Do you have the Buddha nature?

Do you have the Buddha nature? Moo. Neither “Yes” nor “No”. If you say, “Yes”, then you mean that you, as you are, you as you think you are, have a Buddha nature. No, no way! The way we have built ourselves up, the way we have conceptualized ourselves, there is no possibility of Buddha nature. There is only the force of habit, conditioning, biology and evolution. All of them are ‘something’, none of them is ‘nothing’. All of them are space-time, none of them are beyond the mind.

So, saying “Yes”, would not be proper. When asked, “Do you have Buddha nature?” Saying, “Yes” would not be proper. This question is the same as you say, “Are you Brahm? Are you Atman?” Saying “Yes” would not be proper! Asking, “Do you have Buddha nature?” is the same as asking, “Are you the Atman?” Saying, “Yes”, would not be proper. Saying, “No” would also not be proper. If you don’t have Buddha nature, if you are not the Atman then you must be something other than the Atman? Which means something other than the Atman exist? Which means there is multiplicity of Truths?

Because, the Atman, the Buddha nature is the sole Truth. By saying that you exist and are yet not the Atman, you are saying, something besides the Atman exists. And thereby you are raising parallel rods! Parallel Truths. And if truths are parallel, they are just false.

The Truth, by definition, is the one that has no end, no substitute, no parallel. So, neither can you say, “Yes, nor can you say, “No”, all you can say is, “Moo”. This moo is such a beautiful word, language does not normally have it. But spirituality stretches language. It forces language to do things which language normally cannot do. That’s what saints do, that’s what seers do, that’s what Zen does – Moo is a classical example.



Read the complete article: The only right answer to all real questions

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The only right answer to all real questions

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A monk asked Joshu, “Has the dog Buddha nature?”

Joshu replied, “Moo”

Acharya Prashant: Moo stands for nothing. Everything about the dog and the Buddha is different. As long as you compare a thing about the dog and the Buddha, you’ll only find differences. As long as the dog is something or anything, as long as the Buddha is seen as something or anything, all you will see is differences. The dog and the Buddha are alike only in their nothingness. Has dog the Buddha nature? Yes, of course! The dog is Buddha when the dog is nothing. Continue reading

Action without attachment is Yoga

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योगस्थः कुरु कर्माणि संग त्यक्त्वा धनंजय |

सिध्यसिध्योः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते ||

~श्रीमद भगवद गीता

//2.48//

Perform your actions, O Dhananjaya (Arjuna),

Being established in or integrated with Yoga,

Abandoning attachment and

Remaining even-minded both in success and failure.

This evenness of mind is called Yoga.

~Bhagwad Gita

Acharya Prashant: The science of uniting the individual consciousness with the ultimate consciousness, this equanimity is known as Yoga. Which equanimity is he talking of? Becoming equipoised in success and failure. Could you get a more concise and direct definition of Yoga? Perform your activities, giving up attachment and become equipoised in success and failure – this is Yoga. What does it mean to remain equipoised in success and failure? Continue reading

What is meant by living totally?

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Acharya Prashant: The question is that both of these statements appear to be imperative.

First, “Whatever you do, do it totally.”

Second, “Whatever you do, you remain unaffected by the doing.”

How are these two to be put together? Is there a contradiction? If yes, how is to be reconciled? What is meant by doing something totally?

We need to go into this to understand this.

Usually, when we say that something is to be done totally, we equate that with an expanse in time, an expanse in energy, instead of investing five units of resources in it, I invested fifty units of resources because I wanted to do it totally. Instead of going one mile, I went all the way for ten miles because I wanted to do it totally. So we equate this total-ness with a stretch, with an expanse. In other words, what we say is “doing something totally” means going as far as our desire, our motivation wants us to go, right?

Continue reading

The false will drop

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Whenever anyone asked him about Zen,

the great master Gutei would quietly raise one finger into the air.

A boy in the village began to imitate this behaviour.

