"WE COME INTO THIS WORLD ALONE,
WE DEPART ALONE" --
THIS ALSO IS ILLUSION.
I WILL TEACH YOU THE WAY
NOT TO COME, NOT TO GO!
WE EAT, EXCRETE, SLEEP, AND GET UP;
THIS IS OUR WORLD.
ALL WE HAVE TO DO AFTER THAT
IS TO DIE.
I SHAN'T DIE, I SHAN'T GO ANYWHERE,
I'LL BE HERE;
BUT DON'T ASK ME ANYTHING,
I SHAN'T ANSWER.
WHATSOEVER IT MAY BE,
IT IS ALL PART OF THE WORLD OF ILLUSION,
NOT BEING A REAL THING.
SHOULD YOU WISH TO KNOW THE WAY
IN BOTH THIS WORLD,
AND THAT OTHER,
ASK A MAN OF MERCY AND SINCERITY.
A MONK ASKS MASTER PAI-CHANG,
"WHO IS THE BUDDHA?"
"WHO ARE YOU?"
THE PURPOSE OF THE BUDDHAS IS NOT TO INFORM YOU but to transform you. They want to bring a radical change in your consciousness, they want to change your very roots. They want to bring new eyes to you, new clarity. Their purpose is not to inform. They are not there to transfer some knowledge but to transplant some being. They want to share their light with you -- the purpose is not to inform but to enlighten.
Hence they don't bother what your question is. Their answers may sometimes look very irrelevant, absurd. They are not -- but they have a totally different kind of relevancy. They are relevant to you, not to your question.
Now, this monk asks Master Pai-Chang, "Who is the Buddha?" And Pai-Chang answers, "Who are you?"
See the point: he is turning the whole question into a totally new dimension. He is not answering, in fact he is giving a deeper question than the monk had asked -- he is answering with another question. "Who is the Buddha?" -- the answer is easy, he could have said, "Gautam Siddhartha." But that is irrelevant; he is not interested in the history of thought, he is not interested in history at all. He is not concerned with a certain man called Gautam Buddha, he is more concerned with a certain awakening that can happen in everybody. That is real Buddhahood.
He turns the question towards the questioner himself. He makes a sword out of the question and pierces