A ZEN STUDENT CAME TO BANKEI AND SAID: 'MASTER, I HAVE AN UNGOVERNABLE TEMPER -- HOW CAN I CURE IT?'
'SHOW ME THIS TEMPER,' SAID BANKEI, 'IT SOUNDS FASCINATING.'
'I HAVEN'T GOT IT RIGHT NOW,' SAID THE STUDENT, 'SO I CAN'T SHOW IT TO YOU.'
'WELL THEN,' SAID BANKEI, 'BRING IT TO ME WHEN YOU HAVE IT.'
'BUT I CAN'T BRING IT JUST WHEN I HAPPEN TO HAVE IT,' PROTESTED THE STUDENT. 'IT ARISES UNEXPECTEDLY, AND I WOULD SURELY LOSE IT BEFORE I GOT IT TO YOU.'
'IN THAT CASE,' SAID BANKEI, 'IT CANNOT BE PART OF YOUR TRUE NATURE. IF IT WERE, YOU COULD SHOW IT TO ME AT ANY TIME.
WHEN YOU WERE BORN YOU DID NOT HAVE IT, AND YOUR PARENTS DID NOT GIVE IT TO YOU -- SO IT MUST COME INTO YOU FROM THE OUTSIDE.
I SUGGEST THAT WHENEVER IT GETS INTO YOU, YOU BEAT YOURSELF WITH A STICK UNTIL THE TEMPER CAN'T STAND IT, AND RUNS AWAY.'
THE TRUE NATURE IS your eternal nature. You cannot have it and not have it, it is not something that comes and goes -- it is you. How can it come and go? It is your BEING. It is your very foundation. It cannot BE sometimes, and NOT BE sometimes; it is always there.
So this should be the criterion for a seeker of truth, nature, tao: that we have to come to the point in our being which remains always and always -- even before you were born it was there, and even when you are dead it will be there. It is the center. The circumference changes, the center remains absolutely eternal; it is beyond time. Nothing can affect it, nothing can modify it, nothing really ever touches it; it remains beyond all reach of the outside world.
Go to the sea, and watch the sea. Millions of waves are there, but deep in its depth the sea remains calm and quiet, deep in meditation; the turmoil is just on the surface, just on the surface where the sea meets the outside world, the winds. Otherwise, in itself, it always remains the same, not even a ripple; nothing changes.
It is the same with you. Just on the surface where you meet others there is turmoil, anxiety, anger, attachment, greed, lust -- just on the surface where winds come and touch you. And if you remain on the surface you cannot change this changing phenomenon; it will remain there.
Many people try to change it THERE, on the circumference. They fight with it, they try not to let a wave arise. And through their fight even more waves arise, because when the sea fights with the wind there will be more turmoil: now not only will the wind help it, the sea will also help -- there will be tremendous chaos on the surface.
All the moralists try to change man on the periphery. Your character is the periphery: you don't bring any character into the world, you come absolutely characterLESS, a blank sheet, and all that you call your character is written by others. Your parents, society, teachers, teachings -- all are conditionings. You come as a blank sheet, and whatsoever is written on you comes from others; so unless you become a blank sheet again you will not know what nature is, you will not know what Brahma is, you will not know what tao is.
So the problem is not how to have a strong character, the problem is not how to attain no- anger, how not to be disturbed -- no, that is not the problem. The problem is how to change your consciousness from the periphery to the center. Then suddenly you see that you have always been calm. Then you can look at the periphery from a distance, and the distance is so vast, infinite, that you can watch as if it is not happening to you. In fact, it never happens to you. Even when you are completely lost in it, it never happens to you:
something in you remains undisturbed, something in you remains beyond, something in you remains a witness.
So the whole problem for the seeker is how to shift his attention from the periphery to the center; how to be merged with that which is unchanging, and not to be identified with that which is just a boundary. On the boundary others are very influential, because on the boundary change is natural. The periphery will go on changing -- even a buddha's periphery changes.
The difference between a buddha and you is not a difference of character -- remember this; it is not a difference of morality, it is not a difference in virtue or nonvirtue, it is a difference in where you are grounded.
You are grounded on the periphery, a buddha is grounded in the center. He can look at his own periphery from a distance; when you hit him he can see it as if you have hit somebody else, because the center is SO distant. It's as if he is a watcher on the hills and something is happening in the valleys and he can see it. This is the first thing to be understood.
Second thing: it is very easy to control, it is very difficult to transform. It is VERY easy to control. You can control your anger, but what will you do? -- you will suppress it. And what happens when you suppress a certain thing? The direction of its movement changes:
it was going out, and if you suppress it, it starts going in -- just its direction changes.
And for anger to go out was good, because the poison needs to be thrown out. It is bad for the anger to move within, because that means your whole body mind structure will be poisoned by it. And then if you go on doing this for a long time... as everybody has been doing, because the society teaches control, not transformation. The society says, 'Control yourself,' and through controlling all the negative things have been thrown deeper and deeper into the unconscious, and then they become a constant thing within you. Then it is not a question of your being angry sometimes and sometimes not -- you are simply angry.
Sometimes you explode, and sometimes you don't explode because there is no excuse, or you have to find an excuse. And remember, you can find an excuse anywhere!
