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ZEN

RINZAI: MASTER OF THE IRRATIONAL

Chapter 5: Relax and disappear

 

Energy Enhancement             Enlightened Texts             Zen             Rinzai

 

OUR BELOVED MASTER,
RINZAI ONCE WENT TO VISIT ONE OF UNGAN'S DISCIPLES, ANZAN. ON THAT OCCASION HE ASKED ANZAN: "WHAT IS THE WHITE COW OF THE DEWY GROUND?"
ANZAN RESPONDED BY SAYING: "MOO! MOO!"
RINZAI COMMENTED: "YOU ARE DUMB!"
ANZAN SAID, "HOW ABOUT YOU?"
RINZAI OBSERVED,
"YOU ANIMAL!"
ON ONE OCCASION RINZAI ASKED A NUN, "WELL-COME OR ILL-COME?"
THE NUN SHOUTED.
"GO ON, GO ON, SPEAK!" CRIED RINZAI, TAKING UP HIS STICK. AGAIN THE NUN SHOUTED. RINZAI HIT HER.
ON ANOTHER OCCASION RINZAI ASKED LO'PU, "UP TO NOW IT HAS BEEN THE CUSTOM FOR SOME MEN TO USE THE STICK AND OTHERS TO GIVE A SHOUT. WHICH COMES CLOSER TO THE HEART OF THE RECIPIENT?"
"NEITHER," RESPONDED LO'PU.
"WHAT does COME CLOSE?" ASKED RINZAI.
LO'PU SHOUTED. THE MASTER HIT HIM.

Maneesha, the deeper I look into Zen, the more things become crystal clear. One thing is its absolute uniqueness in the world of religions.
In comparison to Zen, all the religions look like entertainment. Formal rituals, social conditionings -- Zen goes through them like a sword cutting all the ropes that bind you. It has no ritual, it has no mantra, it has no way of sacrificing anything to anyone. The very basis of sacrifice, God himself, is missing in Zen.
Without God you cannot create rituals, sacrifices. Without God all your religions will look absolutely meaningless. If God is removed, what will become of Hinduism and Islam and Christianity? With the removal of a hypothesis the whole edifice of those religions falls completely to the ground. It is a single hypothesis, and a hypothesis is not a reality. A hypothesis is only man's projection.
It is true man wants some security, it is true that man wants some safety. He is insecure in this vast universe, too small and too alone, too helpless. And there is always death: any moment it can knock at your doors.
Out of all these insecurities, anxieties, fears, has arisen the hypothesis of God. People cling to it, because without it their lives will become such an anxiety, they will go insane. Taking God away from them, you are taking their very sanity, their very intelligence, their mind, their whole conditioning of millions of years.
According to me, unless you are able to throw away the hypothesis of God and heaven and hell, all projections, you cannot be an authentic seeker. You have to drop all that which has made the so-called religions around the world. Their base is the same; they may create much theology around the hypothesis, they may fight with each other over their theologies, but essentially they are all the same.
Their gods may have different faces, but the god is there. Their hell and heaven may have different climates, but they are there. They go on arguing about that which is imaginary, and they think that this argumentation, which they have continued for centuries, is of some importance. In fact, it is an effort to deviate man's mind: fight over the non-essentials so nobody raises the question... nobody has the time to ask about the essentials.
Zen is pure essence, unpolluted, uncorrupted by any non-essential. You cannot take away anything from Zen, because it is only a declaration of your self-nature; neither can you add anything to Zen, because anything added will be artificial.
Zen is absolutely in favor of nature. It is not against entertainment; in fact only Zen is capable of laughing, of entertainment, but its entertainment is not different from its enlightenment. The very quality of entertainment differs.
J. Krishnamurti, a man who struggled for ninety years -- his last words have some great meaning. One of my friends was present there. Krishnamurti lamented, he lamented his whole life. He lamented that "people have taken me as an entertainment. They come to listen to me...." There are people who have listened to him for fifty years continually, and still they are the same people as had come for the first time to listen to him.
Naturally it is annoying and irritating that the same people... Most of them I know, because J. Krishnamurti used to come only once a year for two or three weeks to Bombay, and slowly, slowly all his followers in Bombay became acquainted with me. They all were sad about this point: What should be done? How can we make Krishnamurti happy?
The reason was that Krishnamurti only talked, but never gave any devices in which whatever he was talking about became an experience. It was totally his fault. Whatever he was saying was absolutely right, but he was not creating the right climate, the right milieu in which it could become a seed. Of course he was very much disappointed with humanity, and that there was not a single person who had become enlightened through his teachings. His teachings have all the seeds, but he never prepared the ground.
Zen does not deny entertainment the way J. Krishnamurti condemned it in his last testament to the world. He said, "Religion is not entertainment." That's true, but enlightenment can be vast enough to include entertainment in it.
Enlightenment can be multidimensional. It can include laughter, it can include love, it can include beauty, it can include creativity. There is nothing to keep it from the world and from transforming the world into a more poetic place, a more beautiful garden. Everything can be brought to a better state of grace.
Zen does not talk about great principles, that has to be noted. It simply creates the device and leaves you to find the way out. Obviously it has been immensely successful. Not a single Zen master has ever lamented that "my disciples have not listened to me. I have been an utterly disappointed failure. Humanity has betrayed me." Not a single Zen master even mentions it once.
If something does not succeed, that only means your device was not right. You have not looked into the person and into his potential rightly. Perhaps your device was good for somebody else but not for this person.
Zen has only created devices, leaving you completely free to find the truth. And it is strange, more people have become enlightened through Zen than through any other religion of the world. The other religions are very big, and Zen is a very small stream. You can see these small things, and a master uses them in such a way that they start pointing to the moon.

