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AND THE FLOWERS SHOWERED

Chapter 8: Tozan's five pounds

 

Energy Enhancement         Enlightened Texts         Zen         And the Flowers Showered

 

THE MASTER TOZAN WAS WEIGHING SOME FLAX IN THE STOREROOM.
A MONK CAME UP TO HIM AND ASKED: 'WHAT IS BUDDHA?'
TOZAN SAID: 'THIS FLAX WEIGHS FIVE POUNDS.'

RELIGION IS NOT CONCERNED with philosophical questions and answers. To go on looking this way is stupid, and a sheer waste of life, time, energy and consciousness, because you can go on asking and answers can be given -- but from answers only more questions will come out. If in the beginning there was one question, in the end, through many answers, there will be a million questions.
Philosophy solves nothing. It promises, but never solves anything -- all those promises remain unfulfilled. Still it goes on promising. But the experience which can solve the riddles of the mind cannot be attained through philosophical speculation.
Buddha was absolutely against philosophy -- there has never been a man more against philosophy than Buddha. Through his own bitter experience he came to understand that all those profundities of philosophy are just superficial. Even the greatest philosopher remains as ordinary as anyone. No problem has been solved by him, not even touched. He carries much knowledge, many answers, but he remains the same in his old age -- no new life happens to him. And the crux, the core of the matter is that mind is a question-raising faculty: it can raise any sort of question, and then it can befool itself by answering them. But YOU are the questioner, and YOU are the one who solves them.
Ignorance creates questions, and ignorance creates answers -- the same mind creating both parts. How can a questioning mind come to an answer? Deep down, the mind itself is the question.
So philosophy tries to answer questions of the mind, and religion looks at the very base. The mind is the question, and unless mind is dropped the answer will not be revealed to you -- mind won't allow it, mind is the barrier, the wall. When there is no mind you are an experiencing being; when the mind is there you are a verbalizing being.
In a small school it happened: there was a very stupid child; he never asked any questions and also the teacher neglected him. But one day he was very excited when the teacher was explaining a certain problem of arithmetic, writing some figures on the board. The child was very excited, raising his hand again and again; he wanted to ask something. When the teacher finished with the problem, she washed the figures from the board, and was very happy that for the first time this child was so excited as to ask something, and she said, 'I am happy that you are ready to ask something. Go ahead -- ask!'
The child stood, and he said, 'I am very worried, and the question comes again and again to me but I couldn't gather the courage to ask. Today I have decided to ask: where do these damn figures go when you wash them off?'
The question is very philosophical; all questions are like this. Many ask where a buddha goes when he dies; the question is the same. Where is God? -- the question is the same. What is truth? -- the question is the same. But you cannot feel the stupidity hidden in them, because they look very profound, and they have a long tradition -- people have always been asking them, and people whom you think very great have been concerned with them: theorizing, finding answers, creating systems... but the whole effort is useless because only experience can give you the answer, not thinking. And if you go on thinking you will become more and more mad, and the answer will still be far away -- farther away than ever.
Buddha says: When the mind stops questioning, the answer happens. It is because you are so much concerned with questions that the answer cannot enter you. You are in such trouble, you are so disturbed, so very tense, the reality cannot enter into you -- you are shaking so much inside, trembling with fear, with neurosis, with stupid questions and answers, with systems, philosophies, theories; you are so filled up.
Mulla Nasruddin was passing through a village in his car. Many crowds were gathered at many spots, and he was worried -- what is the matter? Nobody was on the streets, everybody was gathered somewhere or other. Then he saw a policeman, and he stopped him and asked, 'What is the matter? Has something gone wrong? What has happened? I don't see people anywhere, working, moving, in the shops... they are gathered in many crowds!'
The policeman could not believe his ears; he said, 'What are you asking? There has been an earthquake just now! Many houses have fallen, many people are dead!' Then the policeman said, 'I cannot believe that you couldn't feel the earthquake!'
Nasruddin said, 'Because of alcohol I am always shaking so much, my hands are so jittery, that I missed it.'
If an earthquake is going on inside you continuously, then a real earthquake will not be capable of entering you. When you are silent and still, then the reality happens. And questioning is a trembling inside. Questioning means doubt, doubt means trembling. Questioning means you don't trust anything -- everything has become a question, and when everything is a question there will be very much anxiety. Have you observed yourself? Everything becomes a question. If you are miserable, it is a question: Why? Even if you are happy, it is a question: Why? You cannot believe yourself being happy.