A man, one of my friends, wanted to divorce his wife, so he went to a lawyer, an expert on marriage affairs, and he asked the lawyer, 'On what grounds can I divorce my wife?'
The lawyer looked at him and said, 'Are you married?'
The man said, 'Of course, yes.'
The lawyer said, 'Marriage is enough grounds. There is no need to seek any other grounds. If you want a divorce, then marriage is the only thing that is needed, because it will be impossible to divorce a woman if you are not married. If you are married -- enough!'
And this is the situation. You ARE angry. Because you have suppressed so much anger, now there are no moments when you are not angry; at the most, sometimes you are less angry, sometimes more. Your whole being is poisoned by suppression. You eat with anger -- and it has a different quality when a person eats without anger: it is beautiful to watch him, because he eats nonviolently. He may be eating meat, but he eats nonviolently; you may be eating just vegetables and fruits, but if anger is suppressed, you eat violently.
Just through eating, your teeth, your mouth release anger. You crush the food as if this is the enemy. And remember: whenever animals are angry, what will they do? Only two things are possible -- they don't have weapons and they don't have atom bombs, what can they do? Either with their nails or with their teeth they will do violence to you.
These are the natural weapons of the body -- nails and teeth. It is very difficult to do anything with your nails, because people will say, 'Are you an animal?' So the only thing remaining to you through which you can express your anger or violence easily is the mouth -- and that too you cannot use to bite anybody. That's why we say, 'a bite of bread,'
'a bite of food,' 'a few bites.'
You eat food violently, as if the food is the enemy. And remember, when the food is the enemy, it does not REALLY nourish you, it nourishes all that is ill in you. People with deep suppressed anger eat more; they go on gathering unnecessary fat in the body -- and have you observed that fat people are almost always smiling? Unnecessarily, even if there is no cause, fat people always go on smiling. Why? This is their face, this is the mask:
they are so much afraid of their anger and their violence that they have to keep a smiling face continuously on themselves -- and they go on eating more.
Eating more IS violence, anger. And then this will move in every way, in every arena of your life: you will make love, but it will be more like violence than like love, it will have much aggression in it. Because you never observe one another making love, you don't know what is happening, and you cannot know what is happening to you because you are almost always so much in aggression.
That's why deep orgasm through love becomes impossible -- because you are afraid deep down that if you move totally without control, you may kill your wife or kill your beloved, or the wife may kill the husband or the lover. You become so afraid of your own anger!
Next time you make love, watch: you will be doing the same movements as are done when you are aggressive. Watch the face, have a mirror around so you can see what is happening to your face! All the distortions of anger and aggression will be there.
In taking food, you become angry: look at a person eating. Look at a person making love -- the anger has gone so deep that even love, an activity totally opposite to anger, even that is poisoned; eating, an activity absolutely neutral, even that is poisoned. Then you just open the door and there is anger, you put a book on the table and there is anger, you put off the shoes and there is anger, you shake hands and there is anger -- because now you are anger personified.
Through suppression, mind becomes split. The part that you accept becomes the conscious, and the part that you deny becomes the unconscious. This division is not natural, the division happens because of repression. And into the unconscious you go on throwing all the rubbish that society rejects -- but remember, whatsoever you throw in there becomes more and more part of you: it goes into your hands, into your bones, into your blood, into your heartbeat. Now psychologists say that almost eighty percent of diseases are caused by repressed emotions: so many heart failures means so much anger has been repressed in the heart, so much hatred that the heart is poisoned.
Why? Why does man suppress so much and become unhealthy? Because the society teaches you to control, not to transform, and the way of transformation is totally different.
For one thing, it is not the way of control at all, it is just the opposite.
First thing: in controlling you repress, in transformation you express. But there is no need to express on somebody else because the 'somebody else' is just irrelevant. Next time you feel angry go and run around the house seven times, and after it sit under a tree and watch where the anger has gone. You have not repressed it, you have not controlled it, you have not thrown it on somebody else -- because if you throw it on somebody else a chain is created, because the other is as foolish as you, as unconscious as you. If you throw it on another, and if the other is an enlightened person, there will be no trouble; he will help you to throw and release it and go through a catharsis. But the other is as ignorant as you -- if you throw anger on him he will react. He will throw more anger on you, he is repressed as much as you are. Then there comes a chain: you throw on him, he throws on you, and you both become enemies.
Don't throw it on anybody. It is the same as when you feel like vomiting: you don't go and vomit on somebody. Anger needs a vomit. You go to the bathroom and vomit! It cleanses the whole body -- if you suppress the vomit it will be dangerous, and when you have vomited you will feel fresh, you will feel unburdened, unloaded, good, healthy.
Something was wrong in the food that you took and the body rejects it. Don't go on forcing it inside.
Anger is just a mental vomit. Something is wrong that you have taken in and your whole psychic being wants to throw it out, but there is no need to throw it out on somebody.
Because people throw it on others, society tells them to control it.
There is no need to throw anger on anybody. You can go to your bathroom, you can go on a long walk -- it means that something is inside that needs fast activity so that it is released. Just do a little jogging and you will feel it is released, or take a pillow and beat the pillow, fight with the pillow, and bite the pillow until your hands and teeth are relaxed. Within a five-minute catharsis you will feel unburdened, and once you know this you will never throw it on anybody, because that is absolutely foolish.
