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Chapter 2: The brash student

 

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WHEN YAMAOKA WAS A BRASH STUDENT HE VISITED THE MASTER DOKUON.
WANTING TO IMPRESS THE MASTER HE SAID: 'THERE IS NO MIND, THERE IS NO BODY, THERE IS NO BUDDHA. THERE IS NO BETTER, THERE IS NO WORSE. THERE IS NO MASTER, THERE IS NO STUDENT. THERE IS NO GIVING, THERE IS NO RECEIVING. WHAT WE THINK WE SEE AND FEEL IS NOT REAL. NONE OF THESE SEEMING THINGS REALLY EXISTS.'
DOKUON HAD BEEN SITTING QUIETLY SMOKING HIS PIPE, AND SAYING NOTHING. SUDDENLY HE PICKED UP HIS STAFF AND GAVE YAMAOKA A TERRIBLE WHACK.
YAMAOKA JUMPED UP IN ANGER.
DOKUON SAID: 'SINCE NONE OF THESE THINGS REALLY EXISTS, AND ALL IS EMPTINESS, WHERE DOES YOUR ANGER COME FROM? THINK ABOUT IT.'

KNOWLEDGE IS NOT OF MUCH HELP. Only being can become the vehicle for the other shore.
You can go on thinking, accumulating information -- but those are paper boats, they won't help in an ocean voyage. If you remain on the shore and go on talking about them, it is okay -- paper boats are as good as real boats if you never go for the voyage; but if you go for the voyage with paper boats then you will be drowned. And words are nothing but paper boats -- not even that substantial.
And when we accumulate knowledge, what do we do? Nothing changes inside. The being remains absolutely unaffected. Just like dust, information gathers around you -- just like dust gathering around a mirror: the mirror remains the same, only it loses its mirroring quality. What you know through the mind makes no difference -- your consciousness remains the same. In fact it becomes worse, because accumulated knowledge is just like dust around your mirroring consciousness; the consciousness reflects less and less and less.
The more you know, the less aware you become. When you are completely filled with scholarship, borrowed knowledge, you are already dead. Then nothing comes to you as your own. Everything is borrowed and parrotlike.
Mind IS a parrot. I have heard -- it happened in the days of Joseph Stalin -- that a man, a very prominent communist, came to the Moscow police station and reported that his parrot was missing. Because this man was a very prominent communist, the chief at the police station inquired about the parrot, for it was significant and had to be searched for. In his inquiries he asked, 'Does the parrot talk?'
The communist, the comrade, felt a slight fear, and then he said, 'Yes, he talks. But note it down: whatsoever political opinions he has, they are completely his own.'
But how can a parrot have opinions of its own? A parrot cannot have opinions of its own -- and neither can mind, because mind is a mechanism. A parrot is more alive than a mind. Even a parrot may have some opinions of its own, but the mind cannot. Mind is a computer, a biocomputer. It accumulates. It is never original, it cannot be. Whatsoever it has is borrowed, taken from others.
You become original only when you transcend mind. When the mind is dropped, and the consciousness faces existence directly, immediately, moment to moment in contact with existence, you become original. Then for the first time you are authentically your own. Otherwise all ideas are borrowed. You may quote scriptures, you may know by heart all the Vedas, the Koran, the Gita, The Bible, but that makes no difference -- they are not your own. And knowledge that is not your own is dangerous, more dangerous than ignorance, because it is a hidden ignorance, and you will not be able to see that you are deceiving yourself. You are carrying false coins and thinking that you are a rich man, carrying false stones and thinking that they are Kohinoors. Sooner or later your poverty will be revealed. Then you will be shocked.
This happens whenever you die, whenever death comes near. In the shock that death gives to you, suddenly you become aware that you have not gained anything -- because only that is gained which is gained in being.
You have accumulated fragments of knowledge from here and there, you may have become a great encyclopedia, but that is not the point; and particularly for those who are in search of truth, that is a barrier, not a help. Knowledge has to be transcended.
When there is no knowledge, knowing happens, because knowing is your quality -- the quality of consciousness. It is just like a mirror: the mirror reflects whatsoever is there; consciousness reflects the truth that is always in front of you, just at the tip of your nose.
But the mind is in between -- and the mind goes on chattering, and the truth remains just in front of you and the mind goes on chattering. And you go with the mind. You miss. Mind is a great missing.
Before we enter this beautiful anecdote, a few more things. First: knowledge is borrowed, realize this. The very realization becomes a dropping of it. You don't have to do anything. Simply realize that whatsoever you know you have heard, you have not KNOWN it. You have read it, you have not realized it; it is not a revelation to you, it is a conditioning of the mind. It has been taught to you -- you have not learned it. Truth can be learned, cannot be taught.
Learning means being responsive to whatsoever is around you -- that which is, to be responsive to it. This is a great learning, but not knowledge.
There is no way to find truth -- except through finding it. There is no short cut to it. You cannot borrow, you cannot steal, you cannot deceive, to get to it. There is simply no way unless you are without any mind within you -- because mind is a wavering, mind is a continuous trembling; mind is never unmoving, it is a movement. Mind is just like a breeze, continuously flowing, and the flame goes on wavering. When mind is not there the breeze stops, and the flame becomes unmoving. When your consciousness is an unmoving flame, you know the truth. You have to learn how not to follow the mind.
Nobody can give you the truth, nobody, not even a Buddha, a Jesus, a Krishna -- nobody can give it to you. And it is beautiful that nobody can give it to you, otherwise it would become a commodity in the market. If it can be given, then it can be sold also. If it can be given, then it can be stolen also. If it can be given then you can take it from your friend, borrow it. It is beautiful that truth is not transferable in any way. Unless YOU reach it, you cannot reach. Unless you BECOME it, you never have it. In fact, it is not something you can have. It is not a commodity, a thing, a thought. You can BE it, but you cannot have it.
In the world, in THIS world, we can have everything -- everything can become part of our possessions. Truth can never be possessed, because there are two commodities which can be possessed: thoughts and things. Things can be possessed, thoughts can be possessed -- truth is neither. Truth is being. You can become it, but you cannot possess it. You cannot have it in your safe, you cannot have it in your book, you cannot have it in your hand. When you have it, you ARE it. You become truth. It is not a concept, it is a being itself.
Second thing to remember: this is a human tendency, to try to show you have that which you don't have. If you have it, you don't try to show it, there is no point. If you don't have it you try to show it, as if you have it. So remember, whatsoever you want to show to people, that is the thing you don't have.
If you go to a rich man's house, become his guest -- nothing changes; if he is really rich nothing changes, he simply accepts you. Go to a poor man's house -- he changes everything. He may borrow furniture from his neighbor, a carpet from somebody else, curtains from somebody else. He would like to impress you that he is rich. If you are not rich you would like to impress people that you are rich. And if you don't know, you would like people to think that you know. Whenever you want to impress somebody, remember this: it is a human tendency to impress, because nobody wants to look poor -- and more so where things of the other world are concerned.
You can be a poor man as far as things of this world are concerned, that is not much of a poverty; but as far as God, the soul, liberation, truth are concerned -- it is too much to bear, to be poor is too much to bear. You would like to impress people that you have something, and it is difficult to impress them as far as things of this world are concerned, because those things are visible. It is easy to impress people about things of the other world because they are not visible. You can impress people that you know, without knowing.
