the author of
ALL THINGS ZEN
One afternoon late in the fall several years ago I found myself in California heading north on Highway 395 along the east side of the High Sierras. I stopped at an isolated place in the middle of nowhere called Manzanar, a now deserted, barren, former WWII Japanese interment camp.
Buddha said: Subhuti, all the Bodhisattva-Heroes should discipline their thoughts as follows: All living creatures of whatever class, born from eggs, from wombs, from moisture, or by transformation, whether with form or without form, whether in a state of thinking or exempt from thought-necessity, or wholly beyond all thought realms-all these are caused by Me to attain Unbounded Liberation Nirvana. Yet when vast, uncountable, immeasurable numbers of beings have thus been liberated, verily no being has been liberated. Why is this, Subhuti? It is because no Bodhisattva who is a real Bodhisattva cherishes the idea of an ego-entity, a personality, a being, or a separated individuality.
Continuing in a similar vein, the first defeat of the Four Defeats of the Bodhisattva Dharma states:
"The first specific condition which leads to the defeat of the Bodhicitta is the tendency to praise oneself and to slander others. If the Bodhisattva loses his Maha-karuna, he is no longer willing to profit others at his own expense. Being solely concerned with his own name and fame, he loses respect in the eyes of family, friends and society."(source)
As for liberating uncountable, immeasurable numbers of beings or if it is possible or not, see the comments on the subject by the Sixth Patriarch of Ch'an Buddhism (Zen), Hui Neng:
When it comes to teachers, gurus, masters, mentors and so on, there are those that insist on or only consider such things as Lineage and who and what others of credible status may think, and in many cases, justifiably so. In my case, for a hint, access the link below then scroll down to the Wanderling:
Also, by going to the Google search engine for example, and typing in "the Wanderling" along with "DMOZ Masters and Teachers" the following comes up under the Open Directory Project category:
Anonymous self-proclaimed Zen Master. Founder of Awakening 101.
While it would be an accurate statement to say that I am truly most grateful and humbled to be included and listed in such prestigious internet resources as the ones above, surrounded on the list by many extraodinarily impressive teachers and masters of the Dharma, it is not quite accurate to say that I am a "self-proclaimed Zen Master." So saying on two counts because, first, if one were to actually pursued AWAKENING 101, the following quote, which is mine, appeared on the very first page:
"Being neither teacher nor guru, and since from the first not a thing is, the most one can do is to offer a glimpse or help point the way. In the end it resides in you"
Second, by accessing the link suggested above by the directories and reading through to Page Two, you would come to the following, which includes a link to The Unmanifested SAT that investigates the so called TWELVE YEAR RULE that some say one must meet in any quest toward Enlightenment, and that just happened to be met by the Wanderling:
"...at age 31, after an intermittent slow start followed by twelve years of serious practice, a Collision of Infinities occurred and the bottom of eternity consciousness literally broke through --- which refers to Awakening in the classical sense and what Sri C. R. Rajamani refers to as well in The Last American Darshan about my even earlier experience under Sri Ramana Maharshi. Rajamani says, speaking of me, "Within an hour of his face-to-face meeting with Sri Bhagavan, his mental barriers were reduced to nothingness" --- and thus therefore, the equivalent of Inka Shomei, the Seal of Approval, at the Fourth Level (ken-chu-shi), was graciously accorded me by the person from which I sought guidence; he himself, having experienced full realization under the grace and light of Sri Ramana Maharshi some thirty-nine years earlier, also at the age of 31."(source)
The Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi is universally accepted and recognized as being fully Awakened to the Absolute, while my own Mentor, who studied under Ramana and who inturn I studied under (as well as the venerated Japanese Zen master, Yasutani Hakuun Roshi, without much success I might add --- followed with somewhat better results under the mysterious American Zen master, Alfred Pulyan) is well documented and known throughout literature and various writings.
