Thursday, October 16, 2008


Guatama Siddhartha, the man known as the Buddha, lived more than two thousand years ago. Today he is honored not as a saint or a religious leader, but as an ordinary person who realized what “self” is.

In his honor over the years, images of the Buddha have appeared in paintings, in bronze, in gold, in clay, and in other physical forms.

An ancient Zen master said to his monks, “Images are fine, but metal Buddhas can’t pass through a furnace, wooden Buddhas can’t pass through a fire, mud Buddhas can’t pass through water.”

Think about that for a moment.

“Metal Buddhas can’t pass through a furnace, wood Buddhas can’t pass through a fire, mud Buddhas can’t pass through water.”

Obviously, intense heat will melt metal, fire will burn wood, and water will dissolve mud. So what’s the point of this rhetoric?

The point is the true Buddha doesn’t dwell in paintings or statues or even in words.

The true Buddha is self, and self is within you.

Such terms as transcendental wisdom, nirvana, enlightenment, and Buddha nature are common, but they are no more than clothes draped on the body.

Such terms appear often in Buddhism, but they are only window dressing. Unfortunately, they lead to a lot of questions by people who want to analyze and pick apart.

Any master or teacher worth his or her salt welcomes questions, but does not provide answers.

Your self is the answer.

Zen master Joshu said that “when someone questions me, all can do is shut his yap.”

You know what yapping is. It’s the shrill barking of a small dog excited over

nothing at all. It’s senseless jabber.

In human terms, yapping is silly prattle.

Remember the Shakespearean quote from Macbeth:

“It is a tale … full of sound and fury; signifying nothing.”

To quote Master Joshu (The Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Joshu), “Where is the Buddha to be found? Thousands and ten thousands of people are ‘seeking-for-Buddha’ fools. If you try to find one person of the Way among them, there is none.”

A monk asked Joshu, “What about it when all the bones are pulverized, and there is one everlasting spirit?”

Now that’s a profound question. It could lead to all sorts of conjectures and symbols and answers.

What did Joshu answer?

Joshu put an end to the nonsense by saying, “It’s windy again this morning.”

* * * * *

Remember: The true Buddha is within you.


Blogger Mike said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Monday, October 20, 2008 6:32:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

"Your self is the answer."

G.K. Chesterton was asked what he thought was wrong with the world. His reply: "I am what's wrong with the world."

If "self" is the answer, or solution to our ills, then why all the ills? Most seem to be living life according to what s/he thinks is right, and their "self" is proving disastrous, hence the conjunctions "Self-control", "Self-help", "Self-destruction", etc.

The "Self" needs help; it doesn't offer it!

Monday, October 20, 2008 6:34:00 PM  
Blogger PG said...

The self is not the ego. The ego is an illusion. The self is more like the soul, a universal soul. To find the self within you is to find something beyond the "self" of the ego.

Monday, October 20, 2008 7:01:00 PM  

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