Emptiness and the Monk's Nose

Fri, 23 February 1975 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
The Grass Grows By Itself
Chapter #:
a.m. in Buddha Hall
Archive Code:
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Man is too full of himself and that is his undoing. Man should be like a hollow bamboo, so that existence can pass through him. Man should be like a porous sponge - not hard - so that the doors and the windows of his being are open, and existence can pass from one end to another without any hindrance; in fact, finding no one inside. The winds blow - they come in from one window and they go out from another window of his being. This emptiness is the highest bliss possible. But you are like a hard, unporous rock, or like a hard steel rod. Nothing passes through you. You resist everything. You don't allow. You go on fighting on all sides and in all directions as if you are in a great war with existence.

There is no war going on, you are simply befooled by yourself. Nobody is there to destroy you. The whole supports you; the whole is the very earth on which you are standing, the very sky in which you breathe, you live. In fact, you are not - only the whole is. When one understands this, by and by one drops the inner hardness; there is no need for it.

There is no enmity; the whole is friendly towards you. The whole cherishes you, loves you. Otherwise, why are you here? The whole brings you forth, like a tree is brought forth by the earth. The whole would like to participate in all your blessings, in all the celebrations that are possible. When you flower, the whole will flower through you; when you sing, the whole will sing through you; when you dance, the whole will dance with you. You are not separate.

The feeling of separateness creates fear, and fear makes you unporous. The feeling of insecurity, as if the whole is going to destroy you, the feeling that you are a stranger here, an outsider, and that you have to fight your way inch by inch towards your destiny, makes you a hard steel rod. Of course, then many things simply disappear from your life. You live in anguish, you live in anxiety, you live in intense pain, but you live this of your own accord. Be porous. Be floating. Fight is not needed at all. Rather, a merger is needed.

These are the two attitudes open to man: the attitude of a warrior and the attitude of a lover. It is your choice - you can choose. But remember... certain consequences will follow. If you choose the path of the warrior and you become a fighter with everything that surrounds you, you will always be in misery. This is creating a hell around you; in the very attitude of fighting the hell is created. Or you become a lover, a participant, then this whole is your home; you are not a stranger. You are at home. There is no fight. You simply flow with the river. Then, ecstasy will be yours; then each moment will become ecstatic, a flowering.

There is no hell except you and there is no heaven except you. It is your attitude, how you look at the whole. Religion is the way of the lover: science is the way of the fighter.

Science is the way of the will, as if you are here to conquer, to conquer nature, to conquer nature's secrets; as if you are here to enforce your will and domination on existence. This is not only foolish, it is futile also. Foolish because it will create a hell around you, and futile because finally you will become more and more dead, less and less alive; you will lose all possibilities of being blissful. And, in the end, you will have to come back from it, because you can go for a while on the path of the will, but only frustration and more frustration will happen through it. You will be defeated more and more. You will feel more and more impotent, and more and more enmity will be around you. You will have to come back from it - grudgingly, resistant, but you will have to come back from it. Finally, nobody can rest with a fighting attitude, because with a fighting attitude no rest is possible, you cannot relax.

The path of religion is the path of love. From the very beginning you are not fighting anybody. The whole exists for you, and you exist for the whole, and there is an inner harmony. Nobody is here to conquer anybody else. It is not possible. Because how can one part conquer another part? And how can a part conquer the whole? These are absurd notions which only create nightmares for you, nothing else. See the whole situation... you come out of the whole and you dissolve into it, and, in between, you are every moment part of it. You breathe it, you live it, and it breathes through you, it lives through you. Your life and its life are not two things - you are just like a wave in the ocean.

Once you understand this, meditation becomes possible. Once you understand this, you relax. You throw off all the armour that you have created around you as a security. You are no longer afraid. Fear disappears and love arises. In this state of love, emptiness happens. Or, if you can allow emptiness to happen, love will flower in it. Love is a flower of emptiness, total emptiness - emptiness is the situation. It can work both ways.

So there are two types of religion. One which creates emptiness in you and around you so that a flowering becomes possible; you have created the situation, now the flower bubbles up automatically. Finding no resistance, the seed suddenly blooms into a flower. There is a jump in your being, an explosion. Buddhism and Zen follow this path - they create emptiness in and around you.

There is another path also, a second type of religion, which creates love in you, which creates devotion in you. Meera and Chaitanya love, and they love the total so deeply that they find their beloved everywhere; on every leaf, on every stone, is the signature of the beloved. He is everywhere. They dance because there is nothing else to do but celebrate. And everything is ready - only the celebration has to start on your part. Nothing else is lacking. A BHAKTA, a lover, simply celebrates, enjoys. And in that enjoyment of love and celebration, the ego disappears and emptiness follows.

Either you create emptiness, like a Buddha, Tilopa, Sekkyo and others or you create love, like Meera, Chaitanya, Jesus. Create one and the other follows, because they cannot live separately, they don't have any separate existence. Love is one face of emptiness; emptiness is nothing but love in another aspect, they come together. If you bring one, you invite one, the other follows automatically as a shadow of it. It depends on you. If you want to follow the path of meditation, become empty. Don't bother about love - it will come of its own accord.