The first thing in transformation then is to express anger, but not on anybody, because if you express it on somebody you cannot express it totally. You may like to kill, but it is not possible; you may like to bite, but it is not possible. But that can be done to a pillow.
A pillow means 'already enlightened'; the pillow is enlightened, a buddha. The pillow will not react, and the pillow will not go to any court, and the pillow will not bring any enmity against you, and the pillow will not DO anything. The pillow will be happy, and the pillow will laugh at you.
The second thing to remember: be aware. In controlling, no awareness is needed; you simply do it mechanically, like a robot. The anger comes and there is a mechanism -- suddenly your whole being becomes narrow and closed. If you are watchful control may not be so easy.
Society never teaches you to be watchful, because when somebody is watchful, he is wide open. That is part of awareness -- one is open, and if you want to suppress something and you are open, it is contradictory, it may come out. The society teaches you how to close yourself in, how to cave yourself in -- don't allow even a small window for anything to go out.
But remember: when nothing goes out, nothing comes in either. When the anger cannot go out, you are closed. If you touch a beautiful rock, nothing goes in; you look at a flower, nothing goes in: your eyes are dead and closed. You kiss a person -- nothing goes in, because you are closed. You live an insensitive life.
Sensitivity grows with awareness. Through control you become dull and dead -- that is part of the mechanism of control: if you are dull and dead then nothing will affect you, as if the body has become a citadel, a defense. Nothing will affect you, neither insult nor love.
But this control is at a very great cost, an unnecessary cost; then it becomes the whole effort in life: how to control yourself -- and then die! The whole effort of control takes all your energy, and then you simply die. And the life becomes a dull and dead thing; you somehow carry it on.
The society teaches you control and condemnation, because a child will control only when he feels something is condemned. Anger is bad; sex is bad; everything that has to be controlled has to be made to look like a sin to the child, to look like evil.
Mulla Nasruddin's son was growing up. He was ten years of age and so Mulla thought:
Now, this is the time. He is old enough and the secrets of life must be revealed to him. So he called him into his study and gave him the lowdown on sex among birds and bees.
And then in the end he told him, 'When you feel your younger brother is old enough, you tell the whole thing to him also.'
Just a few minutes after, when he was passing by the rooms of the kids, he heard the older one, the ten-year-old one, already at work. He was telling the younger: 'Look, you know what people do, that stuff people do when they want to get a child, a baby? Well, Dad says birds and bees do the same darn thing.'
A deep condemnation enters about all that is alive. And sex is the most alive thing -- has to be! It is the source. Anger is also a most alive thing, because it is a protective force. If a child cannot be angry at all, he will not be able to survive. You have to be angry in certain moments. The child has to show his own being, the child has to stand in certain moments upon his own ground; otherwise he will have no backbone.
Anger is beautiful; sex is beautiful. But beautiful things can go ugly. That depends on you. If you condemn them, they become ugly; if you transform them, they become divine. Anger transformed becomes compassion -- because the energy is the same. A buddha is compassionate: from where does his compassion come? This is the same energy that was moving in anger; now it is not moving in anger, the same energy is transformed into compassion. From where does love come? A Buddha is loving; a Jesus is love. The same energy that moves into sex becomes love.
So remember, if you condemn a natural phenomenon it becomes poisonous, it destroys you, it becomes destructive and suicidal. If you transform it, it becomes divine, it becomes a God-force, it becomes an elixir; you attain through it to immortality, to a deathless being. But transformation is needed.
In transformation you never control, you simply become more aware. Anger is happening: you have to be aware that anger is happening -- watch it! It is a beautiful phenomenon -- energy moving within you, becoming hot!
It is just like electricity in the clouds. People were always afraid of electricity; they thought in olden days, when they were ignorant, that this electricity was the god being angry, being threatening, trying to punish -- creating fear so that people would become worshippers, so that people would feel that the god was there and he would punish them.
But now we have domesticated that god. Now that god runs through your fan, through your air conditioner, through the fridge: whatsoever you need, that god serves. That god has become a domestic force, it is no longer angry and no longer threatening. Through science an outer force has been transformed into a friend.
The same happens through religion for inner forces.
Anger is just like electricity in your body: you don't know what to do with it. Either you kill somebody else or you kill yourself. The society says if you kill yourself it is okay, it is your concern, but don't kill anybody else -- and as far as society goes that is okay. So either you become aggressive or you become repressive.
Religion says both are wrong. The basic thing that is needed is to become aware and to know the secret of this energy, anger, this inner electricity. It is electricity because you become hot; when you are angry your temperature goes hot, and you cannot understand the coolness of a buddha, because when anger is transformed into compassion everything is cool. A deep coolness happens. Buddha is never HOT; he is always cool, centered, because he now knows how to use the inner electricity. Electricity is hot -- it becomes the source of air conditioning. Anger is hot -- it becomes the source of compassion.
