The art of archery
LIEH-TZU EXHIBITED HIS SKILL IN ARCHERY TO PO-HUN WU-JEN.
WHEN THE BOW WAS DRAWN TO ITS FULL LENGTH, A CUP OF WATER WAS PLACED ON HIS ELBOW AND HE BEGAN TO SHOOT.
AS SOON AS THE FIRST ARROW WAS LET FLY, A SECOND WAS ALREADY ON THE STRING, AND THEN A THIRD ONE FOLLOWED. IN THE MEANTIME HE STOOD UNMOVED LIKE A STATUE.
PO-HUN WU-JEN SAID: 'THE TECHNIQUE OF SHOOTING IS FINE, BUT IT IS NOT THE TECHNIQUE OF NON-SHOOTING. LET US GO UP TO A HIGH MOUNTAIN AND STAND ON A PROJECTING ROCK, AND THEN YOU TRY AND SHOOT.'
THEY CLIMBED UP A MOUNTAIN. STANDING ON A ROCK THAT PROJECTED OVER A PRECIPICE TEN THOUSAND FEET HIGH, PO-HUN WU-JEN MOVED BACKWARDS UNTIL ONE THIRD OF HIS FEET WERE OVERHANGING THE EDGE. HE THEN MOTIONED LIEH-TZU TO COME FORWARD.
LIEH-TZU FELL DOWN ON THE GROUND WITH PERSPIRATION FLOWING DOWN TO HIS HEELS.
SAID PO-HUN WU-JEN: 'THE PERFECT MAN SOARS UP ABOVE THE BLUE SKY, OR DIVES DOWN TO THE YELLOW SPRINGS, OR WANDERS ALL OVER THE EIGHT LIMITS OF THE WORLD, YET SHOWS NO SIGN OF CHANGE IN HIS SPIRIT. BUT YOU BETRAY A SIGN OF TREPIDATION, AND YOUR EYES ARE DAZED. HOW CAN YOU EXPECT TO HIT THE TARGET?'
ACTION NEEDS SKILL. But no-action also needs skill. The skill of action is just on the surface; the skill of no-action is at the very core of your being. The skill of action can be learned easily; it can be borrowed; you can be educated in it because it is nothing but technique. It is not your being, it is just an art.
But the technique, or the skill, of no-action is not technique at all. You cannot learn it from somebody else, it cannot be taught; it grows as you grow. It grows with your inner growth, it is a flowering. From the outside, nothing can be done to it; something has to evolve from the inside.
The skill of action comes from without, goes within; the skill of no-action comes from within, flows without. Their dimensions are totally different, diametrically opposite. So first try to understand this, then we will be able to enter this story.
For example, you can be a painter just by learning the art; you can learn all that can be taught in art schools. You can be skillful, and you can paint beautiful pictures, you can even become a renowned figure in the world. Nobody will be able to know that this is just technique, unless you come across a master; but YOU will always know that this is just technique.
Your hands have become skillful, your head knows the know-how, but your heart is not flowing. You paint, but you are not a painter. You create a work of art but you are not an artist. You do it, but you are not in it. You do it as you do other things -- but you are not a lover. You are not involved in it totally; your inner being remains aloof, indifferent, standing by the side. Your head and your hands, they go on working, but you are not there. The painting will not carry your presence, it will not carry YOU. It may carry your signature, but not your being.
A master will immediately know, because this painting will be dead. Beautiful... you can decorate a corpse also, you can paint a corpse also, you can even put lipstick on the lips and they will look red, but lipstick, howsoever red, cannot have the warmth of flowing blood. Those lips -- painted, but no life in them.
You can create a beautiful painting, but it will not be alive. It can be alive only if you flow in it; that's the difference between a master when he paints and an ordinary painter.
The ordinary painter really always imitates because the painting is not growing within him. It is not something with which he is pregnant. He will imitate others, he will have to look for ideas; he may imitate nature -- that makes no difference. He may look at a tree and paint it, but the tree has not grown within him.
Look at van Gogh's trees. They are absolutely different -- you cannot find trees like that in the world of nature. They are totally different; they are van Gogh's creations, he is living through the trees. They are not these ordinary trees around you, he has not copied them from nature, he has not copied them from anybody else. If he had been a god then he would have created those trees in the world. In the painting he is the god, he is the creator. He is not even imitating the creator of the universe; he is simply being himself.
His trees are so high they grow and touch the moon and stars.
Somebody asked van Gogh, 'What type of trees are these? Where did you get the idea from?'