RINZAI ONCE WENT TO VISIT ONE OF UNGAN'S DISCIPLES, ANZAN. ON THAT OCCASION HE ASKED ANZAN, "WHAT IS THE WHITE COW OF THE DEWY GROUND?"
It is one of the Zen koans. It does not mean anything; it simply gives you a puzzle that cannot be solved. Now, asking somebody, "WHAT IS THE WHITE COW OF THE DEWY GROUND?" -- what kind of metaphysical question is this? No religion will ask such a question.
I am reminded of a small child who used to come to visit Picasso often, and who lived nearby, in the neighborhood. He became very friendly with Picasso. He was just five or six years old, but very daring. Seeing Picasso painting continually, one day he also brought a paper and showed it to Picasso saying, "Look at my painting."
Picasso looked at his painting and he said, "My God, what is this?"
The boy said, "It is a cow eating grass."
Picasso said, "You have defeated me. Where is the cow?"
The boy said, "Don't ask stupid questions. The cow has gone home. After eating the grass, do you think the cow will remain there?"
Picasso said, "Okay, but where is the grass?"
The boy said, "You are absolutely unintelligent. When the cow has eaten the grass, how can it be there?" It was just a plain paper that he had brought.
Picasso said, "I love your intelligence. It really puzzled me when you said the cow you have painted, and I could not see any cow. I have been puzzling the whole world and you have puzzled me."
The Zen koans are puzzles without any answer. ANZAN RESPONDED BY SAYING: "MOO! MOO!" No answer is the right answer. One has to be utterly in silence; only silence can answer a Zen koan. But Anzan has used his mind and tried to figure out some way to indicate what the white cow is. He has brought the mind in.
RINZAI COMMENTED: "YOU ARE DUMB! Do you think you can deceive me by making such sounds? Can't you speak? Are you dumb?" The koan needs a response. This moo, moo won't do.
ANZAN SAID: "HOW ABOUT YOU?" He was thinking, "What could be more appropriate than this answer?" In fact, no answer is ever appropriate for a Zen koan. That has to be remembered. Don't look for any answer, just look for silence. Just be utterly silent. In your silence the master will be able to see your answer.
ANZAN SAID, "HOW ABOUT YOU? -- if you think my answer is not right, and I am dumb."
RINZAI OBSERVED, "YOU ANIMAL! Making the sound moo, moo you have proved that you are still using the animal mind."
In Zen, mind is an animal heritage, and unless you go beyond mind, you are not an authentic human being. Just your body is that of a human being, but your mind is a very long process of four million years of animals; it contains all the animals you have gone through. You are not newcomers, you are old, as old as the time life has existed on this earth, and you have passed through all the phases of animals. Your consciousness carries a tremendous past.
So when Rinzai says, "YOU ANIMAL!" he is not condemning him. He is simply stating the fact that he is still using the animal mind. Only when you are in a state of no-mind do you go beyond the animal. You go beyond your past, you open up to the universe; you are no more simply repeating your past heritage. Your past heritage is the heritage of all animals.
His saying this is not condemnatory; in Zen there is no condemnation. People may misunderstand, but he is simply saying that you are using the animal mind to figure out what the answer will be. I wanted you to go beyond the human mind, beyond the animal mind, because no-mind only is the answer to every koan, to every question, to every quest. A single answer -- no-mind. Be so silent that there is no thought at all. So it does not matter what the koan is, the answer is the same: utter silence, going beyond the animal mind.

