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MA TZU: THE EMPTY MIRROR

Chapter 8: This moment

 

Energy Enhancement             Enlightened Texts             Zen             The Empty Mirror

 

OUR BELOVED MASTER,
A MONK ONCE DREW FOUR LINES IN FRONT OF MA TZU. THE TOP LINE WAS LONG AND THE REMAINING THREE WERE SHORT. HE THEN DEMANDED OF THE MASTER, "BESIDES SAYING THAT ONE LINE IS LONG AND THE OTHER THREE ARE SHORT, WHAT ELSE COULD YOU SAY?"
MA TZU DREW ONE LINE ON THE GROUND AND SAID, "THIS COULD BE CALLED EITHER LONG OR SHORT. THAT IS MY ANSWER."
ON ANOTHER OCCASION, A MONK SAID TO MA TZU, "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF BODHIDHARMA'S COMING FROM THE WEST?"
MA TZU REPLIED, "AT THIS MOMENT, WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY `MEANING'?"
AGAIN THE MONK ASKED THE QUESTION, AND MA TZU STRUCK HIM, SAYING, "IF I DIDN'T STRIKE YOU, PEOPLE WOULD LAUGH AT ME."
E OF ROKUTAN ASKED MA TZU THE SAME QUESTION ABOUT BODHIDHARMA'S COMING FROM THE WEST.
MA TZU SAID, "LOWER YOUR VOICE AND COME A LITTLE NEARER!"
E WENT NEARER. MA TZU STRUCK HIM ONCE, AND SAID, "SIX EARS DO NOT HAVE THE SAME PLAN. COME ANOTHER DAY."
LATER, E WENT TO THE HALL AND SAID, "I IMPLORE YOU TO TELL ME!"
MA TZU SAID TO HIM, "GO AWAY FOR A TIME AND COME TO THE HALL AGAIN WHEN YOU HAVE A CHANCE, AND I'LL PUBLICLY CONFIRM IT."
E THEREUPON WAS ENLIGHTENED. HE SAID, "I THANK EVERYBODY FOR THEIR CONFIRMATION," AND MARCHED ROUND THE HALL ONCE, AND WENT OFF.
ON A LATER OCCASION, ANOTHER MONK SAID TO MA TZU, "PLEASE TRANSCEND THE FOUR SAYINGS AND REFRAIN FROM THE HUNDRED NEGATIONS, AND TELL ME THE MEANING OF BODHIDHARMA'S COMING FROM THE WEST."
MA TZU SAID, "TODAY I'M TIRED AND I CAN'T TELL YOU. GO AND ASK CHIZO."
THE MONK WENT AND ASKED CHIZO, WHO SAID, "WHY DON'T YOU ASK THE MASTER?"
"HE TOLD ME TO COME AND ASK YOU," SAID THE MONK.
"I'VE GOT AN AWFUL HEADACHE TODAY," SAID CHIZO, "SO I CAN'T TELL YOU; GO AND ASK HYAKUJO."
THE MONK THEN WENT TO HYAKUJO, WHO SAID, "WELL, AS TO THAT, I MYSELF REALLY DON'T KNOW."
THE MONK REPORTED ALL THIS TO MA TZU, WHO SAID, "HYAKUJO'S CAP IS BLACK; CHIZO'S CAP IS WHITE."

