Zen Master Shen Tsan gained his enlightenment through Pai Chang. He then returned to the monastery in which he had been ordained by his "first teacher", the monk who had brought him up from childhood and who, at that time, was a very old man.

One day Shen Tsan was helping his old teacher to bathe. While washing the old man's back, he said to him, "This is such a fine temple, but the Buddha in it is not at all holy!" His old teacher then turned round and looked at him, whereupon Shen Tsan commented, "Though the Buddha is not holy, he can still radiate the light."

Again, one day, while the old man was reading a sutra near a paper-covered window, a bee tried desperately, with all its strength, to fly out of the room through the paper but was unable to get through. Shen Tsan, seeing this, said, "The world is so vast and wide that you may easily set yourself free in it. Why, then, do you foolishly bore into old, rotten paper?"

"While the empty door is open wide
How foolish it is to try and get out
By thrusting against the window!
Alas! How can you, Master,
Raise your head above the slough
By putting your nose against old, rotten paper
For a hundred years?"

Hearing this remark, the old man laid down his book and said to Shen Tsan, "For quite a few times now, you have made unusual remarks. From whom did you gain your knowledge while you were away from home?"

Shen Tsan replied, "I have reached the state of peaceful rest through the grace of Master Pai Chang. Now I have come back home to pay my debt of gratitude to you."

The old teacher then prepared a great festival in his young disciple's honor, summoned the monks in the monastery to the assembly hall, and besought Shen Tsan to preach the dharma to all. Whereupon Shen Tsan ascended to the high seat and, following the tradition of Pai Chang, preached as follows:

"Singularly radiating is the wondrous Light
Free from the bondage of matter and senses.
Not binding by words and letters,
The Essence is nakedly exposed in its pure eternity.
Never defiled is the Mind-nature;
It exists in perfection from the very beginning.
By merely casting away your delusions
The Suchness of Buddhahood is realized."

As soon as the old teacher heard this stanza, he was immediately awakened.


A man phones up the mental hospital and asks, "Can you tell me who is in room number 12, please?"
"There is nobody in that room, sir," comes the reply.
"Ah good, that means I have escaped!"

Man is absolutely unaware of his own being. He knows everything else, he tries to know everything else—except his own self, for the simple reason that he takes himself for granted. He thinks as if he knows himself. And there is the fundamental error, the most fundamental mistake one can commit.

We are, but we don,t know who we are. Our names deceive us: they give us a certain feeling as if this is what we are. Our bodies reflected in the mirror, our faces reflected in people's eyes, go on giving us a certain idea of our identity. Slowly slowly we gather all this information and create an image of ourselves which is utterly false. This is not the way to know oneself. One cannot know oneself by looking in the mirrors because the mirrors can only reflect your body—and you are not the body. You are in the body, but you are not the body. Your behavior, your character, your actions can show your mind, but not you.

There is a school of psychologists, one of the most important schools, called the behaviorists. They think man is his behavior: you are nothing but the totality of your actions, so if your actions can be understood you are understood. Man is more, much more than the sum total of his actions; man is not only his behavior. Man is the innermost consciousness of his body, of his mind, of his actions.

Unless you become conscious of your consciousness, unless you become aware of your inner light, you go on living in illusions. And we perpetuate illusions because they are cheap, easily available; they cost nothing, and they can be handed over to us by others.

Discovering oneself is arduous: it is going on the greatest exploration. It is easier to go to the moon, easier to go to the Everest. It is far more difficult to go to one's own center—for the simple reason that you will have to travel alone, all alone. As one of the great Greek mystics, Plotinus, says, "It is a flight of the alone to the alone."

That's why very few people have become enlightened, when it is really everybody's birthright to become en lightened. And even if sometimes, by some accident, people become interested in knowing about themselves, they immediately become victims of words— theories, philosophies, ideologies. They become victims of scriptures, doctrines, dogmas; again they are lost in a jungle of words. Yes, you will find beautiful sayings there, immensely pregnant with meaning, but that meaning will remain hidden to you; you will not be able to discover it. You have not been able to discover yourself; you cannot discover the meaning of the words of Gautam the Buddha or Jesus the Christ or Mahavira the Jain—impossible. You can understand only that much which you have experienced; understanding never goes beyond your experience. Words you can accumulate, you can become scholars, great scholars. And again you will be in a new kind of illusion: the illusion that information creates. The more information you have, the more you start feeling you know.

Information is thought to be synonymous with knowing—it is not. Knowing is a totally different affair. knowing is experiencing; information only accumulates in the memory system. A computer can do it, there is nothing special about it; there is nothing specially human about it.


Two large rats walked into a movie house one day and went straight to the projection room. Once inside they ate the entire reel of film. After eating, one rat looked at the other and asked, "Did you like the movie?"
To which the other replied, "No, I liked the book better."

