Learn from the Peacocks

Fri, 14 June 1977 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1
Chapter #:
am in Buddha Hall
Archive Code:
Short Title:
Audio Available:
Video Available:
97 mins

The first question:




POETRY IS not revolutionary, poetry is revolution -- because poetry is a totally different vision of life. Poetry is a metamorphosis, a metanoia. Poetry means looking at life with wonder, looking at life as if it is a mystery, looking at life and celebrating it. Poetry is not just poetry, it is approaching existence with love. Science is a rape because basically reason is a rape -- and poetry is a love affair. Reason is aggressive, reason is violent; poetry is non-violent. Reason thinks; poetry feels.

We have built a world around thinking and it has failed, it has failed utterly. In the world of prose, in the world of logic and reason, the politician becomes very, very important. In the world of feeling, in the world of poetry, in the world of love, the mystic will replace the politician.

Reason is ambitious, it wants to capture power. Why does it want to capture power? Why does it want to possess power? Because deep down it feels impotent; a great inferiority complex exists just at the bottom. To cover it, reason tries to become powerful.

Whatsoever is needed to be done -- good or bad -- reason is ready to do it. But power is needed at any cost because without power deep down one feels a nobody, one feels a non-entity. Reason is the ego-trip. Let prose be the symbol for reason.

Poetry is a symbol for feeling. It is so powerful in itself that it needs no other power as a substitute. It suffers from no inferiority complex. A man of feeling is non-ambitious. He loves tremendously but he is not a hoarder. He has a being but he is not in search of having more and more and more. He is non-competitive -- if he is non-ambitious how can he be competitive? And when he is non-ambitious and non-competitive he befriends existence. That's what Buddha calls compassion.

Yes, poetry is revolution, but I don't know if Norman O. Brown knows exactly what poetry is because he himself is a logician. I don't know whether he has ever experienced poetry. When he talks about poetry that too is talking about it. You can talk about poetry but what you say remains prose. One has to BE poetry, one has to be a mystic. Talking about mysticism is not going to help -- it is the same thing, nothing has changed. It is the same disease with a new label. Maybe the bottle is new, but the wine is old. That's why he misses.

Look again at his statement. 'THE NEXT GENERATION NEEDS TO BE TOLD....' The language of 'telling the next generation' is the language of the politician. The next generation needs not to be told, the next generation needs to be shown. One should become a mystic, that's the only statement possible. It is not that the next generation has to be 'told' because then you become a leader, then you are no longer a Master. What is the difference between a leader and a Master? A leader tells you what to do, a Master is.

He shows you how to be.

Brown says: 'THE NEXT GENERATION NEEDS TO BE TOLD THAT THE REAL FIGHT IS NOT THE POLITICAL FIGHT....' But it still remains a fight. The language is still of aggression; the language is still of rape, not of love. These things show. These are the loopholes. One has to read between the lines only then will you understand. To fight again? The very word 'fight' is ugly.

And he says: 'THE REAL FIGHT IS NOT THE POLITICAL FIGHT....' But any fight is going to be political; fight as such is politics. Against what you fight makes no difference, you will become a politician. The mystic does not fight, the mystic is a drop- out -- remember it. He is not a fighter, he is a drop-out. Seeing the absurdity of things he gets out of it, he jumps out of the wheel. If you fight, you remain in it, you become part of it. Even in opposition you remain in it. Just by being opposite to anything you don't go beyond, just by being opposite you are not transformed. Then you will have the politics of an anti-politician, but that is nothing.

And remember, when two persons fight they become alike. People are more like their enemies than like their friends -- have you not observed it? When you have to fight with somebody you have to choose the same strategy, the same techniques, the same weapons, the same ways. Churchill fighting a Hitler almost becomes a Hitler. It bas to happen otherwise he will not win over Hitler. Churchill wins over Hitler because he proves to be more of a Hitler than Hitler himself.

The enemy transforms you utterly into being like himself -- that's why I say you can choose your friends foolishly but never choose your enemies unwisely. Friends don't transform you very much but enemies go deep, enmity goes deep. Love seems to be very, very momentary; hate seems to be permanent. A love affair happens and goes, the honeymoon ends very soon, but enmity continues for years, for generations, sometimes for centuries.

Why is man more capable of hatred than of love? In fact, sometimes when you see him in love it is only because of hatred. For example, if India and Pakistan go to war, there is great love amongst Indians; they feel more united, they feel more like a family. Then the Maharashtrian is not fighting with the Gujarati, then the Hindi speaking people are not against the non-Hindi speaking people. Then they forget all their enmity, they are one.

The common enemy creates a kind of love. But it is love created out of hatred and when that hatred is no longer there then this love will disappear -- it was a by-product.

Josef Stalin and Winston Churchill and Roosevelt had been enemies but they became friends because of a common enemy, Hitler. Once Germany had gone their friendship went also. That friendship was not a friendship, it was a political affair born out of having a common enemy. Remember, love that is born out of enmity is not love, it is a false coin. And all political unity depends on it. You are not united with somebody, you are united against somebody -- that's the logic of politics.

If you tell people that the real fight is going to be against politics, you will make them political. They will start fighting politicians, they will start fighting politics -- and they will become political. Slowly, slowly they will learn the same technology, the same strategy, the same ways, and by the time they will they will be as political as the people they were fighting against. This has happened so many times in the world that it is simply stupid that we are not aware of it.

