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Chapter 3: A Meeting of Two Rivers

Beloved Buddha,
Once Kakusan went to see Kyozan. Raising his foot, Kakusan said, “The twenty-eight Indian Patriarchs were like this, and the six Patriarchs of the Country of T’ang were like this, and you are like this, and I am like this!”
Kyozan came down from the Zen seat and hit him four times with the wisteria staff.

After Kakusan became enlightened, an ascetic once said to him, “What is the true meaning of Buddhism?”
Kakusan remained silent and bowed to him.
The ascetic asked, “Are you bowing to a man of the world?”
Kakusan replied, “Don’t you see what I am saying? I am your famous disciple!”

At another time Kyozan, on seeing a monk approach him, raised his mosquito flapper. At this, the monk shouted loudly, “Kwatz!”
Kyozan commented, “There is such a thing as saying `Kwatz,’ but tell me, where was my mistake?”
The monk replied, “In improperly pointing to an external object” - at which Kyozan hit him.

Maneesha, the new situation, the new responsibility that I have taken upon myself has raised many questions from different quarters. Perhaps it will take a little time to clarify any questions, doubts, suspicions or mere curiosities.

The first thing is from the chief of staff of United Press International. He has sent a telegram asking me, now I have allowed Gautam Buddha to be my guest, have I become a Buddhist? In the same reference he has asked: “What about your followers? Are they also now part of an organized religion? Have they also become Buddhists?”

The question is absolutely relevant, but my answer may baffle the chief of staff of UPI.

Gautam the Buddha has taken shelter in me. I am the host, he is the guest. There is no question of any conversion. I am a buddha in my own right, and that is the reason he has felt to use my vehicle for his remaining work. He has been waiting, a wandering cloud for twenty-five centuries, for a right vehicle.

I am not a Buddhist. Neither is Gautam the Buddha’s intention to create Buddhists, or to create an organized religion. Even twenty-five centuries before, he never created an organized religion. The moment truth is organized it becomes a lie. An organized religion is nothing but a hidden politics, a deep exploitation by the priesthood. They may be shankaracharyas, imams, rabbis, or popes, it makes no difference.

Gautam Buddha did not leave behind him any successor. His last words were, “Don’t make my statues, don’t collect my words. I don’t want to become a symbol which has to be worshipped. My deepest longing is that you will not be imitators. You don’t have to be Buddhists because your own potential is to be a buddha.”

I would like to say: I don’t teach Buddhism, or any “ism” for that matter. I teach the buddha himself. The people who are with me are not part of any organized religion. They are independent, individual seekers. My relationship with them is that of a fellow traveler.

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