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Chapter 6: Why Don’t You Retire?

Tokusan was studying Zen under Ryutan. One night Tokusan came to Ryutan and asked many questions.

The teacher said, “The night is getting old - why don’t you retire?”

So Tokusan bowed, and as he opened the screen to go out he observed, “It is very dark outside.”

Ryutan offered Tokusan a lighted candle to find his way, but just as Tokusan received it, Ryutan blew it out.

At that moment the mind of Tokusan was opened.

Tokusan was studying Zen under Ryutan. One night Tokusan came to Ryutan and asked many questions.

The first thing to understand: you cannot study Zen. It is impossible. You can be in it, but you cannot study it - because Zen, or dhyan, is not an object of study, it is a way of life. It depends how you live. You cannot get it through scriptures, you cannot get it from anybody. Nobody can teach you, it is not to be taught. It is not knowledge which can be transferred from one hand to another. It is a way of life. You can allow yourself to move into it, you can flow into it, you can be vulnerable to it, open to it - and that’s what one has to do with a master.

You cannot study, you can just allow yourself to be infected. It is like an infection; if you are vulnerable, you will catch it. Just living with the master is enough: open, not fighting, just being with the master, there are moments while you are silent.you can learn it.

This story says, Tokusan was studying Zen.. There he was wrong. No university can offer you a course in religion. They offer, but whatsoever they teach is not religion at all. It may be a history of religion - it is not religion. It may be philosophies of religion - it is not religion. They may help you to learn the Koran, the Bible, the Gita, but it is not religion. They may talk about Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, and you will learn many things, but you will miss the very base, the very core.

So the first thing to be understood is, nobody can explain to you what Zen is, what dhyan is. You can learn it, but nobody can teach you. I have been continuously saying that there are disciples and no masters, because a master cannot do anything positively, directly. He cannot give it to you, he cannot teach it to you. What can he do? If he could teach, he could have given it; then one buddha would be enough to enlighten the whole world. But many buddhas have existed and the world remains as it is. Directly, nothing can be done. The thing is so subtle, so delicate, that if you transfer it, in the very transfer it dies.

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