These are the scholars—the rats! They go on eating words, they go on accumulating words. They can have mountains of words and they become very articulate about words. They can deceive others; that is not so bad because they can deceive only people who are al ready deceived; you cannot do much more harm to them. But by deceiving others, slowly slowly they become deceived themselves, and that is the greatest problem.

Ninety-nine percent so-called religious people— saints, mahatmas—are just scholars. As far as words are concerned they are very clever, but if you look deep into their eyes you will find just the same stupid human beings. Nothing has changed.

The other day I was reading a statement of Abdul Ghaffar Khan; he is known as the Frontier Gandhi. He is thought to be one of the closest disciples of Mahatma Gandhi. He is ninety-four years old. He has devoted his whole life to the philosophy of nonviolence— and the statement that he gave is so violent that even I was taken aback. I was not thinking that he will do such a stupid thing at such an old age. And the state ment was made in front of Vinoba Bhave; they were meeting and there was a press conference. Now both are the greatest followers of Mahatma Gandhi and preachers of nonviolence in the world.

The Frontier Gandhi was asked by the journalist, "What do you say about Z.A. Bhutto who has been sentenced to death? Did not you try to save him?—because you believe in nonviolence?"

He became furious. His eyes became red with anger and he said, "That man was a sinner! He needed to be burned alive in public!"

He completely forgot all about the philosophy of non-violence. He is not happy just by killing him; he wanted him to be burned alive, in public. Not killed on the gallows or shot—that is too merciful—burning alive, because he was a sinner.

Now, is this man a man of nonviolence? Then Jesus must have been wrong when he prayed to God: "Abba, forgive all these people, the people who are crucifying me, because they know not what they are doing. They are unconscious people; they are doing it very unconsciously."

Jesus is a man of nonviolence, not Abdul Ghaffar Khan. 'Where he has missed? He became full of beautiful words, but they have not transformed his conscious ness. And Vinoba Bhave did not object at all; that means agreement. He was present there; he could have said, "What are you saying? It is not Gandhian at Least.' He did not object to it. His silence shows his agreement.

This is what has happened to millions of people all over the world. Christians have been killing thousands of people in the name of Christ, with Bibles in their hands, murdering, butchering. Mohammedans have done the same, Hindus have done the same.

It is difficult to know how many Buddhist monks were burned by Hindus in India because Indian history does not exist at all, nobody has bothered to write history. But thousands of Buddhist monks were burned alive, just the way Abdul Ghaffar Khan wanted to burn Z.A. Bhutto. Thousands of Buddhists were burned alive—otherwise how they all disappeared from this country? Buddha's impact was so great, millions of people had turned into Buddhists. Then what happened to all of them? Then why they ran out of the country? And whosoever remained behind was killed.

And Hindus talk about nonviolence, love, friendship, universal love, divine love. As far as words are concerned, people are very clever and they can go on elaborating on these words, philosophizing. They can go in deep subtleties; they can make very subtle distinctions, but their consciousness remains unaffected.


A young nun arrived at the nunnery, panting and crying, "Mother, Mother, something terrible has happened!"
"What is it, my daughter?" the Mother Superior asked, concerned.
"A maniac, Mother—a sex maniac raped me!"
"Ah no, daughter, ah no! When did it happen?"
"Yesterday, the day before, and again today!"

You can impose character on people, but you can not imagine consciousness. Consciousness has to be discovered. These people can even reach to heaven, but they will create a heaven of their own, they will live in a world of their own. They will repeat the same kind of world there. If these people—these Hindus, Mohammedans, Christians, these monks and nuns and these mahatmas and saints, Catholics and Protestants—if these are the people who are going to heaven, heaven cannot be any different from this earth. The same crusades, the same wars, all kinds of stupidities will go on, will continue. It will be only a repetition, maybe on a wider scale, bigger scale, more sophisticated, but it cannot be qualitatively different.


Young Barrington-Smythe had just reached the Pearly Gates. St. Peter was welcoming him and telling him about the social life of heaven. "We play a lot of sport here, young fellow me lad," said St. Peter. "On Mondays and Thursdays it is polo, and Tuesdays and Fridays cricket."
"Well, actually, sir," answered the young man, "I don't enjoy sport very much."
"Well, then perhaps you will enjoy Wednesday nights," suggested St. Peter. "There is a big dinner. After the meal when the port has been passed around a few times, we really let our hair down, I can tell you!"
"Actually, sir, I don't enjoy drinking," replied the young man.
"Ah," said St. Peter. Then after a short silence he suggested, "Then you will enjoy Saturday nights. We have a dance with a lot of the young ladies from hereabouts. Plenty of goings-on, if you know what I mean!"
"Actually, sir," said the young man again, "I don't really enjoy the company of young ladies."
After a long pause St. Peter asked, "Barrington-Smythe, you are not a homosexual by any chance?"
"Oh no sir!"
"Pity," said St. Peter, "you won't enjoy Sunday nights either!"

