From the beginning, truth is clear. From the beginning, truth is not hidden. From the beginning, truth is just in front of you. From the beginning, there is nothing other than the truth. Something has gone wrong with you, not with the truth.
People come to me and they ask: Why is God invisible? I tell them: He is not. You are blind. Don’t say God is invisible. God is the all that surrounds you, within and without. God is not invisible – you have lost the capacity to see. God is herenow. God is all that is. God is just a name for the totality, the whole. In millions of forms he is visible. In the flowing river, he is the flow. In the red flower, he is the redness.
God is not invisible. Somehow either you have gone blind or you have become too attached to your blinders. You remain blindfolded. Your religions, your culture, your society, your conditionings, the civilization and all that nonsense function as a blindfold. You are not allowed to open your eyes. You have become accustomed to living with closed eyes. You have completely forgotten that you have eyes and that you can open them. You have become so afraid of opening your eyes, of seeing the truth, you have become so attuned to lies, that to see truth is going to be very devastating. Your whole image will fall down, will be shattered. Your whole house of playing cards will simply fall down and disappear. You have lived too much in dreams and desires, and deep down you have become afraid of the real.
Don’t say God is invisible. God is absolutely visible here and now.
where does man go astray? In trying to be something else, in trying to be somebody else, in trying to fulfill some ideals, in trying to go into the future and to become somebody. The ego trip leads you astray.
Drop all ideals. Drop all ideas of how you should be. “Should” is the greatest poison there is. Just live naturally.
This is the uniqueness of Zen: it gives you no ideals; it helps you to be natural. It gives you no images to follow and imitate. Zen masters say: If you meet Buddha on the way, kill him immediately! And if you utter the name of Buddha, you must wash your mouth. They know the exact message of Buddha, they have understood; hence they can be so hard. They look hard; they are not. They say you can be only yourself, so no imitation should be allowed. You should destroy all seeds for imitativeness; otherwise you will become a falsity, you will be a phony being.
Just be yourself. There is no other goal to be attained. Live alert, delightfully, and everything will be as it should be. There is no need to think about “should.” Truth will follow you like a shadow. Just settle down, relax into your naturalness, be spontaneous, be natural. Don’t live according to rules. Let the rules come out of your naturalness.
If you simply remain natural, you become a witness. A desire arises, it integrates – you remain a witness. As it integrates, in the same way it disintegrates itself. You need not do anything. Just like a wave arises in the ocean and falls back – no need to do anything. No need to fight, no need to struggle. Forms arise and disappear, you remain a watcher. And you know well that no form is identical to you; you are not identified with any form.
You were a child; that form came and disappeared. If you met your childhood somewhere you would not be able to recognize it. You became a young boy, a young girl – that form also disappeared. Now if you go and meet your youth somewhere, you will not be able to recognize it. You will become old – that form will also disappear in death. Forms go on like waves – come and go, appear and disappear. No need to be distracted by them. Anger comes and goes – nothing is to be done about it. If you can remain poised in your alertness, it cannot poison you. Remain aloof – close, very close, and yet aloof, far, far away.
You remain in the midst of forms, and yet remain alert that no form is identical with your being. Your being is not reducible to any form. Your being is pure awareness. It is just awareness, with no forms.
This is beautiful: One who is not attached to “form” need not be “reformed.” First you get attached to the form of anger, or greed, or jealousy, or possessiveness, or whatsoever. First you get identified with the form of anger, then the question arises: How do I drop it? How to attain non-anger? First you become attached to the form of greed, and then you start inquiring: How to be non-greedy? Now reform is needed. And this is going in circles.
Zen says: In the first place, why be identified with any form? Rather than trying to make anger non-anger, violence non-violence, greed non-greed, why not get out of identification in the first place? Watch the anger; don’t get identified with it. Suddenly you are neither angry nor not-angry, neither violent nor non-violent – you are just the watcher. The violence and the non-violence are both forms on a screen. You are the spectator. You have gone beyond. Now no reform is needed. Try to understand this basic, very basic thing.
