A monk asked Bokushu, “What is the inner meaning of the teachings of Buddhism?”
Now nobody can say that his question is irrelevant; but in the world of Zen it is absolutely irrelevant, because in the first place there is no teaching in Buddhism. In fact there is no such thing as Buddhism, there is only the explosion of buddhahood. It is not an ‘ism’ like communism, it is not an ‘ism’ like fascism, it is not a philosophy propounded by hundreds of philosophers around the world.
Buddha is a unique phenomenon. He has no teaching, but only a few hints…a few hints so that you can find yourself. He does not give any definitions, because to define is to limit. To define is to make a certain system of judgment: those who come within that area are right and those who do not come within that area become automatically wrong.
Buddhahood is an experience without limits. It can happen to the young, to the old, to the white, to the black, to man, to woman. It can happen to anyone who is ready to take a jump from outside into his own self. But reaching into oneself, one does not find a certain meaning. One certainly finds a tremendous ecstasy, one is drowned in peace and silence, one feels as if thousands of flowers are showering over him. It is majestic, it is a splendor, it is a miracle, it is a mystery; but it is not a meaning.
Meaning is for the ordinary things of the world; significance is for the inner. The inner is not a commodity, it has no price. It is not saleable. You cannot purchase it; nobody can give it to you and nobody can take it away from you. Its status is unique in the whole universe. Everything goes on changing continuously, just like a cyclone, but your being remains the center of the cyclone without ever changing; just the same.
It is a search, a seeking, into your own inwardness…but the question is not only asked by one monk….
Do you hear that the cuckoos have come again? Don’t you see the significance of their innocent songs? There is no meaning, you cannot translate it; but it is coming from the very being of the cuckoos, out of some great joy, out of some great abundance. They want to share it with the universe.
A buddha speaks also, but in the same way as the cuckoos are singing, in the same way as the roses share their fragrance to the air, as the bamboos chatter amongst themselves – they don’t have words, but as the wind passes through them they say something without saying that, “We also are here.”