Perfect the circle, pure the ground
CHINSO CAME TO SEE SHIFUKU. SHIFUKU DREW A CIRCLE IN THE AIR.
CHINSO SAID, "I HAVE NO OBJECT IN COMING HERE. WHY DO YOU BOTHER TO DRAW A CIRCLE?"
SHIFUKU CLOSED THE DOOR OF HIS ROOM.
PERFECT THE CIRCLE, PURE THE SOUND, BRIGHT AND ABUNDANT THE ENCIRCLING JADE, LOADED ON HORSES AND MULES, LOADED ON BOARD THE IRON BOATS, GIVEN TO THOSE WHO KNOW THE PEACE AND FREEDOM OF LAND AND SEA.
HE PUT DOWN THE TACKLE TO FISH THE TURTLE.
SETCHO COMMENTS HERE:
"MONKS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD CAN'T JUMP OUT OF IT."
I KNOW YOU WILL HAVE ME HIT OR PINCHED IF I'VE GOT IT WRONG, BUT IT SEEMS TO ME THAT IN THE SAME SITUATION AS SHIFUKU YOU MIGHT HAVE DRAWN A SPIRAL INSTEAD.
THE SECOND QUESTION:
I RECALL HEARING YOU SAY RECENTLY THAT DIALOGUE BETWEEN AN ENLIGHTENED AND AN UNENLIGHTENED PERSON IS NOT POSSIBLE, AND BETWEEN TWO ENLIGHTENED PEOPLE, NOT NECESSARY. ZEN SEEMS TO BE AN EXISTENTIAL DIALOGUE - THE ULTIMATE FORM OF COMMUNICATION, WHETHER THOSE ON EITHER END OF THE EXCHANGE ARE ENLIGHTENED OR NOT.
WOULD YOU COMMENT?
THE THIRD QUESTION:
SOME ZEN ANECDOTES ARE ABOUT INTERCHANGES BETWEEN TWO MASTERS, TWO ENLIGHTENED BEINGS. I HAVE HEARD THAT THIS WAS CALLED DOING DHARMA BATTLE.
WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THOSE EXCHANGES, OR WERE THEY JUST FOR THE JOY OF THE GAME?
AND THE LAST QUESTION:
IT SEEMS THAT THE VERY SPIRIT OF ZEN IS PERVADING THESE EVENINGS WITH YOU - THROUGH YOUR WORDS, YOUR GESTURES, YOUR SILENCES, AND OUR RESPONSE OF SILENCE OR LAUGHTER, LET-GO OR YAA-HOO!
WHEN COMMUNICATION IS TOTAL, IT FEELS AS IF THE COMMUNICATORS DISAPPEAR.
THUS WHEN COMMUNICATION REALLY HAPPENS THERE IS NO ONE LEFT TO COMMUNICATE!
COULD YOU PLEASE COMMENT?
Maneesha, the dialogue between two enlightened persons is just playfulness. It does not matter whether they sit silently together or speak. In that space, words or no words are equivalent.
There is nothing to say and nothing to hide but only a sharing, a sharing of the joy, a sharing of the awakening, a sharing of the blissfulness, a sharing of their ecstasy. The awakened one becomes just a child collecting seashells on the sea beach, or running after butterflies, or trying to catch the rainbows.
In fact, dialogue in words is not possible. They can play with words, but the real dialogue happens in their silences. And particularly the Zen masters are immensely inventive of new ways how to play, so that it does not disturb the silence but on the contrary, enhances it, deepens it, makes it more sweet, more alive, more dancing.
The silence between two enlightened ones is the greatest poetry - poetry without words, the greatest music - music without sounds.
But when there were encounters between Zen masters, they really enjoyed it, playing all kinds of tricks on each other. They are rascal saints.
That is my comment.
CHINSO CAME TO SEE SHIFUKU. SHIFUKU DREW A CIRCLE IN THE AIR signifying that here everything is as complete as a circle. The circle is the only thing that cannot be incomplete. If it is incomplete, it is not a circle - it may be anything. A circle by intrinsic necessity has to be complete.
SHIFUKU DREW A CIRCLE IN THE AIR to indicate two things:
Here everything is complete. Why have you unnecessarily come here? - because the completion cannot speak. It has gone far beyond language. Completion means absolute silence. Why have you come here? That is the question inherent in the circle drawn in the air.
And the second thing: a circle in the air signifies that everything in this world, in this existence, is nothing but circles in the air; don't pay too much attention to it. It is all made of the stuff dreams are made of. Even dreams have some stuff, but a circle in the air is just emptiness. Shifuku has explained his situation so beautifully, so poetically and so truthfully that he cannot be transcended.
"I HAVE NO OBJECT IN COMING HERE. WHY DO YOU BOTHER TO DRAW A CIRCLE?"
