Bokuju's Awareness

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Master Bokuju

Bokuju was a Zen master. He used to live alone in a cave, but during the day, or even in the night, he would sometimes say loudly, “Bokuju” – his own name, and then he would say, “Yes, I am here.” And no one else was there.

Then his disciples used to ask him, “Why are you calling ‘Bokuju’, your own name, and then saying, ‘Yes sir, I am here’?” He said, “Whenever I get into thinking, I have to remember to be alert, and so I call my own name, ‘Bokuju.’ The moment I call ‘Bokuju’ and I say, ‘Yes sir, I am here,’ the thinking, the anxiety disappears.”

Then, in his last days, for two or three years, he never called “Bokuju,” his name, and never had to reply, “Yes sir, I am here.”

The disciples asked, “Master, now you never do this.”

So he said, “But now Bokuju is always there. He is always there, and there is no need. Before I used to miss him. Sometimes the anxiety would take me, cloud me all over, and Bokuju was not there. So I had to remember ‘Bokuju,’ and the anxiety would disappear....”

Try your name. When you feel deep anxiety, just call your name – not “Bokuju” or any name, but your name – and then reply to it, “Yes sir, I am here,” and feel the difference. Anxiety will not be there. At least for a single moment you will have a glimpse beyond the clouds, and that glimpse can be deepened. Once you know that if you become alert anxiety is not there, it disappears; you have come to a deep knowing of your own self and the mechanism of inner working.

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