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HYAKUJO: THE EVEREST OF ZEN, WITH BASHO'S HAIKUS

Chapter 8: What words cannot say...

 

Energy Enhancement             Enlightened Texts             Zen             Hyakujo

 

BELOVED OSHO
A MONK ASKED, "ARE WORDS AND SPEECH ALSO MIND?"
HYAKUJO REPLIED, "WORDS AND SPEECH ARE CONCURRENT CAUSES; THEY ARE NOT MIND."
THE MONK CONTINUED, "WHAT IS THIS MIND WHICH LIES BEYOND WORDS AND SPEECH?"
"THERE is NO MIND BEYOND WORDS AND SPEECH," RESPONDED HYAKUJO.
THE MONK SAID, "IF THERE IS NO MIND BEYOND WORDS AND SPEECH, WHAT IS THAT MIND IN REALITY?"
HYAKUJO SAID, "MIND IS WITHOUT FORM AND CHARACTERISTICS. IT IS NEITHER BEYOND NOR NOT BEYOND WORDS AND SPEECH. IT IS FOREVER CLEAR AND STILL, AND CAN PERFORM ITS FUNCTION FREELY AND WITHOUT HINDRANCE. THE PATRIARCH SAID, `IT IS ONLY WHEN THE MIND IS SEEN TO BE UNREAL THAT THE DHARMA OF ALL MINDS CAN BE TRULY UNDERSTOOD.'"

Maneesha, language has never been used the way Zen uses it  --  very symbolic, metaphoric, yet indicating to the ultimate reality. Its prose also is poetry. And while listening to these dialogues, you should not be listening only by the ears, your empty heart is needed to receive them. Only then have you welcomed them because they are not mere prose pieces, they are living hearts of great masters.

A MONK ASKED, "ARE WORDS AND SPEECH ALSO MIND?"
HYAKUJO REPLIED, "WORDS AND SPEECH ARE CONCURRENT CAUSES; THEY ARE NOT MIND."
`Concurrent causes' is a logical terminology. It means like the tracks of railway lines. The two rails run side by side for miles together, but they will never meet. They are so close but the distance remains always the same. Because of the distance remaining the same, the meeting is impossible. They are concurrent causes. Mind and words and speech are concurrent causes. That is one of the most fundamental things about Zen. Nobody has said that before.
People have always thought that mind means word, speech, thoughts  --  but that is not true. They are very close, concurrent, so close that you can get the conception that they are one. But when you get deeper into meditation and leave the world of words and speech, you suddenly find there is an empty mind beyond them which is your real mind. To distinguish it, we call it the empty heart. Either to call it no-mind, real-mind, empty heart... they are all synonymous. But ordinarily, you are so close to thinking, emotions, words, that you cannot conceive there is a sky beyond the clouds, that there is a full moon beyond the clouds. You will have to go beyond the clouds to see the moon.
THE MONK CONTINUED, "WHAT IS THIS MIND WHICH LIES BEYOND WORDS AND SPEECH?"
Now, anybody of some intelligence will not ask such a question. If anything lies beyond, AND SPEECH, you cannot ask such a question. "WHAT IS THIS MIND WHICH LIES BEYOND WORDS AND SPEECH?" If it is beyond words and speech, how can it be answered?
"THERE IS NO MIND BEYOND WORDS AND SPEECH," RESPONDED HYAKUJO.
THE MONK SAID, "IF THERE IS NO MIND BEYOND WORDS AND SPEECH, WHAT IS THAT MIND IN REALITY?"
He does not get the idea of the beyond.
HYAKUJO SAID, "MIND IS WITHOUT FORM AND CHARACTERISTICS. IT IS NEITHER BEYOND NOR NOT BEYOND WORDS AND SPEECH. IT IS FOREVER CLEAR AND STILL AND CAN PERFORM ITS FUNCTION FREELY AND WITHOUT HINDRANCE. THE PATRIARCH SAID, `IT IS ONLY WHEN THE MIND IS SEEN TO BE UNREAL THAT THE DHARMA OF ALL MINDS CAN BE TRULY UNDERSTOOD.'"
The whole dialogue is between two persons who cannot understand each other. The master, Hyakujo, is speaking as authentically as possible about something which cannot be spoken about. Anybody in his place, a man like Ma Tzu, would have beaten the monk to give him a little glimpse beyond the mind.
When thoughts stop, when suddenly one hits you, the whole world is in a whirl. Thoughts stop and you are shocked. Even breathing stops: "I was asking a relevant question and what kind of mad master is he? He hits me..." And before you have opened your mind, he hits you again.