What happened in the Russian Revolution? The communists were fighting against the Czar, one of the most despotic rulers ever. Fighting with the Czar they became czars.

When they came to power they proved to be more dangerous, more despotic, more dictatorial than the Czar himself. One Josef Stalin was as dangerous as one thousand czars. He killed millions of people, and killed them in the name of revolution. Those people were not rich people, they were poor people, proletarians. Proletarians were killed for the sake of proletarians -- the violence continued.

What happened? What was the mechanism? Why did Josef Stalin turn anti- revolutionary? After being one of the greatest revolutionaries how did he turn into an anti-revolutionary? If you fight with a czar you will have to become like a czar; by and by you will learn the same language. By the time you come into power it is another czar coming into power. The czar changes but the 'czardom' continues.

That's how it has always happened. Very little intelligence is needed to show it to you.

Revolution has always failed because the revolutionary turns into an anti-revolutionary when he comes to power. He has to, he cannot do anything else.

'THE NEXT GENERATION HAS TO BE TOLD THAT THE REAL FIGHT IS NOT THE POLITICAL FIGHT....' The real fight is not a fight at all, the real fight cannot be a fight at all. One has to drop out. The real revolutionary is not fighting anybody, he simply sees the absurdity of things and drops out. He says that he is not going to be a part of it this way or that -- he is neither for nor against. It is so stupid that he cannot even be against it. Very few people are real revolutionaries -- a Buddha is a real revolutionary, a Bodhidharma is a real revolutionary, the Zen mystics I have been talking about are real revolutionaries. But they have not been thought of as revolutionaries, they are thought to be escapists. Even Brown will think that they are escapists -- they should give the politician a good fight, then they are revolutionaries. But if you give the politician a good fight you become a politician -- one politician is defeated but another politician comes into power. And, naturally, the one who comes into power is more powerful than the one who has been defeated. Power goes on moving into more cunning and more dangerous hands.

What do I say? I say that the real fight is not a fight at all. Very courageous people are needed to become drop-outs. If many, many people become drop-outs the world will change -- there is no other way. I am all for drop-outs. Enough of revolution and enough of revolutionaries! They simply go on giving hope. They are just carrots dangling in front of you. You can never catch the carrot, it goes on moving. It is like a receding horizon -- you go on rushing towards it and it goes on receding, and the distance remains the same.

Says Brown: 'FROM POLITICS TO METAPOLITICS.' It still remains politics. He calls it metapolitics but just by changing names nothing is changed. If you ask me I will say:

'From politics to no-politics' -- not metapolitics. From politics to no-politics -- only then will you move from politics to poetry.

Poetry is a benediction. Poetry is not in any way concerned with any structure -- social, political, economical. Poetry is concerned with existence, poetry is concerned with clarity of vision, poetry is concerned with a meditative state of consciousness. For poetry you have to become meditative, you have to become more celebrating, you have to learn more dancing and more singing, you have to learn the language of joy, you have to become more sensitive. You have to become more alive in your senses -- your eyes should see more, your ears should hear more, your hands should touch more. You should become a little more wild again. You should learn from the peacocks how to dance, you should learn again from the birds how to go on singing madly, you should learn from the mountains and the rivers and the sands.

To be poetic one needs to be natural; politics is artificial. Poetry is falling back into nature, losing yourself back into nature. Poetry is dissolving your being into something bigger than you.

Yes, poetry is revolution -- and that's what I am teaching you here. Be poets. I don't mean become a Shakespeare or a Kalidas or a Rabindranath... no, I don't mean that. When I say 'be poets' I mean become a Buddha -- because whatsoever you call poetry is just a glimpse of that great poetry which I am talking about, just a glimpse, a fragment. What a Rabindranath comes to see is just a glimpse; it is far away like the Himalayan peaks, far away, thousands of miles far away. The poet has a glimpse of it but Buddha lives there on those peaks.

Rabindranath creates poetry, Buddha is a poet. The difference is tremendous. Buddha may not create poetry -- when you are a poet who bothers? Rabindranath creates poetry.

He has moments which are so beautiful, moments which are so luminous that when he comes back to the earth they linger -- as a nostalgia, a sweet memory, a fragrance. And he wants to put it into words lest he forgets. Those moments are rare, they happen once in a while -- otherwise the poet is as ordinary as you are, he is as political as you are. Those moments are few and far between; only rarely is he transported away in a vision. But Buddha lives there, Bodhidharma abides there. For Rabindranath poetry is all activity, for Buddha it is life itself. Rabindranath writes poetry, Buddha breathes it.

So when I say become poets I mean become Buddhas, start living in a totally different kind of landscape. Listen more to the heart, listen less to the head. It is in the head that a Josef Stalin and an Adolf Hitler is created. A Buddha is sitting in your heart, in the innermost recesses of your heart. Go there. Move silently inwards.

If many, many people are poets like Buddha the world would he changed -- but not by any direct effort, not by direct action. Direct action is political, indirect action is poetry.

You don't do it directly, it simply starts happening. Because you have changed you create a vibe of change. Because you live on a different plane those who come in contact with you start hearing the sound of a different plane, they start hearing a song of a different world, they start becoming diffused with it, they start carrying your fragrance.