It is often said that when you truly need a teacher --- or that which will function in lieu of a teacher --- one (or it) will appear. This may due to some inexplicable serendipity. It may be due to the fact that the seeker has searched deeply within himself or herself and determined what sort of instruction seems to be required. It could be swept over him or her like the First Death Experience of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, or the Bhagavan's little known Second Death Experience. Or it could be a spiritual desperation on the part of the seeker, or maybe no more than a successful sales pitch by a teacher (sincere or not). It may be a combination of the previous factors, or some intuitive awareness beyond expression. For whatever the reason, the saying often applies and the coming together of the results of inner and outside forces, some within one's control, some without, can be found most eloquently as they all come together in the following:
SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: THE LAST AMERICAN DARSHAN
RECOUNTING A YOUNG BOY'S NEARLY INSTANT TRANSFORMATION INTO THE ABSOLUTE DURING HIS ONLY DARSHAN WITH THE MAHARSHI
It should be noted that Adam Osborne, who, as a young boy grew up at the Ramana ashram and the son of one of the foremost Ramana biographers Arthur Osborne, played a prominent role in the Last American Darshan as linked above.
Third, as to being Anonymous, the following is offered from Wei Wu Wei:
"Tom, Dick, and Harry think they have written the books that they sign (or painted the pictures, composed the music, built the churches). But they exaggerate. It was a pen that did it, or some other implement. They held the pen? Yes, but the hand that held the pen was an implement too, and the brain that controlled the hand. They were intermediaries, instruments, just apparatus. Even the best apparatus does not need a personal name like Tom, Dick, or Harry."
Speaking of my mentor, along the same lines as the above, and that I am in full agreement with, I like what William Somerset Maugham wrote about him in The Razor's Edge:
"He has no desire for fame. To become anything of a public figure would be deeply distasteful to him; and so it may be that he is satisfied to lead his chosen life and be no more than just himself. He is too modest to set himself up as an example to others; but it may be he thinks that a few uncertain souls, drawn to him like moths to a candle, will be brought in time to share his own glowing belief that ultimate satisfaction can only be found in the life of the spirit, and that by himself following with selflessness and renunciation the path of perfection he will serve as well as if he wrote books or addressed multitudes."
There is NO excessive over-concern on MY part in regards to anything that others may say, write, or think about me one way or the other EXCEPT how anything offered might adversely affect a seeker along the path. Hundreds and hundreds of pages are presented through my offerings, many, many of them written by others with a wide range of views, and NO claim is made by me for any work not done by me specifically. Authors and sources, when available, are always cited. Although the main thrust of what is offered is "Zen outside the Doctrine" you will find pages and pages of viewpoints that run the gamut, allowing YOU to formulate your own decisions one way or the other regarding important Zen and Dharma related issues. See:
Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.
People DO write me and email me about Enlightenment, AWAKENING 101, and any results thereof that are not all critical as found in the Critical Concerns and Another View links above. Actually, some are quite positive. To read a couple of the latest click HERE. In either case, the following is from Hui-k'o, the Second Patriarch of Zen, and of which the gist of I am in agreement with:
Hui-k'o, the Second Patriarch of Zen passed on the bowl and robe to his successor, the Third Patriarch, Seng-ts'an, signifying the Transmission of the Dharma. Hui-k'o, who had received the seal of approval from Bodhidharma himself, then went everywhere drinking and carousing around like a wildman and partaking in the offerings of the brothel districts. When people asked how he could do such a thing, being a Patriarch of the Zen school and all, he would respond with: "What business is it of yours?"
HUI-K'O: The Second Patriarch in the Chinese Lineage
THE AWAKENING EXPERIENCE IN THE MODERN ERA
As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
In the early 1940s cartoonist Will Eisner created a comic book character he called The Spirit. He was not like other crime fighters or superheros of the day. He had no special powers, and except for the mask, no gadgets or even his own vehicle. Also, unlike most comic book heros, he wasn't always the winner in the end. More than anything the Spirit could be defined as a common citizen fighting for his rights and the rights of others. The Wanderling is like that in that the Dharma endeavors that thus come have within their intent none other than the right escort.