What is Zen?
Zen is a very extraordinary growth. Rarely does such a possibility become an actuality because many hazards are involved. Many times before the possibility has existed - a certain spiritual happening could have grown and become like Zen, but it was never realized to its totality. Only once in the whole history of human consciousness has a thing like Zen come into being. It is very rare.
So first I would like you to understand what Zen is, because unless you do that these anecdotes won't be much help. You need to know the complete background. In that background, in that context, these anecdotes become luminous - suddenly you attain to the meaning and the significance of them, otherwise they are separate units. You can enjoy them; sometimes you can laugh at them; they are very poetic; in themselves they are beautiful, unique pieces of art, but just by looking at these anecdotes you will not be able to penetrate into the significance of what Zen is.
So first try to follow me slowly through the growth of Zen - how it happened. Zen was born in India, grew in China, and blossomed in Japan. The whole situation is rare. Why did it happen that it was born in India, but could not grow here and had to seek a different soil? It became a great tree in China, but could not blossom there, it had to again seek a new climate, a different climate - and in Japan it blossomed like a cherry tree, in thousands of flowers. It is not coincidental, it is not accidental; it has deep inner history. I would like to reveal it to you. India is an introvert country, Japan is extrovert, and China is just in the middle of these two extremes. India and Japan are absolute opposites. So how come the seed was born in India and blossomed in Japan? They are opposites; they have no similarities; they are contradictory. And why did China come just in the middle, to give soil to it?
A seed is introversion. Try to understand the phenomenon of the seed, what a seed is. A seed is outgoing; a seed has really turned upon itself. A seed is an introvert phenomenon, it is centripetal - the energy is moving inwards. That's why it is a seed, covered and closed from the outer world completely. In fact a seed is the loneliest, most isolated thing in the world. It has no roots in the soil, no branches in the sky; it has no connection with the earth, no connection with the sky. In fact it has no relationships around it. A seed is an absolute island, isolated, caved in. It does not relate. It has a hard shell around it, there are no windows, no doors; it cannot go out and nothing can come in.
Seed is natural to India. The genius of Indian can produce seeds of tremendous potentiality, but cannot give them soil. India is an introverted consciousness. India says the outer doesn't exist and even if it exists it is of the same stuff that dreams are made of. The whole genius of India has been trying to discover how to escape from the outer, how to move to the inner cave of the heart, how to be centred in oneself, and how to come to realize that the whole world that exists outside consciousness is just a dream - at the most beautiful, at the worst a nightmare; whether beautiful or ugly, in reality, it is a dream, and one should not bother much about it. One should awake, and forget the whole dream of the outer world.
The whole effort of Buddha, Mahavir, Tilopa, Gorakh, Kabir, their whole effort through the centuries, has been how to escape from the wheel of life and death: how to enclose yourself, how to completely cut yourself from all relationships, how to be unrelated, detached, how to move in and to forget the outer. That's why Zen was born in India.
Zen means DHYAN. Zen is a Japanese change of the word DHYAN. DHYAN is the whole effort of Indian consciousness. DHYAN means to be so alone, so into your own being, that not even a single thought exists. In fact, in English, there is no direct translation. Contemplation is not the word. Contemplation means thinking, reflection. Even meditation is not the word because meditation involves an object to meditate upon; it means something is there. You can meditate on Christ, or you can meditate on the cross. But DHYAN means to be so alone that there is nothing to meditate upon. No object, just simple subjectivity exists - consciousness without clouds, a pure sky.
When the word reached China it became CH'AN. When CH'AN reached Japan, it became Zen. It comes from the same Sanskrit root, DHYAN.
India can give birth to DHYAN. For millennia the whole Indian consciousness has been travelling on the path of DHYAN - how to drop all thinking and how to be rooted in pure consciousness. With Buddha the seed came into existence. Many times before also, before Gautam Buddha, the seed came into existence, but it couldn't find the right soil so it disappeared. And if the seed is given to the Indian consciousness it will disappear, because the Indian consciousness will move more and more inwards, and the seed will become smaller and smaller and smaller, until a moment comes when it becomes invisible. A centripetal force makes things smaller, smaller, smaller - atomic - until suddenly they disappear. Many times before Gautam Buddha the seed was born - and to become a DHYANI, to become a great meditator. In fact he is one of the last of a long series. He himself remembers twenty-four Buddha?s before him. Then there were twenty-four Jaina Teerthankaras and they all were meditators. They did nothing else, they simply meditated, meditated, meditated, and came to a point where only they were, and everything else disappeared, evaporated.