Zen doesn’t teach you that you should practice brahmacharya, celibacy – no. It simply says: Don’t get identified with the form of sex. The real thing is to be done there. Once you are identified with the form of sex, then you are in a vicious circle. The first misstep has been taken; now you cannot arrive home. The first step has to be put right, so that there is no need now to go to a saint and take a vow of brahmacharya. Your brahmacharya will be dangerous; it will be nothing but repression. You will become more and more miserable, and sex will become more and more powerful. It will fascinate you more, it will attract you more. You will start living a very perverted life of sex. On the outside, brahmacharya; deep inside, turmoil.
Zen says: Don’t be worried about brahmacharya; just don’t get identified with the form of sex. When the desire for sex arises, be a watcher. Don’t condemn it because if you condemn, you cannot be a watcher; you have become a party to repression. Then you cannot be impartial, you are already prejudiced. Don’t condemn, don’t judge. Just remain alert with no judgment because all judgments are subtle forms of identification. If you say it is bad you are already identified, you are already against it. It has taken possession of you already, it has entered into you. If you say it is good, of course, you are getting identified.
Don’t say good or bad, just don’t say anything. Can you remain alert when anger arises, sex arises, greed arises, without saying yes or no? Can you resist the temptation to say yes or no? Can you just be alert, taking note of it – that it is there – with no judgment? Then you have the key. That is the Zen key. It is a master key; it unlocks all the locks there are.
A man of Zen looks at things and accepts their naturalness. The water is emerald – what is the problem? …the mountain is indigo – what is the problem? A flower is a flower, a thorn is a thorn. Things are what they are. What is the problem?
The problem arises when you start evaluating them. You say: If the water were not emerald, it would have been better. Now the problem arises. If you say: If the mountains were not indigo, it would have been better. Now you are getting into trouble.
The water is emerald, the mountains are indigo – accept the fact. Live with the fact, and don’t bring theories into it. Just go on watching your mind. It makes theories continuously. It does not allow you to accept anything. It goes on thinking: It should not be so, it should be so. It goes on bringing in imagination.
Watch… Where is the problem? Things are as they are. If you accept this, if you understand this, there is nothing else to be done. You are back home. Then you go on watching and you go on enjoying. The scene is beautiful, the scene is tremendously beautiful – but don’t bring yourself into it. With your evaluation, judgment, the ego enters.
The child is restless, running all around. It has to be so, he is a child. Now you want him to sit silently, you want him to behave like an old man, and a problem arises. Now you can’t see that the child is a child. Now you are trying to make him into something which he is not. Now you are in trouble, and you are creating trouble for the child also. Accept it!
Dogs are barking and you are meditating. Now don’t say that they are disturbing you. They are not concerned at all with you; they don’t even know that you are meditating. They are dogs – and barking is their meditation. You enjoy your meditation, let them enjoy their meditation.
Once you accept, suddenly the problem disappears. But deep down you go on evaluating: It would be good if these dogs were not barking. But why should they not bark? They are dogs – and they are enjoying it so tremendously. Just accept the fact, and you will see that the more you accept, the more their barking becomes non-distracting. Then suddenly they can go on barking and you can go on meditating and there is no clash. The clash arises out of your mind and attitude.
Everything is in its nature. You also be in your nature. And the world is perfectly good, the world is perfectly beautiful – it is the best world there can be.
Whenever you reach the source, the circle has to become complete.
“Who made God?” asked a small eight-year-old child.
“God has no beginning or end,” answered the teacher.
“But everything has a beginning and end,” insisted the boy.
Another eight-year-old tried to help: “Where is the beginning or the end of a circle?” he asked.
“I see,” said the first child.
If life is really complete, the circle has to come back to the very first step. Then the circle becomes complete. That was what was missing before Kakuan. The Taoist pictures ended with the eighth sutra, but Kakuan felt, and he felt rightly, that the circle was not complete – something was missing. A man starts in the world; he must end in the world. Only then is the circle complete and man is perfect.
