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Chapter 6: This Rackety Town

There are experiences for which you have to look in the eyes of the master. Perhaps you may see the moon reflected there. Perhaps in that silence when you are looking into the eyes of your master, something may transpire. You may become aware of your own inner flame.

Sekito simply sat there, and Goei went off.

He did not understand the silent answer.

From the back, Sekito called him.

“Where? Where? Where are you going?”

Goei turned his head.
Sekito said, “From birth to death, it is just like this - turning the head, turning the brain.How about it?”
Goei was suddenly enlightened, so he broke his staff.

He used to carry a staff, and used to think that he had come to know, that he had become a master. In Zen the staff is only carried by the master. For the first time he looked into himself when Sekito asked him, “Where?” - because it is here, and “Where are you going?” - it is within.

In a single moment of sudden awakening, he understood that up to now he had unnecessarily carried the staff. He was just a teacher, not a master: he broke his staff.

These are all symbolic things in Zen. Breaking the staff means, “Now you are the master and I’m the disciple. I will not say it in words, because words are very polluted; I will make the symbol that I’m no longer a master. I was living in a false identity - I break that identity and throw it away. Now you are the master and I will live in your presence, drinking the waters of life as much as possible.”

A poem of Chikusan reads:

He is part of all, yet all is transcended;
Solely for convenience he is known as master.
Who dares say he has found him?
In this rackety town
I train disciples.

These last lines are particularly important: In this rackety town I train disciples. He must have been in Pune! You cannot find a more rackety town. But strangely, masters have chosen rackety towns in search of a few intelligent people. The rackety town has a good quality: in the beginning it becomes a little disturbed, but slowly, slowly it accepts that these people are a little different, and it does not bother.

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