The same people will be transported to heaven, to paradise; it is not going to be any different at all. The question is not of going to heaven, the question is not at all of finding God. The question is knowing "Who am I?" From there real evolution starts—only from there and from nowhere else.

Zen is the most beautiful method ever discovered to enter into the innermost core of your being. It does not believe in character, it only believes in consciousness. By changing your consciousness, your character is changed automatically, but by changing your character your consciousness is not changed in the same way. In fact, your consciousness becomes repressed if you change your character. There is created thereby a duality, a split. Your consciousness remains of one type, your character of another type, and they become unbridged. You become two persons or many, even. You become polypsychic, you become a crowd. Rather than coming to a rest, rather than coming to deep silence, rather than experiencing peace, you become more neurotic, more noisy. You lose all inner harmony, all accord.

That's what happens to the so-called moralists: they simply go on doing a patchwork from the outside; they go on whitewashing people. Jesus has called this whitewashing "whitewashing the graves". Inside is a stinking corpse and outside you have whitewashed it. From the outside the grave looks beautiful; you can even put roses on it, you can grow flowers on the grave, grass. You can make it look beautiful, but inside it is just a grave.

And that is the situation of man. And the whole thing has happened because we have believed too much in character. We may know, we may not know. Ninety-nine point nine percent people of the world are behaviorists—whatsoever they say does not matter. If you look deep down they belong to the school of Pavlov and Skinner; they all believe in behaviorism. They all believe that your behavior can be changed, then you are changed because you are nothing but your behavior. They may not say so, they may not even be aware of their fundamental belief, but that's how society has lived up to now. This society is not religious.

Religious man has yet to arrive, a religious society has yet to happen, a religious culture is yet in the future—on the horizon, but we have to bring it; it has not happened. It has happened in few individual cases here and there, but those people can be counted on fingers.

This is a tremendously beautiful story. Go into it very meditatively because each statement contains great treasures.


Zen Master Shen Tsan gained his enlightenment through Pai Chang.

THE FIRST THING is to know the difference between a Master and a teacher.

Zen makes a very clear cut distinction: the teacher is one who teaches you; he may not have known himself but he has studied. He is a scholar, he knows the scriptures. He can help you to enter into the world of books; he can introduce you into the intricacies of philosophies, ideologies, doctrines. He can give you education, information, but he cannot bring a transformation to you.

The Master is one who brings transformation to your being, who helps you to find out your own light. The work of the teacher is direct; he simply transfers whatsoever he knows to you. Knowledge is transferable, wisdom is not transferable. Hence the work of the Master is indirect, it can never be direct. The Master functions like a catalytic agent—his presence helps. It is like the sun rising in the morning, and the birds start singing. They are awake, flying around, enjoying the new day, welcoming the new day with songs. The sun has not done anything directly to them, but something has happened; a milieu has been created by the sun in which the birds are feeling fresh, young, alive. The flowers start opening. The sun is not coming to each flower and forcing it to open—not in that direct way, but its rays are dancing around the flower. It is giving warmth to the flower, it is encouraging the flower, but in a very delicate way. Flowers have to be tackled in a delicate way; if you force their petals to open you will destroy them. You may be able to open them, but in the very opening you would have killed them; they will not be alive. The sun simply creates a climate in which they can open, in which they feel like opening. An inner feel arises in them; some inner instinct synchronizes with the warmth of the sun. And the flowers open and they start exuding their fragrance.

Exactly is the work of the Master. He cannot hand you over what he knows, but he can create a certain energy field in which your petals can open up, in which your seeds can be encouraged, in which you can gather courage enough to take the jump, in which a quantum leap becomes possible.

Hence, enlightenment is not a direct work of the Master. It happens through him, through his grace but not by him.


Zen Master Shen Tsan gained his enlightenment through Pai Chang.

Remember the word through—not by.


He then returned to the monastery in which he had been ordained by his "first teacher"...

Note the difference. Pai Chang is called "Master", Shen Tsan is called "Master", but his old teacher is not called "Master", only "teacher", because he ordained him only into the world of the scriptures, theories—beautiful theories but all empty, with no content.


This was the monk who had brought him up from childhood and who, at that time, was a very old man.
One day Shen Tsan was helping his old teacher to bathe. While washing the old man's back, he said to him, "This is such a fine temple, but the Buddha in it is not at all holy!"

