A Chinese allegory tells about a monk who was in search of Buddha.
He travelled for years and years and then finally he arrived in the country where Buddha lived. Just a river had to be crossed and he would be face to face with Buddha. He was ecstatic.
He enquired whether he could get a ferry or boat to go to the other shore, for the river was very wide. But people on the shore informed him: Nobody will be able to take you there because there is a legend that whosoever goes to the other shore never comes back. So nobody can dare to take you there. You will have to swim.
Afraid of course, because the river was very wide, but still finding no other way, the monk started swimming. Just in the middle of the river he saw a corpse floating, coming closer and closer towards him. He became afraid; he wanted to avoid the corpse. He tried in many ways to dodge but he couldn't, the corpse proved very tricky; howsoever he tried, the corpse kept coming closer and closer.
Then finding no way to escape from it - and moreover curiosity also possessed him because the corpse seemed to be the corpse of a Buddhist monk: the ochre robe, the clean-shaved head - taking courage he allowed the corpse to come near; in fact rather on the contrary he himself swam towards the corpse.
He looked at the face, and started laughing madly, because it was his own corpse; he could not believe his eyes, but it was so. He looked again and again, but it was his own corpse.
And then the corpse floated by down the river, and he watched all his past go with it: all that he had learnt, all that he had possessed, all that he had been, the ego, the centre of his mind, the self - everything floated off with the corpse. He was totally empty.
Now there was no need to go to the other shore, no need to go to the other shore because once his past had been taken by the river he himself was Buddha. He started laughing because he had been searching for the Buddha without, and the Buddha was within.
He came back laughing to the same shore he had left just a few minutes before, but nobody would recognize him. He even told people: I am the same man! but they laughed. He was not the same man.
He was not really. And that was the reason for the legend that nobody comes back - whosoever goes to the other shore. Everybody had come back, but they were not the same, the old was dead, and the absolutely new had come in its place.
I would like this allegory to be as deeply implanted in your being as possible. This is going to be your future. If you really go on and on journeying towards the Buddhaland to become the ultimate, to know the ultimate, one day or other you will come to the wide river where all that you have done, all that you can do, all that you have possessed, all that you can posses, all that you have been, all that you can be: all is taken by the wide river - it moves with the flow slowly towards the ocean; and you are left totally alone, with no possession, with no body, with no mind. In that aloneness flowers the flower of Buddha. You have come to the Buddhaland. You have come to know the Tao.
These sutras of Lao Tzu are methods: How to attain to the inner Buddhaland. Now, try to understand the sutras.
THAT WHICH LIES STILL IS EASY TO HOLD;
You have been trying, in a thousand and one ways, to hold yourself, to control yourself, but you have not been able to because the mind is not still. When the mind is not still you cannot hold it. When it is still it is no more, it is not there - and that is the only way to hold it.
You cannot control the mind. In fact people who control the mind are the people who don't have the mind. It is a misnomer to say that they control the mind. People who have the mind never control it, cannot control it. If the mind is there mind will control you. If the mind is not there only then you can control it, and the mind is not there when it is still.
So when people say: I would like to have a still mind, a silent mind, a peaceful mind, they don't know what they are saying, because mind exists only when it is not still. There is nothing like a still mind.
A still mind is a no-mind!
Have you seen anything like a still storm? Have you seen anything like that? When the storm is still it is not there! Mind is a storm, a turmoil. When it is still it is not there at all, all the waves have disappeared. If the waves are there the turmoil is there. So, if you still the mind, knowingly or unknowingly you will move in towards a state of no mind.
THAT WHICH LIES STILL IS EASY TO HOLD;
In fact there is no effort to hold it, it is so easy. To say it is easy is not good because easy also indicates a little difficulty in it, it is a category of difficulty. Difficult and easy have the same quality; they differ in degree, in quantity, but not in quality. No, it is not good to say easy, that's why Lao Tzu says again and again that the truth cannot be said. When it is said it is no more the truth.
But he has to use language as I have to use language, and all language is irrelevant to the innermost phenomena, to the innermost experience. All language is irrelevant, remember that. Just use the language, language is used as a pointer.
I show you the moon and the sky by my finger. My finger is not the moon, it is a pointer; don't cling to it, forget all about it. When I was showing you the finger I was not showing you the finger, I was showing you the moon; the finger is irrelevant, the same thing can be done by a stick, or something else, any pointer can do it, and the pointer has no relationship with the moon. The whole language works as a pointer. Lao Tzu has to say something which is not exactly so: THAT WHICH LIES STILL IS EASY TO HOLD; but he is pointing in the right direction.
If you want to hold yourself, if you want to control yourself, if you want to become a master of your own being, if you don't want to be a slave, and a slave of so many masters: everybody manipulating you, manoeuvring you, controlling you, oppressing you, exploiting you - enemies, friends, those who are close kith and kin and those who are foes - all manoeuvring you, trying to control you, if you want to be a master of yourself - the only way is to still the mind, to slow down its process, to slow down its madness.
