On one occasion, Yun Kuang asked Hyakujo, “Master, do you know where you will be reborn?”
Hyakujo replied, “We have not died yet, so what is the use of discussing our rebirths? That which knows birth is the unborn. We cannot stray from birth to speak of the unborn. The Patriarch once said, ‘that which undergoes birth is really unborn.’”
Yun Kuang asked, “Does this apply even to those who have yet to perceive their own nature?”
Hyakujo said, “Your not having perceived your own nature does not imply that you lack that nature. Why so? Because perception itself is that nature…
“That which can produce the myriad phenomena of the universe is called the dharma nature, otherwise known as the Dharmakaya.
“The patriarch, Asvhaghosha, declared: ‘In speaking of phenomena, we really refer to the minds of sentient beings, for, when mental processes occur, all sorts of phenomena take birth in accordance with them. When mental processes do not occur, phenomena have nothing in which to arise – there are not even names for them.’”
Maneesha, these dialogues between Zen masters and their disciples almost appear to be of another world. You will not hear anything alike anywhere else. They lived in a totally different dimension and they talked about things which don’t matter to you. But to them, those things mattered the most. What matters to you, is immaterial to them, as if we belong to two different worlds. Their world is of immense beauty and of great blissfulness. Our world is of anxiety and anguish and angst. It is the world of mortality. We are here only just for a few years. We don’t know from where we have come. We don’t know where we go. We don’t know even who we are.
These questions have been put aside by the technological progress of science, and people’s minds have become absolutely materialistic. They have forgotten one thing: their own consciousness.
These dialogues are about your own consciousness and its inner secrets. Without experiencing these secrets of your inner life, your life is not much of a life. It is very superficial.
The deeper you go inwards, everything in your life starts getting depth – it may be love, it may be creativity, it may be singing, it may be dancing. You can dance very superficially just making the movements of the dance, but you can dance so deeply that the dancer disappears and only the dance remains. When the dance remains, then only is the essential left. All non-essentials have gone. You are also gone. You are a non-essential.
Something in you is of the essential, and all these dialogues are in search of that essential – from different angles, different viewpoints. So you must remember never to get confused between your language and the language of these dialogues. It is the same language, but used by very different people, by very different experiences, to be expressed.
On one occasion Yun Kuang asked Hyakujo, “Master, do you know where you will be reborn?”
Hyakujo replied, “We have not died yet; so what is the use of discussing our rebirths? That which knows birth is unborn.”