People come to me when meditation goes deeper and they have glimpses, they come to me very disturbed because, they say, something is happening, and they cannot believe that it is happening to THEM, that a bliss can happen -- there must be some deception. People have said to me, 'Are you hypnotizing? -- because something is happening!' They cannot believe that they can be blissful, somebody must be hypnotizing them. They cannot believe that they can be silent -- impossible! 'Why? Why am I silent? Somebody is playing a trick!'
Trust is not possible for a questioning mind. Immediately experience is there, the mind creates a question: Why? The flower is there -- if you trust, you will feel a beauty, a blooming of beauty; but the mind says: Why? Why is this flower called beautiful? What is beauty? -- you are going astray. You are in love, the mind asks: Why, what is love?
It is reported that Saint Augustine said, 'I know what time is, but when people ask me, everything is lost, I cannot answer. I know what love is, but you ask me: What is love? -- and I am at a loss, I cannot answer. I know what God is, but you ask, and I am at a loss.' And Augustine is right, because profundities cannot be asked, cannot be questioned. You cannot put a question mark on a mystery. If you put a question mark, the question mark becomes more important; then the question covers the whole mystery. And if you think that when you have solved the question, then you will live the mystery, you will never live it.
Questioning is irrelevant in religion. Trust is relevant. Trust means moving into the experience, into the unknown, without asking much -- going through it to know it.
I tell you about a beautiful morning outside, and you start questioning me about it here, walled in a room, enclosed, and you would like your every question to be answered before you take a step outside. How can I tell you if you have never known what morning is? How can I tell you? Only that can be told through words which you already know. How can I tell you that there is light, beautiful light falling through the trees, and the whole sky is filled with light, the sun has risen, if you have always lived in darkness? If your eyes are accustomed only to the dark, how can I explain to you that the sun has risen?
You will ask: What do you mean? Are you trying to deceive us? We have lived all our lives and we have never known anything like light. First answer our questions, and then, if we are convinced, we can come out with you; otherwise it seems you are leading us astray, astray from our sheltered life.
But how can the light be told of if you don't know about it? But that's what you are asking: Convince us about God, then we will meditate, then we will pray, then we will search. How can we search before the conviction is there? How can we go on a search when we don't know where we are going?
This is distrust -- and because of this distrust you cannot move into the unknown. The known clings to you, and you cling to the known -- and the known is the dead past. It may feel cozy because you have lived in it, but it is dead, it is not alive. The alive is always the unknown, knocking at your door. Move with it. But how can you move without trust? And even doubting persons think that they have trust.
Once it happened: Mulla Nasruddin told me that he was thinking of divorcing his wife. I asked, 'Why? Why so suddenly?'
Nasruddin said, 'I doubt her fidelity towards me.'
So I told him, 'Wait, I will ask your wife.'
So I told his wife, 'Nasruddin is talking around town and creating a rumor that you are not faithful, and he is thinking of divorce, so what is the matter?'
His wife said, 'This is too much. Nobody has ever insulted me like that -- and I tell you, I have been faithful to him dozens of times!'
It is not a question of dozens of times -- you also trust, but dozens of times. That trust cannot be very deep, it is just utilitarian. You trust whenever you feel it pays. But whenever the unknown knocks you never trust, because you don't know whether it is going to pay or not. Faith and trust are not a question of utility -- they are not utilities, you cannot use them. If you want to use them, you kill them. They are not utilitarian at all. You can enjoy them, you can be blissful about them -- but they don't pay.
They don't pay in the terms of this world; on the contrary, the whole world will look at you as a fool, because the world thinks someone wise if he doubts, the world thinks someone wise if he questions, the world thinks someone wise only when he moves a step with conviction, and before he is convinced he will not move. This is the cunning and the cleverness of the world -- and the world calls such people wise!
They are fools as far as Buddha is concerned, because through their so-called wisdom they are missing the greatest, and the greatest cannot be used. You can merge with it, you cannot use it. It has no utility, it is not a commodity; it is an experience, it is an ecstasy. You cannot sell it, you cannot make a business out of it -- rather, on the contrary, you are lost in it completely. You will never be the same again. In fact you can never come back -- it is a point of no return: if you go, you go. You cannot go back, there is no going back. It is dangerous.