As mind is, it is running madly. Slow down the process. Persuade it to walk fast but not run. Then persuade it to walk slowly not to walk fast. Then persuade it not to walk at all but to stand still... By and by persuade it towards a slower process.
As mind slows you will be able to see the gaps between two thoughts - and in those gaps you will find yourself. In those intervals one thought has gone, another has not yet come; one cloud moves, another has not come coming, but between the two, in the interval, the space, you can see the blue sky. That blue sky is YOU. And once you have the glimpse of who you are, you slow down the mind more and more because it's so blissful!
Activity of the mind is hell, inactivity of the mind is heaven - and complete disappearance of the mind is MOKSHA. There is no word in English for moksha so I am using the same word. It means:
beyond all dualities; heaven and hell both; where there is neither pain nor pleasure, but simply you in your absolute purity, aloneness.
THAT WHICH LIES STILL IS EASY TO HOLD; THAT WHICH IS NOT YET MANIFEST IS EASY TO FORESTALL;
And always remember, when a disease has taken you it is difficult. It can be cured but it will take time. It could have been prevented if you had become aware before it became manifest.
In Soviet Russia a new photography is developing every day, a photography of very very great potential. They call it Kirlian photography. Kirlian has developed very sensitive films which can take photos of your aura, of your electric body. Through those photographs it has become possible to see if you are going to be ill within six months; the photograph will show, right now today, that after six months you are going to become a victim of T.B. or something else. You are not aware of it at all, no physician could say that you are going to be ill, you may appear perfectly healthy. The disease is not yet manifest. It has not come to the physical body, it has not even come to the mind, it is still in the electric body - which is the subtlest thing in you: what religions have been calling the astral body.
The word ASTRAL comes from the word for star; ASTRAL means the star body, made of the light of it means the electric body. That's why the science of stars is called astrology.
Now Kirlian has developed a very scientific device to predict diseases, and he predicts a hundred per cent correct; and when he says: THIS disease is coming, nobody can believe it; no physician can check it anywhere, it is nowhere - because the physician can check at the most the body, and no psychiatrist can check it anywhere because he can check only the mind; it is still deeper, unmanifest, in the astral. And Kirlian says it can be treated there, and then it will never come.
This seems to have a very very great potentiality for the future. Some day or other every hospital is going to be experimenting with the astral body. Then only can diseases disappear completely, because they will be treated before they ever come to you, before you ever become aware that they are there.
This is what Lao Tzu is saying about the innermost phenomena of your being. There also the same thing is happening. If you slow down the process you can see: anger is coming - you can see it.
Anger has three stages: anger is there first in the seed, in the astral; if you are very very alert you can feel the coming of the storm; it has not come, it is knocking at the doors; the knock is very subtle, but it can be heard. You don't hear it because you are such a crowd within: such noise, chattering, that the subtle noise cannot be heard. But if you become a little silent you will know of anger before it reaches you. Then it can be treated very easily.
The second stage is when the anger has taken possession. Then it is almost impossible to push the force back. In fact you are so much possessed that you are not there to control it. When you are angry you are not, only anger is; your total being is taken possession of. It may be only for a single moment but you lose yourself in it, it envelops you, you will do something which you will repent; but you are helpless, a maniac, a madman.
And then the third stage - when the anger has gone: then everybody becomes aware. When the anger has gone then even the most stupid person becomes aware. Then he repents, tries to find excuses for why he became angry, rationalizes it, tries to go to the other party on whom he has thrown his anger and rubbish to be pardoned, forgiven - this is the third stage. And people in this third stage always take vows that never again will they be angry; their vows are absolutely impotent; they are not going to help because they are taken in the third stage when the anger has gone. Then everybody is wise.
You have to be aware when the anger is there. It is difficult to force it back but if you become aware when the anger is there you will not prove harmful to anybody, you will just watch it, it will evaporate.
It is impossible to push it back, it has taken possession; it will harm you but it will not harm anybody else. You will not be angry with anybody else; you will just boil with the anger and let it be released into the vacuum, into the sky.
If you become aware at the second stage only you will be harmed, nobody else. But if you become aware at the first stage before it becomes manifest, even you will not be harmed.
... THAT WHICH IS NOT YET MANIFEST IS EASY TO FORESTALL;
That can be stopped immediately. But then you will need very very deep sensitivity - and you have become almost dull, you are not sensitive. As I see it, people have lost their sensitivity completely, they are almost totally insensitive. They drag as if in sleep. They do things not knowing why they are doing them. When they have done a thing then they-suddenly become aware: What have I done?
Then they try and find excuses because it looks so foolish. Without any excuse, without any cause, why have you done it? And you have done the same thing many times in the past, and you are repeating it again and again.
Ordinarily a man is a robot, an automaton, he repeats the same mistakes again and again. But he is unconscious.
Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples that if you can remain conscious for one single minute, that will do. He would give them watches, and tell them to watch: Look at the watch, watch the hand which shows the seconds, and remain alert that you are watching; and whenever you feel that you have missed the awareness, immediately report it.
It was almost impossible to find a man who could be alert for sixty seconds; that is, one minute.
After three, four seconds - the gap, you have forgotten, your mind has moved somewhere else; then suddenly you remember again, then again you start watching; but three, four seconds - and again you forget.
Gurdjieff used to say that as you are you have no soul. He is right. How can it be said that you have soul when you don't have consciousness at all?
As you are, nothing is possible to you, because all possibilities open only when you become conscious. Become conscious, become more alert, so intensely alert that whatsoever crosses your mind crosses it with perfect awareness - you know it. Buddha used to say to his disciples that even if you breathe in and out you should be aware that now the breath is going in, now the breath has turned, is going out; coming in, going out, coming in, going out... Not that you have to repeat it, if you repeat you will forget the breath; you have to watch it, not with words - with awareness. And Buddha made it the ONLY meditation.
He called it ANAPANA SATI yoga: the yoga of watching the incoming and outgoing of breath. And he said: Nothing else is needed, this will do. And this has done for millions of people who followed Buddha. They became more and more alert by watching the breath.
If you can watch the breath you can watch ANYTHING, because breath is a very subtle phenomenon. You become alive with the first breath - this is LIFE. Hindus call it PRANA because it is the most foundational life; without it you cannot exist. First comes breathing - that is the first act that happens. Then many things follow. And then the last act is also with the breath - when the breath leaves the body.
Birth begins with breath, life ends with breath - the circle is complete. If you can watch the breath you will become transcendental to birth and death both. The watcher will see that: I am not the breath which started the life; I am not death, the breath that stopped the life; I am beyond.
... THAT WHICH IS NOT YET MANIFEST IS EASY TO FORESTALL; So whatsoever you want to change in your life and transform, rather than waiting for the third stage, be alert in the first stage. When you feel the first tremor of anger, be alert. When you feel the first tremor of greed, be alert. If you miss at that point, then it will be more and more difficult to tackle it.
At the first moment everything is so easy - it is just like a seed; you can throw it; you need not bother about it - but when it becomes a big tree, then it is difficult. And outer trees are one thing - you can cut them, but this anger, greed, sex - these are inner trees, they become entangled with your being; when you cut them, you bleed; when you cut them, you suffer.
People ask me again and again: When we understand from what source misery is coming, why do we go on clinging to misery? This is the reason: the misery has become part of your being; if you cut it, you bleed. It is not like a robe that you can simply slip out of, it is like your skin; if you peel your skin you will suffer. Maybe your skin is diseased. Maybe you have got eczema. But still it is your skin. You suffer but you cannot peel it, because that will be even greater suffering.
People cling to misery because at least there is something to cling to. When the misery is gone there will be nothing to cling to. And at least the misery is known and familiar, an old friend, you have become attuned to it, you know it is there; an old disease. Then the person becomes accustomed to it. You cling to misery, because to cut it is to cut your own being.
Always remember to catch things while they are in the unmanifest state. Right now you catch them when they are gone. So you simply befool yourself - how can you catch a thing when it is gone? You become very wise when the anger is gone, but what is the point? You become very very wise when you have done some nonsense thing and the act is completed; then you are wise. This wisdom is useless, this wisdom is stupid. Anybody and everybody can be wise that way.
If you start a real transforming process you should become aware when the thing is there. Then something can be done. And if you can become aware when the thing has not come yet, then everything can be done.
... THAT WHICH IS NOT YET MANIFEST IS EASY TO FORESTALL; THAT WHICH IS BRITTLE (LIKE ICE) EASILY MELTS; THAT WHICH IS MINUTE EASILY SCATTERS. DEAL WITH A THING BEFORE IT IS THERE...
Looks absurd. You also deal with a thing when it is not there; and Lao Tzu also says deal with a thing when it is not there; but BEFORE. The difference is of after and before. You deal with the anger when it is not there but gone; and Lao Tzu says deal with it when it is not yet there, has not yet come. Deal with a thing before it is there and you will have a totally different quality to your being.
You will have virginity, innocence, an uncorrupted being.
... CHECK DISORDER BEFORE IT IS RIFE.
Don't wait and don't postpone; don't say: We will do it tomorrow - the tomorrow never comes.
Tomorrow has never been there, will never be there. It is just an image in the mind. It is always today. That which exists is always now. This moment only exists.
If you want to do something do it here and now. Don't postpone, and don't say: It is such a small thing we can take care of it tomorrow. Nothing is so small. If you are not alert, by the time tomorrow comes this thing will be great and big; and then you will be in difficulty. And it may not be possible tomorrow for you to tackle it.
