Chapter 8: Feel the Silent River
That’s the language Zen prefers, the language of pure poetry, of pure music, of pure dance.
The Choko river flows on and on. It has been flowing for centuries, or perhaps for millions of years, and it will go on flowing. In the same way the enlightened one disappears into the ocean, drops the small cage that he used to think was himself, his personality, his ego. Just like a dewdrop slipping from the lotus leaf and merging into the ocean, he disappears to appear everywhere. You have to risk to be nowhere if you want to be everywhere. But it is a good bargain.
Seike said, “The Choko flows on and on, never stopping;
bubbles obey the vagaries of the wind.”
Only bubbles go here and there, transmigrate, follow the vagaries of the wind. Fashions and moods and emotions are nothing but soap bubbles. They move from one form into another form, from one place into another place. But the river itself simply continues.
Just feel the silent river in which you are in this moment. This silence is eternal: it has always been here and it will remain always here.
The monk asked further,
“Does he receive the ceremonial offerings?”
The monk must have been a super-idiot. He has not heard what Seiko has said. He again repeats the same question from a different angle. “When the master is dead, does he receive the ceremonial offerings?”
Seike said, “We can’t say there are no ceremonial offerings.”
“What exactly are these offerings?” asked the monk.
Seike said, “As the fisherman’s song pushes the oar,
his voice is heard in the valleys.”
These offerings to the enlightened ones may be just a few roseflowers. He is asking whether they are received or not. That is not an authentic seeker’s question. The question is whether you are offering or not. The hands which could receive those flowers are no more encaged in flesh, in bones. And offering your love, your gratitude, your thankfulness will be heard just as the echo of a fisherman’s song pushes the oar - and his voice is heard in the valley.
It is difficult to say because of the very nature of the phenomenon. Once you become enlightened you are no more, in the old sense. You are absolutely discontinuous with the old: the jump is quantum, so the old language becomes absolutely inapplicable. All that can be said is: offerings are made; the whole existence receives them; no individual hands are going to receive your offerings.