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Chapter 7: The Essence Is at Ease

The man of Zen remains by himself. You can insult him, but you cannot insult him. On your part, from your side, you can insult him but he will not take it; he will laugh and will say good-bye to you. Remember Zusia - just the other day I was talking about him. He has been beaten and he laughs, and he sings a song and goes into the mountains utterly happy - happy that he has made the birds free, and happy that he was not distracted by the beating.

Once a Sufi mystic was being beaten by an emperor and he started laughing. He exploded into mad laughter.

Even the emperor was puzzled, and he asked, “Why are you laughing?”

He said, “Because I am the wrong man! You think you are beating somebody else, that’s why I am laughing at the ridiculousness of it.”

He always walks by himself.. There is no way to push him here and there, you cannot manipulate him; he remains there, utterly himself, so centered is he, so rooted is he in his being. When one has known the fourth, turiya, then there is no distraction, then one can live anywhere.

Once it happened in the days of Buddha that a beautiful prostitute fell in deep love with a Buddhist monk who had gone to beg. The woman had seen many beautiful people - she was one of the most famous prostitutes of those days, even kings used to queue at her door - and she fell in love with a monk, with a bhikkhu, a beggar.

Sannyasins have a beauty that only sannyasins can have: That beauty when one walks by himself, that grace - the grace of the centered one - the dignity, the elegance. Just visualize the monk walking. And, the whole teaching of Buddhist monks consists of one thing: be alert, be watchful. Not even a single breath has to pass your nostrils without your being aware of it.

So.absolutely watchful, meditative, he must have passed by the woman. She had seen many beautiful people, but never a man who walked by himself like this - and in the marketplace, in the whole noise, so silently as if the market did not exist. She immediately fell in love with the man. She touched his feet and asked him to come to her home and stay for the rainy season, for four months. Buddhist monks stop moving for four months in the rainy season. The rains were just about to come, and the clouds were gathering, and it was time for them to stop and find shelter for four months.

So she invited him: “You come to my home. Be my guest for four months.” The monk said, “I will have to ask the master. Tomorrow I will come and reply. If he allows it, I will come.”

There were also other monks begging in the town, they saw the whole thing and they became very jealous. When the young man came back to Buddha, he stood in the assembly and made the request, “A woman, a prostitute” - Amrapali was her name - “has asked me to stay with her for the coming rainy season. I will do whatsoever you say.”

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