“Rinzai has a special place just as Bodhidharma has. Bodhidharma introduced Zen to China from India, and Rinzai introduced Zen to Japan from China. These two were key figures in creating a whole new approach to reality. You will see, at some points, it is so difficult not to say that this man has certainly seen the original face. He is not philosophizing, although his words are that of a philosopher.”
“Rinzai is counted as a great philosopher in the Japanese history of philosophy. He should not be, but his words give the impression that he is a philosopher. I want to say that he is a mystic who does not know the language of the mystics. He is a mystic who knows the language of philosophy, and then everything becomes unnecessarily pompous.
– The Language of Existence, Chapter #9
“One Zen monk, Rinzai, used to say: This man, Buddha, was never born, he never walked on this earth, he never died — he is just a dream. And every day he would go to the temple and bow down before Buddha’s statue!
Then somebody said: Rinzai, you are just mad! Every day you go on insisting that this man was never born, never died, never walked on this earth, and still you go to the temple and bow down.
Rinzai said: Because this man was never born, never walked on this earth, never died, that’s why I go and bow down.
The questioner persisted, saying: We can’t follow you. Either you are mad or we are mad, but we cannot follow — what do you mean?
And Rinzai said: The birth of this man was just a dream to him. Walking on this earth was just a dream to him. Death was not real to him — just an end to a long dream. And this man, the center of his being, remained beyond birth, beyond death.”
– My Way: The Way of the White Clouds, Chapter #12
“Rinzai is one of the most beautiful masters. He had more enlightened disciples than any other master. His very air was that of enlightenment. His eyes were those of any awakened buddha. Those who had eyes to see and ears to hear, those who were sensitive enough to feel the fragrance of the man, immediately understood. He is in the crowd but not of the crowd. He looks just like a human being, but he has gone far beyond. He radiates his beyondness.”
– One Seed Makes the Whole Earth Green, Chapter #1
“There is a story about Rinzai. He was living with his master for almost twenty years, and one day he came and sat in the seat of the master. The master came; he looked at Rinzai sitting in his seat. He simply went and sat where Rinzai used to sit. Nothing was said, but everything was understood. Everybody was puzzled — “what is happening?” Finally Rinzai said to the master, “Are you not offended? Have I insulted you? Have I shown ungratefulness in any way?”
Master laughed. He said, “Now you have become a master. You have come home; from the student to disciplehood, from disciplehood to devotion, and from devotion to mastery. I am immensely pleased that now you can share my work. I need not come every day now; I know somebody else is there with the same aura, with the same perfume.”
– The Osho Upanishad, Chapter #1
“Rinzai managed to transform the whole fabric of the Japanese consciousness. He did more than anybody else. He brought new dimensions into meditation. It is unbelievable but he managed to transform everything into meditation. For example archery… Now, nobody can think that archery can be a meditative act; but Rinzai maintained that every act, if you do it with full awareness, just as a witness, not as a doer, becomes meditation.”
– Rinzai: Master of the Irrational, Chapter #1