These Dharma Battles are for the growth of insight in disciples. There is nothing to say and there is nothing to be heard, but those who cannot understand silence…something has to be done for them. Something – however farfetched – but something has to be done. That something is Dharma Battle.
Two enlightened masters meet, poke and pinch each other, raise questions which they know are absurd, give answers which they know have no validity…. But in their Dharma Battle the disciples who are the watchers may become aware of something subtle that is not clear in the words.
For example, one Zen master is making a circle in the air…. You cannot forget that gesture; you will have to figure out what it means. Another enlightened man has come to see him and he closes the door. The very situation is such that you are bound to be engaged, for the first time thinking about something: What do these fellows mean? Drawing a circle in the air, closing the door on the face of the guest…?
It can’t just be what it appears to be; it must be something else. It can trigger off an inquiry in the disciple. That is the purposeless purpose.
Your fourth question, Maneesha: “It seems that the very spirit of Zen is pervading these evenings with you – through your words, your gestures, your silences, and our response of silence or laughter, let-go or Yaa-hoo!
“When communication is total it feels as if the communicators disappear. Thus when communication really happens there is no one left to communicate! Could you please comment?”
Niskriya, could you please act again on my behalf?
[Niskriya touches Maneesha’s head with his feather.]
It is true, Maneesha, these evenings have been very special and those who are present are very fortunate. The silences, the laughter, my eyes and your eyes meeting, my hands being understood…and we have created a golden age which has disappeared from the world. We have brought back the times of Mahakashyapa, Bodhidharma…. This assembly would have made any enlightened person rejoice.
It is true that when communication happens, the communicators disappear – you can feel it immediately. Here you are as if one consciousness, undivided. In your silence you are one, in your laughter you are one. This oneness is the door to the ultimate awakening of your consciousness.
We have been one in silence, let us also be one in our laughter. To me a silence that cannot laugh is dead and a laughter that has no silence in it is superficial. When silence and laughter meet they create a dance, and our effort here is to join in this cosmic dance.
Just relax into the whole…
Don’t keep yourself as a spectator.
Don’t remain separate….