Van Gogh said: 'I don't go getting ideas from anywhere -- these are my trees! If I was the creator my trees would touch the stars, because my trees are desires of the earth, dreams of the earth -- to touch the stars; earth trying to reach, to touch the stars -- hands of the earth, dreams and desires of the earth.'
But these trees are not imitations. These are van Gogh trees.
A creator has something to give to the world, something he is pregnant with. Of course, even for a van Gogh technique is needed, because hands are needed. Even van Gogh cannot paint without hands -- if you cut off his hands what will he do? He also needs technique, but technique is just a way to communicate. Technique is just the vehicle, the medium. The technique is not the message, the medium is not the message. The medium is simply a vehicle to carry the message. He HAS a message; every artist is a prophet -- has to be! Every artist is a creator -- has to be, he has something to share. Of course, technique is needed. If I have to say something to you, words are needed, but if I am saying only words, then there is no message; then this whole thing is just a chattering.
Then I am throwing garbage on others. But if words carry my silence, if words carry my wordless message to you, only then is something being said.
When something is to be said, it has to be said in words, but that which has to be said is not words. When something has to be painted it has to be painted by colors and brush and canvas, and the whole technique is needed -- but the technique is not the message.
Through the medium the message is given but the medium in itself is not enough.
A technician has the medium, he may have the perfect medium, but he has nothing to deliver, he has no message. His heart is not overflowing. He is doing something with the hand and with the head, because the learning is in the head, and the know-how, the skill, is in the hand. Head and hand cooperate, but the heart remains aloof, untouched. Then painting will be there, but without a heart. There will be no beat in it, there will be no pulse of life in it, no blood will flow in it; very difficult to see -- you can see only if you know the difference within yourself.
Take another example, which will be easier to understand. You love a person: you kiss, you hold his or her hand in your hand, you embrace, you make love. All these things can be done to a person you don't love -- exactly the same kiss, exactly the same embrace, the same way of holding hands; the same gestures in making love, the same movements -- but you don't love the person. What will be the difference? -- because as far as action is concerned there is no difference: you kiss, and you kiss in the same way, as perfectly the same as possible. The medium is there, but the message is not there. You are skillful, but your heart is not there. The kiss is dead. It is not like a bird on the wing, it is like a dead stone.
You can make the same movements while making love, but those movements will be more like yoga exercises. They will not be love. You go to a prostitute; she knows the technique -- better than your beloved. She has to know, she is professionally skillful -- but you will not get love there. If you meet the prostitute on the street the next day, she will not even recognize you. She will not even say hello, because no relationship exists. It was not a contact, the other person was not there. While making love to you, she may have been thinking about her lover. She was not there! She cannot be; prostitutes have to learn the technique of how not to be there -- because the whole thing is so ugly.
You cannot sell love, you can sell the body. You cannot sell your heart, you can sell your skill. For a prostitute making love is just a professional thing. She is doing it for the money, and she has to learn how not to be there, so she will think of her lover; she will think of a thousand and one things but not about you -- the person who is present there -- because to think about the person who is there will create a disturbance. She will not be there... absent! She will make movements, she is skillful in that, but she is not involved.
This is the point of this anecdote. You can become so perfect that you can deceive the whole world, but how will you deceive yourself? And if you cannot deceive yourself, you cannot deceive an enlightened master. He will see through all the tricks that you have created around you. He will see that you are not there in your technique; if you are an archer you may hit the target perfectly, but that is not the point. Even a prostitute brings you to orgasm, she hits the target as perfectly as possible, sometimes even more perfectly than your own beloved; but that is not the point -- because although a person remains incomplete, a technique can easily become complete.
A person remains incomplete unless he becomes enlightened. You cannot expect perfection from a person before enlightenment, but you can expect perfection in a skill.
You cannot expect perfection in the being, but in the doing it can be expected, there is no problem about it. An archer can hit the target without ever missing it -- and may not be in it. He has learned the technique, he has become a mechanism, a robot. It is simply done by the head and the hand.
Now, let us try to penetrate this story, The Art of Archery. In Japan and in China, meditation has been taught through many skills -- that is the difference between Indian meditation and Chinese and Buddhist and Japanese meditation. In India, meditation has been taken away from all action in life. It, in itself, is the total thing. That created a difficulty -- that's why in India, religion by and by died. It created a difficulty, and the difficulty is this: if you make meditation the whole thing, then you become a burden on the society. Then you cannot go to your shop, you cannot go to the office, you cannot work in the factory -- meditation becomes your whole life, you simply meditate. In India, millions of people simply existed meditating; they became a burden on the society, and the burden was too much. Some way or other, the society had to stop it.