Maneesha, before I discuss Ma Tzu and his statements, I have to inaugurate another god to Avirbhava's Museum of Gods. This is a very important god. I will tell you about the god before Avirbhava brings it in front of you.
The name of the god is horse. It has been worshipped around the world for centuries. Even today there are places where the horse is worshipped as a god.
"The horse or mare is one of the forms of the corn spirit in Europe.
"In Ancient Greece, Artemis and Aphrodite were associated with the horse, and Cronus is said to have taken the form of a horse.
"In Gaul, there was a horse goddess called Epona and a horse god called Rudiobus.
"The goddess mares, Medb of Tara and Macha of Ulster, were thought to have powers of the dead.
"Horse worship also existed in Persia, where white horses were regarded as holy. In the Teutonic regions they were kept in holy enclosures.
"Here, in India, in earlier times, horses were sanctified, and the cult exists still today. Koda Pen is the horse god of the Gonds."
In ancient India horses were not only worshipped, they were also sacrificed to please God. It was not only horses who were sacrificed; cows were killed, even man was killed as a sacrifice. For cows, the ritual was called gomedh -- go means cow. For horses, the ritual was called ashvamedh. Ashva means horse, medh means killing. For man the ritual was called naramedh. Nar means man and medh means killing.
And these are the people who go on making a great fuss about stopping cow slaughter. They have slaughtered even man in the name of God. They themselves have slaughtered cows, horses, in the name of God. Sacrificing a living man in the name of God is very symbolic. To me it has more significance than just an ordinary sacrifice. The whole of humanity has been sacrificed by all the religions in the name of God.
You are living a crippled life because of the religions. They have not killed you, but they have not left you alive either. They have crippled you. They have cut you into parts. Certain parts in you have to be removed. Certain parts in you are worshipped, certain parts are condemned. Your wholeness is not accepted by any religion in the world. These religions are thought to be very intelligent, and they are worshipping animals of all kinds!
The first Hindu incarnation of God is the fish. Of course in Bengal, fish is eaten as something holy; rice and fish are their basic foods. The whole of Bengal stinks of fish. Every house has beautiful trees, even the poorest, and a beautiful pond in which they grow and cultivate fish. The scene is beautiful, very green. Nowhere is it so green as in Bengal, and every house has a pond, a big pond surrounded by big trees. You can know the riches of the family by the size of their pond. The richer families have vast ponds, and costly fishes are eaten in the name of God.
It is so easy to kill anything in the name of God. The name of God is a very protective shelter.
You will be surprised to know that when the Britishers came to India, they first captured Bengal, and Calcutta was their capital. Their first Indian servants, from the lowest to the highest, were all Bengalis. And because they were all stinking of fish, they started calling them "Babu." Babu is a Persian word which means a man who stinks. But because they were government servants, on high posts, "Babu" became very respectable. Now to call somebody Babu is very respectful, honorable.
The first president of India, Doctor Rajendra Prasad, was always called Babu Rajendra Prasad. And even that president had no idea that Babu is a dirty word. But people have forgotten the connotation. Bu means smell, and ba means really bad smell.
In Hinduism not only the fish was an incarnation of God. There was the tortoise, there was the pig, there was the lion, and a strange lion -- half lion, half man -- narasinha; the upper part of the body is of the lion, and the lower part of the body is of man. And people have worshipped them. One just wonders whether humanity is mad. Something is certainly insane.
And the last incarnation of God which is going to come is going to be a white horse. His name will be Kalki. And that white horse will save the virtuous and will destroy the sinners and will change the whole course of human history -- a horse!
And all these idiots who believe in these things will be sitting by the side watching. The tenth incarnation of God is called Kalki. He is to come to judge the world at the end of this yuga, the fourth and last cycle of one million, eight hundred thousand years in the Hindu concept of the world. He will destroy the wicked, reward the good, and enable Vishnu, the Hindu God, to create a new world.
In Buddhism, the horse represents the indestructible, the hidden nature of things. The winged or cosmic horse, called "Cloud," is a form of Avalokiteshvara. It is an incarnation of Gautam Buddha.
I am allowing these animal gods in this campus to make you aware of your past. And it is not passed completely, it is still hidden in your mind.
In Varanasi... it is a strange place, it is the ancientmost city in the world. Because of its being so ancient its streets are very small, because in those days there was no need for buses and trucks and cars to move. Even a rickshaw hardly manages to move through the streets.
It is thought to be a great virtue to take an ox and leave it in the city of Varanasi. The city of Varanasi is thought to be the city of the God Vishnu, and he loves cows. So in the city of Varanasi you will find more cows than men, and you cannot remove a cow that is standing in the street. You go on honking your horn and those gods are not going to listen to such ordinary human beings. Go on honking... they will just stand there without bothering.
You have to get down and push them to the side. You cannot hit them otherwise you will be killed. It will be hurting the Hindu religious feelings. They enter into shops, into vegetable shops, and they start eating. You cannot stop them. They are no ordinary people, they are VVIPs!
Varanasi, in the whole world...

