Chapter 1: Never Pretend, Even about Skulls
The master Fugai was considered very wise and generous, yet he was most severe both with himself and his disciples. He went to the mountains to sit in Zen. He lived in a cave, and when he was hungry he went to the village for scraps.
One day a monk called Bundo, attracted by Fugai’s austerities, called at the cave and asked to stay the night. The master seemed happy to put him up, and next morning prepared rice gruel for him. Not having an extra bowl he went out and returned with a skull he found lying near a tomb. He filled it with gruel and of offered it to Bundo. The guest refused to touch it, and stared at Fugai as if he had gone mad. At this Fugai became furious and drove him out of the cave with blows. “Fool!” he shouted after him. “How can you, with your worldly notions of filth and purity, think yourself a Buddhist?”
Some months later the master Tetsgyu visited him and told him that he thought it a great pity that he had forsaken the world. Fugai laughed loudly and said, “Oh, it’s easy enough to forsake the world and become a bonzai, the difficult thing is then to become a true Buddhist.”
Truth is one, but it can be approached in many ways. Truth is one, but it can be expressed in many ways. Two ways are very essential; all the ways can be divided into two categories. It will be good to understand that basic polarity. Either you approach truth through the mind or you approach truth through the heart. So there are two types of religions in the world - both true, both meaningful, but both opposite to each other - the religion of the mind and the religion of the heart.
The religion of the mind believes that if you become thoughtless, if the mind is dropped, you attain to truth. The mind is the barrier; the no-mind will be the gate. Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism - these are the religions of the mind. They are religions of deep analysis, religions of deep awareness, religions of enlightenment.
Then there are religions of the heart: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism. They believe that the path goes through the heart, that the heart has to be dissolved into the beloved, into the divine.
The first religions are the religions of meditation. The word meditation is not exactly right but there is no other word to translate dhyana into English, because the language has never known a religion of meditation so the word does not exist. All Western languages, in fact, have known only the religion of the heart so they have the perfect word for that path - prayer. But for dhyana they don’t have any word so meditation is the only word that can be used. In fact, dhyana means exactly the opposite; dhyana means just the contrary. The word meditation comes from a Greek root medonai which means to think about. The word meditation means to think about, and dhyana, which we are translating as meditation, means how not to think about; how to be in a state of no thought; how to come to a point where you are but there is no thinking; a state of no-mind, pure awareness. But meditation is the only word, so we will use it.