The problem arises because when you impress others, there is a possibility that you may be impressed yourself by their eyes and their convictions that you have something. If many people are convinced that you know, by and by YOU will be convinced that you know -- there is the problem, because deceiving others is not much of a problem. But if you are deceived by your own effort, then it will be almost impossible to bring you out of your sleep, because you think it is not a sleep at all! You think you are fully awake. It will be difficult to bring you out of your ignorance because you think you are enlightened already. It will be difficult to bring you out of your disease because you believe that you are healthy and whole already!
The greatest barrier that stands between you and the truth is that you have convinced yourself via others that you already have it. So it is a vicious circle. First: you try to convince others -- and you CAN convince others because the thing is invisible. Second: others don't have it either, so they don't know. If you go and start talking about God, and go on talking, sooner or later people will start thinking that you know about God -- because they don't know either. Except for the word god they don't know anything about it, and you can be very clever and cunning, cunning about theories and philosophies, argumentative. And if you go on and on, just out of sheer boredom they will say, 'Yes, we believe that you know, but be finished.'
I have heard, once it happened: there was one great mystic, Baal Shem, a Jew, a Hassid. A scholar came to see him, a pretender -- and all scholars are pretenders, because by 'scholar' I mean someone who knows something through the scriptures, words, language, who has not encountered the reality himself -- and he started talking about old prophets, and the Old Testament, and commenting about them... everything borrowed of course, unoriginal; foolish on his part because he was talking to a man who KNOWS.
Baal Shem listened out of compassion, and then in the end he said, 'Too bad, too bad; had the great Maimonides known you....'
Maimonides is a Jewish philosopher, a very great philosopher, so the pretender was very happy, overjoyed with this compliment, that had great Maimonides known him.... So he asked, 'I am so happy that you recognize me and you have given me recognition. Just one thing more: why do you say, "Too bad, too bad; had the great Maimonides known you...?" What do you mean? Please tell me this -- what do you mean?'
Said Baal Shem, 'Then you would have bored him, not me.'
Just out of sheer boredom people start believing, 'Yes, you know -- but keep quiet.' And, moreover, you don't know, you are as ignorant as they. There is only one difference: you are more articulate, you have read more, you have accumulated a little more dust, and they cannot argue, and you can put them in their places and make them silent. They HAVE TO believe that you know, and it doesn't make any difference to them whether you know it or not.
Be happy if you think you know, but you are creating such a stone wall it will be difficult for you to break it -- because if you convince others, you become convinced that, Yes, I know. That's how there are so many so-called masters. They don't know anything, but they have followers, and because of the followers they are convinced that they know. Take away their followers and you will see their confidence is gone.
Deep down, depth psychologists say that people accumulate followers just to convince themselves that they know. Without followers, how will you convince yourself? There is no way -- you are alone! And it is difficult to deceive oneself directly, it is easy to deceive oneself via others. When you talk to someone and you see the light in his eyes, you are convinced that you must have something, otherwise, 'Why did this light come to his eyes, his face? He was impressed.' That's why we hanker so much to impress people. The mind wants to impress people so that it can be impressed via them, and can then believe in its borrowed knowledge as if it is a revelation. Beware of this. This is one of the trickiest traps. Once you fall into it, it will be difficult for you to come out.
A sinner can reach the truth more easily than a scholar, because a sinner feels deep down that he is guilty, he can repent, and he feels he has done something wrong. You cannot find a sinner who is basically happy. He feels the guilt; he has done something wrong and he repents in the unconscious; he wants to undo whatsoever he has done to bring about the balance in his life, and some day or other he will bring the balance. But if you are a scholar, a man of words, theories and philosophies, a great pundit, then it is difficult, because you never feel guilt about your scholarship, you feel happy and egoistic about it.
Remember one thing: whatsoever gives you a feeling of ego is a barrier; whatsoever gives you a feeling of egolessness is the Way.
If you are a sinner and you feel guilty, that means your ego is shaken. Through sin you cannot accumulate ego. It has happened many times that a sinner has taken the jump in a moment and has become a saint. It happened to Valmiki, an Indian saint, the first to tell the story of Rama. Valmiki was a robber and a murderer, and in a single moment the transformation happened. It has never happened like that to any pundit ever -- and India is a great country of pundits: the brahmins, the scholars. You cannot compete with Indian scholars -- they have a long heritage of thousands of years, and they have lived on words and words and words. But it has never happened that a scholar in a single moment took a jump, exploded, was broken from the past and became totally new. It has never happened that way. But it has happened many times with sinners, in a single moment, because deep down they were never able to make arrangements in their ego with whatsoever they were doing. Whatsoever they were doing was ego-shattering -- and ego is the wall, the stone wall.
If you feel you are a moralist, a puritan, you will create a subtle ego. If you think you are a knower, you will create a subtle ego. Remember, there is no sin except the ego, so don't accumulate it; and it is always accumulated through false things, because real things always shatter it. If you REALLY know, the ego disappears; if you don't know, it accumulates and becomes bigger and bigger and stronger. If you are really a pure man, a religious man, ego disappears; but if you are a puritan, a moralist, then ego is strengthened. This should always be the criterion to judge whether whatsoever you are doing is good or wrong: judge it by the ego. If ego is strengthened, then it is wrong: drop it as soon as you can, drop it immediately! If ego is not strengthened, it is good.
If you go to the temple every day, or to church every Sunday, and you feel ego is strengthened, don't go to church -- stop; don't go to the temple, it is not helping you, it is a poison. If you feel by going to church that you are religious, you are something extraordinary, greater, purer than others, holier-than-thou, if this attitude comes to you, holier-than-thou, then drop it, because this attitude is the only sin in the world that exists. All else is child's play. This is the only sin -- this attitude of holier-than-thou.
Do only that which doesn't strengthen your ego, and sooner or later you will become enlightened, because when the ego is not, if even for a single moment it leaves you -- suddenly the eyes open and you have seen it. Once seen, it is never forgotten. Once glimpsed, it becomes such a powerful magnet in your life that it goes on drawing you nearer and nearer to the center of the world. Sooner or later you will be merged into it.
But the ego resists, the ego resists surrender. It resists love, it resists prayer, it resists meditation, it resists God. Ego is a resistance, a fight against the whole; that's why it is a sin. And ego is always interested in impressing people. The more you can impress people, the more ego gets food. This is a fact. If you cannot impress anybody, the supports are withdrawn and the ego starts trembling. It has no base in reality, it depends on others' opinions.