(AT THIS MOMENT RIPPLES OF LAUGHTER SPREAD THROUGH THE ASSEMBLY AS A WHITE HORSE ENTERS THE AUDITORIUM THROUGH THE DOOR TO THE LEFT OF THE PODIUM, GALLOPS AROUND IT AND DISAPPEARS THROUGH THE DOOR ON THE RIGHT.)

So, Avirbhava, you can come back, your horse is introduced. Come back to your seat.

(GREAT APPLAUSE FROM THE AUDIENCE.)

Now, Maneesha's statements about Ma Tzu and his work:
MA TZU WAS ONE OF THE FIRST MASTERS TO USE A SPECIFICALLY ZEN TECHNIQUE IN TEACHING; THAT IS, THROUGH LIVING, NOT PHILOSOPHICAL IDEAS. BY INDICATING THE ABSOLUTE IN THE RELATIVE -- A RELATIVE WITHOUT RELIGIOUS DOGMA, ROMANCE, SYMBOLISM, OR INTELLECTUALISM, BUT WITH A DEEP SENSE OF THE EXISTENTIAL VALUE OF A THING -- MA TZU BROUGHT ZEN INTO THE REALM OF ORDINARY, DAY-TO-DAY LIVING.
His contribution to Zen is immense. He brought it down from the heights to where you are. About Ma Tzu it can be said, just as it is said about Mohammed... Mohammed is reported to have said that if the thirsty will not come to the well, the well is going to go to the thirsty.
To go to the heights of buddhas is really an arduous thing. They shine forth like a full moon in the sky, and a tremendous longing arises in you to reach to the same heights. But there is a great fear of insecurity, of danger, of those mountainous regions where you will be alone. Many who want to reach to those heights think twice before they take their first step.
Ma Tzu saw this and he introduced something which was never known before. He came down from the mountains to the marketplace. He said, "The marketplace cannot change me, so why avoid it? I am going to change the marketplace. Sitting on my heights, I will not be able to change thousands of people. And if when it is possible I go to the people themselves, just as ordinary as they are, communication will be easier."
Hence he dropped all philosophical teachings. He brought new devices, more in tune with the earth, not in tune with the sky, more in tune with the ordinary human activities. Once he has got hold of you, he will take you to the heights. But the first question is to take hold of you.
He is the first master in the history of Zen who has shown such compassion. He also introduced beating for the first time. That too is part of his compassion. His beating has to be understood because it will come again and again. He is beating you to wake you up. There is no need to go anywhere to find the buddha. The buddha is fast asleep within you. He just needs a little awakening. The beating was out of pure love and compassion.
It is very difficult for other religions in the world to understand: "What kind of teaching is this? Teach about God, teach about heaven and hell and virtues and ten commandments." To them it will look... it does look almost crazy.
But Ma Tzu helped far more people to become enlightened than any other master. The end result shows that his devices worked.
A MONK ONCE DREW FOUR LINES IN FRONT OF MA TZU. THE TOP LINE WAS LONG AND THE REMAINING THREE WERE SHORT. HE THEN DEMANDED OF THE MASTER, "BESIDES SAYING THAT ONE LINE IS LONG AND THE OTHER THREE ARE SHORT, WHAT ELSE COULD YOU SAY?"
MA TZU DREW ONE LINE ON THE GROUND AND SAID, "THIS COULD BE CALLED EITHER LONG OR SHORT. THAT IS MY ANSWER."
It reminds me of an incident in a court of a great Indian emperor, Akbar. One day he came into the court and drew a line on the wall and told all the members of his court... and he had collected the most wise people from all parts of the country into his court; it must have been the richest court in the world as far as wisdom is concerned. He had all the great artists, musicians, dancers -- anybody who was at the top was invited to be part of his court.
He asked the court members, "Can you make this line smaller without touching it?" It looks like a Zen koan. How can you make it smaller without touching it? You will have to touch it, only then you can make it smaller. That seems to be obvious.
But one man laughed. He was the court joker, Birbal. Every court in the ancient days used to have a court joker, just to keep the court playful, nonserious. There were serious problems, but the joker would always keep it cool; he would cut a joke, and all the heat would disappear, and people would come to their senses. Birbal perhaps is one of the most well known men, who had an immense sense of humor; but he was also a wise man. He stood up and he went to the wall and drew a bigger line above the small line that Akbar had drawn. And he said, "I have made it small without touching it" -- because small, or long, or short, are all relative terms.
In itself you can draw a line... that's what Ma Tzu is doing, drawing a line. And he says, "You can call it either long or short." It is a question of relativity. If you are comparing it with a longer line, it is short; if you are comparing it with a shorter line, it is long. In itself it is just what it is. Relativity is a comparison with something else.
Why Ma Tzu did it has to be understood. And particularly now that Albert Einstein has introduced the theory of relativity in the scientific sphere, it has become more important to understand Ma Tzu's meaning. He is saying, "Everyone is just himself, neither great nor small -- because that greatness or smallness comes from relativity -- neither beautiful nor ugly. Everyone is simply just himself."
You can bring a taller man by his side and he becomes smaller, but he remains the same. Only relatively, conceptually, intellectually, can you see that he is smaller, but he has not changed even an inch. You can bring a pygmy by his side and suddenly he has become taller, and he has not changed a bit. What he is saying is that relativity is a dangerous concept to be applied to human beings.