Or, if you find it very difficult to meditate, then love, then become a lover, and meditations and emptiness?s will follow you.

This is how it should be because there are two types of human mind: the feminine and the male. The feminine mind can love easily but to be empty is difficult. And when I say feminine mind, I don't mean females, because many females have male minds, and many males have feminine minds. So they are not equivalent. When I say feminine mind, I don't mean the feminine body - you may have a feminine body but not a feminine mind. The feminine mind is the mind that feels love easier, that's all. That is my definition of the feminine mind: it is one who feels love easily, naturally, who can flow into love without any effort. The male mind is one for whom love is an effort - he can love but he will have to do it. Love cannot be his whole being - it is just one thing of many other things, not even the most important. He can sacrifice his love for science, he can sacrifice his love for the country, he can sacrifice his love for any trivial affair, for business, for money, for politics. Love is not such a deep thing with him, a male mind. It is not as effortless as it is for a feminine mind. Meditation is easier.

He can become empty easily.

So this is my definition: if you find being empty easy, then do that. If you find it is very difficult, then don't be unhappy and don't feel hopeless. You will always find love easier. I have not come across a man who finds both difficult. So, there is hope for everybody. If meditation is difficult, love will be easier, it has to be. If love is easier, meditation will be difficult. If love is difficult, meditation will be easier. So just feel yourself.

And this is not concerned with your body, not with your physical structure, your hormones. No. It is a quality of your inner being. Once you find it, things become very, very easy, because then you won't try on the wrong path. You can try on the wrong path for many lives but you will not attain anything. And if you try on the right path, even the first step can become the last, because you simply, naturally, flow into it. Nothing like effort exists - effortlessly you flow.

Zen is for the male mind. Soon I will balance it by talking about Sufism, because Sufism is for the feminine mind. These are the two extremes - Zen and Sufism. Sufis are lovers, great lovers. In fact, in the whole history of human consciousness, more daring lovers than Sufis have never existed, because they are the only ones who have turned God into their beloved. The God is the woman and they are the lovers. Soon I will balance.

Zen insists on emptiness, that's why in Buddhism there is no concept of God, it is not needed. People in the West cannot understand how a religion exists without the concept of a God. Buddhism has no concept of any God - there is no need, because Buddhism insists on simply being empty, then everything follows. But who bothers? Once you are empty, things will take their own course. A religion exists without God. This is simply a miracle. In the West, people who write about religion and the philosophy of religion are always in trouble about how to define religion. They can define Hinduism, Mohammedanism, Christianity, easily, but Buddhism creates trouble. They can define God as being the center of all religion, but then Buddhism becomes a problem. They can define prayer as the essence of religion, but again Buddhism creates trouble, because there is no God and no prayer, no mantra, nothing.

You have only to be empty. The concept of God will not allow you to be empty; prayer will be a disturbance; chanting will not allow you to be empty. Simply being empty, everything happens. Emptiness is the secret key of Buddhism. You are in such a way that you are not. Let me explain a little more about emptiness to you, then it will be possible to go into this Zen anecdote.

Physicists have been working for three hundred years to find the base, the substance of matter, and the deeper they reached, the more they were puzzled. Because the deeper they groped, the less and less substantial matter was; the less and less material matter was. And when they really stumbled upon the source of matter, they simply couldn't believe it, because it was against all their conceptions. It was not matter at all: it was simply energy. Energy is non-substantial. It has no weight. You cannot see it. You can only see the effects of it; you can never see it directly.

Eddington, in 1930, said that we were in search of matter, but now all new insight into matter shows that there is no matter, it looks more and more like a thought and less and less like a thing. Suddenly the insight of Buddha became very, very significant again, because Buddha did the same with human matter, the human stuff. Physicists were trying to penetrate matter in an objective way to find out what was there inside it, and they found nothing. Total emptiness. And the same was discovered by Buddha in his inner journey. He was trying to find out who was there inside - the substance of human consciousness - but the more he penetrated, the more he became aware that it becomes more and more empty. And when he suddenly reached to the very core, there was nothing. All had disappeared. The house was empty. And around this emptiness everything exists. Emptiness is your soul, so Buddha had to coin a new word which had never existed before. With a new discovery you have to change your language. New words have to be coined, because you have revealed new truths and old words cannot contain them. Buddha has to create a new word. In India people had always believed in the reality of the soul, ATMA, but Buddha discovered that there was no soul, no ATMA. He had to coin a new word - ANATTA. ANATTA means no-self. The deepest hidden in you is emptiness - a state of no-self. You are not; you only appear to be. Let me explain to you in a different way because it is one of the most difficult things to understand. Even if you understand intellectually, it is almost impossible to trust it. You are not? Your being seems so taken for granted. And you can always ask foolish questions. Buddha was asked again and again: If you are not, then who is speaking? If you are not, then who becomes hungry? And who goes begging in the town? If you are not, then who is standing before me?

The emperor Wu, in China, asked Bodhidharma immediately: If you say that you are not and nothing is, and emptiness is the very substance of your inner being, then who is this fellow talking to me, standing before me? Bodhidharma shrugged his shoulders and said: I don't know.

