Chapter 14: Zen Is for Nobodies
Zen would love even a fool, if he is innocent, if he can say, “I do not know” That’s what has been happening in this dialogue.
Ungo said, “You are a fool!”
Ordinarily, anybody would have been offended to be called a fool. But Zen speaks a totally different language. Its vibe is different, its world is different. Rather than being offended, he simply said, “So are you!” Neither I know nor you know.
Not knowing, just being, is the conclusion of Zen. Knowing is for the mind, not knowing is of the heart. And as your not knowing goes deeper, it reaches to your very being.
Socrates, in the last moments of life told his disciples, “When I was young I thought I knew too much. As I became a little more mature, I became aware that my knowledge is so little and the area of ignorance is immense. But now, before dying, I can say to you that I do not know anything at all. I am dying just like a child, unscratched.”
That is the meaning of Kabir’s statement: Jyun ki tyun dhari dinhin chadariya - “The way you have given me life, I am returning it back to you, unscratched, unspoiled.” The same innocence that belongs to the first day, should remain your whole life, throbbing within you.
Then you will know the poetry of existence, then you will know the aesthetics, the beauty that surrounds you. Then you will know that which cannot be known, which cannot be said, but still can be felt, still can be lived.
“What is the meaning of fool?” asked Ungo
The monk danced.
A very authentic answer: Stop bothering with the words, now come to reality. His dance is the answer of his innocence. It is unfortunate that even poets become egoists. It is unfortunate that musicians, painters, sculptors become egoists. These are the people who should be the mystics. But rather then entering into the innocence of their poetry, their music, their dance, they also enter into the race of politics, being somebody special.
Zen is for those who are ready to be nobodies, who are ready to be just a silence. But that silence opens the door to all the splendors that are hidden within you. Out of that silence your dance will have a totally different quality: your poetry will have a totally different nuance, your music will not be your music. You will become just like a hollow bamboo and the universe will sing through you.