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Chapter 8: Everybody Has the Right to Be Wrong

In India, the twenty-seven patriarchs only transmitted the imprint of the no-mind. And the only reason I have come to China is to transmit the instantaneous teaching of the Mahayana: this no-mind is the buddha. I don’t talk about precepts, devotions or ascetic practices.

Language and behavior, perception and conception are all functions of the moving mind. All motion is the mind’s motion.

The no-mind neither moves nor functions. Because the essence of its function is emptiness, and emptiness is essentially motionless.

Hence, the sutras tell us to move without moving, to travel without traveling, to see without seeing, to laugh without laughing, to hear without hearing, to know without knowing, to be happy without being happy, to walk without walking, to stand without standing. And the sutras say, “Go beyond language. Go beyond thought.” I could go on, but this brief sermon will have to do.

This statement seems to be difficult - walk without walking, hear without hearing, speak without speaking - but it is not difficult at all, just a little understanding.. If you are speaking spontaneously - unprepared, not knowing what word is going to be uttered by you - you are speaking without speaking. Spontaneous action is without any activity on your part. You are simply allowing existence to sing its own song.

For example, right now I am speaking without speaking. I am simply allowing my whole being to respond to Bodhidharma’s sutras, without knowing at all what is going to be my next word. Just as you hear it, I also hear it. Just as you are sitting there, I am also sitting there. This chair is empty. There is a way of speaking when you prepare, when you speak not with your moment-to-moment responsibility, but just repeat something parrot-like which you have rehearsed, which you have been practicing.

All the actions that are enumerated here and many more in your life, you can do in two ways. One is out of awareness, in the present moment - unprepared, spontaneous, allowing existence to possess you, to speak through you or act through you. Then you are absolutely out of the trap of your actions or your words. You are just a watcher. You are not acting, you are simply watching whatever is happening.

This watchfulness, this witnessing is the ultimate secret of creating a religious life, of creating a life of transcendence, a life of spirituality, of enlightenment, of buddhahood.