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Chapter 5: Suchness Is Our Self-nature

And because Bodhidharma has not written anything.. No enlightened being has written anything for the simple reason that the written word is a dead word. A spoken word has the warmth, the splendor, and the presence of the master. The spoken word is a totally different category from the written word. The written word is only a corpse; the spoken word is alive, it is still breathing. It has a heartbeat which the written word cannot have. That’s why no enlightened man around the world, in any age, has ever written anything.

So you have to be very aware. I will point out where the minds of the disciples who are collecting these sutras have interfered and destroyed something immensely beautiful. But even though they could not report exactly what Bodhidharma was saying, here and there, perhaps by mistake, they have reported the actual words.

Even to find a few actual words spoken by Bodhidharma and give them again a heartbeat, is a great joy. My commentary is not just a commentary; it is giving life, a resurrection, to those beautiful words which have fallen in wrong hands. They have to be relieved and released from this confused, imprisoned corpse-like existence. The sutras:

The buddha said people are deluded. This is why when they act they fall into the river of endless rebirth. And trying to get out, they only sink deeper. And all because they don’t see their nature. If people were not deluded, why else would they ask about something right in front of them? Not one of them understands the movement of his own hands and feet. The buddha was not mistaken. Deluded people don’t know who they are.

The first thing to be understood is that these are actual words of Bodhidharma with no interference from the people who have been collecting these words.

The emphasis in these sutras is that people are deluded. What is their delusion? Their delusion is that they don’t know who they are. Because they don’t know who they are, they create false personalities around themselves - because it is impossible to live knowing that you don’t know who you are; you would certainly go mad.

Just think for a moment: if you are aware that you don’t know who you are, it will be such a shock, such a shattering of all your identity. You cannot live without knowing yourself, who you are. And if you cannot know, then you have to create something. It will be a false substitute, but it will take away the maddening situation of not knowing oneself.

Ask somebody who he is, and he will say he is a doctor, he is an engineer, he is a professor, he is a Christian, he is a Hindu, he is a Buddhist.. These are false identities. These are creating a false layer around yourself to forget the maddening situation that you don’t know yourself.

You are getting identified with a thousand and one things. You are a husband, you are a wife.but these are not your nature. You were not born as a husband, and you were not born as an engineer; and you were not born as a doctor, or a professor. These are created by you and by the society so that you don’t feel continuously in an emptiness, which can be dangerous and can create an insanity in you.

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