What Isan and Kyozan are discussing is how to bring the inner to the outer, how to bring the center to the circumference. How to bring your inner being into the marketplace, how to share it with your friends, with the strangers who are ready to share. Just listening to this small dialogue, More than ten disciples of Kyozan’s became enlightened.
Enlightenment is not a process; it is an event. It is not something that takes years and years then finally you reach the goal. It is possible it may take years and years because you don’t want to be enlightened right now. You may go round and round avoiding enlightenment – that takes time.
Otherwise, this very moment you are the buddha. Just a simple opening, a straight insight into your own being, and enlightenment happens suddenly. It is not a time phenomenon.
A few years before Kyozan passed away, he composed the following gatha…
A few years before he passed away, he predicted in every minute detail how he is going to pass away.
When my years reach
my departure will take place.
I will leave it to my nature
to float or sink
when I leave with my two hands
embracing my folded knees.
At his death on Tung Ping mountain, in 890, he was exactly seventy-seven years old and actually held his folded knees with both hands. The emperor bestowed upon him the posthumous title “Great Master Chih Tung” (meaning Wisdom Pervasion).
And for his stupa, for his memorial, the epigraph– given by the emperor himself – was Miao Kuang (…Wonderful Light).
That wonderful light brings me back….
You are full of wonderful light. You are made of it! But you wander around the world. The world is vast and life is short. Don’t waste your time wandering around the world for small positions, for gathering some money, some power. All that is just like writing on the sand. A small wind or just a wave coming in from the ocean and all the writing disappears.
Whatever you do outside yourself is nothing but writing on the sand, while a wonderful light waits within you – a light that has no source, a light that is not dependent on any fuel, a light that has been within you since eternity, a light that is your immortality. Just enter into yourself and you have entered the holiest temple of existence.
The death poem of Hsu-T’ang, who provided much inspiration for Ikkyu:
Coming from nowhere,
departing for nowhere,
a flashing glance…
Entering the mystery!