ON ONE OCCASION RINZAI ASKED A NUN, "WELL-COME OR ILL-COME?"
THE NUN SHOUTED.
"GO ON, GO ON, SPEAK!" CRIED RINZAI, TAKING UP HIS STICK. AGAIN THE NUN SHOUTED. RINZAI HIT HER.
Now, it will look absolutely absurd to anybody who has been brought up with a rational education. What is happening here? A nun comes, Rinzai asks her, "WELL-COME OR ILL-COME?" THE NUN SHOUTED. That was not the right answer.
When a man like Rinzai asks, "WELL-COME OR ILL-COME?", he is saying that if you come with the mind, you are ill-come; if you come with no-mind, you are well-come. Only no-mind is well-come. In the world of Zen, mind is the only thing that has to be thrown out, and then you have the whole universe available. You are welcomed by the whole universe.
Just because of your mind you are in a cage. You are not accepted by the universe, you are not showered with flowers by the universe because you are a prisoner of your own thoughts in a small skull. You are a prisoner, and a prisoner cannot be welcome.
Rinzai is saying, "Are you a prisoner, or should I welcome you as a free person?" -- free from the mind.
THE NUN SHOUTED. Her shout does not show that she has understood Rinzai. This is a difficulty -- that as time passes everything becomes traditional. The shout was invented by Rinzai, but slowly, slowly it became a traditional answer: whenever you find yourself in a difficulty and you cannot answer, now you have a traditional answer. You can shout.
But the shout is not applicable everywhere. Somewhere it may be: if Rinzai had asked something which was meaningless, a good shout would have been the right answer. But what he has asked is so meaningful that you cannot respond with a shout. You have to respond with silence. You have to show your no-mind. You have to show that you are well-come.
Even though the nun shouted... "GO ON, GO ON, SPEAK!" CRIED RINZAI, TAKING UP HIS STICK. AGAIN THE NUN SHOUTED. She has just learned like a parrot.
You can learn anything like a parrot, that is the difficulty. You can learn great philosophy, you can learn theology, you can learn words of great beauty and you can repeat them without even knowing exactly their implications.
Now, in Zen this became a problem. When shouting or hitting with the stick is taken as a tradition, it loses all meaning. THE NUN SHOUTED; Rinzai did not take any note of it. He said, "GO ON, GO ON, SPEAK! Are you well-come here or ill-come?" He ignored her shouting, he gave her another chance.
But the woman seems to have been stubborn, incapable of learning. AGAIN THE NUN SHOUTED. This was too much. Rinzai took up his stick, but did not hit her because she was not worthy of a hit. She was not even able to understand a simple question. She has only learned the shouting as a ritual. She is so poor as far as consciousness is concerned, she does not deserve a hit from a man like Rinzai.
In Zen, when the master hits you, it means he is showing his love, he is showing his acceptance. By hitting you he is giving you an indication of his approval. That is a kind of certificate. Disciples long for years to be hit by the master. It is a very different world that Zen has created.
In the ordinary world, if you hit somebody you know perfectly well what will happen. But in Zen it is totally different. The master hits only when there is a person who deserves it. The hit is a very secret approval. No outsider will understand what is going on. It is not for the outsiders; it is only for the insiders, the very few who can understand.
Rinzai cried, "GO ON, GO ON, SPEAK!" But she seems to have been very stubborn. This was the time Rinzai should have hit her, but he simply cried, taking up his stick...
AGAIN THE NUN SHOUTED. Now this was too much. RINZAI HIT HER -- and this hit was not of approval, this hit was against her stubbornness.
So you should remember that in Zen everything is flexible. It has no certain, fixed meaning. In a different situation it may mean something different. He tolerated her shouting but finally he had to hit her.
RINZAI HIT HER. It is not a hit of approval, it is a hit to break down her stubbornness and to bring her to her senses. "Just shouting will not help. I am asking you, `Speak!' I am asking you a direct question: Are you well-come? Do you think you deserve to be welcomed? Then show it. Your shouting does not show it."
Three times he gave her the chance, and the stick after three times is not of approval. He hit her just to bring her to her senses. Perhaps a stick even in such circumstances may stop her thinking for a moment. Obviously it is going to.
She was thinking she was doing the right thing: it was the shouting invented by Rinzai himself. He introduced shouting in Zen. Rinzai is the founder of shouting, so she must have thought that she was doing the right thing. But she did not understand that shouting can be right in a certain situation, wrong in another situation. Here, he has not put before her any koan. His question is very simple.
He is asking, "Are you well-come here? Do you deserve, do you think you deserve?" -- because you don't waste the time of a man like Rinzai. First you have to deserve his company, and the only way to deserve the company of a buddha is silence, utter silence. Just be. If the nun had simply touched the feet of Rinzai and sat down, that would have been the right answer. But she missed.
Devices are not necessarily always successful. In life there is no such thing as a device that is always successful, because different persons give a different context. The same device may be helpful to one person, and with another the same device may completely fail.