The seed was born with Parasnath, with Mahavir, Neminath, and others, but then it remained with the Indian consciousness. The Indian consciousness can give birth to a seed, but cannot become the right soil for it. It goes on working in the same direction and the seed becomes smaller and smaller, molecular, atomic and disappears. That's how it happened with the Upanishads; that's how it happened with the Vedas; that's how it happened with Mahavir and all others.
With Buddha it was also going to happen. Bodhidharma saved him. If the seed had been left with the Indian consciousness, it would have dissolved. It would never have sprouted, because a different type of soil is needed for sprouting - a very balanced soil. Introversion is a very deep imbalance, it is an extreme. Bodhidharma escaped with the seed to China. He did one of the greatest things in the history of consciousness: he found the right soil for the seed that Buddha had given to the world.
Buddha himself is reported to have said: My religion will not exist for more than 500 years; then it will disappear. He was aware that it always happened that way. The Indian consciousness goes on grinding it into smaller and smaller and smaller pieces; then a moment comes when it becomes so small that it becomes invisible. It is simply no longer part of this world; it disappears into the sky.
Bodhidharma's experiment was great. He looked all around the world and observed deeply for a place where this seed could grow.
China is a very balanced country, not like India, not like Japan. The golden mean is the path there. Confucian ideology is to remain always in the middle: neither be introvert, nor be extrovert; neither think too much of this world, nor too much of that world - just remain in the middle. China has not given birth to a religion, just morality. No religion has been born there; the Chinese consciousness cannot give birth to a religion. It cannot create a seed. All the religions that exist in China have been imported, they have all come from the outside; Buddhism, Hinduism, Mohammedanism, Christianity - they have all come from the outside. China is a good soil but it cannot originate any religion, because to originate a religion one has to move into the inner world. To give birth to a religion one has to be like a feminine body, a womb.
The feminine consciousness is extremely introvert. A woman lives in herself; she has a very small world around her, the most minimum possible. That is why you cannot interest a woman in things of great vastness. No. You cannot talk about Vietnam to her, she doesn't bother. Vietnam is too far away, too outer. She is concerned with her family, her husband, the child, the dog, the furniture, the radio set, the TV. A very small world is around her, just the minimum. Because she doesn't have a very big world around it is very difficult for man and woman to talk intelligently - they live in different worlds. A woman is beautiful only when she keeps quiet; the moment she starts talking then stupid things come out of her. She cannot talk intelligently. She cannot be very philosophic; no, that's not possible. These things are too far away, she doesn't bother. She lives in the very small circle of her own world, and she is the center. And whatsoever is meaningful is meaningful only in concern to herself - otherwise it is not meaningful. She cannot see why you are bothered about Vietnam. What is the matter with you? You are not related to the Vietnamese at all. Whether there is a war happening or not, it is no concern of yours. And the child is ill and you are bothering about Vietnam! She cannot believe that she is present near you and you are reading the newspaper.
Women live in a different world. A woman is centripetal, introvert. All women are Indian - wherever they are it makes no difference. Man is centrifugal, he goes out. The moment he can find an excuse he will escape from the home. He comes to the home only when he cannot go anywhere else; when all the clubs and hotels are closed, then, what to do? He comes back home. Nowhere to go, he comes home.
A woman is always home-centered, home based. She goes out only when it is absolutely necessary, when she cannot do otherwise. When it has become an absolute necessity she goes out. Otherwise she is home based.
Man is a vagabond, a wanderer. The whole of family life is created by women, not by men. In fact, civilization exists because of woman, not because of man. If he is allowed he will be a wanderer - no home, no civilization. Man is outgoing, woman is in-going; man is extrovert, woman is introvert. Man is always interested in something other than himself, that's why he looks healthier. Because when you are too concerned with yourself, you become ill. Man is more happy looking.
You will always find women sad and too concerned with themselves. A little headache and they are very concerned, because they live inside - the headache becomes something big, out of proportion. But a man can forget the headache; he has too many other headaches. He creates so many headaches around himself that there is no possibility of coming upon his own headache and making something out of it. It is always so little he can forget about it. A woman is always concerned - something is happening in the leg, something in the hand, something in the back, something in the stomach, always something - because her own consciousness is focused inwards. A man is less pathological, more healthy, more outgoing, more concerned about what is happening to others.
That's why, in all religions, you will find that if there are five persons present, four will be women, and one a man. And that one man may have only come because of some woman - the wife was going to the temple so he had to go with her. Or, she was going to listen to a talk on religion, so he came with her. In all churches this will be the proportion, in all churches, temples, wherever you go. Even with Buddha this was the proportion, with Mahavir this was the proportion. With Buddha there were fifty thousand SANNYASINS - forty thousand women and ten thousand men. Why?
