And he went back to Hollywood. When he came back after earning enough money, more than the first time, that gambling place had closed. It was too risky. The man said, “What is the matter? Just a day before you were open and now you are closed.”
They said, “You can gamble somewhere else. There are many gambling places in Paris, but don’t frighten us. You are a man of strange steel.”
A man who can gamble everything for the unknown result – that’s exactly the situation of a religious man. You are renouncing all the scriptures and all the great masters’ words, and you are going into your own inner world without any guide, without any map, without any companion, alone, on a path never walked by anybody. Your inner path is your path; nobody else can walk on it.
But if one can doubt totally, denying all that is not his own, it creates an immense purity and creates great power, it gives a tremendous freedom – all which are absolutely necessary to inquire into your own being. What is there? Nobody can say it. Only you have to go there, and only you can go there.
Hakuin is saying that there will be a thorough-going awakening where there is thorough-going questioning.
Go on questioning everything that the religions have been telling you to believe. Belief is the greatest barrier to the religious man. But just the contrary has been preached: faith and belief are praised by all religions. And the world that we see is the result of this stupid teaching – believing and having faith. Out of a thousand years of believing what have you gained? Where are you? The world has never been in more of a mess than it is today. If you want to get out of the mess, please throw out all that you have believed up to now.
Be utterly naked of belief, and the truth is not very far away. Just turn in and it is there. It does not come by faith, it comes by turning in. Faith is outside, belief is outside. Only turning in brings a transformation in being.
Do not say, “Since my thoughts are always flying about in confusion, I lack the power to apply myself to genuine concentration on my koan.”
Suppose that, among the dense crowd of people in the hurly-burly of the marketplace, a man accidentally loses two or three pieces of gold. You will never find anyone who, because the place is noisy and bustling or because he has dropped his pieces of gold in the dirt, will not turn back to look for them. He pushes any number of people about, stirs up a lot of dust, and weeping copious tears rushes around searching for his gold. If he doesn’t get it back into his own two hands, he will never regain his peace of mind.
Hakuin is saying that the loss of even two or three pieces of gold is enough to make you look for them, but you don’t know what a treasure is hidden inside you, what a splendor you are carrying.