Nobody knows, and Buddha says that nobody can know, because it is not a substance that you can encounter as an object; it is no-substance, you cannot encounter it. This Buddha calls realization: when you come to understand that the innermost emptiness cannot be known, it is unknowable, then you have become a realized man.

It is difficult, so let me again explain it to you. You go to a movie. Something beautiful is happening there. The screen is empty. Then the projector starts working. The screen disappears because the projected pictures hide it completely. And what are these projected pictures? Nothing but a play of light and shade. You see somebody throwing a spear on the screen, the spear moves fast. But what is happening exactly? The movement is only an appearance, it is not happening. It cannot happen. In fact a movie is not a movie at all, because it has no movement; all the pictures are still. But an appearance is created through a trick. The trick is that many still pictures of the spear in different positions are flashed on the screen so fast that you cannot see the gap between two pictures - and you have the feeling that the spear is moving. I raise my hand. You take a hundred pictures of my hand in different positions and then flash them so fast that the eyes cannot catch the gap between two pictures.

Then you will see the hand being raised. A hundred still pictures, or a million still pictures, are projected and the movement is created. And if the film is a three dimensional film and somebody is throwing a spear, you may be so much taken in by it, that you may lean to the right or to the left to avoid the spear. When three dimensional pictures came into existence for the first time, they scared people. With a horse running at you, you become afraid because the horse is soon going to enter the hall; and you may even lean to the right or left, as the case may be, to avoid the clash. The movement is false; it is not happening there, it is just fast- moving still pictures. And the falseness is not apparent unless you see the film moving very slowly, being projected very slowly.

The same, in a different sense, is happening in life. Thoughts are projected by your mind so fast that you cannot see the gap between two thoughts. The screen is completely covered by the thoughts and they move so fast that you cannot see that each thought is separate. That's what Tilopa says: Thoughts are like clouds, without any roots, with no home. And a thought is not related to another thought; a thought is an individual unit, just like dust particles, separate. But they move so fast you cannot see the gap between. You feel they have a unity, a certain association. That association is a false notion, but because of that association, ego is created.

Buddha says: Fast-moving thoughts create an illusion, as if there is some center to them, as if they are related to one thing. They are not related, they are without roots - like clouds. When you meditate you will understand that each single thought is an individual thought, not related to another. Between the two is the emptiness of your being. They come and go, but they come and go so fast that you cannot see the intervals. Ego is created.

And then you start feeling that there is somebody as a center in you to which everything belongs - thoughts, actions. But Buddha says that there is nobody inside you. When you go deeper you will understand the truth of it: it is not a philosophical doctrine.

Buddha can be defeated very easily by argument; he was thrown out of this country because Indians are great arguers. They have done nothing else for five thousand years but argue, and through argument Buddha can be defeated because the whole thing seems to be absurd. Buddha is saying that there are actions, there is no actor; there are thoughts, there is no thinker; there is hunger, there is satiety; there is illness, there is health; but there is no center to which they all belong. They are just like clouds moving in an empty sky, not related to each other at all. Through experience nobody can defeat Buddha, but through logic it is very simple.

Soon Buddha became aware that through logic he could be defeated very easily. So what to do? India had great scholars in those days, great pundits, great logicians, hair-splitters. So Buddha simply declared: I am not a metaphysician, I am not a philosopher, and I have no doctrine to offer. These are not conclusions of my intellect. If somebody wants to understand them, he will have to come and live with me, and do whatsoever I say. And after a year, if he lives with me silently in meditation, then I am ready to argue with him, never before.

And it happened that although many great scholars came to him, this was his condition. Sariputta came. He was a very famous scholar, and he had five hundred of his own disciples. They were great scholars in their own right: they knew all the Vedas, they knew all the Upanishads, they knew all the wisdom of the centuries, and they had very, very keen intellects. Sariputta came and Buddha said: You have come, that's good. But for one year you have to remain silent, because I have no doctrine to propose, so there is no possibility of any argument. I have something in my being to share, but no doctrine to propose. So, if you like, you can be here.

Then came Moulunkaputta, another great scholar, and Buddha said the same to him: For one year you sit silently by my side, not raising a single question. For one year you have to let your mind subside and penetrate into the intervals. After one year, exactly one year, if you have some questions, I will answer.

Sariputta was also sitting there. He started laughing.

Moulunkaputta asked: "What is the matter? Why are you laughing?"

Sariputta said: "Don't be befooled by this man. If you have to ask anything, ask immediately, because after one year you will not be able to ask anything. This has happened to me. One year, meditating silently, questions disappeared. One year, meditating silently, the argumentative mind disappeared, and the arguer disappeared. One year, sitting by the side of this man, one becomes empty; and then he laughs, and then he plays tricks, and then he says: 'Now you ask. Where are your doctrines and principles and arguments?' And nothing arises inside. So, Moulunkaputta, if you have to ask, right now is the moment - otherwise, never."

Buddha said: "I will fulfil my promise. If you remain one year and if you have any questions, I will answer, whatsoever the questions." Moulunkaputta remained. One year passed. He forgot completely about the year passing and that the day had come back; but Buddha remembered. After one year, on exactly the day, he said to Moulunkaputta: "Now you stand, Moulunkaputta, and you can ask."