Physically man can be healthier; spiritually woman can be healthier, because their concerns are different. When you are concerned with others you can forget your body, you can be more physically healthy, but religiously you cannot grow so easily. Religious growth needs an inner concern. A woman can grow very, very easily into religion, that path is easy for her, but to grow in politics is difficult. And for a man to grow in religion is difficult. Introversion has its benefits; extroversion has its benefits - and both have their dangers.
India is introvert, a feminine country; it is like a womb, very receptive. But if a child remains in the womb for ever and for ever and for ever, the womb will become the grave. The child has to move out from the mother's womb otherwise the mother will kill the child inside. He has to escape, to find the world outside, a greater world. The womb may be very comfortable - it is! Scientists say we have not yet been able to create anything more comfortable than the womb. With so much scientific progress we have not made anything more comfortable. The womb is just a heaven. But even the child has to leave that heaven and come outside the mother. Beyond a certain time the mother can become very dangerous. The womb can kill, because it will then become an imprisonment - good for a time, when the seed is growing, but then the seed has to be transplanted to the outside world.
Bodhidharma looked around, watched the whole world, and found that China had the best soil; it was just a middle ground, not extreme. The climate was not extreme, so the tree could grow easily. And it had very balanced people. Balance is the right soil for something to grow: too cold is bad, too hot is bad. In a balanced climate, neither too cold nor too hot, the tree can grow. Bodhidharma escaped with the seed, escaped with all that India had produced. Nobody was aware of what he was doing, but it was a great experiment. And he proved right. In China, the tree grew, grew to vast proportions.
But although the tree became vaster and vaster, no flowers grew. Flowers did not come, because flowers need and extrovert country. Just as a seed is introvert, so a flower is extrovert. The seed is moving inwards; the flower is moving outwards. The seed is like male consciousness. The flower opens to the outer world and releases its fragrance to this outside world. Then the fragrance moves on the wings of the wind to the farthest possible corner of the world. To all directions, the flower releases the energy contained in the seed. It is a door. Flowers would like to become butterflies and escape from the tree. In fact, that is what they are doing, in a very subtle way. They are releasing the essence of the tree, the very meaning, the significance of the tree to the world. They are great sharers. A seed is a great miser, confined to it self, and a flower is a great spendthrift.
Japan was needed. Japan is an extrovert country. The very style of life and consciousness is extrovert. Look... in India nobody bothers about the outside world very much: about clothes, houses, the way one lives. Nobody bothers. That is why India has remained so poor. If you are not worried about the outside world, how can you become rich? If there is no concern to improve the outside world you will remain poor. And India is always very serious, always getting ready to escape from life, with Buddha?s talking about how to become perfect drop-outs from existence itself - not only from society, ultimate drop-outs from existence itself! The existence is too boring. For the Indian eye life is just a grey colour - nothing interesting in it, everything just boring, a burden. One has to carry it somehow, because of past karmas. Even if an Indian falls in love he says it is because of past karmas, one has to pass through it. Even love is like a burden one has to drag.
India seems to be leaning more towards death than life. An introvert has to lean towards death. That's why India has evolved all the techniques how to die perfectly, of how to die so perfectly that you are not born again. Death is the goal, not life. Life is for fools, death is for those who are wise. Howsoever beautiful a Buddha, a Mahavir may be, you will find them closed; around them a great aura of indifference exists. Whatsoever is happening, they are not concerned at all. Whether it happens this way or that way makes no difference; whether the world goes on living or dies, it makes no difference... a tremendous indifference. In this indifference flowering is not possible; in this inner-confined state, flowering is impossible. Japan is totally different. With the Japanese consciousness it is as if the inner doesn't exist, only the outer is meaningful. Look at Japanese dresses. All the colours of flowers and rainbows - as if the outer is very meaningful. Look at an Indian when he is eating, and look at the Japanese. Look at an Indian when he takes his tea - and the Japanese.
Japanese create a celebration out of simple things. Taking tea, he makes it a celebration. It becomes an art. The outside is very important; clothes are very important, relationships are very important. You cannot find more out-going people in the world than the Japanese - always smiling and looking happy. For the Indian they will look shallow; they will not look serious. Indians are the introvert people and the Japanese are the extrovert: they are opposites. Japanese is always moving in society. The whole Japanese culture is concerned with how to create a beautiful society, how to create beautiful relationships - in everything, in every minute thing - how to give them significance. Their houses are so beautiful. Even a poor man's house has a beauty of its own; it is artistic, it has its own uniqueness.
It may not be very rich, but still it is rich in a certain sense - because of the beauty, the arrangement, the mind that has been brought to every small, tiny detail: where the window should be, what type of curtain should be used, how the moon should be invited from the window, from where. Very small things, but every detail is important.
