But if it isn’t, then this body is your real body. And this real body is your mind. And this mind, through endless kalpas without beginning, has never varied. It has never lived or died, appeared or disappeared, increased or decreased. It’s not pure or impure, good or evil, past or future. It’s not true or false. It’s not male or female. It doesn’t appear as a monk or a layman, an elder or a novice, a sage or a fool, a buddha or a mortal. It strives for no realization and suffers no karma. It has no strength or form. It’s like space. You can’t possess it. And you can’t lose it. Its movements can’t be blocked by mountains, rivers or rock walls. Its unstoppable powers penetrate the mountain of five skandhas and cross the river of samsara. No karma can restrain this real body. But this mind is subtle and hard to see. It’s not the same as the sensual mind. Everyone wants to see this mind. And those who move their hands and feet by its light are as many as the grains of sand along the Ganges. But ask them. They can’t explain it. They’re like puppets. It’s theirs to use. Why don’t they see it?
I feel extremely sad and sorry because Bodhidharma has the wrong kind of people taking the notes of his statements; they are mixing in their own confusions. They are trying hard to make it appear as if what they are saying is said by Bodhidharma. And the people who do not understand existentially what enlightenment is, are bound to fall into their trap. They will not be able to discriminate what belongs to Bodhidharma and what belongs to the people who have taken these notes.
Seeing the situation, I am reminded of one instance I have told you about, but it needs to be repeated.
Rabindranath Tagore, one of the greatest poets of this country, translated his own book of poems, Gitanjali, into English. Although he was educated in England…he belonged to a very super-rich family of Bengal; his grandfather was given the title of king by the British empire.
He had all the best education possible in the world, but still a mother tongue is a mother tongue. He had written all his poems in Bengali, but a few friends suggested that Gitanjali has such a grandeur that if it is translated into English there is every possibility of it getting a Nobel prize. But who should translate it except Rabindranath himself? Who could be a better translator?
So he translated it, but he was still hesitant. He asked a great Christian missionary of those days, C.F. Andrews – a great scholar and very influential, a world famous figure – to go through the translations because he could also understand Bengali. He was living in Bengal as a missionary; he was working amongst Bengalis and had learned their language. So he was the right person to go through the translation and to look at the original. He approved the whole book except at four points, just four words scattered through the book. He said, “They are not grammatically correct, and I would suggest different words meaning almost the same, but grammatically correct.”
And Rabindranath was convinced that C.F. Andrews was right as far as language was concerned. So he changed those four words and replaced them with the words suggested by C.F. Andrews. In England he had friends among all the English poets, so he went to London where he was a guest of one of the great poets of those days, Yeats. And Yeats called a meeting of only English poets to listen to the recitation of Rabindranath’s Gitanjali. He was convinced that the book was so rare and so unique that it could be proposed for a Nobel prize, but it would be good to have the opinion of many Nobel prize winning poets.