Now try to enter this anecdote: The Brash Student.
This is a contradiction, because a student cannot be brash, and if he is, he cannot be a student. A student cannot be impudent, he cannot be rude, he cannot be an egoist. If he is he cannot be a student, because to be a student means to be receptive, to be ready to learn. And what is readiness to learn? Readiness to learn means: I know that I am ignorant. If I KNOW that I know, how can I learn? The doors are closed, I am not ready to learn; really, I am ready to teach.
It happened once in a zen monastery: a man came; he wanted to be initiated. The master said, 'We have two categories of initiates here. I have five hundred inmates in the ashram, in the monastery, and we have two categories: one is that of disciple, and one that of master. So which category would you like to join?'
The man was absolutely new, he even felt a little hesitation. He said, 'If it is possible then I would like to be initiated as a master.'
The master was just joking. He was just joking -- and wanted to look to the deeper unconscious.
Everybody would like to be a master, and even if you become a disciple you become one only as a means, just as a means to become a master: you have to pass through it, it is a compulsion; otherwise how can you become a master? So you have to be a disciple, but the search of the ego is to be the master. The ego would like to teach, not to learn, and even if you learn it is learning with the idea of how to get ready to teach.
You listen to me. With listening I have two categories also: you can listen like a disciple; you can listen like a would-be master. If you listen like a would-be master you will miss, because you cannot listen with that attitude. If you are just waiting, getting ready, and wondering how to jump into being a master and teach others, you cannot be receptive. You can learn only if you are a disciple with no thought of becoming a master. This was one of the oldest traditions in the East -- that a person would not start teaching unless his master told him to.
There was one disciple of Buddha who remained for many years with him; his name was Purna. He became enlightened, and he still remained with Buddha. After his enlightenment he would also come every day in the morning to listen to Buddha. He himself was now a buddha; nothing was lacking, he stood now in his own right, but he continued to come.
One day Buddha asked Purna, 'Why do you go on coming? Now you can stop.'
And Purna said, 'Unless you say so, how can I stop? If you say so, it is okay.'
Then he stopped coming to Buddha's lectures, but he remained just like a shadow moving with the SANGHA, with the order. Then after a few years, again Buddha said, 'Purna, why do you go on following me? You go and teach people! You need not be here with me.'
And Purna said, 'I was waiting. When you say so, I will go. I am a disciple, so whatsoever you say I will do. If you say so, it's okay. So where should I go? Which direction should I go? Whom should I teach? You simply direct me and I will follow! I am a follower.'
This man must have listened to Buddha totally, because even when he becomes enlightened he remains a disciple. And there are people who are absolutely ignorant -- and they are already 'masters'. Even if they are listening, they are listening with an attitude that sooner or later they have to teach. You listen just to tell others what you have learned! Drop that idea completely from the mind, because if that idea is there, if the would-be master is there, the disciple cannot exist with that idea; they never coexist.
A disciple is simply a disciple. One day it happens that he becomes a master -- but that is not the end, that is just a consequence. Just by being a learner one becomes wise. That is a consequence, not the goal. If you learn simply to become wise you will never learn, because to be wise is an ego-goal, an ego-trip. And if you are just waiting to ripen, mature, and become a master, and this disciplehood is just a passage to be passed through -- the sooner the better, it has to be finished, you are not happy in it, you would like to end it -- then you are not a disciple, and you will never be a master. ... Because when a disciple ripens, he becomes a master spontaneously. That is not a goal to be followed, it happens as a byproduct.
The brash student -- impudent, rude, thinking that he already knows... and that is the only impudence that can happen to a mind: that you already know.

