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Chapter 8: Essential Zen

Kyozan once returned to Isan to interview him. Isan said to him, “You are now called a good and clever teacher. How can you distinguish between those who come from all parts and know it, and those who don’t know it; the masters who have inherited it, and those who have not; the profound learning, and the meaning learning? Explain and let me hear.”
Kyozan replied, “Kyozan has had this experience. When monks come from all directions, he raises his stick, and asks them if this is expounded where they come from or not. Further, he says to them, leaving this aside, ‘What are the old masters where you come from teaching?’”
Isan admired him and said, “This has always been the claw and fang of our sect.”

Maneesha, the silence here is so dense, one feels a little afraid even to utter a word. It may disturb the silent lake of your consciousness. But always remember that in the wake of words, silence is deepened. The higher the mountain, the greater will be the valley surrounding it. A great mountain cannot have a small valley. There is a tremendous balance in everything as far as nature is concerned.

The essential Zen is an effort to bring you to the language of existence that you have forgotten completely. You have forgotten completely the most important, and you are filled in your mind with all kinds of gibberish.

You may know, you may not know, that gibberish is not an English word. It comes from Persia, the old name of Iran, and it comes from a very mystical person, Jabbar, because he never spoke anything relevant. Not only was it irrelevant, there was no grammar, there were no words at all, but only sounds. Because of Jabbar, the name “gibberish” came into existence.

But Jabbar was saying something through his gibberish. He was saying, “All that we can say about existence is gibberish.” He was very much in tune with existence.

It seems unbelievable that he had one thousand disciples. Sitting by his side, when he was silent they would be silent; when he would go into gibberish, they would go into gibberish - and nearabout twenty-five people became enlightened. Not a word was said by Jabbar, nothing was heard by anybody.

You cannot write a treatise on Jabbar because he never spoke anything except gibberish. But he was a radiant man, a man who had come to flowering, whose spring had come, and who was not afraid to be vulnerable and open and receptive. He went along with the wind.

Zen has done the same from a different angle, but you must be aware of the fact that any authentic master - to whatever age, to whatever country he belongs - is not interested in preaching you a doctrine. His interest is to bring you in communion, in balance with the reality that surrounds you.

Zen has used many methods never known before. You cannot conceive in a Greek context the validity of any method of Zen. Even Socrates and Plato would have been at a loss if they had met Bodhidharma or Jabbar.

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