A visiting monk: I have been practicing to achieve enlightenment. What about that?
Bankei: Enlightenment is something that stands in contrast to illusion. As each person is a Buddha-body just as he is, he hasn’t a speck of illusion in him. What is it, then, that you want to enlighten?
Monk: But master, that would mean living life as an utter fool. Look at Bodhidharma. Look at all the Zen masters after him. They realised the great Dharma by attaining enlightenment.
Bankei: It is as just such a fool that the Tathagata saves people from suffering. Neither coming nor going, being just as you are at the time when you were born, without obscuring your mind – that’s the very meaning of Tathagata! All the patriarchs of the past were exactly the same as that.
– From ‘The Unborn: The life and teachings of Zen master Bankei 1622-1693’
North Point Press. 1984