VBT – Meditation 34.2

Right Moment

Sometimes it has happened with such things; you can never conceive of how it was possible. There are many Zen stories… One Zen master became aware when the gong was beaten. Just while he was hearing the gong being beaten, the sound, something shattered in him. One Zen nun became aware, enlightened, while she was carrying two pails of water. Suddenly the bamboo broke, and the earthen pots fell down. The sound, the breaking of the pots and the water flowing out of them, and she became enlightened.

What happened? You can break many pots, but nothing will happen. The right moment had come.

She was coming back. Her master had said, “This night I am going to give you the secret, so go and take a bath, and bring two pails of water for me. I will take a bath and impart to you the secret for which you have been waiting.” She must have felt ecstatic – the moment had come. She took a bath, filled the pots, and carried them back.

It was a full-moon night, and just when she was passing on the footpath from the river to the ashram, suddenly the bamboo broke. When she reached, the master was waiting, and he looked at her and he said, “Now there is no need, it has happened. Now I have nothing to convey. You have already received it.”

That old nun used to say, “With that bamboo breaking, something broke in me – something broke in me also. Those pails falling down, those broken earthen pots, and I saw my body broken. I looked at the moon. Everything was silent, serene, and I became silent and serene. From that moment, I have not been, I am no more.” This is what liberation, freedom means.

Buddha himself had great difficulty. Perhaps no man has had such a great difficulty in explaining his experience. In this country, the self, atma, has been considered to be the ultimate experience. The two other religions of this country, Hinduism and Jainism, have both emphasized that to know yourself is all, there is nothing beyond it. Now, Buddha was going against all of India’s traditions by saying that the self is only a door to no-self. Don’t stop at the door, it is a bridge to be passed. Don’t make your house on the bridge because a vaster universe is ready to welcome you if you can leave this small idea of yourself.

What is this self that you carry, that all the traditions of this country and other countries think so much of? Hundreds of philosophers came to Gautam Buddha, saying, “What you are saying goes against the Vedas, against the Upanishads.”

He said, “What can I do? It is my own experience, I cannot deny it. The self has to be transcended; only then you become one with the universe. The dewdrop has to disappear into the ocean.”

Why cling to the dewdrop?

What are you gaining by it?

Have you ever observed? – all the religions teach that you should liberate yourself from misery, from sin. You should earn virtue so that you can make a place in paradise. “You” are the center of all the religions – but not of Zen.

All the religions say, “Liberate yourself from your attachments.” Only Zen has the strange courage to say, “Liberate yourself from yourself!” Liberating yourself from your attachments is child’s play. The real, authentic seeker finally liberates himself not only from other things but even from himself. He drops the very idea that “I am.”

Existence is.


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