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Chapter 19: The Golden Flower Is Opening

“Then who are you? What kind of man, what category to put you in?”

And Buddha said, “I am not a man or a woman.”

Now the astrologer was very much puzzled, and he said, “What do you mean? Do you mean you are an animal, an animal spirit, or the spirit of a tree, or the spirit of a mountain or the spirit of a river?” - because Indian mythology is pantheistic: it believes in all kinds of spirits. “So who are you, the spirit of a rosebush? You look so beautiful, so innocent.”

And Buddha said, “No, I am not an animal, nor the spirit of a tree, nor the spirit of a mountain.”

“Then who are you?” The astrologer was puzzled very much.

And Buddha said, “I am awareness and nothing else. You cannot categorize me because all categories are applicable to dreams.”

Somebody is dreaming he is a man, somebody else is dreaming she is a woman, and so on and so forth. Categories belong to the world of dreams. When one becomes awakened one is simply that principle of awakenedness, awareness. One is just a witness and nothing else: a pure witness. All clouds have disappeared. The cloud of a man or a woman, animal, god, trees - all clouds, all forms have disappeared. One is just a formless awareness, the pure sky, endless, infinite, vast. This awareness is empty of clouds but full of the sky. This is positive emptiness, this is nirvana.

Then there is a negative emptiness: you are full of clouds - so much so that not even a bit of sky can be seen, you are full of knowledge - so much so that not even a little space is left for meditation.

It is said: He who knows not and yet knows that he knows, is a fool - usually called a pundit or a scholar - shun him. He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is innocent, a child - wake him. He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is a buddha - follow him.

To come to this realization: “I am nobody” is the meaning of being a buddha. Buddha is not the name of somebody. Buddha is the name for “nobody-ness.” Buddha is not an entity. Buddha is just space, open space, openness, a name for openness, for open sky.

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