Chapter 10: Love Is Death
It depends, it depends on the individual. There cannot be any dogmatic statement about it because each individual is so unique. When Basho becomes enlightened he starts singing poetry, poems; Buddha has never done that. When Krishna becomes enlightened he starts dancing, singing; Mahavira has never done that. When Mahavira becomes enlightened he keeps silence for many years, remains absolutely silent, not a ripple is allowed; Meera has not done that. When she becomes enlightened, she dances from village to village, she sings the glory of God. It is very difficult to make a dogmatic statement.
There have been people who renounced life when they became enlightened and went to the Himalayas, they moved as far away from society as possible. There have been people who became enlightened and came back to the world, even if they had been in the Himalayas, and started living with people again. There have been people who remained emperors even when they became enlightened. Zen masters go on living very ordinary lives; it is very difficult even to recognize. If you don’t have eyes to penetrate them, you will not recognize them.
It is said about a great Zen master, Rinzai..
The emperor came to see him. He was cutting wood just in front of the ashram.
The emperor asked, “Where is your master?” Rinzai said, “He is inside.”
Now of course, the emperor thought he must be inside the ashram, so he went inside the ashram. Rinzai ran in another door and sat on the master’s chair with closed eyes. When the emperor reached, he recognized: “This man seems to be exactly like.just like the woodcutter.” He said, “What is the matter? Who are you? Are you trying to befool me, or are you a madman?”
Rinzai said, “But I have told you, he is inside, and you didn’t understand me. Because you did not understand me, I had to run and I had to sit on this chair. Maybe you can understand only superficials. I was ready then and there to reveal myself, but you didn’t wait. Yes, I am the master, now what do you want? And don’t waste much time, because much wood is still left to be cut and chopped.”
Zen masters live very ordinary lives: they chop wood, they carry water from the well, they prepare food in the kitchen. It is very difficult to see them unless you have eyes. They don’t live any sort of extraordinary life, because they say, “The very search to be extraordinary is egoistic.” Just to be ordinary is the real attitude of a religious man. And remember, the urge to be extraordinary is very ordinary. There is nothing extraordinary about it because everybody wants to be extraordinary. To be ordinary is very extraordinary - because who wants to be ordinary?
So it is very difficult, and I will not give you a criterion to judge by because those criteria have been very destructive and harmful. Once you have a dead criterion with you, you will miss many real people, and you will be deceived by many pseudo people. Whosoever can fulfill that criterion will look like he is enlightened.