This transformation is a simple phenomenon, once understood. What has been asked by a layman to the master Bankei is significant for you all.
Bankei is in a way a very simple man, not speaking in philosophical jargon but in day-to-day language, making very clear points. Even a little intelligence is enough to understand him. He is a man who has been on the hilltops of consciousness and has returned to the world to convey the message.
A layman asked Bankei,
“Though I am grateful for your teaching of birthlessness, thoughts from constantly applied mental habits readily come up, and I get lost in them and have difficulty remaining continually unborn. How can I apply wholehearted faith?”
Faith is a wrong translation. Unfortunately all these translations have been done by Christian missionaries. There must have been a word which was something like trust, not faith. But to the Christian both seem to be synonymous.
Just a few days ago a man from Japan who is translating one of my books on the Dhammapada – Gautam Buddha’s greatest scripture, “the path of religiousness” – wrote to me, “I was surprised: you don’t know Japanese, you don’t know Pali, you don’t know Sanskrit. And in your talks on the Dhammapada, in many places you have changed words which have been put there by the Christian missionaries.” He was simply amazed because he looked in the Japanese translations and he found that I was right every time. He could not believe how a man who does not understand Japanese can say that instead of faith, there should be the word trust.
I can understand his difficulty, but it is not a difficult matter for me. I am not a commentator. When I speak on anyone, I have no commitment except to my own understanding, to my own illumination. And when I say that something is changed in a wrong way, translated wrongly, it does not mean I understand the Japanese or Chinese from which the translation has been done. It simply means that I know the very heart of Gautam Buddha. I know the emptiness of that heart, it is my own experience. No master who has touched the emptiness of the heart can talk in terms of faith. Faith is only for the blind.
I have told you the story. There was a blind man who was a great logician, in Buddha’s time. There is no difficulty; eyes are not needed to be a logician. And because he was a great logician, nobody could prove to him that light exists. He argued, and argued so clearly, “You are either just befooling yourself, or you want me to be humiliated as a blind man. But I say there is no light.”
And his reasoning was very clear, crystal clear. He said, “I am ready for every experiment. I want to touch it – bring me to where there is light. I want to taste it. I am ready to smell it, I am ready to hear the sound of it.”