Even now, today, almost ten million sannyasins exist in India. Now they are not respected. Only a few... not even ten in those ten million are respected. They have become just beggars. Because of this attitude -- that when you do meditation, when religion becomes your life, then there is only religion, then you drop all life and you renounce -- Indian meditation has been, in a way, anti-life. You can tolerate a few persons but you cannot tolerate millions, and if the whole country become meditators, then what will you do? And if meditation cannot be available for each and every person -- that means even religion exists only for the few, even in religion class exists, even God is not available to all? No, that cannot be. God is available to all.
In India, Buddhism died. Buddhism died in India, the country of its source, because Buddhist monks became a heavy burden. Millions of Buddhist monks -- the country could not tolerate them, it was impossible to support them, they had to disappear.
Buddhism completely disappeared; the greatest flowering of Indian consciousness and it disappeared, because you cannot exist like a parasite. A few days, okay; a few years, okay. India tolerated it -- it is a great tolerating country, it tolerates everything -- but then there is a limit. Thousands of monasteries filled with thousands of monks -- it became impossible for this poor country to continue to support them. They had to disappear. In China, in Japan, Buddhism survived, because Buddhism took a change, it passed through a mutation -- it dropped the idea of renouncing life. Rather, on the contrary, it made life an object of meditation.
So whatsoever you do, you can do meditatively -- there is no need to leave it. This was a new growth, this is the base of zen Buddhism: life is not to be denied. A zen monk goes on working; he will work in the garden, he will work on the farm, and he lives on his own labor. He is not a parasite, he is a lovely person. He need not bother about the society, and he is MORE free from the society than the one who has renounced. How can you be free from the society if you have renounced it? Then you become a parasite, not free -- and a parasite cannot have freedom.
This is my message also: be in the society and be a sannyasin. Don't become a parasite, don't become dependent on anybody, because every sort of dependence ultimately will make you a slave. It cannot make you a MUKTA, it cannot make you an absolutely free person.
In Japan, in China, they started to use many things, skills, as an object, as a help, as a support to meditation. Archery is one of them -- and archery is beautiful, because it is a very subtle skill, and you need much alertness to be skillful in it.
LIEH-TZU EXHIBITED HIS SKILL IN ARCHERY TO PO-HUN WU-JEN.
Po-Hun Wu-Jen was an enlightened master. Lieh-Tzu himself became enlightened later on, this story belongs to the days of his seeking. Lieh-Tzu himself became a master in his own right, but this is a story from before he became enlightened.
The desire to exhibit is the desire of an ignorant mind. Why do you want to exhibit? Why do you want people to know you? What's the cause of it? And why do you make it so significant in your life, the exhibition, that people should think that you are somebody very significant, important, extraordinary -- WHY? Because you don't have a self. You have only an ego -- a substitute for the self.
Ego is not substantial. Self is substantial, but that is not known to you -- and a man cannot live without the feeling of 'I'. It is difficult to live without the feeling of 'I'. Then from what center will you work and function? You need an 'I'. Even if it is false it will be helpful. Without an 'I' you sill simply disintegrate! Who will be the integrator, the agent within you? Who will integrate you? From what center will you function?
Unless you know the self, you will HAVE to live with an ego. Ego means a substitute self, a false self; you don't know the self, so you create a self of your own. It is a mental creation. And for anything that is false, you have to make supports. Exhibition gives you support.
If somebody says, 'You are a beautiful person,' you start feeling that you are beautiful. If nobody says so, it will be difficult for you to feel that you are beautiful; you will start suspecting, doubting. If you even say to an ugly person continuously, 'You are beautiful,'
the ugliness will drop from his mind, he will start feeling he is beautiful -- because the mind depends on others' opinions, it accumulates opinions, depends on them.
The ego depends on what people say about you: the ego feels good if people feel good about you; if they feel bad, the ego feels bad. If they don't give you any attention, the supports are withdrawn; if many people give you attention, they feed your ego -- that's why so much attention is asked for continuously.
Even a small child asks for attention. He may go on playing silently, but a guest comes...
and the mother has said to the child that when the guest comes, he has to be silent: 'Don't create any noise, and don't create any disturbance' -- but when the guest comes, the child HAS to do something because he also wants attention. And he wants more, because he is accumulating an ego -- just growing. He needs more food and he has been told to keep silence -- that is impossible! He will HAVE to do something. Even if he has to harm himself, he will fall. Harm can be tolerated, but attention must be paid to him, everybody must pay attention, he MUST become the center of attention!
