The name of the sermon is immensely significant. The East has been aware for centuries that the madman and the enlightened man have a certain similarity. They both are out of the mind, but at that point the similarity ends. One has gone beyond, towards the stars; the other has gone down towards darker spaces. Breakthrough is the very science of meditation.
If someone is determined to reach enlightenment, what is the most essential method he can practice?
The most essential method, which includes all other methods, is beholding the mind.
To be aware of the mind is being a witness of the mind. As the witnessing grows stronger, you already start feeling yourself beyond the mind. Slowly, slowly the distance grows. Your witness reaches to a sunlit peak and the mind is left in the dark valleys, far away. You can still hear the echoes, but they don’t affect you at all. You are beyond their reach.
The disciple asked:
But how can one method include all others?
And Bodhidharma says:
The mind is the root from which all things grow.
From madness to enlightenment.
If you can understand the mind, everything else is included. It’s like with a tree. All of its fruit and flowers, its branches and leaves depend on its root. If you nourish its root, a tree multiplies. If you cut its root, it dies. Those who understand the mind reach enlightenment with minimal effort. Those who don’t understand the mind practice in vain. Everything good and bad comes from your own mind. To find something beyond the mind is impossible.
Except yourself, the enlightenment – that is my addition to the sutra.
Now there are a few important things that Bodhidharma is saying. The first is: If you can understand the mind, everything else is included. But the word understanding can be misunderstood, because the Western psychology is now the predominant psychology all over the world. West or East, the only psychology prevalent today is Western psychology. And the Western psychology tries to understand the mind by analysis. That is a futile effort.