Whenever he heard people talking about Gutei’s teachings,

he would interrupt the discussion and raise his finger.

Gutei heard about boy’s mischief.

When he saw him in the street, he seized him and cut off his finger.

The boy cried and began to run off,

but Gutei called out to him.

When the boy turned to look,

Gutei raised his finger into the air.

At that moment the boy became enlightened.

Acharya Prashant: Very fond of saying cute things when asked questions about Zen. Raising his finger and stuff. What does the master do? He cuts off the raised finger. And he screams and runs away, the master calls him back and when he comes back, what does the master do?

Listeners (in unison): Raise his finger in air.

AP: And in that instant, the boy is immediately…?

Listeners (in unison): Enlightened.

AP: What’s this about?

A couple of things first: Gurus, monks, teachers, have been conventionally known to be very compassionate people. So it shocks us a little that a teacher cuts off a boy’s finger. Right? The anecdote just illustrates that for the teacher, it is not your body that counts. The teacher would not be shaken even a little if you tell him that you are tired or that there is pain in your stomach. The teacher will say, “So what? Your body doesn’t matter, come over! Its about something far bigger than the body.”

Even if you have to compromise on your health, still come over. The teacher will not allow you to escape! For the teacher, cutting off the boy’s finger was a very obvious thing, if cutting off the finger would lead to the boy gaining some wisdom. The teacher says, “Its such a beautiful deed. It is not at all bad for the boy if he can give a finger, sacrifice a finger and be wise in return. It’s okay.” And it’s not only about a finger, even giving your right hand, is no big deal. Even laying down your life, is no big deal because what you are getting is much-much bigger than life, it is immortality. Your finger is just a token payment, it’s not even a full payment.

“Alright, give me your finger.”

“Fine.”

That is one thing about the Koan. The second thing, what does the master mean by raising ‘his’ finger? What does the master mean by raising his own finger?

Listeners (in unison): That there is only one reality.

AP: And that One is personified in the form of the Guru, the teacher. If the student tries to emulate that One, he is trying to create an alternate, a duplicate Truth. And that is sacrilege. That cannot be tolerated. After he comes back to Guru, he says, “Listen, if the finger were to be raised, if the finger were to indicate One, that finger has to be a single finger belonging to the Teacher. By cutting off your finger, I am only cutting off the false finger. I am only cutting off that which was trying to compete with the Truth. By raising this finger, I am telling you that only the Truth prevails. That which is false, gets cut off.”

And surely, the student is a deserving student. He immediately gets, in an instant, without thinking, without interpreting, he immediately gets the import of what the teacher is saying. And that’s what is meant by saying that he gets immediately enlightened. Hmm?

The raised finger of the Guru is the one Truth, the one Truth that bears no comparison, no second, no alternative.Yes?



 -Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on Zen: The false will drop



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How do human beings differ and why do all want happiness?

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Question: Question is in two parts:

One: What is the difference, the essential difference between any two human beings?

Two: Why does everyone want happiness?

Acharya Prashant: The difference between any two human beings can be taken in two ways. One way the world looks at it. One way is the way the world looks at it.

The world looks at A and B, two human beings, in terms of what they have. And that’s how it differentiates between them. What you have is external to you. If the world has to look at two persons, A and B, it will distinguish between them in terms of what A has and what B has. So the world will say: ‘Alright, how much is their bank balance? How much money do they have? To which religion do they belong, which caste?’ And all of these are things that they have. Are you getting it? Continue reading

Can one get rid of mental patterns even at an advanced age?

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Question: All the wisdom is available to us only after a certain age. But the dye is prepared early in the childhood. How does one change his dye at an advanced stage of his life?

 Acharya Prashant: The dye is no good. The dye does not help you. The dye is such a lousy dye. The dye is such a misfit. When you watch the dye you do not want to confirm to the dye and that is freedom from the dye. Nothing else. You call it the dye, you call it your conditioning, you call it the various layers that you have covered yourself under. You call it your ideas, ideals, prejudices, whatever. Continue reading