It is relativity that makes some people big, great, famous, celebrities. Some people live in obscurity, some people are just nobodies. This is relativity; otherwise everybody is just himself, it does not make any difference. There is no question of inequality, everybody is unique. The person who is nobody is happy in his nobodiness. But this concept of relativity drives people mad. Everybody is trying to climb higher on the ladder, to become somebody special. And even the most special people are hankering for so many things which they are missing.
For example, Napoleon was one of the world conquerors. But he was suffering from a great inferiority complex because of his height -- he was only five feet five inches tall. Even his bodyguards were over six feet and he felt very much embarrassed -- on both sides bodyguards, and bodyguards are chosen particularly to be strong, tall. He looked just like a small child in comparison to his own bodyguards, and this was very embarrassing.
One day he was trying to fix a picture on the wall, but his reach was just a little bit short, he could not reach the picture. His bodyguard said, "Your honor, you need not bother about it. I am higher than you, I can do it without any difficulty."
Napoleon said, "I will shoot you. Change your word `higher'. You are simply taller than me, not higher."
The poor bodyguard could not see why he had become so angry. He had touched the very soft spot in his unconscious. Higher? -- nobody is higher. At the most you can say, physiologically, that you are taller. But Napoleon suffered immensely. Every time he saw a taller man, he was in immense misery.
You cannot have all the things in the world. There will be poets, there will be musicians, whose very touch is golden. There will be wrestlers whose bodies are almost a work of art. You cannot have all these things. Relatively, everybody is inferior in comparison to somebody else. You can find out to whom you are inferior, and you will find so many people to whom you are inferior. Somebody is a great flutist and you don't know which side of the flute to put in your mouth. Somebody is a great mathematician... miraculous mathematicians have happened.
In India, just in this century, there were two people; one was Shankaran, a rickshaw wallah in Madras. Just by chance a professor in the Madras university took his rickshaw and on the way the rickshaw wallah asked him, "What do you teach in the university?"
He was an Englishman. He said, "I am a professor of mathematics."
The rickshaw wallah said, "Mathematics? That is my special subject. You just tell me any number, multiplied by any other number, and before you have ended your question I will answer it." And he did it.
The professor could not believe his own eyes and ears. The number that he had given to be multiplied by another number would have taken the greatest mathematician at least three minutes. Without going through the whole process, he had simply answered. And the professor had to work it out, whether his answer was right or wrong -- and it was right.
He took him to the university. Shankaran convinced all the professors that he had an intuitive grasp. Asked how he managed it, he said he did not know. "Just as you ask, a number appears on the screen of my mind, and I simply repeat that number. I don't know any process, I am not educated."
The professor took him around the world as a show of intuitive mathematics -- to Oxford, to Cambridge -- and everywhere he was a celebrity. An uneducated rickshaw wallah -- and great mathematicians like Whitehead, Bertrand Russell, they simply could not believe it.
Bertrand Russell has written the greatest book on mathematics. Just to explain two plus two is four, he has taken two hundred and forty pages. And this man -- you give him any number to multiply or any kind of question, and he immediately writes the answer on the board. He goes through no process.
And then there is another woman, her name is Shakuntala, and I think she is still alive -- and strangely from the same place, Madras. She has been around the world showing her intuitive capacity for mathematics.
Even great mathematicians have felt childish next to these people; they are not educated, they know nothing of mathematics, but they can make the greatest mathematicians feel inferior.
If you are going to compare, if you are going to think around, you will find thousands of people who will make you inferior. And you cannot do anything about it. You cannot be the greatest dancer, you cannot be the greatest mathematician, you cannot be the greatest poet, you cannot be the greatest painter; you cannot have all the greatness in the world at the same time.
The very idea of thinking in relativity about human beings is absurd. You are just yourself. Just be authentically yourself, without any comparison. No inferiority arises; no superiority arises. You are simply relaxed as you are. And whatever you are doing, you do your best, with joy and creativity.
Ma Tzu's answer... he DREW ONE LINE ON THE GROUND AND SAID, "THIS COULD BE CALLED EITHER LONG OR SHORT. THAT IS MY ANSWER."
It depends with what you are comparing it. But why compare in the first place?
Relativity is perfectly good in scientific fields. It is absolutely wrong in the world of humanity. Human beings are not mathematical digits; human beings are unique. Everyone -- however he is, whatever he is -- has just to bring his potentiality to its totality, its profundity, to clean it and bring it to blossom. It does not matter whether it is a wildflower or a roseflower. What matters is flowering, bringing your potentiality to its uttermost height.
And that will bring you joy and peace, and a rest, a relaxation with the universe. You will be in tune, and there will be no turmoil in your mind -- how to become this, how to become that. How to be the richest person, how to be the most famous -- all that is garbage; and it is driving thousands of people mad, unnecessarily mad.
They could be the most beautiful people if they were not thinking in terms of relativity. If they were satisfied with themselves and their potential, and they were working to bring their potential to its uttermost height, without any comparison to anyone -- this is the only way a man can be psychologically healthy.

