Buddha believes in verbs and our languages are rooted in nouns. That creates trouble. Buddha says existence is a verb. It is a process. There are no things at all! All are processes.
I am talking to you, but there is no talker. And you are listening to me, but there is no listener. If you can understand that existentially, only then will you be able to understand what Buddha means when he says that even the third ego disappears.
Right now, let it be an existential experience. Is there a listener or is there only listening? If you look backwards, if you try to recapitulate, the listener comes in. The listener is a memory. If you start thinking about it, certainly you will find the listener there, because the listener is the memory. But when you are listening there is only listening, there is no listener. When you are running, there is only running. When you have come to a point where you stop, sit under a tree to rest, and then you look backwards in the memory – you find a runner. The runner is a memory creation. It was not in the actual, in the existential. It is just that in the memory traces have been left of many acts. How to join those acts into one? Those beads of separate acts have to be joined, otherwise it will be difficult for you to remember. So you create a thread. You thread those beads with an idea of the runner – that becomes your ego.
There are individual atomic acts, and there is nothing joining them. That is what modern physics has come to. The modern physicists’ standpoint about existence is exactly Buddhist, very close to Buddha. Modern physics also says there are only atomic existences. And those atomic existences are also not in any way substantial; they are just energy fields, not matter – just energy fields. And there is constant change. Nothing abides. Everything is in a flux.
These three pillars destroy your whole structure of the ego. This is a very negative kind of trinity. Christianity has a trinity: God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. And Hindus have the concept of trimurti: the three faces of God – Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh. But they are all positive things.
This Zen approach towards reality is utterly negative. These are the three pillars: no-form, no-mind, no-soul. When you have looked through everything and found “No. No. No.” then what is left? That which is left is indefinable. That which is left is truth. Buddha keeps silent about it. It cannot be said. The moment you say it, you falsify it.
This state – when you have come to know no-form, no-mind, no-self – is called wu in Chinese, samadhi in Sanskrit, satori in Japanese. A few characteristics of samadhi, then you will be able to go into this tremendously beautiful story.