20. To you who like to hear ghost stories

People often ask me if ghosts really exist. Somebody who racks their brains over something like that is what I call a ghost.
**
It’s said that the dead appear as ghosts, but that’s only true as long as you have the living. When the living are dead, they won’t see any more ghosts. In Yogacara philosophy, ghosts are the tools of the living.
**
One person says he saw a ghost, someone else learned of somebody’s death in a dream. What’s all this besides individual scenes in the theatre of transmigration.
**
Isn’t everything a hallucination? It’s only because we don’t recognize this hallucination as a hallucination that we wander around in life and death.
**
Everyone is dreaming. The problem is simply the differences between the individual dreams.
**
When you are dreaming, it isn’t clear to you that you’re dreaming. If somebody hits you in the face, it hurts. But this pain is also only in the dream.
One dream keeps another company, that’s why even a dream doesn’t recognize the other as a dream.
**
Some underpants are hanging to dry on a branch. Somebody sees them and thinks they’ve seen a ghost. Maybe you’re thinking that something like that hardly ever happens in reality, but when we think, “I need money”, “I want to become minister”, “I want to get ahead” – aren’t we all taking a pair of underpants for a ghost?
**
Everyone is talking about “reality”, but this is only a dream. It’s nothing more than the reality inside a dream. Good!
When people are talking about revolution and war, we think that something really special is going on, but what is it besides struggling inside a dream?
When you die, you recognize your dream. Someone who doesn’t put an end to dreaming before then is an ordinary person.
**
Someone or another wrote this when committing suicide.
That which beats and that which is beaten:
Both, when they fall, return to the same dirt.

It’s a bit late to realize this when committing suicide. It should go:
Both, even before they fall, are the same dirt.
**
We can neither plan nor rehearse our dreams. In the same way, dharma is a dream, the teaching is a dream. A dream teaches a dream within a dream.
**
If somebody treats you to a meal within a dream, it’s still just a dream. It doesn’t have any calories.
**
We are fooling ourselves when we take the hallucination of the self we find in our consciousness to be our true self. The immortality of the soul which the new trendy religions are talking about is based on this hallucination of the self.
The true self is the true nature of all buddhas and living beings. It dwells in the inseparability of mind, buddha and living beings.
**
What we call our “free will” is nothing more than our personal mind.
**
We go wrong when we judge good and bad out of the hallucination of our “free will”.
**
Illusion consists of serving again and again the warmed-up leftovers of our consciousness.
**
Our weak point as living beings lies in the fact that we produce our own hallucinations.
**
All people live in perplexity and fear.
**
Yogacara philosophy teaches, “When inner consciousness turns, it seems as if there were two sides.” Though it’s only the functioning of one single consciousness, it seems as if there were a subject and object. That’s why chasing after one side or running away from the other side becomes such a big deal.
What strange illusions we have.
**
Wandering around inside your own illusions means living your life like a sleepwalker
**
Even if we put on a cool face, illusions are brewing in our heart of hearts.
**
A year from now, think back to the illusions that you had yesterday during zazen:
Two bulls made out of mud have disappeared fighting into the sea.
No one has seen or heard from them since.
[Tōzan Ryōkai]