In Zen they have a saying: Before I entered the path, rivers were rivers and mountains were mountains. As I went deeper on the path, I became confused. Rivers were no longer like rivers and mountains were no longer like mountains. Everything became topsy-turvy, upside down. It was chaos. When I reached the end and the path was complete, rivers again became rivers, mountains became mountains.
It has to be so. You start in the world. The world is the given. Wherever you start, you start in the world. Now one thing is certain: if the circle is complete and the journey full and you are fulfilled, you must end in the world. But in the middle, things will be topsy-turvy.
The siddha – the one who has attained – comes back into the world as an ordinary man. Sometimes you may not even be aware that a siddha lives in your neighborhood. Somebody you know may be a siddha and you may not be aware. The circle may be so complete that he will look just like an ordinary man because the effort to look like an extraordinary man is still an ego trip. So be careful! You may be passing many siddhas in the marketplace. So be alert – a buddha may be sitting just there by your side who has come full circle.
In the East we bow down to each other in deep remembrance of God. In the West you say hello to somebody, you say good morning, good evening. We don’t say that in the East, we say: Jai Ram – God is great. We recognize the god in the other. We hail the god in the other. Who knows, he may have come full circle.
In that deep recognition, we don’t talk about the morning or the evening or the afternoon or night; that is useless. Goodnight is just a formality; good morning, just a formality. But when somebody says: Jai Ram – I bow down to the god in you – it is not just formality. It has tremendous significance. It says: who knows, I am not very alert, and the other person may be Ram, may be God himself. Let me bow down to him.
Whenever a buddha comes full circle, he is back in the world. That is where everybody starts and that is where everybody should end.
This mingling with the people of the world is a great recognition, realization, that everybody is divine. So there is no need to go to the Himalayas, there is no need to hide yourself in the seclusion of a monastery, there is no need to keep yourself isolated. Mingling with the people is mingling with God in millions of forms.
Now the division between the world and nirvana is lost. This world and that world – that division is lost. The profane and the sacred – that division is lost. Now everything is sacred or profane because everything is one. Call it the world or nirvana, it makes no difference. The world is moksha, the world is nirvana.
The sayings like this of Zen masters trouble other religious people very much. Zen masters say: This world is nirvana, this world is enlightenment, supreme, ultimate, and there is no other world. This troubles other religious people and creates anxiety in them because they cannot think that the profane can be sacred, that the ordinary can be the extraordinary, that pebbles on the path are diamonds. But it is so, and the Zen insight is absolutely true.
The other world is not anywhere else – it is herenow. You only need perception, clarity. When your eyes are clear, pebbles become diamonds. When you attain to clarity, all stones turn into images of God. When you have the realization of your own being, suddenly you have realized the whole. There is no other world; this is the only world there is.
There are two ways of seeing it: one is with blindfolded eyes. It is not good to say that it is a way of seeing; rather, it is a way of not seeing. Then there is another: with open, clean, clear eyes – with perceptivity. Then suddenly everything is beautiful, divine, sacred. Wherever you are, you are living on holy ground. The holiest of the holies surrounds you.
My clothes are ragged and dust-laden – back to the very ordinariness of life – and I am ever blissful. But wherever I am, bliss surrounds me. Now it is no longer something that happens to me; it is something that has become my intrinsic quality. Not that sometimes I am blissful and sometimes not; it has become my nature, I am bliss.
Because there is no question of extending life. One lives eternally. Now there is no death, so what is the point of extending life?
Yogis have been very concerned, almost obsessed, with the idea of extending life, living long. Deep down in every person is this desire. If somebody comes and says, “I have come across a sadhu in the Himalayas who is one hundred and fifty years of age,” you suddenly become interested. Why? What is the difference if he is fifty or a hundred and fifty or three hundred? What is the difference? Why are you interested? You are still identified with the body – and still afraid of death.
