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Chapter 8: From the Mortal to the Immortal

Tozan shows that he is a great master by saying that they are one. The moment delusion disappears, enlightenment also disappears. It is not that delusion disappears and you remain enlightened. The very idea of remaining enlightened is part of delusion. They both remain together, or they go away together, leaving you alone, neither deluded nor enlightened, but just simple, ordinary - a nothingness, a nobody, a pure space.

With causal conditions, time and season, quiescently it shines bright.

This nothingness shines bright. It is not your idea of nothingness. You think nothingness means nothingness. By nothingness Tozan or any buddha means no-thingness. It is not a thing that you have arrived at. It is a space. It is consciousness, it is being, it is silence, it is beauty, it is truth. It is nothing that is graspable by your hands.

In its fineness it fits into spacelessness.

This is going really to the very peak, the ultimate peak. Meditation begins with finding a space where there is no thought, where there is no body, no form, no mind. This is the beginning. But space is still there. At the ultimate point space also disappears. Then what remains? That is the indescribable. As for space, language is capable.beyond space we are absolutely dumb. In its greatness it is utterly beyond description.

A hairbreadth deviation will fail to accord with the proper attunement.

Now, there are “sudden” and “gradual” in connection with which we set up basic approaches. Once basic approaches are distinguished, then there are guiding rules. But even though the basis is reached and the approach comprehended, true eternity still flows.

Since Gautam Buddha it has been a continuous question whether enlightenment is gradual or sudden. If it is gradual that means it will be partial, step by step; slowly, slowly you become enlightened. A part of you becomes enlightened but the remaining part remains unenlightened.

This is absurd. But it has appealed to many people who think, “How can we attain enlightenment suddenly?” Nothing can be attained in the world suddenly. You cannot become the richest man in the world suddenly. It is a gradual process of acquiring money, wealth, power - everything in the world is gradual.

Just for this reason - that everything in the world is gradual - I say unto you that enlightenment cannot be gradual because it does not belong to this world. It has to be sudden. There is no other way, because you cannot dissect it; you cannot say fifty percent enlightenment, you cannot say, “Here goes a ten percent enlightened person.”

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