Chapter 1: The Buddha Within
Homage to the perfection of wisdom,
the lovely, the holy!
Avalokita, the holy lord and bodhisattva,
was moving in the deep course of the wisdom
which has gone beyond.
He looked down from on high,
he beheld but five heaps,
and he saw that in their own being
they were empty.
I salute the buddha within you. You may not be aware of it, you may not have ever dreamed about it - that you are a buddha, that nobody can be anything else, that buddhahood is the very essential core of your being, that it is not something to happen in the future, that it has happened already. It is the very source you come from; it is the source and the goal too. It is from buddhahood that we move, and it is to buddhahood that we move. This one word, buddhahood, contains all - the full circle of life, from the alpha to the omega.
But you are fast asleep, you don’t know who you are. Not that you have to become a buddha, but only that you have to recognize it, that you have to return to your own source, that you have to look within yourself. A confrontation with yourself will reveal your buddhahood. The day one comes to see oneself, the whole existence becomes enlightened. It is not that a person becomes enlightened - how can a person become enlightened? The very idea of being a person is part of the unenlightened mind. It is not that I have become enlightened; the “I” has to be dropped before one can become enlightened, so how can I become enlightened? That is absurdity. The day I became enlightened the whole existence became enlightened. Since that moment I have not seen anything other than buddhas - in many forms, with many names, with a thousand and one problems, but buddhas still.
So I salute the buddha within you.
I am immensely glad that so many buddhas have gathered here. The very fact of your coming here to me is the beginning of the recognition. The respect in your heart for me, the love in your heart for me, is respect and love for your own buddhahood. The trust in me is not trust in something extrinsic to you, the trust in me is self-trust. By trusting me you will learn to trust yourself. By coming close to me you will come close to yourself. Only a recognition has to be attained. The diamond is there - you have forgotten about it, or you have never remembered it from the very beginning.
There is a very famous saying of Emerson: “Man is God in ruins.” I agree and I disagree. The insight has some truth in it - man is not as he should be. The insight is there but a little upside down. Man is not God in ruins, man is God in the making; man is a budding buddha. The bud is there, it can bloom any moment: just a little effort, just a little help.. And the help is not going to cause it - it is already there! Your effort is only going to reveal it to you, help to unfold what is there, hidden. It is a discovery, but the truth is already there. The truth is eternal.