Chapter 3: Just Dreaming
If you read the Vedas in your language you will be surprised: there is not much there.not more than one percent of the sutras is significant, ninety-nine percent is simply rubbish. But if you hear it chanted in Sanskrit you will be enchanted, you will be simply hypnotized. So is the case with the Koran. If you hear it in Arabic it will have something magical.
So is the case with Koran. If you hear it in Arabic it will have something magical. Translated into your own language you will be puzzled: it looks very ordinary.
Priests have always been aware that their scriptures can be valued and appreciated and respected and worshipped only if they are not translated into the ordinary people’s languages.
Buddha is one of the revolutionaries in that sense, too. He started talking in the language of the people. The language of the people that surrounded Buddha was Pali. In Pali dhyana became jhana: more rounded, more used.
When a word is used more, it starts having a roundness to it, it loses its corners. It is like a rock in the flowing river: slowly, slowly it becomes rounder, softer. It attains to beauty, it attains to a lovely farm.
Dhyana is harsh, jhana is round, soft, easy to pronounce. So when Buddhist messengers reached China, jhana became chan in Chinese. And when the same word reached Japan from China it became Zen. The root is dhyana.
In English also there is no equivalent word. “Meditation” can be used because that is the most approximate, but that has to be used with very great care, because “meditation” itself means meditating upon something, and dhyana means being in meditation, not meditating upon something.
It is not a relationship with an object, it is absolute emptiness: no object, not even God. Simple objectlessness, the mirror reflecting nothing, the mirror simply in its nature, as it is. When you come to that simplicity, to that innocence, you are in meditation.
You cannot do meditation, you can only be in meditation. It is not a question of doing something, it is a question of being. It is not an act but a state.
The disciple asks Bodhidharma, the master:
What is meditation in emptiness?
He must have been puzzled. Many people ask me, “On what should we meditate? On what form? What should we visualize? What mantra should we chant, or what thought form should we create inside our minds, so that we can focus on it?”
They are asking about concentration but they think they are asking about meditation. And there are thousands of books written on concentration but they all go on using the word meditation. This is one of the most misinterpreted words. And the experience is so rare that you will never understand that somebody is using the word in an absolutely wrong sense.