Both are enlightened persons, so naturally Chinso says, "WHY DO YOU BOTHER TO DRAW A CIRCLE? Do you think I don't understand? Do you think I cannot draw these circles in the air?
And from where have you got the idea that I have come for any special object to be with you?" He is saying, "Is it not possible just to be together out of love, out of playfulness; has it always to be business? Can't it be simply meeting with no object, no goal?"
Both are tremendously insightful, but Chinso is left behind by Shifuku.
SHIFUKU CLOSED THE DOOR OF HIS ROOM.
It is not unwelcoming. He is saying, "If there is no object in coming, if there is nothing to say, nothing to listen to, I am not interested in playing. I have left those childhood toys far behind."
His closing the door is simply mystifying. He is not a man without compassion and he is not a man who has no respect for others - but he has to close the door. In his clarity perhaps Chinso has had some glimpses, but he is still not fully awakened. This closing of the door may help.
PERFECT THE CIRCLE, PURE THE SOUND,
BRIGHT AND ABUNDANT THE ENCIRCLING JADE,
LOADED ON HORSES AND MULES,
LOADED ON BOARD THE IRON BOATS,
GIVEN TO THOSE WHO KNOW
THE PEACE AND FREEDOM OF LAND AND SEA.
Setcho is Setcho. Where he has no business, there too he tries to make some commentary....
Now his whole comment is absurd. Just a pure silence would have been enough, but he has taken it upon himself - being a schoolmaster - that he has to explain everything. He himself does not understand and he is trying to explain it to others. This is not only Setcho's situation, this is the situation of millions of people who know nothing, but who go on giving advice to everybody.
It is said that advice is the only thing that is given freely and nobody takes it. A man of real wisdom does not open his mouth unless invited, but the ignorant enjoys advising very much; his understanding is that the more he gives advice the more people will think he is a man of wisdom.
But you can fool only those who are already foolish....
Setcho goes on saying:
HE PUT DOWN THE TACKLE TO FISH THE TURTLE.
SETCHO COMMENTS HERE: "MONKS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD CAN'T JUMP OUT OF IT."
In his whole commentary only this statement is significant. How can you jump out of a circle drawn in the air? But in fact, there is no need to jump out of it. The need is to jump in - that is my reply to Setcho.
Maneesha, you have asked a few questions....
"OSHO, I KNOW YOU WILL HAVE ME HIT OR PINCHED IF I HAVE GOT IT WRONG, BUT IT SEEMS TO ME THAT IN THE SAME SITUATION AS SHIFUKU YOU MIGHT HAVE DRAWN A SPIRAL INSTEAD."
You are right, Maneesha: existence is not a circle but a spiral. A circle is static, dead; a spiral goes on growing, goes on becoming bigger. Now the scientists can measure fourteen billion light-years and they say that a tremendous thing is happening that far away. It must affect us too. Galaxies upon galaxies are running in one direction. We cannot see towards what goal they are running, or if there is any goal - or if the running itself is the goal.... But as far as we can see with our instruments, the whole of existence is running fast. Nothing is static; everything is growing bigger and bigger and bigger.
So you are right, I would not have drawn a circle, because I believe in evolution. I believe in no end to evolution, open-ended evolution - evolution for always. I don't believe in any full point, not even in a comma.
But on the other point you are wrong. You say, "I know you will have me hit or pinched if I've got it wrong..." There you are wrong.
Wrong or right, Master Niskriya, hit! That's good.
(NISKRIYA TAKES HIS FEATHER AND TICKLES HER NOSE.)
That's very fine.
Your second question:
"I RECALL HEARING YOU SAY RECENTLY THAT DIALOGUE BETWEEN AN ENLIGHTENED AND AN UNENLIGHTENED PERSON IS NOT POSSIBLE, AND BETWEEN TWO ENLIGHTENED PEOPLE, NOT NECESSARY. ZEN SEEMS TO BE AN EXISTENTIAL DIALOGUE - THE ULTIMATE FORM OF COMMUNICATION, WHETHER THOSE ON EITHER END OF THE EXCHANGE ARE ENLIGHTENED OR NOT. WOULD YOU COMMENT?"
Your question is again mixed. Half of it is right: Zen is an existential dialogue, but not between the enlightened and the unenlightened - that is an impossibility. One who knows and one who does not know cannot have any kind of communication. It is just like you are fast asleep and somebody else is talking to you. Now, between the asleep and the awakened, what kind of dialogue...?
But between two awakened, two enlightened persons, dialogue - although unnecessary - is possible. Unnecessary, because they have nothing to convey to each other; they both know it.
But Zen is a very youthful, joyous approach to reality; they go on playing with each other. Their play is a joy for those who can understand even the playfulness. They may not understand the meaning of it....
Your idea that it happens whether those on either end of the exchange are enlightened or not, is not right. The enlightened and the unenlightened cannot even play - there is no possibility of communication. When both are enlightened, all possibilities of communication open, but there is nothing to communicate; hence the drama of dialogue.
