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Chapter 5: Suchness Is Our Self-nature

When he says There is no need for reverence, the sentence is clear. But it can be easily misunderstood. He is saying: There is no need for reverence. He is not saying that there is no possibility of a spontaneous reverence. There is no need; it is not a duty. You are not obliged to revere a buddha, but your whole being may feel to, although there is no need. Without any need, you may feel a great reverence, a great gratitude just because the buddha represents your future, reminds you of your self-nature.

He is a reminder. He is an arrow pointing towards you. So there is no need for reverence, but there may be a spontaneous feeling for reverence.

Even Mahakashyapa touched Gautam Buddha’s feet; there was no need. Even Bodhidharma, every day - although Buddha had died one thousand years before - used to bow down from China, towards the direction of the place where Buddha became enlightened, near Bodhgaya, by the bank of a small river, Niranjana.

He used to find on the map, the place where Buddha had become enlightened one thousand years before, and he would touch the earth in China with his head. And he is saying: There is no need for reverence.

Certainly there is no need. But there arises a spontaneous reverence, and that is authentic reverence. When you do it as a need, it is false. When you have to do it because it is expected of you, then it is hypocrisy. But when it has been said to you that there is no need and still it arises in you, then it has an authenticity, a sincerity, a love, a gratitude, a truth, a beauty of its own.

This no-mind of ours is empty and contains no such form. Those who hold onto appearances, are devils.

It has to be said to you that in Buddhism, neither God exists nor devils. God and the devil can exist only together. They are two sides of the same coin. God cannot do without the devil, and the devil cannot do without God; they are partners in the same business - but both are hypothetical. So when Bodhidharma uses the word devil he simply means darkness. It is a personalization of darkness. There is no person as devil; there is no person as God. There is godliness, and there is evil. These are qualities, not persons.

Those who hold onto appearances are devils. They are living in darkness, they are living a life of evil.

They fall from the path. Why worship illusions born of the mind? Those who worship don’t know.

These are very strong and very pregnant statements. Those who worship don’t know. Certainly they are not aware that they are carrying within themselves the buddha himself.

And those who know don’t worship.