Compassion is an inner air conditioning. Suddenly everything is cool and beautiful, and nothing can disturb you, and the whole existence is transformed into a friend. Now there are no more enemies... because when you look through the eyes of anger, somebody becomes an enemy; when you look through the eyes of compassion, everybody is a friend, a neighbor. When you love, everywhere is God; when you hate, everywhere is the devil. It is your standpoint that is projected onto reality.
Awareness is needed, not condemnation -- and through awareness transformation happens spontaneously. If you become aware of your anger, understanding penetrates.
Just watching, with no judgment, not saying good, not saying bad, just watching in your inner sky. There is lightning, anger, you feel hot, the whole nervous system shaking and quaking, and you feel a tremor all over the body -- a beautiful moment, because when energy functions you can watch it easily; when it is not functioning you cannot watch.
Close your eyes and meditate on it. Don't fight, just look at what is happening -- the whole sky filled with electricity, so much lightning, so much beauty -- just lie down on the ground and look at the sky and watch. Then do the same inside.
Clouds are there, because without clouds there can be no lightning -- DARK clouds are there, thoughts. Somebody has insulted you, somebody has laughed at you, somebody has said this or that... many clouds, dark clouds in the inner sky and much lightning. Watch!
It is a beautiful scene -- terrible also, because you don't understand. It is mysterious, and if mystery is not understood it becomes terrible, you are afraid of it. And whenever a mystery is understood, it becomes a grace, a gift, because now you have the keys -- and with keys you are the master.
You don't control it, you simply become a master when you are aware. And the more you become aware, the more inwards you penetrate, because awareness is a going-inwards, it always goes inwards: more aware, more in; totally aware, perfectly in; less aware, more out; unconscious -- you are completely out, out of your house wandering around.
Unconsciousness is a wandering outside; consciousness is a deepening of the inside.
So look! -- and when anger is not, it will be difficult to look: what to look at? The sky is so vacant, and you are not yet capable of looking at emptiness. When anger is there, look, watch, and soon you will see a change. The moment the watcher comes in, the anger has already started becoming cool, the heat is lost. Then you can understand that the heat is given by you; your identification with it makes it hot, and the moment you feel it is not hot, the fear is gone, and you feel unidentified with it, different, a distance. It is there, lightning around you, but you are not it. A hill starts rising upwards. You become a watcher: down in the valley, much lightning... distance grows more and more... and a moment comes when suddenly you are not joined to it at all. The identity is broken, and the moment the identity breaks, IMMEDIATELY the whole hot process becomes a cool process -- anger becomes compassion.
Sex is a hot process, love is not. But all over the world people always talk about warm love. Love is not warm; love is absolutely cool, but not cold -- it is not cold because it is not dead. It is cool, just like a cool breeze. But it is not hot, not warm. Because of the identification with sex, the conception has come to the mind that love should be warm.
Sex IS hot. It is electricity, and you are identified with it. The more love, the more coolness -- you may even feel cool love as cold; that is your misunderstanding, because you feel love has to be hot. It cannot be. The SAME energy, when not identified with, becomes cool. Compassion is cool, and if your compassion is still hot, understand it is not compassion.
There are people who are too hot, and they think they have much compassion. They want to transform the society, they want to change the structure, they want to do this and that, they want to bring a utopia into the world: the revolutionaries, the communists, the utopians -- and they are very hot.
And they think they have compassion -- no, they have only anger. The object has changed. Now their anger has a new object, a very impersonal object -- the society, the structure of the society, the state, the situation. They are very hot people. Lenin, or Stalin, or Trotsky -- they are hot people but they are not against anybody in particular, they are against a structure. Gandhi is a hot person -- against the British Empire. The object is impersonal, that's why you cannot feel that he is angry -- but he IS angry. He wants to change something in the outside world, and wants to change it so immediately that he is impatient, fighting. The fighting may choose nonviolence as the means, but the fighting IS violence. Fight as such is violence. You can choose nonviolent means to fight -- women have always chosen them. Gandhi did nothing else, he simply used a feminine trick.
If a husband wants to fight, he will beat his wife; and if the wife wants to fight, she will beat herself. This is as old as woman -- and woman is older than man! She will start beating herself; that is her way to fight. She is violent, violent against herself. And remember, beating a woman you will feel guilty, and sooner or later you will have to come down and make a compromise. But beating herself, she never feels guilty. So either you beat a woman and you feel guilty, or she beats herself and then also you feel guilty -- that you created the situation in which she is beating herself. In both cases she wins.
The British Empire was defeated because it was a male aggressive force, and the British Empire could not understand this feminine fight of Gandhi's: he will fast unto death -- and then the whole British mind will feel guilty. Now you cannot kill this man, because he is not fighting in any way with you, he is simply purifying his own soul -- the old feminine trick, but it worked. There was only one way to defeat Gandhi, and that was impossible. It was for Churchill to go on a fast unto death, and that was impossible.
Either you are hot against someone in particular or just hot against some structure in general, but the heat remains.
A Lenin is not compassion, cannot be. Buddha is compassion -- not fighting at all with anything, simply being and allowing things to be as they are; they move on their own.
Societies change on their own, there is no need to change them; they change as trees change in season. Societies change on their own -- old societies die on their own, there is no need to destroy them! And new societies are born just like new children, new babies, on their own. There is no need to force an abortion, it goes on automatically by itself.