THE WORD "HOLY" is never used by Zen people in the Christian or the Hindu sense. It is not used in the sense of sacred because for Zen there is nothing sacred and nothing mundane. "Holy" is used in its literal sense of wholeness. One who is whole is holy, one who lives a life of totality is holy. One who lives in a fragmentary way, halfheartedly, divided, wavering, disintegrated, is unholy. It has nothing to do with purity or impurity, remember. It has nothing to do with virtue or sin, remember. The Zen use of the word "holy" simply means one who is whole, one who lives each moment in totality. Whatsoever he is doing he is doing totally. If he is eating he is eating in a holy way; if he is sleeping he is sleeping in a holy way. If he is talking he is talk ing in a holy way. If he is listening he is listening in a holy way. Whatsoever is the act, his consciousness is totally involved in it, committed to it. He is passionately present in his actions. If he is silent then he is really silent, not only on the surface. You can go on digging deeper and deeper into him, but you will find only silence and silence, layer upon layer. As you go deeper you will find thicker layers of silence. When you reach at the very core you will find nothing but silence. His taste is the same.

Buddha used to say, "The holy man tastes the same, just like the ocean. You can taste it from anywhere— from this shore or that, from the shore or from the middle—it is always salty. So is the holy man."

The holy man lives not holding back; whatsoever he is doing he goes totally into it.

Shen Tsan was giving a bath to his old teacher. Rubbing his back, he said:


"This is such a fine temple ..."

Every body is a fine temple, according to Zen. Every body is a shrine of God; God is enshrined in everyone. You need not go anywhere else to find God; if you can find yourself you have found God. He is hiding within you—he is your within.


"This is such a fine temple," Shen Tsan said, "but the Buddha in it is not at all holy!"

Maybe the old teacher was taking a bath and also reciting a sutra. That's what Buddhist monks do; they will go on taking a bath and reciting a sutra. Hindu pundits do the same, Hindu sannyasins do the same. They will go to take a dip in the Ganges and they will recite gayatri and other mantras. They are divided! If you want to recite gayatri, recite gayatri—forget about taking a bath. And when you are taking a bath, take the bath, forget about gayatri. Then let this bath be your only mantra.

He must have been reciting some mantra because they think, "Why waste time? You can do both the things." They will go on eating and they will go on reciting inside a certain sacred mantra. Why waste time? But then you are missing the totality of eating, then you are not tasting your food. How can you do it? The mind is capable of doing only one thing at a time; it cannot do two things together—it is impossible. If you are eating, then let your whole consciousness be that of taste, of smell. Forget everything! Then even ordinary bread may taste like the most delicious food possible. But you are not present.

Look at people eating—they are talking, there are people who are listening to the radio or seeing to the TV. I have heard about stupid Americans even making love while seeing the TV!—what to say about eating? Why miss? You can do both the things—you can make love and you can go on seeing the TV. Now, neither you will be seeing the TV nor you will be making love; you will not be able to enjoy either, you will miss both. There are people who cannot eat if they don't have company to talk and gossip and to discuss. When you are talking you go on swallowing—swallowing is not eating.

Eating should be meditative, prayerful. You should be more respectful to food because it is life, it is nourishment. And then thousand and one problems arise out of it. Because while you are eating you are reading the newspaper or quarreling with the wife or listening to the radio or looking at the TV or talking to a friend or holding the phone, you will miss the joy of eating. You will eat more because your taste buds will not feel fulfilled and contented. Then you will gather unnecessary fat in the body. Then one has to start dieting, fasting, naturopathy and all kinds of nonsense follow. But the simple thing that should have been done in the first place was: just eating and not doing anything else.

When Lin Chi was asked, "What is your meditation?" he said, "When I eat I simply eat, and when I sleep I simply sleep. When I walk I simply walk."

The person who was asking said, "But this is what we all do."

Lin Chi said, "No, that's not what you do. When you are eating you go on doing thousand and one other things too. I know it because I had been just like you before I became enlightened. I had lived in the same mad and stupid way, so I know how you are living. Don't say to me that this is what everybody does."

The most stupid thing in life is to live halfheartedly, because the moment that is gone is gone forever. But people are living so unconsciously that it is almost impossible for them to be conscious of what they are doing.


A guy was coming home from work to his house in a suburban residential neighborhood of a typical American city. The houses were in a large compound surrounded by beautiful lawns. While he was walking, a tremendous bellyache gripped him. It was already dark and there were three more blocks to go, so he decided to relieve his bellyache under the bush next to a nearby house. He finished, stood up, closed his pants and took a look to see his work. What a surprise! There was nothing. The grass was clean, very clean. Just to make sure he lit his cigarette lighter but there was nothing there, so very puzzled he went home.
That night he could not sleep for thinking about the mystery of the disappearing shit and when he found his lighter missing the next day he went back to the garden. He found the lighter but no trace of the shit.
Straightening up, his eyes met those of an offended old lady. "Ah!" she cried. "So you are the one who shit on my turtle!"

If you watch your life you will see what you go on doing. And it is not only so about the ordinary people, but the people you call very extraordinary, the geniuses; they are also as unconscious as you are, or even more so.

