It is to be understood clearly: the road is not very long. To call it a road is simply symbolic; there is no other way to say it. It is simply a change of vision: you were looking out, you close your eyes and you look within. And you go on, deepening, inside, as far as you can, and you are bound to find the source of your life.
It is just as if a roseflower were trying to find the source of its life. Where is it going to find it? It will have to move within, into the branches, towards the roots, from where it is getting all its nourishment and all its life.
We also have roots, but they are invisible.
Zen is nothing but a discovery of our roots. The man who knows his roots is called the buddha.
On another occasion Daio said to Kusho: The cause and conditions of the one great concern of the enlightened ones is not apart from your daily affairs. There is no difference between here and there. It pervades past and present, shining through the heavens, mirroring the earth. That is why it is said that everything in the last myriad eons is right in the present.
The past – immense past, beginningless past – is behind you. But where has it gone? An immense future – eternal future, endless future – is ahead of you. Where is it hiding? Zen’s understanding is that in the present moment the whole past is hidden, and in the present moment the whole future also is hidden. The present moment contains the whole universe – past, present, future. If you can manage to understand the present moment, you have understood the whole phenomenon of eternity.
Before Albert Einstein, everybody thought that the atom was the smallest particle which existed. Up to Einstein nobody had been able to split the atom, so it was thought to be the last division of matter that we could make. It was impossible to cut the atom in two parts; the atom was a solid entity. But Albert Einstein managed to split the atom, and found that by splitting it, a tremendous energy which is hiding in it explodes.
Nobody had ever conceived that in such a particle, which is not even visible to the eye, so much energy is contained that it can destroy a big city like Hiroshima or Nagasaki within three minutes. It consumed both cities leaving behind only traces, ruins, skeletons….
I have been sent by a friend a picture of a small girl, who must have been going up the stairs to the first floor of her house, carrying her books to do some homework. She was just half way up the stairs when the atom bomb fell on Hiroshima and everything was burned within three minutes. He has sent me the picture of the girl. She was burned with her books, and her image remained imprinted on the wall – just the shape of her body, and the small bag in which she was carrying her homework.