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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   Dogen, the Zen Master: A Search and a Fulfillment
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Chapter 3: The Mountainless Ocean

Alexander was not aware of what he was promising. He said, “Don’t be worried. If Alexander wants to move the Himalayas, they will have to move. And you are asking only about a human being. Just wait - within a few months I will be back.”

And there was so much to do that he remembered only at the last moment that he had forgotten to catch hold of a buddha, of one who knows the innermost reality. He inquired on the borders of India as he was returning. People laughed at the very idea. They said, “In the first place, it is very difficult to recognize that somebody is a buddha. In the second place, if by chance you are open enough to receive the radiance of a buddha, you will fall down at his feet. You will forget all about taking him with you. We hope that you don’t find a buddha - just go back home.”

Alexander could not understand.. What kind of human being is a buddha, that he cannot be taken away by force? Finally, he said: “Send messengers all over the place, find out if there is somebody who proclaims that he has arrived home.”

And people came, and they said, “Yes, one naked sannyasin standing by the side of the river says, ‘Where else can I be? - I am here. And who else I can be? - I am the buddha.’”

Alexander went himself to meet the man. The dialogue was tremendously beautiful, but very shocking to Alexander the Great. He had never come across such a man because before he said a single word - he was holding a naked sword in his hand - the old man, naked, poor, said, “Put your sword back into its sheath, it will not be needed here. A man of intelligence carrying a sword? I will hit you! Just put the sword back into its sheath.”

Alexander for the first time found somebody who could order him, and he had to follow. In spite of himself he had to follow. And he said, “I have come with a prayer: Just come with me, to my land. My teacher wants to see a buddha. In the West we don’t know anything about what this inner self means.”

The old man laughed. He said, “This is hilarious. If your teacher does not know, he is not even a teacher. And if he wants to see a buddha, he will have to come to a buddha; a buddha cannot be carried to him. Just tell your teacher, ‘If you are thirsty, come to the well; the well is not going to come to you.’”

“And as for you, Alexander,” the old man said, “learn at least to be human. You introduced yourself as Alexander the Great. This is the ego that is preventing you from knowing your buddha. You are carrying it within yourself, but this ‘greatness,’ this desire to conquer the world.What will you do with conquering the world? Soon death will take everything away. You will die naked, you will be buried in the earth. Nobody will bother not to tread over you, and you will not be even able to object, ‘Keep away. I am Alexander the Great.’ Please drop this idea of greatness. And also remember that the word Alexander is not your name.”

Alexander said, “My God! It is my name - how can I convince you?”

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