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the bodhisattva (बोधिसत्त्व) at midnight

At work, at rest, never stop trying to realize who it is that hears. Even though your questioning becomes almost unconscious, you won't find the one who hears, and all your efforts will come to naught. Yet sounds can be heard, so question yourself to an even profounder level. At last every vestige of self-awareness will disappear and you will feel like a cloudless sky. Within yourself you will find no "I," nor will you discover anyone who hears. This Mind is like the void, yet it hasn't a single spot that can be called empty. This state is often mistaken for Self-realization. But continue to ask yourself even more intensely, "Now who is it that hears?" If you bore and bore into this question, oblivious to anything else; even this feeling of voidness will vanish and you will be unaware of anything-total darkness will prevail. [Don't stop here, but] keep asking with all your strength, "What is it that hears?" Only when you have completely exhausted the questioning will the question burst; now you will feel like a man come back from the dead. This is true realization. You will see the Buddhas of all the universes face to face and the Patriarchs past and present. Test yourself with this koan: "A monk asked Joshu: 'What is the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming to China?' Joshu replied: 'The oak tree in the garden.' " Should this koan leave you with the slightest doubt, you need to resume questioning, "What is it that hears?"

If you don't come to realization in this present life, when will you? Once you have died you won't be able to avoid a long period of suffering in the Three Evil Paths. What is obstructing realization? Nothing but your own half-hearted desire for truth. Think of this and exert yourself to the utmost.

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Taken on June 12, 2010