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ZEN: THE PATH OF PARADOX

VOL. 3

Chapter 9: Look!

 

Energy Enhancement             Enlightened Texts             Zen            Paradox, Vol. 3

 

CHI CH'ANG ASPIRED TO BE THE GREATEST ARCHER IN THE WORLD, SO HE BECAME THE PUPIL OF WEI FEI.
FIRST WEI FEI ORDERED HIM TO LEARN NOT TO BLINK. CHI CH'ANG CREPT UNDER HIS WIFE'S LOOM AND LAY THERE ON HIS BACK STARING WITHOUT BLINKING AT THE TREADLE AS IT RUSHED UP AND DOWN DIRECTLY BEFORE HIS EYES. AFTER TWO YEARS HE HAD REACHED THE POINT OF NOT BLINKING EVEN IF ONE OF HIS EYE-LASHES WAS CAUGHT IN THE TREADLE.
"TO KNOW HOW NOT TO BLINK IS ONLY THE FIRST STEP," SAID WEI FEI, "NEXT YOU MUST LEARN TO LOOK. PRACTISE LOOKING AT THINGS, AND IF THE TIME COMES WHEN WHAT IS MINUTE SEEMS CONSPICUOUS, AND WHAT IS SMALL SEEMS HUGE, VISIT ME ONCE MORE."
CHI CH'ANG SEARCHED FOR A TINY INSECT HARDLY VISIBLE TO THE NAKED EYE, PLACED IT ON A BLADE OF GRASS AND HUNG IT BY TH WINDOW OF HIS STUDY. HE THEN TOOK UP A POSITION AT THE END OF THE.ROOM AND SAT THERE DAY AFTER DAY STARING AT THE INSECT. AT FIRST HE COULD HARDLY SEE IT, BUT AFTER TEN DAYS HE BEGAN TO FANCY THAT IT WAS SLIGHTLY BIGGER.
FOR THREE YEARS HE HARDLY LEFT HIS STUDY. THEN ONE DAY HE PERCEIVED THAT THE INSECT BY THE WINDOW WAS AS BIG AS A HORSE. "I'VE DONE IT!" HE EXCLAIMED.
THIS TIME THE TEACHER WAS SUFFICIENTLY IMPRESSED TO SAY, "WELL DONE!"
CHI CH'ANG SOON BECAME A MASTER OF ARCHERY, AND NO FEAT OF BOWMANSHIP NOW SEEMED BEYOND HIS POWERS. HE SEEMED CLOSE TO THE ACHIEVEMENT OF HIS AMBITION, BUT WITH AN UNPLEASANT JOLT HE REALIZED THAT ONE OBSTACLE REMAINED: SO LONG AS THE MASTER WEI FEI LIVED, CHI CH'ANG COULD NEVER CALL HIMSELF THE GREATEST ARCHER IN THE WORLD.
WALKING THROUGH THE FIELDS ONE DAY, CHI CH'ANG CAUGHT SIGHT OF WEI FEI FAR IN THE DISTANCE. WITHOUT A MOMENT'S HESITATION HE RAISED HIS BOW, FIXED AN ARROW, AND TOOK AIM. HIS OLD MASTER, HOWEVER, HAD SENSED WHAT WAS HAPPENING AND IN A FLASH HAD ALSO NOTCHED AN ARROW. BOTH MEN FIRED AT THE SAME MOMENT. THEIR ARROWS COLLIDED HALF WAY AND FELL TOGETHER TO THE GROUND. THE STRANGE DUEL CONTINUED UNTIL THE MASTER'S QUIVER WAS EMPTY BUT ONE ARROW STILL REMAINED WITH THE PUPIL. "NOW IS MY CHANCE!" MUTTERED CHI CH'ANG WHO IMMEDIATELY AIMED THE FINAL ARROW. SEEING THIS, WEI FEI BROKE OFF A TWIG FROM A THORN-BUSH BESIDE HIM, AND AS THE ARROW SPED TOWARDS HIS HEART HE FLICKED THE POINT SHARPLY WITH THE TIP OF ONE OF THE THORNS AND BROUGHT IT TO THE GROUND AT HIS FEET.
"MY FRIEND," SAID WEI FEI, "I HAVE NOW, AS YOU REALIZE, TRANSMITTED TO YOU ALL THE KNOWLEDGE OF ARCHERY THAT I POSSESS. IF YOU WISH TO DELVE FURTHER INTO THESE MYSTERIES YOU MUST SEEK THE AGED MASTER KAN YING. COMPARED TO HIS SKILL OUR BOWMANSHIP IS AS THE PUNY FUMBLING OF CHILDREN.

AFTER MONTHS OF ARDUOUS CLIMBING, CHI CH'ANG REACHED THE CAVE WHERE DWELT KAN YING AND ANNOUNCED TO THE OLD MAN, "I HAVE COME TO FIND OUT IF I AM AS GREAT AN ARCHER AS I BELIEVE." AND WITHOUT WAITING FOR A REPLY HE NOTCHED AN ARROW, AIMED AT A FLOCK OF MIGRATING BIRDS, AND BROUGHT DOWN FIVE BIRDS ALL AT ONCE.

THE OLD MAN SMILED AND SAID, "BUT THIS IS MERE SHOOTING WITH BOW AND ARROW. HAVE YOU NOT YET LEARNED TO SHOOT WITHOUT SHOOTING? COME WITH ME."

CHI CH'ANG FOLLOWED HIM IN SILENCE TO THE EDGE OF A GREAT CLIFF. WHEN HE GLANCED DOWN HIS EYES BECAME BLURRED AND HIS HEAD BEGAN TO SPIN. MEANWHILE THE MASTER KAN YING RAN LIGHTLY ON TO A NARROW LEDGE WHICH JUTTED STRAIGHT OUT OVER THE PRECIPICE, AND TURNING ROUND SAID, "NOW SHOW ME YOUR REAL SKILL. COME HERE WHERE I AM STANDING AND LET ME SEE YOUR BOWMANSHIP."
WHEN CHI CH'ANG STEPPED ON THE LEDGE IT BEGAN TO SWAY SLIGHTLY TO AND FRO. HE TRIED TO NOTCH AN ARROW, BUT SOON HE FELT THAT HE WAS GOING TO LOSE HIS BALANCE. HE LAY DOWN ON THE LEDGE CLUTCHING ITS EDGES FIRMLY WITH HIS FINGERS. HIS LEGS SHOOK AND THE PERSPIRATION FLOWED FROM HIS WHOLE BODY.
THE OLD MAN LAUGHED, REACHED OUT HIS HAND AND HELPED CHI CH'ANG DOWN. JUMPING ON TO IT HIMSELF HE SAID, "ALLOW ME, SIR, TO SHOW YOU WHAT ARCHERY REALLY IS."
"WHAT ABOUT YOUR BOW?" ASKED CHI CH'ANG.
"MY BOW?" SAID THE OLD MAN LAUGHING. "SO LONG AS ONE REQUIRES BOW AND ARROW ONE IS STILL AT THE PERIPHERY OF THE ART. REAL ARCHERY DISPENSES WITH BOTH BOW AND ARROW."
DIRECTLY ABOVE THEIR HEADS A SINGLE KITE WAS WHEELING IN THE SKY. THE HERMIT LOOKED UP AT IT AND CHI CH'ANG FOLLOWED HIS GAZE. SO HIGH WAS THE BIRD THAT EVEN TO HIS SHARP EYES IT LOOKED LIKE A SMALL SESAME SEED. KAN YING NOTCHED AN INVISIBLE ARROW ON AN INCORPOREAL BOW, DREW THE STRING TO ITS FULL EXTENSION, AND RELEASED IT. THE NEXT MOMENT THE KITE STOPPED FLAPPING ITS WINGS AND FELL LIKE A STONE TO THE GROUND.
FOR NINE YEARS CHI CH'ANG STAYED IN THE MOUNTAINS WITH THE OLD HERMIT. WHAT DISCIPLINES HE UNDERWENT DURING THIS TIME NONE EVER KNEW.
WHEN IN THE TENTH YEAR HE RETURNED HOME, ALL WERE AMAZED AT THE CHANGE IN HIM. HIS FORMER RESOLUTE AND ARROGANT COUNTENANCE HAD DISAPPEARED; IN ITS PLACE HAD COME THE LOOK OF A SIMPLETON. HIS OLD TEACHER, WEI FEI, CAME TO VISIT HIM AND SAID AFTER A SINGLE GLANCE, "NOW I SEE THAT YOU HAVE INDEED BECOME AN EXPERT! SUCH AS I ARE NO LONGER WORTHY EVER TO TOUCH YOUR FEET."
THE INHABITANTS OF HIS CITY HAILED CHI CH'ANG AS THE GREATEST ARCHER IN THE WORLD AND IMPATIENTLY AWAITED THE WONDERFUL FEATS WHICH HE WOULD NOT DOUBT SOON DISPLAY. BUT CHI CH'ANG DID NOTHING TO SATISFY THEIR EXPECTATIONS. THE GREAT POPLAR BOW WHICH HE HAD TAKEN WITH HIM ON HIS JOURNEY HE EVIDENTLY HAD LEFT BEHIND. WHEN SOMEONE ASKED HIM TO EXPLAIN HE ANSWERED IN A LANGUID TONE, "THE ULTIMATE STAGE OF ACTIVITY IS INACTIVITY; THE ULTIMATE STAGE OF SPEAKING IS TO REFRAIN FROM SPEECH; THE ULTIMATE IN SHOOTING IS NOT TO SHOOT."

