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Chapter 6: Cages of Gold

This Zen master says, Every man has beneath his feet, ground enough to do zazen on. You don’t have to go to Sinai or to Kaaba or to Kashi, you don’t have to go anywhere. Wherever you are, you are in the holy universe. There are not certain places which are holy and certain places which are not holy. If the whole universe is divine then everything is holy.

Another haiku:

The bamboo shadows are sweeping the stairs,
but no dust is stirred:
the moonlight penetrates deep
into the bottom of the pool,
but no trace is left in the water.

Saying things which cannot be said, Zen has such a unique way of indicating aesthetically that it seems unbelievable. The master is saying, The bamboo shadows.not the bamboos themselves, because bamboos are clumsy and they will make much noise. The bamboo shadows are sweeping the stairs, but no dust is stirred. This is our actual situation. In our innermost consciousness no dust is stirred. All our thoughts are nothing but bamboo shadows.

The moonlight penetrates deep
into the bottom of the pool,
but no trace is left in the water.

When you become aware you are surprised.all your actions in the past, your thoughts in the past - nothing has left any trace. Awakened, you are left completely silent as if there has been no past at all. Just like in the morning when you wake up, just for two or three minutes you remember the last part of a dream. You have been dreaming the whole night, six hours. If you are sleeping eight hours, then six hours you have been dreaming. But when you wake up you remember just the last dream, and that too only when you are half asleep and you can feel it. When you are really awake no trace remains of any dreams.

This was the reason why the mystics called the world just a dream. All your desires, all your possessions, all your thoughts, all your religions, all your anger, love and hate - everything that makes up your world, your mind, is found to be as if it has never been there. When you wake up, you are absolutely a clean slate. Nobody has ever written anything on it.

Another Zen master:

If you wish to know the road
up the mountain, you must ask the man
who goes back and forth on it.

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