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Chapter 5: A Very Dangerous Place

Dokin’s disciple, Dorin, became a monk at the age of nine, took the vows at twenty-one, and studied the Kegon Sutra. Later in life he entered the dense pine forest of Mount Shimbo, and did zazen up a tree. For this reason he was called Choka Zenji, meaning “Bird-nest Zenji,” and Jakuso Zenji, meaning “Magpie nest,” by his contemporaries because the birds and magpies built their nests beside him.
When the prefect of the district, called Hakurakuten, came to visit Dorin, he remarked, “You are in a very dangerous place!”
Dorin said, “You are in a more dangerous one!”
Hakurakuten asked, “What’s dangerous about being in charge of this province?”
Dorin replied, “How can you say that you are not in danger when your passions are burning like fire and you can’t stop worrying about this and that?”
Hakurakuten then asked, “What is the essence of Buddhism?”
Dorin answered in the words of Shakyamuni:
“Not to do any evil,
To do all good,
To purify oneself -
This is the teaching
of all the buddhas.”
Hakurakuten said, “Any child of three knows this.”
Dorin said, “That’s so - any child of three knows it, but even a man of eighty can’t do it.”

In an incident between a monk and Seppo, the monk asked Seppo, “I have shaved my head, put on black clothes, received the vows - why am I not to be considered a buddha?”
Seppo said, “There is nothing better than an absence of goodness.”

Maneesha, the greatest friend is within you, so is the greatest enemy. Without you there is no danger - all is absolutely beautiful and silent. It is within you that jealousy is burning, anger is poisoning; it is within you that greed is growing. And all these together are clouding your consciousness and destroying your individuality, your essential existence.

Zen is not concerned with words, it is concerned with your being. It is not a philosophy. It is not even a religion. It is a way of seeing, a way of being, a very strange style of living through consciousness and not living through unconsciousness.

Before I enter into this sutra, I am reminded of Gautam Buddha, who is the original source of the only religiousness that has come into existence in the world. There have been religions - many, almost three hundred religions are already in existence - but religiousness is absolutely absent.

It is possible to practice religion, just like an actor practices. Religion is possible through knowledge, because mind is a great bio-computer; you can accumulate as much knowledge as is contained in all the libraries of the world in a single mind. But knowledge is not knowing, knowledge is not wisdom, knowledge is not awakening. On the contrary, it may help you to sleep a little deeper because it will give you a false sense that you know.

And this is the greatest tragedy that can happen to a man. Knowing nothing, but filled with borrowed knowledge, a great ego arises - but your moon disappears in the clouds, in the dust of old scriptures and doctrines. Your presentness is covered by many layers; you are almost lost in a jungle of concepts, theologies, philosophies, dogmas.

Gautam Buddha is perhaps the first man in human history who has made the distinction between knowledge and knowing. Knowledge is always borrowed - knowing is your own understanding. Knowledge is cheap. Knowing is a tremendous revolution, a metamorphosis.

One day Gautam Buddha and his disciple, Ananda, were passing from one village to another village. On the way, a fly sat on Buddha’s forehead. He was talking with Ananda. He continued talking, just as you would have done, and moved his hand to make the fly go away. Then suddenly he stopped, and again moved his hand - very consciously, although there was no fly.

Ananda asked, “What are you doing?”

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