17. To you who say you don’t get along with others.

Everyone talks about their own point of view, but who really cares? It’d be better if you just kept your mouth shut!
**
Some say, “Who do you think I am anyway?” An ordinary person, what else?
Some are proud of their wealth, others of their name and position, still others of their satori. In this way they’re just showing off how ordinary they are – people these days are so stupid!
**
People always have something they can’t forget. If they’re rich, they can’t forget their money. If they’re intelligent, they can’t forget their brains. If they’re talented, they always think about how good they are at this or that. But whatever it is, it always gets in the way.
**
It’s only because we’re so concerned about this sack of flesh that we think of ourselves as rich or beautiful or whatever. But when we die, everything is one. Nothing is yours anymore.
**
We’re always trying to promote our ego. The only question is: How many years can we keep it up? When we’re dead our body is just a piece of meat.
**
The same moon sometimes seems to smile, and sometimes seems to cry. Sometimes we simply admire it over a glass of sake. But whichever moon people look at, they only see what corresponds to their karmic perception. None of that is real.
**
Everybody reads the newspaper differently.
One person looks at the stock prices first, another reads the sports section first. One dives into the serialized novel, while another is mainly interested in politics. They’re all different: their human thinking varies so much. They differ so much because they’re all lost in their own various consciousnesses. Only outside of these varying consciousnesses does the world that everyone shares reveal itself.
For this world hasn’t been thought up by humans. It doesn’t fit their personal viewpoints.
The more humans consider something, the more they’re fooling themselves.
**
You say, “I saw it with my own eyes!” Nothing is as unreliable as your own eyes. They are just the eyes of an ordinary person.
**
You’re fooling yourself if you think that the world as you see it is reality. Everyone only sees what corresponds to their personal karmic perception. A cat sees differently than I do; and what does a bacillus, who weighs only a thousandth of a toilet-fly, think about? Certainly not the same things as I do. The bacillus and I have different perspectives on the world and on life.
The true world only appears when we have finished once and for all with all of these karmic views.
**
People’s heads are all rigid. Every “-ism” is a form of rigidity. This rigidity is the reason we don’t recognize the buddha-dharma – no matter how close we are.
**
You cry out, “Peace, peace!”, but if you would only be quiet, it would be so much more peaceful.
You say, “In my opinion…”, but it’s precisely when opinions and theories come into the picture that the bickering starts.
**
People let themselves be manipulated by the laws of their time when they believe that good and bad exist. In the past, blood feuds were legal, today they are illegal. In the past, adultery was illegal, today it’s legal.
**
We believe that good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant, right and wrong all exist, that there are always two sides. But are there really two sides? No. Reality is only one. And even that “one” is empty.
**
There are no two things in the universe.
So when we see pleasant and unpleasant, good and bad, right and wrong, that’s simply because of our personal karmic perception. And everyone differs from everyone else according to their points of view.
**
Everyone differs in their karmic perception. Happiness and unhappiness, joy and sorrow – it’s all nothing more than karmic perception, and it varies from person to person. The problem is that everyone only considers what they themselves see to be real.
A grandmother preaches to her grandchildren what she considers to be real, but there’s absolutely nothing real about it.
**
When you open your mouth, you’re only putting your illusions on display. You are speaking out of your karma and your illusions.
The mind of an idiot is in his mouth; the mouth of a wise man is in his mind.
[Footnote: Compare with “the fool sees himself as others, the wise man sees others as himself” [Tenzo Kyōkun] of considering an utterance three times before blurting it out [Shobogenzo Zuimonki], or of staying silent nine times out of ten] **
People just need to be natural, but they try to squeeze even this naturalness into a framework. And because everyone has their own framework, they can never agree.
**
Everyone has their own consciousness. No one’s consciousness is like anyone else’s. It’s completely individual and different.
**
The “self” is nothing fixed. You say, “In my mind …” But there is no such “my mind”.
If I hadn’t by chance become a monk, then I probably wouldn’t be talking about the buddha-dharma now. I’d probably be a gangster boss who wouldn’t have anything more to say than, “And now I’ll rip out your guts, you stinking dog!”
**
Since the beginning of human history, this bickering has never stopped. The greatest wars have their origin in this bickering mind. War is simply the most exaggerated form of this.
**
In the same way a fly carries bacteria, war carries epidemics and culture.
**
“Both you and me are just ordinary people.” [Prince Shōtoku, 17-Article Constitution] Since, in any case, it’s just ordinary people who wage war on each other, everybody is wrong, friend as much as foe. The winner and the loser are in any case just ordinary people.
It’s so sad to watch the world’s conflicts. There’s such a lack of common sense. One hothead swings a sword, another fires a rifle.
**
The world is whirled around by karma. Karma arises because we act out of ignorance.
**
In the middle of a fight about irrigation it suddenly rains – since the fight was only about the irrigation of their rice fields, the rain solves all problems.
A beautiful woman and an ugly woman: what’s the difference when they’re eighty?
Originally everything is empty and clear.