Things move and change. And this is the paradox: that they go on moving and changing and still in a sense they remain the same -- because there will be people who are poor, and there will be people who are rich; there will be people who are helpless, powerless, and there will be people who have power over them. Classes cannot disappear -- that is not in the nature of things. Human society can never become classless.
Classes can change. Now in Russia, there are not the poor and the rich but the governed and the governors -- they are there now. Now a new class division has arisen: the bureaucrats and the ordinary people, the managers and the managed -- the same, it makes no difference. If now Tamerlane was born in Soviet Russia, he would become the prime minister. If Ford was born in Soviet Russia, he would become the general secretary of the communist party, he would manage from there.
Situations go on changing, but in a subtle sense they remain the same. The managers, the managed; the governors, the governed; the rich, the poor -- they remain. You cannot change it, because society exists through contradiction. A real man of compassion will be cool; he cannot be a revolutionary really, because revolution needs a very hot mind and heart and body.
No control, no expression on others, more awareness -- and then consciousness shifts from the periphery to the center.
Now try to understand this beautiful anecdote.
A ZEN STUDENT CAME TO BANKEI AND SAID: 'MASTER, I HAVE AN UNGOVERNABLE TEMPER -- HOW CAN I CURE IT?'
He has accepted one thing, that he has an ungovernable temper; now he wants to cure it.
Whenever there is a disease, first try to find whether there is really disease or a misunderstanding, because if there is a real disease then it can be cured, but if it is not a real disease, just a misunderstanding, then no medicine will help. Rather, on the contrary, every medicine that is given to you will be harmful. So first be perfectly clear about a disease, whether it is there or not, or whether you are simply imagining it, or whether you are simply thinking that it is there. It may not be there at all; it may be simply a misunderstanding. And the way man is confused, many of his diseases don't exist at all -- he simply believes they are there.
You also are in the same boat, so try to understand this story very deeply; it may be helpful to you.
The student said, 'MASTER, I HAVE AN UNGOVERNABLE TEMPER -- HOW CAN I CURE IT?'
The disease is accepted, he does not doubt it; he is asking for the cure. Never ask for the cure. First try to find out whether the disease exists or not. First move into the disease and diagnose it, decipher it, scrutinize it; move into the disease first before you ask for a cure.
Don't accept any disease just on the surface, because the surface is where others meet you, and the surface is where others reflect in you, and the surface is where others color you. It may not be a disease at all, it may be just the reflection of others.
It is just like a silent lake, and you stand on the bank of the lake with your orange robe, and the water near you looks orange, reflects you. The lake may think that it has become orange. How to get rid of it? Where to find the cure? Whom to ask?
Don't go to the experts immediately. First try to find out whether it is really a disease or just a reflection. Just being alert will do much: many of your diseases will simply disappear without any cure, no medicine is needed.
'SHOW ME THIS TEMPER,' SAID BANKEI, 'IT SOUNDS FASCINATING.'
A man like Bankei immediately starts working on the disease, not on the cure. He is not a psychoanalyst; a psychoanalyst starts working for the cure -- and that is the difference.
Now new trends in psychiatry are coming up which start working on the disease, not on the cure. New trends are developing: they are nearer to reality, and nearer to zen, and nearer to religion. Within this century psychiatry will take on a more religious color, and then it will not be just a therapy, it will REALLY become a healing force -- because therapy thinks of a cure, and a healing force brings your consciousness to the disease.
Out of a hundred diseases, ninety-nine will disappear simply by bringing your consciousness to them. They are false diseases; they exist because you are standing with your back towards them. Face them, and they go, and they disappear. That is the meaning of encounter -- and encounter groups can be helpful, because the whole message is how to encounter things as they are. Don't think of cure, don't think of medicine, don't think of what to do; the real thing is, first, to know what is there.
Mind has deceived you in so many ways that a disease appears on the surface but there is no disease deep down; or a disease appears on the surface, but you move within and you find there are other diseases, and that was just a trick to deceive you, that was not the real disease.
A man came to me and he said, 'My mind is very much disturbed. I am continuously tense, anxiety is there, I cannot sleep. So give me some technique of meditation -- how to be silent and at peace.'
I asked him, 'What is really the problem? Do you really want to be at peace with yourself?'
He said, 'Yes, I am a seeker, and I have been to Sri Aurobindo's ashram, and I have been to Sri Raman's ashram, and I have been everywhere, and nothing helps.'
So I asked him, 'Have you ever thought about it -- that when nothing helps maybe the disease is false? Or that you have labeled it falsely? Or that the container contains something else which is not written on it? You easily accept that Sri Aurobindo failed, Sri Raman failed, and you have moved all around....' And he was feeling very victorious that everybody had failed, and nobody had been able to help, that everybody was bogus. And then I told him, 'Sooner or later you will go and say the same about me also, because I don't see that you are a spiritual seeker, I don't see that you are really interested in being at peace with yourself. Just tell me, what is your anxiety? What is your tension? Just go on telling me what thoughts come continuously to you, and why you go on thinking about them.'
