Chokei and Hofuku Discuss the Buddha’s Words
Chokei one day said, “Even if you say that the arhats still have three poisons, you should not say that the Tathagata has two languages. I do not say that the Tathagata has no language but that he does not have two languages.”
Hofuku said, “What is the Tathagata’s language?”
Chokei said, “How can a deaf person hear it?”
Hofuku said, “I know you are speaking from a secondary principle.”
Chokei said, “What is the Tathagata’s language?”
Hofuku said, “Have a cup of tea.”
Setcho’s commentary is:
Who speaks from the first, who from the second principle?
Dragons do not lie in puddles;
Where dragons lurk,
Waves arise when no wind blows.
Oh! You, Chokei Zen monk
You’ve bruised your head on the dragon gate.
With three pounds of drums, she pecks on the lotus leaf. Knowing a spiral when she hears one, she’ll be beaten anyway.
My mind is coming to the boil! It is compelled to try and decipher these stories, even though that feels like reading the epitaph on one’s own gravestone.
So I get my mind out, use it, give up, and put it away.
Then I get it out again, give up and put it away.
Then it gets out, uses me, gives up and puts me away.
I’m going insane or going in Zen! Help!
No, don’t – keep doing it!
Or don’t stop not doing what you don’t do!
Osho, I take my head off to you.
Maneesha, before Nivedano beats his drum and Niskriya cuts your head, I have to explain a few things of which you may not be aware.
First is the word arhata. It simply means one who has overcome the enemies. In a better version, from where it is derived, it is called arihanta, which makes it clear that it has not only overcome the enemies: ari means the enemy and hanta means one who has murdered.
And what are the enemies? There are three enemies: covetousness, anger and folly.
In India, Hinduism is the sanatan, the eternal religion. One knows not when it started, who started it. Out of Hinduism, as a rebellion, two other religions have been born: one is Jainism, another is Buddhism. Jainism believes only in arhatas. Their word for it is arihanta; they don’t know anything of the bodhisattva. The attitude of Jainism is, once a man has killed all the enemies – greed, jealousy, anger, lust – then there is no point for him even to speak a single word; he has nothing to convey. If anything is conveyed, it is conveyed by his presence. He is just like a well. If you are thirsty you go to the well, the well is not going to go running after you.
Perhaps this was one of the reasons Jainism remained a very small religion. Although it has a very refined, sophisticated philosophical understanding, it has had no masters; it had only arhatas. They have achieved and their work was done. Compassion was not compulsory. Why should they bother about anybody’s misery, suffering, darkness? Everybody anyway has to fight it on his own; you cannot force anybody to be enlightened. What is the point?