One poet like Buddha or Bodhidharma creates thousands of poets in the world. He becomes catalytic. His presence inspires. That's why in the East we have praised SATSANGA. SATSANGA means to be in the presence of a poet, to be in the presence of a Master, to be with a Master who has arrived -- just to be with him, that's all. If you pass through a garden you may not even have touched the flowers but when you come back home suddenly you find the fragrance lingering on your clothes.

When you come to a Master something starts lingering, something starts hanging around you. In the beginning it is very hazy, in the beginning you cannot be certain what it is nor what it is not, but one thing is certain: something is there. By and by it starts becoming more and more clear; by and by clarity arises, more transparency. And soon you find yourself settling in a totally different dimension of being.

The second question:



A Zen poem:









The third question:


Enlightenment is finding that there is nothing to find. Enlightenment is to come to know that there is nowhere to go. Enlightenment is the understanding that this is all, that this is perfect, that this is it. Enlightenment is not an achievement, it is an understanding that there is nothing to achieve, nowhere to go. You are already there -- you have never been away, you cannot be away from there. God has never been missed. Maybe you have forgotten, that's all. Maybe you have fallen asleep, that's all. Maybe you have got lost in many, many dreams, that's all -- but you are there. God is your very being.

So the first thing is: don't think about enlightenment as a goal, it is not. It is not a goal, it is not something that you can desire. And if you desire it you will not get it. In desiring a thousand and one things, by and by you come to understand that all desire is futile. Each desire lands you in frustration, each desire again and again throws you into a ditch.

This has been happening for millions of years but again you start hoping, again you start thinking that this new desire which is arising, sprouting, in you will maybe lead you to paradise, that this will give you what you have longed for, will fulfill you. Again and again hope arises. Enlightenment is when all hope disappears. Enlightenment is disappearance of hope.

Don't be disturbed when I say that enlightenment is a state of hopelessness -- it is not negative. Hope arises no more, desire is created no more, future disappears. When there is no desire there is no need for the future. The canvas of the future is needed for the desire. You paint your desires on the canvas of the future. When there is nothing to paint why should you carry the canvas unnecessarily? You drop it. When there is nothing to paint why should you carry the brush and the colour tubes? They come from the past. The canvas comes from the future and the colour and brush and technique and all that comes from the past. When you are not going to paint you throw away the canvas, you throw away the brush, you throw away the colour tubes -- then suddenly you are here now.

This is what I was talking about the other day -- CHITTAKSHANA. This is what Buddha calls CHITTAKSHANA -- a moment of awareness, a moment of consciousness. This moment of consciousness can happen any moment, there is no special time for it, there is no special posture for it, there is no special place for it -- it can happen in all kinds of situations, it has happened in all kinds of situations. All that is needed is that for a single moment there should be no thought, no desire, no hope. In that single moment, the lightning....

One day Chikanzenji was mowing down the weeds around a ruined temple. When he threw away a bit of broken tile it clattered against a bamboo tree. All of a sudden he was enlightened.

Whereat he sang:











This poor monk, Chikanzenji, had been working for at least thirty years. He was a hard seeker, he was a very, very honest and sincere and serious seeker. He practised all that was told to him, he visited many Masters, he lived in many monasteries. He did all that was humanly possible. He practised yoga, he practised zazen, he did this and that -- but all to no avail. Nothing was happening; in fact, his frustration was growing more and more. The more the methods failed, the more and more frustrated he became.

He had read all the Buddhist scriptures -- there are thousands of them. It is said about this Chikanzenji that he had all these scriptures in his room and he was constantly reading day and night. And his memory was so perfect he could recite whole scriptures -- but still nothing happened.

Then one day he burned his whole library. Seeing those scriptures in the fire he laughed.

He left the monastery, he left his guru, and he went to live in a ruined temple. He forgot all about meditation, he forgot all about yoga, he forgot all about practising this and that, he forgot all about virtue, SHEELA, he forgot all about discipline and he never went inside the temple to worship the Buddha.

But he was living in that ruined temple when it happened. He was mowing down the weeds around the temple -- not a very religious thing to do, not anything specific, not anything special, just taking the weeds out. WHEN HE THREW AWAY A BIT OF BROKE TILE IT CLATTERED AGAINST A BAMBOO TREE -- in that moment CHITTAKSHANA, the moment of awareness, happened. In that very clattering of the tile against the bamboo, a shock, a jerk happened and his mind stopped for a moment. In that very moment he became enlightened.

How can one become enlightened in one single moment, one can, because one is enlightened -- one just has to recognise the fact. It is not something that happens from the outside, it is something that arises from the inside. It has always been there but you were clouded, you were full of thoughts.

Chikanzenji burned all the scriptures. That was symbolic. Now he no longer remembered anything, now he had forgotten all search, now he no longer cared. Unconcerned he lived a very ordinary life -- he was no longer even a monk. He had no pretensions any more, he had no ego goals any more. Remember, there are two kinds of ego goals: one, the worldly, and the other, the other-worldly. Some people are searching for money; some people are searching for power, prestige, pull; some people are searching for God, moksha, nirvana, enlightenment -- but the search continues. And who is searching? The same ego. The moment you drop the search you drop the ego also. The moment there is no seeking, the seeker cannot exist.

Just visualise this poor monk -- who- was no longer a monk -- living in a ruined temple.