He said, 'Not many, only one thought: I had a son, he is still alive -- but no more a son to me. I have thrown him out. I am a rich man, and he had fallen in love with a girl not of my caste, and economically also below my status, uneducated. And I told the boy, "If you want to marry this girl then never come back to this house." And he never came back.'And now I am getting old. The boy lives in poverty with the girl, and I continuously think about the boy, and THIS is my trouble. You give me some technique of meditation.'
I said: 'How will this technique of meditation help? -- because the technique of meditation will not bring the boy home. And this is such a simple thing, there is no need to go to Aurobindo, there is no need to go to Sri Raman or come to me. A sword is not needed for your problem, a needle will do. You are looking for swords, and then swords prove failures because you need only a needle. This is not a spiritual problem, just ego.
Why shouldn't one fall in love with a girl who is economically below one's status? Is love something economical? Something to think of in terms of finance, economics, money, wealth, status?'
I told him one story: One marriage agent came to a young man and told him, 'I have got a very beautiful girl, just exactly fit for you.'
The boy said, 'Don't bother me. I am not interested.'
The marriage agent said, 'I know, but don't be worried, I have another girl who will bring five thousand rupees in dowry.'
The young man said, 'Stop talking nonsense. I am not interested in money either! You simply go.'
The man said, 'I know. You don't bother! If five thousand is not enough, I have another girl who will bring twenty-five thousand rupees in dowry.'
The boy said, 'You simply get out of my room, because if ever I get married, it is for me to think about, it is not a question for an agent to settle. You simply get out of it! Don't make me angry!'
The agent said, 'Okay, now I understand. You are not interested in beauty, you are not interested in money. I have a girl who comes from a family of long tradition, a very famous family -- everybody knows about it, and four prime ministers have come from that family in the past. So you are interested in family, right?'
Now by this time the boy was very very angry and he wanted to physically throw this man out. And when by physically forcing him he was just throwing him out of the door, he said, 'If I ever get married it will be for love and nothing else.'
The agent said, 'Then why in the first place didn't you tell me? I have those kinds of girls too.'
I told this man this story.
Love is not manageable, it is simply something that happens, and the moment you try to manage it everything misfires. So I told that man, 'Just go and ask your son's forgiveness -- that's what is needed. No meditation technique, no Aurobindo, no Raman, no Osho, nobody can help you. Simply go to your boy and ask his forgiveness! -- that's what is needed. Accept and welcome him back. It is just the ego that is troubling you. And if EGO is troubling you then the disease is different. You seek meditation, and you think through meditation silence will be possible? No.'
Meditation can be a help only to that person who has come to a right understanding with his inner diseases, when he has come to understand which disease is false, which disease is wrongly identified, and which disease is not there at all -- the container is empty.
When one has come to an understanding, a deep understanding with all one's diseases, then ninety-nine percent of the diseases disappear -- because you can do something and they disappear. Then only one thing remains, and that one thing is spiritual search.... A deep anguish, unrelated to this world, not related with anything in this world: son, father, money, prestige, power -- nothing. It is not related to them, it is simply existential. Deep down, if you can pinpoint it, it is HOW TO KNOW ONESELF. Who am I? Then this anguish becomes the search. Then meditation can help -- never before it. Before it, other things are needed: needles will do, why carry a sword unnecessarily? And where needles will do, swords will be failures. This is what is happening to millions of people all around the world.
This Bankei is a master. He immediately got to the point, to the business.
'SHOW ME THIS TEMPER,' said he,'IT SOUNDS FASCINATING.'
It sounds fascinating, really. Why does this Bankei say it sounds fascinating? -- because the whole thing is false. This boy, this student has never looked within. He is seeking for a method and he has not diagnosed what his disease is.
'I HAVEN'T GOT IT RIGHT NOW,' SAID THE STUDENT, 'SO I CAN'T SHOW IT TO YOU.'
You cannot manage to bring about anger, can you? If I tell you: 'Be angry right now,'
what will you do? Even if you act, even if you manage somehow to pretend, it will not be anger, because deep down you will remain cool and acting. It happens! What does it mean, 'it happens'? It means it happens only when you are unconscious. If you TRY to bring it, you are conscious. It cannot happen when you are conscious, it can happen only when you are unconscious. Unconsciousness is a MUST -- without it anger cannot happen. But still, the boy said:
'I HAVEN'T GOT IT RIGHT NOW, SO I CAN'T SHOW IT TO YOU.' 'WELL THEN,'
SAID BANKEI, 'BRING IT TO ME WHEN YOU HAVE IT.' 'BUT I CAN'T BRING IT JUST WHEN I HAPPEN TO HAVE IT,' PROTESTED THE STUDENT. 'IT ARISES UNEXPECTEDLY, AND I WOULD SURELY LOSE IT BEFORE I GOT IT TO YOU.'
Now, Bankei has put him on the right path. He has already moved along, he is already nearing the goal, because he is now becoming aware of things of which he was never aware. The first thing he becomes aware of is that he cannot produce it right now. It cannot be produced; it happens when it happens -- it is an unconscious force, you cannot bring it about consciously. That means if he goes further, the next step will be that he remains conscious, and if you remain conscious it cannot happen.
