Chapter 1: The Emptiness of the Heart
.Beyond being and non-being. We are using the word being because you will not be able to understand, while your thoughts are there, that something beyond being and beyond non-being is in existence within you. But when thoughts are gone, the first encounter is with a being, an individual being, bright and clean. And as you enter this being, you find yourself going beyond your individuality into the universal, which is beyond being and non-being.
This is what ultimate enlightenment is. And Bukko has put it in the simplest possible way.
Leave your innumerable knowings and seeings and understandings, and go to that greatness of space. When you come to that vastness, there is no speck of Buddhism in your heart.
He is really a great master. His love towards Buddha is great, but that does not mean that he is a follower of Buddha. He is saying that when you enter into this great space, you will not find anything - no speck of buddhism even in your heart. And when there is no speck of knowledge about you - you will not know anything, even about yourself - you will have the true sight of the buddhas and the great masters.
Buddha himself had a great difficulty. Perhaps no man has had such a great difficulty in explaining his experience. In this country, the self, atma, has been considered to be the ultimate experience. The two other religions of this country, Hinduism and Jainism, have both emphasized that to know your self is all, there is nothing beyond it. Now, Buddha was going against all of India’s traditions by saying that the self is only a door to no-self. Don’t stop at the door, it is a bridge to be passed. Don’t make your house on the bridge because a vaster universe is ready to welcome you if you can leave this small idea of your self.
What is this self that you carry, that all the traditions of this country and other countries think so much of? Hundreds of philosophers came to Gautam Buddha, saying, “What you are saying goes against the Vedas, against the Upanishads.”
He said, “What can I do? It is my own experience, I cannot deny it. The self has to be transcended; only then you become one with the universe. The dewdrop has to disappear into the ocean.”
Why cling to the dewdrop?
What are you gaining by it?
Have you ever observed? - all the religions teach that you should liberate yourself from misery, from sin. You should earn virtue so that you can make a place in paradise. “You” are the center of all the religions - but not of Zen.
All the religions say, “Liberate yourself from your attachments.” Only Zen has the strange courage to say, “Liberate yourself from yourself!” Liberating yourself from your attachments is child’s play. The real, authentic seeker finally liberates himself not only from other things but even from himself. He drops the very idea that “I am.”