He had nowhere else to go, he was just clearing the ground -- maybe to put some seeds there for vegetables or something. He came across a tile, threw it away, was taken unawares. The tile clattered against the bamboo tree and with the sudden clattering, the sudden sound, he becomes enlightened.

And he said:



Enlightenment is a process of unlearning. It is utter ignorance. But that ignorance is very luminous and your knowledge is very dull. That ignorance is very alive and luminous and your knowledge is very dark and dead.

He says: ALL I HAD LEARNT WAS AT ONCE FORGOTTEN. In that moment he knew nothing, in that moment there was no knower, in that moment there was no observer, just the sound. And one is awakened from a long sleep.

And he says: AMENDING MY NATURE IS NEEDLESS. That day he felt that he was just struggling unnecessarily. AMENDING MY NATURE IS NEEDLESS. You need not amend yourself, you need not improve yourself -- that is all just tommy-rot.

Beware of all those who go on telling you to improve yourself, to become this or to become that, to become virtuous; who go on telling you that this is wrong, don't do it, that this is good, do it, that this will lead you to heaven and this will lead you to hell.

Those who go on telling you to amend your nature and improve upon yourself are very dangerous people. They are one of the basic causes for your not being enlightened.

Nature cannot be amended, it has to be accepted. There is no way to be otherwise.

Whosoever you are, whatsoever you are, that's how you are, that's what you are. It is a great acceptance -- Buddha calls it TATHATA, a great acceptance. Nothing is there to be changed.

How can you change it and who is going to change it? It is your nature and you will be trying to change it! It will be just like a dog chasing its own tail. The dog will go crazy.

But dogs are not as foolish as man. Man goes on chasing his own tail and the more difficult he finds it the more he jumps and the more he tries and the more and more bizarre he becomes.

Nothing has to be changed because all is beautiful. That is enlightenment. All is as it should be, everything is perfect, this is the most perfect world, this moment lacks nothing -- the experience of this is what enlightenment is.

The fifth question:


Not really. I said that only to persuade you.

I have heard....

Mulla Nasrudin was talking to his son and he was telling him again -- after telling him many times before -- that when he went to South Africa he killed ten lions there.

And the boy said, 'But Papa, just last year you were saying that there were only five lions, and now you have changed. Now you say there were ten.'

Mulla said, 'Yes, I know. I told you last year that there were five because you were not grown up enough to believe more. Next year I will tell you that there were fifteen because I tell you only as much as you can believe.'

Yes, I told you it is just before your eyes, but only because to say more than that will be very difficult for you to believe.

In fact, it is not in front of your eyes, it is behind your eyes. In fact, you cannot see it because it is the seer. God cannot be seen, God is the seer in you, God is the one who is seeing through you -- how can you see God? It is not in front of your eyes, it is just behind your eyes.

But that will be too difficult right now so I go slowly, I persuade you, I say it is just in front of your eyes. No, it is not even that far away. There is no distance between you and it. TATTWAMASI -- that art thou.

The sixth question:


-- because life is paradoxical and Zen is a simple mirror-reflection of life. Zen is not a philosophy.

Philosophies are never paradoxical, philosophies are very logical -- because philosophies are mind-constructions. Man makes them. They are manufactured by man. They are man- made, tailored, logically arranged, comfortably arranged so that you can believe in them.

All those parts which go against the construction have been dropped, rooted out, thrown away. Philosophies don't reflect life as such; they are chosen from life. They are not raw, they are cultured constructions.

Zen is paradoxical because Zen is not a philosophy. Zen is not concerned about what life is, Zen is concerned that whatsoever is should be reflected as it is. One should not choose, because the moment you choose it becomes untrue. Choice brings untruth. Don't choose, remain choiceless -- and you remain true.

But that's what you do: you fall in love with a woman and you start choosing. Soon you will be in trouble. You don't see the woman as she is, you only see that which is good and you overlook all which is not good. There are a thousand and one things in her -- a few are good, a few are bad, that's how people are made. God never makes goodie-goodies -- they would be very dull and dead, they wouldn't have any backbone, they would be bloodless. He makes alive people. And each person has something that you like and something that you don't like -- because he has not been tailored especially for you, he has not been made for you, he has not come out of an assembly line in a factory. He is unique. He is himself and she is herself.

When you fall in love with a woman, you start choosing. You overlook many things. Yes, sometimes you feel she gets angry but you overlook it, you don't take any notice of it.

You just see the goddess, you don't see the witch. The witch is there. No goddess can exist without a witch otherwise the goddess would not be worth anything. She will be too good to be enjoyed, too good to be loved. And you don't want to worship a woman, you want to love a woman. You want a woman to be human not a goddess.

But that's what you do. You pretend, you don't see any negative factors. You start choosing. You create an image of the woman which is false, which is not true. Sooner or later you will start feeling frustrated because sooner or later the reality of the woman will go against the image that you have created. And then you start feeling as if you have been cheated and deceived, as if this woman has knowingly deceived you. Nobody has deceived you. You yourself are the writer of your whole drama. You have managed to deceive yourself because you started choosing. You did not see the woman as she was, in the way a mirror reflects her. Yes, there were beautiful things but there were ugly things too -- because beauty never exists without ugliness and ugliness never exists without beauty. They exist together. They are two aspects of the same coin.