Once I stayed in a home. The child there must have been told that while I was there he was not to make any trouble, he had to remain quiet and everything. But the child could not remain quiet, he wanted my attention also, so he started creating noise, running here and there, throwing things. The mother was angry and she told him many times, admonished him: 'Listen, I am going to beat you if you go on doing this.' But he wouldn't listen. Then finally she said to the child, 'Listen, go to that chair and sit there NOW!'
From the very gesture the child understood, 'Now it is too much and she is going to beat me,' so he went to the chair, sat there on the chair, glared at his mother and said, very meaningfully, 'Okay! I am SITTING, on the outside -- but on the inside I am standing.'
From childhood to the final, ultimate day of your death, you go on asking for attention.
When a person is dying the only idea that is in his mind, almost always, is, 'What will people say when I am dead? How many people will come to give me the last goodbye?
What will be published in the newspapers? Is any newspaper going to write an editorial?'
These are the thoughts. From the very beginning to the last we look at what others say. It must be a deep need.
Attention is food for the ego; only a person who has attained to the self drops that need.
When you have a center, your own, you need not ask for others' attention. Then you can live alone. Even in the crowd you will be alone, even in the world you will be alone, you will move in the crowd, but alone.
Right now you cannot be alone. Right now if you go to the Himalayas and move into a dense forest, sitting under a tree, you will wait for somebody to pass by, at least somebody who can carry the message to the world that you have become a great hermit.
You will wait, you will open your eyes many times to see -- has somebody come yet or not? ... Because you have heard the stories that when somebody renounces the world, the whole world comes to his feet, and up to now nobody has reached -- no newspaper man, no reporters, no cameramen, nobody! You cannot go to the Himalayas. When the need for attention drops you are in the Himalayas wherever you are.
LIEH-TZU EXHIBITED HIS SKILL IN ARCHERY....
Why 'exhibit'? He was still concerned with the ego, he was still looking for attention, and he showed his skill to Po-Hun Wu-Jen who was an enlightened master, a very old man.
The story says he was almost ninety -- very, very old -- when Lieh-Tzu went to see him.
Why to Po-Hun? -- because he was a renowned master, and if he says, 'Yes, Lieh-Tzu, you are the greatest archer in the world,' it will be such a vital food that one can live on it for ever and ever.
WHEN THE BOW WAS DRAWN TO ITS FULL LENGTH, A CUP OF WATER WAS PLACED ON HIS ELBOW AND HE BEGAN TO SHOOT -- and even a single drop of water would not come out of the full cup placed on his elbow, and he was shooting!
AS SOON AS THE FIRST ARROW WAS LET FLY, A SECOND WAS ALREADY ON THE STRING, AND THEN A THIRD ONE FOLLOWED. IN THE MEANTIME HE STOOD UNMOVED LIKE A STATUE.
Great skill -- but Po-Hun Wu-Jen was not impressed, because the moment you want to exhibit you have missed. The very effort to exhibit shows that you have not attained to the self, and if you have not attained to the self you can stand like a statue on the outside - - in the inside you will be running, following many many motivations, desires and dreams. Outside, you may be unmoving; inside, all sorts of movements will be going on there together, simultaneously; in many directions you must be running. Outside you can become a statue -- that is not the point.
It is said of Bokuju: he went to his master and for two years he sat before his master, near him, just like a statue, a marble statue of Buddha. At the beginning of the third year the master came, gave Bokuju a whack with his staff, and told him: 'You stupid! We have a thousand and one Buddha statues here, we don't need any more!' -- because his master lived in a temple where there were one thousand and one Buddha statues. He said, 'There are enough! What are you doing here?'
Statues are not needed, but a different state of being. It is very easy to sit silently on the outside -- what is difficult in it? Just a little training is needed. I have seen one man, very much respected in India, who has been standing for ten years -- he even sleeps standing.
His legs have become so thick and swollen that now he cannot bend his legs. People respect him very much, but when I went to see him he wanted to see me alone, and then he asked: 'Tell me how to meditate. My mind is very much disturbed.'
Ten years standing like a statue! -- he has not sat, he has not slept, but the problem remains the same: how to meditate, how to become silent inside. Unmoving outside, many movements inside. There may be even more than there are with you, because your energy is divided; much energy is needed for body movements. But a man who stands without moving -- his whole energy moves inwards in the mind, he becomes inside MAD. But people respect him -- and that has become an exhibition. Ego is fulfilled but the self is nowhere to be found.
