These anecdotes are small but very emphatic ways to remove the dust – make the mirror clean – so that you can see your original face; the face that existence has given to you, not the face and the personality which the society has imposed upon you. Remember this, that your personality is an imposition by others on you. With all good intent, your parents, your society, your teachers, have all been trying…that you should not be yourself; you should be somebody else. And they provide the ideal – who you have to be.
And unfortunately this is impossible; you cannot be anyone other than who existence has intended you to be. But you can miss your destiny. You cannot be anybody else’s destiny, but you can miss your own destiny. And the way is very simple: try to be somebody else, and slowly, slowly a personality, a false mask which is not you – which consists of the expectations of others – arises and covers your innocence. And that innocence is your only treasure, your very eternity, your deathless life.
Once, when Tozan was traveling with another monk, they saw a vegetable leaf floating down a valley stream. Tozan said, “If there were no-one in the deep mountains, how could there be a vegetable leaf here? If we go upstream we might find a wayfarer staying there.”
Making their way through the brush and going several miles up the valley, they suddenly saw the strange-looking, emaciated figure of a man. It was Master Ryuzan.
A very famous name in the history of Zen.
His name meant “Dragon Mountain,” and he was also known as Yinshan, meaning, “hidden in the mountains.”
Because he was there in the mountains, far away from people, just sitting there doing nothing. The silent mountains…
If you are not doing anything, how long can your mind go on persisting with things which have become out of date, which do not relate to you any more? As time passes the thoughts become thinner, and a moment comes when simply you are, without any thought. And this moment when you arrive – to the clearance, the opening of your consciousness - is the most precious because it is your hidden nature. It is your splendor, it is your dance, it is your joy, it is your freedom. Once you have entered into it there is no way to be miserable, there is no way to be tense, there is no way to be in anguish – you have simply passed all those things, which used to be your constant companions.
Ryuzan, in his answers, proves his great understanding.
Tozan and the other monk put down their bundles and greeted Ryuzan.
Ryuzan then said, “There is no road on this mountain – how did you get here?”
Tozan said, “Leaving aside the fact that there is no road, where did you enter?”