Sometimes the woman was really sweet and sometimes she was really bitter. If you had looked at both it would have been difficult for you because this was paradoxical, this didn't fit in with your Aristotelian logic, this seemed illogical -- how could a woman be both? Sometimes she loved you and sometimes she hated you; in fact, the deeper her love is, the deeper her hate goes too. Sometimes she was ready to die for you and sometimes she was ready to kill you too. A woman is a ferocious energy, Just as man is.

But you make a fairy tale. You choose a few parts and you drop a few parts and you create an image. That image is not going to last. Once the honeymoon is over, reality will start asserting itself. Reality cannot be defeated by your imagination and by your dreaming, reality has to be taken care of sooner or later. Yes, you can postpone it for the time being but not forever. And when the reality asserts itself....

It will assert itself in day-to-day life. When you meet a woman once a day on the beach she is totally a different animal. You are a different kind of animal too. Meeting for one hour, she is prepared for it, she is ready for it, she has rehearsed for it, she has been standing before the mirror for hours for it. You will not find the same woman if you start living with her twenty-four hours a day; it will be impossible for her to be so ready and rehearsed. By and by she will start forgetting about you. She will get ready only when you are going to the movie, otherwise she will not bother.

Then you will see something else which was never there before. Then small things of life, trivia, assert themselves. Over small things she starts arguing -- and you start arguing too.

Over small things there is anger and nagging and fighting -- you never saw these things on the beach. On the beach you saw the full moon and the waves. On the beach the woman did not argue with you; whatever she said you said yes, whatsoever you said she said yes. You were so ready to say yes that no was not possible at that moment.

But the no cannot wait forever, it will come up, it will surface. The moment no surfaces, y our image starts falling into fragments. Then you think that the woman has done some wrong to you.

This example is not only about man and woman, this has been the whole story of philosophy. Each philosophy does it. Each philosophy chooses a few things from reality and tries to remain oblivious of other things. Because of this, each philosophy has loopholes, each philosophy has leakages, each philosophy can be criticised -- and has to be criticised. Those who believe in it may pretend not to see the loopholes, but those who don't believe in it see only the loopholes -- they choose from the other end. Each philosophy has been criticised and the criticism has not been wrong. It is as true as the propounder's idea about it.

And it does not happen only in philosophy, it happens in science too. We create a certain theory and then there is the honeymoon with the theory. For a few years things go perfectly well. Then reality asserts itself. Reality brings up a few things and the theory gets into difficulty because we had excluded a few facts. Those facts will protest, they will sabotage your theory, they will assert themselves. In the eighteenth century science was absolutely certain, now it is certain no more. Now a new theory has come: the theory of uncertainty.

Just a hundred and fifty years ago Immanuel Kant came across this fact in Germany. He said that reason is very limited; it sees only a certain part of reality and starts believing 'that this is the whole. This has been the trouble. Sooner or later we discover further realities and the old whole is in conflict with the new vision. Immanuel Kant attempted to show that there were ineluctable limits to reason, that reason is very limited. But nobody seems to have heard, nobody has cared about Immanuel Kant. Nobody cares much about philosophers.

But science in this century has at last caught up with Kant. Now Heinsenberg, in physics, and Godel, in mathematics, have shown ineluctable limits to human reason. They open up to us a glimpse of a nature which is irrational and paradoxical to the very core.

Whatsoever we have been saying about nature has all gone wrong. All principles go wrong because nature is not synonymous with reason, nature is bigger than reason.

And Zen is not a philosophy; Zen is a mirror, it is a reflection of that which is. As it is, Zen says the same. It does not bring any man-made philosophy into it, it has no choice, it does not add, it does not delete. That's why Zen is paradoxical -- because life is paradoxical. You just see and you will understand.

You love a man and you hate the same man too. Now, our mind says this is not good, we should not do it. So you pretend that you don't do it. But it is not possible. If you really want to drop the hate part, you will have to drop the love part too -- but then both disappear and indifference arises.

This paradoxicality is in the very nature itself -- day and night, summer and winter, God and Devil are together. Zen says that if you say that God is good then a problem arises:

then from where does the bad come, from where does the evil come? That's what religions have done -- Christianity, Islam, Judaism, have separated God and Devil. The evil comes from Devil and all good comes from God. God means the good. But from where does this Devil come? Then they are in trouble and then finally they have to concede that God created the Devil too -- but what is the point in going in such a roundabout way? If the Devil is also created by God then God remains the sole signature on existence, then God remains the sole author. So whatsoever is happening is happening through him -- and he is paradoxical. That's what Zen says. God is paradoxical, as paradoxical as existence itself. God is nothing but another name for existence, for the totality of existence.

Once you understand this paradoxicality, a great silence arises in you. Then there is no choice -- there is no point in it -- then things are together. You cannot become a saint because if you want to become a saint you will have to deny your devil; you will have to cut yourself into two parts. You will have to force your devil somewhere into your belly and the devil will remain there and will go on sabotaging your sainthood.

Zen brings great health to humanity. It says you are both. Accept both. Don't deny, don't choose; accept both. In that acceptance there is a transcendence, in that very acceptance you are neither a saint nor a devil. That is what a holy man is -- neither good nor bad, or both. And when a person is both, knowingly both, those opposites cancel each other.