WHEN YAMAOKA WAS A BRASH STUDENT HE VISITED THE MASTER DOKUON.
WANTING TO IMPRESS THE MASTER HE SAID....

These Yamaokas come to me almost every day. I have met many, this Yamaoka is a type. They come to me and sometimes I enjoy it very much.
Once it happened: a man came; he talked for one hour -- talked the whole Vedanta, and he had been asking for an interview for many days, writing letters to me, and he had traveled far, and he had been saying that he would like to ask a few questions. When he came he forgot about the questions, he started giving me answers -- and I had not asked anything. For one hour he talked and talked and talked, there was not even a gap so I could interrupt him. No, he wouldn't listen even, so I had to say yes, yes, yes. And I listened to him and enjoyed it, and after one hour he said, 'Now I will have to go, my time is finished -- but I learned so many things from you. And I will remember this meeting for ever and ever. I will cherish this memory -- and you have solved all my problems.'
Really, this was his problem: that he wanted to talk and say things and give some knowledge to me. And he was very happy because I listened. He remained the same, but he went away happy.
People come to me and they say that of course they know that 'All is Brahma.' India is burdened too much with knowledge, and fools have become greater fools because of that burden, because they all know, and they talk as knowers. They say that all is Brahma, that reality is nondual, and then in the end they ask, 'My mind is very tense. Can you suggest something?'
If you know that existence is nondual, if you know that the two does not exist, how can you be troubled and tense? If you know this, all trouble has gone, all worry dissolved, anguish disappears! But if you say to them, 'You don't know,' they won't listen. And if you just go on listening to them, in the end the real will come out automatically.
In a court, it happened: a man was charged with stealing a pocket watch. The man whose watch was stolen was a little short sighted, his eyes were weak and he could see only with specs. He had forgotten his specs somewhere, and then on the street this man cut his pocket and took the watch. When the judge inquired, 'Can you recognize this man, that this is the man who has taken your watch?' the robbed man said, 'It is difficult, because my eyes are weak, and without specs I cannot see rightly, everything is a little blurred. So I cannot say exactly whether it is this man or not, but my watch is stolen and I feel it is this man.'
But because there was no other eyewitness or anything, and it could not be proved, the magistrate had to free the man. He said, 'Now you can go, now you are free.'
But the man looked a little puzzled. The judge said, 'Now you can go, you are free!' The man still looked puzzled, and the judge asked, 'Do you want to ask anything?'
He said, 'Yes, can I have the watch? Can I keep it?'
This is what is happening.... People go on talking, and if you go on listening to them, in the end you will find all their Vedanta is useless, in the end they ask something which shows the reality. The other was just language, verbalization.
This Yamaoka visited the master Dokuon -- Dokuon was an enlightened man, one of the most loved in Japan, one of the most respected.

