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Chapter 10: The Master of Silence

The moment they parted Farid’s disciples gathered around him and said, “What nonsense! What wastage of time. We were hoping that something was going to happen. Nothing happened. Why did you suddenly become so dumb? You talk so much to us.”

Farid replied, “All that I know, he knows also. Nothing is to be said. I looked into his eyes, and he is there, where I am. Whatsoever he has seen I have seen; whatsoever he has realized I have realized. There is nothing to be said.”

Two ignorant persons can talk. They talk much; they do nothing except talk. Two enlightened persons cannot talk - it would be absurd. Two ignorant persons talking is meaningless because there is nothing to convey. They don’t know anything that can be said, that should be said, but they go on talking. Their chattering is just a mad catharsis - they cannot help it - it is a release.

Two enlightened persons cannot talk because they know the same. Nothing is to be said. Only one enlightened person and one unenlightened person can have a meaningful communication, because one knows and the other is yet in ignorance. A meaningful communication, I say. I don’t say that the truth can be conveyed, but some hints, some indications, some gestures can, so that the other becomes ready to take the jump. The truth cannot be conveyed, but the thirst can be given. No teaching worth the name can give the key through words.

Buddha talked - it’s difficult to find another person who talked so much. Scholars have been studying all the scriptures in existence that are in the name of Buddha, and they say it is impossible, because after his enlightenment he lived forty years, walking from one village to another. He walked all over Bihar, and the name Bihar comes because Buddha walked there. Bihar means the walking paths of Buddha. The whole province is called Bihar because this is the boundary where Buddha walked - his bihar, his wanderings.

He continually walked; only in the rainy season did he rest. So much time was wasted in walking, and then also he had to sleep. So scholars have been calculating; they say, “This seems impossible. Sleeping, walking, doing other daily routines - there are so many scriptures, how could he have talked so much? If he was continuously talking for forty years, without a gap of a single moment, only then could this much have been talked.” He must have talked so much - continuously - yet still he says the key cannot be conveyed through words.

This story is one of the most significant ones, because from this story starts the tradition of Zen. Mahakashyapa is the first master of Zen. Buddha is the source, and Mahakashyapa is the first, the original master of Zen. And this story is the source from where the whole tradition - one of the most beautiful and alive that exists on earth - the tradition of Zen, started.

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