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Chapter 15: The House Where Nobody Lives

A prayer that arises within you, like a flame. And that is what happens in deep meditation. Suddenly you start experiencing a new warmth and a new flame, a new joy that you have never experienced before. It has been dormant, it has been continuously repressed for millions of years. It has gone so deep that you will have to go that deep to find it.

That’s why I go on insisting: go on, deeper and deeper, and go on throwing the garbage that the past has left in you.

These small anecdotes are all concerned with meditation in different ways.

When the head monk, Ryosui, went first to see Mayoku, Mayoku took up his hoe and began to weed.

Zen is such a symbolic and poetic phenomenon, each gesture signifies a tremendous philosophy. Now, you would have missed, as Ryosui missed - without even a single word being expressed on either side,

Mayoku took up his hoe and began to weed. Ryosui went to the place where he was weeding, but Mayoku deliberately took no notice of him and went back to his room and shut the door.

It looks absurd on the surface. But what he is saying is, “There is no point in coming to me unless you have taken out all the weeds from your being. Unless you come with a clean soil, I cannot sow the seeds.” He has made it absolutely clear, although he has not said a single word.

The next day the same thing happened, but this time Ryosui knocked at the door.

The first day Ryosui could not figure out what was happening, why he was being treated this way - not even taken notice of, not even a hello. But he must have pondered, meditated over the fact that there must be something, some reason why a great master would behave with a new seeker in this way. “Certainly I must be wrong. He cannot be wrong.” And in his silent moments he must have seen the point that unless you take all the weeds out, there is no point in coming to a master.

The next day he went again.

.the same thing happened, but this time Ryosui knocked at the door.

Now he had some confidence. He had understood the message: the master was not rejecting him but provoking him: “Unless you knock on the door, the door will not open by itself.”

Mayoku said, “Who is it?”

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