If you want to be comfortably independent, free from birth and death and free to go or stay, you should recognize the one who is here now listening to my expounding of the Dharma. This one has neither form nor shape and neither roots nor branches; this one has no place of abode; and this one is lively and active and performs its function according to circumstances beyond all conceptions of location. If you search for him, he will flee away from you, and if you long for him, he will oppose you. So he is called the mysterious one.
If you give rise to a thought of love in your mind, you will be drowned by water. If you give rise to a thought of anger in your mind, you will be burned by fire. If you give rise to a thought of doubt in your mind, you will be obstructed by earth. If you give rise to a thought of joy, you will be whirled away by wind.
If you can discern all this you will not be affected by objective things which you can turn to your own advantage. Then you can walk on water as if on the ground, and walk on the ground as if on water. Why is this possible? – because you already understand that the four elements are like a dream and a transformation.
Therefore, followers of the Way, the one who is now listening to my expounding of the dharma is certainly not your four elements, but one who can make use of your four elements. If you hold such a view, you will then be free to go or stay.
Maneesha, one of the most important things to be understood is that language goes on changing with time. What looked very significant one thousand years ago will not look very significant now. What was thought to be very profound in the times of Gautam Buddha will be thought to be childish today.
Talking on these ancient masters I am in a constant difficulty because their language does not fit with contemporary intelligence. I have to bring the essence into a contemporary context, otherwise it will look just mythological…talking about nonsense. Perhaps it was possible for the primitive man not to object to it, but for the modern mind it is impossible not to object.
The master’s whole position should be such that your trust deepens and is not disturbed. If the master disturbs your trust he is taking you farther away from yourself, because your undisturbed being – settled, centered, at home – is the realization of truth.
So I have to be very careful with all these old masters. They use the language of their times. It was perfectly right then, and today the essence is perfectly right, but the language is no more relevant. It is true about all the masters I will be speaking to you about. It is not only about Rinzai; I will tell you where it becomes difficult for the contemporary intelligence.
If you want to be comfortably independent, free from birth and death and free to go or stay, you should recognize the one who is here now listening to my expounding of the dharma.