PO-HUN WU-JEN SAID: 'THE TECHNIQUE OF SHOOTING IS FINE' -- you did well, beautiful! -- 'BUT IT IS NOT THE TECHNIQUE OF NON-SHOOTING.'
This may be a little bit difficult because in zen they say that the technique of shooting is just the beginning, to know HOW to shoot is just the beginning; but to know how NOT to shoot, so that the arrow shoots by itself, is to know the end.
Try to understand: when you shoot, the ego is there, the doer. And what is the art of non- shooting? The arrow shoots in that too, it reaches the target in that too, but the target is not the point. It may even miss the target -- that is not the point. The point is, inside there should be no doer. The SOURCE is the point. When you put an arrow on the bow, you should not be there; you should be as if nonexistent, absolutely empty, and the arrow shoots by itself. No doer inside -- then there can be no ego. You are so much one with the whole process that there is no division. You are lost in it. The act and the actor are not two -- not even the slight distinction of 'I am the doer and this is my action.' It takes many years to attain. And if you don't understand, it is very difficult to attain it; if you understand the thing, you create the possibility.
Herrigel, a German seeker, worked for three years with his master in Japan. He was an archer, when he reached Japan he was already an archer, and a perfect one, because a hundred percent of his targets were hit by the arrow; there was no question of it. When he arrived he was already an archer just like Lieh-Tzu. But the master laughed. He said, 'Yes, you are skilled in shooting, but what about non-shooting?'
Herrigel said, 'What is this non-shooting? -- never heard of it.'
The master said, 'Then I will teach you.'
Three years passed; he became more and more skillful and the target became nearer and nearer and nearer. He became absolutely perfect, there was nothing lacking. And he was worried because... and this is the problem for the Western mind: the East looks mysterious, illogical, and the East is. He couldn't understand this master; was he a madman? ... Because now he was absolutely perfect, the master could not find a single fault, and he went on saying, 'No!' This is the problem: the gulf between the Eastern and the Western approaches towards life. The master goes on saying no, goes on rejecting.
Herrigel started getting frustrated. He said, 'But where is the fault? Show me the fault and I can learn how to go beyond it.'
The master said, 'There is no fault. YOU are faulty. There is no fault, your shooting is perfect -- but that is not the point. YOU are faulty; when you shoot, YOU are there, you are too much there. The arrow reaches the target, that's right! -- but that is not the point.
WHY are you there too much? Why the exhibition? Why the ego? Why can't you simply shoot without being there?'
Herrigel, of course, continued arguing, 'How can one shoot without being there? Then who will shoot?' -- a very rational approach: then who will shoot?
And the master would say, 'Just look at me.' And Herrigel also felt that his master had a different quality, but that quality is mysterious and you cannot catch it. He felt it many times: that when the master shoots it is really different, as if he becomes the arrow, the bow, as if the master is there no more; he is completely one, undivided.
Then he started asking how to do this. The master said, 'This is not a technique. You have to understand, and you have to soak yourself into that understanding more and more, and sink into it.'
Three years lost, and then Herrigel understood that this was not possible. Either this man is mad, or it is not possible for a Westerner to attain this non-shooting: I have wasted three years, now it is time to go.
So he asked the master straight; the master said, 'Yes, you can go.'
Herrigel asked, 'Can you give me a certificate stating that for three years I learned with you?'
The master said, 'No, because you have not learned anything. You have been three years with me, but you have not learned anything. All that you have learned you could have learned in Germany also. There was no need to come here.'
The day he was to leave he just went to say goodbye, and the master was teaching other disciples, and demonstrating. It was just morning, and the sun was rising and there were birds singing; and Herrigel was now unworried because he had decided, and once the decision is taken the worry disappears. He was not worried. For these three years he was tense in the mind -- how to attain? How to fulfill the conditions of this madman? But now there was no worry. He had decided, he was leaving, he had booked; by the evening he would leave and all this nightmare would be left behind. He was just waiting for the master so that when he was finished with his disciples he could say goodbye and a thank you and leave.
So he was sitting on a bench. For the first time, suddenly he felt something. He looked at the master. The master was pulling the string of the bow and, as if he was not walking towards the master, he suddenly found himself standing and walking from the bench. He reached the master, took the bow from his hand... the arrow left the bow, and the master said, 'Good, fine, you have attained! Now I can give you a certificate.'