CHI CH'ANG GREW OLD. MORE AND MORE HE SEEMED TO HAVE ENTERED THE STATE IN WHICH BOTH MIND AND BODY LOOK NO LONGER TO THINGS OUTSIDE, BUT EXIST BY THEMSELVES IN RESTFUL AND ELEGANT SIMPLICITY. HIS STOLID FACE DIVESTED ITSELF OF EVERY VESTIGE OF EXPRESSION; NO OUTSIDE FORCE COULD DISTURB HIS COMPLETE IMPASSIVENESS.
IT WAS RARE NOW FOR HIM TO SPEAK, AND PRESENTLY ONE COULD NO LONGER TELL WHETHER OR NOT HE STILL BREATHED. IN THE EVENING OF HIS LIFE HE NO LONGER KNEW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 'THIS' AND 'THAT'. THE KALEIDOSCOPE OF SENSORY IMPRESSIONS NO LONGER CONCERNED HIM; FOR ALL HE CARED, HIS EYE MIGHT HAVE BEEN AN EAR, HIS EAR A NOSE, HIS NOSE A MOUTH.
OF HIS LAST YEAR, THE STORY IS TOLD THAT ONE DAY HE VISITED A FRIEND'S HOUSE AND SAW LYING ON A TABLE A VAGUELY FAMILIAR UTENSIL WHOSE NAME HE COULD, HOWEVER, NOT RECALL. HE TURNED TO HIS FRIEND AND SAID, "PRAY TELL ME: THAT OBJECT ON YOUR TABLE -- WHAT IS IT CALLED, AND FOR WHAT IS IT USED?"
THE FRIEND STAMMERED OUT IN AN AWE-STRUCK TONE, "OH, MASTER. YOU MUST INDEED BE THE GREATEST MASTER OF ALL TIMES. ONLY SO CAN YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN THE BOW -- BOTH ITS NAME AND ITS USE!"
IT WAS SAID THAT FOR SOME TIME AFTER THIS IN THE CITY, PAINTERS THREW AWAY THEIR BRUSHES, MUSICIANS BROKE THE STRINGS OF THEIR INSTRUMENTS, AND CARPENTERS WERE ASHAMED TO BE SEEN WITH THEIR RULES.

A man of the people one day asks Master Ikkyu: "Master, will you write for me some maxims of high wisdom?"
Ikkyu took up a brush and wrote the word "LOOK."
"Is that all?" said the man, "Won't you add a few more words?"
Ikkyu then wrote twice: "LOOK, LOOK."
"All the same," said the disappointed man, "I don't see much depth or subtlety in what you have written there."
Ikkyu then wrote the same word three times.
Slightly irritated, the man said: "After all, what does this word 'LOOK' mean?"
And Ikkyu replied, "LOOK means LOOK."

THIS ONE WORD 'LOOK' CONTAINS THE WHOLE MESSAGE OF ZEN. Fra Giovanni in A.D. 1513 said: "The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within reach, is joy. There is a radiance and glory in the darkness, could we. but see, and to see we have only to look. I beseech you to look!"

The word 'look' is exactly the whole substance of Zen. How to look contains all religion. How to look with pure eyes, so much so that there comes a unity in looking where the object and the subject both disappear and only pure look remains. In that purity of looking -- nobody looking at and nobody looking at anything -- in that purity of look, DARSHAN, in that vision, truth is known.
Zen people talk about Three Pillars of Zen. These are the three pillars -- they prepare you for the look. First is: no-form. Second is: no-mind. Third is: no-soul.
This will look strange, particularly because people who are accustomed to so-called religion know it almost as a cliche -- that man has three existences: the physical, the psychological and the spiritual. And the politician and the priest and the professors go on talking about the health, the balance, between the physical and the psychological and the spiritual.
Zen says: No-mind means no psychology; no-form means no body, no matter; and no-soul means no spirit, no self. Zen says: The physical is the gross ego -- ego number one. The psychological is a little more subtle, less gross, but still the ego -- ego number two. And the so-called spiritual is the subtlest ego -- ego number three. But they are all egos. And all these three egos make one egoist, create one egoist.
It is Zen which goes to the deepest root of the illness called man. It says: Unless a person comes to see that the form is illusory, that the thought is illusory, not only that, but that the person believed, inferred, to be behind the mind, the self, is also illusory... when all these three have been known, looked into, and found lacking in substantiality, there arises the LOOK. That look gives you that which is real -- that which is.
These are the Three Pillars of Zen.
No-form means ALL the forms in the world are fluid, in a flux. The child is becoming young, and the young man is becoming old, and the old man is dying, and the dying is getting ready to be born again. One form constantly changes into another form. It is a flux of forms. NO form is substantial, because no form abides. All forms come and go; they are dreams, bubbles -- soap bubbles. They are there one moment and another moment they are not there. Their existence is momentary. They are made of the stuff dreams are made of.
The real is that which remains forever and forever. The real is that which is timeless. Forms are not real because they don't abide. Look into the forms. When Ikkyu said, "LOOK" -- the first LOOK means look into the grossest ego -- ego number one. The Master Ikkyu was indicating a great maxim -- the greatest. When he said the first LOOK and wrote the word LOOK, he w as saying, "Look into the body, into the form; you are not that -- and it is not real. Substance is very non-substantial, illusory, magical. "