Just try to understand this; it is one of the most fundamental keys. When you accept both the good and the bad and you don't choose, the bad and good cancel out each other, the negative and the positive cancel out each other. Suddenly there is silence, there is neither good nor bad; there is only existence, with no judgement. Zen is non-judgemental, it is non-condemning, it is non-evaluating. It gives you utter freedom to be.

The sixth question:


What can you do? What can anybody do? Remain a fool, become a perfect fool. Accept it. Why should you ask about doing something? What is wrong in being a fool? Relax with it. Enjoy it. Persist in it.

There is a statement of William Blake: THE FOOL WHO PERSISTS IN HIS FOLLY WILL BECOME WISE. So persist in it. Remain with it. Don't try to do anything else because if the fool tries to do something it will be foolish, it will come out of your foolishness and you will do something wrong. It is better to keep quiet. That's why Zen people say 'sit silently.

Please don't do anything because whatsoever you do will be wrong. What can you do out of your foolishness? A fool trying to become wise -- is it possible? How is it possible?

The fool is trying to become wise -- in his very wisdom he will remain a fool.

You can find such fools all over the world, and even more so in India. Here there are great scholars, great pundits, and if you look just a little deeper you will see just foolish people wasting their life in useless scholarship, wasting their tremendous energy in logic- chopping, in language, in grammar, in this and that. They smell of kerosene oil, from reading late into the night. They smell of death; life is not there. Bookish people have lost all track of the living waters of life. They are great fools with a new foolishness added:

they think that they are wise.

No, I will not say that you should do anything. Don't do anything. You are a fool -- so you are a fool. God wants you to be a fool -- enjoy it. Offer your foolishness to God, that is your gift to him. What else can you give him back? -- whatsoever he gives we can return to him. Relax into your foolishness. My advice will look strange but that is the only way for wisdom to arise one day.


And why should you want to become somebody else? Why? This competition, this ambition, brings ego in. This comparison is egoistic. 'Somebody is wise so I should become wise.' Why? Let somebody be wise, that is his destiny. What is wrong in being the way you are? Then there is variety and there is richness in life because of the variety.





That is the Zen standpoint. You look around: some trees are tall, some trees are short, some trees are trees and some trees are just bushes. But there is no competition anywhere.

The ashoka is not trying to become the cypress, the cypress is not worried about the ashoka. The cypress does not feel inferior because the ashoka has such big leaves. And neither is worried about the gulmoha which is flowering with so many flowers. Nobody is worried, nobody is thinking of the other, everybody is authentically in his own being -- the ashoka is the ashoka, the cypress is the cypress, the gulmoha is the gulmoha.

You be whatsoever you are, wheresoever you are. Relax there. Let that be your meditation.

And wisdom will arise. Wisdom comes out of acceptance. Wisdom is not an acquirement, wisdom is not knowledge, wisdom is not information, wisdom is this quality of tremendous acceptance -- that you are happy, that you are contented.

Just think of the beauty of a man happy and contented even with his foolishness. He has become wise. What further wisdom do you need? A man contented with his foolishness - - what further wisdom do you need and what more can wisdom do?

Don't try to pull yourself up by your shoe strings. Just be. The moment you start saying something -- that I want to be this and I want to be that -- you are complaining, you are saying something against God. You are saying, 'Why have you made me this way?' You are saying to the whole, 'This is not the way I would like to be. Why am I forced to be this way? Make me beautiful, make me strong, make me rich, make me wise, make me this, make me that.'

Zen people say that all these efforts are like a mosquito trying to bite into an iron bull. A mosquito trying to bite into an iron bull? It is not going to happen.

But still I say that wisdom happens -- not through your effort but through your effortless acceptance. Not through you, but when you are no more then it happens. Wisdom is not something that you can possess, wisdom is when you are not.

Use foolishness as a situation to relax. If an ugly man relaxes and accepts his ugliness a subtle beauty arises in him -- the beauty of acceptance, the grace that comes naturally.

And so is the case with the fool, so is the case with all problems.

After his enlightenment a disciple slapped his Master Ubako's face remarking, 'There is not, after all, very much in this enlightenment.'

And the Master was so pleased he danced.

The disciple slapped him! When Zen Masters and Zen disciples slap, they slap really hard! But the Master was so pleased that he danced. He danced because the disciple had arrived.

There is nothing special in enlightenment, it is just an acceptance of all that is, just an utter relaxation into reality. It is nothing much, nothing to brag about; there is nothing to say. The disciple is right. He says, 'There is not, after all, very much in this enlightenment.' He has come home and now he understands that he has been here always.

This wisdom was always there but he was missing it because he was seeking it. This light was always there but he was so worried about light that his vision had become very, very narrow and he could not see it. He had created his own misery. The bliss was always flowing, the juice was always flowing, but he was himself dying out of thirst unnecessarily. To be unenlightened is just unnecessary; to be enlightened is just natural.

It is not an attainment, it is not an achievement.

And then the Master Ubako said to the disciple, 'Do you smell the mountain laurel?

'Yes, Sir.'

'There, said the Master, 'I have held nothing back from you.'

It is so simple. Do you hear the birds singing? Do you see these green trees around? Yes, it is like that, so simple.

And the Master said, 'Do you smell the mountain laurel?'

'Yes, Sir.'

'There,' said the Master, 'I have held nothing back from you.'

