Chapter 7: On the Softest Substance
A real beggar, a bhikkhu - Buddha called his sannyasins bhikkhus - a real bhikkhu thanks ( whether you give him something or not, is not the point. He thanks you if you give to him, he thanks you if you don’t give to him - because if he cannot thank you when you have not given then he was not a receptor, then some aggression was within him. Then he was waiting with expectations: Something is going to be given to me. If it is given I will thank, if it is not given then I will curse.
In Indian languages we have two words for beggar: the “right” beggar we call a bhikkhu or bhikshu; the “wrong” beggar we call a bhikhari. They come from the same root, but a bhikhari is not a bhikkhu and a bhikkhu is not a bhikhari. A right beggar begs without expectation, he has no claim. How can you claim? If you have no claim you are not aggressive, if you are not aggressive you thank, and whether something is given or not is irrelevant.
That man was a beggar but he must have been a bhikkhu, not a bhikhari. He must have been a “right” beggar. He entered the grove and attained enlightenment - became a buddha in eighteen hours. This is the beauty of inaction. He didn’t do anything on his own, he simply allowed himself to be there. He remained available, that’s all. And whatsoever happened, happened, he was just a watcher, a witness to it.
That beggar cannot say: “I attained buddhahood.” How can he say that? There was no attainer, no reacher, there was no one who was trying to attain anything. He was moving in the unknown; he was moving in the unfamiliar and the strange; he could not even recognize what the sound was - it all happened to him.
Because of such phenomena, teerthas, sacred places and temples, have become very important, because sometimes something can happen to you when you are not the doer. The very spot is so charged with the magnetism of somebody else that you are caught into it, you become a receptive agent, something starts happening to you. And to know the beauty of something happening without your doing is the greatest thing in the world. To know that feeling of beautitude, to know that feeling of grace filling you, you are not doing anything and everything is happening..
Now, listen to this sutra of Lao Tzu:
The softest substance of the world
Goes through the hardest.
What is the softest substance of the world? There are two: in the outside world the softest substance is water; in the inside world the softest substance is love. And water and love are both alike in many, many ways. It has to be understood.