Once Ma Tzu hit a person sixty-six times....
Because he was hit, he was shocked and still started opening his mouth. Again another hit... until he stopped opening his mouth, until he understood that this opening of the mouth is creating the whole trouble.
But Ma Tzu was a totally different master, very loving and very compassionate  --  he had the right to hit.
And as the man became silent, Ma Tzu closed his eyes, the man closed his eyes. Nothing was asked, nothing was said, and everything was understood.
Those sixty-six hits brought the man to the edge of the mind. He must have been an authentic seeker. He did not bother that his head might be broken... He did not care, but went on insisting for another hit until he found some glimpse that prevented him from speaking.
Seeing that he had found some glimpse, and was not going to speak, Ma Tzu closed his eyes. They sat for hours together in silence.
In that silence is the transfer, the transmission.
The man bowed down, touched the feet of Ma Tzu, and he said, "If there were more people like you, so compassionate to hit sixty-six times, the world would have become enlightened."

It was a totally different atmosphere where the hit was not thought to be an insult, it was thought to be a message. What words cannot say, the hit was saying. The hit was saying: "Keep quiet. Be silent. Be utterly silent." And the master goes on hitting. He is saying, "Go on digging deeper and deeper. As I hit you from outside, you hit yourself inside until you reach the life source itself."

Hyakujo depended more on simple dialogue. His contribution is that he did not behave like a mad Zen master, he behaved very normally. He has brought Zen from the mountains to the marketplace. Naturally he has to behave according to the manners of the market. So the questions all are stupid. Each question needs a good hit.
To answer, what Hyakujo has replied is that they are concurrent causes. They appear to be very close but they are not one. They can go separate ways; there is nothing to hinder them. Mind can remain empty without thoughts because thoughts are not intrinsically part, of the mind. They come and go; you know they go on coming and going. Your mind is simply a caravanserai in which they stay for a while.
In your whole life how many thoughts have passed in your mind? Exactly the same as the water that has passed down the Ganges. Every mind is concurrent with a flowing river of thoughts.
His answer is so clear that to ask him, "WHAT IS THIS MIND WHICH LIES BEYOND WORDS AND SPEECH?" is absolutely nonsense. He has said, "It is not mind and there is no relationship between speech, and words, and mind." They are two separate phenomena running together at close distance but never meeting. Because it is beyond mind and beyond words and speech, a man of understanding would not have asked, "What is this mind...?" because any answer will be words and speech.
This mind cannot be spoken. This mind can be felt, this mind can be experienced. If the man had asked how to experience this mind which is beyond words and speech, just that simple difference would have made a great difference. That would have proved that the man is really a man of genius. He understands that something that is beyond words and speech and you are not supposed to ask any question about what it is, because you are forcing the other person to bring something which is beyond speech into speech, beyond words into words.
But Hyakujo was very patient, had to be, because he is working in the marketplace not in a Zen monastery, not amongst authentic seekers but amongst casual inquirers. And one sometimes simply wonders and laughs....

I have been touring this country for thirty years or more. I have found people...
I was going to catch a train. The train stopped for only ten minutes and somebody was holding my hand and saying, "Just tell me, what is TRUTH?"
I said, "It will take a little time and I will miss my train. It is not something that I can give you right now. It will need a certain background within you, then only can I indicate to you what is truth. That cannot be done while my train is moving. Just let me go."
I have found people on the streets. They will stop, they will say, "We don't have much time to meditate but can you just tell us in short what is meditation?" All over the world there are such people who are in a hurry and want the ultimate experience in their hurry, in their haste.

