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Chapter 16: When It Is Ripe, the Heart Opens

One disciple was very innocent. He will come everyday to report - anything. He was so simple, just childlike. Sitting with closed eyes, he will think, “One hand clapping.the sound. It must be the wind passing through the pine trees. It makes a beautiful sound.” And he will run. He has found the answer.

And the master will say, “You should think a little more. You seem to be in such a hurry. The koan has been given to many disciples, months have passed, nobody has reported except you. Every morning I am waiting for you. And you bring any kind of nonsense. Now what has one hand clapping and making sound got to do with the wind passing through the pine trees? Just get lost! And don’t make such a mistake again.”

But he was so innocent. He will go again. The next morning sitting silently he will listen.the faraway sound of a cuckoo. And he will say, “Now, I have got it! That old man cannot now say to me ‘get lost.’” And he went again.

It went on for two or three months and finally one day when the disciple came very joyously - again he has found something - the master said, “Keep quiet, because I can see you cannot find the sound of one hand clapping. And after three months experience I know what you must have brought. I will have to do something.”

The master was a strong man. He took the student - they were on the third story of a building - and threw him from the window. He fell down onto the rocks, multiple fractures. And the master came from the same window jumping behind him, stood by his side, leaned on him and said, “Did you hear it?”

And for the first time he experienced silence. In such a situation what else do you expect? So unexpectedly the master threw him out of the window. He has become accustomed to getting lost, but this was absolutely new. His mind could not work.. And those multiple fractures, and he was lying down on the rocks, and the master is asking, “Have you heard it?”

And he touched the feet of the master. He said, “This is the sound? How could I have managed it if you had not helped me? I would have never thought to jump from a three-story building onto the rocks and get multiple fractures; but it is really great, the silence. All words simply disappeared. Now I know you were not telling me to get lost, you were telling my mind to get lost. I tortured you so much. But I have heard it.”

And the master recognized that he has heard it.

But if you do such a thing today you will be in the court. The person will not hear the sound of one hand clapping, he will run directly to the police station saying, “This master is not a master, he is a murderer.” And soon the master will be in the prison. And the master cannot explain the phenomenon to any magistrate, to any judge. What can he say?

In the first place the magistrate will say, “You are asking absurd and stupid things - the sound of one hand clapping!” Now, there is no logical way to explain it. “Secondly, you threw this poor boy from the third story, and you had the nerve to ask him, ‘Have you heard it?’ You almost killed him.”

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