It is said about Karl Marx, the founder of com munism, that one day studying in the British Museum he for the first time came across the theory that if you drink or you smoke, or you use anything, you can save money by using it more. For example, if you are smoking a cigarette of a very costly brand and you start using a cheaper cigarette, on each cigarette you will be saving money; the more cigarettes you smoke, the more money will be saved. He was thrilled.

He went to the marketplace—he was a chain-smoker—he purchased the cheapest kind of cigarette, as many as he could carry to the house. His wife could not believe her eyes: "So many packets he is bringing—is he going to open a shop or something?" She asked, "What is the matter?"

And he was so joyous, he said, "Wait! Now there is no need to work. We can save money only by smoking more and more. You also start smoking, and don't stop children either from smoking. And whosoever comes to the home, let them smoke as much as we smoke—more money will be saved. On each cigarette so much money is going to be saved!" And he closed the doors and started smoking.

The wife thought, "He has gone crazy. How you can save money if you go on smoking, just smoking?" She called his friend, Friedrich Engels, who tried hard to argue with him that, "You are being foolish!" It took hours for him to convince him that "This is nonsense! You will die of cancer or some dangerous disease— and money will not be saved! The theory is correct only if you smoke twelve cigarettes of a costly brand and twelve cigarettes of cheap brand; then you will be saving money. But that does not mean you go on smoking cigarettes day and night and then there is no need to work."

Now people like Karl Marx, who are thought to be very logical, can behave in a very unconscious way. One day it happened:


Edison was writing some letters. His wife came, and she knew that he never likes to be disturbed in the middle of his work because sometimes he loses track of his theory. She had brought his breakfast, so she kept the breakfast by the side and went away to do some other work.
Meanwhile a friend came. Seeing the breakfast is getting cold and he is so much in his writing, just to play a joke on him he ate the breakfast. When he finished the letter he looked around. He saw the empty plate, he said to the friend, "Sorry, you came a little late—I have finished my breakfast." Seeing the plate empty he thought he must have finished, he must have eaten the breakfast.

Not even the ordinary people, but your so-called geniuses... Edison is one the greatest talented persons ever: he discovered one thousand things—one thousand things is a rare achievement—but remained his whole life unconscious, so much so that once he forgot his own name.

It is said of Immanuel Kant, a great German philosopher, that he had to be reminded of every small thing, he lived such an unconscious life. Each small thing had to be reminded to him, even things like this:


One day he came home after his evening walk, stood in the corner of the room, laid down his walking-stick on the bed thinking that he is lying on the bed and the walking-stick is standing in the corner of the room. The servant, seeing the light on, looked through the keyhole, was puzzled—what is happening?—because he saw Immanuel Kant standing in the corner of the room and the stick lying down on the bed. He knocked on the door.
Immanuel Kant opened the door and the servant asked, "What is the matter? What are you doing?"
He said, "I also am feeling a little bit strange. Something is wrong, but I am not exactly certain what it is. I am feeling very tired!"

Every man has a Buddha inside him, but the Buddha is not holy, is not whole. We are living in fragments. Somebody is living in his head, somebody is living in his body, somebody is living somewhere else. Somebody is focused on the money, somebody on power, somebody on some other trip, some other number. But nobody is wholly, fully aware what he is doing, what he is being.


"This is such a fine temple," Shen Tsan said, "but the Buddha in it is not at all holy!" His old teacher turned round and looked at him, whereupon Shen Tsan commented, "Though the Buddha is not holy, he can still radiate the light."

In that moment when the old teacher looked back—shocked in a way, because what Shen Tsan had said was very shocking, in a way rude from a disciple, saying that he is not holy!—in that shock his mind must have stopped. And looking at Shen Tsan for a moment he must have been in a state of no-mind—just for a moment. And that is the moment when you start radiating the Buddha.


...Shen Tsan commented, "Though the Buddha is not holy, he can still radiate the light."

Once in a while... so if he can radiate the light once in a while he can radiate the light forever. It is only a question of little more awareness.


Again, one day, while the old man was reading a sutra near a paper-covered window, a bee tried desperately, with all its strength, to fly out of the room through the paper but was unable to get through.

Bees seem to have something like human minds, exactly the same kind of stupidity. The doors may be open, but if a bee is inside the room, caught inside the room... and she may have come from the open door, but she will try to get out from the closed window. Not only bees but other birds also behave in the same way. Any bird can enter in your room; the doors are open, he has come from the door, but he cannot go back from the same door. He starts trying to get through the wall, through the ceiling... and the more he tries, the more desperate he becomes, because there is no way to get through the ceiling or through the wall or through the closed window. And in that desperation, frustration, he becomes more and more blind, afraid, scared. He loses all intelligence. And the same is the case with human beings.

One day Buddha came into his assembly of the monks. It must have been just a morning like this. His sannyasins were sitting and waiting for him. They were puzzled because this was for the first time that Buddha had come with something in his hand—a handkerchief.