Never leave problems incomplete, that is how you become burdened. Always live a life which is moment to moment complete. Whatsoever you have to do, do it now. Whatsoever you have to say, say it now. Whatsoever you have to be, be it now. Don't say: Tomorrow, tomorrow is the fool's land.
That is the way stupidity goes on - postponing. If you can complete everything this moment you are always fresh for the next moment, there is no hangover. And if death comes to such a person he is always ready and happy because he has never left anything incomplete. He is always ready because he is always complete.
If death comes to you, you will be in trouble because a thousand and one things are incomplete and you would like to have a little more time - because you always wanted to do some things and you have never done them.
In fact, useless things you have completed and useful things you have been postponing. If you postpone anger for tomorrow, that may be good, but you never postpone anger for tomorrow. Anger you do right now, love you postpone for tomorrow; greed - you do it now, sharing you postpone for tomorrow; violence - you do it now, compassion - you say: We will see tomorrow. All nonsense you do right now, you don't wait for tomorrow; and all that is beautiful you go on pushing away for some other day.
Misery you never postpone, bliss you always postpone. So when death comes you have led a miserable life, and blessings, benedictions, you have been postponing. And now comes death, and you cry and you weep and you say: A little more time, because I have never lived really. Do just the opposite: bliss this moment; misery can be postponed - there is no hurry. And if you are blissful this moment misery will never happen because this moment is the total, all that is there. The next moment comes, and that moment will be coming out of this moment; if you are blissful this moment the next moment will come more blissful out of it.
And when death comes you will say: I am perfectly ready, because I have been postponing only miseries, so it is good you have come; now there is no need, now the tomorrow disappears completely.
This is what a wise man goes on doing. He tackles every problem this moment. He tackles every situation this moment.
Much energy is released if you complete things. Have you watched it in yourself? If you don't complete a thing it remains on your head, knocking, to be completed. Until you complete it, it goes on hovering around you, haunting you. It may be a small thing but it goes on hovering. Finish it!
If you can complete everything each moment - and I say it can be done because I do it, so I am not talking theoretically, I am talking absolutely practically; it can be done, it has been done, but by very few people. Once you know the knack of it you will laugh at yourself. It is so simple - just like a key you move and the lock opens. If you observe, you will see if you have completed everything: in the night, dreams will disappear because dreams are incomplete experiences of the day which are trying to complete themselves.
And if dreams disappear then thoughts will disappear because dreams and thoughts are the same thing. Dreams are in the primitive language of visualization, picture language, and thoughts are nothing but sophisticated dreams, daydreams. Dreaming and thinking are two aspects of the same process.
You are going to have an interview. You rehearse in the mind what you are going to say, what those people there will ask you - you rehearse many things. Then you go there and then suddenly your rehearsal doesn't fit.
It cannot, because those people don't know about your rehearsal. They ask you something, and you are not in the present because you are too much filled with your own rehearsal, your own preparation.
They ask you something, you understand something else. You answer with your readymade answer and they have not been asking for it. You miss the point. When you miss the point, then when you are out of the room again you start thinking what you should have answered. Again the process starts. Rehearsal then retrospective thinking. And at the moment, exactly at the moment when you were needed, you were not present. That's how you are missing the whole life.
There is a Zen story. There were two temples in a town - rivals, as temples are. Each didn't allow their devotees to go to the other temple. They were fiercely antagonistic. And both the priests - old priests, had a boy, one each, for odd things, odds and ends - to bring things from the market, this and that, and both had ordered their boy not to talk to the other, in the market or on the road: No!
Those people of the other temple are so corrupted, don't talk to them!
But boys are boys, and when you forbid a boy and tell him not to do something he is bound to do it, it is natural. They became interested - what was the matter?
So one day they met on the road while they were going to the market to fetch something. The boy from temple one asked the other boy: Where are you going? The other boy said: Wherever my legs will take me - listening to great metaphysical things he had also become a metaphysician; he was just going to the market to fetch vegetables but he said: Wherever my feet will take me - I live in spontaneity! The other boy was puzzled, because he was defeated, he couldn't prove his metaphysics.
He came back and he asked his Master what to do: You have prohibited me, but I am foolish; they are really bad people - I asked the boy a simple question: Where are you going? and he started talking nonsense, but he defeated me. I feel hurt.
The Master said: You should not be so. Ask again tomorrow.
He will say: Wherever my feet will take me, and then you ask him a Zen koan: If you had no feet then where would you go? Then he will be put right.
The next day the boy waited for the other boy to come. The other boy came, the first boy was ready, he asked: Where are you going? The other boy said: I live spontaneously. Wherever the wind will take me. He never talked about feet.
The first boy was at a loss what to do: These people are really very cunning, and not reliable either.
He has changed!