Your third question is:
"OSHO, SOME ZEN ANECDOTES ARE ABOUT INTERCHANGES BETWEEN TWO MASTERS, TWO ENLIGHTENED BEINGS. I HAVE HEARD THAT THIS WAS CALLED DOING DHARMA BATTLE. WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THOSE EXCHANGES, OR WERE THEY JUST FOR THE JOY OF THE GAME?"
Maneesha, Dharma Battle has a certain subtle purpose. If you see two enlightened persons engaged in a playful dialogue one never knows: the seer within you may become suddenly aware of something more that is not available to our ordinary eyes.
These Dharma Battles are for the growth of insight in disciples. There is nothing to say and there is nothing to be heard, but those who cannot understand silence... something has to be done for them.
Something - however farfetched - but something has to be done. That something is Dharma Battle.
Two enlightened masters meet, poke and pinch each other, raise questions which they know are absurd, give answers which they know have no validity... But in their Dharma Battle the disciples who are the watchers may become aware of something subtle that is not clear in the words.
For example, one Zen master is making a circle in the air.... You cannot forget that gesture; you will have to figure out what it means. Another enlightened man has come to see him and he closes the door. The very situation is such that you are bound to be engaged, for the first time thinking about something: What do these fellows mean? Drawing a circle in the air, closing the door on the face of the guest...?
It can't just be what it appears to be; it must be something else. It can trigger off an inquiry in the disciple. That is the purposeless purpose.
Your fourth question, Maneesha:
"OSHO, IT SEEMS THAT THE VERY SPIRIT OF ZEN IS PERVADING THESE EVENINGS WITH YOU - THROUGH YOUR WORDS, YOUR GESTURES, YOUR SILENCES, AND OUR RESPONSE OF SILENCE OR LAUGHTER, LET-GO OR YAA-HOO!
"WHEN COMMUNICATION IS TOTAL IT FEELS AS IF THE COMMUNICATORS DISAPPEAR.
THUS WHEN COMMUNICATION REALLY HAPPENS THERE IS NO ONE LEFT TO COMMUNICATE! COULD YOU PLEASE COMMENT?"
Niskriya, could you please act again on my behalf?
(NISKRIYA TOUCHES MANEESHA'S HEAD WITH HIS FEATHER.)
It is true, Maneesha, these evenings have been very special and those who are present are very fortunate. The silences, the laughter, my eyes and your eyes meeting, my hands being understood...
and we have created a golden age which has disappeared from the world. We have brought back the times of Mahakashyapa, Bodhidharma.... This assembly would have made any enlightened person rejoice.
It is true that when communication happens, the communicators disappear - you can feel it immediately. Here you are as if one consciousness, undivided. In your silence you are one, in your laughter you are one. This oneness is the door to the ultimate awakening of your consciousness.
We have been one in silence, let us also be one in our laughter. To me a silence that cannot laugh is dead and a laughter that has no silence in it is superficial. When silence and laughter meet they create a dance, and our effort here is to join in this cosmic dance.
Just relax into the whole...
Don't keep yourself as a spectator.
Don't remain separate....
Gloria and Barbara are chatting together. "What has become of that nice man you started going out with?"
"Oh, I gave him the push!" replies Barbara. "He was no gentleman."
"Whatever happened?" asks Gloria.
"Well," replies Barbara, "no sooner were we alone on the sofa at my place, than he put his hand on my thigh."
"Well," says Gloria, "at least that shows he is interested."
"It might do," replies Barbara, "but I was brought up properly, and I am not going to tolerate that.
Everybody knows that with a real gentleman, it is always tits first!"
Myrtle MacTavish is being treated by her doctor for sore knees. The treatment makes no improvement and Doctor Dingle is puzzled.
"Something is rubbing the skin off your knees as fast as it heals," he says. "Is it praying?"
"No, Doctor," replies Myrtle, "it is my husband. He insists on having sex on the floor, doggie style."
Doctor Dingle sends for her husband and tells him, "You know, there are plenty of other positions for sex."
"No, Doc, there aren't," replies the man, "not if you both want to watch television."
A young man sitting at a bar sees an attractive girl and offers to buy her a drink.
"Did you say a motel?" asks the girl in a loud voice.
The man is extremely embarrassed and assures her that he only wants to buy her a drink.
"You want to take me to a motel?" she screams.
Everyone turns to look at the young man, and even the bartender tells him to behave himself. He is so embarrassed that he goes and sits at a corner table.
A short while later the girl comes over to him.
"I must apologize," she says. "I am sorry to embarrass you so much, because you see, I am a psychology student and I wanted to take note of your reactions for my psychology thesis."
"What?" shouts the man. "You must be joking! Twenty dollars!"
Now let our laughter become silence.
For two minutes no movement, closed eyes, contain all your energy inwards....
Okay, come back.