With the Indian nothing matters. If you go to an Indian temple, it is without any windows; there is nothing, no hygiene, no concern with air, ventilation - nothing. Even temples are ugly, and anything goes ?dirt or dust, nobody bothers. Just in front of the temple you will find cows sitting, dogs fighting, people praying. Nobody bothers. No sense of the outer, they are not at all concerned with the outer.
Japan is very concerned with the outer - just at the other extreme. Japan was the right country. And the whole tree of Zen was transplanted in Japan, and there it blossomed, in thousands of colours. It flowered.
This is how it has to happen again. I am again talking about Zen. It has to come back to India because the tree has flowered, and the flowers have fallen and Japan cannot create the seed. Japan cannot create the seed: it is not an introvert country. So everything has become an outer ritual now. Zen is dead in Japan. It did flower in the past, but now, if by reading in books - reading D. T. Suzuki and others - if you go to Japan in search of Zen, you will come back empty-handed. Now Zen is here; in Japan it has disappeared. The country could help it to flower, but now the flowers have disappeared, fallen to the earth, and nothing is there any more. There are rituals - the Japanese are very ritualistic - rituals exist. Everything in Zen monasteries is still continued the same way, as if the inner spirit is still there, but the inner shrine is vacant and empty. The master of the house has moved. The God is there no more - just empty ritual. And they are extrovert people, they will continue the ritual. Every morning they will get up at five - there will be a gong - they will move to the tea-room, and they will take their tea; they will move to their meditation hall, and they will sit with closed eyes. Everything will be followed exactly as if the spirit is there, but it has disappeared. There are monasteries, there are thousands of monks, but the tree has flowered and seeds cannot be created there.
Hence I am talking so much about Zen here because, again, only India can create the seed. The whole world exists in a deep unity, in a harmony - in India the seed can again be given birth. But now many things have changed around the world. China is no longer a possibility, because it has itself become an extrovert country. It has become communistic: now matter is more important than the spirit. And now it is closed for new waves of consciousness.
To me, if any country can in the future become again the soil, it is England. You will be surprised, because you may think it is America. No. Now the most balanced country in the world is England, just as in the ancient days it was China. The seed has to be taken to England and planted there; it will not flower there, but it will become a big tree.
English consciousness - conservative, always following the middle way, the liberal mind, never moving to the extremes, just remaining in the middle - will be helpful. That is why I am allowing more and more English people to settle around me. It is not only for visa reasons! Because once the seed is ready, I would like them to take it to England. And from England it can go to America, and it will have flowering there, because America is the most extrovert country right now.
I tell you that Zen is a rare phenomenon, because only if all these situations are fulfilled can such a thing happen.
Now, try to understand the story. These small anecdotes are very meaningful, because Zen people say that that which arises in the depth of your being cannot be said, but it can be shown. A situation can be created in which it can be hinted at; words may not be able to tell anything about it, but an alive anecdote can. That is why Zen is so anecdotal. It lives in parables, indicates in parables, and nobody else has been able to create such beautiful parables. There are Sufi stories, there are Hassid stories, and there are many others, but nothing to compare with Zen. Zen has simply got the knack of hitting at the right thing and indicating that which cannot be indicated. And in such a simple way that you can miss it: you will have to search for it, you will have to grope for it, because the anecdote in itself is so simple that you can miss it. It is not very complex, in fact, the mind is not required; rather, an opening of the heart, so that you can understand.
See... this small anecdote tells the whole significance of Zen:
SOMEBODY ASKED THE MASTER, BOKUJU: "WE HAVE TO DRESS AND EAT EVERY DAY - HOW DO WE GET OUT OF ALL THAT?"
Had he asked the same thing to Buddha, the answer would not have been the same. The answer would have come from the seed-mind. Buddha would have said: All is illusory - eating, dressing, everything is illusory. Become more aware. See the illusoriness and dreaminess of the world. All is MAYA. Become more aware and don't try to find how to get out of it, because how can one get out of a dream? One simply becomes aware and one is out.
Have you seen anybody ever getting out of a dream? A dream is unreal, how can you get out of it? The miracle is that you have entered it in the first place - because it is not there and you entered it! And now you are creating more trouble for yourself asking how to get out of it. The same way as you entered it, get out of it! How did you enter the dream? By believing that it was real. That is the way one enters a dream - by believing that it is real. So simply drop the belief and see that it is not real; then you are out of the dream - by believing that it is real. So simply drop the belief and see that it is not real; then you are out of the dream. There are no steps to get out, no techniques to get out, no methods. Buddha would have said: Look... your whole life is a dream - and you would have been out of it.
