The problem of what is real and what is apparent cannot be decided by philosophical discussion because to the eyes, whatever appears is appearance, and the real is hidden inside you – it does not appear on the surface. So all these philosophers, and their number is many…
One of my teachers has a doctorate on Bradley and Shankara, comparing their philosophies about what is real and what is only apparent, not real. The name of the professor was S.S. Roy. He is still alive, retired. He loved me very much. I asked him, “You have got a doctorate, but do you really know what is real and what is apparent? If I was the examiner of your treatise you would have failed!”
He looked at me, could not believe that a student will say this to his own professor, when his treatise has been examined by the greatest living professors inside and outside India and greatly praised.
He said, “But do you know how much my treatise has been praised?”
I said, “That does not matter at all. What matters is that you don’t know what is real. You are only discussing, it is not your experience. You are not a meditator, you have not come to the space of pure silence; your whole treatise is simply verbiage, maybe well written, very rationally written, but it is not your existential experience.”
He said, “My God, it is good that you were not one of my examiners, otherwise I would have lost my DLitt.”
I said to him, “If you are a man of intelligence you have already lost it. Just I am enough to dispose of your treatise – because I say to you that you don’t know yourself. I know that you are an honest man and you will realize that I am pointing at the right place which you have missed.”
What Tozan is saying is that unless you burn your mind which divides things into two… Mind is always a duality; it cannot live with the non-dual. Tozan is saying, “Go beyond the dual and you will find the space where there is no heat and no cold, where only pure nothingness prevails. And that is our being.”
About Tozan…this is not the Tozan who appeared in Tozan’s Three Pounds of Flax, but Tozan Ryokai, the founder of the Soto sect. Tozan visited several masters.
By the way, just a few days ago I received an invitation from the Soto sect, founded by Tozan. They were celebrating a thousand-year-old tradition on a great scale. And the chief of Soto Zen must have read my books and must have heard the story that I have accepted that I am the fulfillment of Gautam Buddha’s promise that he will be coming after twenty-five centuries and that his name will be Friendliness – Maitreya.