Chapter 6: Chaos - the Very Nature of Existence
In my witnessing I have experienced nothing - by that, I mean that there was nothing discernable other than the simple state of conscious waiting. I have witnessed events of the mind, body and emotions, and I have observed out-of-the-body experiences, but I don’t have the clarity to understand the nature of these things.
What is the nature of no-mind apart from mind? Is it a receptive, passive mind as opposed to an active mind? Or is it truly non-mind? And how does consciousness receive and recognize information if it has no mind-brain to perceive it?
You have asked too many questions in one question.
The first thing to remember is that when I say witness, in the beginning you witness things of the body, of the mind, of the heart, emotions, thoughts - layer upon layer you go on witnessing. And finally, you find just a pure mirror, the witness itself. I call it a pure mirror because it is witnessing nothing. This nothingness is your very nature.
Out of this nothingness arises everything, and into this nothingness dissolves everything. And if you are ready to be nothing - even while you are alive - your life will have a flavor of peace, silence, and grace.
All your educational systems and all your cultural beliefs, force you to be ambitious, to be somebody. But to be somebody means creating anxieties in a silent pool, ripples and waves. The greater the ambition, the more tidal is the wave of anxiety. You can become almost insane desiring. Trying to be somebody, you are trying the impossible, because basically you are nobody.
Zen has an absolutely unique perception into the nothingness of everyone. It does not teach you any ambition, it does not teach you to be someone else. It simply wants you to know that in the deepest part of your being you are still nothing, you are still carrying the original purity which is not even contaminated by an idea of “I.”
So while you are witnessing, you say, “I have experienced nothing.” If you have experienced nothing, you should not be there. Experiencing nothing means you are not, nothing is - simply waves in the water, coming and going.
It is not that you witness nothing. You are creating another small “I,” but it contains the whole world of ambitions. Experiencing nothing simply means you are not. And there comes a tremendous joy, because the whole energy that was involved in anxieties and desires and tensions, is released in a dance, in a blissfulness, in a silence, in a tremendous insight, but it does not belong to any “I” - a pure white cloud without any roots, floating in freedom, without any reason and without any direction. The whole existence has become its home. It no longer separates itself. This inseparation is the ultimate blossoming of buddhahood. To know that you are not is the greatest knowing.
You ask in your question if there is no one who perceives all this. That no one is not yet no one if it perceives anything. When there is nothing left, there is no perceiver, everything is dissolved into existence.
Zen is the only existential religion in the world. Every religion thrives on your desire to be separate, to be individual, to be special, to be self-realized, to be a saint. Those are all cowardly desires.
Zen is a brave step.