Isan said to Kyozan, “I have heard that when you were with Hyakujo, if you were asked about one, you could answer about ten. Is that true?”
“I wouldn’t like to say,” replied Kyozan.
“Attempt to say something that expresses the highest point of Buddhism,” said Isan.
Kyozan just opened his mouth, about to speak, when Isan shouted, “Kwatz!”
Twice more, Kyozan went to speak and twice Isan silenced him with a shout.
Kyozan bowed his head and wept, saying, “The former teacher said that when I met another, I would gain enlightenment. Today I have met him. It is three years since I began to seek for buddhahood, and it was no more than looking after a cow.”
Maneesha, I told you yesterday that Isan was trying hard to be a rebel against Ma Tzu – not that he did not love Ma Tzu, but Ma Tzu had become a tradition, and he wanted to get away from the traditional mind, because tradition kills everything. It makes the dead more significant than the living.
It is such an absurd effort, to force living human beings to worship the dead rather than finding the deeper layers of life within themselves. Giving them teddy bears outside, consolations – ugly consolations, degrading consolations…
So when Buddha became a tradition, Bodhidharma revolted against the tradition – not against Buddha. Who can revolt against the buddha? The buddha is your very nature. You can go as far away as possible, but you cannot go far away enough. Your nature will be with you. The buddha is your highest peak of consciousness.
We are not using the word buddha in its historical sense. Gautam the Buddha was one of the buddhas. The title “Buddha” does not denote him personally; it is simply a quality of witnessing, an arriving at home. Certainly he has become the symbol – and a beautiful symbol if you don’t make it a tradition, if you keep it alive, if you don’t start worshipping it, but just start watching the beauty of it, the silence of it, the grace of it, and reminding yourself that this all belongs to you too.
So when Bodhidharma revolted, he revolted not against Buddha – nobody can revolt against the buddha – he revolted against the scholars and the pundits and the ritualistic religion that had grown in Gautam Buddha’s wake after he was gone. But Bodhidharma became in the same way a tradition. It was very difficult to revolt against the Buddhist tradition, but Bodhidharma maintained a tremendously high quality. His rebellion brings him to the same height as Gautam Buddha. And he was capable enough – he had a genius mind – to create a totally different atmosphere for the seeker on the path.
But as he died, again the same thing happened: Bodhidharma became a prototype to be followed, to be imitated. Ma Tzu could not tolerate this stupidity. He had to revolt. It was not against Bodhidharma or Buddha; it was against the inertia that tradition creates.
But to revolt you need immense courage, articulateness, and a great mastery – not only of yourself, but of mind as such. And mind expresses in thousands of ways! – a master has to deal with thousands of types and he has to be capable to encounter each type spontaneously.
Ma Tzu maintained it even better than Bodhidharma. Ma Tzu’s revolution against all tradition, against all sutras, was an immense event in the history of consciousness. He burned the sutras; he simply forced the disciples not to look out, but to look in.