The first look is to look into ego number one. Once you have understood that the form goes on changing, you cannot become attached to the form, you cannot get identified with the form. How can you be identified with that which comes and goes? In the morning, it is light; in the night, it is dark. You are sitting in your room. Comes morning and the room becomes full of rays and there is light. And comes afternoon, and comes evening; it is becoming dark and the sun disappears and the room becomes dark. It is night and it is utterly dark.
You cannot say, "I was the morning," or "I was the afternoon," or "I was the evening," or "I am the night." You cannot say. You are the watcher, the looker. Morning comes and goes, evening comes and goes. You go on watching.
Childhood is a morning, youth is the afternoon, old age is the evening, and then the dark night -- death. And so on... the wheel moves.
But who are YOU? LOOK!
The first look of Ikkyu means look into the form, the grossest. Learn from there. Once you have looked into the grossest and the ego number one has disappeared, you will be able to see into the second -- the psychological. You can see your body is just a fluid, a flux, constantly changing. So is your mind! Thoughts are moving so fast. Not for a single moment does the thought remain. It comes and goes. How can you be these thoughts? These thoughts are just like moving clouds in the sky, the traffic on the road. You are the watcher. Look...!
The second time when Ikkyu said, "LOOK, LOOK," he meant look into ego number two, the psychological. If you look deeply you will come to know you are not the mind. No-form, no-mind.
Then remains the subtlest kind of ego -- ego number three. You start thinking that you are a soul, a self. That too is false. Look into that too! And you will be surprised that when you look into yourself, you find vast emptiness and nothing else. Even the self is not found. The guests have disappeared, and suddenly you see that even the host is no more there. The guest and the host were all ghosts; they have all disappeared. Silence remains, utter silence, no sound -- neither of the guest nor of the host. All dialogue has stopped, all turmoil disappeared. There is utter emptiness, nothingness.
This is looking into the third, when Ikkyu said, "LOOK, LOOK. LOOK" -- the third ego, the subtlest, the hardest and the most difficult to look into.
There are people, the so-called materialists, who say the gross is the real. They stop there, they don't go beyond that -- the Charvakas, the Marxists, the communists. They stop at the first door, they never go beyond it. There are idealists who go a little deeper. They say the form is not true, but the mind is truth; matter is not true, but mind is true. They believe in mind against matter; they stop at the second. Then there are the spiritualists; they go a little deeper still. They say even the mind is not true. only the self, the soul, the ATMAN, is true.
Zen goes the farthest, the deepest. Nobody has penetrated so deeply into the mystery of human being as Buddha did. Buddha says: Even the self, even the soul, the ATMAN, is not true. It is the LAST trace of ego, the very very last, but still it is the last trace of the ego. The very idea that "I am" is a persistence, a shadow of the old ego. When you look into this too, the self also disappears. And when all have gone, what is left? Only a pure look. This is very difficult to understand unless you go into it existentially. Only the pure look -- because then it becomes illogical. How can there be pure look if there is nobody to look? But that's how it is.
It IS paradoxical. In language it is difficult to say what remains. Only pure look remains -- there is NOBODY who is looking! There is nobody at whom you are looking. The looked at and the looker, both have disappeared; the subject and object both have disappeared. There is just pure look. A silence, but a very alive silence. No way to define it indefinable. You cannot even say this is the self -- just a witnessing. a SAKSHIN.
But to use the word 'witness' can create trouble, because the moment we use the word 'witness' we start thinking somebody is there who is witnessing. So Buddha says: No witness! Only witnessing. No looker! only look. No meditator! only meditation. No one who has attained to samadhi, but only pure samadhi. This is difficult because we have been brought up in a certain structure of language.
When somebody is running we say there are two things: the runner and the running. Buddha says there is only running, there is no runner. The runner is just an inference. Buddha says there is only action, activity; there is no actor. When you say the tree is growing, you believe -- tacitly -- that the tree is one thing and growing is another. Buddha says there is only growing, there is no tree. When the river is flowing, you say the river is flowing. Buddha says there is only flowing. Where is the river?
Buddha believes in verbs and our languages are rooted in nouns. That creates trouble. Buddha says existence is a verb. It is a process. There are no things at all! All are processes.
I am talking to you, but there is no talker. And you are listening to me, but there is no listener. If you can understand that existentially, only then will you be able to understand what Buddha means when he says that even the third ego disappears.
RIGHT NOW, let it be an existential experience. Is there a listener or is there only listening? If you look backwards, if you try to recapitulate, the listener comes in. The listener is a memory. If you start thinking about it, certainly you will find the listener there, because the listener is the memory. But when you are listening there is only listening, there is no listener. When you are running, there is only running. When you have come to a point where you stop, sit under a tree to rest, and then you look backwards in the memory -- you find a runner. The runner is a memory creation. It was not in the actual, in the existential. It is just that in the memory traces have been left of many acts. How to join those acts into one? Those beads of separate acts have to be joined, otherwise it will be difficult for you to remember. So you create a thread. You thread those beads with an idea of the runner -- that becomes your ego.
There are individual atomic acts, and there is nothing joining them. That is what modern physics has come to. The modern physicists' standpoint about existence is exactly Buddhist, very close to Buddha. Modern physics also says there are only atomic existences. And those atomic existences are also not in any way substantial; they are just energy fields, not matter -- just energy fields. And there is constant change. Nothing abides. Everything is in a flux.
These three pillars destroy your whole structure of the ego. This is a very negative kind of trinity. Christianity has a trinity: God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. And Hindus have the concept of TRIMURTI: the three faces of God -- Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh. But they are all positive things.
This Zen approach towards reality is utterly negative. These are the three pillars: no-form, no-mind, no-soul. When you have looked through everything and found "No. No. No." then what is left? That which is left is indefinable. That which is left is truth. Buddha keeps silent about it. It cannot be said. The moment you say it, you falsify it.
This state -- when you have come to know no-form, no-mind, no-self -- is called wu in Chinese, samadhi in Sanskrit, satori in Japanese. A few characteristics of samadhi, then you will be able to go into this tremendously beautiful story.

THERE ARE SEVEN CHARACTERISTICS OF SAMADHI. First is: oneness, at-one-ment. Duality disappears. The division between the known and the knower disappears. Fusion arises, confusion disappears. There are no longer two. But remember: the moment Buddha says there are no longer two, he is not saying there is one. He keeps utter silence about the one. He says to say only there are not two -- because the moment you say one, you bring the two again. One is meaningless without the two. Not two -- that's all.
The runner and the running are not there. You and I are not there. The speaker and the listener are not there.
Existence is an organic unity. There is no duality in it. It is all oneness, but Buddha never calls it one. He is very careful. He avoids all kinds of logical pitfalls. He is very, very alert not to fall into any logical fallacy. He will not say existence is one, because what will you mean by one if there are not two? The figure one is meaningful only with the figure two. Without the figure two, one will not mean anything at all.
If we say God is light, it can only be meaningful if darkness exists. Then the Devil becomes darkness. Without the context of the Devil and darkness, what will it mean -- "God is light"? It will not mean anything. Buddha simply says Gd is neither light nor darkness. God is not two. Truth is not two.
That is the first experience of samadhi, that by and by the twoness of life disappears.
Why is the twoness created? It is created by these three egos. When I see THIS body as my body, then YOUR body becomes YOUR body. When I become attached to my form, YOUR form becomes alien -- the other. The moment I see my body not as my body, the moment I see myself as formless, then the other also disappears. With the self disappears the other. Without the 'I', the 'thou' cannot exist. They exist together in a pair.
So the first characteristic of samadhi is: twoness in life disappears. A great harmony arises. It is ALL one -- that is the meaning of fusion. Confusion arises because of the two. Then there is a clash, a continuous clash.
The second characteristic of samadhi is: 'orgasmicness' -- blissfulness, beatitude. Unless you come to this utter annihilation of all the egos, you will never be happy, you will never be blissful. Misery is a by-product of the ego. And because there are three egos, there are three kinds of misery: the physical misery, the psychological misery, and the spiritual misery.
You may not have heard of the third kind -- the spiritual misery. You may not have even thought about it as misery. But look: a man is poor and he wants to be rich. He is miserable. Everybody knows he is miserable. And if you go to a religious priest he will say, "Don't be greedy. Money is just dirt, don't bother about it. Blessed are the poor. You be contented with whatsoever you have." But then the man starts trying to become a better musician, or a better poet, or a better painter. You will not be so much against him as you were when he was very greedy for money. If he was very greedy for politics and power and this and that, everybody would have condemned him. But now if he wants to try to create a better painting, better art, write better poetry, nobody will be so much against him. But he will be in misery again. Now the misery will be more psychological. He wants to become a Shakespeare.
It is the same game played on another plane. First he wanted to become a Rockefeller, now he wants to become a Shakespeare -- but the becoming is there. If you go to a perceptive man, he will say this is the same greed asserting itself on another plane, on a deeper plane. Drop it. This is meaningless. Even if you become a Shakespeare, nothing is attained. Shakespeare is as miserable as you are. Even if you create great works of art you will not be blissful. You can go and see great painters and musicians, and they are not blissful.
So, you become Christ or Buddha -- that is going to help. You become a Krishna. It is THERE that bliss exists! And then a person starts trying to become a Christ, or a Buddha.... This is creating spiritual misery. It is the same misery. Now it has penetrated even deeper, now it has gone to the third ego level -- the spiritual. Now nobody will condemn you -- unless you come across a Buddha, nobody will condemn you! They will say you are a spiritual man. If you are crying and weeping and suffering because you want to attain to God, and you want to attain to samadhi and moksha and nirvana, who is going to condemn you? People will WORSHIP YOU. They will say, "Look, what a great spiritual man is here! He does not hanker for money, he does not bother for fame. He simply cries and weeps for God. Here is a spiritual man."
These are your so-called saints. But if you look deeply you will find they are spiritually miserable. Now, the problem is the same. First you wanted to become a Rockefeller, then you wanted to become a Shakespeare, now you want to become Buddha. But YOU WANT TO BECOME! Becoming persists. TANHA -- becoming -- persists. The desire to be somebody else continues. Now you want to become God! Nothing has changed.
There are three kinds of misery because there are three kinds of ego. When all the egos have been dropped, when there is no point in any desire left, when ALL your desires have failed.... Let me repeat it. In spirituality, in religion, only one who has utterly failed succeeds.
It will look like a paradox. To fail UTTERLY with desire is to enter into the real world. As long as you have some hope to succeed somewhere, you will never enter the reality. Then your hope will go on dragging you away and away. The man who is not worried to become anything -- not even Buddha....