They all looked at the handkerchief. What was the matter? There must be something special in it. And Buddha sat on the platform and rather than starting speaking to the assembly he looked at the handkerchief, started tying a few knots in it, five knots in all. The whole assembly watched—what is going on?

And then he asked the assembly. "Can anybody tell me: is this handkerchief the same as it was before the knots were tied?"

Sariputta said, "This is a tricky question. In a way the handkerchief is the same because nothing has changed, in a way it is not the same because these five knots have appeared which were not there before. But as far as the inner nature of the handkerchief is concerned—its nature is concerned—it is the same; but as far as its form is concerned it is no more the same. The form has changed: the substance is the same."

Buddha said, "Right. Now I want to open these knots." And he started stretching both ends of the handkerchief farther away from each other. He asked Sariputta, "What do you think? By stretching farther will I be able to open the knots?"

He said, "You will be making knots even more difficult to open because they will become smaller, more tighter."

Buddha said, "Right. Then I want to ask the last question: what should I do so that I can open the knots, the tied knots? How I can untie them again?"

Sariputta said, "Bhagwan, I would like first to come close and see how in the first place the knots have been tied. Unless I know how they have been tied it is difficult for me to suggest any solution."

Buddha said, "Right, Sariputta. You are blessed, because that is the most fundamental question to ask. If you are in a certain fix, the first thing is how you got into it rather than trying to get out of it. Without asking the most fundamental and the primary question, you will make things worse."

And that's what people are doing. They ask, "How we can get out of our sexuality, greed, anger, attachment, jealousy, possessiveness, this and that?" without asking, "How in the first place we get into them?"

Buddha's whole approach is, first see how you get into anger. If you can see the entrance, the same door is the exit; no other door is needed. But without knowing the entrance if you try to find out the exit you are not going to find; you will get more and more desperate. And that's what people go on doing.

In the scriptures, what are you looking for?— solutions. You create the problems—and the solutions are in the scriptures! Why don't you look at the problems yourself? How you create them? Why don't you watch when you are creating a certain problem? And you create every day, so it is not a question that you have to go back. Today you are going to be angry again, today you will feel again the sexual urge: see how it arises, see how you enter into it, how you get hooked into it, how it becomes so big like a cloud that surrounds you and you are lost in it. And then you go to ask others!

You are functioning almost like a stupid bee. Bees can be forgiven, but you cannot be forgiven.

Shen Tsan is using all opportunities to make his old teacher aware what has happened to him. He does not want to say directly because it cannot be said directly. It will be too impolite to say directly that, "I have become enlightened." That may hinder rather than help; the old teacher's ego may be hurt. And enlightenment cannot be claimed; you have to produce proofs of it. You have to be very seductive about it, and that's what he is doing. He is being very seductive; he is throwing here and there a few remarks just like arrows, hitting from every direction in the very heart of the old teacher, to make him aware that Shen Tsan is not the same person as he had left him. A totally new being has come to him, a new consciousness is born into him. He is reborn.


...while the old man was reading a sutra...

Now he has become old, but is still reading a sutra. Sutras are good when you are children, sutras are good when you are young, but there is a time when you should become mature enough to go beyond information and start looking for transformation. Now this man is getting so old; still with trembling hands he must be holding an ancient sutra, still looking for some exit.

And the beautiful opportunity arose because a bee entered into the room. Now the bee has entered from the open door. From where it will enter? How have you entered into the world? How you enter every day when you get up in the morning into the world again?

Have you ever watched?—when for the first moment you become aware in the morning that sleep has left, there is a gap of a few seconds in which the mind does not exist—only a few seconds. Sleep is no more and the world has not started yet. The mind will take a little time to start. There is a gap, an interval, a few seconds. If you are alert enough you will be able to see how you enter every day into the world. What is your first thought? Can you say what was your first thought today? You must have entered, but you are not aware at all.

We live so mechanically. Each moment is an opportunity, but we go on losing it in our stupidity.


...the bee tried desperately with all its strength...with all its fly out of the room through the paper.

That's what the yogis, the so-called ascetics are trying to do with all their will, with all their effort, endeavor, with all their strength. They are trying to get through the wall rather than sitting silently, becoming calm and quiet, looking around for the door from where they have entered in.

The most important thing whenever you are in a problem is not to start immediately doing something, otherwise you will make the problem worse. The most significant thing is for the time being not to do anything at all. Just sit silently, relax, rest, be in a let-go. Rather than trying to find Out the way, watch from where you have entered, because each problem has its own solution and each question has its own answer in it. If you are careful enough, conscious enough, you will be able to find it there, and nowhere else you can find it. No scriptures are going to help.


The bee was trying, with all its strength, to fly out of the room through the paper but was unable to get through. Shen Tsan, seeing this, said, "The world is so vast and wide that you may easily set yourself free in it. Why, then, do you foolishly bore into old, rotten paper?"