So only very courageous people can enter on the path. Religion is not for cowards. But you will find in churches, temples, mosques -- cowards: they have destroyed the whole thing. Religion is only for the very very courageous, for those who can take the most dangerous step -- and the most dangerous step is from the known towards the unknown; the most dangerous step is from the mind to no-mind, from questioning to no-questioning, from doubt to trust.
Before we enter this small but beautiful anecdote -- it is just like a diamond: very small but very valuable -- a few more things are to be understood. One: you will be able to understand it only when you can take a jump, when you can bridge, somehow, the known with the unknown, mind with no-mind. Second thing: religion is not at all a question of thinking; it is not a question of RIGHT thinking, that if you think rightly you will become religious -- no! Whether you think rightly or wrongly you will remain unreligous. People think that if you think rightly you will become religious; people think that if you think wrongly you will go astray.
But I tell you, if you think, you will go astray -- rightly or wrongly is not the point. If you DON'T think, only then are you on the path. Think and you miss. You have already gone off on a long journey, you are no longer here, now; the present is missed -- and reality is only in the present.
With mind, you go on missing. Mind has a mechanism -- it moves in circles, vicious circles. Try to observe your own mind: has it been on a journey, or just moving in circles? Have you really been moving, or just moving in a circle? You repeat the same, again and again. The day before yesterday you were angry, yesterday you were angry, today you have been angry -- and there is every possibility that tomorrow you are going to be angry; and do you feel that anger is different? The day before yesterday it was the same, yesterday it was the same, today it is the same -- the anger is the same. Situations may differ, excuses may differ, but the anger is the same! Are you moving? Are you going somewhere? Is there any progress? Are you reaching some goal, getting nearer? You are moving in a circle, reaching nowhere. The circle may be very big, but how can you move if you move in a circle?
I overheard once, walking in the afternoon, I heard coming from the inside of a small house a child whining and saying, 'Mum, I am fed up with moving in circles.'
The mother said, 'Either you shut up, or I will nail your other foot to the floor also.'
But you are not yet fed up. One foot is nailed to the earth, and like the child you are moving in circles. You are like a broken gramophone record -- the same line repeats itself, it goes on repeating. Have you ever listened to a broken gramophone record? Listen! -- it is like Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's transcendental meditation, TM: you repeat one thing, Ram, Ram, Ram, Ram, Ram... you go on repeating. You get bored; through boredom you feel sleepy. Sleep is good! After the sleep you feel fresh -- but this is not going towards truth at all, it is just getting a good sleep, through a trick. But this TM you are doing continuously; your whole life is a TM, repeating, moving in the same groove again and again and again.
Where are you going? Whenever you become aware of this you will think simply: What has been happening? You will feel very strange, shocked, that your whole life has been a misuse. You have not moved a single inch. The sooner the better -- if you realize this, the sooner the better, because through this realization something is possible.
Why this repetition? Mind is repetitive, it is a broken record; the very nature of it is just like a broken record. You cannot change it. A broken record can be repaired, mind cannot be, because the very nature of the mind is to repeat; repetition is the nature of the mind. At the most you can make bigger circles, and with bigger circles you can feel that there is some freedom; with bigger circles you can deceive yourself that things are not repeating.
Somebody's circle is just twenty-four hours. If you are clever you can make a circle of thirty days; if you are even more clever you can make a circle of one year; if you are even more clever you can make a circle of a whole life -- but the circle remains the same. It makes no difference. Bigger or smaller, you move in the same groove, you come back to the same point.
Because of this understanding, Hindus have called life a wheel -- your life, of course, not a buddha's life. A buddha is one who has jumped out of the wheel. You cling to the wheel, you feel very secure there -- and the wheel moves on; from birth to death it completes a circle. Again birth, again death. The word SANSAR, the word Hindus use for this world, means the wheel. It moves in the same groove. You come and go, and you do much -- to no avail. Where do you miss? You miss in the first step.
The nature of the mind is repetition, and the nature of life is no repetition. Life is always new, ALWAYS. Newness is the nature of life, Tao; nothing is old, cannot be. Life never repeats, it simply becomes new every day, new every moment -- and mind is old; hence mind and life never meet. Mind simply repeats, life never repeats -- how can mind and life meet? That's why philosophy never understands life.
The whole effort of religion is: how to drop the mind and move into life, how to drop the repetitive mechanism and how to enter the evernew, evergreen phenomenon of existence. This is the whole point of this beautiful story, TOZAN'S FIVE POUNDS.

THE MASTER TOZAN WAS WEIGHING SOME FLAX IN THE STOREROOM. A MONK CAME UP TO HIM AND ASKED: 'WHAT IS BUDDHA?'
TOZAN SAID: 'THIS FLAX WEIGHS FIVE POUNDS.'

Many things: first, a zen master is not a recluse, he has not renounced life; rather, on the contrary, he has renounced the mind and entered life.
There are two types of sannyasins in the world: one type renounces life and enters the life of the mind completely -- these are the anti-life people, escaping from the world towards the Himalayas, Tibet. They renounce life to be completely absorbed in the mind -- and they are in the majority, because to renounce life is easy; to renounce mind is difficult.
What is the difficulty? If you want to escape from here, you can escape! You can leave your wife, your children, your house, your job -- really you will feel unburdened, because your wife has become a burden, the children have become a burden, and the whole thing, working every day, earning... you are fed up! You will feel unburdened.
And what will you do in the Himalayas? The whole energy will become mind: you will repeat Ram, Ram, Ram, you will read the Upanishads and the Vedas, and you will think profound truths. You will think about where the world came from, where the world is going, who created the world, why he created the world, what is good and what is evil. You will contemplate, think -- great things! Your whole life energy which was engaged in other things will be freed from them now and will be absorbed in the mind. You will become a mind.
And people will pay you respect because you renounced life. You are a great man! Fools will recognize you as a great man: fools can recognize you only because you are the greatest of them and they will pay respect, they will prostrate themselves at your feet -- you have done a great miracle!
But what has happened? You renounced life just to be the mind. You renounced the whole body just to be the head -- and the head was the problem! You saved the disease, and you renounced everything. Now the mind will become a cancerous growth. It will do JAPA, mantra, austerities -- it will do everything; and then it will become a ritual. That's why religious people move in rituals: ritual means a repetitive phenomenon. Every morning, every day they have to do their prayer: a Mohammedan does five prayers in a day -- wherever he is, he is to do the prayer five times; a Hindu goes on doing the same ritual every day for his whole life; Christians have to go to church every Sunday... just a ritual! Because mind likes repetition, mind creates a ritual.
In your ordinary life also, mind creates a ritual. You love, you meet friends, you go to parties... everything is a ritual, has to be done, repeated. You have a program for all the seven days, and the program is fixed -- and this has been so always. You have become a robot, not alive. Mind is a robot. If you give too much attention to the mind it will absorb all your energy; it is a cancer, it will grow, it will spread all over.
But a zen master belongs to the other category of sannyasin. He belongs to my category of sannyasin. A zen master has always been a neo-sannyasin -- hence I love to talk about them; I have a deep affinity with them. They renounce mind and they live life; they don't renounce life and live mind -- just the contrary. They simply renounce mind because it is repetitive -- and they live life. They may be living the life of a householder; they may have a wife, they may have children; they will work on the farm, they will work in the garden, they will dig holes, they will weigh flax in the storeroom....
A Hindu cannot think why an enlightened man should weigh flax -- why? Why such an ordinary activity? But a zen master renounces mind, lives life in its totality. He drops mind and becomes simple existence.
So the first thing to remember: if you renounce mind and live life you are a true sannyasin; if you renounce life and live mind you are an untrue sannyasin, you are a pseudo-sannyasin. And remember well, to be pseudo is always easier; to be real is always difficult. To live with a wife and to be happy is really difficult; to live with children and to be blissful is really difficult. To work in a shop, in an office, in a factory and to be ecstatic is the real difficulty.
To leave everything and just sit under a tree and feel happy is not difficult -- anybody will feel that way. Nothing to do, you can be detached; everything to do, you become attached. But when you do everything AND remain unattached, when you move with the crowd, in the world and yet alone, then something real is happening.
If you don't feel anger when you are alone, that is not the point. When you are alone you will not feel anger because anger is a relationship, it needs somebody to be angry towards. Unless you are mad you will not feel anger when you are alone; it will be inside but it will not find any way to come out. When the other is there, not to be angry THEN is the point. When you don't have any money, any things, any house -- if you are unattached, what is the difficulty in it? But when you have everything and you remain unattached -- a beggar in the palace -- then something very deep has been attained.
And remember, and always keep it in your heart: truth, love, life, meditation, ecstasy, bliss, all that is true and beautiful and good, always exists as a paradox: in the world, and not of it; with people, yet alone; doing everything, and being inactive; moving and not moving; living an ordinary life, and yet not being identified with it; working as everybody else is working, yet remaining aloof deep down. Being in the world and not of the world, that is the paradox. And when you attain this paradox, the greatest peak happens to you: the peak experience.
It is very easy to move into a simple existence either in the world and attached or out of the world and detached -- both are simple. But the greater comes only when it is a complex phenomenon. If you move to the Himalayas and are unattached, you are a single note of the music; if you live in the world and are attached, again you are a single note of the music. But when you are in the world AND beyond it, and you carry your Himalaya in the heart, you are a harmony not a single note. An accord happens, including all discordant notes, a synthesis of the opposites, a bridge between two banks. And the highest is possible only when life is most complex; only in complexity the highest happens.
If you want to be simple you can choose one of the alternatives -- but you will miss the complexity. If you cannot be simple in complexity, you will be like an animal, an animal or someone in the Himalayas living a renounced life -- they don't go to a shop, they don't work in a factory, they don't have wives, they don't have children....
I have observed many people who have renounced life. I have lived with them, observed them deeply; they become like animals. I don't see in them something of the supreme happening; rather, on the contrary, they have fallen back. Their life is less tense of course because an animal's life is less tense, they don't have worries because no animal has worries. In fact they go on falling, they regress; they become like vegetables -- they vegetate. If you go to them you will see that they ARE simple, no complexity exists -- but bring them back to the world and you will find them more complex than you, because when the situation arises they will be in difficulty. Then everything that is suppressed will come out. This is a sort of suppression. Don't regress, don't move backwards -- go ahead.
A child IS simple, but don't become a child, become mature. Of course when you become absolutely mature, a childhood happens again, but that is qualitatively different. A sage is again a child, but not childish. A sage has again the flower, the fragrance, the newness of a child, but a deep difference is also there: a child has many repressed things in him and whenever the opportunity is given they will come out . Sex will come out, anger will come out -- he will move into the world and become attached and lost. He has those seeds within him. A sage has no seeds, he cannot be lost. He cannot be lost because he is no more. He carries nothing within him.
Zen masters have lived a very ordinary life -- very otherworldly, but in the world. They are more beautiful people than any Hindu sannyasin, they are more beautiful than any Catholic monk. In fact, nothing like zen exists on the earth, because they have attained to the highest paradox.