WANTING TO IMPRESS THE MASTER HE SAID....

When you want to impress a master you are a fool, you are a perfectly stupid man. You may want to impress the whole world, but don't try to impress a master; at least there, open your heart. Don't talk nonsense; at least there, be true.
If you go to a doctor you expose all your diseases to him, you allow him to diagnose, to examine, you tell everything, whatsoever is there, you don't hide anything. If you hide from a doctor, then why go to him in the first place? Go on hiding! But how do you expect him to help you if you hide?
To a doctor you tell everything about the body, to a master you have to tell everything of the soul; otherwise no help is possible. When you go to a master, go completely! Don't create a barrier of words between you and him. Say only whatsoever you know. If you don't know anything say 'I don't know.'
When P.D.Ouspensky came to Gurdjieff he was a great scholar, already world famous -- more known in the world than Gurdjieff himself. Gurdjieff was an unknown fakir in those days; he became known through Ouspensky. Ouspensky had written a great book before he met Gurdjieff. The book is really rare because he talks as if he knows, and he is such an articulate man that he can deceive. The book is Tertium Organum -- third canon of thought, and really one of the rarest books in the world. Even ignorance can sometimes do things; if you are skillful you can do things, even in your ignorance.
Ouspensky claims in that book -- and his claim is right -- that there exist only three real books in the world: one is Aristotle's Organum, the first canon of thought; second is Bacon's Novum Organum, new canon of thought, that is the second canon of thought; and the third is his Tertium Organum, third canon of thought. And really these three books are rare. All the three authors are ignorant, none of them knows anything about truth, but they are very articulate men. They really have done miracles: without knowing about truth they have written beautiful books. They have almost come around, approximately they have reached.
Ouspensky was a name; when he came to Gurdjieff, Gurdjieff was nobody. Of course he came with the knowledge that Gurdjieff was a man of being -- a man of no knowledge really, but of very substantial being. What did he do? He did something beautiful: he remained silent. Ouspensky waited and waited and waited, became fidgety, started perspiring before this man because he simply remained silent, looking at him, and it was so awkward, and his eyes were very very penetrating -- if he wanted to he could BURN you with his eyes; and his face was such that, if he wanted to, he could simply shake you out of your being with his face. If he looked in you, you would feel very uneasy. He remained like a statue, and Ouspensky started trembling, a fever came over him. Then he asked, 'But why are you silent? Why don't you say something?'
Gurdjieff said, 'First one thing has to be decided, decided absolutely; only then will I say even a single word. Go into the other room, you will find a piece of paper there; write on it whatsoever you know, and also that which you don't know. Make two columns: one of your knowledge, one of your ignorance, because whatsoever you know I need not talk about. We are finished with it; you know it, there's no need to talk of it. Whatsoever you don't know, I will talk about.'
Ouspensky has reported that he went into that room, sat on a chair, took the paper and the pencil -- and for the first time in his life realized that he didn't know anything. This man destroyed his whole knowledge because, for the first time with awareness, he was going to write: I know God. How to write that? -- because he didn't know. How to write: I know truth?
Ouspensky was authentic. He came back after half an hour, gave a blank sheet to Gurdjieff and said, 'Now you start work. I don't know anything.'
Gurdjieff said, 'How could you write Tertium Organum? You don't know anything -- and you have written the third canon of thought!'
It's as if people go on writing in their sleep, go on writing in their dreams; as if they don't know what they are doing, they don't know what is happening through them.

WANTING TO IMPRESS THE MASTER, YAMAOKA SAID, 'THERE IS NO MIND, THERE IS NO BODY, THERE IS NO BUDDHA. THERE IS NO BETTER, THERE IS NO WORSE. THERE IS NO MASTER, THERE IS NO STUDENT. THERE IS NO GIVING, THERE IS NO RECEIVING. WHAT WE THINK WE SEE AND FEEL IS NOT REAL. NONE OF THESE SEEMING THINGS REALLY EXISTS.'

This is the highest teaching, the ultimate truth. This is the essence of the whole tradition of Buddha -- that Buddha says everything is empty. That's what we were talking about when I discussed Sosan with you: everything is empty, everything is just relative, nothing exists absolutely. This is the highest realization, but you can read it in a book. If you read it in a book and say it, it is simply stupid.
'THERE IS NO MIND, THERE IS NO BODY, THERE IS NO BUDDHA.'