If the Chinese genius Confucius had been asked - the balanced mind which is neither extrovert nor introvert - he would have said: There is no need to get out of it. Follow these rules and you will be able to enjoy it. Confucius would have given a few rules: those rules have to be followed, that's all. One need not get out of it. One simply has to plan his life in a right way. One even has to plan the life of dream in a right way! Confucius says that even if in your dream you commit something wrong, you have to ponder over it - somewhere in your waking hours you are not following the right path. Otherwise how can you go wrong in the dream? Settle something, balance something; that's why he had three thousand three hundred rules.
But in Japan there would have been a totally different answer: with Buddha the answer would have come from the seed, with Confucius from the tree - from Bokuju it comes from the flower. Of course these are different answers - rooted in the same truth, but not using the same symbols, they cannot. What Bokuju says is simply flower-like; it is the most perfect possibility.
Such a simple answer - and there is every possibility to miss. You may think: What is he saying? It looks like gibberish, nonsense. The man asked: "We have to dress and eat everyday - how do we get out of all that?" And Bokuju answered: "We dress, we eat."
What is Bokuju saying, what is he indicating? A very subtle indication. He is saying: We also do it - we eat, we dress - but we eat so totally that the eater doesn't exist; only eating. We dress so totally that the dresser doesn't come into being, but only dressing. We walk, but there is no walker, just the walk. So who is this asking to get out of it?
Look at the vast difference. Buddha would have said that all this is a dream; your eating, your dressing, your walking - and Bokuju says that you are a dream. Tremendous difference. Bokuju is saying: Do not bring yourself in, simply eat and walk and sleep. Who is this asking to get out of it? Drop this ego; it is non-existential, and when you are not, how can you come out of it? Not that walking is a dream, but the walker is the dream. Not that eating is a dream, but the eater.
And watch minutely - if you really are walking, is there any walker inside? Walking happens, it is a process. Legs move, hands move, you breathe more, the wind blows in your face, you enjoy; the faster you go, the more vitality you feel - everything is beautiful. But is there really a walker? Is there somebody sitting inside, or does just the process exist? If you become aware, you will find only the process exists. The ego is illusory: it is just a mind- creation. You eat, and you think there must be somebody who eats, because logic says: How can you walk without a walker inside? How can you eat without an eater being there? How can you love without a lover being inside? This is what logic says. But if you have loved, and if you have come to a moment where love really existed, you must have known that there was no lover inside - only love, a process, an energy; but nobody inside.
You meditate, but is there any meditator? And when meditation comes to a flowering, and all thoughts cease, who is there inside? Is there somebody who says that all thoughts have ceased? If that is there, then still the meditation has not flowered; at least one thought is still there. When meditation flowers there is simply nobody to take note of it, nobody to give it recognition, nobody to say: Yes, it has happened. The moment you say: Yes, it has happened - it is lost already.
When there is really meditation, a silence pervades; without any bounds bliss throbs; without any boundaries there is a harmony; but there is nobody to take note. There is nobody to say: Yes, this has happened. That's why the Upanishads say that when a person says: "I have realized!" you can know well that he has not. That's why all the Buddha?s have said that whenever somebody claims, the very claim shows that he has not reached the final peak because at the final peak the claimer disappears. In fact, it has never been there. Eating is not a dream - the eater is the dream.
The whole emphasis has changed from the seed to the flower.
That's why many people in the West think that to call Zen "Zen Buddhism" is not good, because a vast difference is felt in the answers. But they are wrong. Zen Buddhism is absolute pure Buddhism, even purified of Buddha, purified of Buddhist concepts. It is the most essential, the purest DHYAN, the purest flowering of consciousness. Without any center you exist. Without there being anybody you exist. You are and still you are not. That's what Tilopa is emphasizing: no-self, ANATTA, emptiness, void.
What does Bokuju say? He says: "We dress, we eat." His answer is finished. His answer is complete, perfect. He says simply: we eat, and we dress, and we have never found any problem, and we have never found anybody who can come out. There is nobody inside.
Eating exists, dressing exists; ego does not. He is saying: Don't ask a foolish question. The questioner had said: "I don't understand." He may have come to find some rules and disciplines, how to become a religious man, how to drop these trivial things of eating and dressing, that same routine; every day, again and again, one goes on doing the same thing. He must have been fed up, bored; everybody comes to this point. If you are a little intelligent, you will have to come to a point when you will feel bored.
Only idiots and sages are never bored, otherwise intelligent people are bound to get fed up. What is going on? Every day you go to sleep, just to get up again in the morning and then the breakfast and then the going to the office and then this and then that. And you know you are doing all this to go to sleep again, and you know well that in the morning again the same routine will start. One starts feeling robot-like.
And if you become aware, as in India, where people have become aware in the past, that this has been going on for millions of lives, you are bound to feel completely bored to death.
