Chapter 1: This Disappearance Is Anatta
When Tenjiku was asked about the incident of Tanka burning the statue, he replied, “When it is cold we gather around the hearth by the fire.”
“Was he wrong or not?” persisted the monk.
“When it is hot we sit in a bamboo forest in the valley,” said Tenjiku.
The day after the burning of the statue, Tanka Tennen went to see Nan-yo, who had once been a disciple of Eno and was the emperor’s Zen master. When Tanka unrolled his zazen rug, Nan-yo said, “There’s no need.”
Tanka took a few steps backward.
Nan-yo said, “That’s right.”
At this, Tanka took a few steps forward.
Nan-yo said, “That’s not right.”
Tanka walked around Nan-yo one time and left.
Nan-yo commented, “The old, golden days are far away, and people are now so lazy. Thirty years from now, it will be difficult to get hold of this fellow.”
It is time, ripe time for a Zen manifesto.
The Western intelligentsia have become acquainted with Zen, have also fallen in love with Zen, but they are still trying to approach Zen from the mind. They have not yet come to the understanding that Zen has nothing to do with mind.
Its tremendous job is to get you out of the prison of mind. It is not an intellectual philosophy; it is not a philosophy at all. Nor is it a religion, because it has no fictions and no lies, no consolations. It is a lion’s roar. And the greatest thing that Zen has brought into the world is freedom from oneself.
All the religions have been talking about dropping your ego - but it is a very weird phenomenon: they want you to drop your ego, and the ego is just a shadow of God. God is the ego of the universe, and the ego is your personality. Just as God is the very center of existence according to religions, your ego is the center of your mind, of your personality. They have all been talking about dropping the ego, but it cannot be dropped unless God is dropped. You cannot drop a shadow or a reflection unless the source of its manifestation is destroyed.
So, religions have been saying continuously, for centuries, that you should get rid of the ego - but for wrong reasons. They have been asking you to drop your ego so you can surrender to God, so you can surrender to the priests, so you can surrender to any kind of nonsense, any kind of theology, superstition, belief system.
But you cannot drop the ego if it is a reflection of God. God is a lie, out there in the universe, and ego is a lie within your mind. Your mind is simply reflecting a bigger lie according to its size.