On one occasion, Rinzai said:
Students of today fail to achieve their ends. What is their fault? It lies in not having faith in themselves. By lack of faith you fall into a state of uncertainty, in which you conform to all the fluctuations in your surroundings, subjecting yourself to their myriad revolutions, so that you are unable to achieve freedom. If you, however, succeed in stopping the mind, as it momentarily dashes hither and thither in its search, you then become indistinguishable from the patriarchs and buddhas.
Do you want to know who are the patriarchs and buddhas? All of you listening to my teaching here before me are such.
You followers of the Way, there is no need for you to devote effort to the Buddhist teaching. Only do the ordinary things with no special effort: relieve your bowels, pass water, wear your clothes, eat your food, and, when tired, lie down. The simple fellow will laugh at you, but the wise will understand.
An ancient said:
All those who strive outwardly are stupid. Suffice it to be one’s own master wherever one may happen to be, and reality will prevail everywhere. Thus one will remain unshaken under all circumstances.
Rinzai said on another occasion:
In your red heart, there is a true man of no fixed position, who comes in and goes out through your forehead. I urge those who have not experienced this, to try to see it.
Maneesha, Zen is for the simple, for the ordinary, for the natural. But the mind of man is for just the opposite; it wants to be extraordinary, it wants to be special, it wants to be known. Respectability, reputation, honor, riches – they are all desires for making you special.
But to be special is against nature. In nature everything is as it is. Nobody is feeling any inferiority complex, and nobody is suffering from any superiority complex. The roses are beautiful because they don’t claim any superiority. There are thousands of flowers but there is no competition, everything is unique in its simplicity. They are not running a marathon race, competing with each other to come first; they are immensely satisfied as they are. In the whole animal kingdom – and all the trees, all the clouds, all the stars – nobody wants to be something else. Because even if you try to be something else, it will be only phony.
In this sense all the religions have committed a great crime against humanity, because they all want you to be saints, great saints. They have categories of austerities, they have categories of respectability. The so-called religions of the world are part of the same game that is being played in the marketplace, that is being played by the politicians. Everybody wants to have a position. He is ready to lose himself, to sell himself, for a position. That’s what has happened, and everybody has lost his simplicity.
I came first in the whole university in my post-graduate examinations. My grandfather was a very simple man…knowing nothing of Zen, but he was a man of Zen. When I told him that I got the gold medal for being the first in the whole university, he looked at me and he said, “That simply means you were studying with fools; otherwise how could you manage to be first?” Rather than being happy, he was angry with me, “Don’t you feel ashamed?”
I said “My God, I was thinking that you would appreciate…”