ON ANOTHER OCCASION, A MONK SAID TO MA TZU, "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF BODHIDHARMA'S COMING FROM THE WEST?"
This is a traditional question in Zen, asked thousands of times, asked to hundreds of different masters by thousands of disciples; and every time a different answer.
Ma Tzu is not going to give any philosophical answer.
The philosophically oriented masters can give much meaning to Bodhidharma's coming from India to China -- remember that in China, India is the West.
Bodhidharma brought Gautam Buddha's message, and he transformed the whole of China into a great love affair with Buddha. He did not create an organized religion, he simply spread the fragrance of Buddhism. No organized church, but everybody is allowed to drink from the well of Buddha, and quench his thirst. No priest exists in Buddhism -- there is no need of the priest. He is a hindrance, not a bridge. You can be a buddha yourself, just by going within yourself. No priest is needed for that.
China was so happy to hear the message, "You are a buddha; you just don't understand your interiority, your subjectivity."
So much can be said about "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF BODHIDHARMA'S COMING FROM THE WEST?"
But MA TZU REPLIED, "AT THIS MOMENT, WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY `MEANING'?"
Ma Tzu was a strange master with strange methods. Rather than answering the question, he turns the question into another question. He changes the whole thing.
He asks, "AT THIS MOMENT, WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY `MEANING'?"
AGAIN THE MONK ASKED THE QUESTION, AND MA TZU STRUCK HIM, SAYING, "IF I DIDN'T STRIKE YOU, PEOPLE WOULD LAUGH AT ME."
A strange anecdote, but Ma Tzu is right. He is saying, "The whole meaning of Gautam Buddha and his message is you. Bodhidharma came here to wake you up. Rather than philosophizing about it, I will do exactly the same as Bodhidharma did.
AT THIS MOMENT, WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY `MEANING'?"
That comes as a shock, because the monk was not thinking that somebody would ask this question.
AGAIN THE MONK ASKED THE QUESTION, AND MA TZU STRUCK HIM, SAYING, "IF I DIDN'T STRIKE YOU, PEOPLE WOULD LAUGH AT ME -- because you are the meaning, and you are asking it. You are the buddha, and you are asking where the buddha is. If I don't strike you, for centuries people will laugh about me."