THE MASTER TOZAN WAS WEIGHING SOME FLAX IN THE STOREROOM.

An enlightened person, a buddha, weighing flax? You would have simply turned away. Why ask any question of this man? -- if he knew anything he would not be weighing flax. Because you have a concept of a saint, a sage, as something extraordinary, beyond you, somewhere in the sky sitting on a golden throne, you cannot reach him. He is very different -- whatsoever you are, he is just the opposite.
A zen master is not that way. He is in no way extraordinary -- and yet extraordinary. He lives the very ordinary life just like you, and yet he is not you. He is not somewhere in the sky, he is HERE, but still beyond you. Weighing flax -- but just the same as Buddha under a bodhi tree. In India nobody can conceive of Mahavira weighing flax or Buddha weighing flax -- impossible! It would look almost profane. What is Buddha doing in a storeroom? Then what is the difference between you and him? You also weigh flax, he is also weighing flax, so what is the difference?
The difference is not outward -- and outward differences don't make any change. You can go and sit under a bodhi tree -- nothing will happen. And when the inside changes, why be bothered with the outside? Carry on whatsoever you were doing. Carry on whatsoever is given to you. Carry on whatsoever the whole wills.

THE MASTER TOZAN WAS WEIGHING SOME FLAX IN THE STOREROOM.
A MONK CAME UP TO HIM AND ASKED: 'WHAT IS BUDDHA?'

In Buddhism that is the greatest question to be asked -- just like what is truth? or what is God? -- because in Buddhism God is not a concept, Buddha is God; no other god exists. Buddha is the highest reality, the highest peak; nothing is beyond it. The truth, God, the absolute, Brahma -- whatsoever name you give to it, Buddha is THAT.
So when a monk asks, 'What is Buddha?' he is asking what is truth? what is Tao? what is Brahma? what is that one among the many? what is the basic reality? what is the very central core of existence? -- he is asking all that.

TOZAN SAID: 'THIS FLAX WEIGHS FIVE POUNDS.'

Absurd. Irrelevant. It seems to be completely pointless because the man was asking, 'What is Buddha?' And this Tozan seems to be a madman. He is not talking about Buddha at all, he has not answered the question at all -- and yet he has answered. This is the paradox. If you start living this paradox your life will become a symphony; it will become a higher and higher synthesis of all the opposites. In YOU, then, all opposites will dissolve.

TOZAN SAID: 'THIS FLAX WEIGHS FIVE POUNDS.'