He came back very angry and said to the Master: You are right, these people are very contradictory, inconsistent, not reliable at all. I was ready but the boy had changed his mind; he said: Wherever the wind takes me. I am like a white cloud. So what to say? Because clouds don't have any feet, legs, so how to..? The Master said: I know them well; these people are very inconsistent. Tomorrow you again ask him: Where are you going? He will say: Wherever the wind takes me. I am a white cloud. You ask him: If the wind is not blowing where will you be going?
Next day the boy was ready again.
This boy is your mind. You prepare it again and again to face life, and again and again it fails because no readymade answer can be of any use. Life is inconsistent, life is not reliable at all.
The boy asked: Where are you going now? The other boy said: I am going to the market to fetch vegetables. Now what to do?
Never move in life with a readymade answer otherwise you will never meet life. You waste time in preparing, getting ready, and then you waste time after you have missed the life.
It happened, Mark Twain was going back home with his wife after delivering a lecture at a university.
His wife said - because she was not there to hear him, she had come just to take him home - she asked: How was the lecture? Mark Twain looked at her and asked: Which lecture are you talking about? The one that I prepared or the one that I delivered or the one that I would have liked to deliver - which lecture?
You prepare something, something else you deliver, something else you would have liked to deliver, and the time is wasted - and meanwhile the life is flowing by. And you go on collecting garbage.
Then you are afraid of death - otherwise death would be a beautiful rest. One would be ready to relax; you lived your day, you loved, you lived, you delighted, you celebrated, now the moment has come, the evening has come, and you would like to rest. And if the whole wills you will be back again in the morning: fresh, young, capable of living again... but that is not your worry.
A TREE WITH A FULL SPAN'S GIRTH BEGINS FROM A TINY SPROUT. A NINE STORIED TERRACE BEGINS WITH A CLOD OF EARTH. A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND LI BEGINS AT ONE'S FEET.
So don't be bothered about the goal. The first step is the last also. The beginning is the end. This moment is all. A journey of a thousand miles begins at one's feet.
Don't be worried about the goal, just enjoy, delight in taking the first step; and the second step will come out of the first, and the third will follow. You need not worry about it. Let the morrow take care of itself. Don't think of the morrow. Enjoy! This step is beautiful! And enjoy it so much that the means itself becomes the end.
This has to be understood, otherwise you will be always missing, because you will be tired on the journey and you will be dreaming about the goal; and how can a tired journey reach a celebrating goal?
Can you see the simple mathematics? How can a tired journey reach a celebrating goal? Because the goal will come out of the journey. It will really be the total of the whole journey. If I have lived the goal in each step, if I have celebrated the goal in each step, only then will I reach the goal where I can celebrate it in totality.
But if you somehow drag yourself - you are not bothered what is happening right now, you are looking for the tomorrow, the goal, then you may reach, but the goal will be as dusty as the journey.
The goal is not OUT THERE, it depends on you. You have to change your quality of experiencing.
So remember, says Lao Tzu:
A TREE WITH A FULL SPAN'S GIRTH BEGINS FROM A TINY SPROUT.
If you want it, pour your whole being on it. If you don't want it, it is better to cut it now than wait for tomorrow.
A NINE STORIED TERRACE BEGINS WITH A CLOD OF EARTH.
If you want it, it's okay; if you don't want it then don't wait until the whole nine storied terrace is ready and then decide you would like to destroy it. Decide right now. Each moment has its ultimacy, and each moment is urgent. You have to act in this moment.
A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND LI BEGINS AT ONE'S FEET.
If you want to go on the journey - then go DANCING. If you don't want to go on the journey, then DON'T GO. But don't drag yourself.
But this is how things go on happening. People come to me and they say: We don't know, we are not even certain whether we want to meditate or not. But we have come all the same. If you are not certain whether you want to meditate or not, then the first thing is to be certain. Otherwise you will do something which is not going to be wholehearted. Otherwise you will do something you will repent. And later on you might want to destroy it and then it will be very very difficult.
To learn a thing is difficult, but not as difficult as to unlearn a thing. Be certain. If you don't want to do meditation - drop the idea. Nothing is wrong in it: the right moment has not come for you. Wait.
Do other things which you really want to do right now. Let that be your meditation.
If you want to earn money - let that be your meditation. Earn money. Some day when you are frustrated, then the right moment will come. If you want to move in power politics - move! The eternity is not in a hurry. God is not in a hurry. He can wait! You do whatsoever YOU want to do, and there is enough time. That is the meaning of the Eastern concept of rebirth: there is enough time; millions of lives have been there and millions of lives will be there. Take your time - and take it easy.
Whatsoever you want to do, DO IT, because only through doing one grows and becomes mature.
If it is not the moment for your meditation - let it be so.
And don't feel guilty! If it is the moment for your meditation, then move totally. How can you go on a long journey with a half hearted mind? How can you go on a journey with only a part of your being? The other part will be pulling you back, pulling you in other directions, you will become a mess. That's what has happened.
