Emperor Wu of China asked Bodhidharma... Fourteen hundred years before, Bodhidharma had gone to China. He was a unique man: his statements, his actions, his behavior, all contained the pure essence of religion. But he was not a professor, he was not a missionary. He was a man who was ready to share his being with you without holding anything back -- but you have to be ready to receive it.
Naturally, Emperor Wu asked Bodhidharma, WHAT IS THE FIRST PRINCIPLE OF THE HOLY TEACHINGS? That's how other Buddhist monks had described it to him. But Bodhidharma was not an ordinary Buddhist monk; in fact, he has nothing to do with Buddhism. He is his own self -- he belongs to nobody. It is just a coincidence that his master happened to be a Buddhist. He himself never said that he was a Buddhist; he could not commit such a great stupidity. You will see that the man was almost a lion and his words were just like the roar of a lion. Those who have seen Bodhidharma were blessed people and those who understood him, there is no way to define their gratitude. He was not a man of many words; he was very telegraphic. He did not use a single word more than needed. He did not care about language; he did not care about the emperor... He cared only about the truth -- that it has not to be spoiled by any description, that it should be kept clean and pure.
BODHIDHARMA SAID, "EMPTINESS, NO HOLINESS." Do you see the telegraphic language? He has been asked by Emperor Wu the first principle of holy teachings and he is saying emptiness is the first, but don't call it holiness -- there is no holiness. When everything is holy what is the point to call something holy? Categories are possible only when something can be unholy. To the experience of the awakened there is only nothingness so pure, so lovely so beautiful. But it is difficult to call it `holy' because that beautiful word has been corrupted by the religions, by creating a fictitious entity: UNholiness. Just to make somebody a saint they have made the whole of humanity sinners. The reality is: there is no saint and there are no sinners; there are only people who are asleep and there are only people who are awake. The difference is so small that just a little ice-cold water thrown into your eyes -- and the difference disappears.
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