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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   Zen: The Quantum Leap from Mind to No-Mind
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Chapter 1: No-Mind Is the Buddha

The scholar, Ryo of Seizan, once had a meeting with Baso,
who asked him,
“What sutra are you lecturing on?”
“The mind sutra,” he replied.
Baso said, “By what do you lecture?”
Ryo answered, “With mind.”
Baso said, “The mind is like an actor, the meaning like a jester,
the six senses like an acquaintance;
how can the mind lecture on a sutra?”
Ryo retorted, “If mind cannot lecture, can’t no-mind?”
Baso replied, “Yes, no-mind can lecture all right.”
Ryo dusted his sleeves and began to take his departure.
Baso called to him and said, “Professor!”
Ryo turned his head.
Baso said, “From birth to death, this is how it is.”
Ryo had a great awakening and bowed in respect to Baso.
Baso said, “What on earth are you bowing for, nitwit?”
Ryo’s whole body was now running with sweat.
Going back to his temple, Ryo said to the monks,
“I thought it could be said that all my life,
no one could lecture better than I on the sutras.
Today, a question by Baso dissolved the ice of a lifetime.”
Ryo gave up his lectures and retired far into the western mountains
- and was heard of no more.

On another occasion Baso said to the assembled monks,
“Believe that each and all of you have the mind which is the buddha!
Daruma came from India to the Middle Kingdom to enlighten you
with the truth he conveyed, of the Mahayana one mind.”
A monk spoke up and said,
“Why do you teach ‘The mind is the buddha’?”
Baso said, “To stop the baby crying.”
The monk said, “And when the baby stops crying?”
Baso said, “Mind is not the buddha.”
The monk said, “Beside this, is there something more?”
Baso replied, “I will tell you, it is not some thing.”

Maneesha, it is the beginning of a beginningless existential festival. Zen is festive, it is not scholarly. It condemns scholars as deeply as possible, because the scholar represents the defined mind, cultured mind, borrowed knowledge, dead scriptures. The scholar is a grave. Zen is a living roseflower. Nothing in it is dead; it is always and always. It goes on from beginningless to endless: characters change, leaves fall from the trees, new leaves start growing, the old ones disappear, the new ones arrive - it is a constant change.

But in the very essence nothing changes - only on the periphery, only on the circumference, but never in the center. And the center is Zen.

I am happy to begin this series of talks with an anecdote about Baso. He is one of my beloved ones.

The scholar, Ryo of Seizan, once had a meeting with Baso,
who asked him,
“What sutra are you lecturing on?”

The poor scholar was not aware that he has entered into the den of a lion. Entering into it is easy, but getting out of it is impossible. Getting into the hands of Baso, you have already committed suicide. Baso was such a swordlike, sharp master. He killed people this way and that, and brought hundreds of people to enlightenment. This poor scholar does not know that meeting Baso once is meeting your death.

That’s how the ancients have defined the function of a master. It is not to teach you, but to kill you: it is not to impart knowledge to you, but simply to take away all knowledge from you. Even the very sense of ‘I’ has to disappear.

The scholar was not aware that meeting Baso once is enough, twice will be too much. He asked him, “What sutra are you lecturing on?”

“The mind sutra.”

Baso replied,

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