Chapter 4: A Stone Striking Bamboo
Kyozan was uncertain as to the validity of Kyogen’s enlightenment so, by way of testing him, he said to Kyogen, “I have heard that you composed a verse expressing your enlightenment. Please let me hear it and I will study it.”
When Kyogen had finished reciting the verse, he said, “We will leave it ready for some leisure time,” and he then proceeded to make another verse:
“Last year my poverty was not real poverty;
this year my poverty is the real thing.
Last year there was no place
for the awl to be struck;
this year I haven’t even an awl.”
On hearing this verse, Kyozan commented, “What you have got is just Nyorai Zen, not Patriarchal Zen.”
Kyogen then made another verse:
“I had a potentiality
which I show to him.
If he doesn’t understand it,
let him call the attendant!”
Kyozan then commented:
“Fortunately, you have now attained to Patriarchal Zen.”
Maneesha, it hurts me to disturb your silence by using words, but I hope a day will arrive when we will be sitting together allowing the silence to become deeper - because whatever can be said only touches the periphery, it never goes beyond the periphery. No word has ever reached to the center.
Zen brought it in, in a very strong way. No other religion has been so strong on the point. Words have to be discarded by words themselves, just as poison has to be destroyed by more poison.
These sutras bring many implications. You are not only hearing my words, you are also hearing me, and that is the true hearing: my heartbeat. And when all the present buddhas here breathe in tune, in a rhythm, even the impossible becomes possible.
I have entitled this series, Kyozan: A True Man of Zen. I have not given any speciality to him, for the simple reason that he avoided speciality, uniqueness, some higher quality. He removed himself deep into the forest just to avoid seekers. But if you have found the truth, if your innermost lotus has blossomed, wherever you go seekers will come. There seems to be an inner pathway.
The seeker may not know even where he is going. He may not be aware of his thirst, may not be aware of the truth, but he starts moving towards the master.
Mostly the master has nothing to do. He teaches you simply a different way of being graceful. He gives you a beauty that no mirror can give to you. He gives you a dignity. He declares your potential buddhahood, and unless your potential buddhahood is declared you may never think that in the innermost core you are a buddha. The master makes many devices, but the aim is the same.
Zen is religion and is not religion. It is religion in the sense that it brings you to your godliness, which no other religion has been capable of doing. All other religions live with the idea of a god far away beyond the clouds. Zen proclaims your god is your innermost being, and the moment you reach to your innermost being all your personality disappears as if it was a dream, and now you are awake.