Chapter 1: The Language of Suddenness
“From the Great Cloud Monastery at Yueh Chou,” answered Hyakujo.
“And what do you hope to gain by coming here?” asked Ma Tzu.
Hyakujo replied, “I have come seeking the buddha-dharma.”
To this Ma Tzu replied, “Instead of looking to the treasure house which is your very own, you have left home and gone wandering far away. What for? I have absolutely nothing here at all. What is this buddha-dharma that you seek?”
Whereupon Hyakujo prostrated himself and asked, “Please tell me to what you alluded when you spoke of a treasure house of my very own.”
Now he has asked the right question.
Ma Tzu replied, “That which asked the question is your treasure house.”
Your consciousness, your being - who asked the question? Don’t look for the answer. Look from where the question is coming, then you will have to look inside. The question is coming from your innermost core.
“That which asked the question is your treasure house. It contains absolutely everything you need and lacks nothing at all. It is there for you to use freely, so why this vain search for something outside yourself?”
No sooner were these words spoken than Hyakujo received a great illumination and recognized his own no-mind. Beside himself with joy, he bowed in deep gratitude.
Hyakujo spent the next six years in attendance upon Ma Tzu.
This has stopped happening in the world because we have forgotten the language of suddenness. We believe only in gradual growth. Suddenness seems to be irrational, illogical, impossible but it is true about everything. If you want anything, it will be gradual. There is only one exception; that is you. You are already there. So it is only a question of just turning your eyes in, just looking inwards with absolute urgency and in a single moment everything is transformed.
When Ma Tzu told him, “That which asked the question is your treasure house,” he must have immediately looked within - from where the question had arisen. It contains absolutely everything you need and lacks nothing. It is there for you to use freely, so why this vain search for something outside yourself?
Just as he went down from where the question had arisen, he must have reached to the great illumination instantly. Nowadays people ask a question to get an answer. About everything else it is okay, but about yourself, never ask a question. Rather, look within from where the question is arising, and in a single moment, the great enlightenment is possible.