Moulunkaputta stood there silent, with closed eyes, and then he said: "There is nothing to ask, and there is nobody to ask. I have completely disappeared."

Buddhism is an experience and Zen is the purest of all Buddha's teachings - the very essence. And the center around which the whole experience moves is emptiness.

How to become empty? That is what meditation is all about: how to become so silent, that you cannot even see yourself - because that too is a disturbance. Feeling that "I am", is also a disturbance - even that goes. One is completely effaced, utterly effaced. The sheet is clean, it becomes like a summer sky - clouds are no longer there, just the depth, the infinite blueness, ending nowhere, beginning nowhere. This is what Buddha calls the ANATTA, the innermost center of non-being, of no-self. Buddha says: "You walk, but there is no walker; you eat, but there is no eater; you are born, but there is nobody who is born. You will be ill, and you will become old, but there is nobody who becomes ill and becomes old. And you will die, but there is nobody who dies." And this is what eternal life is... not being born, how can you die?

Not being there, how can you be ill or healthy?

These things happen, and if you become a deep witness to them, by and by you will know that they happen on their own accord. They are not concerned with you. They are not in any way happening in relation to you. Unrelated, homeless, rootless - this is the utter enlightenment.

Knowing this, that things happen, like dreams, one is not bothered this way or that, one is neither happy nor unhappy. One simply is not. Buddha says: "You can never be happy, because, in the very insistence that you are, unhappiness hides. You can never be liberated, because you are the bondage. Liberation is not of you, liberation is from you." This is the deepest core ever touched, the deepest core.

Mahavir says: "You will be enlightened."

Buddha says: "You are the hindrance."

Mahavir says: "You will live in MOKSHA, in the ultimate state of consciousness - blissful, eternally blissful."

Buddha says: "Unless you die, you will never attain to that state."

You are the only barrier, the only hindrance, the only obstacle. When you are not, that state is. That state is not yours, you cannot claim it; in fact, because you are, you don't allow that state to be. It is already here within you, this very moment, but you don't allow it to function. You try to control it, manipulate it. The ego is the great manipulator, the controller, and the whole effort of all the Buddha?s is how to drop the control. Once the control is dropped, the controller disappears. That is what I am trying to do with you with these many meditations.

The effort is how to drop the control, how to drop the great manipulator.

You whirl in a Dervish dance. In the beginning you are there. Soon you feel nausea, but that nausea is not only physical, it is deeply spiritual. You start feeling nausea when the moment comes for control to be dropped. When that moment nears, you start feeling nausea. The nausea is that the control is being lost. You feel dizzy; you feel that you may fall down.

These are not just physical things - deep inside the ego is feeling as if it is being thrown off the track. The ego is feeling dizzy. It is feeling that if this whirling continues for even a little longer, I will not be able to be there. You start to feel like vomiting. In fact, that vomit is not only physical, just one part is physical; a deeper part is the vomit of the ego. If you continue to feel disturbed, there will be a physical vomiting, but if you don't bother about it, soon physical vomiting will disappear. And then the real vomit will happen: one day, suddenly, the ego is vomited. Suddenly an ugly phenomenon within you escapes; suddenly the disease from you is thrown out; suddenly you are ego-free. It happens unexpectedly. When it happens for the first time, you cannot even believe it; you cannot believe that, without the ego, you are. There is nobody inside, and you are; and you are so perfect and so beautiful and so blissful - without anybody being there!

The ego has to be thrown off-center, because it has become so deeply rooted in your mind, through many lives. It has usurped the whole being; emptiness has been thrown into the background, into the unconscious, and the ego has usurped the throne. Now the ego has become the king, and it goes on manipulating everything.

This parable, this small anecdote, will tell you many things about how the ego can be thrown off-center.


The master is playing a trick. The master asked: "Can you get hold of emptiness?" The question is tricky, and if the disciple was of any understanding, he would not have tried. The very effort to catch hold of emptiness is stupid. You can catch hold of something; you cannot catch hold of nothing. How can you catch hold of nothing? The disciple still feels that emptiness is something; he still feels that emptiness is not empty - it is a name, a label of something which can be caught hold of. If he had a little understanding, even a little understanding, he would have done something else than catch hold of emptiness. That was the test.

There are stories where a master asks a disciple: "Can you get hold of emptiness?" and the disciple seizes the master's nose and gives it a great yank - that would have been absolutely right, because the question is absurd. Whatsoever you try it is going to fail from the very beginning. Nothing will help.

These are the Zen koans. A Zen master gives you an absurd problem, which cannot be solved. There is no answer to it.

I have heard about a toy-shop somewhere in America. A father was purchasing a toy puzzle for his child. He tried to fix it, and he tried and tried in many ways, but something was always wrong, it wouldn't work. So he asked the manager of the shop: "If even I cannot make head or tail out of this, how do you suppose that a small child will be able to?" The manager said: "Nobody can do it. This is just to give the child a taste of modern life. It is not meant to be, nobody can do it, it cannot be fixed. The part, the different parts, are not made to fix."

This was just to give a taste of modern life: whatsoever you do, nothing is of any avail; in the end you will feel frustrated. Do this or that, there are millions of alternatives, but all are false, because they fail from the very beginning. The puzzle was not a puzzle, but an absurdity. A puzzle is that which can be solved by some intelligence. An absurdity is that which by its very nature is not solvable, cannot be solved. A koan is an absurd puzzle.

