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ZEN

ZEN: THE PATH OF PARADOX

VOL. 3

Chapter 1: Now Sit Down and Listen

 

Energy Enhancement             Enlightened Texts             Zen            Paradox, Vol. 3

 

THE MASTER BANKEI'S TALKS WERE ATTENDED NOT ONLY BY ZEN STUDENTS BUT BY PERSONS OF ALL RANKS AND SECTS. HE NEVER QUOTED SUTRAS NOR INDULGED IN SCHOLASTIC DISSERTATIONS. INSTEAD, HIS WORDS WERE SPOKEN DIRECTLY FROM HIS HEART TO THE HEARTS OF HIS LISTENERS.

HIS LARGE AUDIENCES ANGERED A PRIEST OF THE NICHIREN SECT BECAUSE THE ADHERENTS HAD LEFT TO HEAR ABOUT ZEN. THE SELF-CENTERED NICHIREN PRIEST CAME TO THE TEMPLE, DETERMINED TO DEBATE WITH BANKEI.
"HEY, ZEN TEACHER!" HE CALLED OUT. "WAIT A MINUTE. WHOEVER RESPECTS YOU WILL OBEY WHAT YOU SAY, BUT A MAN LIKE MYSELF DOES NOT RESPECT YOU. CAN YOU MAKE ME OBEY YOU?"
"COME UP BESIDE ME AND I WILL SHOW YOU, " SAID BANKEI.
PROUDLY THE PRIEST PUSHED HIS WAY THROUGH THE CROWD TO THE TEACHER.
BANKEI SMILED. "COME OVER TO MY LEFT SIDE."
THE PRIEST OBEYED.
"NO," SAID BANKEI, "WE MAY TALK BETTER IF YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT SIDE. STEP OVER HERE."
THE PRIEST STEPPED PROUDLY OVER TO THE RIGHT.
"YOU SEE," OBSERVED BANKEI, "YOU ARE OBEYING ME AND I THINK YOU ARE A VERY GENTLE PERSON. NOW SIT DOWN AND LISTEN."

An ancient parable...
ONCE UPON A TIME AN ANGEL WAS GOING back to heaven after fulfilling the errand for which he had been sent to the earth. It was a dark night, no moon in the skies, not even stars. The earth was enveloped by dark clouds. But the moment the angel was just entering into those dark clouds, he saw a miracle happening just beneath him. He saw a forest full of light. He was puzzled. He had been to this part many times, he was well-acquainted with the earth. He had never seen such a thing before. And the light was no ordinary light. It had the quality of bliss, blessing in it.
Just seeing that light, the angel felt more blissful than he had ever felt before, trot even in the company of the gods, not even in heaven had he seen such a luminous phenomenon.
The light was arising out of a small mango grove and was spreading all over the forest. And it was so powerful that he could see the foliage of the trees, the flowers of the trees, and the small lake just by the side of the grove. He became intrigued. He descended back to the earth.
As he was descending he was surprised even more. There was a soundless sound permeating the whole atmosphere -- the soundless sound that is known in the East as PRANAVA, OMKAR -- as if the whole forest was chanting 'om'.
It was such a benediction. And not only that; more surprises were waiting for him. The moment he descended near the grove, he felt a fragrance absolutely unknown, unheard-of, even in heaven. This was nothing earthly. It was not even heavenly. It was beyond.
He entered the grove. He could not figure it out -- what is happening there? Another surprise: a man was just sitting there under an ancient old tree, meditating. Then things were not so difficult to understand.
So he thought, "This man has become a Buddha. This man has come home... the light, the fragrance, the sound, are coming out of this man." As he came closer to this man, more and more he was filled by his presence. The whole forest was agog -- a new vibe, a new life. He could see trees blooming out of season. And there was such silence, absolute silence. And in that absolute silence there was that soundless sound. The WHOLE forest -- the trees and the lake and the mountains -- all chanting. He fell into the feet of this man, opened his third eye -- this angel -- and tried to see what he was doing inside.
It is said that angels have the capacity to look into human minds. They can find out what thoughts are moving there. But the more he tried, the more he felt it was impossible -- there was no thought moving inside. There was utter emptiness, just nothingness. He started feeling afraid. He knows the nothingness of the sky, he knows the infinity of the sky, but this was deeper than that. It had a depth unknown to him. It was abysmal. He started feeling afraid he may get lost into it, he may not be able to return back.
But the attraction was too much. He was ready even to get lost. He tried hard, he pulled himself deeper and deeper into this silence. He ran inside this man's consciousness, but he could not find a single iota of thought. So he could not figure out what this man was doing.
He came out, turned himself into a man, bowed down, touched the feet of this man, and said, "Sir, please come out of your samadhi and enlighten me as to what is happening inside, because I don't see a single thought. Even gods are so full of thoughts! What has happened to you? You have become so utterly silent, even dead bodies are not so utterly silent! -- the old thoughts go on like old dust floating in the mind -- even if the man is dead the thoughts continue for a time. The mind goes on clicking just out of old habit. What has happened to you? You are alive!"
The man looked at the angel, didn't say a single word, but smiled. That smile was like an infection, hypnotic. And the angel felt the pull of the smile. That smile was transforming, that smile was a great challenge, that smile was a provocation, that smile was a seduction. That smile invited him to the inner world of this man. And again the man closed his eyes, but somehow the angel also felt to close his eyes. He had got the hint.
The man had said, "I cannot tell you what it is, but I can show you the way. Just sit like me, just be like me. You have looked into my emptiness, just be empty. Only by being is there a way to understanding."
And he had not uttered a single word, but that smile was his sermon. He had said all that is contained in the Vedas and the Koran and the Bible and Dhammapada and Gita. He had said all without saying a single word. He had said that which cannot be said.
And the angel closed his eyes, sat in silence, and started disappearing.

