I have heard that an American Christian, a very rich man but very miserly, went to Israel. And every visitor is bound to go to Lake Galilee which is the holiest place – where Jesus lived for most of his life. And he asked the boatman, “How much will it cost to take me to the place where Jesus walked on water?”
He said, “It will cost ten dollars.”
The American said, “That explains everything about how Jesus walked on water. Ten dollars? Forget about it. I am not in a mood to walk on water.”
You will not find in Buddha anything that is not possible for you. He is as human a being as you are. He does not proclaim himself to be anything special. That is his grandeur. That is his greatness.
In this incident, Hyakujo is asking his mother, pointing to the statue of Buddha, “What is that?”
The mother said, “That is a buddha.”
Hyakujo said, “He looks like a man.”
He never tried to look like anything else, he simply wanted to look like man so that every man can be encouraged – that you don’t have to walk on water, you don’t have to turn water into whiskey….
You can be a buddha without any difficulty because it is your inner nature. It does not depend on miracles. Religion is not magic. It is a very simple and humble effort to search within yourself for the deepest point where you are joined with the universe. That joining point is the buddha.
Hyakujo said, even though he was a small child, “He looks like a man. I want to become a buddha afterwards. If this man could become a buddha, I am also a man. Right now I am too small, but later on, I am going to become a buddha.”
Hyakujo became a monk afterwards, when he was twenty years old. He joined a monastery at Yueh Chou, and his first master was called Tao-chih. Tao-chih gave him his first spiritual name which was Hui Hai meaning, Ocean of Wisdom.
Hyakujo was not a monk for long before he heard about the great Master Ma Tzu, and went to him at Chiang-si.
Maneesha has asked:
When Hyakujo first arrived at Chiang-si to pay his respects to Ma Tzu, Ma Tzu inquired, “From where have you come?”
These are Zen questions. They don’t mean what they appear to mean. When he says, “From where have you come?” he means: From where in the eternity have you come here? Are you aware of your eternal nature? – that you are coming here from utter emptiness?
But Hyakujo could not understand at that point. He simply thought that Ma Tzu was asking an ordinary question.