After this, Kyogen left his hermitage and went back to Isan, who confirmed his enlightenment.
He has gone for two reasons back to Isan: to see whether Isan recognizes his enlightenment or not, and to express his gratitude to him, to say that without being with him for fifteen years doing all kinds of meditations, he could not have dropped everything; without those fifteen years of strenuous work, it would not have been possible for him to have become enlightened by the sound of a stone striking the bamboos.
He still considers Isan his master; he prepared him. Although enlightenment did not happen in his vicinity, the preparation had been done by Isan wherever it was going to happen. So these were the two reasons: to show his gratitude by putting his head on Isan’s feet, and to wait to see whether Isan recognizes what has happened to him.
Recognition is not a kind of certificate. It is simply that a man of clear insight can decide more easily about the new phenomenon. For Kyozan it was so new. He has never known such a thing; what to call it? Is this enlightenment? He wanted to know also.
After this, Kyogen left his hermitage and went back to Isan, who confirmed his enlightenment – without his asking.
Enlightenment is such a subtle fragrance, so invisible a flower that only another enlightened person can recognize it. As far as others are concerned, they are absolutely blind. If you ask them whether the sun has risen or not, they will say, “It never set. The question of rising does not arise. I am a blind man, I cannot make judgments about light. That window is closed for me.”
So first people go from one teacher to another teacher in search of the master. And even if they have found the master, it is not certain that they will become enlightened. Their greed for it, their ambition for it prevents it.
Perhaps tired, bored, they leave the master. They find far more freedom, a greater space, more clarity just being away from the master. And if they have really dropped the ambitious mind, then anything – a cuckoo singing, or the bamboos making songs of their own in the strong wind, or the oceanic waves – it does not matter what….