Chapter 12: Every Suffering Is a Buddha-seed
Bodhidharma is saying: Don’t be antagonistic to suffering; even feel grateful to suffering. That is a great idea. Feel grateful to pain, suffering, old age, death, because all these are creating the situation for you to search for truth. Otherwise you would fall asleep; otherwise you would be so comfortable, you would become a vegetable. There would be no need.. Suffering creates the need for a search.
Your body and mind are the field. Suffering is the seed, wisdom the sprout and buddhahood the grain.
In this synthesis he is giving credit to your body, to your mind, to suffering. He is taking into account your whole life. He is not denying anything its contribution. He is being very impartial.
Your body and the mind are the field. Suffering is the seed, wisdom the sprout and buddhahood the grain. This is the way of a man who looks at life as an organic unity. The so-called religions which have lost contact with their living founders, are against the body. They torture the body, rather than being grateful to the body because it is the very field, it is the very temple in which the buddha has to be discovered. Even suffering, agony, is not to be condemned by a man like Bodhidharma. He says that too has a part to play. It keeps you awake. It keeps you constantly alert, provokes you and challenges you to find a way that can lead you beyond it.
When the three poisons are present in your mind, you live in a land of filth. When the three poisons are absent from your mind, you live in a land of purity.
So in fact, heaven and hell are not separate from each other; they happen in the same life. Only the structure has to change. Where there were the three poisons of greed, anger and delusion, you created a hell within yourself. The moment you drop those poisons of greed, anger and delusion which really constitute your mind - the moment you have dropped the mind, your very being becomes heaven itself.
The idea that is prevalent in the world is that those who are good will enter one day after death into heaven, and those who are bad will one day enter hell after death. That idea is absolutely wrong. The good have already entered heaven - there is no need to wait for death. Heaven is not somewhere else. It is just your own transformation. The same energy that is anger becomes compassion, the same energy that is greed becomes sharing, the same energy that is delusion becomes awareness. The energy is the same, just its direction changes.
To change the direction of your energies, to create a new symphony out of your energies, is the whole art of religion. Anybody who preaches anything else as religion is himself blind and taking other blind people into a dark night. They are all going to fall into a well somewhere or other.