Chapter 5: Can a Circle Be More Circular?
The poor monk could not say “Nobody goes, nobody comes, everything is in its own place, there is no coming, there is no going.”
Because he could not answer.
Hogen gave up and went away.
Hogen was a very strict master - not as compassionate as Baso or Gautam Buddha. He had the same experience, but was very stern with his disciples, always wanting them to answer rightly. You could not deceive Hogen, nor could you ask for any compassion from him.
He used to say that all compassion is dangerous, because what is the inner implication of compassion? It means allowing ignorance. He would not allow any ignorance; he would chop off your head if it is needed, but compassion was not his method.
Rather than explaining to the disciple, he simply left and went away, without saying a word. This is his way of saying that you are not worthy of me, that you are not worthy of Zen. You cannot answer a simple thing, that “in a reflection nothing goes, nothing comes, everything remains in its place.” And in existence the case is similar: no going, no coming - just being.
You can feel here, nothing is going, nothing is coming, a tremendous silence. The bamboos are not even making their commentary.
Poor Maneesha is not here, but her question is. She has asked:
Thank you - thank existence - thank you that you don’t give up as easily as Hogen.
But Maneesha, where are you? The master is here and the disciple has given up. This whole mess is being created by Vimal, who is sitting in front of me. Although you are not here, your question is significant for everyone.
I am not Hogen. I will haunt you even in your graves! I will see you however far you escape. I am haunting already all over the world and I am still alive. Once I am dead, then this world cannot prevent me; no law, no parliament, no country can make barriers for me; then I will be all over the place tickling people to wake up. I am not doing anything nasty to anybody, just tickling.