For example, you may donate to a poor man, but you are not sure…. To any observer it is a good act; you have helped the poor man. But to a man of the perceptivity of a Bodhidharma or a Gautam Buddha, you have acted out of uncertainty; hence you have not really been compassionate towards his poverty. You are simply bragging about your compassionateness, about your kindness. You are simply fulfilling your ego. Nobody will see it, everybody will see that you are serving the poor. But you can see that you are serving only your own egoistic idea of yourself that you are a great public servant. The whole beautiful act has gone poisonous.
Once you act…
out of uncertainty…
…you wander through birth and death and regret having no refuge. To understand this no-mind, you have to act without acting.
This will look a little illogical, but the philosophy based on meditation takes it as the most logical thing: acting without acting. This is one of the fundamentals of Bodhidharma to be understood. What I call a spontaneous act is the same – that way it does not create in your mind a conflict; what I call a total act is the same.
Whenever you act spontaneously, you are not acting. The action is coming out of your life source on its own accord; it is acting without action. When you decide to act, when you bring your mind in, when you bring your past experiences in, the action is your action. You have decided to do it. But when you allow existence to respond and your mind is no longer interfering, you are in a state of no-mind. In utter silence, you allow your self-nature to do whatever is spontaneous; you act without acting.
It is almost like a mirror. When you come before a mirror, do you think the mirror thinks, “Should I reflect this fellow or not?” Do you think the mirror thinks, “This guy looks like a Mafia guy with sunglasses – should I reflect him or not?” Somebody is beautiful, somebody is ugly – to the mirror it does not matter; it is not a question of deciding. The mirror simply reflects them as his self-nature – the nature of the mirror is to reflect. There is no question of any decision or any judgment. Seeing a beautiful woman, it does not appreciate her, or seeing a man who looks like a camel, it does not hesitate even for a single moment whether to reflect this fellow or not.
There is a beautiful story about one of the very great mystics, Ashtavakra. The word Ashtavakra means that he was the ugliest man you can conceive of. On eight points in his body, he was just like a camel; nothing was as it should be. Everything was wrong. His eyes – one would be looking to the left and one would be looking to the right. His legs – one would be going this way, one would be going that way….he was a very strange fellow. How he managed is difficult to conceive.