That’s what happened to Maulingaputta. After two years he completely forgot about the time. Those two years were of such silence…. For a few days he counted, then he dropped the idea of counting. For a few days thoughts passed through his mind, but how long can they…? If you are not interested in them, if you are just a mirror, they come like clouds and go away, without leaving any trace behind. After two years he was pure innocence – no question, no answer, no debate, no challenge. Those were all parts of the personality that had melted down in those two years living in the energy field of a buddha.
Buddha himself told Maulingaputta, “Have you forgotten? Today two years are complete. Now if you want to challenge me, if you want to ask any question and discuss anything, I am ready.”
Maulingaputta touched Buddha’s feet and said, “Mahakashyapa was right. I am no more; who is there to challenge you? I am no more; who is going to ask the question, and who is going to listen to the answer? These two years passed so soon. It seems as if just the other day I had come here. You have done a miracle.”
Buddha said, “I have not done anything. Just being in my presence, slowly, slowly your heart starts being in a kind of synchronicity with the master’s heart. By and by you melt down in the warmth and love of the master. This has been my experience – that at least two years is the time necessary to complete the process. Forgive me for keeping you waiting for two years, but there is no other way of reaching from heart to heart, from being to being.”
Rinzai did the same miracle in Japan, and his credit is tremendous because in Japan Zen reached to the highest peak. The seed was born in India, in Gautam Buddha. It was carried as a flower by Mahakashyapa for six generations. Bodhidharma, who carried it as a full blown flower to China, was the seventh. Even the emperor came to receive Bodhidharma; his fame had reached before him. But the emperor could not understand the ways of Zen.
Zen has a certain way, a certain approach which is not available to any other religious tradition. It is unique, a category in itself.
The emperor Wu had come from far away, from his capital to the border of China, to receive Bodhidharma. He was shocked at what he saw, because Bodhidharma was carrying one shoe on his head and one shoe was on his foot.
Now, the emperor was a very sophisticated man; he had a great court of very cultured people. This kind of behavior…but just because of his sophistication and culture he could not say anything about it. He was not yet even introduced. He avoided seeing the shoe sitting on Bodhidharma’s head.
The emperor asked – because he was the man who had made thousands of buddha statues in China, had brought one thousand scholars from India to translate in combination with Chinese scholars all the Buddhist scriptures into Chinese. He had done much and converted the whole country into a land of Buddha. Obviously the monks used to say to him, “You have accumulated too much virtue. All these virtuous acts…immense is going to be your reward in the other world.” So he asked Bodhidharma, “I have done all these things; what is going to be my reward?”
Bodhidharma said, “You idiot! You will fall directly into hell. You are asking for a reward? The very idea of reward is of greed. The very idea of achieving something is not a reflection of your wisdom.”