On one occasion, Yakusan wrote down the Chinese character signifying buddha, and asked his disciple, Dogo: “What is this letter?”
Dogo replied, “It’s the letter for ‘buddha’.”
Yakusan commented, “You are a monk so full of chatter!”
Once, at the evening discourse, Yakusan didn’t light the candle as usual. A monk came and stood by his side. Yakusan said, “I have a very special phrase. If a bull gives birth, I will tell it to you.”
The monk said, “The bull has already given birth long ago, and you just keep not revealing it.”
Yakusan asked for a light. When the candle was brought in, the monk retreated and disappeared into the assembly of monks.
Later Ungan told Tozan about this, and Tozan said, “The monk knew the truth – he just didn’t want to make obeisance to the master.”
One of the sannyasins has asked me a question.
If the truth is one, then why do all the masters, all the awakened ones, speak in different ways? Sometimes it even looks as if they are contradictory.
The truth is certainly one, but it has multidimensional reality, and every master has to choose a certain dimension. You cannot speak all the dimensions together.
Every master has his own style, his own way of speaking, his own way of conveying. The higher you rise in consciousness and awareness, the more you become unique, the more you become individual.
But let me explain to you:
Individuality is not personality.
Personality is given by the society to you. Individuality is your intrinsic nature. Personality is fake, a fraud. Individuality is your innermost buddha, your innermost enlightenment, your innermost door to the divine.
But every master is bound to be unique in his expressions. They are all saying the same thing, they are all indicating towards the same moon, but their fingers are different. They are bound to be different. The finger of Buddha, the finger of Lao Tzu, the finger of Chuang Tzu, are bound to be different. If you pay too much attention to the finger, there is every possibility you will forget the purpose. The purpose was not the finger, the purpose was the moon.
All the differences are in the fingers, in their expressions. The experience of truth is one, but to bring it to expression, every master has to find his own device. That’s why even enlightened people appear to you to be speaking differently, even contradictorily – because existence does not have one-dimensional sources, it is multidimensional. It is comprehensive of all contradictions. All contradictions melt into one cosmos.
Now, you cannot express the whole cosmos in any statement. All philosophies fall short, and all languages appear impotent. All theologies only manage a very partial truth. And remember, a partial truth is not truth. You cannot cut truth into parts. It is one, and organically one, not mechanically one.
You can take a car apart, and you can put those parts together again, but you cannot do the same with a living organism. You cannot take a man’s parts apart, and then put them together. You can do it, but the man will not be there. There will be only a corpse in your hands.