Just the other day I was reading about a man who has been meditating for many years -- almost fifty years. And he has become very, very old.
He came to a Master and said to the Master, "Fifty years! Don't you think it is long enough? I have been meditating and meditating. Why have I not become a Buddha yet?"
The Master laughed and he said, "Now that explains why you have not become a Buddha yet -- because you want to become. Hence you go on missing. Now it explains everything!"

If you want to become a Buddha you will never become, because a Buddha is one who has dropped all kinds of becoming, who is utterly happy in this moment -- for no reason at all. He has nowhere to go, no goal to attain, no target. He has dropped the whole desiring mind with all its layers -- layer upon layer.
The mind is like the onion: one layer, the physical; another layer, the psychological; another layer, the spiritual. One who has thrown all those layers, one who has peeled his onion utterly, and has come to the innermost core.... And do you know what the innermost core IS? It is empty. If you go on peeling the onion, finally you come to nothingness. Only nothingness is left in your hands. In the nothingness there is orgasmicness, there is bliss.
With becoming there is misery. If you want to become something you will be in pain, misery, anguish, anxiety. If you understand that there is nothing to become... you are already that. Whatsoever you are, you are! There is no way to improve upon it. There is no need to improve upon it. As you ARE IS PERFECTLY OKAY. Your VERY ordinariness is utterly extraordinary. To realize this is to come to blessings. Then the whole existence starts showering blessings on you. It has been showering always, but because you were too much concerned with your own desires and becomings, you were not available to it, you were not open to it.
The third characteristic of samadhi is: illumination -- great inner transparency, light and clarity.
When all these egos disappear, all curtains disappear from your eyes, look becomes pure, innocent, transparency is attained. Then you simply see! And truth is so obvious. It is not hidden. It is not hiding somewhere, it is not avoiding you. It is not on some other planet -- it is just in front of your nose. But your eyes are closed. When your eyes open and you have the transparency and the clarity to see... the obvious! Truth is the obvious.
And the fourth characteristic of samadhi is: rest, relaxation.
How can you rest with this constant hankering to become something! How is rest possible? You will remain tense. Rest is possible only when all goal-orientation has been dropped; when the achieving mind functions no more in you, there is rest, there is relaxation.
Thought is mind in motion. No-thought is mind at rest. Samadhi is witnessing of both -- transcendence. You have been running after things -- you have seen that and the misery of it. Then you stopped, and you have seen the beauty of it, the rest, the relaxation. You have seen both, and the one who has seen both suddenly transcends both.
There is a relaxation which is no ordinary relaxation. You know some kind of relaxation: when you feel exhausted, you relax. But that relaxation is very rest-less. It is not cessation of becoming, it is just tiredness. You have been working, the whole day; in the night you have to fall into sleep -- but your sleep will remain restless. You will have many dreams and nightmares. And in sleep also you will continue to move; your mind will still go on spinning and weaving a thousand and one dreams.
Ordinarily, what rest we know is just the other side of restlessness -- tiredness, exhaustion.
There is a new kind of relaxation. When you have seen the tiredness of desire and you have seen the rest of desirelessness, a totally new kind of relaxation arises. THEN YOU ARE RELAXED BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT. YOU are relaxed because there is NOBODY to get tense! The very complex has disappeared. How can you be tense? There is nobody. You cannot create a knot inside you because you are not! You have simply disappeared. It is an emptiness inside you. You cannot create knots in emptiness.

The fifth characteristic of samadhi is: awareness -- consciousness, seeing, knowing, witnessing; the fourth state the Hindus call TURIYA. This is what Ikkyu means when he says, "LOOK, LOOK, LOOK." And when he is asked, "What do you mean by 'LOOK'?" He says, "LOOK means LOOK."

Have eyes open. Be alert, be mindful. See things as they are. Don't create fictions, don't project.
You go to the movies.... Sometimes try one experiment. Sometimes try an experiment with a projector in your home. You have to put the screen at a certain distance from the projector, then the projected pictures are clear. Then start bringing the screen closer to the projector. Soon they start becoming blurred, they are no more clear. You cannot make any distinction as to what is what, which is which. Bring it still closer. Now it is impossible to make any sense out of which is the tree and which is the man and which is the dog and which is the car. All are diffused. Bring it still closer... the closer you bring it, the more distinctions are lost. Then there comes a point when the screen has come very close to the projector: there is only white light left. Black shadows have disappeared... pure white light. When the beam leaves the projector, it is pure white light. the farther it goes, then it divides into black and white. A certain distance is needed to see the pictures clearly.
In awareness, exactly this happens. When you become very very alert, you start looking very closely at reality, and distinctions start disappearing. Trees are no more trees and rivers are no more rivers and mountains are no more mountains. ALL starts melting into one. Then you become even more aware. And the more clearly you see into things... the screen comes even closer. Then there is only pure white light -- all the divisions have disappeared. That is what is called awareness. Then all the illusions of life are no more valid, there is only pure light -- the light of awareness.
The sixth characteristic of samadhi is: deathlessness, timelessness, eternity. When you are not, how can you die? When there is no ego in you, how can you die?
Many people used to ask Buddha in his lifetime, thousands of times the question has been asked: "What will happen to you, Sir, when you die?" And Buddha always smiles and he says, "There is nobody to die." But he makes it clear that "I am not saying that I am immortal. There is not nobody to be immortal either."
Now our stupidity is such that first we think we will die, because the ego is there and we are afraid whether we will be able to keep it, protect it, or not. Then comes somebody who knows. And he says, "Nothing dies." Then we project another falsity: we start thinking we are immortal. But the basic error remains the same. First we were thinking "we are going to die" -- WE WERE and we were going to die. Still WE ARE -- now we are not going to die.
Buddha says: "I am not going to die because I am not. It is not that I am immortal. There is nobody to die, and there is nobody to be immortal. There is no self, so how is death possible?"
This is a totally different standpoint! This is the difference between Vedanta and Buddha. This is the difference between Shankara and Buddha. And Buddha's insight IS FAR MORE penetrating than Shankara's. Shankara goes on saying, "You are immortal because the soul is immortal. It cannot die -- it is deathless." Buddha also says that you will not die, but he never says that you are immortal. He says, "You will never die because you cannot die -- in the first place you are not."
To see it -- that "I am not" -- is to drop both mortality and immortality. Time disappears. What is your immortality? It will be just an extension of time, more and more duration. What will it be? Seventy years you are going to live -- seven hundred years? seven million years? but it will be just duration. What is your eternity? Nothing but a desire to cling, a desire to remain always. For what? Just a blind desire to cling to existence? Just a blind desire, a blind lust for life?
Buddha says: "Why are you concerned with mortality and immortality?" Deep down, those who say they will die and those who say they will never die, both are the same, because both believe in the ego.
The Charvakas, the materialists, say, "We will die"; and the so-called spiritualists say, "We will not die." But BOTH are concerned with the ego.
Buddha brings a new breeze into the human mind, into human consciousness. He says: "You will not die -- not because you are immortal -- but because you ARE NOT! " See the point of it! the radical change, the basic revolution of it! Deathlessness is part of the phenomenon of samadhi.
And the seventh is: infinity. Space disappears. You are nowhere and yet everywhere. You are nobody and yet everybody.
These are the seven characteristics of samadhi. And this is what happened to this archer who wanted to become the greatest archer in the world. The story does not say what he learned in those nine years when he was with the old man in the mountains. This is what he learned -- SAMADHI he learned. That's why I started with samadhi, so that you become aware of what he learned there, because that is the real point in the story.
The whole story revolves upon one word: SAMADHI -- WU SATORI.