One thing he said: that this very ordinary life is Buddha, this very ordinary life is truth, this very ordinary life is Brahma, is the kingdom of God. There is no other life except this; there is no that, only THIS exists. Hindus say, 'THAT exists, this is illusion'; Tozan said, 'This is true, that is illusion. This very moment is truth, and don't ask for any extraordinary thing.'
Seekers always ask for something extraordinary, because ego feels fulfilled only when something extraordinary is given. You come to a master and you ask questions, and if he says such things you will think he is mad, or joking, or not a man worthy to be asked. You will simply escape. Why? -- because he shatters your ego completely. You were asking Buddha, you were desiring Buddha, you would like to be a buddha yourself; hence the question. And this man says: What nonsense you are asking! Not even worth answering! This flax weighs five pounds. This is more important than any buddha. This moment, this flax, is the whole of existence. In this five pounds of flax is centered the whole being of the world -- here and now. Don't go astray; don't ask philosophical questions. Look at this moment.
Tozan did a wonderful thing. Tozan is a buddha. Tozan weighing flax is Buddha weighing flax -- and reality is one! Tozan is Buddha, and the flax is also Buddha; and in that moment it weighed five pounds. That was the truth, the facticity of the moment. But if you are filled with philosophy you will think this man is mad and you will go away.
This happened to Arthur Koestler, one of the keenest intellects in the West. He missed the whole point completely. When he went to Japan to study zen he thought: These people are simply mad -- or else they are joking, not serious at all. He wrote a book, Against zen. It looks absurd. It is. He is wrong, and yet right. It IS absurd. If you don't know the language of zen it is absurd; if you are identified too much with logical thinking, it is absurd. It is illogical -- what more illogical thing can you find: somebody asking, 'What is Buddha?' and somebody answering, 'This flax weighs five pounds'?
You ask about the sky and I answer about the earth; you ask about God and I talk about a rock -- no meeting. And yet there is a meeting -- but very perceptive eyes are needed, not intellectually keen but feelingfully perceptive; not identified with reasoning but waiting to look, watching, witnessing what is happening; not already prejudiced, but open. Koestler is prejudiced... a very keen intellect, can work out things very logically in the tradition of Aristotle, but does not know anything, does not know at all that there exists an absolutely non-Aristotelian world of zen, where two plus two are not necessarily four; sometimes they are five, sometimes they are three -- anything is possible. No possibility is destroyed, all possibilities remain open, infinitely open. And every time two and two meet, something else happens. The world remains open, unknown; you cannot exhaust it.
Look: superficially this man is mad, but deeply you cannot find a saner man than this Tozan. But Koestler will miss, and Koestler is a keen intellect, very logical; only a few people can compete with him in keen intelligence, but he misses. In this world intelligence is a means, in that world intelligence becomes a barrier. Don't be too wise, otherwise you will miss the real wisdom. Look at this Tozan without any prejudice, without any mind of your own. Simply look at the phenomenon, what is happening?
A disciple monk asks, 'What is Buddha?' -- and a zen master lives in the moment, he is always here and now, he is always at home -- whenever you come you will find him there, he is never absent from there -- he remains in this moment. The trees, the sky, the sun, the rocks, the birds, the people -- the whole world is concentrated in this moment! This moment is vast. It is not just a tick of your clock; this moment is infinite, because in this moment, everything is. Millions of stars, many new stars being born, many old stars going to die, this whole infinite expanse of time and space meets in this moment. So how to indicate this moment? -- and Tozan was weighing flax -- how to indicate this moment, how to bring this monk here and now? How to put his philosophic inquiry aside? How to shock him and awaken him to this moment, and in this moment?