Even while anger is happening, if you suddenly become conscious it drops. Try it. Just in the middle, when you are feeling very hot and would like to commit murder, suddenly become aware, and you will feel something has changed: a gear inside -- you can feel the click. Something has changed, now it is no more the same thing. Your inner being has relaxed. It may take time for your outer layer to relax, but the inner being has already relaxed. The cooperation is broken; now you are not identified.
Gurdjieff used to play a very beautiful trick on his disciples. You are sitting here, and he will create a situation; he will tell you, 'Somebody, A, is coming, and when he comes I will behave rudely with him, very rudely -- and you all have to help me.'
Then A comes and Gurdjieff laughs and he says, 'You are looking a perfect fool!' -- and everybody looks at the man and shows him that everybody agrees. Then Gurdjieff will say nasty things about this man, and everybody nods and feels in agreement. The man gets angrier and angrier, and Gurdjieff will go on and on, and everybody nods as if there is complete agreement, and the man becomes hotter and hotter -- and then he explodes.
And when he explodes, suddenly Gurdjieff says 'Stop and look!'
Something inside relaxes. Immediately the man understands he has been moved into a situation, he has become angry -- and the moment he realizes that this is a situation, that Gurdjieff has played a trick, the gear changes: he becomes alert, aware. The body will take a little time to cool down, but deep at the center, there everything is cool and he can look at himself now.
The student is already on the path -- Bankei has put him immediately on the path. The first thing he has become aware of is: 'I cannot show it to you right now, because it is not there.'
'WELL THEN, BRING IT TO ME WHEN YOU HAVE IT.'
A second step has been taken.
'BUT I CAN'T BRING IT JUST WHEN I HAPPEN TO HAVE IT,' PROTESTED THE STUDENT. 'IT ARISES UNEXPECTEDLY.'
'I don't know when it will arise. I may be very far away, you may not be available, and, moreover, even if I bring it to you, by the time I reach you it will not be there.' He has already arrived at a deep understanding.
You cannot bring anger to me, can you? ... Because in the very effort to bring it, you will become aware. If you are aware, the grip is lost; it starts subsiding. By the time you have reached me it will be no more.
And it was easier to reach Bankei; it is difficult to reach me, you will have to pass through Mukta. By the time the appointment is given and by the time you reach me, it will not be there. Hence the appointment -- because otherwise you will bring problems unnecessarily. They drop automatically by themselves -- and if they persist, then they are WORTH bringing to me.
By the time you come to me you will have already passed over it; and if you understand, that means that things that come and go are not worth paying any attention to -- they come and go. You always remain, they come and go. YOU are the thing to be more attentive about, not things that come and go -- they are like seasons, climate changes: in the morning it was different, in the evening it is again different. It changes. Find out that which doesn't change.
The student has already reached a beautiful understanding. He says:
'UNEXPECTEDLY IT ARISES, AND I WOULD SURELY LOSE IT BEFORE I GOT IT TO YOU.' 'IN THAT CASE,' SAID BANKEI, 'IT CANNOT BE PART OF YOUR TRUE NATURE.'
... Because true nature is always there. It never arises and never sets, it is always there.
Anger arises, goes; hate arises, goes; your so-called love arises, goes. Your nature is always there.
So don't be too bothered and concerned with all that comes and goes; otherwise you can remain concerned with it for years and years, and lives and lives, and you will never come to the point.
That's why Freudian psychoanalysis never serves much purpose. The patient lies down on the couch for years together -- three years, four years, five years, he goes on talking, talking about things that come and go. Remember, the whole Freudian analysis is concerned with things that come and go: what happened in your childhood, what happened in your youth, what happened in your sex life, what happened in your relations with others -- it goes on and on! It is concerned with what happened, not to whom it happened -- and that is the difference between Bankei and Freud.
If you are concerned with what happened then... so much has happened. Even in twenty- four hours so much happens that if you relate it, it will take years -- and you go on relating. It is just like talking about the weather for your whole life, how it has been:
sometimes very hot, sometimes very cloudy, sometimes rainy, sometimes this and that.
But what is the point of it all?
And what happens? How does the psychoanalysis help a patient? It helps a little. It simply gives time, that's all. For two years you are continuously talking about things that happened. These two years, or one year, or even more, just give you time; the wound heals automatically, you become readjusted again. Of course, a certain understanding also arises, the understanding that arises when you go backwards, and come forwards, move like a shuttle in your memory. A certain understanding arises because you have to watch your memories. Because of this watching... but that is not the main thing.
Freud is not concerned with your witnessing. He thinks that just by relating, telling your past, bringing it out through words, verbalization, something deep is changing. Nothing deep is changing. A little garbage is thrown out. Nobody listened to you, and Freud and his psychoanalysts are listening to you so attentively. Of course, you have to pay for it.
They are professional listeners. They help in a way, because you would like to talk to someone intimately -- even that helps. That's why people talk about their miseries; they feel a little relaxed, somebody has heard patiently, with compassion. But now nobody listens, nobody has that much time.