That's what happens around a Master. You need not obey a Master. You have just to be around, available, that's all. His presence is enough to create the seduction.
The presence of the Master is seductive. It has no commandment. It does not say to you "Do this," and "Don't do that." Those who talk like that, they are not Masters. They may be teachers at the most. A Master never says "Do this," and "Don't do that." A Master is not concerned with your actions at all. His concern is deeper, his concern is with your being.
A Master is catching... like measles. In his presence you start catching a different vibe -- if you are available, if you are ready to listen, if you are ready to look -- then things start moving on their own. That is the meaning of a Master.
What is the difference between a teacher and a Master? A teacher teaches you, he has a doctrine, he has a philosophy. He argues, discusses, proves. A Master is himself the proof. He does not argue, he does not propose any philosophy, he does not give you any ethos. He has no commandments. He does not create any should, he does not give you any ideals. In fact, he takes all ideals away. He does not give you a scripture. He teaches you how to burn all scriptures, how to be free of the word, how to be free of theory -- because once you are free of the word and the theory and the scripture, you are free to be. Otherwise, thoughts go on clamouring within, thoughts go on clouding within. And thoughts go on distracting you from your center.
A thought is a distraction, any thought -- the worldly, the other-worldly. Thought as such is a distraction, it takes you away from yourself. A thought leads you into the world of dreams, illusions, abstractions. It does not allow you to see and feel and be. The whole work of a Master is to help you drop off your mind. And all commandments go into the mind, become your memories.
So a Master has no message as far as your action is concerned. A Master certainly has a message as far as your being is concerned. He teaches you what to be. And he teaches you in a thousand and one ways.

A great Zen Master was asked by one of his disciples, "I have been with you three years and you have not taught me anything, sir. When is my teaching going to start?"
The Master laughed and he said, "What are you saying? For three years continuously, day in, day out, I have been teaching you. When you bring my tea in the morning, have I not thanked you? When you come and bow down, have I not touched your head? When I go for a morning walk and you come and follow me, have you not been seeing how I walk? Have you not observed that my feet don't touch the earth? -- they are six inches above it. Have you not looked in these three years into my eyes? -- these eyes are those of a drunkard. What ELSE do you want? What teaching are you talking about? I have been teaching day in, day out, year in, year out. Sometimes you must have entered into my room when I was asleep, have you not seen me? how a Buddha relaxes? -- like a small child. What else do you want? You are waiting for words? Then go to a teacher."

A Master is basically a presence. Even if he speaks, he speaks only to lead you towards the wordless. Even if he talks, he talks you out of language. He tries to talk so that you can be led into a world of no-thought. A Master's teaching is a no-teaching. He does not propose any ideas so that you can cling to them. A Master is utterly destructive; a Master creates a chaos. He drives you insane as far as your mind is concerned -- because when the mind has been driven insane, it stops... and suddenly a new consciousness arises.

SO THE FIRST THING TO BE UNDERSTOOD: A Master creates trust, not obedience. A Master NEVER asks for obedience. And if somebody asks for obedience, escape from that person. He is in search of a slave. He will kill you, he will destroy your freedom, he will condition your mind. He will give you a pattern to live by. He will not make you available to gods; he will not make you a god -- a god means freedom, absolute freedom. Obedience is slavery; obedience is a beautiful name for slavery. Whosoever creates obedience in you is dangerous, is your enemy. A Master does not create obedience, he creates trust -- and that is a totally different thing, altogether different.
What is trust? It is a feeling, it has nothing to do with your believing. Trust is a feeling. Trust is a feeling that this man has entered somewhere, we don't know where... this man has moved into some new dimension, we don't know what. A feeling that this man has wings into the unknown, a feeling that it will be good to go with this man on this pilgrimage.
A Master creates trust in you so that you can gather courage. By seeing him, by being with him, by being available to his vibrations, his pulsations, by and by you gather courage -- not obedience but courage. An obedient person is a dull person. An obedient person becomes unintelligent, he becomes dependent. He always looks for the order; he always waits -- somebody has to tell him what to do. No, a Master cannot make you a cripple, he cannot give you crutches to lean upon.
When you come to a Master you already have too many crutches. He takes them away. He helps you to stand on your feet. A Master creates you as you should be in your authenticity. A Master helps you only to be yourself and nothing else. So the Master cannot have a pattern and cannot have a general statement. To each individual it is going to happen in a different way.
First thing: obedience is part of politics, not of religion. The priest asks for obedience, the politician asks for obedience: "Follow me, obey me! Never do anything against my commandment. Remain always confined to the territory that I am giving to you, never go beyond it." He is destroying your very soul. That's what priests have done down the ages, they have killed people! People are no more alive. Somebody is a Muslim and somebody is a Hindu and somebody is a Sikh and somebody is a Jain and somebody is a Buddhist and somebody is a Christian -- but where are real people? These are all plastic names. Where are religious people?
Where is Nanak? You can find the Sikh, but where is Nanak? You can find the Christian, but where is Jesus? And you can find Buddhists, but where is Buddha? So many religious people and not a single religious person will you find. Crowds clamouring around temples and gurudwaras and churches and mosques, but all slaves -- slaves of the dead past.
A Master frees you from the past, because a Master frees you from your memory. A Master does not give you anything to learn: he proposes a course of unlearning. He says, "Unlearn whatsoever you have learned. Drop it, it is all dust. Clean your mirror completely of all dust. When the mirror is clean, God is reflected. If your mirror carries too much of the scripture, God will not be reflected."
A Hindu cannot see God. How can a Hindu see God? Just by being a Hindu he is creating a hindrance. How can a Mohammedan see God? Just being a Mohammedan he is creating a wall between himself and God. At least when you go to God don't carry labels, categories. At least when you go to God, go nude and naked. Go just as a human being, just as pure being, a mirror ready to reflect... ready to reflect whatsoever is the case. Don't go on projecting an idea.
The Hindu looks for the Hindu God, the Christian looks for the Christian God. And when you are looking for a God you are carrying an idea inside you. And any idea inside does not allow you to fall into DHYAN, SAMADHI, meditation. All ideas have to be dropped. The mind has to cease for God to be. When you are not, God is.
A Master teaches you how to become absent. His presence by and by teaches you to become absent. Have you not observed one tremendously important phenomenon? -- that God's way of being present in the world is His absence. He is not present by being present. God is present by being absent. That is His way of being present in the world. You cannot pinpoint: here is God. And wherever you can pinpoint, He is not. He is everywhere and nowhere. You cannot locate, you cannot say "in the north, or in the south, or in this temple, or in that mosque" -- you cannot pinpoint God. If you pinpoint, it will be something else, not God -- a statue, a scripture, a tradition, a morality, but not religion, not God. God is everywhere! His way of presence is to be absent, and this is what a Master teaches you. HIS presence is also a way of being absent.
A Master has disappeared, he is no more -- there is only utter nothingness in him. If you go inside a Master, you will find the same thing that was found by the angel in the parable. That man sitting in the mango grove had become a Buddha.
Buddha is not a proper name. It has nothing to do with Gautam Siddhartha. Gautam Siddhartha is one of the Buddhas. Christ is a Buddha too; so is Mahavir, so is Krishna, so is Nanak, so is Kabir, so is Rabiya, so is Meera, so is Mohammed.