The master says: "Can you get hold of emptiness?" Now, from the very beginning, any solution is debarred. In the very wording of the question he has created an absurdity. How can you catch hold of nothing? You can of course, catch hold of something. But nothing?

Emptiness? All your efforts are doomed from the very beginning. And this is the whole thing: the master is trying to help the disciple to become aware, but the ego takes the problem immediately and starts trying to solve it. It becomes a challenge.

That's why so many people try a crossword puzzle, this and that. Just looking at the newspaper their ego is challenged; they have to solve it, otherwise it will haunt them. They are so intelligent, how can this puzzle exist? They will have to solve it, it becomes an obsession. Millions of people waste millions of hours solving foolish things. The ego takes up the challenge.

When the master said: "Can you get hold of emptiness?" he was exciting the ego and ego is the most stupid thing in human life. You can excite it by anything - by anything.

At an advertisement in the newspaper: Do you have a two-car garage, or only a one-car garage? - immediately the ego feels disturbed because other people have a two-car garage, and you have only one. Your life is wasted. You existed for nothing, Move fast, borrow money. Do something! Even if you get ulcers on the way, it is okay. Cancer one can tolerate, but one cannot tolerate a one-car garage. Commit suicide, but you have to have a two-car garage. Ego is the most stupid thing, and the whole market of salesmen and advertisers depends on your ego. They excite the ego: they exploit you. And it is difficult to prevent them unless you drop the ego. They will go on and on. A big car becomes an ego symbol.

I have heard that Mulla Nasruddin went to America. In his town he had never seen a bigger car than a FIAT. When he saw such big cars he was simply puzzled: What to call them? Because they are not cars, and they are not buses; and in such a big car only one person sits or a dog. What is the matter? He saw such big houses - what to call them? In his town a two- storey house is called an ATARI, a palace. Then he saw a hundred-storied house. His mind boggled. You cannot call it a house, you cannot call it a palace - there simply exists no word for it.

And then he saw Niagara. He closed his eyes and he said: "It seems I am seeing a dream." He had seen small waterfalls, his town had a waterfall, but it ran only in the rainy season.

What is this? And he became so puzzled that it was even impossible to appreciate such big, tremendous things; and he was not able to say anything to the guide. So then he started feeling guilty - he should say something.

Then they came across a small river. So Mulla Nasruddin thought: This is the opportunity. And he said: "It seems somebody's car radiator is leaking."

Things go on becoming bigger and bigger and bigger just because of the ego. They are not needed. There exists no necessity for them. Life becomes more and more complex because of the stupid ego. And once it takes the challenge, it is always ready to take it, without even asking if this is possible, impossible, rational, irrational.

The master Sekkyo said:


This is the answer of the ego: "I will try." It takes all sorts of challenges and a koan is a great challenge. It is made in such a way that you cannot solve it. And trying to solve it, you will become aware that your very effort to solve it is idiotic. In trying to solve it, you will become aware that you have taken the challenge. That was wrong. The one who says within you: "I will try and I will do", is impotent.

A koan is given to a disciple to feel the impotency - which you cannot do - to feel the helplessness, because the ego can disappear only in a helpless state, otherwise not. The ego can disappear only when it is a total failure; when not even a slight possibility of its success exists. Only then, otherwise it can go on hoping that it will do something else, or something else, and it will try this alternative and that. There must exist a possibility for the emptiness to be caught, for you to catch hold of it: I will try. Remember always to watch before you say: "I will try." Don't allow the ego to come in. Just watch. Be intelligent, don't be egoistic.

Intelligence is good. Being egoistic in fact hinders the functioning of your intelligence. Such a simple thing. The disciple should have hit the master, right then and there. What type of nonsense are you telling me?

But people have tried to solve all sorts of nonsense, because the ego says: There must be some way. The ego says: If the problem exists, the solution must exist. What is the necessity?

You can create a problem, but there is no necessity in nature for the solution to exist.

And, as I have observed, ninety-nine per cent of the problems of philosophy are foolish.

They cannot be solved, but great minds are involved in solving them. For example, simple problems like: "Who created the world?" are foolish, but great theologians, religious people, scholars, waste their whole life on them. For thousands of years many have been worried about who created the world. And it cannot be solved; it is a koan. It is absurd, because the very question is such, the nature of it is such, that whatsoever you do, it will again jump up and stand on its feet, it will not be killed.

For example, if you say: A created the world, immediately the question is there: Who created A? B created A. Then the question is there: Who created B? You go on, and on, and finally, just fed up with the whole thing, you will have to say: This Z, nobody created this Z.

But why get to Z? Why not say in the first place that nobody created this world? Why go from A to Z? When you have to concede that nobody created God, then why say that God created the world? If God can exist without being created, then why not this existence? There seems to be no reason. But people go on, and they think that they are doing very serious religious thinking. This is not religious at all; in fact, no thinking is religious. Non-thinking is religious.

Can you get hold of emptiness? What nonsense! Emptiness is nothing, how can you get hold of it? It has no boundaries, no limitations to it, it is not possible, but the ego says: I will try.


