As one goes deeper on the path, as one releases oneself from the prison of one’s own mind, ordinary experiences start taking extraordinary colors. Just an ordinary flower looked at silently becomes a wondrous experience. What a marvel that a small flower can exist with beautiful colors, with a little fragrance of its own, an individuality of its own. The greatest philosopher cannot fathom the meaning of the smallest flower.
But the mystic is not a philosopher; he does not bother to fathom meanings, to measure meanings, to think about things. He simply rejoices in them. When it rains, he dances, he joins hands with the rain. When trees are rejoicing, becoming fresh, one starts feeling the same freshness. Only one thing is needed, and that is the offering of the sutra this morning…release.
Ta Hui is intending to convey a simple thing to you: you are the prison, you are the prisoner, and you are the one who has imprisoned you. You are playing a game with yourself. One part of you functions as the jailer, another part functions as the jail, and your innermost core is crushed between these two parts. You become a prisoner; it is not that somebody else is making you a prisoner.
It would have been a great calamity if man’s consciousness was imprisoned by somebody else. Then freedom would not be in your own hands; then freedom would be in somebody else’s hands. It is marvelous that you are yourself imprisoning your being, hence the release can happen instantly. It is only a question of a little understanding, just a little intelligence.
This sutra is very beautiful. It says,
In our family…
To whom is Ta Hui referring as “our family”? You are included in it, as are all those who are involved in this great affair of searching, seeking, trying to penetrate into the mysteries of existence. They may have been past, they may be present, they may be in the future, but they constitute the only family worth calling family.
There is a physical, biological family: your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your husbands, your wives, your children – but that is a very superficial phenomenon, accidental. There is a deeper family which has nothing to do with your biological origins but is concerned with your ultimate search. It is spiritual. It is not accidental – it is very essential.
Once you become aware, you will be suddenly amazed that all the buddhas of the past and all the buddhas of the future and all the buddhas of the present constitute a single family, because their experience is the same, their truth is the same, their life is surrounded with the same fragrance. They in no way differ from each other. If you have come across a single buddha, you have come across all of them. He contains all of them; he represents all of them.
Ta Hui is immensely beautiful to mention it as a family…
In our family there is indeed a subtle marvel not transmitted.