Such is the clarity and depth of this man Bodhidharma. Even Socrates said, “I do not know anything.” Even he falls far below the heights of Bodhidharma. He accepts in his statement the existence of I; he accepts the existence of knowledge. He is simply saying, “I am ignorant.”
Just a little difference, how small and how delicate: no knowing – not knowing. A small letter “t” and worlds are set apart.
In these fourteen centuries that have followed Bodhidharma, hundreds of Zen masters of great clarity, insight, awakening, have happened, but no one even comes close to the depth, the subtlety, the beauty and the immense perception of Bodhidharma. As I look into Bodhidharma, I don’t find any other single individual in the whole history of mankind – Gautam Buddha included – who can be said to have condensed religion into its simplest possibility, expressed religion into its absolute purity. It is obvious that this man is going to be misunderstood, condemned, ignored. The greatest peak of consciousness that man has achieved, mankind has not been kind enough to remember it. Perhaps there are heights our eyes cannot reach, but we should try our best; one never knows.
Just a few days ago China discovered a higher peak of the Himalayas than Everest. For centuries Everest was the highest peak; it is no longer so. It is good that Edmund Hillary is dead; otherwise in his old age he would have suffered very much. He has enjoyed the great success of reaching to the highest peak of Everest. But fortunately before China’s discovery he was dead.
It is possible that some day someone may reach to a higher consciousness than Bodhidharma. It has not happened for fourteen centuries, but that does not mean it is absolutely decisive. I don’t see any difficulty, because the sky is infinite. Just a little more courage, a little more understanding, a little higher flight and you can reach to the joy that has been up to now only Bodhidharma’s.
I would love my people to remember it, that there is no limitation, no boundaries, no hindrances – there are skies upon skies. As long as you want you can fly, you won’t touch the boundary of the universe. There is no such thing, no boundary line.
It has been very difficult for scientists to accept the idea that the universe is unbounded. Obviously it is difficult even to conceive of something that has no boundaries. One tends to think that somewhere, very far away, millions or trillions of light years away, but there must be a boundary! Mind can accept any boundary anywhere, but the reality is that by its very nature, existence cannot have any boundary, because what will be beyond the boundary? – again another sky. That’s why I am saying skies upon skies are available for your flight. Don’t be content easily. Those who remain content easily remain small: small are their joys, small are their ecstasies, small are their silences, small is their being.
But there is no need. This smallness is your own imposition upon your freedom, upon your unlimited possibilities, upon your unlimited potential.
Bodhidharma is a milestone, but the way goes farther, always farther.