One day a Zen Master came into the garden, and one monk was cleaning old leaves, dead leaves from the garden. The Zen Master asked the monk, who was his disciple, "What are you doing?"
The disciple said, "Sir, cleaning."
And the Master asked a very strange question: "Cleaning? Are you doing it before Buddha or after Buddha?"
Now Buddha is already ancient -- twenty-five centuries have passed, this question is utter nonsense. But Zen Masters enjoy nonsense very much. Zen is the sense of non-sense. If it had been asked of you, you would have been puzzled. But the disciple knew his Master. He had lived with him, he knew what kind of questions he used to ask. Each question is a situation, each question is a hint -- the more absurd, the more potential, because you cannot answer it through the mind. Now mind will simply feel boggled down. "You are cleaning," the Master says, "but tell me: before Buddha or after Buddha?"
And the disciple laughed, and he said, "Both, sir -- before and after."
The Master patted him and said, "Right." He went away.
Another gardener, another disciple who was working in the garden watering plants was very much puzzled. He was a new man around. He asked the disciple, "I don't follow. What followed between you and the Master? I was listening very attentively. The Master's question was absurd, and your answer was even more so. What do you mean when you say 'before and after Buddha'?"
And the disciple said, "It is after Buddha because many Buddhas have happened in the past, many. And it is before Buddha because many will be happening in the future. It is always in the middle. In the past there have been many Buddhas. In the future there will be many Buddhas. I am just standing in the middle and cleaning the ground -- cleaning for Buddhas to come, cleaning up all the dirt that the old Buddhas have left, and preparing ground for the new Buddhas to come."

That's what a Master does -- exactly, PRECISELY -- creates a cleanliness from all the past Buddhas, because people cling, people cling to the dead word, to the dead letter, and much dirt is created. A Master cleans your mind of the past, of the impact of the past, and he prepares your mirror for the future.
And it is not only that Buddhas are going to happen in the future -- you are also going to become a Buddha some day or other. It is only a question of time, and it depends on you. If you decide to become Buddha this moment, nobody is barring your path. Only decision is missing, only a commitment to Buddhahood is missing. Nobody is hindering, nobody is standing on your way. There is NO block. You are just clinging to the past, and you don't leave the past. Otherwise, you are free to move into the world. THIS very moment you can become a Buddha.

A Zen sutra says: THIS VERY EARTH IS THE LOTUS LAND, THIS VERY BODY THE BUDDHA.

EACH body is a lotus land, and each body is a temple of a possible Buddha, of a potential Buddha. Buddha is not a particular name for Gautam Buddha. ALL those who have become aware, they are all called Buddhas.

When Gautam Buddha himself became enlightened, a man came to him. He could not trust his eyes -- such grace, such feminine grace, such beauty! He asked the Buddha, "Who are you? Ate you a god who has descended from heaven? I have never seen such beauty, such other-worldly beauty, such unearthly beauty."
And Buddha said, "No, I am not a god."
Then the man said, "Then who are you? Are you a saint?"
And Buddha said, "No, I am not a saint."
The man was puzzled. He said, "Then who are you?"
And Buddha said such a profound thing. He said, "I am aware. I am neither a god nor a saint -- I am just aware."

Buddhahood is even higher than being a god. Buddhahood is very much higher than being a saint. The saint is constantly fighting with his sinner. The saint has not yet come home; he is yet in the battlefield. He is still fighting. The saint cannot relax, the saint cannot go on a holiday. Twenty-four hours he has to keep watch, because all that he has repressed inside is ready; any moment of weakness and it will take over. Sex he has repressed? -- then sex is there waiting, waiting for the right moment when the saint is a little relaxed, not fighting so hard, then it can jump upon him. Greed, anger, jealousy, possessiveness -- all are waiting there. A saint is in a constant state of turmoil. A saint cannot be relaxed. How can a warrior be relaxed? He always has to be watchful; the enemy is always around.
That's why your so-called saints are so tense, afraid of small things -- afraid because they know that if they give a little relaxation, then they will have to give more. They have repressed half of their being. That half of their being is ready to rebel. That half of their being is getting very, very insane within themselves.
A saint lives an almost hysterical life. There is no peace. A saint lives an almost insane life, nightmarish. Whatsoever you repress goes on taking revenge. It comes up again and again, and with vengeance.
Buddha is right when he says, "I am not a saint." And Buddha says, "I am not a god either." Why? Because a god is one who is still hankering for pleasure. Remember, the ultimate goal is not heaven -- not at least in the East.
There are two kinds of religions: heaven-oriented religions -- Christianity, Islam, Judaism. They don't go higher than heaven. Heaven is the goal. Heaven means a state of constant pleasure, joy. It is against hell; it is still part of the duality -- heaven and hell. Hell is all misery and heaven is all pleasure. It is imaginary because you cannot separate misery from pleasure, and you cannot separate pleasure from misery. It is impossible.
To every pleasure clings its counterpart -- misery. It is impossible to separate them because they are not separate. You CANNOT take success away from failure. Failure just follows success. It is like the valley and the mountain. You cannot create mountains without creating valleys, and you cannot create valleys without creating mountains -- they go together. Exactly like that, every pleasure has its misery and every misery has its pleasure. Heaven and hell are imaginary; you cannot separate them. It is impossible.
Just think: if in heaven there is only success, then there will be no pleasure, because there will be nobody who is failing. How can there be pleasure and success when nobody fails? When you cannot fail by the very nature of things, how can you be happy when you succeed? Impossible. The pleasure derived out of success comes from the possibility of failure. If nobody is poor in heaven, then nobody can be rich. The pleasure of being rich is derived from many people around you who are poor, AND the possibility that you can also be poor some day. That very fear gives you pleasure. If all are happy then nobody can be happy.
And if only happiness happens, then sooner or later you will get bored with it. If this heaven of your so-called saints exists anywhere, it will be utterly boring. Just think of your saints sitting in heaven -- how long have they been there? The same pleasure, the same pleasure.... They cannot even have a change just for the sake of a change; they cannot even have that. They must all be hankering to enter hell -- anyhow. They must be hankering to come back to earth. That's what many old scriptures say: that gods hanker to become men again. There are stories that sometimes a few gods enter the world in disguise and become men to have a taste, a different taste.
Buddha proposes a totally new vision. He says: No heaven, no hell. Sinners go to hell, but there has never been a sinner who was perfect. A sinner cannot be perfect. Even sinners have many saintlinesses in them.
You can go and watch criminals. Sometimes it happens that criminals, amongst themselves, are more friendly, more honest than the so-called good citizens, respectable people. You can trust a thief if you give him some money. If he borrows some money from you, you can trust a smuggler, but you cannot trust a politician. The smuggler will fulfill his promise, but not the politician.
There has never been a man who was a perfect criminal, a perfect sinner, so how can you throw a man into hell unless he is a perfect sinner? Something good is always there. Man is a combination of good and bad. And there has never been a perfect saint, cannot be. Impossible.
Then what is the difference between a saint and a sinner? The difference is very simple. The difference is that the sinner represses his saint and the saint represses his sinner. That's why ALL sinners go on desiring how to become saints, and all saints deep down long to become sinners. If you go into your saints' dreams you will be very much puzzled. Their dreams are very sexual, very worldly. And if you go into the dreams of a sinner you will be surprised -- in dream he thinks that he has renounced the world, is meditating, has become a sannyasin, is going to become a Buddha.
Sinners dream beautiful dreams. Dreams are substitutes. Whatsoever you are doing in your day -- and not doing in the day -- will come in the night. A balance has to be created by life. That's why your saints are very much afraid of sleep.

