Chapter 25: With Emptiness, the Matter Is Settled
Master Lu-tsu said:
When the silence comes, not a single thought arises; he who is looking inward suddenly forgets that he is looking. At this time, body and heart must be left completely released. All entanglements have disappeared without trace. Then I no longer know at what place the house of my spirit and my crucible are. If a man wants to make certain of his body, he cannot get at it. This condition is the penetration of heaven into earth, the time when all wonders return to their roots.
When one is so far advanced that every shadow and every echo has disappeared, so that one is entirely quiet and firm, this is refuge within the cave of energy, where all that is miraculous returns to its roots. One does not alter the place, but the place alters itself: This is incorporeal space where a thousand and ten thousand places are one place. One does not alter the time, but the time alters itself. This is immeasurable time when all the eons are like a moment.
As long as the heart has not attained absolute tranquillity, it cannot move itself. One moves the movement and forgets the movement; this is not movement in itself. Therefore it is said: If, when stimulated by external things, one moves, it is the impulse of the being. If, when not stimulated by external things, one moves, it is the movement of heaven. But when no idea arises, the right ideas come. That is the true idea. When things are quiet and one is quite firm, and the release of heaven suddenly moves, is this not a movement without purpose? Action through non-action has just this meaning.
The deepest secret cannot be dispensed with from the beginning to the end. This is the washing of the heart and the purification of the thoughts; this is the bath. Its beginning is beyond polarity and it empties again beyond polarity.
The Buddha speaks of the transient, the creator of consciousness, as being the fundamental truth of religion. And the whole work of completing life and human nature lies in the expression “to bring about emptiness.” All religions agree in the one proposition, the finding of the spiritual Elixir in order to pass from death to life. In what does this spiritual Elixir consist? It means forever dwelling in purposelessness. The deepest secret of the bath that is to be found in our teaching is thus confined to the work of making the heart empty. Therewith the matter is settled.
It was a full moon night. The earth was looking like a bride. The light was showering like rain, and there was great delight in the sky, in the ocean, in the wind. The trees were swaying in the wind as if drunk, intoxicated, lost, and the faraway mountains with their snow-covered peaks looked like buddhas in deep meditation. The wind passing through the ancient pines was pure music, and the quality of a dancing universe was so solid and so tangible that one could have almost touched it. And on such a night of sheer joy and benediction, something of the beyond descended on the earth: a rare woman, Chiyono, became enlightened - she regained paradise, she came home. What a moment to die in time, and to time, and be born in eternity, as eternity! What a moment to disappear utterly, and be for the first time.