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Chapter 1: The Lion’s Roar

When you have fulfillment then there is grace and then there is God. In your fulfillment you come to realize the benediction of existence.

This is a song of meditation. Hakuin has called it “song” - yes, it is a song. If meditation is without song it is dull and dead, it does not beat, it does not breathe. It is a song and a dance: sing it and dance it. Just don’t think upon it - then you will miss the message, you will miss its content. You will find this song and its meaning only when you are singing and dancing, when the music of life has overtaken you, has possessed you.

Hakuin’s song is so small and yet so vast, it is unbelievable. How can a man condense so much truth and so much love and so much insight into so few words? But Hakuin was a man of few words, a man of silence. For years he did not speak at all, and then later he would speak only a word or two.

Once the emperor of Japan invited him to deliver a sermon in the palace. The queen, the king, the prime minister, the ministers and high officials and generals all gathered with great respect to listen. Hakuin came, stood there for a single moment, looked around and left the hall. The king was puzzled. He asked his prime minister, “What is the matter with this man? We had come to listen.” The old prime minister said, “This is the greatest sermon that I have ever heard - he has said it! You had asked him to come and teach you about silence and he has taught it. He stood there in silence, he was silence. What more do you ask for? What more do you demand? He was pure silence standing there for those few seconds, utter silence. He was silence, throbbing, pulsating. But you were wanting to hear some words.”

About silence nothing can be said, all that is said about silence will be wrong. How can you say anything about silence? - to say something will be falsifying it. That’s why Lao Tzu says that nothing can be said about Tao - and that if something is said, in the very saying of it, it has become untrue. Tao is silent, but that silence is not the silence of a cemetery. It is the silence of a garden where trees are alive, breathing, and yet there is utter silence. It is not a dead silence, it is an alive silence. Hence Hakuin has called it The Song of Meditation.

Buddha says: My approach to reality is not that of belief but of seeing. His religion has been qualified as Ihi passika: Come and see. Not “Come and believe.” Buddha says: Come and see: Ihi passika. It is here, present - you just come and see. He does not require you to believe. He is the only great teacher in the world who dropped belief - and with dropping belief he transformed religion from a very low childish stature to a very mature thing. With Buddha religion became young, matured, otherwise it was childish. It was a kind of belief - belief is superstition, belief is out of fear. And belief is blind. Buddha has given eyes to religion. He says: See, and there is no need to believe. And when you have seen then it will not be a belief, it will be knowing.

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