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Chapter 12: The Buddha Is in the Paper Bag

One day Ungan was ill and Dogo asked him a question:
“When you are separated from your bag-of-bones,
where can I meet you again?”
Ungan replied, “Where there is no birth, no dying.”
Dogo said, “Don’t say that!
Say, ‘Where there is not any no-birth and no-dying,
and we don’t desire to meet each other again.’“

When Hofuku was about to die he said to his monks,
“For the last ten days my vitality has decreased.
It is nothing; simply the time has come.”
A monk said, “The time has come
for you to die - is that all right?
To continue living - is that all right?”
Hofuku answered, “It is the way.”
The monk asked, “How can I stop being flustered?”
Hofuku said, “It never rains but it pours.”
With this, he sat in a zazen style and passed away.

Sozan once said to Shie Doja,
“Aren’t you ‘Paper Clothes the Pilgrim’?”
Shie Doja answered, “I am not worthy of being so.”
Sozan asked, “What is the thing beneath paper clothes?”
Shie Doja said, “When just a leather garment
is put on the body, all things are of their suchness.”
Sozan said, “What is the activity beneath paper clothes?”
Shie Doja came near him, did as he was asked,
and died standing up.
Sozan said, “You have expounded the going,
but how about the coming?”
Shie Doja suddenly opened his eyes and asked,
“How about when a spiritual nature
does not borrow a placenta?”
Sozan said, “This is not yet wonderful.”
Shie Doja asked, “What is wonderful then?”
Sozan said, “Not-borrowing borrowing.”
Shie Doja thereupon said, “Be happy, be well!”
and died, sitting.
Sozan made a verse:

The enlightened mind is a perfect and formless body.
Do not believe, unreasonably, that it is far off or near!
Thoughts of difference becloud the original form.
A mind at variance with itself
cannot be in harmony with the way.
When emotion distinguishes phenomena,
we fall into materiality.
When intellect judges the manifold,
we lose the reality.
If you understand perfectly the meaning of these words,
you are without doubt beyond danger
like those of ancient times.

Maneesha, every master has shed tears for something very special that used to exist in the ancient times. That very special thing is right now, here - the presence, the absolute silence - because only in this silence you go beyond mind and beyond time, you enter into eternity.

This is what man has lost contact with. And to lose contact with eternity is just like a tree which has been uprooted from the earth. Man is also a tree. He also has roots, although they are invisible. And the contemporary mind has completely forgotten to water those roots, to keep the plant of consciousness alive, so that roses can blossom in your being.

I hope these anecdotes will take away all the nonsense that the modern times have forced upon you and will give you a taste of eternity.

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