The modern mind is schizophrenic, split, because so many directions are calling, pulling, and you are moving in all directions simultaneously: one hand going to the north, another hand going to the south, legs moving to the east and the eyes are fixed on the west - this is the situation. If you fall apart, it is natural, it is not an accident. If you feel that you are not together - obviously it has to be so. How can you be together?
Decide. Be certain. And decide on the first step so not a single moment is wasted unnecessarily.
A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND LI BEGINS AT ONE'S FEET. HE WHO ACTS, SPOILS; HE WHO GRASPS, LETS SLIP. BECAUSE THE SAGE DOES NOT ACT, HE DOES NOT SPOIL; BECAUSE HE DOES NOT GRASP, HE DOES NOT LET SLIP.
Continuously Lao Tzu comes to the same thing again and again, that is his basic note: doing without doing, WU-WEI. Action without action. Effortless effort. Difficult to understand, not difficult to do.
Because intellectually, if you try to understand, it is patent nonsense. You are talking gibberish.
That's what Arthur Koestler reported to the West. He came to study Zen in the East - and Zen is Buddha and Lao Tzu together. The highest peak of Indian understanding - Buddha, and the highest peak of Chinese understanding - Lao Tzu, and Zen is a cross between these two. A child of both.
So there is nothing like Zen - it is the rarest flower in the world. Nothing reaches to the depth as Zen reaches. Nothing touches the climax as Zen touches.
Arthur Koestler, one of the very very keen intellectuals of the West, came East to understand what Zen is all about, and he tried hard to understand - that's why he missed. He reported: This is all nonsense. It IS nonsense - intellectually, if you try to understand, it is nonsense, because intellect knows only one thing: if you DO something, only then it is done. If you don't do, it is not done.
But being knows a greater secret, that there are things: if you do them you will undo, if you don't do them they happen.
For example: love. Can you do it? If you do it, at the most you can act, it will not be true, it will not be authentic, it will not come from your being, it will be just from your head; and a love from the head is as dead as anything can be. There will be gestures, but impotent, empty; there will be no content in them. You will kiss a woman you don't love, the kiss will be there, but only the physiology of the kiss.
If you go to a physician he will say: Yes, this woman has been kissed - because it can be detected.
When you kiss a person you transfer thousands of very small germs so it can be detected who has kissed the woman; your germs will be found on her lips. But it will be difficult, impossible, for the physician to decide whether the man really loved her or not, because love leaves no germs. Love is absolutely undetectable.
Somebody can embrace you, somebody can kiss you, somebody can even make love to you, without love - all these gestures can be done. They will be hollow and empty. They will be dead, and your heart will know that the man is doing the movements, or the woman is doing the movements, but she or he is not in it.
You cannot do love. Either it happens or it doesn't happen. You have to wait for it. You cannot manage and manoeuvre, you cannot manipulate, because love is greater than you, how can you manipulate it? You can at the most allow it. Or you can hinder it, but you cannot force it.
It is just like when the sun has risen; you can close your doors - then the rays will not enter your house, you can live in darkness, and the sun will not knock at your doors, and he will not try to force his way in, he will not in any way interfere with you. If you are happy with your closed doors and darkness, it is okay with the sun; he is not worried. You can open the doors - and the sun enters, but you cannot bring the sun in, you cannot force the sun in; the sun is there: you can hinder or you can allow, but you cannot force. You cannot catch hold of the rays, fill a bucket with the rays and carry it into your house. That won't do. Bucket will come in, rays will be left behind.
Love is greater than you. If you want to love you have to be a non doer; this is WU-WEI, action in inaction.
But forget love because love is a rare phenomenon. So many people think they love but it is as rare as any other great art. Many people - bathroom singers - think they are singers, but they are just like bathroom lovers. Very very few singers are there whose song carries their inner silence, who sing that which cannot be sung, who try to convey that which is inexpressible, ineffable - it happens rarely.
You can make poetry, but poets are rare in the world. Poetry can be made by anybody, in fact everybody tries some day or other to write poetry. There is an age when everybody is foolish enough to try poetry. But then one drops it. You can have the rhythm, the metre, the grammar - everything right, and still the poetry is not there. Because it is not something that you can do, a poet is born not made. A lover is also born not made. It is as rare as a great poet, as rare as a great musician, as rare as a great painter. But at least about love people can console themselves that they also are lovers.
Everybody thinks that he loves, but the experience is very very rare, because to love is to know the greatest secret of WU-WEI. You will become enlightened if you love. If you love you have already reached, because you know the secret - the same secret will do for your enlightenment also.
So, leave that example aside, that won't do; something more basic which everybody knows: for example, sleep. If you try to sleep you will not be able to sleep. The more you try, the more it becomes impossible to sleep.
That is the problem for those people who suffer from insomnia. There are advisers, who give them advice - do this and that: count from one to a hundred, and then come back from hundred to one...
