You are a Buddha

Zen says Buddhahood is not somewhere far away. You are just sitting on top of it. You are it!… It has already happened. Nothing has to be achieved, nothing has to be practised. Only one thing: you have to become a little more alert about who you are.

A man came to a Zen master and asked, ‘I would like to become a Buddha.’ The master hit him hard. The man was puzzled. He went out and asked an old disciple, ‘What kind of man is this? I asked such a simple question and he got so angry. He hit me hard. My cheek is still burning. Is it wrong to ask how to become a Buddha? This man seems to be very cruel and violent!’

The disciple laughed. He said, ‘You don’t understand his compassion. It is out of compassion that he hit you hard. And he is old, 90 years old. Just think of his hand – it would be burning more than your cheek. You are young. Think of his compassion, you fool. Go back!’

However, the man asked, ‘But what is the message?’ The disciple replied, ‘The message is simple. If a Buddha comes and asks how to become a Buddha, what else is there to do? You can hit him and make him aware that you are it. What nonsense are you talking!’

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