This man did not understand what had been said. If he had even been just a little intelligent, he would have stopped. His stopping may have given him a glimpse. But rather than stopping he asked, "What is this mind which is beyond words and speech?" Hyakujo does not act the way he would have acted with a Zen seeker. This is just a curiositymonger. He answered him, "THERE IS NO MIND BEYOND WORDS AND SPEECH." What he is saying is that beyond words and speech there is no mind.
No-mind is the empty mind.
No-mind is the empty heart.
Nothing can be said about it more than this: that it is empty of what you call mind.
THE MONK SAID, "IF THERE IS NO MIND BEYOND WORDS AND SPEECH, WHAT IS THAT MIND IN REALITY?"
Now, he goes on being more and more stupid. Everything has been answered. If he is really in search he will ask about how to get into this space you are talking about  --  what device, what method... But he is not asking about either method or device, he is trying to counter the master with another question:
"IF THERE IS NO MIND BEYOND WORDS AND SPEECH, WHAT IS THAT MIND IN REALITY?"
HYAKUJO SAID, "MIND IS WITHOUT FORM AND CHARACTERISTICS. IT IS NEITHER BEYOND NOR NOT BEYOND WORDS AND SPEECH. IT IS FOREVER CLEAR AND STILL, AND CAN PERFORM ITS FUNCTIONS CLEARLY AND WITHOUT HINDRANCE. THE PATRIARCH SAID, `IT IS ONLY WHEN THE MIND IS SEEN TO BE UNREAL THAT THE DHARMA OF ALL MINDS CAN BE TRULY UNDERSTOOD.'"
It must have been beyond the questioner, but Hyakujo did whatever is possible through language. He said, "Don't ask about the reality of this mind. It is just a mirror that goes on reflecting all the attributes of existence. It is always clean. You have just never gone close to it."
Hyakujo must have been in a great sadness seeing these people. I myself have talked to millions of people around the world. I used to talk to crowds of fifty thousand people or one hundred thousand people, and I knew that everything was going beyond their heads; they were just sitting there. To get out of the ocean of one thousand people... one hundred thousand people, they would be beaten: "You are disturbing. Sit down." I used to say to people "If anybody stands up just pull him down." And people always enjoy such things...! So they always waited for somebody to get up, then it was a virtue to pull him down, hit him one or two slaps  --  there was no other way.
These people loved me, not because they understood what I was saying, but just because of the way I was saying it. They loved my presence but they were not seekers. They had just taken an opportunity.
Soon I became tired. It was utterly useless because they were listening with one ear, and from the other ear it was going out  --  that was the men! Women listen with both the ears, and everything goes out from their mouth. Just a little difference! Have you ever seen two women sitting silently together?
The world is so full of gossiping, and you are talking about meditation. It is so juicy to gossip about what is happening in the neighborhood. As far as meditation goes, there is enough time in old age, or even after death. Silently lying down in your grave you can meditate as much as you want. But right now there is so much happening all around  --  somebody's wife has escaped, somebody's husband is cheating his wife....
Seeing the situation, that it is almost futile to talk to the crowd, I started gathering a few people. The only way was to drop speaking to the crowds. I would go to a mountain and I would inform people that whoever wanted to come to the mountain for ten days, or seven days, could come and be with me. Naturally, if somebody takes ten days out of his work, he has some interest, it cannot just be curiosity. If he leaves his wife and children and job for ten days, at least he shows a sign that he is not only curious but he really wants to know. That's how the meditation camps began.
But soon I found that meditation camps began creating trouble for me. In Rajasthan, in their assembly, they decided that I should not be allowed into Rajasthan. I had been going to Mount Abu which is in Rajasthan. In Gujarat, at that time, Morarji Desai was the chief minister. He himself proposed to the assembly that my coming to Gujarat should be prohibited. I used to go to Bhavanagar, to Rajkot, to Jamnagar, to Dwarka  --  and there were a few very beautiful places for camps  --  Nargol... miles and miles of huge saru trees. The sun never reaches underneath them because on top they are so full of leaves, branches, and they grow very close. And by the side of the sea you can hear the sound of the sea waves and listen  --  sitting, not together, but scattered in the forest.