The human mind is stupid. But the attraction has a deep significance: it shows that you are afraid of death. You become interested if somebody is a thousand years old: then maybe he can also help you. He can also give you some secret, some alchemical formula, some key, and you can live long as well. But Zen is not interested in long life because Zen says: Once you understand yourself, then there is eternal life. Who bothers about a long life?
A long life is still a desire of the body – an identified man who is afraid of death. A man of understanding knows there is no death. Death does not happen; it has never happened. It happens only because you are identified with the body and you don’t know yourself. Yes, you will be separated from the body. If you are too identified, that separation will look like death. But if you are not identified with the body and you know yourself as the witnessing soul, as consciousness, as awareness, then there is no death.
Even dead trees, as I pass them, become alive. A man who has attained to his innermost core of being is so full of life that wherever he goes he showers life on everything. It is said that when Buddha went into the forest, dead trees became alive and trees would blossom out of season. These may be just stories, but significant; mythological, not historical, not true in the sense of history, but still true in a deeper sense. When you are alive, whatsoever you touch becomes alive. When you are dead, whatsoever you touch you kill.
The more you enter it, the more mysterious it becomes. It is the very substratum. It is the ultimate. There is nothing beyond it. There is nothing beyond you; you are the very base of existence, the very ground of being. Of course, that very ground cannot become part of knowledge. It is deeper than knowledge. It is deeper than the knower.
One feels it, but one cannot know it. One becomes alert to it, but it is very subtle. You cannot catch hold of it. You can realize it, you can live in it, but you cannot grab it, you cannot cling to it. It is elusive.
Now there is no need. Why should one bother about buddhas, the knowers, the enlightened people? Jesus and Krishna and Lao Tzu – why should one be worried about them? The search is finished. You have come home. Why should one search for the footprints of the patriarchs? Now there is no need. Once you are back to your innermost nature there is no need for any scripture, for any doctrine, for any Yoga, for any system, for any search.
I go to the marketplace with my bottle… Here Kakuan is unique, a very courageous man. It is very rare to find such a courageous man among so-called religious people. Only a really religious person can be so courageous. He accepts the world in its totality.
Now nothing is prohibited, now nothing is denied. Now there is no “no.” A great “yes” surrounds. Everything is included, nothing is excluded – even the wine shop is not excluded. Nothing is excluded – the “yes” is all-inclusive, total.
One becomes so all-inclusive that one goes to the market, even to the wine shop. Now in everything one finds godliness hidden. Now one has no condemnation for anything. No-saying has disappeared totally. And remember, the ego disappears totally only when the no-saying disappears totally. If you still have a no, then you have a hang-up. Then the ego is still hiding in subtle ways. It says no, and it feels good.
What Kakuan means by this is: Now the yes is so total that the temple and the wine shop are the same to me. Now I see godliness everywhere. Now godliness is everywhereness. …and everyone I look upon becomes enlightened.
That is the last thing to be remembered. Once you are enlightened, you cannot find a person who is not enlightened. Not that everyone becomes enlightened, but if I see into you, I cannot see anything else but that you are enlightened. That’s why I go on saying you are all buddhas. Buddhahood is your intrinsic nature. The day I looked into myself, that very day the whole world became enlightened to me.
You may be puzzled: I can see your confusion. You may be puzzled about your own treasures. You may not be aware, but I can see: you are carrying the greatest treasure of life. You are carrying godliness within you. You may have forgotten completely. You may have completely forgotten the way back home, but it is still there.
Kakuan is right: …everyone I look upon becomes enlightened. If I look at you, you become enlightened because for me only enlightenment exists now.
Whatsoever you are, you will find the world exactly the same. You go on finding yourself in the world again and again. The world is a mirror. If you are enlightened, you are surrounded by enlightened beings. There is no other way. You are surrounded by an enlightened universe. The whole of existence, the rocks and the rivers, the oceans and the stars, all are enlightened beings. It depends on you. Where you are, you create your world. If you are miserable, you live in a miserable world. If you are enlightened, you live in an enlightened world. If your energy is celebrating within, the whole becomes a symphony of celebration.
You are the world.