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Chapter 7: Nothingness Is Your Original Face

Bankei said:
What I tell people about is nothing special; it’s the unborn, enlightened, no-mind innate in everyone. What is it about?
While you are all here listening to my sermon, when a dog barks outside the temple, you know it is a dog, and when a crow caws, you know it is a crow. And also you can distinguish the colors black and white, and see the difference between men and women.
Even though you are not thinking about hearing dogs and crows, or seeing black, white, men or women during the talk; nonetheless, right here you can see and hear them all, before conceptually discriminating them. Then even if a thousand or ten thousand people should tell someone that a dog’s bark is a crow’s caw, that person would hardly be deceived by them.
Isn’t this enlightened no-mind, with its inconceivable qualities of clear awareness, something to be grateful for?
Because people don’t know that everyone has such wonderful qualities and powers, they get confused by one thing and another. That confusion ultimately arises from self-importance.
Self-importance means, for example, that you get angry and upset when you hear your neighbor criticize you, and only dislike and maltreat that person. Also, when you hear your neighbor praise you, you think well of that person, and act nicely; this too is because of self-importance.
Considering the root source of this self-importance, when people are born they have no bad thoughts of hatred or liking for anyone. It is just that, as they grow up, they learn and cultivate various bad things and bad thoughts by seeing and hearing them, piling them up into mental habits. Always putting these mental habits to use, various kinds of confusion and error begin.

Maneesha, before I discuss the very important man of Zen, Bankei, and his remarkable statements, I have to introduce Avirbhava’s new gods for the museum. Before I do it, I will say something to you about insects, which are worshipped by many people as gods.

This museum is going to be a hilarious phenomenon. It is going to be a mirror for you of what humanity has been doing - its priests, its so-called wise men, all driving humanity into different directions of stupidity. But when religious garbage is poured on anything, poor people, the poor masses believe in it. And this is not only in the ancient world; man has worshipped almost anything, and is still worshipping almost anything, without considering at all that it is very undignified, that you are destroying your own humanity.

My researchers have found that certain creatures of various insect species have been considered to be expressions of God since the earliest times.

“According to the legends of the Teton Indians in America, the spider was the first creature in life to attain maturity. Particularly the gray spiders were heralded as the patron saints of traveling. The Indians would stomp on a spider before setting out on the trail and pray to its spirit for a safe journey.”

A good idea! Released from the body, now the spirit can guide.

I have told you before that there is a species of spiders: when the male and female spiders are making love, the male spider becomes so drunk, so orgasmic, his long legs trembling.and the female spider starts eating him. By the time his orgasm is finished, he is finished.

Somebody has informed me that there is another spider which is a little more intelligent. First he brings a fly as a present to the girlfriend, so while he is making love, she is eating the fly - just to save his own life. She has to eat something. Certainly it is an intelligent step.

You also bring ice cream and roses and sweets and chocolates; the reason is the same. If you don’t give the woman something to eat, she will eat you! Just let her chew something and she will not chew you.

“These spiders have also been considered to be incarnations of the spirit of fertility in certain primitive societies, including those of Polynesia and the Philippines.

Butterflies were worshipped as family gods in Samoa, and were considered to be the incarnations of the bushman god, Kay-gon.

Beetles have been considered holy since ancient times. In Egypt, the scarab, or dung beetle, was worshipped as a direct descendant of the god Ra. Ra is the greatest god of the Egyptian religion” and his direct descendant is the dung beetle!

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