Teisho 990 (2005) and Teisho 1302 (2013)
You are not what you think you are. There is nothing wrong with you, there is nothing that needs to be eliminated or corrected, there is not even something that needs to be changed. It is as though you are seeing yourself in a distorting mirror. It is the mirror that is the problem, not what is being seen.
There is something that you continuously overlook. You come into a room and you feel the room is there waiting to be seen. It is the room which is primary. The person seeing it is the receptor; the room is the active element. It seems as though there are completely different substances involved: the world one substance and the person another. As a consequence, there is a chasm between me and the world.
This is a highly constructed, intellectual view of the situation. It is a way of understanding, but we should not regard this way of understanding as the way it has to be. Our way of thinking, our logic, insists on either-or: it is either the world or it is me. That the world and me are not two is not allowed by our logic.
Nisargadatta uses the analogy of light: “Just as the colors in this carpet are brought out by light, but light is not the color; so is the world caused by you, but you are not the world.” You cannot separate the light from the color, but we do not see the light, we see the color. When we look around the room, we see tables, chairs, carpets, but we do not see the light. In the same way, when we enter a room we enter as the room; and the awareness as is constant in the same way as light is constant. We can move from room to room and the colors, shapes and forms that we see vary, but the light is the same light.
Hakuin says, “coming and going we never leave home.” It is the constancy of awareness as, or of knowing, that is being referred to. It is not that a source of light travels around the world and I am that point of light. We have to let go of me and mine to enter the constancy of knowing. As long as there is the distinction of separation, we always see in a partial way. As long as we see from the vantage point of a separate entity that is claiming the experience as ‘mine’, we assign a scale of importance. When we are told not to judge good and bad, we are being asked to let go of this partial view of the world.
Though you say ‘it is’ there is nothing that it is. Though you say ‘it is not’ there is nothing that is not can negate. When is and is not are gone beyond, gain and loss are no more. All is open and unobstructed.
Though you say ‘I am’, there is nothing that I am can affirm. What does it mean ‘to be’? This is the essence of our practice. The only answer to this question is to be. There is no way to describe what that means. There is no way, no practice, no technique that will help you to be. This is why it is said that whatever you do is no good.
When people hear it said that all is empty, they think it is a negation. They think it is negating reality – that what one sees does not exist. But it is not a negation because there is nothing to negate.
All the time you affirm that I am something and that the world is something. And you try to practice over and above that. When you ask, ‘what am I?’ you look for what something am I?
All is open and unobstructed – that is how it is right now. It is never otherwise. From the beginning all beings are Buddha. There is no is and no is not. There is no coming and no going. There is no gain and no loss. All of this comes out of the interplay of ideas and thoughts that you generate. All beings are Buddha, this is why there is no coming or going, no gain and no loss.