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Chapter 18: Wakefulness Is Awareness

The sutras say:

“This ox does not live in the highlands or the lowlands. It doesn’t eat grain or chaff. And it doesn’t graze with cows.”

Because even to graze with cows, there is a possibility the dharmamilk may get impure.

“The body of this ox is the color of burnished gold.” The ox refers to vairocana. Due to his great compassion for all beings, he produces from within his pure dharmabody the sublime dharmamilk of the three sets of precepts and six paramitas to nourish all those who seek liberation. The pure milk of such a truly pure ox not only enabled the Tathagata to achieve buddhahood, it enables any being who drinks it to attain unexcelled, complete enlightenment.

This is really very discouraging. Where are you going to find this dharma-ox?

That reminds me of a Hindu monk, very famous. I was traveling with him to participate in a Hindu conference and we stayed in the same house. He used to drink only milk; that was his only great spirituality. Otherwise, I could not see - three days I had been with him - I could not see any intelligence. The only thing was that he used only milk - and that milk had to be from a white cow, an absolutely white cow.

When I heard this I asked him, “I should not interfere in your great discipline, but I cannot resist the temptation because I have never seen even a black cow giving black milk. Milk is always white, so why do you worry? If a cow has a dot, just a small dot.black or brown or anything.is that canceled?”

In the morning, many cows were brought for the saint to see and to look all around to see whether they were absolutely white or not. And when he accepted some cow, that it was absolutely white, then a man had to take a bath with his clothes on and with those wet clothes on he had to milk the cow, in front of the saint, so no impurity or anything wrong goes into the milk.

In three days I got so tired of his idiotness. I had not heard about Bodhidharma then; otherwise I would have told him, “What you are doing is absolutely right. Only one thing is wrong; you drink the milk of the cows. You should drink the milk of the ox, a white ox.” But even white ox milk will not be white. It will be yellow. But to attain enlightenment one can do any austerity - and this is a great discipline!

Bodhidharma has simply made himself an utter fool, when in fact things were simple to explain. But it is not just with this religion - with every religion the same problem arises again and again.