This is a shock -- because he must have been inquiring about Buddha in his mind, thinking: 'What is the reality of a buddha? What is truth?' And he must have been expecting some profound answer, something very superb: 'This master is enlightened, so he must say something very valuable.' He could never have expected that it was going to be such an ordinary thing, such an ordinary and absurd answer. He must have been shocked.
In that shock you can be awake for a moment, a fraction of a moment. When you are shocked thinking cannot continue. If the answer is anything relevant, thinking can continue, because that is what mind asks -- relevancy. If something is said which is relevant to the question, thinking can continue; if something is said which is absolutely absurd, discontinuous, is not to the point at all, the mind cannot continue. Suddenly the mind is shocked, and the continuity broken. Soon it will start again, because the mind will say: This is absurd!
Mulla Nasruddin was being analyzed by a psychiatrist. After many months of analysis, many meetings, the psychiatrist said, as Mulla lay on the couch: 'This is what I feel, this is what I conclude: you need to fall in love, you need a beautiful feminine object. Love is your need.'
Mulla said, 'Between me and you, don't you think love is silly?'
The psychiatrist said, 'Between me and you? -- it would be absurd!'
For a moment he must have been shocked, but only for a moment. If you cannot find relevancy, the mind will say immediately: This is absurd! If you find relevancy, the continuity continues. If there is something absurd, for a split second there is a discontinuity, the mind is not able to cope with what has been said. But immediately it recovers, it will say it is absurd; continuity restarts.
But the shock, and the assertion of the mind that it is absurd, are not simultaneous; there is a gap. In that gap satori is possible. In that gap you can be awakened, you can have a glimpse. It would have been wonderful if the opportunity could have been used; wonderful is this man Tozan, incomparable. You cannot find such a man anywhere else. And what a spontaneous answer! Not prefabricated, not in any way readymade; nobody had said that ever before, and there is no point in saying it now. Nobody has ever said, 'THIS FLAX WEIGHS FIVE POUNDS' in answer to a question about Buddha: 'What is Buddha?'
Tozan is spontaneous, he does not answer from the memory; otherwise he knows the scriptures, he was a great scholar before he became enlightened.... He knows by heart and has chanted all Buddha's words, he has discussed philosophy for many years; he knows what the monk is asking, he knows what he is expecting -- but he is simply spontaneous, weighing flax.
Just try to imagine and see Tozan weighing flax. In that moment what could indicate more spontaneously the reality of the moment, the facticity of existence? He simply said, 'THIS FLAX WEIGHS FIVE POUNDS' -- and finished! He doesn't say anything about Buddha; there is no need. This is buddhahood. This being spontaneous is buddhahood. This being true to the moment is buddhahood.
What he says is just part of it; what he leaves unsaid is the whole. If you awaken in that moment you will see Buddha weighing flax -- and the flax weighs five pounds. What is he indicating? He is not saying much, but he is showing much, and by not saying much he is creating a possibility: you may, for a single moment, be aware of the whole existence that is there concentrated in this Tozan.
Whenever a buddha happens in the world, the whole existence finds a center there. Then all the rivers fall in him, and all the mountains bow down to him, and all the stars move around him. Whenever there is an enlightened man, the whole existence converges on his being. He becomes the center.
Tozan weighing flax in that moment was the buddha: the whole existence converging, flowing into Tozan, and Tozan weighing flax -- and the flax weighed five pounds. This moment is so real: if you awaken, if you open your eyes, satori is possible. Tozan is spontaneous; he has no readymade answers; he responds to the moment.
Next time if you come to Tozan the same answer cannot be given, will not be given, because Tozan may not be weighing, or may be weighing something else, or may be even weighing flax, but the flax may not weigh five pounds. Next time the answer will be different. If you come again and again, each time the answer will be different. This is the difference between a scholar and a man of knowledge. A scholar has fixed answers. If you come, whenever you come, he has a readymade answer for you. You ask, and he will give you the answer, and the answer will always be the same -- and you will feel he is very consistent. He is.
