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Liberation is nothing but your ‘yes’ to Liberation || On Zen (2016)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
4 min
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A monk asked Seijo, “Daitsu Chisho Buddha did zazen (meditated) for ten kalpas in a Meditation Hall, could not realize the highest truth, and so could not become fully emancipated. Why was this?”

Seijo said, “Your question is a very appropriate one!”

The monk asked again, “Why did he not attain Buddhahood by doing zazen in the Meditation Hall?”

Seijo replied, “Because he did not.”

Acharya Prashant: Not believing that you are a Buddha has causes and reasons. Being Buddha, has no cause, neither has it any reason. The reasons and causes that make you feel that you are what you are and not a Buddha are obviously false causes. Just as false as the belief we know about ourselves - about ourselves and about Buddha! So, when somebody is asked, “Why did he not attain to Buddhahood?” The first thing is, does one need to attain Buddhahood? For so many kalpas, he was practicing meditation in a hall doing zazen and yet he was very…

Questioner: What is Kalpas?

AP: A very long period of time. Doing zazen there, trying his very best, and then he says, “Oh no! I have still not realized my Buddhahood. What is the reason?”

There is no reason! The only reason is that you keep saying that you are not realized. So, the answer he gives to, “Why did he not attain Buddhahood?” is “Because he did not!” Equally appropriate question would be, “Why did he attain Buddhahood?” And an equally appropriate answer would be, “Because he did!” It’s a matter of saying ‘yes’ and it’s a matter of saying…?

Listeners (in unison): No.

AP: For ten kalpas, he kept trying, saying, “No, I still haven’t achieved it.” You keep saying you haven’t achieved it and you haven’t achieved it. The day he says, “Yes! I am that” - you have realized your Buddha-nature. There is no reason, the only reason is, you did not say ‘yes’. And remember, that ‘yes’ is a reasonless yes. Actually that ‘no’ too is basically reasonless. You attribute reasons. But if you go deeper into reasons, at some point all you’ll find is a tendency to say ‘no’ and no further reason.

If you keep saying ‘no’ to the real and if one asks, “Why?” you will have one reason to give. Someone goes deeper, “Why? Why this? Why this? Why this?” At one point, you will have no further reasons to give. At that point, you’ll say, “Just because, I don’t feel like saying 'no'.” Have you not come across such situations?

Why don’t you come to the sessions? “Umm… you know, I don’t have time.” So. you probe and you say, “No I see that your calendar is very much vacant on Sunday mornings. You can come, 9:30 is just the right time and you can arrive there.”

“No, no I have no vehicle.”

“Okay fine, you can come with me. I’ll give you a ride.”

“No actually, I have no money.”

“But the sessions are free of cost. You can come.”

“No actually, you know, I…uh…”


“I just don’t feel like. Okay! And don’t bug me further!”

So, there is no real reason. Just as saying 'yes' is reasonless, actually our nos are also reasonless. Finally, the reason is just that, “I don’t feel like.” And that is one’s primitive ego tendency. The little bit of reason.

So why are you not enlightened? Because you are not. And why are you enlightened? Because you are. As simple as that!

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