Buddha says, "I am not a saint, I am not a sinner, I am not even a god." Then who are you? Buddha says, "I am just aware. I am awareness."
This is the definition of a Buddha. You learn from a Master that which cannot be learned in any other way, that which cannot be taught in any other way, than by trusting, by loving, by being in the presence.

A Master does not order you to do anything, but his presence orders you. His very presence creates a subtle obedience, a subtle discipline -- not enforced, not at all managed, manipulated. A Master is not a manipulator. It is very silent. You never come to know when you have started following him. You cannot demark the line when you fell in love with him, and when things started happening to you.

ZEN SAYS: Zen is like looking for the spectacles that are sitting on your nose already.
Sometimes it happens to people when they are in a hurry -- they have to catch a train or something -- and they start looking for their spectacles. And they are looking through the spectacles themselves. The spectacles are sitting on their noses. But they are in such a hurry they have forgotten.
Zen says: Buddhahood is not somewhere far away. You are just sitting on top of it. YOU ARE IT! So there is NO need to go anywhere; you just have to become a little alert about who you are. IT HAS ALREADY HAPPENED! Nothing has to be achieved, nothing has to be practised! Only one thing: you have to become a little more alert about who you are.
Zen teaches, therefore, not by words. Zen teaches, therefore, not by goals. Zen teaches by direct pointing. It hits you directly. It creates a situation, it creates a device.

A man came to a Zen Master and asked, "I would like to become a Buddha." And the Master hit him hard.
The man was puzzled. He went out and asked some old disciple, "What kind of man is this? I asked such a simple question and he got so angry. He hit me hard! My cheek is still burning. Is it wrong to ask how to become a Buddha? This man seems to be very cruel and violent!"
And the disciple laughed. He said, "You don't understand his compassion. It is out of his compassion that he has hit you hard. And he is old, ninety years old; just think of his hand -- it will be burning more than your cheek! You are young. Think of his compassion, you fool! Go back!"
But the man asked, "But what is the message in it?"
And the disciple said. "The message is simple. If a Buddha comes and asks how to become a Buddha, what else is there to do? You can hit him and make him aware that you are it What nonsense you are talking about!"
If a rosebush starts trying to become a rosebush, it will go mad. It is ALREADY the rosebush. You may have forgotten. Zen says you are in a state of slumber, you have forgotten who you are, that's all. Nothing has to be done, just a remembrance. That's what Nanak calls SURATI, Kabir calls SURATI -- just a remembrance. You have only to REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE!
So Zen teaches not by words, not by scriptures, not by theories, but by direct pointing, by engaging us in a game in which the only answer is a new level of consciousness.

Listen to this story and you will understand how Zen creates situations. Zen is very psychological. The problem is psychological -- you have simply forgotten; it is not that you have gone anywhere. You have fallen asleep. Zen functions as an alarm. It hits you, hits at the heart, makes you awake. Listen to this beautiful parable:
A young man, who had a bitter disappointment in life, went to a remote monastery and said to the Master, "I am disillusioned with life and wish to attain enlightenment to be freed from these sufferings. But I have no capacity for sticking long at anything. I could never do long years of meditation and study and austerity. I would relapse and be drawn back to the world again, painful though I know it to be. Is there any short way for people like me?"
"There is," said the Master, "if you are really determined. Tell me, what have you studied? What have you concentrated on most in your life?"
"Why, nothing really. We were rich and I did not have to work. I suppose the thing I was really interested in was chess; I spent most of my time at that."
The Master thought for a moment and then said to his attendant, "Call such-and-such a monk, and tell him to bring a chess board and men."
But the attendant said, "Sir, that monk does not know how to play chess."
The Master said, "Don't be worried. You simply call him."
The monk came with the board and the Master set up the men. He sent for a sword and showed it to the two. "Oh monk," he said, "you have vowed obedience to me as your Master, and now I require it of you. You will play a game of chess with this youth, and if you lose I shall cut off your head with this sword."
And the man does not know much about chess. Maybe he can recognize the chessboard, or maybe he has played once or twice when he was young. But to put this man against this young, rich man, who has never done anything but play chess, is simply a death warrant.
And then the Master says, "You have surrendered to me, and you have told me I can do anything I want with your life or with your death. Now the moment has come. If you lose I shall cut off your head with this sword."
And a naked sword is there in the hands of the Master, and he is standing just close by. "But I promise that if you die by my hand, you will be born in paradise. If you win, I shall cut off the head of this man. Chess is the only thing he has ever tried hard at, and if he loses he deserves to lose his head also."
They looked at the Master's face and saw that he meant it: he would cut off the head of the loser.
They began to play. With the opening moves the youth felt the sweat trickling down to his heels as he played for his life. The chessboard became the whole world; he was entirely concentrated on it. At first he had somewhat the worst of it, but then the other made an inferior move and he seized his chance to launch a strong attack. As his opponent's position crumbled, he looked covertly at him. He saw a face of intelligence and sincerity, worn with years of austerity and effort.
The other was a beggar -- a BHIKKHU -- his eyes were silent and calm. He was not disturbed even by the idea of death. He was playing because of the Master's request, and he had surrendered himself so there was no problem in it. Even if paradise were not promised, then too, he would have to follow. He was playing calm and quiet. His eyes were very silent and very intelligent -- and the young man is winning! and the monk's moves are going all wrong!
The young man looked at the monk -- the grace, the austerity, the beauty, the silence, the intelligence. He thought of his own worthless life, and a wave of compassion came over him. He decided: "To let this man die is unnecessary. If I die, nothing is lost to the earth. I am a stupid man, I have wasted my life, I have nothing. This man has worked hard, disciplined his life, has lived a life of austerity, a life of meditation and prayer. If he is killed that will be a loss."
Great compassion arose in him. He deliberately made a blunder and then another blunder, ruining his position and leaving himself defenseless.
The Master suddenly leant forward and upset the board. The two contestants sat stupefied. "There is no winner and no loser," said the Master slowly. "There is no need to fall here. Only two things are required, " and he turned to the young man, "complete concentration and compassion. You have today learned them both. You were completely concentrated on the game, but then in that concentration you could feel compassion and sacrifice your life for it. Now, stay here a few months and pursue our training in this spirit and your enlightenment is sure."
He did so and got it.

