And Ananda himself was not ready to say a single word unless he became enlightened, because he didn’t want to defile or misinterpret. After all, he was full of human frailties: “So you will just have to wait, I will do my best. I could have become enlightened before you, because I came in the very early days, but unfortunately I took Gautam Buddha for granted. Another misfortune was that I was a cousin-brother, elder to him, so I never deep down felt…. I touched his feet, but I knew that I was his elder brother. I listened to him, but I knew that in ordinary life he would have to listen to me, as I was elder to him.
“Forty-two years passed and I was constantly, day in, day out with him, and I missed him. I remember every word that he uttered, because I knew that nobody was constantly around him, and one day it would be needed. I have to write it down, but now I have only tears – you will have to wait.”
The three hundred enlightened ones waited for twenty-four hours and Ananda sat on the steps of the assembly hall with tears. He forgot to eat, he forgot to drink, he forgot the whole world. And forty-two years of continuous insistence on being in…for the first time he tried it. He had heard it and heard it and heard it so much that it had become almost a commonplace…he knew when Gautam Buddha was going to say, “Go in.”
But now Gautam Buddha was not there and he had to go in, otherwise the whole teaching would be lost. He was the only container. And within twenty-four hours he became enlightened. It was a tremendously concentrated effort. He sat down on the steps with this determination: “Either I become enlightened, or you will have to burn my corpse. I am not going to move from here.”
With such totality and intensity one cannot avoid being enlightened. And as he became enlightened, the tears changed their quality. His whole being became radiant and the three hundred enlightened disciples started dancing; they opened the door and received Ananda. They said, “Without you the world will never know what kind of a man Gautam Buddha was.”
Because of this, all the scriptures are the memories of Ananda. Every Buddhist scripture begins, “I have heard….” It is such a humble beginning because Ananda could not say anything more, because at the time he heard it he was not enlightened. Now he knows that what he heard was right, but at the time it was heard – it was only heard, it was not experienced.
You are here. I would not like you to be in the position of Ananda. I would like you to be in a position to say, “Yes, it is so” – not that you have heard…you have experienced.
The scriptures are dead, and the scholars who devote their lives to reading the scriptures and interpretations not only waste their own lives, they befool millions of people. They all go on teaching, not knowing what they are teaching about. They are like blind people teaching about light, blind people talking about the beauties of the full moon, blind people talking about the roses and their colorfulness. And because everybody else is blind, nobody prevents them.
It was a rare occasion when fortunately an enlightened person…. Hakugan just passed by when Yakusan was reading a scripture. Just passing by he said, “You should stop fooling people.”