That's why they say: How to get out of it? This wheel of life and death goes on, grinding and grinding and grinding, and, just like a broken gramophone record, the same line goes on repeating. This has happened to you millions of times. You fell in love, you got married, you worked hard, you gave birth to children, you struggled, you died. Again, and again, and again, and it goes on ad nauseam. That's why, becoming aware of this phenomenon of continuous rebirth, India became bored; the whole consciousness became so fed up that the whole effort became "how to get out of it?" That's what that man had come to ask Bokuju: Help me get out of it. It is too much and I don't know from where to escape. Getting dressed, and eating every day - how to get out of this dead routine, this rut? Says Bokuju: "We dress, we eat." He says many things. He says that there is nobody to get out, so, if there is nobody, how can you get bored? Who will get bored?
I also get up every day in the morning, take my bath, eat, dress, do everything that you do. But I am not bored, I can go on doing it until the very end of eternity. Why am I not bored? Because I am not there, so who is going to get bored? And if you are not there, who is going to say that it is a repetition? Every morning is new, it is not a repetition of the past. Every breakfast is new. Every moment is new and fresh like the dewdrops on the grass in the morning. It is because of your memory - collecting the past, carrying the past, and always looking at the fresh moment through the past, the dusty past - that you feel bored.
Bokuju lives in the moment and doesn't bring in other moments to compare with it. There is nobody who carries the past, and there is nobody who thinks about the future. There is only a life process, a river of consciousness, which goes on moving from moment to moment, always from the known into the unknown, always from the familiar into the unfamiliar. So who is there to be worried about getting out of it? There is nobody. Bokuju says: We eat and we dress, and it is finished! We don't create a problem out of it.
The problem arises because of the psychological memory. You always bring it in to compare and to judge and to condemn. If I show you a flower, you don't see it directly; you say: Yes, this is a beautiful rose. What is the need to call it a rose? The moment you call it a rose, all the roses that you have known in the past have come into it. The moment you call it a rose, you have compared it with other flowers, you have identified it, you have categorized it. The moment you call it a rose, and the moment you call it beautiful, all your concepts of beauty, memories of roses, imaginations, everything, has come in. The rose is lost in the crowd. This rose is lost in the crowd. This beautiful flower is lost in your memories and imaginations and concepts. Then you will get fed up because it will look like other roses.
What is the difference? If you look directly at this phenomenon, at this rose, eyes fresh, empty of the past, consciousness clear, perception unclouded, doors open, words non-existent, if you can be here, now, with this flower for a little while, then you will understand when
Bokuju says: We dress, we eat.
He is saying do everything so totally in the present that you cannot feel it is a repetition.
And because you are not there, who is to carry the past, and who is to imagine the future? Absent you exist, and then a different quality of presence happens to you - moment to moment new, flowing, loose, natural. From one moment to another moment one simply slips, just as a snake sometimes slips out of the old skin. The old skin is left behind, he never looks back; he doesn't carry the old skin. A man of awareness simply slips from one moment to another, just like a dewdrop slipping from the blade of grass, not carrying anything. A man of awareness has no cargo, he moves unburdened. Then everything is new, and then no problems are created.
What Bokuju is saying is this: It is better not to create a problem because we have not known anybody to solve any problems, ever. Once created, problems cannot be solved. Don't create them, that is the only way to solve them. Because once created, in the very creation you have taken a false step. Now, whatsoever you do, that false step won't allow you to solve it. If you ask how to drop the ego you have created a problem which cannot be solved. Thousands of teachers exist who go on teaching you how to solve it, how to be humble and how not to be an egoist. Nothing happens - in your humility also, you remain egoists; in your egolessness also, you carry a subtle ego. No. Those who know will not help you to solve any problems. They will simply ask where the ego is. They will ask where, in fact, the problem is. They will help you to understand the problem, not to solve it, because the problem is false. The answer cannot be right if the question is wrong. If the very question is rooted in something wrong, then all answers given will be futile and they will lead you to more false questions. It will become a vicious circle - that's how philosophers become mad. Not looking at the wrongness of the question they create an answer; and then the answer creates more questions. No answer solves anything.
Then what is to be done? What does Zen say? Zen says: Look at the problem itself, there the answer is hidden. Look at the question deeply, and if the look is perfect, the question disappears. No question is ever answered, it simply disappears; and, when it disappears, it disappears without a trace.
He is saying: Where is the problem? We also eat, we also dress, but we simply eat and dress. Why create a problem? Bokuju is saying: Accept life as it is. Don't create problems. One has to eat - eat. There is hunger, you have not created it, it has to be fulfilled - fulfil it. But don't create a problem.
When people come to me this is the whole situation, every day. They bring their problems but I have not come across a single problem, because there are none. You create them, and then you want an answer to them. There are people who will give you answers: those are small teachings. And there are people who will give you an insight into your problem: that is the great teaching. Small teachings lead to forced disciplines, and great teachings allow you to become loose and natural.