Buddha has said, 'I am not.' But when Buddha says it, it means something. When Yamaoka says it, it means nothing. When Buddha says it, it is very significant: 'I am not.' He says, 'Even I am not, so be more alert -- you cannot be.' 'This is my realization,' he says. 'Personality is just like a wave, or a line drawn on the water. It is a form, and form is continuously changing. The form is not truth. Only the formless can be the true. Only the unchanging can be true.' And Buddha says, 'It may take seventy years for your form to disappear, but it disappears -- and that which was not one day, and again one day will not be, cannot BE in the middle. I was not, one day; I will not be, one day. On two sides, nothing -- and just in the middle, I am? This is not possible. How, between two nonexistences, can existence exist? How, between two emptinesses, can there be something substantial? It must be a false dream.'
Why, in the morning, do you say that the dream was false? It was, but why do you say it was false? What is the criterion of its being false or true? How do you judge? And in the morning everybody says, 'I dreamed, and the dream was false.' Dream means 'the false' -- but why? This is the criterion: that in the evening it was not there, when I went to sleep it was not there, when I again came up out of sleep it was not there, so how can it BE in the middle? The room is real, the dream is false -- because when you went into sleep the room was there, and when you came out of sleep the room was there. The room is real, the dream is false, because the dream has two nothingnesses around it, and between two nothingnesses, nothing can exist. But the room continues, so you say that the room is real, the world is real, and the dream is false.
A buddha has awakened out of this world and he sees that, just like the dream, your world is also false. He has awakened out of this great dream which we call world, and then he says, 'It was not there, now again it is not there, so how could it be in the middle?' Hence Buddhas, Shankaras, go on saying, 'The world is illusory, it is a dream.' But you cannot say it; you cannot just take the words and repeat them.
This Yamaoka must have listened, must have learned, read, studied. He is repeating like a parrot: 'THERE IS NO MIND, THERE IS NO BODY, THERE IS NO BUDDHA. THERE IS NO BETTER, THERE IS NO WORSE' -- because they are all relative. Remember, Buddha calls anything relative 'false', anything absolute 'true'. Absoluteness is the criterion of truth, relativity is the criterion of a dream.
Try to understand this, because this is basic. You say your friend is tall. What do you mean? He can only be said to be taller not tall -- taller than somebody. He may be a pygmy before somebody else, so tallness is not in him. Tallness is just a relationship, a relative phenomenon. In comparison to somebody he is taller, in comparison to somebody else he may be a pygmy. So what is he -- is he a pygmy or a tall man? No, these two things are relativities. In himself what is he -- tall or a pygmy? In himself he is neither tall nor a pygmy. That's why Buddha says, 'The better does not exist, the worse does not exist.'
Who is a sinner and who is a saint? Look! -- if there are only saints in the world will there be any saint? If all are sinners in the world will there be any sinners? The sinner exists because of the saint, the saint exists because of the sinner -- they are relativities. So if you want to be a saint you will create a sinner; you cannot be a saint without there being sinners. So be aware, don't become a saint, because if you become a saint that means somewhere the other polarity will have to exist.
Saints are false, sinners are false. Who are you in yourself? If you are alone, are you a sinner or a saint? Then you are neither. Look into that reality which you are, unrelated to anything else; look into yourself without relation -- then you will come to the absolute truth; otherwise everything is just a relative term. Relativities are dreams.
Reality is not a relativity, it is an absoluteness. Who ARE you?
If you go inside and you say, 'I am light,' you are dreaming again, because what can light mean without darkness? Light needs darkness to be there! If you say, 'Inside I am blissful,' again you are dreaming, because bliss needs misery to be there. You cannot use any term because all terms are relativities. That's why Buddha says that we cannot use any term -- because inside there is emptiness. Also, this 'emptiness' is not against 'fullness'; this is just to say that all terms are empty. In absolute truth, no term applies, you cannot say anything.
Buddha would not be in agreement with Hindus in saying that reality is SAT-CHIT-ANANDA, because he says that SAT exists because of ASAT, CHIT exists because of ACHIT, ANANDA exists because of DUKKHA. Sat is existence; God cannot be said to be existential because then nonexistence would be needed, and where will nonexistence exist? God cannot be said to be consciousness, because then unconsciousness would be needed, and where will unconsciousness exist? God cannot be said to be bliss, because then misery would be needed.
Buddha says whatsoever word you use is useless, because the opposite will be needed. Look into yourself -- then you cannot use language, only silence. Only through silence can reality be indicated. And when he says, 'All terms are empty, all words are empty, all things are empty, all thoughts are empty,' he means this because they are relative -- relativity is a dream.

THERE IS NO BETTER, THERE IS NO WORSE. THERE IS NO MASTER, THERE IS NO STUDENT. THERE IS NO GIVING, THERE IS NO RECEIVING. WHAT WE THINK WE SEE AND FEEL IS NOT REAL. NONE OF THESE SEEMING THINGS REALLY EXISTS.