E OF ROKUTAN ASKED MA TZU THE SAME QUESTION ABOUT BODHIDHARMA'S COMING FROM THE WEST.
MA TZU SAID, "LOWER YOUR VOICE AND COME A LITTLE NEARER!"
E WENT NEARER. MA TZU STRUCK HIM ONCE, AND SAID, "SIX EARS DO NOT HAVE THE SAME PLAN. COME ANOTHER DAY."
The man could not understand. He is asking a traditionally simple question, "What was the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming to China?" And Ma Tzu is answering it in two ways: first, "Lower your voice!"
The man must have asked as if the answer is not possible. The man must have asked with a great ego, expecting that Ma Tzu is going to accept defeat.
Saying to him, "Lower your voice!" simply means, "Be quiet, be silent, be humble, because in your humbleness you will find the answer; in your silence you will find the meaning."
And, "Come a little nearer!" The man did not understand the meaning of coming a little nearer. He is saying, "Be a little more intimate with me, come a little closer to my heart, be a little more open. Don't just stand there closed, and with a great ego. Be humble and come closer."
But he did not understand the meaning either of lowering the voice, or of coming a little nearer. He went nearer -- physically.
MA TZU STRUCK HIM ONCE, AND SAID, "SIX EARS DO NOT HAVE THE SAME PLAN. COME ANOTHER DAY -- you have not understood today, but who knows? -- COME ANOTHER DAY. It is enough for today that I have given you a good hit. Think over it."
And "SIX EARS DO NOT HAVE THE SAME PLAN."
Here you are thousands of ears, but behind your ears everybody has a different plan. So come another day and drop your plan. If you come with a prejudice, with an answer already within you, you cannot understand me.
Here we don't work philosophically. This is not the place for intellectuals. For that you can go anywhere, to any monastery where scriptures are thought to lead you to your inner nature. But if you want to hear the answer from me, come another day. For today it is enough.
LATER, E WENT TO THE HALL AND SAID, "I IMPLORE YOU TO TELL ME!"
MA TZU SAID TO HIM, "GO AWAY FOR A TIME AND COME TO THE HALL AGAIN WHEN YOU HAVE A CHANCE, AND I'LL PUBLICLY CONFIRM IT."
E THEREUPON WAS ENLIGHTENED. HE SAID, "I THANK EVERYBODY FOR THEIR CONFIRMATION," AND MARCHED ROUND THE HALL ONCE, AND WENT OFF.
Everything around Ma Tzu is very mysterious. The man did not go, he followed Ma Tzu to the assembly hall. And again in the assembly hall he repeated it, but now, just within a few moments, he was a different person. He said, "I IMPLORE YOU TO TELL ME!"
That old egoist of a few moments before is no longer there. The voice has become one of imploring, of humbleness.
MA TZU SAID TO HIM, "GO AWAY FOR A TIME AND COME TO THE HALL AGAIN WHEN YOU HAVE A CHANCE, AND I WILL PUBLICLY CONFIRM IT."
He has not given the answer, but he has given something else. He is asking him to go away, "and come here only when you have a chance of getting the answer. That means when you have meditated over it, dropped all your preconceptions, when you don't have any idea what is the answer. That will be your chance. Then you can come, AND I WILL PUBLICLY CONFIRM IT."
Because he has asked with humbleness, the man must have been of great intelligence. Time does not make any sense; why not do it now? So he dropped -- that is not written in the anecdote, that cannot be written, it is something that is happening within him -- he dropped all his notions. And as he dropped all his notions, there was no need for any answer for him.
It is a strange situation. When the question disappears, there is no need for the answer either. That is all mental gymnastics. Seeing the truth, that the master is not going to get involved in intellectual conversation... Perhaps there is no way to intellectually explain the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming to the West. It is something that can be transmitted only when you are utterly silent and without any questions. Then a flame, a fire can jump from the master's heart. And that actually happened.
E THEREUPON WAS ENLIGHTENED. HE SAID, "I THANK EVERYBODY FOR THEIR CONFIRMATION," AND MARCHED ROUND THE HALL ONCE, which is a sign of reverence, AND WENT OFF.
ON A LATER OCCASION, ANOTHER MONK SAID TO MA TZU, "PLEASE TRANSCEND THE FOUR SAYINGS AND REFRAIN FROM THE HUNDRED NEGATIONS, AND TELL ME THE MEANING OF BODHIDHARMA'S COMING FROM THE WEST."
MA TZU SAID, "TODAY I'M TIRED AND I CAN'T TELL YOU. GO AND ASK CHIZO."
Chizo was one of his nearest disciples.
THE MONK WENT AND ASKED CHIZO, WHO SAID, "WHY DON'T YOU ASK THE MASTER?"
"HE TOLD ME TO COME AND ASK YOU," SAID THE MONK.