He has given him all that he can give. In fact, there is nothing to give. In fact, you ave only to be awakened to what you already; have. You have to be awakened to that.

The seventh question:



They cannot be.

Transpersonal psychology still remains psychology, still remains concerned with the objective, but the psychology of the Buddhas is not really a psychology because a Buddha is born when the psychology disappears, when the mind disappears.

And the psychology of the Buddhas is not objective, it is absolutely subjective. It can happen to you but you cannot watch it happen to somebody else, there is no way. You can become a Buddha but you cannot understand a Buddha. Even if Assagioli sits by the side of a Buddha for thousands of years he will not understand anything unless he becomes a Buddha. You cannot observe it, you cannot watch it from the outside because it is such an internal phenomenon, it is so deep inside, it is the very inside of being. All that you see will be nothing but a behaviouristic standpoint. Yes, you can see that the Buddha is silent, that he seems to be very graceful; you can see that he is less angry, or not angry at all; you can see a thousand and one things -- but still you will not be seeing Buddhahood itself.

When I talk about the psychology of the Buddhas one thing to be remembered is that it is not really a psychology. I have to use words. No word is adequate for it but I have to use some words -- but always take them with a pinch of salt. It cannot really be called a psychology. Psychology presupposes a mind and Buddha is a no-mind. Psychology presupposes that the mind is functioning, thinking, planning, worrying, imagining, dreaming -- and a Buddha has no dreaming, no planning, no worrying, no thinking. He simply exists. He exists like a rock, like a tree, like a river -- with just one difference, a very tremendous difference. The difference is that he exists without mind but full of awareness.

This awareness cannot be understood from the outside. If you try to understand it you will only misunderstand it. There is no way to check it by instruments, there is no way. It will not appear on any graph. All that can appear on a graph remains of the mind, it is not of the beyond. The beyond is beyond grasp. One has to become a Buddha, one has to become the awakened soul, one has to come to this awareness himself.

The psychology of the Buddhas is the yoga, the discipline, the inner journey, the science - - or whatsoever you want to call it -- of knowing that there is something inside you that can only be known through going there, through being there. No other way, no other approach is possible.

Assagioli goes on talking.... He is far better than Freud because at least he brings some vision of synthesis to psychology. Freud is analytical, analysis is his method. Assagioli brings a synthesis. But this synthesis is not what Buddhas talk about. This synthesis is a synthesis put together. Just think of something... I show you a rose flower. You take it apart, you want to know how it ticks. You take all the petals apart. This is what Freud did with the human mind -- he took it apart. He wanted to label everything, classify, categorise; he wanted to pigeon-hole everything.

Of course, when you take everything apart something disappears, because something was there -- the beauty of the rose flower -- which existed only with the whole. When you take a flower apart something mysteriously disappears. The flower disappears because the flower is not just the sum total of the parts, it is something more than the sum total of the parts. That 'more' is what religion is, that 'more' is what poetry is, and that 'more'

cannot be taken apart. Once you take the parts apart something simply disappears, goes into non-existence, becomes unmanifest.

Now what has Assagioli done? He has put that flower together again. That flower which had been pulled apart by Freud has been put together by Assagioli -- he calls it psycho- synthesis. But this flower is dead, it is not that unity which existed before Freud analysed it. Assagioli presupposes Freud -- without Freud there can be no Assagioli, remember this. If Freud had not existed there would have been no Assagioli. Freud does half the work and the other half is done by Assagioli. Freud dissects, Assagioli unites.

But in the dissection the primal unity has disappeared. No, you can put it together but it will never be the same thing again. The flower cannot become alive again. Just by putting it together -- you can put it together very cleverly, you can glue it together with the best glue, invisible glue -- but still it will not be the same flower again. You will not be able to again produce that beauty that had existed before analysis.

That's why Zen says go and have a look at the face that you had before you were born, the primordial unity. Go into yourself to that remote existence of your being when you were not put together, when you were a pure soul, before your mother and father had put this body together, when you had not yet become embodied. Go there. Unembodied you were. Go there. Have a vision of that. Or, go and have a look at your face when you are dead and your body is going to be burned. This original face is something that has not been analysed.

The psychology of the Buddhas is not a synthesis, it is a non-analysis. Let my emphasis be clear. Assagioli is synthesis, Freud is analysis, the psychology of the Buddhas is non- analysis -- no dissection, otherwise we will go on changing arguments but we will remain in the same boat.

It happened....

The new inmate at the mental hospital announced in a loud voice that he was President Ford. This was particularly interesting because the institution already had a President Ford. The head psychiatrist decided to put the two men in the same room, feeling that the similarity of their delusions might prompt an adjustment that would help to cure them.

They were introduced and left alone. No disturbance was heard from the room that night.

The next morning the doctor had a talk with his new patient. 'Doctor, I have been suffering from a delusion,' said the new inmate. 'I now know that I'm not President Ford.'

'That's wonderful,' said the doctor.

'Yes,' said the patient, 'I am Mrs. Ford.'

Now another illusion. From one illusion to another, it is not much of a change.

Assagioli is not much of a revolution. Yes, he is creating an adjustment, but he remains a shadow of Freud. Freud looms large, Assagioli remains just a shadow to him. Without Freud he would not know where to go and what to do.