But the more you count, the more the mind is alert; and to count backwards: hundred, ninety nine, ninety eight... you have to be more alert than ever. You can count millions, and in the end you will find that sleep is not coming.
Mulla Nasrudin was suffering from insomnia. He went to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist said, There is nothing to it. Not that psychiatry knows what to do but experts have to pretend. He said, You do one thing; you deal in wool, you know sheep, you count sheep, go on counting, from one go on and on and on, finally you will fall asleep.
The next day Nasrudin came running, almost mad; he entered the office of the psychiatrist and he was so angry and so violent the psychiatrist became afraid. He said, What is the matter, Nasrudin?
Nasrudin said, Before your method I used to sleep at least two, three hours, but last night I couldn't sleep even that, because I went on and on, thousands of sheep... And then I thought: This won't do, so I started cutting their wool: piles and piles of wool... Then I thought: This won't do, so I started making blankets, which is my business... Ten thousand blankets - now who's going to purchase!
You drove me completely mad. Now these ten thousand blankets are on my head. And then the market is low, and things are not going good, and it is difficult to find purchasers....
This happens. There is no way to help a person who is having difficulty in falling asleep. The only way is to say to him, Don't do anything. Remain waiting, don't do anything. Whatsoever you do, doing is against sleep, because sleep is a non-doing phenomenon. Sleep comes, you don't bring it!
Suddenly you find it is there, you are enveloped, lost. Ask good sleepers; they will say, We don't do anything, we just put our head on the pillow, put the light off - and there we go. There is nothing to do!
And the same is true about enlightenment - there is nothing to do. You put the light off, rest on the pillow - and there you go!
Enlightenment is a deep rest. Ego is activity, egolessness is inactivity, it is passive, it is not a male attitude, it is not aggressive, it is a feminine phenomenon. And Lao Tzu goes on insisting that all those who attain to the ultimate attain only when they attain to a feminine attitude.
What is a feminine attitude? It is a passivity. A woman is never aggressive in love, and if she is she is not a woman, she must have more male hormones in her body than are necessary for her.
A woman waits. Even if she falls in love with someone she never says so. She never takes the initiative, she never goes and says: I love you. She waits. When the person says, I love you, even then she will not be too eager to say yes, because that is not feminine. That's why poets say: When a woman says no, don't believe her, because almost always when she wants to say yes she says no.
That is the feminine way of being passive and receptive, of invitation but not of aggression. The world needs aggression, your innermost being needs no aggression. You cannot attack God. You cannot conquer God. You have to surrender. The very word 'conquering' is foolish in that reference, but in the world you have to conquer. The world is male-oriented.
All true religion is feminine, has to be; and all worldliness is male-oriented; the male ego - to conquer! The feminine wants to be conquered - and this is WU-WEI; it is just like sleep, it comes, you simply wait, you don't do anything. It is like love: you invite and just wait. It comes when the time is ripe.
HE WHO ACTS, SPOILS; HE WHO GRASPS, LETS SLIP. BECAUSE THE SAGE DOES NOT ACT, HE DOES NOT SPOIL; BECAUSE HE DOES NOT GRASP, HE DOES NOT LET SLIP.
THE AFFAIRS OF MEN ARE OFTEN SPOILED WITHIN AN ACE OF COMPLETION, BY BEING CAREFUL AT THE END AS AT THE BEGINNING, FAILURE IS AVERTED.
And be careful, as careful in the beginning as at the end, and be careful at the end as you were careful in the beginning. Don't treat beginning and end separately, they are the same.
There are people who are very enthusiastic in the beginning, their type is always enthusiastic in the beginning; when they fall in love with a woman they are really mad, happy, but sooner or later they settle down, and then all the happiness, the delight, the celebration is gone. In the beginning anybody can be very very excited because something....
Just the other day Samarpan came back from the States and said that he was half-half, and thinking about whether to go or not. He had been here just a few months before and his mind said, Now the honeymoon is over - the honeymoon with me. But I told him, With me the honeymoon is never over, it always is; and greater honeymoons are awaiting....
A honeymoon that comes to a point when it is over was not a honeymoon at all. Real lovers love to the very end. On the last day they are as deeply in love as they were on the first day. Their love is not an excitement. Excitement is feverish, you cannot remain in fever for ever, you have to settle and become normal. But real love is not like fever. It is like breathing, it goes on and on. A honeymoon that ends was not a honeymoon at all. If there is love the whole life becomes a honeymoon, each moment of it is new, each moment brings new revelations. So I told Samarpan, You just wait, a greater honeymoon is ahead. And it is always so! But remember to treat the end as you treat the beginning.
BY BEING CAREFUL AT THE END AS AT THE BEGINNING, FAILURE IS AVERTED.
THEREFORE THE SAGE DESIRES TO HAVE NO DESIRE, AND VALUES NOT OBJECTS DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN. LEARNS THAT WHICH IS UNLEARNED, AND RESTORES WHAT THE MULTITUDE HAVE LOST. THAT HE MAY ASSIST IN THE COURSE OF NATURE AND NOT PRESUME TO INTERFERE.