But the man could not understand. Of course, it is difficult to understand such a simple thing. People can understand complex things but they cannot understand simple things. Because a complex thing can be divided, analyzed, logically tackled, but what is to be done with a simple thing? You cannot analyze it, you cannot cut it into pieces, you cannot dissect it - there is nothing to dissect. It is so simple. And because it is so simple you miss it. The man could not understand. But still, I think, the man was sincere, because he said: "I don't understand."
There are very complex people who will nod their heads to show that they have understood. These are great fools: nobody can help them because they go on pretending that they understand. They cannot say that they don't understand. If they say this, they will look idiotic to themselves. They pretend. How can they not understand such a simple thing? They go on showing that they have understood, and now more complexities will arise. In the first place there is no problem, and in the second place they have understood the answer! Problem doesn't exist, and now they have gained knowledge about the problem: they say they understand! They become more and more puzzled, just a mess inside. Such people come to me and I can see inside them - they are just a mess, a hotchpotch. They have not understood anything. They have not even understood what their problems are, and they have the answers. Not only that, they start helping others to solve their problems.
This man must have been sincere. He said: "I don't understand." This is a good step towards understanding. If you don't understand, you can understand; the possibility is open. You are humble, you recognize the difficulty, you recognize that you are ignorant. This is the first step towards knowing, towards understanding: to recognize that you don't understand. At least he understood this much. And this is a great step.
Bokuju does not look very compassionate, but he is. He is saying: You cannot understand, because the mind never understands. The mind is a great non-understander; the mind is the very root of ignorance. Why can't the mind understand? Because the mind is just a tiny part of your being, and the part cannot understand, only the whole can understand. Always remember this: only your total being can understand something, no part can. Neither your head nor your heart, nor your hands, nor your legs, can understand - only your total being. Understanding is of the total, misunderstanding is of the part. The part always misunderstands, because the part tries to pretend as the whole; that is the whole problem. The mind tries to say that it is the whole understanding, but it is just a part.
When you fall asleep, where is your mind? The body continues without it. The body digests food; there is no need for the mind. Your brain can be taken out completely and your body will continue. It will digest food, it will grow, it will throw dead things out of the body.
Now scientists have come to feel that the mind is just a luxury. The body has its own wisdom; it doesn't bother about the mind. Have you ever observed that the mind goes on playing at being the great knower, without having the slightest feeling that all that is important in the body goes on without it? You eat food. The body doesn't ask the mind how to digest it; and it is a very complex process. It is not easy to transform food into blood, but the body transforms it and goes on working. It is a very complicated process because thousands of elements are involved. In right proportions, the body releases juices, which are needed to digest the food.
Then it absorbs that which is needed for the body and it leaves that which is not needed, it throws out the excreta. In the body, every second, thousands of cells are dying; the body goes on throwing them out of the bloodstream. There are millions of needs for hormones, vitamins, and millions of things, and the body goes on finding them from the atmosphere. When the body needs more oxygen, it takes deep breaths. When the body doesn't need it, it relaxes breathing. Everything goes on - mind is just a part in this whole mechanism, and not very essential. Without the mind animals exist, trees exist, and exist beautifully. But the mind is a great pretender. It simply pretends that it is the base, the foundation, the peak, the climax. It goes on pretending. You just watch your mind and you will see. With this pretender you want to understand? This is the only false note within you.
What is Bokuju saying? He says: "If you don't understand, put on your clothes and eat your food." Don't bother about understanding. You just be like us - eat and dress, and don't try to understand. The very effort, the very movement to understand creates misunderstanding. There is no need. Simply live and be. That's what Bokuju says: Eat and dress, just be. Forget about understanding, what is the need? If trees can exist without understanding, what is the need for you? If the whole existence is there without understanding, why bother? Why bring this small tiny mind in and create problems? Relax and be!
Bokuju is saying that the understanding comes from the total. You simply eat, don't try to understand. You simply move, walk, love, sleep, eat, take your bath. Be total. Let things happen. Simply be. And don't try to understand, because the very effort to try, the very effort to understand, creates a problem. You become divided. Don't create the problem - just be.
Try this sometime. I would like you to try this: sometime go into the mountains for three weeks and just be. Don't try to understand anything - just be, naturally loose. When you feel like sleeping, go to sleep. When you feel like eating, eat. If you don't feel like eating, don't eat. There is no urgency. Just leave everything to the body, to the total. Mind is a creator of problems. Sometimes it says: Eat more, the food is very delicious! And when the body says: Enough, wait, don't force anything any more - you don't listen to the total. The total is wise. In that total, your mind, your body, everything, is involved.