A tremendously beautiful story. The Master created a situation and showed the whole path. This is DIRECT -- showing the path. He showed all that can be shown! There are only two things -- meditation and compassion. Meditation means being utterly absorbed into something, totally absorbed into something, completely lost. If you are dancing and only the dance remains and the dancer is forgotten, then it is meditation. If you are gambling and only gambling remains and the gambler disappears, then it is meditation. It can be any activity. Meditation is not averse to any activity. Meditation requires only one thing: be absorbed in it totally, whatsoever it is.
If you are a thief and you are going to steal, and while stealing if you get absorbed utterly and totally, it is meditation. Who you are, what you do, does not matter! For Zen all that matters is totality, utter concentration, absorbed, lost, drunk into it. So much so that you are not standing behind aloof. This is the fundamental -- meditation. And then a natural outflow of it, a natural by-product -- compassion. Compassion cannot be practised. It comes as a shadow to meditation.
Now, this is the whole Buddha dharma, this is ALL. And this Master, whose name is not known, must have been a great deviser. Through the game of chess he expressed the whole Buddha dharma. He expressed all the fundamentals, all that is needed. No more is needed. This is enough for your whole journey. Means and ends -- all are included in this small situation.
And now the young man knows that it has happened, he has had a taste of it. It has already happened, it is no more a theory. It is already an experience. He had seen it happen. He had never thought of anybody in his life. He had never had any glimpse of compassion. It was absolutely unknown, unfamiliar. But it happened.
His own life was at stake. First he became afraid and started perspiring, must have become nervous and started playing. Because of that nervousness and fear he must have made wrong moves. So it was just accidental that the monk was winning. There was no possibility of his winning. It must have been because of the nervousness of the youth that the monk was winning. But, by and by, he must have calmed down. And then, he started moving rightly. And the monk started losing.
A moment came when the youth was absolutely certain: "I am going to win. One move more and the game is finished, and the monk is finished." In that moment, naturally, he looked at the face of this poor monk. And he has not done anything wrong. Why should he lose his life? And at that moment he saw the calmness, the quality, the different quality, the tranquillity, the equilibrium, the peace, even in front of death -- and he was overwhelmed. And something that he had never seen arising in his heart arose. Something vibrated in him, a new song was born, a new insight. And such a great insight that he was ready to lose his life for this beggar who did not mean anything to him.
What happened? How this miracle? How come?
The miracle happened through a basic science, a fundamental. He became concentrated, he became absorbed, he became utterly lost. His ego disappeared. When you are completely lost into anything, ego disappears. That's all that there is to meditation, that's all meditation is about: disappearance of the ego. It may be music, it may be dance, it may be archery, it may be wrestling, it may be anything. Do whatsoever you like and create meditative energy around it. If you are a housewife, cooking can be your meditation. If you are a shopkeeper, then your customers are your meditation.
That's why I don't tell my sannyasins to leave the world. Transform the world -- why leave it? Bring meditation into the world. Wherever you are, start living on a different plane of consciousness. And you will come to see, by and by, compassion arising in you. And when compassion arises, from where will it come? It comes through your passion.
The word is beautiful; 'compassion' is a beautiful word. It is made of 'passion'. Compassion gains energy out of passion. All the energy that has been moving into passion starts moving into compassion. Once the bridge of meditation is created, passion starts being transfigured into compassion. All that you have been fighting, there was no need to fight -- it can be transformed. All that you have always thought wrong, is not wrong! It only needs a bridge to be transformed. God never gives any wrong thing to anybody. How can He? He gives only all that is right. Just the right use has to be learned.

I had a garden once -- an old man, but REALLY a gardener, utterly absorbed. I had chosen him only because he was so meditative in his work. He would not see day, he would not see night. Even sometimes in the middle of the night I saw him with the plants. He was not paid that much for that work, but he was around his plants continuously. He had great compassion. Just his work was such an absorption for him. Compassion arose. He had no other life. He was not concerned with anything, he was not interested in anything. His whole world was the plants. The plants were the only people he lived with.
Even weeds he would not throw away. Weeds! He would pluck the weeds -- but very carefully, very lovingly. They are plants too. And he would put those weeds around rosebushes, underneath, close to the roots of the rosebushes.
I asked him, "What are you doing?"
He said, "Weeds carry great energy. There is no need to throw them, and they are people too. They have to be taken out, otherwise my roses will be spoiled. I have to take them, but I give them beautiful goodbyes. This is their graveyard. And I put them close to the roots of the roses. They will become roses sooner or later. They become manure. I transform them, I don't kill them."
That's art, that's skill. That's what Zen is. Zen doesn't say to you, "Fight with your sex, fight with your passion and lust!" It says: "There is no need to fight, create the bridge." And the lust becomes love, passion becomes compassion. It is desire itself, freed from objects, that becomes desirelessness.

THIS VERY WORLD, THE LOTUS LAND.
THIS VERY BODY, THE BUDDHA.

Zen does not solve the problems, it dissolves them.
Once a great Western philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, was asked what he did with philosophy. This was his answer too: "I don't solve problems, I dissolve them." And he had some quality of Zen in him. He was the only Western philosopher of modern times who had something of Zen.
Once he was asked, "What is your aim in philosophy?"
He said: "To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle."
That's exactly the definition of Zen: to show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle. The way is there!

