Also, once you stop eating the food of delusion, if you touch it again, you break your fast. And once you break it, you reap no blessing from it. The world is full of deluded people who don’t see this. They indulge their body and mind in all manner of evil. They give free rein to their passions and have no shame. And when they stop eating ordinary food, they call it fasting. How absurd!
It’s the same with worshipping. You have to understand the meaning and adapt to conditions. Meaning includes action and non-action. …
Worship means reverence and humility. It means revering your real self and humbling delusions. If you can wipe out evil desires and harbor good thoughts, even if nothing shows, it’s worship. …
Those who fail to cultivate the inner meaning and concentrate instead on the outward expression never stop indulging in ignorance, hatred and evil while exhausting themselves to no avail. They can deceive others with postures, remain shameless before sages and vain before mortals, but they’ll never escape the wheel, much less achieve any merit.
I am deeply hurt to have to say that Bodhidharma has gone senile. He was going so great up to the point when the question was asked, “From where does ignorance come?” But he lost the track. It often happens…if you lie once, you have to lie one thousand and one times more; each lie needs another lie to protect it – and still it remains unprotected. Instead of one lie, now you have to protect two lies, but lies cannot be protected by truth – so you bring in a third lie. And this is an endless series.
That’s what has happened to Bodhidharma because he simply could not say, “I don’t know.” Now he’s in a dilemma: whatever is asked, he has to give some answer – whether he knows or not. And there are things which cannot be known by their very nature. So it should not have been a calamity at all to accept that this is an ultimate question and ultimate questions cannot be answered – either by Bodhidharma or by anybody else, past, present, or future.
The ultimate will remain always a mystery. You cannot demystify it by giving an answer. The moment you face the ultimate, you simply have to be like a child, an innocent. Enjoy the wonder of it, relish the mystery of it in the depths of your heart. Let it reach into the silences of your being. Let it penetrate you and transform you. It is not a question to ask about, or to expect any answer to.
But Bodhidharma took only one single wrong step, and now he is going on down the drain. Each day he has to go on creating unnecessary lies. Once in a while he says something true, but now the amount of truth goes on lessening and the lies are becoming more and more, their quantity goes on increasing.
I had never thought that a man like Bodhidharma was not courageous enough to simply say, “Forgive me, I don’t know,” to the ultimate question. If he had said that and stopped there, he would have risen above millions of mystics in height, in depth, in magnificence.