So it became a trouble that my camps should be stopped everywhere. Now, my camps were not doing any harm to anybody. And in my camps only people were coming who wanted to come. Seeing this happening throughout the world, I have come to the conclusion there is no democracy anywhere.
Everywhere there is talk about democracy, freedom of speech, but it is all talk. The moment you find a man who has something to say, you immediately start stopping him. Yes, there is freedom of gossiping but there is no freedom to say the truth. You are free to lie as much as you can. Nobody will prevent you, no government will ever bother about you, but if you start talking about truth... And even more dangerous is to give people a certain direction so they can move into their own realization. This is very dangerous to all the vested interests.
I had to remain in Poona and have dropped going anywhere  --  whoever wants to come here can come. This is my way of finding out the authentic seekers who are not interested in mental gymnastics, but are really dying to know what their life springs are  --  from where they are coming, to where they are going, what is their reality. They don't want any verbal answer; they want an experience.
Hyakujo must have been very sad. I can say it out of my own experience. Thirty years simply wasted, because out of those crowds which I talked to around the country, rarely does anybody come here. Naturally, they have not heard me, they have not felt me, they have not seen that something absolutely important is possible even in their life. Just a little sense of direction has to be given to them.
Those who have been coming here in thousands, from all over the world, are a different category of people. They don't belong to the crowds. They are seekers and searchers, and they are ready to risk their reputation. People are afraid to come here just to save their reputation. To be even associated with me, and they lose their social status. I am a dangerous man. They also become part of the great dangerousness. Nobody knows what the danger is.
Somebody once in a while dares to come in and is shocked why he has missed for so many years. He may even be living in Poona, he may be passing the gate every day, but just to be associated is dangerous because these people in the Buddha Auditorium don't belong to any religion, don't belong to any nation, don't belong to any stupid ideas of inequality. Here nobody is a man or a woman, nobody is rich or poor. Everybody is in the same boat making every effort to reach to the other shore.
And the other shore is not far away. It needs only a little meditativeness, a little silence. We are touching the other shore every night. It has to be touched many times before you become acquainted with the new space, the new world. Going to the other shore is not just going to the other shore, you will have to leave all that you are on this shore. Only the essential, vital life principle will go to the other shore. Slowly slowly one learns, and slowly slowly one gathers the eyes to see the beauty of the other shore  --  the tremendous splendor of which we are completely blind. It is so close that it makes me sad. It has always made the people who have reached the other shore very sad  --  sad about the people who don't even think of the other shore. Even in their dreams they are dreaming stupid things.

A haiku by Basho:
THE PASSING DAYS AND MONTHS
ARE ETERNAL TRAVELERS IN TIME.

"The passing days and months are eternal travelers in time."
Why did he write this haiku? Anybody who knows nothing of Zen will not be able to find any meaning in it, but for one who knows the context, the context is the witness.
This haiku is not saying just anything about the witness, but in fact it is saying everything about the witness. It is just like a mirror. Months and days and years are eternal travelers. They go on passing before us, but we are always here and now. We are not traveling. Our whole existence is here and now, always. It does not matter where your body is.
The haiku has meaning only for a meditator. Everything passes on. It is a caravan of stars, of days, of months, of years, of seasons, but you, you simply remain here, silently watching the whole procession.
This center that never moves is the center, not only of you, but of the whole existence. The whole existence is moving on this center. Knowing this, you settle. You have found your whole, you relax. All desires disappear, all ambitions disappear. There is nowhere to go and there is nothing to be achieved. Everything is as it should be.

In the moment when you experience this  --  that everything is as it should be  --  you become a buddha. This is what we call enlightenment.


 

Next: Chapter 8: What words cannot say..., Question 1

 


Energy Enhancement             Enlightened Texts             Zen             Hyakujo

 

 

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