“My consciousness is not an experience. All experiences pass in front of my consciousness, but I am always a witness. So whether the experience is of misery, agony, or of ecstasy, it makes no difference.”
But this can be said only by a man who has attained to that beatitude, that benediction – that this too is a dream, a beautiful dream, the most beautiful dream, but one has not to get identified with it. Hence the saying that when one becomes the buddha he forgets all about buddhahood; he becomes again an ordinary human being. Then the circle is complete. He had started from being an ordinary human being, but that was a state of unconsciousness, like a sleepwalker, a somnambulist. Now he has come back to the same state, with only one difference: now he is no longer asleep, he is awake.
A buddha is fully awake but, compared to anyone else, he is not special. He is not holier than you and he is not higher than you. You are asleep and he is awake – this makes no qualitative difference. In fact, the person who is asleep is showing that he has the capacity to be awake. If you were not capable of being asleep, you would not be capable of being awake either; both capacities belong to the same realm. And unless an enlightened man again becomes an ordinary man, he has been fulfilling only his ego. Then his enlightenment is not authentic; his enlightenment is only an intellectual understanding, not an experience.
Ta Hui is quoting some ancient seer:
“Even if there were something surpassing nirvana” – something surpassing enlightenment – “I would say that it too is like a dream, an illusion.”
A tremendously pregnant statement…
If in the midst of dreamlike illusion, you are able to witness it as it really is, to understand it as it really is, to work on it as it really is, and to act on it as it really is, then you can use the method of ‘according with reality’ to subdue yourself.
Now here he goes wrong. As long as he was quoting the ancient seer he was perfectly right, because those were not his words, he was only repeating. They were the words of someone who has known the experience. Now he starts his own understanding, his own intellectual grasp – and everything goes wrong.
He says, “If you can be a witness of this dreamlike illusion, then you can use the method of ‘according with reality’ to subdue yourself.” A man who has come to the point of knowing that even enlightenment is an illusion cannot have the idea of self anymore – he cannot have the idea that “I am.”
The witness has no idea of any ego.
The witness is but there is no idea of “I am.”