The psychology of the Buddhas is a totally radical standpoint. One has to go into one's own consciousness without dividing it, without analysing it, without judging it, without evaluating it, without condemning it, without saying anything about it. Just go into it and have a feel of it -- what exactly it is. The whole mind has to disappear, only then will you become aware of what it is -- because the mind goes on creating ripples on the surface, and the mirror remains disturbed and the mirror goes on distorting. When the mirror disappears completely the mind disappears completely, and then there is pure silence, KOKORO, nothingness, satori, samadhi -- that samadhi is the non-analytical state of your being. That is your primal state. That is what God is.

Assagioli still comes closer to Buddha than Freud -- but not very close.

A lady walked into a bar with a parrot on her shoulder. It kept saying, 'Guess my weight, guess my weight.' A fellow barstooler asked the lady what the meaning of that was and she replied, 'Guess my parrot's weight and you can come home and sleep with me.'

The man looked at the parrot and jokingly said, 'A hundred pounds.' The lady grabbed him by the arm and said, 'Come on, lover, that's close enough!'

That's how close Assagioli is to the psychology of the Buddhas.

And the last question:


Jesus! The Christian has not gone yet!

The Zen people are not against scriptures, they are against your mind. And when they say 'burn the scriptures' they are saying 'burn your mind'. The Zen people are not against scriptures -- why should they be against the poor scriptures? They are against knowledge, knowledgeability. They are against the constant hoarding of memory. They want you to be free of memory, they want you to be free of knowledge, they want you to come to a state of unlearning.

Burning the scriptures is just symbolic -- and Zen people are very down to earth. When they want to say a thing they say it very loudly because they know how deaf you are.

They shout. They don't whisper because they know that even a shout is not going to be heard. This is just shouting. A Zen Master burning the scriptures is just shouting to you to show you what you should have done with your knowledge and with your scriptures.

And when they say 'burn the scriptures' they are asking you how you can understand the scriptures, how you can understand the Gospel without becoming a Jesus yourself? It is such a simple thing that a little intelligence. a very little intelligence, is needed to understand it. How can you understand the Gospel? How can you understand the Sermon on the Mount without becoming a Jesus? It is impossible. And whatsoever you understand will be a misunderstanding. It is better not to understand than to carry a misunderstanding because that very misunderstanding, will become a barrier to you.

How can you read the Gospel? And you say that you have been benefitted and that you are so grateful to it. How can you be benefitted? What will you understand? When you read a statement of Jesus you will interpret it. A statement made by a higher consciousness being interpreted by a lower consciousness is bound to be distorted. It is as if Einstein is delivering a talk on higher mathematics and you go to a primary school and you ask a child what he thinks about it. He will say something.... The case is not so distant because there is a possibility that a primary school student may understand a little bit of Albert Einstein's mathematics because the difference is quantitative, but it is impossible to understand a statement of Jesus or Buddha because the difference is qualitative. They are statements of a different dimension. Even with ordinary language you go on understanding what you interpret.

Listen to these few stories.

The fifth grade teacher noticed that little Johnny was depressed and wasn't doing his homework. So she had him stay after school.

'What's wrong, Johnny?' she asked sympathetically.

Finally he blurted it out, 'I'm in love with you,' he said, 'and I want to marry you.'

'Oh, Johnny,' she smiled, 'I want to get married some day, but I don't want a child.'

'That's okay,' he said, 'I'll be careful.'

The second story.

An Alabama Democrat had campaigned for and won a seat in the House of representatives. In appreciation he introduced a bill to build a bridge across Calahassas Creek back home.

A Republican congressman became indignant. 'There is no need for a bridge across that creek,' he shouted. 'That creek is so small that I could stand on one side of it and urinate halfway across.'

The Speaker of the House banged with his gavel and exclaimed, 'You're out of order!'

'You're damned right, I'm out of order!' retorted the Republican. 'If I wasn't I would be able to urinate all the way across that damned creek!'

It depends on you.

The third story.

The cute and efficient young maid employed by the congressman and his wife seemed to enjoy her work until one day, without warning, she gave notice.

'Why do you wish to leave?' the lady of the house asked her. 'Is there anything wrong?'

'I just can't stand the suspense in this house a minute more,' the maid replied.

'Suspense?' said the confused mistress. 'What do you mean?'

'It's the sign over my bed,' the girl explained. 'You know the one that says: "Watch ye, for ye know not when the Master cometh."'

And the last.

A travelling salesman decided to spend the night in a small town out West. After a few drinks at the hotel bar, he loosened up and began spouting his political opinions.

'I tell you,' he shouted, 'President Ford is a horse's arse!'

At this a six-foot cowboy stalked over to him and said, 'Mister, them's fighting words around here!'

I'm sorry, sir,' stammered the salesman, 'I didn't realise that this was Ford country.'

'It ain't,' growled the giant. 'This here is horse country.'

Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1

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"In short, the 'house of world order' will have to be built from the
bottom up rather than from the top down. It will look like a great
'booming, buzzing confusion'...

but an end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece,
will accomplish much more than the old fashioned frontal assault."

-- Richard Gardner, former deputy assistant Secretary of State for
   International Organizations under Kennedy and Johnson, and a
   member of the Trilateral Commission.
   the April, 1974 issue of the Council on Foreign Relation's(CFR)
   journal Foreign Affairs(pg. 558)