... THE SAGE DESIRES TO HAVE NO DESIRE.
The only desire worth desiring is that you should have no desires. Because all desires create misery. Desire means you have moved Life is here, desire is always somewhere else. Living is in this moment, desire is always somewhere in the future. Desire is postponement, desire is dream and hope. Desire is not reality.
In the East we call the world illusory, MAYA. Not because these trees there are illusory, no; they are as real as you are. Not that the mountains are unreal and the Himalayas are not real, they are as real as you are - more so. Then why do we call the world illusory? By the world we mean the world of desire, not the world of things. The world of your desires that surrounds you - that is illusory, maya, a dream. And because of that world, you cannot live this world which is real.
If you drop all desires you are face to face with reality. You encounter reality. You start living it. And that is a benediction. That's a beautiful moment. If you miss that, you miss all. If you attain to that, you have attained all.
... THE SAGE DESIRES TO HAVE NO DESIRE.
It is reported of Junaid, a Sufi mystic, that he became very high in his purity, in his attainment, in his renunciation. Then one day a messenger from God came to him - remember, these are parables, don't take them literally - the messenger from God said: God is very happy with you, you have earned much, now you can ask for whatsoever you desire.
Junaid started laughing, he said, This is foolish, because my Master has told me to leave and drop all desire. So I have dropped all desire - and you come when I have dropped all desire; you should have come a little earlier! This is absolutely foolish. Now I have no desires and you are there and you say, Ask, whatsoever you ask for will be fulfilled. Now your coming is useless. But the messenger insisted, he said: This will be an insult to the divine; you have to ask for something because when God wants to give, you cannot say no. It is a gift! You take it - whatsoever! ANYTHING, but you have to ask.
So Junaid closed his eyes - what to do? He was in a fix because all desires had dropped, and now there was no desire. Then he opened his eyes and he said, Then tell God that my only desire is that I should have no desires ever. Fulfil my desire - the desire to be desireless.
It is not a desire really, it is a dropping of all desire. If it is a desire, if it really is a desire, that there should be no desire, then this desire is enough to become a barrier. No, it is not a desire, it is just a way of speaking.
... THE SAGE DESIRES TO HAVE NO DESIRE, AND VALUES NOT OBJECTS DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN.
He values things which are easy to obtain. You value things which are difficult to obtain; the more difficult, the more you value them. The value of a kohinoor is not the value of the kohinoor, it has this value because it is difficult to obtain. If there were kohinoors all around on every street nobody would bother about them. Who would think about them? But it is difficult to obtain: the rarity of it is the only cause of its value - otherwise you cannot eat it, you cannot drink it. If you are alone, the whole humanity has disappeared and you have the kohinoor, what will you do? You will throw it away, because what is the point in carrying it?
A sage VALUES NOT OBJECTS DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN.
Simple things, he values. If he can get food for his hunger, he is so happy that even Alexander was not so happy when he became the great emperor of almost the whole of the world. When he is thirsty, if he can get a little water to quench his thirst he is so happy that you cannot believe it. Little things which are not difficult to obtain, he values, that's why he lives in peace.
You value difficult things, you will live always in a turmoil, your life will be a nightmare, and when you have obtained those difficult things there are things still more difficult to attain. And it goes on ad infinitum. There is no end to it.
LEARNS THAT WHICH IS UNLEARNED...
When you were born you did not know anything, you carried no information with you, no knowledge, but you carried consciousness, awareness, alertness; being you carried, not knowledge. A sage tries to become again a child. He tries to know that which cannot be learnt, which is already within you: there is no need to go to any school to learn about it. In fact, you can learn other things only because that unlearned being is there already inside you. That's why you can learn other things.
LEARNS THAT WHICH IS UNLEARNED, AND RESTORES WHAT THE MULTITUDE HAVE LOST.
What have you lost? The innocence of a child. He attains to it again, he restores it. Sainthood is not something new, it is just restoring the innocence of a child.
THAT HE MAY ASSIST IN THE COURSE OF NATURE AND NOT PRESUME TO INTERFERE.
He wants only one thing - that he becomes a part of nature and not an interfering ego; that he flows with nature and does not fight with it; that he goes with the river and there is no fight and resistance in him.
If you can flow with the river of life, suddenly you will see your own corpse flowing down the river, all past gone, all that you have learnt gone, all that you possessed gone; pure simple being is there, and that is what to be Buddha is.
The word Buddha means: one who is awake, not asleep. You become a Buddha by seeing your ego your possessions, your learning, knowledge everything - your corpse, the dead past, being taken by the river.
If you float with the river sooner or later you will come to encounter your corpse. If you fight with the river then you will never come to encounter your own corpse. And blessed is the man who has seen his own corpse flowing down the river of life.