In other words he is saying, the moment you go beyond mind and time, you disperse in the whole; you don’t exist as a separate entity. There is no question of meeting anybody. You have met with the whole in which everybody is included. The smallest pebble on the shore and the biggest star in the sky – both are meeting in that ultimate space. The sinner and the saint, the believer and the disbeliever, man or woman… It does not matter from what form you have come into the eternal, the moment you leave the form, you disappear into the formless. The question of meeting does not arise.
When Hofuku was about to die he said to his monks,
“For the last ten days my vitality has decreased.
It is nothing; simply the time has come.”
A monk said, “The time has come
for you to die – is that all right?
To continue living – is that right?”
Hofuku answered, “It is the way.”
Life comes, death comes. One is in one form, moves into another form and ultimately into the formless ocean of being. This is the way.
The monk asked, “How can I stop being flustered?”
Hofuku said, “It never rains but it pours.”
With this, he sat in a zazen style and passed away.
He sat silently, like Gautam Buddha in the lotus posture, and passed away. Before passing he said:
“It never rains but it pours.”
You need not feel pressured, you need not be worried. This is the way of things. One is born, one becomes young, one becomes old, one dies; there is nothing to be worried about. Everything in its time and everything is perfect. And when the moment comes, just sit down in silence and move into the formless.
Sozan once said to Shie Doja,
“Aren’t you ‘Paper Clothes the Pilgrim’?”
He used to use those words Paper Clothes Pilgrim. We are all paper clothes, covering something indefinable, indestructible.
Shie Doja answered, “I am not worthy of being so.”
“I have not yet discovered the one who is hiding behind the paper clothes; I am not worthy.”
Sozan asked, “What is the thing beneath paper clothes?”
“Why do you say you are not worthy? Just search a little bit behind the paper clothes.”
That’s what we are doing every evening – searching beneath the paper clothes, trying to find out what is hidden there.