Now, this is something to be understood and it is one of the most debated subject matters for centuries: if enlightenment is sudden, that means there is no cause to it. It can be sudden only if it has no causality. If it has any cause, first the cause has to be produced, then enlightenment will follow.
Science believes in causality. You provide all the necessary causes, and this will be the inevitable outcome. But Zen, in the sense of sudden enlightenment, drops the idea of causality. There is no cause that leads to enlightenment – and Hyakujo is making it clear. If no cause, no causality, leads to enlightenment, the reason is that enlightenment is not an effect; cause and effect are joined together. Enlightenment is not an effect of any cause; it is already there. The effect is in the future.
That which is already there, needs no cause. It needs only a turning of your vision. That is not a cause. It needs only a remembrance. That is not a cause. What is already there, in this very moment, requires no causality. Causality produces something. It is already perfectly present; nothing has to be added. All that is needed is to wake up and see.
Seeing is not a causality, you have to understand it. That’s why no method, no device can be said to be absolutely certain to lead you to enlightenment. All that it can do, is to trigger a certain process in you so that you start looking inwards. It can produce the looking inwards, but it cannot produce your enlightenment. If you honestly and urgently look inwards, the buddha is there. Your enlightenment explodes in thousands of ways; it has been just waiting for your eyes.
All Zen masters have been talking about methods, about devices. The reason is that there is no way to introduce you to your own buddha, your own nature. It is so deep down inside you, it cannot be made objective. It cannot be said, “Look, this is your nature. Say hello to it. Get introduced.” Nobody can introduce you to your own nature. Hence, all these devices which are in a way lies, are desperate efforts of the masters somehow to force you to look inwards. Then everything will happen on its own accord.
…a Vinaya master
– Vinaya is the whole Buddhist scripture –
Named Yuan once came to Hyakujo and asked, “Do you make efforts in your practice of the Tao, master?”
Hyakujo replied, “Yes, I do. When hungry, I eat; when tired, I sleep.”
Such a great and beautiful statement contains so much, oceans of meaning.