‘The path which I travelled and which 1 have described in my narrative was a very hard and stony one. This fact should not discourage anyone else, however, for each individual is different. Nowadays it is no longer necessary for anybody who wishes to experience their own being and God within that being to take a roundabout route, nor is it necessary to change one’s religion. I never abandoned the religion which I was brought up in—in all the time I was in Japan nobody so much as hinted that anything like that was either necessary or desirable. A truee Rôshi, a true Master, lives in a state of union with the Original One and in that dimension there is simply no such thing as ‘one way to redemption’ and all dogmas are completely irrelevant. All that exists on that plane is Truth itself as living Being and a Master’s only interest is to awaken that Being within his disciples.
This path is available to everyone without exception, no matter what their religion. The only requirement is that each individual must travel the path themselves, for it is not something ready-made which can be handed out on a platter.
In what I have written about my own beginnings on the path, I have tried to give as much help as I can, showing how one ca the many difficulties which one encounters on the way, ai possible to practise on one’s own at home, without travelling to Japan. I should like to point out, however, that all attempts to ‘conquer’ that goal are doomed to failure right from the start. It is a path whihc must be be travelled without any objectives in mind. It is important to drop any ideas of success or failure or of the magnitude of one’s ‘achievement
Enlightenment is something which is available to everyone All one needs to do is follow the right path. Enlightenment itself is neither Buddhist nor Christian. It does not belong to any particular religion. It can be found in both Mohammedanism and Christianity, although it is not striven for so and specifically in these traditions as in the disciplines of Zen and Yoga. Theoretically speaking, the association with a specific religion is secondary, even though it is very unlikely that anyone without a religious motivation or the the aspiration to realize the Absolute would ever subject themselves to all the trials, difficulties and radical renunciation which travelling on this path involves.
Father Lassalle, who is a great servant of the Truth, makes it very clear that Truth, of which enlightenment is an integral part, is something which is available to everyone. But one should not succumb to the temptation to ignore what Lassalle says about the difficulties encountered on the path and the renunciation demanded of the seeker. Even so, the degree of this renunciation always depends upon the stage of development of each individual, and in practice even the most total renunciation is usually made up of a series of many small decisions which are taken individually one after the other until one’s state of renunciation is complete. For those readers who still feel that this is too much for them and that it is all very frightening I should like to quote something which Eugen Herrigel once said, both as consolation and as encouragement: ‘Even to travel a very short distance on this path is enough, enough to make one’s entire life worthwhile
And this journey towards the Absolute is a never-ending process, even for the seeker who has already travelled a long distance and experienced much. One must prove oneself again and again, both in the tests and trials of one’s everyday life and on the path of enlightenment itself. All the great Masters have spent their lives travelling from one realization of enlightenment to the next, for nothing which one attains is static—it must be deepened, understood, and experienced in its entirety, both as an undivided whole and as endless variety.
As far as I myself am concerned, my only wish is to return to my Rôshi in Japan as soon as my circumstances make it possible and to spend an extended period of time in his monastery. Just a few weeks ago I received a letter from him confirming that I am welcome to return at any time and that he is expecting me.
When 1 was a child we all had to choose a saying from the Bible as our confirmation motto. I chose a saying of St Paul’s, and looking back it seems that the words I chose then really have turned out to be a perfect motto for my life and my search:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before I press toward the mark . . . (Philippians 3: 13-14)
But now I ask myself, am I pursuing it, or is it pursuing me? I don’t know the answer. All I know is that ‘It’ is driving me onwards and that it always will, for there is never ever any “end.