Now the story:

CHI CH'ANG ASPIRED TO BE THE GREATEST ARCHER IN THE WORLD.

THAT'S WHAT EVERYBODY IS ASPIRING TO -- to be the greatest in the world. Archer, painter, poet, politician, or you name it, but that is what mind aspires to: to be the greatest in the world.
Mind is an ego trip. The mind wants to stand in front of all. In fact, it IS NOT possible. Hence, mind ultimately leads into frustration. It is not possible to be first in the line because there is no line; we are standing in a circle. There is always somebody who is ahead of you. There will always be somebody who is ahead of you. You cannot come to a point where you are the first man. Even those who become presidents and prime ministers and kings -- even they are never the first. In fact, the moment they start feeling they are the first, they become aware of how impotent and helpless they are.
We are not standing in a queue, we are moving in a circle. Somebody is behind you, somebody is ahead of you. In fact, if you look deep, the one who is behind you is also ahead of you. If you see the whole circle, the man who is standing behind you, from the other end he is ahead of you. And the man who is standing in front of you, from the other end is behind you. It is a circle.
Life moves in circles, it is not linear. EVERYTHING moves in circles! Let this sink into your heart. Whenever you are thinking about any problem in life, always remain circular. It is not linear. The stars move in a circle, the earth moves in a circle, the seasons move in a circle. Childhood, youth, old age, move in a circle. Everything moves in a circle. Linear movement is a mind construct, imaginary. In fact there are new mathematicians, new geometries -- non-Euclidean geometries -- which believe that you cannot draw a simple straight line. That's not possible. A straight line is impossible to draw, because we ARE on a globe -- the earth is round.
You can draw a straight line just in front of you on this floor. But it will not be really straight. If you go on drawing it from both the ends, one day it will become a circle around the earth. So when it was looking straight it was only a fragment of the big circle, it was an are -- an incomplete circle, that's all. It was not straight. Straight lines cannot be drawn.
Because straight lines don't exist, Albert Einstein had to propound a very absurd thing: that space is curved. Straight lines can't exist, so space has to be curved. Even space -- which means nothingness -- is curved, it is not straight. It is very difficult to conceive how nothingness can be curved. Something can be curved, but how can nothingness be curved? Nothing is nothing! How will the curve arise out of nothing? But Einstein is right. He says that when nothing exists as a straight line, then we cannot even conceive space as a straight line. It is curved.
Everything is a curve... so nobody ever comes to be the first. In fact, those who think they have come to be the first are the most frustrated men in the world. That's why Buddha left his empire, became a beggar, recognizing the fact that "I seem to all apparent purposes to be the first, but I am not."

This man, CHI CH'ANG, ASPIRED TO BE THE GREATEST ARCHER IN THE WORLD. SO HE BECAME THE PUPIL OF WEI FEI.
FIRST WEI FEI ORDERED HIM TO LEARN NOT TO BLINK.

Concentration is the first necessity for anybody who has any kind of ambition. Concentration is the way to ambition. This man was ambitious. The Master said, "Okay. The first thing to learn is not to blink."

CHI CH'ANG CREPT UNDER HIS WIFE'S LOOM AND LAY THERE ON HIS BACK STARING WITHOUT BLINKING AT THE TREADLE AS IT RUSHED UP AND DOWN DIRECTLY BEFORE HIS EYES. AFTER TWO YEARS HE HAD REACHED THE POINT OF NOT BLINKING EVEN IF ONE OF HIS EYE-LASHES WAS CAUGHT IN THE TREADLE.

He attained to concentration.

"TO KNOW HOW NOT TO BLINK IS ONLY THE FIRST STEP," SAID WEI FEI....

The Master said, "Good, but this is only the first step."

"... NEXT YOU MUST LEARN TO LOOK. PRACTISE LOOKING AT THINGS, AND IF THE TIME COMES WHEN WHAT IS MINUTE SEEMS CONSPICUOUS, AND WHAT IS SMALL SEEMS HUGE, VISIT ME ONCE MORE."

Now the second step is to look into things so penetratingly that even the small starts looking big.
It depends how penetratingly you look, how deeply you look into things. If you look indifferently, even the Himalayas is a small thing. It is relative. If you look very very deeply, even a small particle is bigger than the Himalayas. It depends on the proportion: how deeply you look. The atomic becomes cosmic if the LOOK IS cosmic; and the cosmic becomes atomic if the look is atomic.
Ordinarily we look very indifferently. We go on missing. God is everywhere! From every tree He has been calling you, and from every rock He has been inviting you. In every river are His sermons, but you are indifferent. You don't know how to look so you go on missing. He is in the minutest, in the smallest, but you go on missing. It is not because He is not there that you are missing -- you miss only because you don't know how to look.
The Master said "Now learn to look. Practise looking at things and if the time comes when you start seeing the small as the huge come back."

CHI CH'ANG SEARCHED FOR A TINY INSECT HARDLY VISIBLE TO THE NAKED EYE, PLACED IT ON A BLADE OF GRASS AND HUNG IT BY THE WINDOW OF HIS STUDY. HE THEN TOOK UP A POSITION AT THE END OF THE ROOM AND SAT THERE DAY AFTER DAY STARING AT THE INSECT. AT FIRST HE COULD HARDLY SEE IT, BUT AFTER TEN DAYS HE BEGAN TO FANCY THAT IT WAS SLIGHTLY BIGGER.
FOR THREE YEARS HE HARDLY LEFT HIS STUDY. THEN ONE DAY HE PERCEIVED THAT THE INSECT BY THE WINDOW WAS AS BIG AS A HORSE. "I'VE DONE IT!" HE EXCLAIMED.
THIS TIME THE TEACHER WAS SUFFICIENTLY IMPRESSED TO SAY, "WELL DONE!"

Because this man has done something valuable: he has transformed the size of a small insect just by looking at it constantly. Now the cosmic can be found in the atomic. And that is one of the basic lessons in archery. You have to see the small as huge only then will your target never be missed -- only then will you become an archer.
In Zen archery has been used for centuries as a technique for meditation. It is because it needs almost the same qualities as meditation needs. First: a non-blinking eye. Second: the capacity to look into things so deeply that the things start changing their size; their size starts depending on your look.

CHI CH'ANG SOON BECAME A MASTER OF ARCHERY, AND NO FEAT OF BOWMANSHIP NOW SEEMED BEYOND HIS POWERS. HE SEEMED CLOSE TO THE ACHIEVEMENT OF HIS AMBITION, BUT WITH AN UNPLEASANT JOLT HE REALIZED THAT ONE OBSTACLE REMAINED: SO LONG AS THE MASTER WEI FEI LIVED, CHI CH'ANG COULD NEVER CALL HIMSELF THE GREATEST ARCHER IN THE WORLD.