And Herrigel says: 'Yes, that day I attained. I now know the difference. That day something happened by itself -- I was not the shooter, I was not there at all. I was just sitting on the bench relaxed. There was no tension, no worry, no thinking about it. I was not concerned.'
Remember this, because you are also near a madman. It is very difficult to fulfill my conditions. It is almost impossible -- but it is possible also. And it will happen only when you have done everything that you can do, and you come to the point to say goodbye, when you come to the point where you would like to leave me and go away. It will come to you only when you come to the point where you think, 'Drop all these meditations and everything. The whole thing is nightmarish.' Then there is no worry. But don't forget to come to me and say goodbye; otherwise you may leave without attaining.
Things start happening when you are finished with effort, when the effort has been made totally -- of course, Herrigel was total in his effort; that's why in three years he could finish the whole thing. If you are partial, fragmentary, your effort is not total, then three lives may not be enough. If you are lukewarm in your effort then you will never come to a point when the whole effort becomes useless.
Be total in the effort. Learn the whole technique that is possible to do meditation. Do everything that you can do. Don't withhold anything. Don't try to escape from anything; do it wholeheartedly. Then there comes a point, a peak, where no more can be done.
When you come to the point where no more can be done and you have done all, and I go on saying, 'No, this is not enough!' -- my 'no' is needed to bring you to the total, to the final, to the peak from where no more doing is possible.
And you don't know how much you can do. You have tremendous energy which you are not using; you are using only a fragment. And if you are using only a fragment, then you will never come to the point where Herrigel reached -- I call that the Herrigel point.
But he did well. He did whatsoever could be done; on his part he was not saving anything. Then the boiling point comes. At that boiling point is the door. The whole effort becomes so useless, so futile: you are not reaching anywhere through it, so you drop it. A sudden relaxation... and the door opens.
Now you can meditate without being a meditator. Now you can meditate without even meditating. Now you can meditate without your ego being there. Now you become the meditation -- there is no meditator. The actor becomes the action, the meditator becomes meditation; the archer becomes the bow, the arrow -- and the target is not there outside somewhere hanging on a tree. The target is YOU, inside you -- the source.
This is what Po-Hun Wu-Jen said. He said:
'THE TECHNIQUE OF SHOOTING IS FINE' -- of course Lieh-Tzu was a good shot, a perfect archer -- 'BUT IT IS NOT THE TECHNIQUE OF NON-SHOOTING. LET US GO UP TO A HIGH MOUNTAIN AND STAND ON A PROJECTING ROCK, AND THEN YOU TRY AND SHOOT.'
What is he bringing Lieh-Tzu to? The outside is perfect but the source is still trembling.
The action is perfect but the being is still shaking. The fear is there, death is there; he has not known himself yet. He is not a knower; whatsoever he is doing is just from the head and the hand: the third H is still not in it. Remember always to have all the three H's together -- the hand, the heart and the head. You have learned the three R's, now learn the three H's. And always remember that the head is so cunning that it can deceive you, it can give you the feeling, 'Okay, all the three H's are there,' because as a skill develops, as you become more and more technically perfect, the head says, 'What else is needed?'
Head means the West, heart means the East. The head says, 'Everything is okay.' Herrigel is head, the master is the heart -- and the master looks mad. And remember: for the head, the heart always looks mad. The head always says, 'You keep quiet. Don't come in, otherwise you will create a mess. Let me tackle the whole thing. I have learned everything, I know the arithmetic, and I know how to deal with this.' And technically the head is always correct. The heart is technically always wrong, because the heart knows no technique, it knows only the feeling, it knows only the poetry of being. It knows no technique, it knows no grammar, it is a poetic phenomenon.'LET US GO TO A HIGH MOUNTAIN,'
said the old master -- very very old, ninety years old -- 'AND STAND ON A PROJECTING ROCK AND THEN YOU TRY AND SHOOT.'
Then we will see.
THEY CLIMBED UP A MOUNTAIN. STANDING ON A ROCK THAT PROJECTED OVER A PRECIPICE TEN THOUSAND FEET HIGH....
And remember, that is the difference between the head and the heart: ten thousand feet high is the heart, on a projecting rock overlooking a ten thousand foot deep valley....
Whenever you move nearer to the heart you will feel dizzy. With the head, everything is on level ground; it is a highway, concrete. With the heart you move into the forest -- no highways, ups and downs, everything mysterious, unknown, hidden in a mist; nothing is clear, it is a labyrinth; it is not a highway, it is more like a puzzle. Ten thousand feet high!