Not only did he say it, he tried - he cupped his hands in the air. You may think that you would have done better. What would you do? Whatsoever you do will be the same. Without knowing what you would do, I say it will be the same. You jump this way and that, and try to catch hold - you will simply look foolish.


There is something to be understood here - if your hands are open, emptiness is there; if your hands are not open, and you have made a fist, emptiness has disappeared. In a fist there is no space; in an open hand the whole sky is there, but it is in an open hand. The meaning is very subtle, but very beautiful - if you try to catch hold of it you will miss, if you don't try it is already there. If you don't try, in your open hand the whole sky exists; nothing less than that. If you try to catch hold of the sky, and you make a fist out of your hand, everything has disappeared.

What is there in your fist? Maybe a little stale air - and that too shows that the fist is not exactly complete. That's why. If the fist is exactly complete, the whole sky has disappeared from it.

The ultimate is already there; no effort is needed to get it. In the very effort you miss and lose and go astray.

One man came to Lin Chi, a great Zen master, and said: "I am very troubled. I would like to become a Buddha myself. What to do?" Lin Chi chased him out with his staff, out of the temple. He hit him hard, the man started running, and he chased him out of the temple.

Somebody who was standing by said: "This is too hard. The poor man has not asked anything wrong. He was simply asking a very religious question, and he looked very sincere - you should have looked at his eyes, his face. He had really travelled a long way to come to you, and he was asking a simple sincere, religious question: how to become a Buddha. And what you did seems to be too hard on the poor man, and unjustified." Lin Chi said: "I chased him out because he was asking an absurd thing. He is already a Buddha. If he tries, he will miss.

And if he can understand why I hit him and chased him out, then he should leave all effort - there is nothing to be achieved, he has just to be himself. He has to be just whatsoever he is." Be loose and natural, what Tilopa says, and then Buddha is already there in the inner shrine. One has not to become a Buddha; one is always born a Buddha. Buddhahood is your innermost essential nature. You need not enquire about it: you need not try for it.

The poor seeker went to another master, thinking that this Lin Chi was mad: I ask a simple question and he hits me hard, and then chases me out of the temple. He is completely insane. He went to another master; a master who was opposed to Lin Chi. They had their monasteries nearby in the same hills. He went there. He felt: This man will be right, because he is opposed to Lin Chi. And now I know why he is opposed.

He went to the master, the other master and asked the same question. The master said:

"Have you ever been before to any other master?" He said: "Yes. But it was wrong of me to go there. I went to see Lin Chi. He hit me hard, and chased me out of the temple." Suddenly, the master became very ferocious, as if he would kill him. He pulled his sword out of his sheath, and the man ran away. The master said: "What do you think? Do you think I am an ignorant man? If Lin Chi can do that, I will kill you completely."

He asked somebody on the way what to do. The man said: "You go back to Lin Chi, he is more compassionate." And he did. When he went back Lin Chi asked: "Why have you come back?" He said: "The other man is dangerous, more dangerous than you. He would have completely killed me. He seems to be a maniac, ferocious." Lin Chi said: "We help each other. It is a conspiracy. Now you be here and never again ask how to be a Buddha, because you are already. One has just to live. You live like a Buddha. You don't bother, don't try to become one." And he became enlightened.

This is the greatest teaching possible: you live it out. And this is what I would like you to do also. You live it out - you need not bother to become, you are already. And Buddhahood is a being, it is never a becoming. You can never become. How can you become a Buddha?

Either you are, or you are not. How can you become? How can an ordinary stone become a diamond? Either it is or it is not; becoming is not possible. So you decide: either you are, or you are not. If you are not, forget everything about it. If you are, there is no need to think about it. In either way you simply be whatsoever you are, and in that very being everything is caught hold of - you can catch hold of emptiness without any effort.


There are no ways better or worse. The way doesn't exist, because the way means that something has to become. The way means that some distance has to be travelled. The way means that you and the goal are separate. The way is possible if I am travelling to come to you, the way is possible if you are travelling to come to me, but how is the way possible if I am trying to be myself? There is no distance.

If you are trying to reach yourself, the way is not possible. There is no space, no distance. You are already yourself, the way doesn't exist. That is why Zen is called the pathless path, the gateless gate. The gate is not there, and this is the gate. The pathless path - the path doesn't exist, and to understand this, is the path. The Zen effort is to throw you onto your reality immediately. There is no need to postpone.


He is still in the same trap. The ego is asking: then something else may be possible; maybe something can be done and you can catch hold emptiness.


Why are Zen masters so rude? And only Zen masters are so rude. They have a real compassion, and you can be thrown to yourself only in such a way, there is no other way. You need shock treatment. Why shock treatment? Because only in a shock, for a small portion of time, does your thinking stop, otherwise not. Only in a shock you become aware, alert, your sleep drops. Otherwise you are a sleepwalker. Unless somebody hits you hard, your sleep cannot be broken.


