Chapter 6: Be a Rare Person
As you go deeper within yourself, you will find the center, and not only of yourself. It will be the center of the whole existence. At the center we meet, on the periphery we are separate. We are separate only in our bodies, in our minds, but beyond body and mind we are just an ocean of consciousness. There is no ‘I am’, there is simply pure awareness with no distinctions, no divisions.
In the moment of enlightenment even the trees and the birds and the mountains - everything becomes enlightened. There is a saying of Gautam Buddha, “The moment I became enlightened, the whole universe became enlightened.” It could be disputed, because we can see that we are not enlightened, but his meaning is totally different. He is speaking for himself. From that moment everything becomes enlightened because he has seen the very root from where life arises and goes on eternally arising, with no beginning, no end.
Bankei was asked, “In the ancient times sages used to practice difficult and arduous disciplines and then finally after many years, after many lives, they became enlightened. But in your case it seems to be different. You have not practiced any discipline, you have not tortured yourself by fasting. You have not distorted your body by yoga. How did you become enlightened?”
Bankei replied: “It is like the case of travelers who cross the peaks of high mountains where there is no water, and become thirsty. Someone seeks out water in a distant valley, breaking his back searching here and there. Finally, he finds water and brings it back to give to the others to drink.
“Even though they have not struggled so, those who drink are refreshed, just the same as the one who went through the trouble before.”
I don’t agree on this point. Everybody has to find his own enlightenment. Nobody can give it to you.
Bankei is saying that somebody else can bring the water. About water it is okay, it is something objective and outside. Water can be brought, but nobody can bring enlightenment to you.
It has to be very deeply understood that enlightenment is an individual revolution. Somebody can give you a challenge, somebody can provoke you to the search, somebody’s presence may infect you, but nobody can give you enlightenment.
If it was something that could be given, it would have been very easy to make the whole world enlightened. It could be patented, marketed - then you just go to the M.G.Road and have a little drink of enlightenment; then the rich will gather great amounts of enlightenment and the poor will suffer.
At least as far as enlightenment is concerned, don’t make it a material, quantitative phenomenon. It is a subjective, qualitative experience just like love. Can you give love to somebody? There is no way. You can love somebody, but you cannot give love to somebody.