Somewhere Nietzsche has reported that once it happened that he suddenly found himself ten thousand feet high, ten thousand feet high from time -- as if time were a valley, and he found himself ten thousand feet high and away from time itself. The day he reported this in his diary is the day he went mad. The day he reported this in his diary is the day his madness came in.
It is a very dizzy point; one can go mad. As you move nearer towards the heart, you will feel you are moving nearer madness. 'What am I doing?' Things get dizzy. The known leaves you behind, the unknown enters. All maps become useless, because no maps exist for the heart; all maps exist for the conscious mind. It is a clear-cut thing; in it, you are secure. That's why love gives you fear, death gives you fear, meditation gives you fear.
Whenever you are moving towards the center, fear grips you.
THEY CLIMBED UP A MOUNTAIN. STANDING ON A ROCK THAT PROJECTED OVER A PRECIPICE TEN THOUSAND FEET HIGH, PO-HUN WU-JEN MOVED BACKWARDS -- not forwards; on this projecting rock ten thousand feet high he moved backwards.
PO-HUN WU-JEN MOVED BACKWARDS UNTIL ONE THIRD OF HIS FEET WERE OVERHANGING THE EDGE -- and backwards. HE THEN MOTIONED LIEH- TZU TO COME FORWARD.
It is said that this ninety-year-old man was almost bent; he couldn't stand erect, he was very very old. This bent old man, half of his feet overhanging the edge -- not even looking that way, backwards.
HE THEN MOTIONED LIEH-TZU TO COME FORWARD.
That is where I am standing and calling you to come forward.
LIEH-TZU FELL DOWN ON THE GROUND.
He would not come near him. Wherever he was standing, far away from the projecting precipice, Lieh-Tzu fell down on the ground.
The very idea of coming closer to this old madman who is just standing, overhanging death; any moment he will fall and will not be found ever....
.... WITH PERSPIRATION FLOWING DOWN TO HIS HEELS.
Lieh-Tzu fell down on the ground with perspiration flowing down to his heels.
Remember, first perspiration comes to the head. When the fear starts, first you perspire on the head; the heels are the last thing. When fear enters so deep in you that not only is the head perspiring, but the heels are perspiring, then the whole being is filled with fear and trembling. Lieh-Tzu could not stand -- he could not stand even the idea of coming nearer to the old master.
SAID PO-HUN WU-JEN: 'THE PERFECT MAN SOARS UP ABOVE THE BLUE SKY, OR DIVES DOWN TO THE YELLOW SPRINGS, OR WANDERS ALL OVER THE EIGHT LIMITS OF THE WORLD, YET SHOWS NO SIGN OF CHANGE IN HIS SPIRIT.'
'Lieh-Tzu, why are you perspiring so much? To the very heels? And why have you fallen there on the ground, dazed? Why this change in spirit? Why are you shaking so much?
Why this trembling? What is the fear? -- because a perfect man has no fear!'
Perfection is fearlessness... because a perfect man knows there is no death. Even if this old Po-Hun Wu-Jen falls, he knows he cannot really fall; even if the body shatters into millions of pieces and nobody can find it again, he knows he cannot die. He will remain as he is. Only something on the periphery will disappear; the center remains, remains always as it is.
Death is not for the center. The cyclone is only on the periphery, the cyclone never reaches the center. Nothing ever reaches the center. The perfect man is centered, he is rooted in his being. He is fearless. He is not unafraid -- no! He is not a brave man -- no!
He is simply fearless. A brave man is one who has fear, but goes against his fear; and a coward is one who also has fear, but goes with his fear. They don't differ, the brave and cowards, they don't differ basically, they both have fears. The brave is one who goes on in spite of the fear, the coward is one who follows his fear. But a perfect man is neither; he is simply fearless. He is neither a coward, nor is he brave. He simply knows that death is a myth, death is a lie -- the greatest lie; death does not exist.
Remember, for a perfect man death does not exist -- only life, or God, exists. For you, God does not exist, only death exists. The moment you feel deathlessness you have felt the divine. The moment you feel deathlessness you have felt the very source of life.
'THE PERFECT MAN SOARS UP ABOVE THE BLUE SKY, OR DIVES DOWN TO THE YELLOW SPRINGS, OR WANDERS ALL OVER THE EIGHT LIMITS OF THE WORLD, YET SHOWS NO SIGN OF CHANGE IN HIS SPIRIT.'
Change may happen on the periphery but in his spirit there is no change. Inside he remains unmoving. Inside he remains eternally the same.