In this "Ouch!" is the whole mystery. Somebody yanks on your nose - what happens inside? The first thing is that it was never expected. The mind was expecting some intellectual answer. This is rather total. He was asking for some theory, some doctrine, some method, technique: he wanted a head-to-head communication. This is rather total. The total master jumps on him, just like a cat jumps on a mouse. A total thing. The whole cat jumps, not the head; and the whole mouse is caught, not the head. This is a total thing, unexpected. And unexpectedness is the key, because if the mind can expect, there will be no shock. If the mind can expect, then the mind is already dead. So if you go to Sekkyo, remember well - he will not do the same to you again, because you can expect it now. He will do something absolutely unexpected.

Because Zen masters hit, throw people out of the window, jump on them, do anything, it has sometimes happened in the history of Zen that people will come completely ready. Dimensions are limited. What can you do? You can hit, you can throw, you can jump on the man. Just a few alternatives are there. So people will come completely ready. But you cannot deceive a master - he will not do anything; he will simply sit silently - and that will be unexpected.

Unexpectedness is the key, because in an unexpected moment the mind cannot function. That's what "Ouch!" means. The mind has simply stopped. This voice doesn't come from the mind; it comes from your totality. It is not manipulated by the ego, because there is no time for the ego to manipulate, it has happened so suddenly, the master has jumped upon you so suddenly, there was no time to prepare, to get ready, to do something. This "Ouch!" comes from your whole body, mind, soul; from your very depth of emptiness it comes, it has a flavor of the total.

And there is no manipulator, nobody has done it - it has happened. And when something happens and the doer is not, that is how you catch hold of emptiness. This is emptiness. This "Ouch!" comes from the inner emptiness. Nobody is a doer of it. The disciple has not done it: it has simply happened. And in that happening, in that "Ouch!" mind is not functioning. It has passed through the mind, but it has not come from the mind. And it has passed through the mind at such a fast speed, in fact, if you are really hurt on the nose, yanked, the "Ouch!" that happens breaks the sound-barrier. You go and ask the physiologists: it moves faster than sound. It has a total energy in it and it is beautiful, because this man may have completely forgotten the spontaneousness of being. He is thrown back to his spontaneousness. He is thrown from the mind deeper into his own innermost shrine: from there comes this "Ouch!"

Unexpected, not doing it, it happens. It happens out of emptiness, you have caught hold.


And immediately comes back the echo: "You hurt me." It lasts only for a single moment, not even a single moment, a minute part of it, a glimpse, a lightning, and immediately the mind takes control again: You hurt me.

Look at these three words - you, hurt, me. This is the whole of life: you and me and the hurt. Immediately the whole mind is back, with all the basic elements; you, me and the hurt.


He has revealed it. He has not explained, he has already given it. He has not only indicated, he has created a situation in which it happened. That's what a master is for: to create a situation in which things happen to you, to create a situation in which you can become aware of the mechanicalness of the mind, and of the spontaneousness of your inner no-self. And then you can move, by and by, from the mind to the inner spontaneousness. You can become loose and natural. You have to understand that everything can go on without your mind trying to manipulate - everything in fact goes on very beautifully. The trouble starts when you take hold, when you try to manipulate, when you want the mind to be in the saddle - then the trouble starts. Otherwise everything goes on, and goes on so beautifully. There is no need to improve it, and you cannot improve it.

The master gave him a glimpse of his inner being, because the "Ouch!" came from the very center. It was not of the body, not of the mind. It was of the total, and in that moment he functioned as a spontaneous being, not as a doer.

This functioning can become your whole life - that's what religion should be. A religious life is a functioning of the spontaneous being. There are situations every moment. You act, but not as a doer, you act spontaneously. Somebody smiles, what do you do? You can smile as a doer, you can manipulate; you can smile because it will be impolite if you don't smile; you can smile, because in a society you have to exist and this man is very important. In fact, it is greatly flattering that he smiled at you, so you have to. It may be a bargain, a business, a trade, a social mannerism, or it may be simply an unconscious habit. Somebody smiles - you react, you smile. A push-button smile, your being is absolutely unaffected. In fact, you are not in your smile at all. It is just on the lips, a painted thing: just an exercise of the lips, nothing in it, absolutely empty. You manipulate.

It happened once I stayed in a house and the man of the house died. He had no wife, so his sister came to help arrange things. And I was staying there and was simply watching what was happening. Whenever somebody came the sister would look out of the door and immediately she would start crying and weeping and saying things about the dead man: that he was so beautiful and he is gone and her whole life will be now sad, a light has disappeared - and everything! And she would do it so mechanically; immediately saying something if somebody was coming. She in fact told me: You sit more outside in the garden. If somebody comes, simply give me a knock.

And when the person had gone, she was perfectly okay. Tears were flowing down her cheeks when she was crying and weeping, but as soon as the man was out of the house, his back towards the house, the tears would disappear and she was perfectly okay, talking and chatting and doing things. I was simply surprised. I asked: How do you do it? You could have been a perfect actress. You simply do it so perfectly that even the tears come down!

Manipulation. You are not only manipulating another's body, you are manipulating your own body - and this goes on and on continuously. All spontaneity is lost; you become a robot.

This is how life becomes ugly, crippled; this is how a hell is created. Then your love is false, your hate is false, your smile is false, your tears are false. And how do you suppose to live in such falsity and think of bliss; to live in such falsity and think of truth; to live in such falsity and think of liberation, MOKSHA? There is no MOKSHA for a false being. Falsity should drop. Be spontaneous, there is nothing to lose and everything to be gained.

