Chapter 3: In Search of a Lost Treasure
The question was asked of Hyakujo: “There is a sutra which says that not to perceive anything in terms of being or non-being is true deliverance. What does that mean?” Hyakujo responded:
“When we attain to purity of mind, that is something which can be said to exist. When this happens, our remaining free from any thought of achievement is called not perceiving anything as existent. Reaching the state in which no thoughts arise or persist, yet without being conscious of their absence, is called not perceiving anything as non-existent.
“The Surangama sutra says, perceptions employed as a base for building up possible concepts are the origin of all ignorance. Perception that there is nothing to perceive - that is nirvana, also known as deliverance.”
A question was asked, “What is the meaning of the phrase ‘nothing to perceive’?”
Hyakujo replied: “Being able to behold men, women and all the various sorts of appearances while remaining as free from love or hate as if they were actually not seen at all - that is what is meant by ‘nothing to perceive.’”
Then he was asked: “That which occurs when we are confronted by all sorts of shapes and forms is called perception. Can we speak of perception taking place when nothing confronts us?”
“Yes,” replied Hyakujo.
“When something confronts us, it follows that we perceive it,” continued the question, “but how can there be perception when we are confronted by nothing at all?”
Hyakujo answered by saying: “We are not talking of that perception which is independent of there being an object or not. How can that be?”
“The nature of perception being eternal, we go on perceiving whether objects are present or not. Thereby we come to understand that, whereas objects naturally appear and disappear, the nature of perception does neither of those things. It is the same with all your other senses too,” concluded Hyakujo.
Maneesha, before I discuss the sutras of Hyakujo and the haikus of Basho, I have to settle this great matter about Anando. I call it the great matter, because to me you all are buddhas. You may know it, you may not know it, but in my vision, I perceive you in your perfection. I want and hope that one day, you will also be able to see clearly your buddhahood, because that is the only solution out of the troubles of the mind.
A famous American Jewish writer, Joshua Liebman, has written a book, Peace Of Mind. The very title is wrong. Mind can never be at peace. Peace is something beyond mind. Mind is the problem. You can change problems, but that will not help. You have to go beyond mind.
I wrote a letter to Joshua Liebman: “Your very title is wrong, your very attitude is wrong. You don’t know a simple fact about the inner world: mind is the cause of all trouble; only no-mind can be at peace, because in a state of no-mind you have gone beyond the clouds into the open sky, where problems don’t exist.”
The mind is a small accumulation of thousands of years of problems. You are still carrying them, and they are just waiting for some situation to surface. Even you are surprised, “From where has this problem surfaced?”
You were not aware that ninety percent of your mind is in darkness. Only a small fragment - ten percent - has become a little awake. He knows nothing about what is going on in the depths of the ninety percent. And from that unconscious, anything can surface to the conscious. Just a certain situation is needed to trigger it off. It may remain dormant for years, for lives, and it may become suddenly the greatest problem in your life.
This is not only a question for Anando, it is a question for everyone who has a mind. Only those who have not a mind, and function directly and straightforward without bringing any thoughts in between, who rather than thinking simply reflect - they don’t have any problems. We have called such people buddhas.