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Chapter 6: Without Any Choice of Your Own

In a Zen monastery, everything has to be respected absolutely; even rice and wheat, stones, everything has to be respected. One has to be continuously careful and aware. Not even a grain of rice can you find in a Zen monastery lying here and there. You have to be respectful. And remember, that respect has nothing to do with Gandhian economics. It is not a question of economy, because Gandhian economy is nothing but rationalized miserliness. It has nothing to do with miserliness. It is a simple respect for everything, absolute respect. This was disrespectful. This is the original idea of the Upanishads where seers have said, “Annam Brahma’ - food is God - because food gives you life, food is your energy. God comes into your body through food, becomes your blood, your bones, so a god should be treated as a god. When those gods threw rice and wheat on To-san’s path he could not believe: “Who has done this? Who has been so careless?” A thought arose in his mind, and the story is that the gods could see his face for a single moment, because for a single moment the “I” arose in a very subtle way: “Who has done this? Something has gone wrong.”

And whenever you decide what is wrong and what is right, you are there, immediately. Between the right and the wrong exists the ego. Between one thought and another thought exists the ego. Each thought brings its own ego. For a moment, a cloud arose in To-san’s consciousness - ‘Who has done this?” - a tension. Each thought is a tension. Even very ordinary, very innocent-looking thoughts are tensions.

You see the garden is beautiful, and the sun is rising, and the birds are singing, and an idea arises, “How beautiful!” Even that is a tension. That’s why if somebody is walking by your side, you will immediately say to him, “Look, what a beautiful morning!” What are you doing? You are simply releasing the tension that has come through the thought. Beautiful morning.a thought has come; it has created a tension around it. Your being is no more non-tense. It has to be released, so you speak to the other. It is meaningless because he is also standing just where you are standing. He is also listening to the birds, he is also seeing the sun rise, he is also looking at the flowers, so what is the point of saying something like “this is beautiful”? Is he blind? But that is not the point. You are not communicating any message to him. The message is as clear to him as to you. In fact, you are relieving yourself of a tension. By saying it, the thought is dispersed into the atmosphere; you are relieved of the burden.

A thought arose in Tosan’s mind, a cloud gathered, and through that cloud the gods were able to see his face, just a glimpse. Again the cloud disappeared, again there was no longer any Tosan.

Remember, this is what meditation is all about, to destroy you so utterly that even if gods come they cannot seek you, they cannot find you. You yourself have found when such a situation arises, that not even gods can find you. There is nobody inside to be found. That “somebodiness” is a sort of tension. That’s why people who think they are somebodies are more tense. People who think that they are nobodies are less tense. People who have completely forgotten that they are, are tensionless. So remember, when the ego is lost, the “I” is not found. When the ego is lost nothing is found. That nothingness, that purity of nothingness is your being, your innermost core, your very nature, your buddha-nature, your awareness - like a vast sky with no clouds gathered in it.

Now, listen to the question again.

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