Certainly this phrase “wholehearted faith” is a Christian interpretation. It is not the insight of those who are working on the path which Gautam Buddha traveled. It is not a path of belief or faith. In fact you have to throw away all your beliefs and all your faiths. You have to be clean, unburdened, because you are going to touch the heights. All these burdens will hamper your progress. You are going to know truth itself, so don’t carry any ideas of truth because those ideas of truth will stand between you and the truth. Be completely clean – that is the meaning of the empty heart of the buddha.
But the question the layman is asking to Bankei is important for you all. Except for that one word, the whole question is important to every meditator. I will repeat it.
A layman asked Bankei,
“Though I am grateful for your teaching of birthlessness, thoughts from constantly applied mental habits readily come up, and I get lost in them and have difficulty remaining continually unborn. How can I apply wholehearted trust?”
This is the difficulty of every meditator. In different names the problem is the same. The problem is that in your meditations, for a split second maybe you have the glimpse, a taste of the eternal ecstasy. But you cannot keep remembering it twenty-four hours. Old habits, the old mind goes on interfering in many ways. It is a strange phenomenon because it is experienced only by meditators. Non-meditators never experience it because they don’t have the context.
A meditator experiences, but when he comes back from those deep layers, back to his ordinary world, to the circumference, the mind starts creating doubt: “You have been dreaming. What nonsense is this eternity? Are you mad, that just by closing your eyes you attain to the ultimate truth?” The mind starts creating doubts.
And mind is your old friend – four million years it has taken to develop. Your meditation is very new, very fresh, just a sprouting seed; your mind is a Lebanon cedar, two hundred, three hundred feet tall, almost reaching to the stars.
When you come to the circumference with your experience, suddenly there is a conflict between the new experience and the old, four-million-year-old mind. This mind will be almost like a mountain, and your experience is just a roseflower. So again and again you will get caught by the mind.
That’s what the layman is saying to Bankei: “I understand your teaching, I am grateful for it. But it is very difficult to remember that I have never been born, I have never died, that I am immortality itself. As I come back to the ordinary life, it is too heavy on the new experience which is just a bud opening. It crushes it completely.”
Most meditators drop the idea after a few days, seeing the situation, that it is of no use. It is just a glimpse and then again you are back to your miserable world. And the miserable world is so powerful that you even start suspecting that you were dreaming. Your own experience becomes a faraway echo, as if you have heard somebody else telling you, and not that you have experienced it. It goes against your whole conditioning.
So this question of the layman is the question of all meditators.