His advice is very simple, but it never fails. He is advising not to get identified with any appearance: the body is an appearance, the mind is an appearance, the world is an appearance. The only thing that is absolutely real is your consciousness. Everything else goes on changing. That which goes on changing is an appearance – don’t get identified with it. You are the unchanging divine, you are the unchanging godliness. And Bodhidharma says: I have no other advice.
Don’t cling to appearances, and you will be of one mind with the buddha.
The sutra says: You will be of one mind with the buddha. That is the misunderstanding of the person who has been taking notes of Bodhidharma’s statements. I have to make the correction from “mind” to “no-mind.”
As minds, you can never be one with the buddha. Just try to understand, because it is infinitely significant. Here, if you are all minds, then there are as many people as there are minds. But if you all become silent, with no thoughts, then there is only one no-mind – then all the distinctions disappear. Whether you are a man or a woman, a young child or old, educated or uneducated, rich or poor, it does not matter.
All distinctions disappear the moment mind is transcended. All distinctions are made by the mind. Beyond the mind is just a silent sky, a pure space. In that pure space with the buddha, you are all one with existence.
You are one with the whole.
I call this oneness with the whole, the only holiness.
The disciple asks Bodhidharma:
But why shouldn’t we worship buddhas and bodhisattvas?
The disciple seems to be of a very mediocre mind, because Bodhidharma has already answered. And now what he gives as Bodhidharma’s answer, I deny absolutely that it can be the answer of Bodhidharma. It is so stupid that Bodhidharma cannot say it. So first I will read what the disciple writes, then I will tell you what exactly Bodhidharma must have said.
Devil and demons possess the power of manifestation. They can create the appearance of bodhisattvas in all sorts of guises. But they’re false. None of them are buddhas. The buddha is your own mind. Don’t misdirect your worship.
The disciple is saying that worshipping a buddha is denied because the devils can pretend to be buddhas. If you worship, the appearance will be of the buddha, and in fact there is a devil hiding behind the appearance. This cannot be the answer of Bodhidharma.