Chapter 4: Enter the Door of Anatta
“What are you seeking in the realm of changing dependence?” Where everything is changing, what are you seeking? Even the seeker is changing while you are seeking. Stop seeking, stop searching, just be. And you will be surprised: the last stop is the self. It is a kind of feeling of am-ness, is-ness - but it too is just a last stop, not yet a home. One step more, from self to no-self. Just disappear without any condition, as a perfume disappears into the air.
Gautam Buddha’s contribution is certainly the greatest that any man has made to humanity.
“What are you seeking in the realm of changing dependence? The three vehicles and the twelve divisions of the teachings, all are so much old paper to mop up messes. The buddha is an illusory phantom.”
Other religions would be very much disturbed. No Christian can say that Jesus Christ is a phantom; no Hindu can say that Krishna is a phantom. This much courage has been shown only by Zen masters. It is not that they don’t love Buddha - they love him, they worship him - but truth is truth. The buddha of your conceptions is an illusory phantom. You have to go beyond it. You have to be simply nothing.
“The patriarchs are old monks. You yourselves, are you not born of a mother?”
If you are born of a mother, then you are bound to die sooner or later. Every birth makes it certain that you are going to die. Everything is so illusory; what are you seeking?
This is a totally different approach from that of any other religion. They all tell you to seek and search. But Rinzai is saying, “Stop all seeking and searching, and just be.” And look deeply into your being, and even your being will start melting like ice in June. Not even a trace will be left of you. You will have merged into the totality of existence.
On the surface it is frightening; that’s why Zen could not become a worldwide phenomenon. If you tell a person “I can teach you how to be poor,” he will say, “Get lost! I am already poor.”
But if somebody says, “I can teach you how to be rich,” then certainly you will respect the man and will listen to his wisdom. There are thousands of books around the world, telling people how to be successful, how to be rich. I have not seen a single book which says how to be poor, how to be a failure.
And Buddha was teaching how to be nothing! People have asked him, “What kind of teaching is this? At least right now we are. We may be in misery, we may be in trouble, but at least we are. Teach us how not to be in trouble, how not to be miserable..Rather than that you teach us just to disappear!”
But Buddha knows better. He knows that as long as you are, you are going to be in misery, you are going to be in trouble. The very separation from the cosmos is the source of all your miseries. It may take different forms, but the real form, the reality, is that you have taken yourself apart from this vast existence.