Chapter 8: This Moment
So, Avirbhava, you can come back, your horse is introduced. Come back to your seat.
(Great applause from the audience.)
Now, Maneesha’s statements about Ma Tzu and his work:
Ma Tzu was one of the first masters to use a specifically Zen technique in teaching; that is, through living, not philosophical ideas. By indicating the absolute in the relative - a relative without religious dogma, romance, symbolism, or intellectualism, but with a deep sense of the existential value of a thing - Ma Tzu brought Zen into the realm of ordinary, day-to-day living.
His contribution to Zen is immense. He brought it down from the heights to where you are. About Ma Tzu it can be said, just as it is said about Mohammed.Mohammed is reported to have said that if the thirsty will not come to the well, the well is going to go to the thirsty.
To go to the heights of buddhas is really an arduous thing. They shine forth like a full moon in the sky, and a tremendous longing arises in you to reach to the same heights. But there is a great fear of insecurity, of danger, of those mountainous regions where you will be alone. Many who want to reach to those heights think twice before they take their first step.
Ma Tzu saw this and he introduced something which was never known before. He came down from the mountains to the marketplace. He said, “The marketplace cannot change me, so why avoid it? I am going to change the marketplace. Sitting on my heights, I will not be able to change thousands of people. And if when it is possible I go to the people themselves, just as ordinary as they are, communication will be easier.”
Hence he dropped all philosophical teachings. He brought new devices, more in tune with the earth, not in tune with the sky, more in tune with the ordinary human activities. Once he has got hold of you, he will take you to the heights. But the first question is to take hold of you.
He is the first master in the history of Zen who has shown such compassion. He also introduced beating for the first time. That too is part of his compassion. His beating has to be understood because it will come again and again. He is beating you to wake you up. There is no need to go anywhere to find the buddha. The buddha is fast asleep within you. He just needs a little awakening. The beating was out of pure love and compassion.
It is very difficult for other religions in the world to understand: “What kind of teaching is this? Teach about God, teach about heaven and hell and virtues and ten commandments.” To them it will look.it does look almost crazy.