Bertrand Russell has written a small story. In the coming century, the twenty-first century, there will be a great profession of professional listeners. In every neighborhood, every four or five houses there will be a house with a sign: Professional Listener -- that is what psychoanalysis is -- because nobody will have time, everybody will be in such a hurry. The wife will not be able to talk to the husband, the husband will not be able to talk to the wife, people will make love through phone calls, or will see each other on the television screen. That is going to happen, because what is the use of going to meet a friend when you can see him on the television screen, he can see you? Phones will have screens also so that you can see your friend talking to you, he can see you talking, so what is the point? ... Because what will you do just sitting in front of each other in a room? It is happening already: the distance is covered by the telephone and the television.
Contact will be lost, so professional listeners will be needed.
You go to psychoanalysts and they listen like a friend. Of course you have to pay -- and psychoanalysis is the most costly thing in the world now, only very rich people can afford it. People boast about it: 'I have been in psychoanalysis for five years. How many years have you been in it?' Poor people cannot afford it.
But the Eastern methods of meditation have a different attitude: they are not concerned with what happened to you, they are concerned with to whom it happened. Find out: to whom?
Lying down on a Freudian couch you are concerned with the objects of the mind. Sitting in a zen monastery you are concerned with to whom it happened -- not the objects but the subject.
'IN THAT CASE,' SAID BANKEI, 'IT CANNOT BE PART OF YOUR TRUE NATURE. IF IT WERE,YOU COULD SHOW IT TO ME AT ANY TIME. WHEN YOU WERE BORN YOU DID NOT HAVE IT, AND YOUR PARENTS DID NOT GIVE IT TO YOU -- SO IT MUST COME INTO YOU FROM THE OUTSIDE. I SUGGEST THAT WHENEVER IT GETS INTO YOU, YOU BEAT YOURSELF WITH A STICK UNTIL THE TEMPER CAN'T STAND IT, AND RUNS AWAY.'
He is simply joking -- don't start doing it, don't take the stick literally.
In zen, awareness is called the stick by which you beat yourself. There is no other way to beat yourself, because if you take an ordinary stick the body will be beaten, not you. You can kill the body, but not YOU. To beat with a stick means: when you feel angry, continuously be aware; bring awareness to it, become alert, conscious, and beat with the stick of awareness continuously inside, UNTIL THE TEMPER CAN'T STAND IT AND RUNS AWAY. The only thing that the temper CAN'T stand is awareness. Just beating your body won't do. That's what people have been doing -- beating others' bodies or their own. That's not Bankei's meaning -- he is joking, and he is indicating a symbolic term zen people use for awareness: the stick one has to beat oneself with.
In the zen tradition, when a master dies he gives his stick, the staff, to his chief disciple, to him whom he chooses as his heir, he who is going to replace him. He gives him the stick, the staff, that he carried his whole life. The meaning is that he to whom this stick is given has attained to the inner stick -- to awareness. To receive the stick of the master is the greatest gift, because he accepts through it, agrees, recognizes, that now your inner stick is born; you have become aware of what happens to you, to WHOM it happens. The distinction is there. The gap has come in, the space is there; now the periphery and your center are not identified.
Said Bankei, 'I SUGGEST THAT WHENEVER IT GETS INTO YOU, this anger, it must be coming from outside. You didn't have it when you were born; nobody, not your parents or anybody, presented it to you as a gift, so from where is it coming? It must be coming from outside, the periphery must be touching other peripheries. From there, you must be getting the ripples and the waves. So be conscious' -- because the moment you are conscious you are suddenly thrown to the center.
Be unconscious and you live on the periphery.
Be conscious and you are thrown to the center.
And from the center you can see what is happening on the periphery. Then if two people touch on the periphery, then two people will create trouble on the periphery, but it will not be any trouble for you. You can laugh, you can enjoy it, you can say, 'It sounds fascinating.'
It happened: Buddha was passing near a village; a few people came and they abused him very badly, said nasty things, used vulgar words -- and he just stood there. They got a little puzzled, because he was not reacting. Then somebody from the crowd asked, 'Why are you silent? Answer what we are saying!'
Buddha said, 'You came a little late. You should have come ten years ago, because then I would have reacted. But now I am not there where you are doing these things to me; a distance has arisen. Now I have moved to the center where you cannot touch me. You came a little late. I am sorry for you, but I enjoy it. Now I am in a hurry, because in the other village where I am going, people will be waiting for me. If you are not yet finished, then I will pass back by the same route. You can come again. IT SOUNDS FASCINATING.'
They were puzzled. What to do with such a man? Another from the crowd asked, 'Really, are you not going to say anything?'
Buddha said, 'In the village I have come from just now, people came with many sweets to present to me, but I take things only when I am hungry, and I was not hungry, so I gave them back their sweets. I ask you, what will they do?'
So the man said, 'Of course, they will go in the village and give those sweets as PRASAD to people.'
So Buddha started laughing and he said, 'You are really in trouble, you are in a mess -- what will you do? You brought these vulgar words to me, and I say I am not hungry -- so now take them back! And I feel very sorry for your village, because people will get such vulgar things, vulgar words in their prasad.'
When you are at the center, IT SOUNDS FASCINATING -- you can enjoy it. When you are cool you can enjoy the whole world. When you are hot you cannot enjoy it, because you get so much into it; you are lost, you get identified. You become so messed up in it, how can you enjoy it?
This may sound paradoxical, but I tell you: only a buddha enjoys this world. Then everything sounds fascinating.