This is the most profound teaching of Buddha, so one thing has to be remembered: you can repeat the most profound words ever uttered, and you can still be a stupid man. This Yamaoka IS stupid. He's repeating exactly the same words as Buddha.
Words carry your being. When Buddha says the same words, they have a different significance, a different fragrance. The words carry something of the Buddha, something of his being: the aroma, the taste, of his inner being. The music of his inner harmony is carried by those words. When Yamaoka repeats them they are dead, stale, they don't carry any fragrance. They will carry something: they will carry Yamaoka and his bad odor.
Remember, just by repeating the Gita, don't think anything is going to happen, although the words are the same, and Krishna said the same words you are repeating. All over the world thousands of Christian missionaries go on repeating the same words that Jesus spoke. Those words are dead. It is better not to repeat them, because the more you repeat them, the more stale they become. It is better not to touch them, because your very touch is poisonous. It is better to wait. When YOU attain to a Christ-consciousness, or a Krishna-consciousness, or a Buddha-consciousness, then you will begin to flower, then things will start coming out of you -- never before. Don't be a gramophone record... because then you can only repeat, but that doesn't mean anything.

DOKUON HAD BEEN SITTING QUIETLY SMOKING HIS PIPE....

A very beautiful man -- he didn't even bother. He didn't interrupt, he simply continued smoking his pipe.
Remember, only zen masters can smoke a pipe, because they are not pretenders. They don't bother what you think about them -- they don't bother! They are people at ease with themselves. You cannot think of a Jaina MUNI smoking a pipe, or a Hindu SANNYASIN smoking a pipe -- impossible. These are men of rules, regulations, they have forced themselves into disciplines. No need to smoke a pipe if you don't want to, but if you want to, then don't force something dead upon yourself, because that desire will remain hidden somewhere, and that desire will disturb. And why? If you want to smoke a pipe, why not smoke it? What is wrong in it? You are as false as the pipe and the smoke, and the smoke and the pipe are as true as you.
But why not? Deep down you want to be extraordinary, not ordinary. Smoking a pipe will make you very ordinary. This is what ordinary people are doing: smoking a pipe, drinking tea and coffee, and laughing and joking -- this is what ordinary people are doing. You are a great saint -- how can you do ordinary things in an ordinary way? You are extraordinary.
To pose extraordinariness you drop many things. Nothing is bad in dropping them -- if you don't like them, it's okay. There's no need to force yourself to smoke a pipe just to say that you are ordinary, no need... because this is how the mind goes! No need to do anything if you don't want to, but if you want to then don't pose, don't try to have a mask of seriousness. Then be simple. Nothing is wrong if you are simple; everything is wrong if you are not simple.
This man Dokuon must have been a simple man:

DOKUON HAD BEEN SITTING QUIETLY SMOKING HIS PIPE

very meditative, just relaxing, listening to this pretender --

AND SAYING NOTHING. SUDDENLY, HE PICKED UP HIS STAFF AND GAVE YAMAOKA A TERRIBLE WHACK.

Zen masters carry a staff for such people. They are very gentle people, but very authentic, and there are people who will not listen to words, who can listen only to a whack. If you talk to them, they won't listen, they will talk still more. They need shock treatment.

SUDDENLY, HE PICKED UP HIS STAFF AND GAVE YAMAOKA A TERRIBLE WHACK.
YAMAOKA JUMPED UP IN ANGER.
DOKUON SAID: 'SINCE NONE OF THESE THINGS REALLY EXISTS, AND ALL IS EMPTINESS, WHERE DOES YOUR ANGER COME FROM? THINK ABOUT IT.'

Dokuon has created a situation, and only situations are revealing. He could have said, 'Whatsoever you are saying is just borrowed information.' That wouldn't have made much difference because the man sitting before him was fast asleep. Just talking would not have brought him out of it; it may have helped him to stay asleep more, he may have started arguing. Rather than doing that, Dokuon did the right thing; he hit hard with the staff -- suddenly, because Yamaoka was not ready for it, it came unexpectedly. It was so sudden that he could not arrange his character accordingly, he could not manage a false pose. For a moment -- the whack was so sudden -- the mask slipped, and the real face came out. Just by talking this would not have been possible. Dokuon must have been very compassionate.
Just for a single moment anger peeped, the real came out -- because if everything is empty, how can you be angry? Where can the anger come from? Who will be angry if even a Buddha is not, you are not, nothing is there, only emptiness exists? How, in emptiness, is anger possible?
What Dokuon is doing is bringing this Yamaoka to being from knowledge; that's what he is doing by whacking. A situation is needed because in a situation suddenly you become real, whatsoever you are. If words are allowed, if Dokuon talks and says, 'This is wrong and that is right,' he helps the continuity of the mind. Then a dialogue will be there, but of no use. He gives a shock, he brings you back to your reality. Suddenly all thinking disappears; Yamaoka is Yamaoka, not a buddha. He was talking like a buddha, and just by a hit, buddha disappears and in comes Yamaoka -- angry.

