Chapter 1: No-Mind Is the Buddha
“By what do you lecture?”
Ryo answered, “With mind.”
Baso said, “The mind is like an actor, the meaning like a jester,
the six senses like an acquaintance;
how can the mind lecture on a sutra?”
Mind cannot speak, not even with a single finger can it indicate the ultimate. All that mind is doing is a controlled, relevant gibberish - on the surface looking very silent, inside a madhouse. This madhouse cannot say a single word about the truth; it knows nothing, although it plays the game as if it knows.
Ryo retorted, “If mind cannot lecture, can’t no-mind?”
Just a logical, intellectual question, not authentic, not coming from his own experience but simply. Because Baso says mind cannot speak on the truth, logically it can be asked, “Then do you think no-mind can speak?”
Baso replied, “Yes, no-mind can lecture all right.”
Ryo dusted his sleeves and began to take his departure.
Baso called to him and said, “Professor!”
Ryo turned his head.
Baso said, “From birth to death, this is how it is.”
The no-mind. Mind continuously changes: a child’s mind is one thing, a young man’s mind is another thing, a mature middle-aged mind is another thing, the mind of an old man is another thing. The mind is constantly accumulating, changing viewpoints, ideologies, religions. It is not very trustworthy, it cannot be relied upon. Today it may be a communist and tomorrow it may turn against communism; today it may be atheist, tomorrow it may become a theist. Mind is just hot air, as polluted as Pune. No-mind is your unpolluted nature, from the beginning to the end.
Baso is saying, “From birth to death, this is how it is.” No-mind is continuously singing its song whether you hear it or not; its music is there whether you hear it or not; its dance is there, though of course your eyes cannot see it. It is an eternal dance.
Ryo had a great awakening and bowed in respect to Baso.
Baso said, “What on earth are you bowing for, nit-wit?”
Ryo’s whole body was now running with sweat.
Going back to his temple, Ryo said to the monks,
“I thought it could be said that all my life
no one could lecture better than I on the sutras.
Today, a question by Baso dissolved the ice of a lifetime.”
Ryo gave up his lectures and retired far into the western mountains
- and was heard of no more.