Now this was too much! The Master is reading some old scripture. And older the scripture is, people think, the better it is; the more rotten, the more important they think; the more ancient, the more significant they think.

Zen believes in burning the scriptures. The most famous Zen painting is Bodhidharma burning scriptures, throwing them into fire. It does not mean literally. There are fools ...

I had a painting when I used to live in Jabalpur—a friend brought a painting of Bodhidharma burning the scriptures. A young man used to come to me; he saw the painting, he asked me the meaning. I told him the meaning. He went home, he burned all his scriptures. And then he could not sleep the whole night because he became very much disturbed. The gods may become angry—what he has done?

Early in the morning, four o'clock, he knocked on my door. He said, "Save me—I am getting mad! What you suggested I have done—I have burned the scriptures. My mother is mad, my father is mad. My whole family is thinking that I have to be put into a mental asylum because I have burned the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, and they say this is the most sacrilegious act. And they cannot believe and I tried to convince them about you and about your ideas, and they said, 'That man is mad and you are mad!' What am I supposed to do now? I could not sleep the whole night. I myself am afraid. Krishna must have felt offended. Now how can I be saved?"

I told him, "How many scriptures did you have?" He said, "I had the Ramayana and the Srimad Bhagavad Gita and few others."

I phoned to a bookseller and ordered those books and gave the young man those books and I told him never to come to me again, "Because you are not the person to come here—you are a fool! That painting and whatsoever I had said was not to be taken literally; it is a metaphor. It is significant as a metaphor. Yes, you have to burn all the scriptures from your mind. Burning old, rotten paper is not going to help. If it is not going to help by reading it, how is it going to help by burning it? It is the same old rotten paper whether you read it or you burn it."

The Master must have felt something has to be done now, and as the Master felt that his disciple is no more the same, Shen Tsan said this beautiful sutra:


"While the empty door is open wide
How foolish it is to try to get out
By thrusting against the window!
Alas! How can you, Master,
Raise your head above the slough
By putting your nose against old, rotten paper
For a hundred years?"

First he has said as if he was talking to the bee, now he has directly said to the Master. Now he felt, "The time is ripe—now the Master is ready to listen."


Hearing this remark, the old man laid down his book and said to Shen Tsan, "For quite a few times now, you have made unusual remarks."

Only buddhas can make unusual remarks; they are bound to make unusual remarks. It is only through wisdom that the fire of rebellion arises. Knowledge is conventional, pundits are traditional. Only the enlightened people are the salt of the earth.


The old teacher said, "For quite a few times now, you have made unusual remarks. From whom did you gain your knowledge while you were away from home?"
Shen Tsan replied, "I have reached the state of peaceful rest ..."

This was the time now, the right time. Everything has to be said at a certain right time; if you say it when the time is not right it is useless. Hence the Master has to wait, wait for the right season, for the right climate, for the right moment. One never knows when it will come, but when it comes, only then the awakening is possible.


Shen Tsan replied, "I have reached the state of peaceful rest...I have come to my center...through the grace of Master Pai Chang."

Remember the word "grace": not through the effort but through the grace.


"Now I have come back home to pay my debt of gratitude to you."

"And I have come back home because you had brought me up, you have worked hard with me. Whatsoever you knew you have tried to impart to me. Of course, you were not enlightened and you could not help me to become enlightened, but without you perhaps I would not have been able to find the right man, Pai Chang."

And Pai Chang was a rare man. He was not a monk, he was not a bhikkhu, a sannyasin; he lived the life of an ordinary, worldly man. He remained a layman his whole life, even after he became enlightened. He never stopped his ordinary activities. He had thousands of followers by and by, many people gathered around him, but he continued to do his usual work. Many people invited him, even the king, that "You need not work any more—we can make a big monastery for you. You have so many followers there is no need for you to work. You can help people."

He said, "I am helping. This is the only way I can help people. I would like to remain in the marketplace."

This old teacher may have been far more famous; he had many disciples—Pai Chang was just a layman— but now was the right time to say to him. First he may not have listened at all, may have felt offended, but Shen Tsan said, "I had to come to you to pay my respects, my gratitude. You have done much for me— you prepared me for Pai Chang."

A real seeker always feels grateful, to everybody, whosoever has helped him in any possible way. He feels grateful to his parents, he feels grateful to all his teachers; he feels grateful even to people who have deceived him, who were pseudo, who were not real teachers even, who were cheaters. But he feels grateful even to them, because they all have helped you—positively, negatively, in some way or other.