ON ANOTHER OCCASION RINZAI ASKED LO'PU, "UP TO NOW IT HAS BEEN THE CUSTOM FOR SOME MEN TO USE THE STICK AND OTHERS TO GIVE A SHOUT."
There have been masters who simply used always the stick, and Rinzai has introduced shouting; his disciples who have become enlightened have used shouting rather than hitting. The purpose is the same. A shout is also a hit, but very subtle. Perhaps it goes deeper than a stick. The stick only touches your skin, may go as deep as your bones; but a shout may penetrate to the very being, because it is an invisible force. A stick is a material, ordinary thing; it can hit the body but it cannot hit the consciousness.
So he is asking Lo'pu, "UP TO NOW IT HAS BEEN THE CUSTOM FOR SOME MEN TO USE THE STICK AND OTHERS TO GIVE A SHOUT. WHICH COMES CLOSER TO THE HEART OF THE RECIPIENT?"
"NEITHER," RESPONDED LO'PU.
"WHAT DOES COME CLOSE?" Rinzai asked again. LO'PU SHOUTED. In his shout he is saying that shouting comes close.
THE MASTER HIT HIM. This hit is of approval, of great joy, because shouting was the invention of Rinzai himself, and certainly shouting goes deeper. So this hit is of great approval: Lo'pu, you are right.
Zen has a very flexible methodology. It does not give commandments to be followed for generations; it does not give general principles which are applicable in every situation to every person. It is more intimate and more personal.
Rinzai used shouting, but after him only his disciples who became enlightened continued. Finally it disappeared. The stick still continues, because the stick is more visible, more material, and we always tend to understand the material more easily than the immaterial. A shout is an immaterial thing.
Rinzai has given a tremendous device, but it is for very intelligent people to know the difference when the shout is of approval or of disapproval. He also used the stick. Now Lo'pu has shouted, so giving him a shout will not be right. The master hit him. He needs a more clear-cut approval that he is right.
Zen never became the religion of the majority and it will never become. It will remain always for the chosen few, for the rare ones, just because it does not console you by giving any opium, and it does not give you promises and hopes for the future life. It insists on remaining in the present. Don't move backwards or forwards, because the present moment is the only moment you ever have been in and will ever be in. Whenever it is, it is the present moment.
So the past is meaningless; there is no point in studying the past scriptures. The future is irrelevant; there is no need to bother about paradise and heaven. There are such great treatises written in such detail....
I entered a temple and they had there a map of their projection: the earth is in the middle and then underneath the earth is hell and above the earth is heaven -- and it showed exactly where in heaven God lives. I asked the priest who was showing it to me -- and it was an ancient map -- "Do you know where Timbuktu is?"
He said, "Timbuktu? Never heard of it."
I said, "You don't know where Timbuktu is? Do you know Constantinople?"
He said, "You are just making these names up."
I said, "I am not making these names up. You don't know even this earth, and you think you know heaven and you know hell? What are the grounds on which you know these things?"
He said, "I don't know. This is an old map. It is an ancient temple."
I asked him, "Does anybody else in your whole city, in your whole community know?"
He said, "I don't think so, because I am the priest, and if I don't know, nobody knows. But we believe..."
And that is where Zen departs from all religions. The moment you say, "We believe," you become undeserving of any Zen compassion. You cut yourself off from the Zen clouds which can rain and bring your potential to flowering.
Never say, "I believe." That is one of the greatest lies invented by man. If you know, say, "I know." If you don't know, say, "I don't know." Belief has no place at all in existence. What do you mean when you say, "I believe"? You are saying, "Although I don't know, I think it must be so."
But try it in ordinary life and then you will understand. Because you are using it for hypothetical things, nobody takes note of it. Tell some woman, "I believe I love you," and she will give you a good slap. Believe? -- either you love her or you don't love her, but what can it mean, "I believe..." or perhaps, "I believe that I love you"? You cannot deceive any woman. A woman is so earthly.
Now even Sardar Gurudayal Singh is laughing. He tries to deceive women, but does not succeed much. Just look at his turban -- rainbow-colored! But once in a while he succeeds. There are a few cuckoos around whom no sannyasin wants to be with. People give them the address of Sardar Gurudayal Singh -- and with cuckoos he manages perfectly well.
Just a few days before one cuckoo's letter came saying that she has become enlightened. I said, "It is good! You just go to Sardar Gurudayal Singh. That is the right place, and he is the right person to give you the recognition. Either you will make him enlightened or he will make you unenlightened. Something is bound to happen. You just go" -- and I heard that Sardar has made her unenlightened.
She is very sad that she was sent to such a man who does not take anything seriously. He laughs at her enlightenment, and his laughter has created a doubt in her, "Who knows whether I am enlightened or not? If Sardar Gurudayal Singh is laughing..."
There are always cuckoos around. They become enlightened, they become unenlightened -- ups and downs. One day they are enlightened... And you will always find such cuckoos around Sardar Gurudayal Singh. So no need to inform me. Whenever you become enlightened, just go to Sardar Gurudayal Singh!
Ikkyu wrote:
I ALMOST LOST MY MIND
BETWEEN STUDYING AND SEVERE
TRAINING.
BUT LIFE'S MOST VALUABLE THING REALLY
IS THE FISHERMEN'S SONGS.
ALONG THE HSIAO RIVER,
THERE'S SUNSET AND RAIN,
CLOUDS AND MOON,
EXCELLENCE BEYOND WORDS
SINGING NIGHT AFTER NIGHT.

