This Teisho by Genjo Marinello Osho was given at the Oct. 23rd half-day sesshin at Chobo-Ji. This talk examines The Book of Rinzai, Jishu Chapter 14. Zen Master Rinzai is asked, "What is the buddha-devil?" It serves as a deep and clear look into how we use our mind to move within our day-to-day life, and maybe how that can help us or hurt us.
It’s turning out to be a beautiful autumn day outside, While here we are on the inside, sitting in this basement Zendo, examining an ancient Zen master in China… Rinzai, talking about Buddha’s and devils. In some ways it would be better to be out raking leaves… riding bikes… or walking in the park. There’s something to be said though for borrowing and examining what this ancient tradition has to offer. And so we continue our examination of the Rinzai Roku (The Book of Rinzai) and see what we can gleen for ourselves… today, in our modern world in our current sangha… in our current home.
Someone asked the masters, “What is Buddha-Devil?” There is a hyphen between the two. What is Buddha? What is devil? But somehow in the asking, at least in the translation here by Eido Shimano Roshi, He doesn’t ask it as two separate questions, but relates it as “What is Buddha-Devil,” already implying that the questioner understands that there is a mix… an inseparable mix.
We make these artificial distinctions between, up and down, hot and cold, right and wrong, light and dark, yin and yang, form and non-form, and life and death. In addition, we talk about Buddha and devil. From the Buddhist perspective it is hopefully understood that these are artificial distinctions and separations that our minds make, in order to communicate and negotiate the world and to protect ourselves, our own individual identity that comes up from our instincts for survival so that we know when this body leaves off and others begin. It’s essential to our survival, so we are programmed to divide… to discriminate, this from that, self from other, life from death, Buddha from devil. But even though we’re programmed to make these distinctions and divisions, we come to understand from a deep intuitive experience or insight, that these divisions are just relative, arbitrary separations of one indefinable, ungraspable, if we could say substance that doesn’t have a form, let a lone a name. To this question, “What is the Buddha-devil,” Rinzai replied, “One thought of doubt is the devil.” Doubt about what? One thought of doubt… concerning these divisions. In other words. If you take any of these divisions as real, that’s the real devil.
If you think that you’re saintly or that you’re worthless or fundamentally flawed… if you think you’re a human being, as separate from other human beings as separate from other species, this thought that we’re separated individualities is the devil. This idea that we are discrete, separate individualities is the real devil. As soon as we start taking any division as real, that seed or that doubt, or that delusion is the real devil.
He goes on to say, “But if you get it…” the true meaning… that the ten thousand unborn Dharma’s and understand that mind itself is like a phantom and not even a spec of dust… not even a single Dharma exists and that everywhere is already purity… if you are not plagued by doubt or delusion… these arbitrary separations are real, then you will see everything as purity and everything as no Dharma, and this he says is “Buddha.”
So the real devil is not some demon with a pitch fork. The real devil is believing your conceptualizations to be real. The real Buddha is believing or knowing that your conceptualizations are not real. Knowing that your conceptualizations of good and bad, up and down, hot and cold, life and death, self and other, are not real is Buddha. Mistaking these separations as real is devil. But don’t you know that Buddha and devil are two aspects of one seamless soup reality. You couldn’t have one without the other.
You have often heard me say that confusion is pregnant clarity. Death is pregnant life. Formlessness is pregnant form… and life is pregnant death. We call one pure and one defiled… or one hot and one cold… but according to this mountain monks view, there is no Buddha… no devil… no sentient being… no one to save… no past, no present, no tomorrow. If we really understand in this way, then there’s nothing to attain either and we’ve already arrived, even though we haven’t gone anywhere. No time is required. No practice is required. No realization is required. No gain is possible and no loss is possible. If we are really confident… our conceptualizations are just that… our conceptualizations.
If you’d like to hear the complete teisho (place that points to here the truth is), you can download it for free from either iTunes or the Choboji Podcast website. There’s something to be said for learning that we are always still learning, whether we realize it or not. The reality is not avoidable.
May We Show Up Well For Each Other Today,
Jaye Seiho Morris 淸峰, Curator