'BUT YOU BETRAY A SIGN OF TREPIDATION, AND YOUR EYES ARE DAZED, LIEH-TZU.HOW CAN YOU EXPECT TO HIT THE TARGET?'
... Because if you are trembling within, howsoever exactly you hit the target, it cannot be exact because the trembling inside will make your hand tremble. It may be invisible, but it will be there. For all outward purposes you may have hit the target, but for inward purposes you have missed. How can you hit the target?
So the basic thing is not to hit the target, the basic thing is to attain a non-trembling being. Then whether you hit the target or not is secondary. That is for children to decide, and child's play.
This is the difference between the art of shooting and the art of non-shooting. It is possible that this master, old master, may miss the target, it is possible; but still, he knows the art of non-shooting. Lieh-Tzu will never miss the target, but still he has missed the real target, he has missed himself.
So there are two points: the source from where the arrow moves, and the end where the arrow reaches. Religion is always concerned with the source from where all the arrows move. Where they reach is not the point; the basic thing is from where they move -- because if they move from a non-trembling being they will attain the target. They have already attained, because in the source is the end, in the beginning is the end, in the seed is the tree, in the alpha is the omega.
So the basic thing is not to be worried about the result; the essential thing is to think, to meditate, about the source. Whether my gesture is a perfect love gesture or not is not the point. Whether love is flowing or not, that is the point. If love is there it will find its own technique, if love is there it will find its own skill. But if love is not there, and you are skilled in the technique, the technique cannot find its love -- remember this.
The center will always find its periphery, but the periphery CANNOT find the center.
The being will always find its morality, its character, but the character will not find its being. You cannot move from without towards within. There is only one way: energy flows from within towards without. The river cannot move if there is no source, no originating source. Then the whole thing would be false. If you have the source, the river will move, and it will attain to the ocean -- there is no problem. Wheresoever it goes, it will reach the target. If the source is overflowing, you will attain; and if you are simply playing with techniques and toys, you will miss.
In the West particularly, technology has become so important that it has entered even in human relationship. Because you know too much about techniques, you are trying to convert everything into technology. That's why books, thousands of books, are published every year about love -- the technique, how to attain orgasm, how to make love. Even love has become a technological problem and orgasm a technological thing, it has to be solved by technicians. If love has also become a technological problem then what is left?
Then nothing is left, then the whole life is just a technology. Then you have to know the know-how -- but you miss; you miss the real target which is the source.
Technique is good as far as it goes, but it is secondary. It is nonessential. The essential is the source and one must first look for the source -- and then the technique can come. It is good that you learn technique, it is good! People come to me and I see they are always concerned with technique. They ask how to meditate. They don't ask, 'What is meditation?' 'How?' -- they ask HOW to attain peace. They never ask, 'What is peace?' As if they already know.
Mulla Nasruddin killed his wife and then there was a case in the court. The judge said to Nasruddin, 'Nasruddin, you go on insisting again and again that you are a peaceloving man. What type of peaceloving man are you? You killed your wife!'
Nasruddin said, 'Yes, I repeat again that I am a peaceloving man. You don't know: when I killed my wife such peace descended on her face, and for the first time in my house there was peace all over. And I still insist that I am a peaceloving man.'
Technique kills. It can give you a peace which belongs to death, not to life. Method is dangerous, because you may forget the source completely and you may become obsessed with the method. Methods are good if you remain alert and you remain conscious that they are not the end, they are only the means. Too much obsession with them is very harmful, because you can forget the source completely.
This is the point. This old master, Po-Hun Wu-Jen, showed Lieh-Tzu one of the secrets.
Lieh-Tzu himself became an enlightened man, he himself became what this old man was at that moment: backwards, moving towards the precipice ten thousand feet high and half his feet hanging over -- and a very old body, ninety years old, and still no trembling came to the old man; not a slight change, not even a tremor! Inside he must have been totally fearless. Inside he must have been rooted, grounded in himself, centered. Remember this always, because there is always a possibility of becoming a victim of techniques and methods.
The ultimate comes to you only when all techniques have been dropped. The ultimate happens to you only when there is no method, because only then are you open. The ultimate will knock at your door only when you are not there. When you are absent, you are ready, because when you are absent only then is there a space for the ultimate to enter into you. Then you become a womb. If YOU are there you are always too much; there is not even a slight gap, space, for the ultimate to enter into you -- and the ultimate is VAST. You have to be so vastly empty, so infinitely empty -- only then is there a possibility of the meeting.
That's why I go on saying you will never be able to meet God, because when God comes you will not be there. And until you are, he cannot come. You are the barrier.