"I'VE GOT AN AWFUL HEADACHE TODAY," SAID CHIZO, "SO I CAN'T TELL YOU; GO AND ASK HYAKUJO." Hyakujo was the second most intimate disciple of Ma Tzu.
THE MONK THEN WENT TO HYAKUJO, WHO SAID, "WELL, AS TO THAT, I MYSELF REALLY DON'T KNOW."
THE MONK REPORTED ALL THIS TO MA TZU, WHO SAID, "HYAKUJO'S CAP IS BLACK; CHIZO'S CAP IS WHITE."
Now the question is completely forgotten. Nobody has answered it. On the contrary, Hyakujo has accepted that he himself does not know what the answer is.
The white cap and the black cap refer to an old story of two robbers. One of the robbers wore a white cap, while the other wore a black cap. As the story goes, the one with the black cap was more ruthless and radical than the one with the white. So it was that Hyakujo was said to be more radical than Chizo in his methods of dealing with young monks.
Ma Tzu said that he was very tired. "TODAY I AM TIRED AND I CAN'T TELL YOU." The fact is, whether you are tired or not, you can't tell it. The meaning of Bodhidharma is an experience, it is not an explanation. But to be humble, Ma Tzu did not say, "Nothing can be said about it." On the contrary, he took the whole responsibility on himself. "TODAY I'M TIRED AND I CAN'T TELL YOU. GO AND ASK CHIZO."
He took this opportunity also to check upon Chizo and Hyakujo. He knew that Chizo would not be able to answer, neither would Hyakujo. This question in Zen is one of those unanswerable things which can only be experienced. There is no way to bring them to words. The man went to Chizo, who said, "Why don't you ask the master? Why bother me? I am just a disciple."
But the monk said, "HE TOLD ME TO COME AND ASK YOU...."
"I'VE GOT AN AWFUL HEADACHE TODAY," SAID CHIZO, "SO I CAN'T TELL YOU; GO AND ASK HYAKUJO."
THE MONK THEN WENT TO HYAKUJO, WHO SAID, "WELL, AS TO THAT, I MYSELF REALLY DON'T KNOW."
THE MONK REPORTED ALL THIS TO MA TZU, WHO SAID, "HYAKUJO'S CAP IS BLACK; CHIZO'S CAP IS WHITE."
That is referring to the story of those two robbers. The robber who used to use the black cap was a radical revolutionary. And Ma Tzu says that Hyakujo's cap is black. It is a tremendous statement to say that you don't know, it needs guts to accept your ignorance. Chizo's cap is white. He is trying to hide -- as if he knows, but because he has a great headache, today he cannot say it.
Ma Tzu worked in strange ways. Now he has worked with a single question on three persons: on the monk who has brought the question, on Chizo, who is trying to hide his ignorance, on Hyakujo, who comes out with his radical answer, "I don't know."
"I don't know" is the greatest answer in the whole experience of humanity.
Socrates said, "I don't know," at the very last moment of his life. His whole life he was teaching the truth, and at the last moment he said, "I don't know." At the last moment he becomes really humble, and he sees the greatness of truth and its miraculousness, its inexpressibility -- and that what he had been doing was just playing with words all his life. Now, no more; he is going to die within a few minutes. The poison is being prepared. At least the world should know that Socrates, before dying, uttered his honest answer, "I don't know. I don't know anything about anything. I am just as innocent and ignorant as a child."
But this is the highest peak of wisdom. When you don't know, the mind is empty, you have arrived at the empty heart. When you know, the mind is full. Knowledge is the greatest barrier in reaching to the universal, to the immortal, to the eternal truth. Knowledge is the greatest barrier, which is preventing you from recognizing your buddha-nature.
Chizo was closer to Ma Tzu but he did not get the succession. Hyakujo was chosen to be the successor. When Ma Tzu died... before dying he declared Hyakujo. Nobody was expecting that; everybody knew that Chizo would be the successor. But Hyakujo was chosen for the simple reason that he had the guts to express his ignorance, his innocence.
The statement "I don't know," is the greatest statement anybody can make. It makes your heart completely empty. Here in our meditations we are doing exactly this. My whole effort is to take away all your knowledge, because it is all borrowed, and unnecessarily you are carrying it. It does not allow your heart to be empty, and only an empty heart is capable of falling in tune with the universal heart. From that point life becomes a celebration.
Soseki wrote,
THIS PIECE OF WILD LAND
HAS NO BOUNDARIES --
NORTH, SOUTH, EAST OR WEST.
IT IS HARD TO SEE EVEN THE TREE
IN THE MIDDLE OF IT.
TURNING YOUR HEAD
YOU CAN LOOK BEYOND EACH DIRECTION.
FOR THE FIRST TIME YOU KNOW THAT YOUR EYES
HAVE BEEN DECEIVING YOU.

