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Chapter 9: Lovers of Tao

Rinzai said:
“Followers of the Tao, I am talking only about that which is distinctly solitary and bright, and is listening to my expounding of the dharma. This one knows no obstructions and is omnipresent in the three worlds of existence in the ten directions of space. It can freely and comfortably enter all the different states, without being infected by them.
In the shortest instant, it will penetrate deeply into the dharma-dhatu where it will talk about buddhas, when meeting buddhas; about patriarchs, when meeting patriarchs; about arhats, when meeting arhats, and about hungry ghosts, when meeting hungry ghosts.
It will go to all places and journey to lands where it will convert the living. It has never, even for the time of a thought, strayed from omnipresent purity and cleanness, shining through the ten directions of space, where myriad things are in the state of suchness.

“Followers of the Tao, men of ability know only now that fundamentally there is no cause whatever for concern. It is just because you do not understand this, that every thought of yours is directed to the pursuit of externals, like one who rejects his own head to look for another; hence your inability to apply the brake to your thoughts.

“.What this mountain monk is talking about is just an appropriate medicine to cure a particular ailment of the moment because there is no fixed dharma. The holder of such a view is a true leaver of home, and can enjoy himself to the fullest, as if he were spending, every day, ten thousand ounces of yellow gold on his pleasures.”

Maneesha, Rinzai has a special place just as Bodhidharma has. Bodhidharma introduced Zen to China from India, and Rinzai introduced Zen to Japan from China. These two were key figures in creating a whole new approach to reality. You will see, at some points, it is so difficult not to say that this man has certainly seen the original face. He is not philosophizing, although his words are that of a philosopher.

It is a strange fate that when a philosopher turns to the world of Zen, he never shows exactly what Zen is. He goes roundabout. He does not show Zen directly, immediately, because of his old training. For an ordinary human being who has not been trained in philosophy it is far easier to understand Zen. Rinzai was unfortunate in the sense that he was professionally a philosopher. So what can be said in a single sentence, he goes on elaborating about, around and around; you have to find that single sentence almost in a forest of words. He cannot forget his old habit of conceptualization - he tries his best.

This was not the case with Mahakashyapa who created Zen. He was not a philosopher, he was a very simple, innocent man. And Zen was born out of a laughter - that you should never forget - because Mahakashyapa laughed at the very stupidity of a philosopher asking a question about the ultimate reality. You can ask questions about relative reality, about the outside world, and you can get answers, too. All the encyclopedias are full of those answers. But you cannot raise a question about your inner reality. There is no question and no answer. There is absolute silence; no dust is raised, just a pure, clean sky. What question can you make out of it?

Philosophy in a way avoids the inner world because in the inner world there is no place for philosophy. It talks about God and it talks about paradise and it talks about a thousand and one things, just avoiding one thing - yourself. In other words, philosophy is an avoidance of reality, not an inquiry into reality.

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