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Book Name: Hyakujo - The Everest of ZenPrevious     Next

heir of Ma Tzu and became most well known for his establishment of the first truly Zen monasteries and his treatise on sudden enlightenment.

To understand Hyakujo, the first thing is to understand that enlightenment can only be sudden. The preparation can be gradual, but the illumination is going to be sudden. You can prepare the ground for the seeds, but the sprouts will come suddenly one day in the morning; they don't come gradually. Existence believes in suddenness. Nothing is gradual here, although everything appears to be gradual; that is our illusion.

In the past science used to think that everything was gradual: a child gradually becomes young; the young man gradually is becoming older... Now, we know that is not the case because of Albert Einstein and his discoveries about atomic energy. He himself was puzzled when he saw for the first time that the particles of an atom don't go from one place to another place the way you go from your house to the market. They simply jump. And their jump is so tremendous that Einstein had to find a new word for it: `quanta', the quantum jump. It means that the particle was in one place, A, and then suddenly you see it in another place, B. The path between has never been traveled.

A strange jump that you cannot see the particle between the two points. That gave him an idea that in existence everything is jumping, and because the jump is so subtle, you cannot see it.

Every moment you are jumping towards old age. It is not a gradual thing. It is happening every moment that you are growing older, and there is no way that you can find to rest in between the jumps. The jumps are so close, but you can prepare -- and particularly for enlightenment, which is the ultimate quantum leap. You can meditate; you can go as deep as you can; you can find your center. And the moment you find your center, suddenly, there will be a jump as if out of nowhere the buddha has appeared -- a buddha of pure flames.

This appearance is not going to be gradual, not partial. Hyakujo's great contribution was the sudden enlightenment, because it is so illogical. If you go from here to the market, you have to go --

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