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Chapter 18: No Guilt

Contemplating “No”

A monk asked Chao Chou, “Does a dog have buddha-nature or not?” Chao Chou said, “No.” This one word “No” is a knife to sunder the doubting mind of birth and death. The handle of this knife is in one’s own hand alone: you can’t have anyone else wield it for you: to succeed you must take hold of it yourself. You consent to take hold of it yourself only if you can abandon your life. If you cannot abandon your life, just keep to where your doubt remains unbroken for a while: suddenly you’ll consent to abandon your life, and then you’ll be done. Only then will you believe that when quiet it’s the same as when noisy, when noisy it’s the same as when quiet, when speaking it’s the same as when silent, and when silent it’s the same as when speaking. You won’t have to ask anyone else, and naturally you won’t accept the confusing talk of false teachers.
During your daily activities twenty-four hours a day, you shouldn’t hold to birth and death and the buddha path as existent, nor should you deny them as non-existent. Just contemplate this: A monk asked Chao Chou, “Does a dog have buddha-nature or not?” Chao Chou said, “No.”

There seems to be a misunderstanding on the part of Ta Hui. Perhaps it is something to do with his unconscious, because he has been speaking in a sarcastic way against Gautam Buddha. Now the pendulum has moved to the other extreme - because the answer of Chao Chou was not “No,” but “Yes.”

It is possible, when you are unconsciously trying to get rid of guilt, that you can read things which are not there or you can miss things which are there. Your mind is never reading what is actually the case; it is continuously interpreting according to its own prejudices. One thing is certain, that Ta Hui is feeling guilty for a misbehavior. He has been disrespectful to a man who has done no harm to him.

But there was a reason to be disrespectful: Ta Hui was an intellectual, he was a man of mind. And all the people who are confined to their minds are bound to be offended by men like Gautam Buddha, whose whole insistence is that mind is wrong and no-mind is right.

All intellectuals are bound to condemn such an attitude, just to defend themselves. They don’t know anything about no-mind; they know only what mind is. But they have achieved honors, respectability, prestige and power through the mind, and anybody who says that mind is not a power but a bondage, that mind is not a prestige but sheer stupidity, that mind is not your honor but simply an indication that you belong to the lowest of human beings.The real power belongs to the man of no-mind; hence, intellectuals always have felt offended by the mystics.

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