A monk asked Ryuge, “What did the old Masters and Prophets attain when they entered the last stage of perfect enlightenment?”
“They were like burglars sneaking into a vacant house,” Ryuge, the Guru, replied with kindness.
The Ultimate Stage
The monk in this Zen story is representative of the modern pragmatist – he is obsessed with the results. So he greedily asks the Master what enlightenment is like. “If I join the club, what are the benefits? When I die where do I go?” These are the kind of questions and doubts that are illustrative of one’s obsession with ends. Such are the barriers which obstruct many seekers. To genuinely seek is to renounce all desire and just be.
Ryuge replies to the monk’s inquisition by expediently drawing the analogy of burglars sneaking into an empty house which is, in fact, wide open and completely accessible – there is absolutely nothing to take and no one to see therein.
The world – life – is Nirvana from the beginning, just that we are too tainted by mucks, illusions and delusions to see.