Saturday, March 31, 2012

Amos the Liberated Soul

A monk asked Master Chao Chou:

"Does a dog have Buddha Nature?"

Chao Chou barked back: "Wu!"

Wu means no, but does no mean no?

According to the ancients,

there are eighteen major wus and

countless number of minor ones

before perfect enlightenment.

This does not necessarily mean

it will take a long time –

it may take no time.

Buddha said that all animals

possess the Buddha-nature.

So why did Master Chao Chou,

who was enlightened, say

a dog did not?

Consider this:

Amos arrived in the form of a dog.

Although we gave him the name "Amos",

he is essentially prior to any tag.

When mind assumes the form of Amos

it has suffered no decrease;

when it becomes a Buddha

it adds nothing to its bowl.

Amos does not think,

"I am this, I am that."

Such thoughts melt away.

He is crouching, relaxed, still.

Without pleasure or pain,

distraction or concentration,

learning or ignorance --

his nature is free of conditions.

Win or lose,

it makes no difference to him.

Alone in the forest or supermarket parking lot,

a god in heaven or a four-legged barker,

it makes no difference!

He is free of duality.

Wealth or pleasure,

duty or discrimination

mean nothing to him.

What does he care

what is accomplished or neglected?

Finding freedom in this life,

he takes nothing to heart

(at least not for long).

He has nothing to do

but to live out his life.

He lives beyond the boundaries

of desire, but would like to be

let out to pee when nature calls.

Delusion of the world,

meditation on the truth,

Liberation itself -

what are they to him?

You see the world

and you try to dissolve it.

But he has no need to.

Still, he always appreciates

a good meal.

When you are distracted,

you practice concentration.

But Amos is undistracted.

He has nothing to fulfill.

What is there left for him to accomplish?

He acts like an ordinary critter.

But inside he is quite different.

He sees no imperfection in himself,

no distraction, nor any need for meditation.

He is awake, fulfilled,

free from desire.

He neither is nor is not.

Sometimes he looks busy,

but he does nothing.

Yawning or barking, running or

just lying around, he welcomes

whatever comes his way,

and he is happy.

He is free, sniffing the wind

without complaint, from life to life.

He has gone beyond the world,

beyond joy and sorrow.

His mind is always cool.

He lives as if he had no body.

His mind is simple and pure.

He delights in the Self.

There is nothing he wishes to renounce.

He can touch his nose with his tongue!

Amos is relaxing now.

He is not devising strategies whereby

he might transcend himself.

The elements of nature,

the body and the senses --

what are they to him?

A sniff?

What are holy books,

or knowledge of the Self,

or the mind, even free of aromas?

What is emptiness or despair?

Or happiness, or freedom from desire?

He is always one without two.

He eats from his own bowl.

(Well, sometimes, from our hands.)

He is neither pre- nor trans-.

He came already spayed.

Knowledge or ignorance,

freedom or bondage,

what are they to him?

What is "I,"

or "mine,"

or "this"?

Amos is always one.

What does he care for freedom

in life or in death,

or for his present karma?

He is always without "I".

He does not object to being lived

by the unknown, nor taken

for a nice walk.

So where is the one

who acts or enjoys?

Who wags the tail, even while

knocking some things over?

And what is the rising

or the vanishing of perception

to Amos when he snores?

In his heart he is one.

What more can one ask?

Who seeks freedom,

or wisdom or oneness?

Who is bound or free?

In his heart he is one.

What is creation,

or dissolution?

What is seeking,

and the end of seeking?

Who is the seeker?

What has he found?

He is forever pure.

What does he care who knows,

what is known,

or how it is known?

What does he care for knowledge?

What does he care what is,

or what is not?

He is forever still, until

he hears things.

He's still working on

impulsiveness --

Practice never ends.

What are joy or sorrow,

distraction or concentration,

understanding or delusion?

He is always without thought.

What is happiness or grief?

What is here and now,

or beyond?

He is forever pure.

What is illusion,

or the world?

What is the little soul,

or God Himself?

One without two,

He is always the same.

He sits in his heart, even

licks his nose.

What need is there

for striving or stillness?

He sits and runs.

What is freedom or bondage when

there are cats to chase?

What are holy books or teachings,

but chewy toys?

What is the purpose of life?

He's got all his shots.

Who is the disciple,

and who is the master?

For he has no bounds, and

likes to ride in the back seat.

He is Shiva.

So are you.

So am I.

He would never run away.

What more is there to say?


~Based on the Ashtavakra Gita

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