Chapter 10: When I Call You My Friends, I Mean It
He has dropped the idea of the bowl. In fact, he has not been using a bowl. There have been many Buddhist monks who have tried even to improve on Gautam Buddha. They have been using just the hands, like the Jaina monks who don’t use a bowl but just their hands. Whatsoever can be contained in two hands cupped together, that is enough for twenty-four hours. Daizui had been following the same discipline, although it is not Buddhist. And he said, “I used the one I shall use on my last day on earth.”
Once, Daizui was asked, “When all things are annihilated, will that also be annihilated?”
By “That” is meant the inexpressible within you. Nothing can be said except an indication: That.
“When all things are annihilated, will that also be annihilated?”
“It will be annihilated,” said Daizui.
It is one of Gautam Buddha’s most important contributions: the concept of no-self. On this point he rises high above any other religious prophet, tirthankara, shankaracharya. They all stop at the concept of self. Everything will be annihilated, but the self, the atman will remain.
In the language that Gautam used, Pali, the self is called atta, and no-self is called anatta. He preached anatta; you will disappear just as dewdrops disappear in the ocean.
Why cling to the idea of self? What will you do with the self when everything is annihilated?
And I agree with him, that at a certain point we were not; then we arose like a wave in the ocean. At some point the wave will be shattered on the rocks on the beach and disappear into the ocean. That seems to be absolutely sensible. You enjoyed your day, you blossomed in the morning with all your glory and splendor, and by the evening it is time to go, it is time to disappear back into the earth, into the cosmos.
No religion has been able to go beyond the self, because to go beyond the self you cannot find many followers. It looks so absurd: all kinds of ascetic disciplines, meditations, yoga, for what? - to be annihilated! Then what is wrong in being just what you are? Why bother, if everything is going to be annihilated? The buddha will be annihilated, and whether you are a buddha or not you will be annihilated too.
According to Indian mythology, which now coincides with the scientific investigations, the whole cosmos, everything, comes out of nothing. Maybe it remains in existence for millions or trillions of years, but a point comes when even the planets, the suns, the moons, even the great stars, get tired and old. It is not only that you die, everything that is born, dies. And in the end, this whole existence one day will die completely; there will be nothing except pure space.