There was once a case against Mulla Nasruddin in the court, and the judge asked his age. He said, 'Forty years.'
The judge looked surprised and he said, 'Nasruddin, four years ago you were here, and I asked that time also what is your age, and you told me forty years. Now this is absolutely inconsistent -- how can you still be forty?'
Nasruddin said, 'I am a man of consistency. Once forty, I remain forty always. When I have answered once, I have answered for ever! You cannot lead me astray. I am forty, and whenever you ask you will get the same answer. I am a man who is always consistent.'
A consistent man is dead. If you are dead, only then can you remain forty. Then there is no need to change. A dead man never grows -- and you cannot find persons more dead than pundits, scholars, men of information.
An enlightened man lives in the moment: you ask, he replies -- but he has got no fixed replies. He IS the reply. So whatsoever happens in that moment happens; he does not manipulate it, he does not think about it, about what you are asking. You simply ask, and his whole being responds. In this moment it happened that Tozan was weighing flax, and in this moment it happened that the flax weighed five pounds, and when this monk asked, 'What is Buddha?' in Tozan's being five pounds was the reality. He was weighing; in Tozan's being five pounds was the fact. He simply said: Five pounds of flax.
Looks absurd on the surface. If you go deeper, deeper, you find a relevancy which is not a logical relevancy, and you find a consistency which is not that of the mind, but of the being. Understand, try to understand the difference. If next time you come and Tozan is digging a hole in the garden, and you ask, 'What is Buddha?' -- he will give you the answer. He will say, 'Look at this hole,' he will say, 'It is ready; now the tree can be planted.' Next time, if you come again, and if he is going for a walk with his walking stick, he may say, 'This walking stick.'
Whatsoever is in the moment will be the reply, because a buddha lives moment to moment -- and if you start living moment to moment, you become a buddha. This is the answer: live moment to moment and you become a buddha. A buddha is one who lives moment to moment, who does not live in the past, who does not live in the future, who lives here now. Buddhahood is a quality of being present here and now -- and buddhahood is not a goal, you need not wait, you can become just here and now.
Talking, I am a buddha, because only talk is happening. If only listening is happening there at the other end with you, you are a buddha in listening. Try to catch a glimpse of the moment, this moment. This moment Tozan is not weighing flax; Tozan is talking to you. This moment you have not asked, 'What is Buddha?' but the question is there whether you ask it or not. The question goes around and around in the mind: What is truth? what is Buddha? what is Tao? Whether you ask it or not it is the question. YOU are the question.
In this moment you can awake. You can look, you can shake the mind a little, create a discontinuity, and suddenly you understand... what Arthur Koestler misses. If you are also too intelligent, you will miss. Don't be too intelligent, don't try to be too clever, because there is a wisdom which is attained by those who become fools; there is a wisdom which is attained by those who become like madmen; there is a wisdom which is attained only when you lose your mind.
Tozan is beautiful. If you can see, and if you can see that the answer is not absurd, you have seen it, you have understood it. But if the understanding remains intellectual it will not be of much use. I have explained it to you, you have understood it, but if the understanding remains intellectual -- you understand with the mind -- again you miss. Koestler may be against zen and you may be for it, but you both miss. It is not a question of being for or against; it is a question of a nonmental understanding. If it arises from your heart, if you feel it, not think it, if it touches your whole being, if it penetrates, is not just a verbal thing, not a philosophy, but becomes an experience, it will transform you.
I am talking about these stories just to shock you out of your mind, just to bring you down a little towards the heart -- and if you are ready, then still further down towards the navel.
The further down you go, the deeper you reach... and, ultimately, depth and height are the same thing.

 

 

Next: Chapter 9: Deaf, dumb and blind

 


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