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Chapter 8: Everybody Has the Right to Be Wrong

There I can agree with Bodhidharma with absoluteness. It is not only for the monks to find the truth. Even a layman - if he finds a little time to be silent and to be meditative and discovers his self nature in his own home, in the marketplace, he will become the buddha. There is no problem that he has to be in a monastery, or that he has to renounce the world. This is my emphasis too, that nobody needs to renounce the world.

The world is not the problem, the problem is your unawareness. Renounce your unawareness, don’t be bothered with the world. What can the world do to you? You can live in a palace, the palace cannot prevent your enlightenment. You can live in absolute poverty, poverty cannot help your enlightenment. In poverty or in richness, in a poor man’s hut or in a palace, the basic thing is your meditativeness, your awareness. Wherever it happens, you will become enlightened. You don’t have to renounce anything.

It is absolutely true:

Laymen are buddhas too. Unless they see their nature, people who shave their heads are simply fanatics.

It is something to be understood that Bodhidharma is himself making statements which are statements of a fanatic - but it is always easy to see a small straw in somebody else’s eye, and it is very difficult to see even a camel in your own eye. People never think about their own statements, about their own behavior, about their own life. They are always looking at others - they are very artful, articulate in finding what is wrong with somebody else - and they may be carrying thousands of wrongs themselves and they remain completely unaware. But this is human nature, this is human frailty.

The disciple asks Bodhidharma:

But since married laymen don’t give up sex, how can they become buddhas?

And here I can support Bodhidharma with my total being. What he says is of tremendous importance, because he was saying it fourteen hundred years ago. Sigmund Freud was not born yet; Alfred Adler was still far away in the future; Havelock Ellis or Carl Gustav Jung or Assagioli or Masters and Johnson - people who have been working deeply in the study of man’s sexuality had not come into existence yet. But what Bodhidharma says is so luminous, so grand and so great that even this simple statement could have made him a pioneer.

He says:

I only talk about seeing your nature. I don’t talk about sex simply because you don’t see your nature. Once you see your nature, sex is basically immaterial.