When you go inwards there is no east, no west, no south, no north; just pure space, in all directions the same. You have gone to your very roots, and now you know for the first time that all these many lives your eyes have been deceiving you because they were keeping you attached to the objects of the outside. They were not allowing you to enter into yourself. You were kept engaged in something outside -- money, knowledge, respectability.
There are thousands of ways to keep you engaged so that you don't turn inwards. Life is being managed by the society in such a way that from the very beginning you are forced to remain engaged. It becomes a habit. If you don't have anything to do, you find something to do. I know people... on Sundays they are in the most uncomfortable position -- nothing to do! They may open an old grandfather clock to repair it -- it was working already. Or they may go to the car and open the bonnet, and the car is functioning perfectly well -- but it is something to do. They may read the same newspaper again.
I used to live with a relative for a few days. He was retired and he used to read the same newspaper from the morning till the night. And I would say, "How many times do you read your newspaper?"
He said, "It is not a question of reading. The question is that I have nothing to do. My wife is dead. She used to keep me engaged -- `Bring this, bring that' -- and she used to nag me. Now I miss her so much. At that time I used to think that it would be good if she died because she was a pain in the neck. But at least there was something to be engaged in. Now I am utterly useless."
Here you all know Maitreya who is lying in his samadhi. He used to keep all the newspapers -- old newspapers. Once I looked into his room. I could not go into his room because he used to eat garlic so much that the whole room was stinking with garlic. He has been connected with me for almost forty years. He has been a member of the parliament. He always asked me to stay with him in his house in Delhi, and I always said, "No. Until you drop your garlic there is no way. I cannot enter your house."
He said, "It is very difficult for me to drop the garlic. I can drop everything" -- and he dropped everything: he dropped his wife, he dropped his house, he dropped his membership of the parliament, he became a sannyasin -- but garlic, that he could not manage. So I never entered into his room -- he lived with me in my own house -- just from the outside of the door I would have a look at how many old papers... they were going almost to the ceiling. And I asked him, "What are you going to do with these old newspapers? Are you mad or something?"
And he would laugh and he would say, "Sometimes, when one has nothing to do, it is perfectly good to read some old newspapers. It is just an old politician's habit."
His constituency was Patna. In Patna he insisted very much that I should stay in his home. I said, "I can stay in a hotel. But even if my life is at risk, I will not enter into your house. Garlic I cannot tolerate. It is so dangerous, the very smell." When he died, I said, "My God, it is good. At least now nobody will be bringing garlic into this house!"
And I have said that now nobody should be allowed to stay in my house who is a fan of garlic -- and there are fans! This Sarjano, making all kinds of spaghetti, is a garlic fan. It is good that the government of Italy does not allow me to enter into Italy. I am so happy about it. And my sannyasins, Sarjano, Majid, and others, they go on forcing the parliament and I am much worried that someday...
For two years continuously the parliament has been discussing it. Finally they agreed to give me a three-week visa, with conditions. That was very good. I refused; I refused completely. "With conditions I cannot enter into your country. Remove all conditions, then I will consider it." So the government is still considering, and I hope that they will not allow me because I am certainly worried that the whole of Italy must be stinking of garlic. I know so many Italian sannyasins -- I keep them a little far away.


 

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