And this is the beauty of life, that you are always coming closer to it, but you never come to a full stop; the full stop will really mean death. What will you do then?
Have you ever thought about it? If you become realized, enlightened, awakened, then…back to the kitchen, looking into the refrigerator! What are you going to do after that?
Enlightenment cannot be the full point. Buddha had no possibility to open a refrigerator, but in his own old-fashioned way, he immediately starts with his begging bowl – that is not different, just an old version. After enlightenment comes the begging bowl, and he is moving on from house to house.
Today it will be different. You become enlightened. You wait a few minutes in Buddha Hall, waiting and thinking, What to do now? And then you start moving toward the restaurant – in a queue…enlightened people!
It is so hilarious but so human. What else to do?
A few go a little earlier to be just in the front of the line; a few are more patient, a few stay even for hours…but it does not matter, finally you have to go to the restaurant.
Life goes on whether you are enlightened or not.
Kyosei says, “I was near it, very near it. I had almost found it but I will not be deluded, I will not be identified. I will not say, ‘I have found it.’ I will only say, ‘Almost.’”
It was Gautam Buddha’s common habit to start his sentences with “Perhaps.” Certainty is only for the idiots. For those who even come close to truth everything becomes flexible, everything becomes “Perhaps….” The monk asked, “What do you mean by ‘near it but not deluded’?” Kyosei said, “To say it in the sphere of realization may be easy, but to say it in the sphere of transcendence is difficult.”
He says, “It may be easy if you are ready to commit a small linguistic mistake. You can say, ‘I have attained,’ but in the true world of transformation it is difficult. You can only say, ‘I have come very close, almost to the point of declaring,’ but there one stops.”
And it is better from there to go to the restaurant. Rather than first becoming enlightened and then going to the restaurant…it doesn’t look right…!
Setcho put it like this:
The empty hall resounds with the voice of the raindrops,
Even a master fails to answer.
If you say you have turned the current,
You have no true understanding.
Understanding? No understanding?
Misty with rain, the northern and southern mountains.
Once in a while this schoolmaster, Setcho, also manages to say some significant things.