You must have seen it happen many times. Sometimes a butterfly enters into a room. She knows she has entered by the door; she knows there is an entry, so she knows tacitly that by the same door she can go out. But then she starts moving to the window, goes on struggling with the glass. And the more she struggles with the closed window, the more nervous she becomes. The more nervous she becomes, the more unconscious, afraid of death, afraid of being always caught in this room forever. She loses consciousness! In that unconscious state she starts fighting more, even with the walls. And the door is there! And the door has been there. And she knows tacitly. How can she forget? It seems a miracle. She has come by the door. Why does she not get out by it?
The same door that brings you into the world takes you out of it. Remember, it is the same door! On one side is written 'Entrance', on the other side is written 'Exit'. It is the SAME door. These are two sides of the same door. Passion brings you into the world, passion takes you out of it. Desire brings you into the world, desire takes you out of it. Greed brings you into the world, greed takes you out of it. Never fight! The lower is not only the entrance, the lower is the exit too.
This is something to be understood. Let it sink in your heart Never fight! Never create any conflict! Otherwise you will create anguish, otherwise you will become more miserable. That's what has happened to you. People are miserable just like the butterfly. Listen to this story:

Zen Master, Shen Tsan, gained his enlightenment through Pai Chang. He then returned to the monastery in which he had been ordained by his 'first teacher', the monk who had brought him up from childhood and who, at that time, was a very old man....

Remember: he was just a teacher, not a Master. So Shen Tsan had not achieved his enlightenment through him. He had to go to some other Master, to Pai Chang. When he attained enlightenment he came back to his old teacher. He was a compassionate man, a kind man. He had brought up Shen Tsan from his very childhood. He was almost like a father.

One day Shen Tsan was helping his old teacher to bathe. While washing the old man's back, he said to him, "This is such a fine temple, but the Buddha in it is not at all holy!" His old teacher then turned round and looked at him, whereupon Shen Tsan commented, "THOUGH THE BUDDHA IS NOT HOLY, HE CAN STILL RADIATE THE LIGHT."

The old man felt a little embarrassed, but he didn't say anything. This was absolutely new: "This young man has got something new now since he has come back. His quality has changed. And sometimes he utters statements which can mean much, which may not mean anything. He may have just learned them somewhere. Or, who knows whether he has had some insight, some satori?" The old man watched and waited.

Again, one day, while the old man was reading a sutra near a paper-covered window, a bee tried desperately, with all its strength, to fly out of the room through the paper but was unable to get through.
Shen Tsan, seeing this. said, "The world is so vast and wide that you may easily set yourself free in it. Why, then, do you foolishly bore into the old, rotten paper?"

Now, this is very meaningful. It has two meanings. The old man is reading his old book, and the bee is trying to get out by the paper-covered window -- in Japan they make paper curtains. And Shen Tsan says, "The world is so vast and wide that you may easily set yourself free in it. Why, then, do you foolishly bore into the old, rotten paper?" And he sang a GATHA:

"While the empty door is open wide
How foolish is to try to get out
By thrusting against the window!
Alas! How can you
Raise your head above the slough
By putting your nose against the old, rotten paper
For a hundred years?"

And the old man is getting to be nearabout a hundred years old. Now this is too much.

Hearing this remark, the old man laid down his book and said to Shen Tsan, "For quite a few times now, you have made unusual remarks. From whom did you gain your knowledge while you were away from home?"
Shen Tsan replied, "I have reached the state of peaceful rest through the grace of Master Pai Chang. Now I have come back home to pay my debt of gratitude to you."
The old teacher then prepared a great festival in his young disciple's honour, summoned the monks in the monastery to the assembly hall, and besought Shen Tsan to preach the dharma to all. Whereupon Shen Tsan ascended to the high seat, and, following the tradition of Pai Chang, preached as follows:

"Singularly radiating is the wondrous
Light Free from the bondage of matter and the senses.
Not binding by words and letters
The Essence is nakedly exposed in its pure eternity.
Never defiled is the Mind-nature;
It exists in perfection from the very beginning.
By merely casting away your delusions
The Suchness of Buddhahood is realized."

Listening to these words, seeing his own disciple illumined, feeling for the first time who he had become, the old man touched the feet of his own disciple. And when he was bowing down and touching the feet of his own disciple, he became enlightened, the insight opened.

Yes, the door is always open. Zen does not preach anything new to you; it simply makes you aware that the door is open. And you have entered by the same door! This is simply foolish to go on seeking how to get out of it.
People come to me and they ask -- particularly Indians -- they ask, "How to get out of this samsara, this world?" And I ask them, "How did you enter? First tell me that." Unless it is known how you entered, it is very difficult to get out of it -- because the way in is the way out!
Zen leaves everything as it is, but with what profound difference! It leaves things as they are. It does not change anything, it simply changes your awareness of things. But perhaps for the first time we come to see them as they are. It does not change a single bit... the room remains the same. The window remains paper-covered. The door remains as it has always been -- open. Just the bee becomes aware that the door is open and there is no need to try, there is no need to make any effort and hard struggle.

Zen says: Take it easy. Everything is available. All has been made available from the very beginning. Nothing is missing, except one thing: that you don't look around. See, your anger can be transformed into GREAT love. Your greed can become sharing. Your very possessiveness becomes one day renunciation. So Zen has no condemnation. Zen simply says, find an alive Master and be in his presence. Sit silently by his side -- his door is open. Your door is also open. The only difference is: he knows his door is open, you don't know that your door is open. Looking through him -- his door, his openness, his inner space -- one day, suddenly the recognition arises that "My OWN door is open and has been open always!" Zen says: Nothing has been hidden from the very beginning.
What happens with a Master when you are in his presence?

WHEN WATER IS SCOOPED UP IN THE HANDS,
THE MOON IS REFLECTED IN THEM.
WHEN FLOWERS ARE HANDLED
THE SCENT SOAKS INTO THE ROBE...