That's what always happens to ambition. When you are nearing to the end, suddenly you recognize that one thing is very basically missing -- somebody is still ahead of you. And ambition is very violent. Even if it is your Master, you can kill him. Ambition is violence. An ambitious man can never ke non-violent. An ambitious man can never love. Not even his own Master is safe! An ambitious man is a dangerous man. Ambition is poison. It poisons you.
Now this archer recognized the fact that "I have become the greatest archer, but only one problem remains -- the Master is alive. I can never claim to be the first as long as he is alive.' A natural conclusion: kill him.
Ambition kills. You have been killing, everybody has been killing, because there is ambition. In direct ways, in indirect ways, everybody is a murderer -- because everybody is ambitious. Only non-ambition is non-violent.
So let it be remembered always: you cannot become non-violent if there is still ambition -- any kind of ambition will never allow you compassion. How can you be compassionate if there is ambition? You have still to fight, still to make your way. And when there is ambition, all means are right. Who bothers about the means? The end is the thing!

WALKING THROUGH THE FIELDS ONE DAY, CHI CH'ANG CAUGHT SIGHT OF WEI FEI FAR IN THE DISTANCE.

He saw the old man. And this is his Master, and he has been teaching him all these years.

WITHOUT A MOMENT'S HESITATION HE RAISED HIS BOW, FIXED AN ARROW, AND TOOK AIM. HIS OLD MASTER, HOWEVER, HAD SENSED WHAT WAS HAPPENING AND IN A FLASH HAD ALSO NOTCHED AN ARROW.

He must have noticed it from the day this man had come to him, because an ambitious man is never a disciple. An ambitious man is never surrendered. His surrender is just technical; his surrender is not of the heart.
The Master must have known it! "Sooner or later he will go against me. Sooner or later his ambition will create the idea in his mind to destroy me." So the Master must have been alert. All Masters have always been alert about ambitious disciples.
There is every possibility that Judas was the most ambitious disciple of Jesus. He had reasons to be. He was the most learned, the most scholarly, the most rational, and he used to think that he was even more intelligent than Jesus. He used to argue with Jesus. And if you listen to his arguments, sometimes you will feel convinced by him rather than by Jesus, because Jesus is not argumentative. He had his own reasons, but those reasons are very subtle. Only when you have eyes can you see, otherwise not. Judas' reasons are very apparent, very familiar.

One day a woman came and poured very very valuable perfume on Jesus' feet. Judas was there and he didn't miss the opportunity. He said, "Look, you should have prevented her! This is wastage! It was so valuable that the whole town could have been invited to a feast, and people are poor." His argument was exactly that of a socialist or a communist. Judas is a socialist. He says, "The whole village could have eaten well. They could have enjoyed. You should have prevented her! What is this nonsense?"
And what does Jesus say? Jesus says, "The poor people will always be here when I am gone. You can serve them when I am gone."
Now this is not very appealing -- or do you think it is very appealing? It doesn't seem very appealing. Seems to be a very impotent argument: "I will be gone soon, so let her do whatsoever she wants to do. Poor people will always be here."
On the surface Judas seems to he more solid. If votes are asked for, Judas is going to win. But Jesus' point is from a totally different plane. He is saying, "These things don't matter. Even if you give a feast to the whole village, that is not going to help much. But to prevent this woman, who had come with such prayer in her heart, would have destroyed a great possibility of growth. To say no to her, to stop her, would have been very very destructive. She is delicate, she is fragile."
It is not the perfume that Jesus is looking at. He is looking at the heart of the woman. But the head never looks at the heart. The head has its own reasons.
Buddha's disciple, Devadatta, betrayed him. He was one of the most intelligent people around him. He was one of his cousin-brothers. He was from a royal family as Buddha himself was. He betrayed Buddha.
Mahavir's own son-in-law betrayed him. He was the most educated, cultured person around Mahavir. Why? Ambitious people. That son-in-law of Mahavir had the ambition to become the greatest teacher in the world, and Mahavir was standing in the way. As long as Mahavir was alive it was difficult.
Devadatta had the ambition to become the greatest Buddha of the world, and as long as Gautam Buddha was alive it was difficult. Devadatta tried to kill Buddha in many ways; he made many attempts on his life. Ambition is poisonous. It makes people blind.

THEIR ARROWS COLLIDED HALF WAY AND FELL TOGETHER TO THE GROUND. THE STRANGE DUEL CONTINUED UNTIL THE MASTER'S QUIVER WAS EMPTY BUT ONE ARROW STILL REMAINED WITH THE PUPIL.

This is symbolic. The Master is old, the pupil is young. The Master is already getting ready to die.

"NOW IS MY CHANCE!" MUTTERED CHI CH'ANG WHO IMMEDIATELY AIMED THE FINAL ARROW. SEEING THIS, WEI FEI BROKE OFF A TWIG FROM A THORN-BUSH BESIDE HIM, AND AS THE ARROW SPED TOWARDS HIS HEART HE FLICKED THE POINT SHARPLY WITH THE TIP OF ONE OF THE THORNS AND BROUGHT IT TO THE GROUND AT HIS FEET.

This was the last trick the Master had not yet taught. Every Master has to be careful to keep at least one thing secret.

But now he said, "MY FRIEND..."

Listen to the word. He says, "My friend." What does he mean? He is saying, "I am no more your Master. You are no more my disciple. Now forgive me. Now forget me! Now I declare you my friend, and I have taught you all that I know -- even the last trick. You have seen it and you know it."

"I HAVE NOW, AS YOU REALIZE, TRANSMITTED TO YOU ALL THE KNOWLEDGE OF ARCHERY THAT I POSSESS. IF YOU WISH TO DELVE FURTHER INTO THESE MYSTERIES YOU MUST SEEK THE AGED MASTER KAN YING. COMPARED TO HIS SKILL OUR BOWMANSHIP IS AS THE PUNY FUMBLING OF CHILDREN."

Now, even if he was going to kill his Master, the Master sends him on another journey. The Master sends him to his own Master, the old man in the mountains. He says, "What we know is just childish. I am not yet myself the greatest archer in the world. You can please forgive me. If you really want to become the greatest archer in the world, now you go to another. My own Master is still alive. Compared to his art we don't know anything."

AFTER MONTHS OF ARDUOUS CLIMBING, CHI CH'ANG REACHED THE CAVE WHERE DWELT KAN YING AND ANNOUNCED TO THE OLD MAN, "I HAVE COME TO FIND OUT IF I AM AS GREAT AN ARCHER AS I BELIEVE." AND WITHOUT WAITING FOR A REPLY HE NOTCHED AN ARROW, AIMED AT A FLOCK OF MIGRATING BIRDS, AND BROUGHT DOWN FIVE BIRDS ALL AT ONCE.
THE OLD MAN SMILED AND SAID, "BUT THIS IS MERE SHOOTING WITH BOW AND ARROW. HAVE YOU NOT YET LEARNED TO SHOOT WITHOUT SHOOTING? COME WITH ME."

THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TECHNICIAN and an artist. The technician knows all the technique, but that is not enough. You can know all about how to paint, yet you don't become a Michelangelo. You can know all about music and how to create it, yet you don't become a Beethoven. Knowledge of the technique is needed, but is not all -- is necessary, but not enough. The real transcendence comes only when the technique is forgotten, when the technique is no more needed, when you can work without the technique. That is the meaning of it.

"BUT THIS IS MERE SHOOTING WITH BOW AND ARROW."

Good, as far as it goes -- with bow and arrow -- but this is nothing.

"HAVE YOU NOT YET LEARNED TO SHOOT WITHOUT SHOOTING?"

