Saturday, January 31, 2009

Knowing Flowers...

A WOMAN came to me a few years ago. She sat just in front of me holding my feet, crying. It was a beautiful moment. Somehow, she had been able to feel me. But then she became afraid; then I could see -- suddenly she left my feet, recoiled backwards. I asked her, "What has happened? Something was going deep in you -- why have you withdrawn yourself?"
She said, " I am a professor in a university and I teach psychology -- this must have been a relapse, a regression. I must have regressed towards my childhood; you must have worked like a father-figure. No, this is nothing. Yes, something happened, but it was a relapse into childhood. Yes, something happened, but it was nothing but a sort of hypnosis. Your eyes got hold of me." Now she has explained it away.
Something was on the way, something was really going to happen. One moment more and she would have been a totally different woman, and there would have been no possibility of her falling back. She would have crossed the point of no return. But just before it, she recoiled back, became afraid. And, of course, she was intelligent -- as intelligence goes -- a well-educated woman, capable of rationalizations. She immediately produced a rationalization: "It may be a sort of hypnosis, or a relapse into childhood, or you must have reminded me of my dead father." Now that which was happening has been cut.

Many times God has reached you, and many times you have withdrawn yourself. Many times He has walked with you and you have not recognized Him. Many times He has shouted at you: "Lazarus, come out! " and you won't listen. Or you think: "He must be calling somebody else -- Lazarus is not my name. " Let me tell you: Lazarus is your name!
And don't think about this story just as a story. That's what Buddha has done, that's what Bodhidharma has done, that's what Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu have done: they have shouted at you, they have taken you by your hands and shaken you. Very few understand. In most of the cases people become angry, they become annoyed, because you are disturbing their sleep. They are sleeping and having beautiful dreams, golden dreams, sweet dreams, and you are disturbing their sleep.
That's why they had to kill Jesus, murder Mansoor, poison Socrates -- these people were great disturbers. They were disturbing your sleep.
Now this is a very meaningful question. People go on believing that they understand -- and this very idea that they understand keeps their ignorance intact. The first step to be taken towards understanding is to understand that you don't understand, to recognize and realize your ignorance, to realize in deep humility that you have been ignoring the truth.
I was reading a small story:

Four frogs sat upon a log that lay floating on the edge of a river. Suddenly the log was caught by the current and swept slowly down the stream. The frogs were delighted and absorbed, for never before had they sailed.
At length the first frog spoke, and said, "This is indeed a most marvellous log. It moves as if alive. No such log was ever known before."
Then the second frog spoke, and said, "Nay, my friend, the log is like other logs, and does not move. It is the river, that is walking to the sea, and carries us and the log with it."
And the third frog spoke, and said, "It is neither the log nor the river that moves. The moving is in our thinking. For without thought nothing moves."
And the three frogs began to wrangle about what was really moving. The quarrel grew hotter and louder, but they could not agree.
Then they turned to the fourth frog, who up to this time had been listening attentively but holding his peace, and they asked his opinion.
And the fourth frog said, "Each of you is right and none of you is wrong. The moving is in the log and the water and our thinking also, but if you look still deeper then nothing has moved, because nothing can move and there is nowhere to move."
And the three frogs became very angry, for none of them was willing to admit that his was not
the whole truth and that the other two were not wholly wrong; and they were not ready to think that they didn't know, and this fourth foolish frog -- he knows? It was against their egos.
Then the strange thing happened -- this has always been happening: the three frogs got together and pushed the fourth frog off the log into the river.

It is very difficult to see; when truth knocks at your door, it is very difficult to open the door and receive the guest, and welcome the guest -- because when truth knocks at your door, suddenly you become aware that you have been living up to now with lies, that up to now you have been untrue, that all your declarations were false and all your dogmas were false. When truth comes face to face with you, suddenly your whole life is nullified. Your whole past has been just a darkness. It is too much for the ego to accept. It is better to deny the truth, it is better to close the door, and say that truth never knocked at your door. It is better to say that there has been never a Buddha, never a Jesus, never a Krishna. It is better to say that to save your own face.
It is very difficult to understand that you don't understand. It is very humiliating. And think of an emperor: emperors have been thinking that they know everything; they have even been trying that they are the representatives of God on earth, the very incarnations of God on earth. They have power -- power blinds the eyes. It is very difficult to see that you are ignorant when you have money, respect, power. When others think that you know, it is very difficult.
Shiko's fear was relevant.