WHEN FLOWERS ARE HANDLED, THE SCENT SOAKS INTO THE ROBE.... When you come around an enlightened person, something of his enlightenment soaks your robes, something of his perfume you start carrying with you. It is a pulsation, a vibration -- but eyes are needed.
That angel could see the luminous grove underneath him. If you were passing by the grove you may not have seen, because that luminosity needs some opening in you. The angel heard PRANAVA -- the soundless sound, OMKAR -- the whole forest singing a song, celebrating something. "Something of tremendous importance has happened. Trees have bloomed out of season!" He could see, but you may have passed by the grove and you may not have seen -- because to see such things, great trust is needed. To see such things, openness is needed. To see and hear such things you have to throw your garbage that you go on carrying in your head.
My feeling is that EACH of you here has passed many times around such groves -- sometimes a Buddha, sometimes a Mansoor, sometimes an Ali, and sometimes a Ramakrishna, a Raman, sometimes a Mahavir, a Zarathustra. You have passed! It is impossible that down the ages you have never come across a luminous grove -- you must have done. The greater possibility is that not only once, but many times you may have come across a luminous grove -- but you have missed. Don't miss this time!
And this Guru Purnima Day is the day of all the Buddhas, all those who have become aware. In their remembrance, become aware. The grove is here in front of you. You can see that luminous light. It is here! You can hear that celestial sound; that music is happening. And you can be soaked into my fragrance. It depends on you -- how much you are ready to take, how much you are willing to take, how much you are going to be with me, how deeply.
You can come here just to hear my words; then you will miss the real message. You can come here full of your nonsense, your argumentativeness; then you will not be able to hear what I am trying to convey. You can come here as Mohammedans, Hindus, Jains, and you will miss me -- but only you will be responsible, nobody else.
Try to understand your responsibility towards yourself. Enough you have been stumbling in darkness! When light becomes available, don't miss the opportunity. Take the jump....
There is a famous statement of Jalaluddin Rumi: "I died as mineral and became a plant. I died as plant and rose to animal. I died as animal and I was a man. Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?"
And that is the fear that comes when you come around a Master -- the fear of dying. But listen to this Rumi's statement: "Why should I fear? When was I less by dying? I died as a plant and became an animal. I died as an animal and became a man."
When you die in your Master as a man, you become divine. A Master is a death and a resurrection. This day of Guru Purnima is a day of death and resurrection. It is no ordinary day -- it is very symbolic. If you come to me, you come only in one way: if you come to die in me. And you will not be less by your dying -- you will be more, you will be infinitely more. You will be losing nothing and you will be gaining all.
This death into a Master is what makes a man a disciple. It is no ordinary relationship; it is the only extraordinary relationship in the world. All other relationships are ordinary. All other relationships are part of the world. Only this relationship is not part of the world -- it takes you beyond. It is a golden bridge from the visible to the invisible, from the material to the divine, from the known to the unknown, from death to deathlessness. But... you will have to die first.
To be with a Master is to carry your cross on your shoulders. That's why only very courageous people can become disciples. I am not here for students, I am not interested in students at all. I am only interested in disciples, those who are courageous enough to go unto this eternal voyage.
Three things you need: one -- listening in the mind; second -- pondering in the heart; third -- practising in the body.
Listen in the mind. When you are listening to me -- THESE WORDS ARE NOT MINE, these are the words of all the Buddhas. These words have nothing to do with me. I am no more here. I am functioning only as a hollow bamboo. These words are of all the Buddhas -- past, present and future, too. Because the message is the same, it is always the same, it is an eternal message -- SANATAN DHARMA. It is an eternal message.
Listen in the mind without argument. If you are arguing with me, you will miss. And I am not at a loss when you miss. I don't lose anything. If you miss, you miss. Listen in the mind with no argument. And I am not saying believe what I am saying. Don't misunderstand me. I am not saying believe. Just no argument, there is no need to believe. Just first listen silently like a mirror.
When you come before a mirror, the mirror does not believe in you, but the mirror reflects yoU perfectly as you are. The mirror has no attitude about you, good or bad, beautiful or ugly -- no, no attitude. The mirror does not argue. It simply reflects. Listening in the mind means: listen to what I am saying. There is NO hurry to believe. And there is NO hurry to disbelieve. That's what I mean: don't listen with argumentation. Simply listen.
Second: ponder in the heart. Listen, and let it sink into the heart. Don't be in a hurry to think about it. If you think in a hurry, it will remain in the head. Let it first go deep. Sleep over it, let it soak, let it go a little deeper. Let it settle in the heart. There, ponder over, in the heart. Then don't be in a hurry to practise it. Let it soak a little deeper. Let it reach into the body, into your GUTS, and then it becomes a practice of its own accord.

These are three stages of being with a Master.

Now the story, today's story. It is a simple but beautiful story.

THE MASTER BANKEI'S TALKS WERE ATTENDED NOT ONLY BY ZEN STUDENTS BUT BY PERSONS OF ALL RANKS AND SECTS. HE NEVER QUOTED SUTRAS NOR INDULGED IN SCHOLASTIC DISSERTATIONS. INSTEAD, HIS WORDS WERE SPOKEN DIRECTLY FROM HIS HEART TO THE HEARTS OF HIS LISTENERS.

 

A MASTER ALWAYS SPEAKS FROM THE HEART TO the heart. He does not speak from the head to the head. From the head to the head there is no communication, ever. Head to head, there is always fight, debate; there is always conflict. Only from heart to heart is there communion, communication. Only heart-to-heart is understanding possible.
So, many come to me, but only a few understand. Many will come to me, and only a few will gain. Those few will be those who hear from the heart. These words are not coming to you from the head. My head is utterly empty. I am not speaking because I want to create a system, or a philosophy, or a religion. I am speaking because something that has happened to me, I want to share it with you. It is a sharing.

HIS LARGE AUDIENCES ANGERED A PRIEST OF THE NICHIREN SECT BECAUSE THE ADHERENTS HAD LEFT TO HEAR ABOUT ZEN.

Priests are always in trouble. They are always angered. Whenever a Master arises, wherever, the priests are always angry, because when somebody starts speaking from the heart, the people who live in the head start losing their customers. Naturally, the priest is in business, he becomes very much angered.
You will find millions of people angry with me. And a miracle! The Mohammedan priest is angry, the Hindu priest is angry, the Buddhist priest is angry, the Jain priest is angry, the Christian priest is angry. This is a miracle! At least on one thing they agree: that I am wrong. That is their only agreement. Otherwise they don't agree on anything. Why should they be so much angered? -- because whenever the real coin is there, the pseudo-coin starts feeling embarrassed.

HIS LARGE AUDIENCES ANGERED A PRIEST OF THE NICHIREN SECT BECAUSE THE ADHERENTS HAD LEFT TO HEAR ABOUT ZEN. THE SELF-CENTERED NICHIREN PRIEST CAME TO THE TEMPLE, DETERMINED TO DEBATE WITH BANKEI.

Now you cannot debate with a Master. It is impossible. He has no ego. How can you debate with a Master? You have the ego, hence the idea of debate -- debate is a kind of wrestling, a very sophisticated wrestling, fighting. It is nothing but violence in a very civilized form.

"HEY, ZEN MASTER!" HE CALLED OUT. "WAIT A MINUTE. WHOEVER RESPECTS YOU WILL OBEY WHAT YOU SAY, BUT A MAN LIKE MYSELF DOES NOT RESPECT YOU. CAN YOU MAKE ME OBEY YOU?"
"COME UP BESIDE ME AND I WILL SHOW YOU," SAID BANKEI.