If you meditate with a technique, it is mere shooting with bow and arrow. The day you drop all techniques of meditation, and meditation flows without any techniques and without any methods, it is real shooting. When the meditation becomes perfect, meditation disappears. That is the point of perfection -- when you don't need it.
When love becomes perfect, you forget the word 'love'. When you have really arrived and you have become happy, you don't know that you are happy. How can you know that you are happy? Only an unhappy person can know that he is happy. It is known only in comparison, by contrast.
If you create music on an instrument, you don't know yet that there is a music that is already overflowing in existence, and it needs no instrument to create it. It needs only an open heart to hear it. In fact, when music is created by an instrument, something of the music that surrounds, that vibrates all over existence is reflected in it. That's all. SOMETHING of it is reflected in it -- it is an echo, a far distant echo. Even THAT satisfies so much, so what to say about the real music? That real music, in India we call ANAHAT NAD -- unstruck, not created by striking an instrument, not created by pulling wires, striking, by making any effort, but by becoming so utterly silent that one hears it.
That is what Zen people call 'the sound of one hand clapping.' All other sounds are created sounds, struck -- two hands clapping. But when two hands are clapping, the sound is momentary. It will be there for a moment, it will cohere there for a moment, and then it is gone. But there is an eternal music -- the celestial music Pythagoreans talk about, the music of the stars -- which has to be heard. There is no need to create it. It is already there. It has been there. It is the very nature of existence itself.

The Master said then, "COME WITH ME."
CHI CH'ANG FOLLOWED HIM IN SILENCE TO THE EDGE OF A GREAT DIFF. WHEN HE GLANCED DOWN HIS EYES BECAME BLURRED AND HIS HEAD BEGAN TO SPIN.

A great edge overlooking a cliff... abysmal, and he must have felt sickness, nausea arising in his stomach. He must have become afraid.
When you are afraid, how can you be an archer? When death still affects you, how can you be a perfect archer? When fear is there, trembling is there. And if trembling is there. how your aim be perfect?l Maybe ordinary people will not see the quiver in your hand when you are shooting the arrow, but you cannot avoid the eyes of one who knows. He will see the quiver in your hand, the trembling. If your heart is trembling.... What is happening there standing on that cliff is nothing new; only death has been brought to be an obvious fact confronting him. The man has become afraid. He must have been afraid of death always.
In fact, the mind is always afraid of death, and the ambitious mind more so. The ambitious mind is very much afraid of death. The fear is: Is it going to happen that I will be able to do it before death comes? Will I manage? Will I succeed before death comes, or am I going to fail? The ambitious man is MORE afraid of death than the non-ambitious man. The non-ambitious man has nothing to lose. If death comes... okay. He was not fulfilling any ambition here, so death cannot take anything away from him.
The old Master must have looked. Those old eyes are penetrating. Those ancient eyes must have seen the trembling inside of this man. In fact, through ambition we want to prove our ego against death, but nothing can be proved against death. The ego has to go, the ego has to die. It cannot be deathless. You can have as much money as you desire, but you will have to die. You can have as much power as possible, but you will have to die. Nothing can protect you.

... HE GLANCED DOWN HIS EYES BECAME BLURRED AND HIS HEAD BEGAN TO SPIN. MEANWHILE THE MASTER KAN YING RAN...

Listen:

... RAN LIGHTLY ON TO A NARROW LEDGE WHICH JUTTED STRAIGHT OUT OVER THE PRECIPICE, AND TURNING ROUND SAID, "NOW SHOW ME YOUR REAL SKILL. COME HERE WHERE I AM STANDING AND LET ME SEE YOUR BOWMANSHIP."
WHEN CHI CH'ANG STEPPED ON THE LEDGE IT BEGAN TO SWAY SLIGHTLY TO AND FRO. HE TRIED TO NOTCH AN ARROW, BUT SOON HE FELT THAT HE WAS GOING TO LOSE HIS BALANCE. HE LAY DOWN ON THE LEDGE CLUTCHING ITS EDGES FIRMLY WITH HIS FINGERS. HIS LEGS SHOOK AND THE PERSPIRATION FLOWED FROM HIS WHOLE BODY.

Now the old man has reduced him to his reality. All that ego, all that ambition, all that idea of being the greatest archer in the world -- all finished! Just the fear -- and he is trembling like a small child who has got lost.
All our achievements are like that. When you face death, they will all be meaningless. Suddenly you will find you are just the same child you have always been -- afraid, trembling.

THE OLD MAN LAUGHED, REACHED OUT HIS HAND AND HELPED CHI CH'ANG DOWN. JUMPING ON TO IT HIMSELF HE SAID, "ALLOW ME, SIR, TO SHOW YOU WHAT ARCHERY REALLY IS."
"WHAT ABOUT YOUR BOW?" ASKED CHI CH'ANG.

Naturally.... If you go to Buddha you will ask, "Sir, how do you meditate? What is your method?" If you go to Jesus, you will ask, "Sir, how do you pray? What is your prayer?" You will be asking absurd questions.
Jesus has nothing to say to God. His prayer is not that of saying something to God. His prayer is only that of listening. And Buddha does not practise any meditation, because all practice is of the mind. The mind has disappeared. Buddha is meditation.
This is difficult for us. Buddha is not DOING meditation, Buddha is meditation.
People come to me. "Osho, do you love us?" they ask. It is difficult for them, because they know only one kind of love -- which has to be done. They don't know another kind, the real kind. There is love and there is Love! The other kind need not be done, it is simply there.
I don't love you. I AM LOVE. That's a totally different kind. It may not feel very good to your ego, but you don't know the real coin. You know only the false coin. The real love is not a relationship -- it is a state of being.

"WHAT ABOUT YOUR BOW?" ASKED CHI CH'ANG.
"MY BOW?" SAID THE OLD MAN LAUGHING. "SO LONG AS ONE REQUIRES BOW AND ARROW ONE IS STILL AT THE PERIPHERY OF THE ART. REAL ARCHERY DISPENSES WITH BOTH BOW AND ARROW."

Real art always dispenses with the techniques. If you are involved in the techniques, you are on the periphery. Good! Nothing wrong about it. But remember: one has to go beyond them. One has to go beyond all confinements. One has to go beyond all methods. One has to become so spontaneous that no method is needed. Meditation is you. Love is you. God is you.

DIRECTLY ABOVE THEIR HEADS A SINGLE KITE WAS WHEELING IN THE SKY. THE HERMIT LOOKED UP AT IT AND CHI CH'ANG FOLLOWED HIS GAZE. SO HIGH WAS THE BIRD THAT EVEN TO HIS SHARP EYES IT LOOKED LIKE A SMALL SESAME SEED. KAN YING NOTCHED AN INVISIBLE ARROW ON AN INCORPOREAL BOW, DREW THE STRING TO ITS FULL EXTENSION, AND RELEASED IT. THE NEXT MOMENT THE KITE STOPPED FLAPPING ITS WINGS AND FELL LIKE A STONE TO THE GROUND.

It happens. It is not a miracle. If a mind which is totally silent just thinks about anything, it happens. That's why all the old scriptures of the world say one thing that before you attain to samadhi you should drop all kinds of wrong thoughts from your mind, otherwise you can be a danger to humanity.
Now there is the secret of why Patanjali insists so much on first dropping all vices from the mind, why Buddha insists on dropping all wrong ideas from the mind, why Mahavir says to drop violence, drop untruth, drop attachment. Why? Because once you attain to silence, whatsoever arises in your mind will immediately be fulfilled. You can become dangerous. And sometimes it happens....
Sometimes it happens that a person becomes meditative and much danger happens into the world. That happened in the case of Rasputin. He was a meditative man, but not prepared for it. Accidentally he had stumbled upon meditation. He prayed hard, he prayed long for many years, and then he knew. And then he became capable of doing things. Whatsoever he would say, DID happen.
He said to the Czar of Russia.... The wife of the Czar was very much devoted to him, but the Czar was a little reluctant. And Rasputin was afraid that the Czar may throw him out. One day he said to the Czar, "Remember, if I die, your whole kingdom is going to disappear. Only with me can your kingdom stay." And that's how it happened. He was killed and the next thing was the revolution. The whole of the Czar's family was killed -- eighteen members, even the child of two months. All that Rasputin said was fulfilled. He was very prophetic.
It happens sometimes that a man stumbles accidentally on meditation. It is better to move very slowly, very carefully. It is not a miracle! If a man like Kan Ying simply imagines that the kite will fall down, it will fall down -- because we are joined with each other.
What happens when I move my hand? It is a miracle. A thought arises in me to move the hand, and the hand moves. Now the hand is matter and thought is not matter. It is a mystery for science. It still has not been explained how it happens -- the thought arises and the hand moves. Where is the thought transformed into matter, and how can it be transformed? If the hand can move, then why can't YOUR hand move? If the thought arises in me that "Let your hand move," your hand can also move. And you can try it. And sometimes you will be surprised. It happens....
You are following somebody. Just go on looking at the back of his neck. After two, three minutes, just deep inside say loudly -- inside, not aloud -- but say strongly inside, "Look back at me." And you will be surprised: the person immediately looks back at you. What has happened? The thought has been transferred. The thought jumped, reached to the other person.
A man of the capacity of Kan Ying can easily do it -- just the idea! And the kite is not far away. We are JOINED. We live in an ocean of thought, we are all together. Each affects the other, we are members of each other.

FOR NINE YEARS CHI CH'ANG STAYED IN THE MOUNTAINS WITH THE OLD HERMIT. WHAT DISCIPLINES HE UNDERWENT DURING THIS TIME NONE EVER KNEW.
WHEN IN THE TENTH YEAR HE RETURNED HOME ALL WERE AMAZED AT THE CHANGE IN HIM. HIS FORMER RESOLUTE AND ARROGANT COUNTENANCE HAD DISAPPEARED...

ALL THAT Ambitiousness, all that egoistic trip that "I want to become the greatest archer in the world" had disappeared. With this old man, in fact, the self disappeared. All those three egos -- physical, psychological, spiritual -- disappeared. He was no more arrogant, no more humble either.

... IN ITS PLACE HAD COME THE LOOK OF A SIMPLETON.

Like an idiot, a simpleton. As if he has no more any mind. As if he is mindless, or like a child, or like a fool, or like an imbecile. This is the highest state: of being a simpleton. It was exactly like this that it happened to St. Francis of Assisi. He was a simpleton. It is exactly the same case with Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu; and particularly in Tao, this is the highest state: to become a simpleton -- not knowing what is what, not knowing at all. When ALL selves have disappeared, there is utter silence and ignorance. And ignorance is very intimate. One knows nothing. One is not -- how can one know anything?

HIS OLD TEACHER, WEI FEI, CAME TO VISIT HIM AND SAID AFTER A SINGLE GLANCE, "NOW I SEE THAT YOU HAVE INDEED BECOME AN EXPERT! SUCH AS I ARE NO LONGER WORTHY EVER TO TOUCH YOUR FEET. "
THE INHABITANTS OF HIS CITY HAILED CHI CH'ANG AS THE GREATEST ARCHER IN THE WORLD AND IMPATIENTLY AWAITED THE WONDERFUL FEATS WHICH HE WOULD NO DOUBT SOON DISPLAY. BUT CHI CH'ANG DID NOTHING TO SATISFY THEIR EXPECTATIONS.

There was nobody left to satisfy their expectations. He was just a silence now, an emptiness.

THE GREAT POPLAR BOW WHICH HE HAD TAKEN WITH HIM ON HIS JOURNEY HE EVIDENTLY HAD LEFT BEHIND. WHEN SOMEONE ASKED HIM TO EXPLAIN HE ANSWERED IN A LANGUID TONE, "THE ULTIMATE STAGE OF ACTIVITY IS INACTIVITY; THE ULTIMATE STAGE OF SPEAKING IS TO REFRAIN FROM SPEECH; THE ULTIMATE IN SHOOTING IS NOT TO SHOOT."

The ultimate is negative. The positive is the periphery, the negative is the center. The ultimate is like nothingness -- SHUNYATA.

CHI CH'ANG GREW OLD. MORE AND MORE HE SEEMED TO HAVE ENTERED THE STATE IN WHICH BOTH MIND AND BODY LOOK NO LONGER TO THINGS OUTSIDE, BUT EXIST BY THEMSELVES IN RESTFUL AND ELEGANT SIMPLICITY.

Elegant simplicity.... It was not a practised simplicity. It was not a cultivated simplicity. It was elegant, it was natural. The ego had disappeared -- THAT'S WHY THERE IS SIMPLICITY! You can practise simplicity, but then it is just a decoration to the ego.
There are two kinds of simplicity. One simplicity: the so-called MAHATMA, the saint, who practises it. It is a very calculated move, a calculated gesture. It is very cunning, it is not simplicity. It is a facade. Then there is another kind of simplicity: elegant, graceful, spontaneous, uncultivated, natural, is like that of a child, unselfconscious. Hence elegant, hence graceful.

HIS STOLID FACE DIVESTED ITSELF OF EVERY VESTIGE OF EXPRESSION; NO OUTSIDE FORCE COULD DISTURB HIS COMPLETE IMPASSIVENESS.
IT WAS RARE NOW FOR HIM TO SPEAK, AND PRESENTLY ONE COULD NO LONGER TELL WHETHER OR NOT HE STILL BREATHED. IN THE EVENING OF HIS LIFE HE NO LONGER KNEW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 'THIS' AND 'THAT'. THE KALEIDOSCOPE OF SENSORY IMPRESSIONS NO LONGER CONCERNED HIM; FOR ALL HE CARED, HIS EYE MIGHT HAVE BEEN AN EAR, HIS EAR A NOSE, HIS NOSE A MOUTH.

All distinctions disappeared. He knew nothing -- he knew nothing of 'this' and 'that'. One thousand and one things all became one. Everything became merged into everything else. It was one unity, this whole existence, without any distinctions, without any divisions. All pigeonholes, all categories, left behind.

OF HIS LAST YEAR, THE STORY IS TOLD THAT ONE DAY HE VISITED A FRIEND'S HOUSE AND SAW LYING ON A TABLE A VAGUELY FAMILIAR UTENSIL WHOSE NAME HE COULD, HOWEVER, NOT RECALL. HE TURNED TO HIS FRIEND AND SAID, "PRAY TELL ME: THAT OBJECT ON YOUR TABLE -- WHAT IS IT CALLED, AND FOR WHAT IS IT USED?"
THE FRIEND STAMMERED OUT IN AN AWE-STRUCK TONE, "OH, MASTER. YOU MUST INDEED BE THE GREATEST MASTER OF ALL TIMES. ONLY SO CAN YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN THE BOW -- BOTH ITS NAME AND ITS USE!"
IT WAS SAID THAT FOR SOME TIME AFTER THIS IN THE CITY, PAINTERS THREW AWAY THEIR BRUSHES, MUSICIANS BROKE THE STRINGS OF THEIR INSTRUMENTS, AND CARPENTERS WERE ASHAMED TO BE SEEN WITH THEIR RULES.

This is what Zen is.
Zen is not a method. Zen is going beyond all methods. Zen is not a way! Zen is dropping all the ways to arrive home. Zen is not a journey -- there is no goal in it. Zen is the disappearance of all journeys and the sudden recognition that you are there already, that you have been there always.
Zen is a sudden illumination, abrupt, not gradual, because gradual means practising, step by step. Zen is sudden. Nothing has to be practised. It is already the case.
That which you are seeking is already within you. The seeker is the sought. You just have to stop seeking and look. Look into your form, and you will not find it. Look into your mind, and you will not find it. Look into your self, and you will not find it. And when all these three have not been found, you will find who you are!

 

 

Next: Chapter 10: A Song Untouched by Time, Question 1

 


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