Chapter 1: Dig Deep
The deeper you go, the more alone you are. Friends and foes, families and the society, slowly slowly, all drop away as you are dropping your mind. Once the mind is finished, you are left in total aloneness. And this aloneness is such a great joy.. Remember, it is not loneliness. Loneliness is a desire for the other. Aloneness is a fulfillment unto oneself. One is enough, one is the whole universe. So whatsoever the dictionaries say is absolutely wrong. They make aloneness and loneliness synonymous - that is not true.
As far as existential experience is concerned, Isan lived alone. But his aloneness became such a radiant splendor that people came towards him on their own, towards this great silence, this immense beauty of truth.
This man has reached home; just being in his presence, perhaps you may find your way also. He is not going to give you the way, but in his presence many things are possible. One is that you will become certain that the experience of enlightenment is not an imagination of poets, or a philosophical system of philosophers. It is an authentic realization. You can feel it, you can almost touch it, and if your heart is open, you can see your heart dancing with joy. Your whole life near a man like Isan will take wings.
So thousands came. But Isan has not given any guidance; therefore I have chosen the title from Buddha’s statement: Isan: No Footprints in the Blue Sky. He just fluttered into the sky, attracting those who had forgotten their wings; provoking, challenging those who had forgotten their sky, their freedom. Then he disappeared into the faraway sky, into the blueness, leaving no footprints but leaving a tremendous urge to go to those dimensions where you are no more.
Your being no more is the ultimate realization of truth.
You are the barrier, you are the problem. You are the only problem. As you melt away, something in you which is eternal, which you cannot call your self, something in you which belongs to the whole cosmos, starts appearing. What you used to call your self was only dust.
Before I take the sutras, a little introductory note about the life of Isan:
Isan Reiyu, otherwise known as Wei-shan Ling yu, lived from 771 to 853. He left home at fifteen to become a monk, studying under the local Vinaya master in what is today the Fukien province.
These are things that may seem non-essential, but I feel they have a great meaning to be understood. He left home at fifteen.there was a totally different world, a totally different urge in humanity. What is a fifteen-year-old boy.? But the urge must have been so widespread and so thick in the atmosphere that even a fifteen-year-old boy is intelligent enough; he will catch the fire.
It is said that there are people who go on repeating the same foolish act again and again, but never learn anything. That’s why history repeats. It is because of the idiots; otherwise there is no reason for history to repeat. It will always bring a new dawn - not old, rotten, lived, finished completely. But history has to repeat because idiots go on and on repeating themselves, and they are the makers of history. It is unintelligence that makes it possible for history to repeat.