Ikkyu is one of the most loved haiku poets, and you can feel why he is so much loved. He is not a dreamer, he is a very earthly man.
I ALMOST LOST MY MIND BETWEEN STUDYING AND SEVERE TRAINING. BUT LIFE'S MOST VALUABLE THING IS THE FISHERMEN'S SONGS.
When he heard the fishermen's songs near the Hsiao River... He is saying the fishermen's songs along the Hsiao River are the most valuable thing -- more valuable than the holy scriptures, because the fishermen's songs are so spontaneous, so authentic.
THERE'S SUNSET AND RAIN, CLOUDS AND MOON, EXCELLENCE BEYOND WORDS SINGING NIGHT AFTER NIGHT.
Haikus are to be visualized. Just visualize the great river Hsiao and the silent night and the fishermen singing, night after night... and after each song the silence deepens.
These poems are not poems in the ordinary sense, they are pictorial, depictive. They have color, they have form, they are almost tangible. You can hear the fishermen's songs, you can hear the waves of the Hsiao River. Night after night... and the moon and the clouds and the rain and the sunrise and the sunset... all are paintings rather than poetry.
That is the difference between ordinary poetry and haiku. Ordinary poetry is a composition of words. Haiku is a very strange phenomenon: it is a painting in words -- not in colors, but in words. It is a very alive thing.

 

 

Next: Chapter 5: Relax and disappear, Question 1

 


Energy Enhancement             Enlightened Texts             Zen             Rinzai

 

 

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