Questioner: Why is your way called the way of the white clouds?
Just before Buddha died somebody asked him: When a Buddha dies where does he go? Does he survive or simply disappear into nothingness? This is not a new question, it is one of the oldest, many times repeated and asked. Buddha is reported to have said: Just like a white cloud disappearing…
This very morning there were white clouds in the sky. Now they are there no more. Where have they gone? From where do they come? How do they evolve, and how do they dissolve again? A white cloud is a mystery, the coming, the going, the very being of it. That’s the first reason why I call my way The Way of the White Clouds.
But there are many reasons, and it is good to ponder, to meditate upon them. A white cloud exists without any roots. It is an unrooted phenomenon, grounded nowhere or grounded in the nowhere. But still it exists. The whole of existence is like a white cloud: without any roots, without any causality, without any ultimate cause, it exists. It exists as a mystery. A white cloud really has no way of its own. It drifts. It has nowhere to reach, no destination, no destiny to be fulfilled, no end. You cannot frustrate a white cloud because wherever it reaches is the goal.
If you have a goal you are bound to get frustrated. The more goal-oriented a mind is, the more anguish, anxiety and frustration there will be, because once you have a goal you are moving with a fixed destination. And the whole exists without any destiny. The whole is not moving anywhere; there is no goal to it, no purpose.
And once you have a purpose, you are against the whole—remember this—then you will get frustrated. You cannot win against the whole. Your existence is so tiny—you cannot fight, you cannot conquer. It is impossible to conceive how an individual unit can conquer the whole. And if the whole is purposeless and you are with purpose you are going to be defeated.
A white cloud drifts wherever the wind leads—it doesn’t resist, it doesn’t fight. A white cloud is not a conqueror, and still it hovers over everything. You cannot conquer it, you cannot defeat it. It has no mind to conquer—that’s why you cannot defeat it.
Once you are fixed to a goal, purpose, destiny, meaning, once you have got that madness of reaching somewhere, then problems will arise. And you will be defeated, that is certain. Your defeat is in the very nature of existence itself.
A white cloud has nowhere to go. It moves, it moves everywhere. All dimensions belong to it, all directions belong to it. Nothing is rejected. Everything is, exists, in a total acceptability. Hence I call my way The Way of the White Clouds.
The white clouds have no way of their own—they drift. A way means reaching somewhere. The White Clouds’ Way means a pathless path, a wayless way. Moving, but not with a fixed mind—moving without a mind.
This has to be understood, because purpose is synonymous with mind. That’s why you cannot conceive how to live without purpose, because the mind cannot exist without purpose. And people are so absurd—they even come to me and ask: What is the purpose of meditation? Meditation cannot have any purpose because meditation basically means a state of no-mind: it is where you are, not going anywhere; where just being, just to be, is the goal.
The goal is here and now. Once the goal is somewhere else, mind starts its journey. Then mind starts thinking, then mind starts a process. If future is there then mind can flow, then mind can have its course, then mind has space to move. With purpose comes future, with future comes time.
A white cloud hovers in the sky, timeless—because there is no future and no mind to it. It is here and now. Each moment is total eternity.
But the mind cannot exist without purpose, so mind goes on creating purposes. If the so-called worldly purposes are lost, then mind creates religious purposes, otherworldly purposes. If money has become useless, then meditation becomes useful.
If the so-called world of competition, politics, has become useless, then another world of new competition, of religion, achievement, becomes meaningful. But mind always hankers for some meaning, some purpose. And to me, only that mind is religious which is purposeless. But that means that mind is no more a mind at all. Think of yourself just like a white cloud, with no mind.
This was first published in the February 2014 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
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