All the devices of Zen are to wake up the sleeping master. And as the master wakes up, the servant immediately surrenders. The servant immediately becomes a very efficient mechanism. It is a beautiful mechanism, but as a servant only, not as a master. As a master, it is the most dangerous thing. As a master, it will lead you into dreams, fantasies, imaginations which are never fulfilled. And finally, there is nothing but emptiness in your hands, utter frustration.
The awakening of the master is the breakthrough. Mind is in its place now, as a servant. When the master wants, it functions; when the master does not want, it remains silent and quiet.
On the third level we enter the mud and water, setting down footnotes, blinding people’s eyes, destroying the lineage of the Buddha.
On the third level is the student. On the second level was the disciple. On the first level was the devotee. The lowest level is to study. To make an effort through words, scriptures and heritage to understand what is within you, is so foolish. It is as foolish as when you stop a man on the road and ask him, “Please can you tell me who I am?”
The man will shrug his shoulders and say, “If you don’t know yourself, how do you suppose I will know? The fact is, I don’t even know who I am. I’m in the same boat – as ignorant as you are.”
Searching in the scriptures for the answer that will give you the ultimate freedom, that will make you part of the cosmic whole, that will give you the dignity of a buddha, the awakened, the enlightened, is absolutely a hindrance.
Thousands of people work on the third level because it is the easiest to read the sutras, to cram the holy scriptures. But you are still as ignorant as you were before. Now you are just decorated with beautiful words. Your ignorance is now deeper than it was before. Before, your ignorance was not deep, it was just on the surface – a little hit and your waking would have happened. But as knowledge becomes thicker and thicker and thicker, as more and more layers of knowledge are added, you are farther and farther away from yourself.
On the path, the third category of student means to enter the mud and water, setting down footnotes, blinding people’s eyes: destroying the lineage of the Buddha.
Buddha’s basic contribution to the world is to say that you are a buddha, don’t look anywhere else. Don’t search anywhere else, don’t go to any holy place – just go in.
But a true, patch-robed one must search out and investigate the living word, not go for the dead word.
The living word is only possible with a living master. So the real search for truth is ninety-nine point nine percent the search for a living master. Point one percent I’m leaving for that rare breed in the first category where it happens spontaneously.