In the beginning you may sometimes feel a little awkward because you wanted to smile, it was needed as a social mannerism but a spontaneous smile was not there. But only in the beginning. Soon your authenticity will be felt by others also, and soon your authenticity will start paying you. It pays so tremendously, that when a real smile comes to your lips, it will be as total as the "Ouch!" - the whole being smiles, the whole being becomes a smile. All around you your smile spreads like ripples in consciousness. Everybody who is near you will feel a purity, a bath-like purity, and you will feel a tremendous bliss happening to you. A simple act of authentic spontaneity, and immediately you are transported from this world to another world.

Love - or even anger... I tell you that even positive emotions, false, are ugly; and even negative emotions, authentic, are beautiful. Even anger is beautiful when your whole being feels it, when every fibre of you being is vibrant with it. Look at a small child angry - and then you will fell the beauty of it. His whole being is in it. Radiant. His face red. Such a small child looks so powerful that it seems he could destroy the whole world! And what happens to a child once he is angry? After a few minutes, a few seconds, everything is changed and he is happy and dancing and running around the house again. Why doesn't this happen to you? You move from one falsity to another. Really, anger is not a lasting phenomenon, by its very nature it is a momentary thing. If the anger is real, it lasts for a few moments; and while it lasts, authentic, it is beautiful. It harms nobody. A real, spontaneous thing cannot harm anybody. Only falsity harms. In a man who can be angry spontaneously, the tide goes after a few seconds and he relaxes perfectly to the very other extreme. He becomes infinitely loving. On the contrary, it creates it again and again, renews it.

If a wife and husband never get angry, you can be certain there exists no love between them. That's absolutely certain. But if sometimes they get angry, really angry, that anger refreshes everything. In fact, after the anger is gone they will again have a new honeymoon. Now everything is fresh, the storm has passed, it has cleaned everything. Again they are new. They moved away, now they fall in love again. To fall in love again and again and again is the eternity of love. If there is no anger, real anger, if you are boiling within and just go on with a smile on the face because you are a husband and she is a wife and anger will create trouble - if now you smile, that smile is false. And the wife knows that your smile is false; and you also know that her smile is false. In the house you live a false life. And this falsity becomes so ingrained that you have completely lost track of what a real smile is, of what a real kiss is, of what a real embrace is, you have completely lost track. Then you go through the motions - you embrace your wife, you kiss her, and you think of other things. You move through the motions but they are gestures, impotent, dead. How can your life be a fulfilment?

And I tell you that even negative emotions are good, if real; and if they are real, by and by, their very reality transforms them. They become more and more positive and a moment comes when all positivity and negativity disappears. You simply remain authentic: you don't know what is good and what is bad; you don't know what is positive and what is negative. You are simply authentic.

This authenticity will allow you to have a glimpse of the real. Only the real can know the real, the true can know the truth; the authentic can know the authentic that surrounds you. That's the way to get hold of emptiness.

The master created a situation, allowed the disciple to move in a spontaneous act, howsoever small - just "Ouch!" and lightning happens. This can become a satori, the first enlightenment.

So remember a few things: you have to move from the mechanical to the spontaneous; from the mental, the verbal, to the non-mental, the non-verbal; from the part to the total; from the false to the real; and from the ego to the non-ego - from the self to the no-self. Already the no-self exists by the side of yourself. Just a change of attention, a change of gear is needed.

The non-mechanical exists by the side of the mechanical, the real is always waiting by the side of the false - just a change of gestalt, just a look towards the spontaneous is needed. Try it for twenty-four hours. Whenever you have an opportunity to move from the false to the real, from the mechanical to the authentic, immediately change the gear. And remain floating as if you are emptiness; don't try to control yourself too much. Remain loose and natural.

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"An energetic, lively and extremely haughty people,
considering itself superior to all other nations, the Jewish
race wished to be a Power. It had an instinctive taste for
domination, since, by its origin, by its religion, by its
quality of a chosen people which it had always attributed to
itself [since the Babylonian Captivity], it believed itself
placed above all others.

To exercise this sort of authority the Jews had not a choice of
means, gold gave them a power which all political and religious
laws refuse them, and it was the only power which they could
hope for.

By holding this gold they became the masters of their masters,
they dominated them and this was the only way of finding an outlet
for their energy and their activity...

The emancipated Jews entered into the nations as strangers...
They entered into modern societies not as guests but as conquerors.
They had been like a fencedin herd. Suddenly, the barriers fell
and they rushed into the field which was opened to them.
But they were not warriors... They made the only conquest for
which they were armed, that economic conquest for which they had
been preparing themselves for so many years...

The Jew is the living testimony to the disappearance of
the state which had as its basis theological principles, a State
which antisemitic Christians dream of reconstructing. The day
when a Jew occupied an administrative post the Christian State
was in danger: that is true and the antismites who say that the
Jew has destroyed the idea of the state could more justly say

(Bernard Lazare, L'Antisemitisme, pp. 223, 361;

The Secret Powers Behind Revolution, by Vicomte Leon de Poncins,
pp. 221-222)