Not that I am saying cut the mind off - that too would be unnatural, that too is a part. The mind must have its own place, its own proportion, but it should not be allowed to be the dictator. If it becomes the dictator, then it creates problems. And then it seeks solutions, and solutions create more problems, and you go on until you end up in a madhouse.
Mind's destiny is the madhouse. Those who go fast, of course, reach earlier; those who go slowly, they reach a little later - but everybody is in the queue. Mind's destiny is the madhouse, because a part trying to pretend to be the whole is already mad, insane.
And all religions have helped to create divisions in you. All religions have helped the mind to become more and more dictatorial. They say: Kill the body. And you don't understand what you are doing, and you start killing the body. Mind and body and soul - they all exist together, in a togetherness. They are a togetherness. Don't divide; divisions are false, divisions are political. If you divide, the mind becomes the dictator because the mind is the most articulate part in the body. There is nothing else in it.
It happens in life also: if a man is more articulate, he will become a leader of men. If he can talk well, if he is an orator, if he can manipulate language, he will become the leader. Not that he is capable of being a leader, but he is a good talker, he impresses people's minds, he is a good persuader, a good salesman, articulate. That's why orators lead the world. Of course, they lead it into a deeper and deeper mess because they are not leaders of men. They don't have any other quality than talk. So your parliaments are nothing but talking-houses. People go on talking, and the one who can manipulate language better becomes the head. That's why your parliament and your madhouses are not very different - they are the same.
The quality of being total is totally different. It is not a question of being articulate; it is rather a question of giving every part its proportion. It is a harmony. It is giving your life a harmonious rhythm with everything existing in it. Then the mind is also beautiful. Then it doesn't lead you to the madhouses. Then the mind becomes the greater mind, the mind becomes the enlightenment. But your whole exists as a whole; you don't divide yourself; your wisdom remains undivided. That's what Bokuju is saying, and that is what Zen is all about.
That's why I say that Zen is a rare phenomenon. No other religion has reached to such a great flowering. Because Zen has come to understand that the understanding is of the total - you eat, you sleep, you be natural and you be total, and don't try to divide yourself, mind and body, soul and matter. Don't divide. With division comes conflict and violence, with division come millions of problems, and there are no solutions. Rather, there is only one solution and that is to be whole again, to leave everything to the natural totality.
The mind will be there but its function will be totally different. I also use the mind. I am talking to you, the mind is needed. For communication the mind is needed; in fact it is a communication device. For memory the mind is needed. It is a computer. But to be, your whole is needed. In the body - and when I say "body" I mean your whole: body, mind, soul - everything has its own functioning. If I want to catch something, I will use my hand. If I want to move, I will use my legs. If I want to communicate, I will use my mind. That's all.
Otherwise I remain as a whole. And when I use my hands, my whole backs my hands. They are not used against the whole, but with the co-operation of the whole. When I use my legs and walk, they are used by the whole, in co-operation. In fact, they are functioning, walking for the whole, not for themselves. If I talk to you, communicate, I use the mind for the whole.
If I have something in my whole being that I would like to communicate, I use my mind, I use my hands and my gestures, I use my eyes; but they are used by the whole. The whole remains the supreme. The whole remains the master. When the parts become the master, then you are falling apart, then your togetherness will be lost.
Says Bokuju: If you don't understand, there is no need. Don't be worried about it. You just go and put on your clothes and eat your food. I don't know what that man did, but to you I also say: If you understand - beautiful. If you don't understand - go, put on your clothes and eat your food. Because the understanding will come only as a shadow of your total being. Live life in its totality, and don't be afraid of the total life. Don't be a coward, and don't try to escape to the mountains and the monasteries.
I have given you SANNYAS to live in the world as totally as possible. Just by living totally in the world you will transcend it. Suddenly you will come to know that you are in the world, but not of it. I bring you a totally new concept of SANNYAS. The old SANNYAS said: Escape, renounce! But I tell you that those who escape are not total, not whole. I tell you that those who escape are crippled. It is not for you. You live life in its totality; you live it, as wholly as possible. And the more whole you are, the more holy you will become. The quality of sacredness comes when one lives courageously without fear, without hope, without desire. One simply slips from one moment to another, completely fresh and new.
This is what SANNYAS is to mean to you. SANNYAS is living life in its totality, moment to moment; allowing it to happen without any conditions on your part. And then, if you allow this much, life allows you a transcendence. Remaining in the valley, you become the peak, and only then it is beautiful. If you go to the peak, the valley is lost - and the valley has its own beauties. If you remain in the valley, the peak is lost - and the peak has its own beauties.
And I would like you to become a man of valley and peak, both together. Remaining in the valley, be a peak - and then you will be able to understand what Zen is.