If you are here, you are here because of many many people, good and bad both. And the day you become reborn, remember it, that you owe something to everybody, whosoever has helped you in any way. The husband who has divorced you, the wife who has left you and gone with somebody else, the parents who abandoned you, who have forgotten all about you, the many pseudo teachers who roam around the world exploiting people, they all have helped in certain ways. When you will become enlightened you will know how they all have helped. If the husband has not divorced you you may not have been here at all—you may be still hanging with the fool! You owe much gratefulness to him. The wife who left you and went with somebody else, don't carry any grudge against her; she has done a great service to you, otherwise you may not have been here. She may be still nagging you!

Everything that has happened has been good. Once you attain to the ultimate rest it makes everything golden. Even nights, dark nights become sources of the beautiful mornings, beautiful dawns.


The old teacher then prepared a great festival in his young disciple's honor, summoned the monks in the monastery to the assembly hall, and besought Shen Tsan to preach the Dharma to all. Whereupon Shen Tsan ascended to the high seat and, following the tradition of Pai Chang, preached as follows...

The old teacher understood it immediately, eyen though he was just reading the scriptures, but must have been a man of insight and understanding, not just a stupid scholar—a scholar, but searching for something more, trying to transcend words and reach to the content. He immediately recognized the light that had come to the face of his disciple. He could see the radiance, he could feel the fragrance. And then he was not miserly in any way. He respected him, arranged for a great festival, a great ceremony in his honor, called the whole assembly, all his students and disciples, and asked him to ascend and preach the dharma to all.


Whereupon Shen Tsan ascended to the high seat...

and spoke these few, but they are tremendously beautiful:


"Singularly radiating is the wondrous Light
Free from the bondage of matter and the senses.

If you become conscious you immediately know that you are not the body nor the mind; you are pure consciousness, and that pure consciousness is the wondrous light. That is the light Buddha has said about: "Be a light unto yourself."


"Not binding by words and letters..."

It is not confined to any words or any letters. It is beyond all descriptions, beyond all expression, beyond all definitions.


"The essence is nakedly exposed in its pure eternity."

But if you have eyes to see, if you have intelligence, it is available in all its nakedness, in all its eternal purity, in its absolute, essential beauty it is available. Every moment is available; just it is because of your stupidity, your mediocrity, your mind, that it remains hidden. It is not hidden; your consciousness is clouded.


"Never defiled is the Mind-nature..."

And remember, whatsoever you do, whatsoever you have done, you cannot defile your innermost core. Your center remains unaffected by the circumference, your consciousness remains unaffected by your character. The cyclone cannot touch the center. You are the center of the cyclone.


"It exists in perfection from the very beginning."

And you are not to attain to perfection. This is the Zen discovery: that you are not to attain it, it is already the case. You are perfect from the very beginning.


"By merely casting away your delusions..."

All that is needed is just cast away your delusions.


"The Suchness of Buddhahood is realized."

And immediately you realize you have been the Buddha since the beginning. You have always been the Buddha and nobody else. You have been a god from the very beginning, you cannot be otherwise. Godliness is your intrinsic essence, it is nothing to be achieved. And it is impossible to defile it—no karma can defile it.

So whatsoever you have done you have done only in your dreams. When you wake up, whether you dreamed of being a sinner or being a saint does not matter. When you wake up, both the dreams are finished; you don't bother at all. You don't feel guilty that you have been a sinner in your dreams and you don't feel "holier-than-thou" because you have been a saint in your dreams. Dreams are dreams, illusions. The awakened person is freed from all dreams.


"The Suchness of Buddhahood is realized."

You are Buddhas right now, this very moment!


As soon as the old teacher heard this stanza, he was immediately awakened.

This is the lion's roar: You are Buddhas this very moment, right now! Nothing has to be attained, nothing has to be changed. Wake up! Listening to this lion's roar, the old teacher immediately became awakened. All that is needed is intelligence, all that is needed is understanding the point, a capacity to be available to the Master.

This old man must have been rare. It must be said about him that he was able even to receive the message from his own disciple. He must have been a humble man; he must have been able to put his ego aside. And that is the greatest delusion. He immediately became awakened.

In Zen this is called the special transmission: the transmission beyond words, beyond scriptures. What is said is not the real thing, but what was heard was the real thing. What is said, you have heard it; but what the old man heard you have not yet heard. The day you hear it you will know what it is: the special transmission.

It is like when you bring an unlit candle close to a lit candle. Suddenly from the lit candle the flame jumps to the unlit candle. The lit candle loses nothing and the unlit candle gains everything. This is the special transmission—beyond words, beyond scriptures.

In that moment when Shen Tsan shouted:


"By merely casting away your delusions
The Suchness of Buddhahood is realized..."

"...and your self-nature is never defiled, and you are perfect from the very beginning," the old man immediately became awakened. Just like sudden lightning... and all darkness has disappeared and disappeared forever. In fact, it never existed in the first place; you were simply imagining it.

All misery is in your imagination. When this imaginary misery is dropped there is nothing left but bliss, benediction, ecstasy.