Chapter 24: Eastern Psychology: The Science of the Soul
In a Zen monastery in Japan the same kind of psychological case is treated within three weeks; in the West he would not be treated in twelve years. And in the Zen monastery in those three weeks there is no psychoanalysis. You will be surprised: nothing is done; the person is put in an isolated place.a beautiful garden, pond. In time food will be provided, in time tea will be sent; but nobody will talk with him, he has to remain silent. You can see the difference.
In psychoanalysis he has to talk about his dreams continually, for years, one hour every day, two hours, two sessions a week, three sessions a week - as much as you can afford. And here in a Zen monastery they simply put the man in a beautiful, comfortable place. There are musical instruments available, painting material is available, or if there is anything special he wants to do that is made available; but it has to be something to do - not talking. And for three weeks nobody will to talk to him. During the three weeks, people paint, people play music, people dance, people work in the garden, and after three weeks they are perfectly normal, they are ready to go back home.
What has happened? If you ask the Zen master, he will say, “Nothing! These people were working too hard, and their mind got wound up too much. They needed unwinding. So just three weeks rest and their mind was unwound. They needed physical work so that the whole energy went into the body, not into the mind.” And these people certainly became interested. Without doing anything all the strange and weird things that they had been thinking had disappeared. This is a simple way for sick people to unwind the overloaded mind.
For those who are healthy - not sick people - the way is meditation. There are different methods for different types. And thousands of people have achieved such luminosity, such glory, such godliness, that all the psychologists of the world should be ashamed. They have not been able to produce a single person like that. Even their founders are just very ordinary - worse than ordinary. Sigmund Freud was so afraid of death that even the word death was prohibited. Nobody should mention the word death in his presence because just hearing the word he would fall into a fit, he would go unconscious. These are the founders of modern psychology; they are going to give humanity sanity!
And on the other hand, a Zen monk, just before dying, said to his disciples, “Listen, I have always lived in my own way. I am an independent person and I want to die in my own way also. When I am dead I will not be here, so I will give you the instructions to be followed.”
Just as in India, it happens in exactly the same way in Japan too; before he is taken to the funeral, the person’s clothes are changed, he is given a bath and new clothes are put on him.
The Zen monk said, “I have taken the bath myself, I have changed my clothes, you can see. So when I am dead, there is no need for any bath or changing of clothes. And these are the orders from your master, so remember. At least a dying man’s wishes should not be denied - and I am not asking much.”
His disciples said, “We will do as you say. There is nothing much to it.”