Now, a Master is more interested in showing than in saying anything. He makes gestures to convey. With great love he must have said, "Come up beside me, come up close. Come up just on my level." That is the meaning of 'beside me'.
The priest is angered. He says, "Hey, Zen Master! Wait a minute." And the Master is speaking, and just in the middle he has interfered. "Whoever respects you will obey what you say, that's okay. But I don't respect you. Can you make me obey too?"
Now the Master does not argue. He creates a situation, he devises a method. It is immediate, not a single moment is lost. He responds.

"COME UP BESIDE ME AND I WILL SHOW YOU," SAID BANKEI.
PROUDLY THE PRIEST PUSHED HIS WAY THROUGH THE CROWD TO THE TEACHER.
BANKEI SMILED....

When a Master smiles at you, beware. He has thrown the trap, you will be caught sooner or later. People are caught in smiles.

BANKEI SMILED. "COME OVER TO MY LEFT SIDE," HE SAID....

So polite, so courteous. And Zen Masters are not like that at all. But in the beginning every Master is very courteous, very polite. Once you are caught he starts beating you, because only then will you understand his compassion.

"COME OVER TO MY LEFT SIDE."

And the priest is completely unaware of what is happening. Because he had never thought! He was waiting for an argument. He had come ready, prepared. He must have been rehearsing for many days and many nights. He must have prepared his whole talk -- what it is he is going to say to the Zen Master, and how he is going to argue against him. Now he is completely unaware, he is preoccupied. Preoccupation creates unawareness. He is preoccupied, he must be inside his mind, thinking, "Now I am going to say this, and he will say that, and I will counter him with that." He is completely unaware that the Master has already started working. He is unconscious.

BANKEI SMILED. "COME OVER TO MY LEFT SIDE."
THE PRIEST OBEYED.
"NO," SAID BANKEI, "WE MAY TALK BETTER IF YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT SIDE. STEP OVER HERE."
THE PRIEST STEPPED PROUDLY OVER TO THE RIGHT.
"YOU SEE," OBSERVED BANKEI, "YOU ARE OBEYING ME AND I THINK YOU ARE A VERY GENTLE PERSON..."

"... I say to you come to the left, you come to the left. I say to you come to the right and you come to the right. What else is needed...?"

"NOW SIT DOWN AND LISTEN."

In fact, nothing more is needed. Zen is so obvious. It is just like this: Come to my left side, come to my right side. The priest has not thought that he is obeying. That's the beauty of a Master. He never orders you and you start obeying him. He never tells you what to do, and you start doing things that he would like you to do. That's the beauty of a Master. That is his non-violent message. His each gesture, his smile, the raising of his hand, start creating something in you. He is tremendous energy -- that energy starts vibrating in you, moving you, changing you, transforming you, transporting you into another world.
Bankei has shown a very simple fact, that Zen has no commandments, Zen is very obvious. It is like if I say, "This is the door, please get out by this rather than getting OUt by the wall." What are you going to do? Will you try to get out by the wall just to disobey me? Then you will be simply stupid and you will be hurt.
Zen says truth is so simple and so obvious; we need not force anybody to follow. It is just like showing him: "This is the door, sir, and this is the wall. Now it is up to you. If you want to get out you can get out by the door, but if you want to struggle, you can try through the wall -- and get hurt in your head! This is up to you."
Exactly like that, real religion is very simple. It has no complexity. It is very easy. You simply need a little intelligence.
That's why Bankei says, "YOU ARE OBEYING ME AND I THINK YOU ARE A VERY GENTLE PERSON...."  What else is needed? Belief is not needed -- just gentleness, alertness, intelligence is needed.
Whenever I see an intelligent person, I know he is going to be with me. Whenever I see intelligence anywhere, I suddenly know my potential sannyasin has arrived. An intelligent person cannot escape from here. Only unintelligent people, dullards, those who have very thick heads, those who are really very mediocre -- only they can escape. If you have a little intelligence, just a ray, that will do. I am here to change it into the whole source of light. lust a ray you will need, at least in the beginning, to begin with.
Bankei says, "You see, you have already obeyed, and I have not ordered. I don't order my disciples, I don't require their respect. If they respect, that is another thing. If they follow, that is their decision. They are not in any way obliged to follow. If they surrender, that is of their own accord, that is their joy. And I think you are a very gentle person, you are obeying me. Now sit down and listen."

SIMPLE IS RELIGION. Don't make it complicated. Don't spin theories around it, and don't make it unnecessarily arduous. The ego wants difficult things. The ego is not interested in simple things. When I say to you, "This very moment you can become Buddhas!" something inside you says, "How is it possible? So simple? So easy?" You would like something very difficult, so it can become a challenge for your ego. God is not a challenge: God is a love affair. God is not the Everest you have to climb: God is the abyss -- you have nowhere to climb, you can simply take the jump THIS moment. And you will disappear.
God is not a staircase that you have to move slowly on step by step. God is a quantum leap. You can fall into God just as you fall in love. It is easy. Take it easy. And the moment you start listening to easy truths, simple truths, ego starts disappearing. Ego is always interested in difficult things. Go to the moon -- ego says, "Yes, this appeals. This I'm going to buy. Yes, let us go to the moon."
Now there is a man in America, Timothy Leary. Just now he has been released from jail. First he was selling the idea to people that drugs are the door to samadhi. Hence he was jailed. Now after six years in jail he has come out. Now he is selling another idea, even more foolish. The idea is that he is preparing a trip to the moon. He has started selling tickets. And the same foolish people who were going into drugs to attain God will now go to the moon -- maybe God is there.
If you go to the moon, you go nowhere. You will remain the same. If you take a drug, you don't change. You will remain the same, you may become even worse. Illusions can't help. But man is always in search of some illusion, a faraway goal, so he can manage a mental trip, a projection. So he can start thinking of the future and forget the present.
Hence the insistence of all the Buddhas: THIS very moment all is possible -- you need not wait for a single moment, there is no need to postpone! Take life easy, take life simply -- life is God. Be absorbed in life. Life is the very shrine. Through life you will know that which is hidden in it.
Never be against life, never fight with life. Go with life, flow with life. Go with the river of life... and the river is going already to the ocean.
One who attains to this let-go with life is a SROTAAPANNA -- Buddha has called him. He has entered the stream, now there is no worry. I call the man 'sannyasin' who has entered the stream. Now there is no worry, now nothing has to be attained -- he has relaxed. And whenever God chooses, it will happen. He is not even hankering for it. He is calm and quiet; he has equilibrium, tranquillity; he has no desire and no tension and no anxiety. He is not asking to be somebody else -- he is happy as he is.
That tremendous contentment is what sannyas is. And you can celebrate Guru Poornima only if you are a sannyasin.


 

Next: Chapter 2: Only One Exists, Question 1

 


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