DOKUON SAID: 'SINCE NONE OF THESE THINGS REALLY EXISTS, AND ALL IS EMPTINESS, Yamaoka, WHERE DOES YOUR ANGER COME FROM?
THINK ABOUT IT.'
'Don't talk about Buddha; and don't talk about reality, and don't talk about truth -- think about this anger and from where it comes.'
If you really think about anger, from where it comes, you will reach to emptiness.
Next time, when you feel angry... or if you cannot, then come to me, I will give you a whack. I go on giving, but my whacks are more subtle than Dokuon's. I don't use a real staff -- it is not needed; you are so unreal, a real staff is not needed. I need not physically give you a whack, but spiritually I go on giving them. I go on creating situations in which I try to bring you back to your Yamaokahood from your buddhahood, because that Yamaoka is real within you, buddha is just a mask. And remember, Yamaoka has to live, not the mask; Yamaoka has to breathe, not the mask; Yamaoka has to digest food, not the mask; Yamaoka will fall in love, Yamaoka will be angry, Yamaoka will have to die, not the mask -- so it is better that you are freed from the mask and brought back to your Yamaokahood.
Remember, buddha cannot be a mask. If Yamaoka goes on going deeper in himself, he will find buddha there. And how to go deeper in yourself? Follow anything that comes from within; follow it back, regress back. Anger has come? -- close your eyes; it is a beautiful moment, because anger has come from within... from the very center of your being it comes, so just look backwards, move, just see where it is coming from, from where.
What you would do ordinarily -- and what this Yamaoka could have done -- would be to think that the anger has been created because of this Dokuon: because he whacked you, that's why anger was created. You would look at Dokuon as the source. Dokuon is not the source; he may have whacked you but he is not the source -- if he whacked Buddha anger would not come -- it is Yamaoka.
Go back, don't look outside for the source, otherwise this beautiful moment of anger will be lost -- and your life has become so false that within a second you will put on your mask again, and you will smile, and you will say, 'Yes, Master, you did a very good thing.'
The false will come in soon, so don't miss the moment. When the anger has come, it is just a split second before the false comes. And anger is true; it is truer than what you are saying -- the words of Buddha are false in your mouth. Your anger is true because it belongs to you, all that belongs to you is true. So find the source of this anger, where it is coming from. Close your eyes and move inwards; before it is lost go backwards to the source -- and you will reach emptiness. Go backwards more, go inwards more, move deeper, and a moment comes when there is no anger. Inside, at the center, there is no anger. Now, buddha will not be a face, a mask. Now something real has been penetrated.
From where does the anger come? It never comes from your center, it comes from the ego -- and ego is a false entity. If you go deeper you will find it comes from the periphery, not from the center. It cannot come from the center: at the center is emptiness, absolute emptiness. It comes only from the ego, and ego is a false entity created by the society, it is a relativity, an identity. Suddenly you are whacked, and the ego feels hurt, anger is there. If you help somebody, smile at somebody, bow down to somebody, and he smiles, that smile is coming from the ego. If you appreciate, give compliments to somebody, if you say to a woman, 'How beautiful you are!' and she smiles, that smile is coming from the ego. ... Because at the center there is neither beauty nor ugliness, at the center there exists absolute emptiness, ANATTA, no-selfness -- and that center has to be achieved.
Once you know it, you move as a nonbeing. Nobody can make you angry, nobody can make you happy, unhappy, miserable. No! In that emptiness all dualities dissolve: happy, unhappy, miserable, blissful -- all dissolve. This is buddhahood. This is what happened under the bodhi tree to Gautam Siddhartha. He reached emptiness. Then everything is silent. You have gone beyond opposites.
A master is to help you to go to your inner emptiness, the inner silence, the inner temple; and the master has to devise methods. Only zen masters beat; sometimes they throw a person out of the window, or they jump on him. Because you have become so false, such drastic methods are needed -- and in Japan particularly, because Japan is so false.
In Japan, a smile is a painted smile. Everybody smiles -- it is just a habit, a beautiful habit as far as the society is concerned, because in Japan, if you are driving and you hit a person on a Tokyo road, something will happen which can never happen anywhere else: the person will smile and bow down and thank you. Only in Japan can this happen, nowhere else. He will say, 'This is my fault,' and you will say, 'This is my fault,' if you are Japanese. Both will say, 'This is my fault,' and both will bow down and smile and go their ways. In a way it is good, because what is the use of being angry and shouting at each other and creating a crowd -- what is the use?
From their very childhood the Japanese are conditioned to always smile -- that's why in the West they are thought to be very sly people: you cannot rely on them because you don't know what they are feeling. You cannot know what a Japanese feels, he never allows anything to come out.
This is one extreme: everything false, painted. So zen masters had to devise these drastic methods, because only through them would the Japanese mask fall down; otherwise it is fixed, it has almost become their skin, as if grafted on the skin.
This is happening to the whole world now, not only Japan. Degrees may differ, but now this is the whole world. Everybody laughs, smiles: neither the laugh is true, nor the smile. Everybody says good things about each other: nobody believes in them, nobody feels that way; it has become social etiquette.
Your personality is a social phenomenon. Your being is buried deep down under this personality. You need a shock, so that the personality is thrown open, or for some moments you are identified with it no more and you reach the center. There, everything is empty.

The whole art of meditation is, how to leave the personality easily, move to the center, and be not a person. Just to be and not be a person is the whole art of meditation, the whole art of inner ecstasy.

 

 

Next: Chapter 3: The temper

 


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