth is not far away. Truth is not “there” somewhere so that you have to go to it, so that you have to reach to it; truth is not to be sought because truth is the very being of the seeker. How can you seek the seeker? How can you know the knower? That is impossible. You cannot encounter yourself. You are the truth.
Hence all seeking is futile, but one learns only through seeking. One learns this tremendously important fact, that all seeking is useless, only through seeking; there is no other way to learn it. You seek and you fail, you seek again and you fail; slowly slowly it becomes clear to you that seeking itself is the cause of missing it. Then seeking drops of its own accord. And when there is no longing, no desire, when you are utterly silent, when the very mind of the achiever has disappeared, you are surprised that what you have been seeking all along has always been with you.
It is not necessary to look for truth or avoid illusion.
Why? – because to look for it is to begin in a wrong direction and to avoid illusion is foolish because illusion means that which is not. How can you avoid that which is not and how can you seek that which is? That which is is, and that which is not is not.
Yoka also says:
We know that both are comprised in emptiness, that they have no form and bounds. Non-form is neither empty nor non-empty. It is the true reality of Buddha.
One has simply to become utterly empty. And when I say “utterly empty” I mean one has not to be just empty “utterly empty” means empty of everything and also empty of emptiness. Otherwise the mind is so cunning it can now cling to a new idea of emptiness.
A disciple of Yoka was coming again and again to him, bringing his experiences that were happening in his deep meditation, and Yoka was hitting him. Whatsoever he said he would be hit, irrespective of what he was saying. He was bringing beautiful experiences: the rising of the kundalini, a great experience of light, a beautiful inner fragrance, the sound of one hand clapping – whatsoever he had heard that people had achieved through meditation he was bringing – but he was being hit again and again.
One day he came with absolute trust: “Now the Master is going to accept my experience, to recognize it – the time has come,” because that day he was going to say, “I have achieved emptiness.”
That is the ultimate. What more can there be? What can there be beyond emptiness? He was very happy that for the first time he was not going to be hit – but even before he had spoken, the Master hit him.
He said, “This is too much! I have not even uttered a single word!”
Yoka said, “It doesn’t matter what you say, it does not matter whether you say it or not – I know. I knew the moment you entered in the room that you were again here with some foolish idea.”
He said, “But sir, you should have listened. This is not a foolish idea; this is the experience of all the Buddhas!”
So Yoka said, “Yes, so you say. It seems you are hankering for another hit!”
And the disciple said, “Sir, I have experienced emptiness!”
Yoka laughed, hit him and said, “Throw it away! It is all nonsense!”
The disciple said, “How can I throw emptiness? I can throw everything else!” That was the first time that he argued with the Master; obviously, his argument seems to be logical. You can throw the experience of light because you are the experiencer. You can throw the experience of energy – you are the experiencer. Any experience can be thrown, but how can you throw the experience of emptiness? There is nothing to throw!
The disciple said, “How can I throw emptiness?”
Then the Master hit him hard and said, “Then carry it out – but do something. Either throw it or carry it out.”
And the disciple said, “What are you asking me? I cannot carry it out because it is just empty, and I cannot throw it either.”
The Master said, “Now you are clinging to the idea of emptiness. This is not emptiness – this is not true emptiness. Now you are full of the idea of emptiness. Once it was light, once it was energy, once it was fragrance now it is emptiness. It is nothing but labels changing. And unless you throw this too you will not be truly empty. A truly empty person is neither empty nor nonempty. There is nothing to experience, not even emptiness. And in that state of silence when there is nothing to experience – no object, no content, but only consciousness, only the observer and nothing to observe only the seer and nothing to see – one attains truth.”
Our spirit is like a clear mirror thus it reflects the universe harmoniously. Our spirit and the universe are one.
Once you are utterly empty you are a mirror. You are not only aware of your inner truth; you become aware of the truth of the whole existence. And they are not two; they are two aspects of the same phenomenon, two sides of the same coin – the outer and the inner.
All manner of troubles arise if we abandon existence to obtain emptiness; that too is sickness.
Listen to these tremendously significant words of Yoka. Yoka is one of the great Zen Masters. He says:
All manner of troubles arise if we abandon existence to obtain emptiness; that too is sickness. It is like throwing oneself into the fire to escape drowning.
Don’t abandon existence. Don’t abandon the ordinary existence in any effort for some illusory truth, for some illusory longing for God. Leave that for the fools. The intelligent person simply lives moment to moment with no desire to seek anything, with no expectation of finding anything. He simply lives moment to moment, joyously. His life is very ordinary; he has no desire to be extraordinary. He has no desire to be a Buddha, hence he is a Buddha. He has no desire to be extraordinary, hence he is extraordinary. Because every ordinary person has the desire to be extraordinary; only extraordinary people don’t have that desire.
If we try to grasp truth or if we wish to escape error and illusion, we practice discrimination, an artificial and erroneous attitude.
Once you say, “This is truth and that is untruth,” you have started discriminating – and to discriminate is the disease of the mind. That is the function of the mind: to discriminate. “This is right, that is wrong. This is true, that is false. This is worldly, that is spiritual. This is materialist, that is religious.” Once you start discriminating there is no end to it and you are in the grip of the mind. Drop discriminating and you are out of the grip of the mind. To be out of the grip of the mind is to be free, is to know what freedom is.
Most men forget spirit treasure, they have to recourse to dualist thinking and abandon the true nature of spirit. To pass the barrier of Zen by means of zazen, we should finish with reason, knowledge, illusion. Then we shall attain to supreme wisdom and enter into the palace of nirvana.
Nirvana is not somewhere else; it is your inner space. Just get out of the clutches of the mind. Your mind is like an octopus: if somehow you get free of one of the legs of the octopus, there are other legs. There are gross legs and there are subtle legs, and by the time you start getting free of the other legs you are getting entangled into other legs. It goes on and on in circles.
The man who escapes from the world, what is he saying? In the East for thousands of years people have been renouncing the world because they say it is illusion. If you truly understand that it is illusion, then what is there to renounce?
These fools even come to me and they ask, “What kind of sannyas are you teaching people? Sannyas means renunciation. They should leave the world, but they live in the world. Not only do they live in the world, they live more deeply and totally in the world than other worldly people! What kind of sannyas is this?” They think I am teaching a wrong kind of sannyas.
I am teaching the ultimate sannyas, not a wrong kind but for the first time the right kind. The wrong kind has prevailed for a long time, for centuries. See the stupidity of the whole thing: you call something illusory and then you escape from it. If it is illusory there is no need to escape. It should be so simple! If it is real then why escape? If it is real then how can you escape?
Nobody renounces their dreams. Or do you renounce them every morning when you wake up – “I renounce all my dreams. I renounce all the treasures that I had in my dreams. I renounce the kingdom of my dreams”? You don’t renounce them, otherwise people would laugh at you – you have gone mad! Dreams are dreams.
And these so-called spiritual people have been telling the world that the world is a dream – renounce it. What nerve – to call it a dream and in the same breath to say, “Renounce it”! Either it is not a dream or it is a dream – make sure what it is. And either way you cannot renounce it. If it is a dream there is no point in renouncing; if it is a reality, how can you renounce reality? – Because reality is synonymous with God.
Hence I teach: Rejoice! There is no need to renounce anything – there is nothing to be renounced. Rejoice, and rejoice more totally! Rejoice in a multi-dimensional way. Dance, sing, be blissful. Let laughter be your life, let love be your life. That is the only true way to know what is.
From Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Chapter 14
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