The third door of liberation is called Aimlessness. ... Apranihita. Our practice in this retreat rests very much on Apranihita... There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way. You should be happy right in the here and now. There is no way to enlightenment. Enlightenment should be right here and right now. The moment when you come back to yourself, mind and body together, fully present, fully alive, that is already enlightenment. You are no longer a sleepwalker. You are no longer in a dream. You are fully alive. You are awake. Enlightenment is there.
And if you continue each moment like that, enlightenment becomes deeper. More powerful. There is no way to enlightenment, enlightenment is the way.
Most of us are searching for what we want to be, what we want to become. Our happiness is in the distant future. And because of that we sacrifice the here and the now, which is the only place we can get in touch with true life in all its wonders. The kingdom of God is available in the here and now. . . .
The kingdom is now or never. Enlightenment is now or never. Life is now or never. Don’t run. Stop. Touch life deeply. Everything you are looking for is right there. What you want to become, you are already. That is Apranihita, Aimlessness, a very strong teaching of the Buddha.
To be able to Stop is a strong practice, and if you are capable of stopping, you begin to be truly alive, you begin to touch life deeply inside and outside. ...
Linji, the teacher who began our lineage, urges us to find our true person, and to live with that true person in the here and now. He reminds us that what we are looking for is already in us. The teaching and practice we have done in the last five days is that. We have all the good seeds in us. We should take refuge in the seeds of enlightenment, mindfulness, concentration, insight, compassion, understanding, already in us. Taking refuge in these seeds is to take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha within. A teacher does not give you wisdom, insight, happiness -- a good teacher. the maximum she can do is to help water the good seeds in you. You have a real teacher within yourself, the Buddha.
The true person is there in us. We have to go back to ourselves to touch that true person in us. He is a Buddha inside. You don’t have to run anywhere, to search for anything, anywhere. The expression Linji used is ... the Busyness-less Person.
That does not mean if you are a businessman, you cannot practice. You can run your company in a spirit of busyness-less. You are not caught in your business. You are still free. Your doing business may be your practice of compassion.
The ideal person in Theravadan Buddhism, in Hinayana Buddhism, is the Arhat. The idea person in Mahayana Buddhism is the Bodhisattva. The idea person the tradition of Linji, is the Busyness-less Man. We are not running anymore. We are not looking for anything, anymore. We know that the Buddha, enlightenment, everything, is available in the here and now. The Kingdom of God, the Pure Land of the Buddha: just stop and be an ordinary person, and great happiness can be born from that attitude and insight...
In the Gospel according to St. Matthew there is a story of a farmer who discovered a treasure buried in a piece of land. And he went home and sold everything just to buy that piece of land, because he knows that that tiny piece of land will make him happy enough. He does not need too much land. So the kingdom of land is like that. Once you have found the kingdom of god, why do you have to run anymore after fame, wealth and power? In fact, there are so many people running after fame, wealth, and power who suffer tremendously. We believe that if we have some power, we will be happier. But look around to see the people with plenty of power.
Life Is Now Or Never, a segment from a Dharma talk on August 26th, 2007, by Thich Nhat Hanh