These beautiful stories and these beautiful people have almost disappeared from the world. They were not plastic and they were not phony. They were utterly innocent, authentic. I want my people to bring those golden moments which have disappeared from the world.
There is a story about one of Seppo’s disciples named Tozan:
When he first went to Seppo he had hardly entered the gate when Seppo pushed him over and said, “What is this?”
And Tozan was immediately enlightened. Forgetting himself he just lifted up his hands and danced around. Seppo said, “Are you behaving rationally?”
Tozan said, “What has this to do with rationality?”
Seppo stroked his back and confirmed his enlightenment.
A dance can say much more than any philosophy. A simple shout “Ho!” can bring you to this moment. Anything that can bring you to your home is the only religion I know of. The so-called religions of the world are simply deceiving and exploiting people. People have to be awakened.
Zen has become my most loved…for the simple reason that it does not create any theology. It does not bother about God, because God is always “that,” God is always “there.” And the real concern is this, not that; here, not there; now, not then.
Seppo was cutting trees one day with Chosei and said to him,
“When you cut, cut to the heart. Then stop.”
Chosei said, “I have cut and finished.”
Seppo said, “Former masters transmitted the truth from mind to mind. Would you really say that you have cut and finished?”
Chosei said, throwing the ax to the ground, ”It is transmitted.”
Seppo struck him with his stick
It is out of tremendous love and great compassion that a Zen master ever strikes anybody. This is a different language – of saying that you have got it, that you are enlightened.
A master’s stick is awaited by the disciple for years, because he will hit you only if he knows that his hit is going to awaken you; or he will hit only when you are awakened as a reward. In the modern world it will not be at all understood. When, for the first time, Zen stories were translated, everybody thought that they were some kind of jokes.
They are not jokes. But because they were translated first by Christian missionaries, just to show to the world: “Look at the greatness of Christianity, and look at these primitive people thinking that they are enlightened!”