Chapter 3: Take No Thought for the Morrow
A man of understanding is always available; whatsoever the message you bring, he is available. He has no prejudice and he has no pride. A man of such an enlightened consciousness as Gasan says, “Yes, you read it. I will listen to it.” There is nothing any more to know! He knows the ultimate, but this humbleness is part of enlightenment. He is ready to learn. He knows all. There is nothing left to learn any more, but a man of understanding is always open.
In Zen they have a special statement about it. They call it “the beginner’s mind.” They say the Zen person always keeps the beginner’s mind, he never becomes an expert. He is always at the beginning of everything. He remains always a disciple - even a master. He is ready to learn, he is not closed, he is always vulnerable, he is open. Any message you bring, he is not saying from the very beginning that “I know all. No need to read the Bible to me. You take your Bible back home.” No, he says, “you can read it.”
This is the beginner’s mind. This phrase, “beginner’s mind,” is of great importance. Have you not watched it? When you start doing something, just in the beginning, there is such joy. You start learning to drive - there is such joy. But after a month when you have learned, all joy disappears. It is boring, it is just a routine. Then you go on driving. You don’t hear the humming sound of the engine, you don’t feel the air passing through, you don’t see the rhythmic functioning of the car. You don’t see anything. You don’t see the trees and the birds and the sun - nothing, no more. In the beginning, for a few days, it was such a honeymoon - a honeymoon with the car.
And so are all our experiences. In the beginning everything seems to be so beautiful! You fall in love with a woman, and everything is tremendously beautiful, incredible. And after a few weeks everything is gone, finished. You have come to a dead end, you are looking for another woman or another man. What happens? You lose the beginner’s mind.
The beginner’s mind is an innocent mind, the beginner’s mind is an ignorant mind. The beginner’s mind means: you know you don’t know. Because you know you don’t know, you are ready to learn, available, open. Whatsoever happens you are very, very curious to know everything, you are intrigued with every moment of it - every bite of it and you are intrigued. There is great joy. Soon you become an expert. The day you become an expert, knowing dies and knowledge starts being gathered.
So a real man of knowing is always a “beginner’s mind.” He never becomes an expert, he remains learning.
“No,” said Gasan, “read it to me.”
The student opened the Bible and read from St. Matthew: “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.. Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.”