but the Emperor must have been a humble person -- maybe blind, but still humble; may not have seen what had happened, what had transpired; may not have seen what Fu-daishi had brought as a gift, but he was not arrogant, not very egoistic. There is a possibility for him. He was sad that he could not understand; he was not annoyed.
Remember: anger and sadness are two aspects of the same energy. These are the two alternatives. Either the Emperor could have been angry, or sad. Angry -- then he would have killed Fu-daishi; then Fu-daishi would have been thrown into the prison, poisoned, murdered, crucified. But he was sad. Then there is a hope.
Sadness has something beautiful in it, because sadness can become creative. Anger is always destructive. If he had been an angry person he would have thought that Fu-daishi had insulted him. But he thought: "I have missed an opportunity. " If you can be that humble then more possibilities open for you.
The Emperor is not very far off the mark. Sooner or later, he will enter on the path.
Rapping on the table, shouting so hard and so loud, walking with such intense grace -- bringing Buddha to the palace: yes, Fu-daishi has never been more eloquent. He has said that which can be said. He created the situation in which there was every possibility that the Emperor could have seen. Whatsoever he could do, he had done. You cannot find any fault with Fu-daishi. More cannot be done. In fact, he had already gone out of the way to do it.
In the first place, it is very difficult for a man like Fu-daishi to come to the palace. Emperors should go -- but he must have been of tremendous compassion: he came to the palace. A disciple should go to the master; but sometimes it has happened that a master has come to the disciple –

out of sheer compassion and love. Then, he came with his full flame, he came naked. He had never been so aflame, he had never revealed his being so totally as on that day.
And then... there are stories: Once Buddha came and sat silently. There are other stories of other Zen masters: They came. They stood on the platform, looked around, left the platform, not saying a single word. But Fu-daishi is the only one who rapped on the table, who shouted loudly, who tried to shake the Emperor out of his stupor. Yes, Shiko is right: "Fu-daishi has never been more eloquent."
In that moment a transfiguration was possible.
Chao-pien says:

Fu-daishi created a sudden clash of thunder. If the Emperor had really been ready to receive this tremendous compassion, this grace, this gift, then the mind-doors must have opened, burst open... AND LO! THERE SITTETH THE OLD MAN.
You are already that which you are seeking. That which you are seeking is already sitting inside you, it has already entered you. It has been there before you ever were: AND LO! THERE SITTETH THE OLD MAN IN ALL HIS HOMELINESS.
But the Emperor missed.

I AM shouting to you every day, every morning. Of course, I am not rapping on the table -- I am rapping on your heads! because your stupor is bigger and greater. Beating on the table won't help. Beating on the table, there is every possibility you will become angry at me -- you will not even be sad. So, in different ways, in different words, I go on hammering on your head.
But remember: whatsoever I am saying is not the thing that I want to say to you. Whatsoever I am saying has nothing to do with truth, because truth cannot be said. Whatsoever I am saying is nothing but a hammering. If you become awake, you will see the truth. This is just to create an opportunity. I am shaking you hard -- and if you allow, if you don't resist, if you cooperate with me, if you are ready to go with me, if you can trust, if you are courageous, then my words can become a clash of sudden thunder.
Life is slipping by... each moment... you are missing it. Enough is enough! You have missed long; now missing it has become a habit -- you will have to break this habit. The only way to be benefited by me, the only way to be blessed by me and by my presence, is to gather courage. Come out of your graves! Only your periphery is dead -- you can never be dead. That is the meaning of the story of Lazarus: only the periphery can be dead; you can never be dead. Deep down, life is eternal. Burst forth! Rush out!

This is the whole effort of all the masters: to create a sudden clash of thunder so those who are fast asleep can be awakened.
That old man is what Zen people mean by God. Their term is beautiful: the old man. It is your nature -- ancientmost, eternal nature. It is the old man. Drop the mind! Stop thinking! Become more alert! See the trees and listen to the birds, with no screens of thoughts hindering the path. Meet directly! Truth is immediate, radiant, herenow. It is not that truth has to be discovered -- only you have to become aware. Truth is already here.
Let me shake you, allow me to shake you out of your sleep. Don't go on thinking that you understand. You don't. Your knowledge is a way of ignoring the truth. Drop this ignorance -- and ignorance cannot be dropped by accumulating more knowledge. Ignorance can be dropped only by dropping the knowledge that you have already accumulated.
Knowledge is the barrier to knowing. When knowledge is dropped, knowing flowers.

No comments: