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Chapter 1: Truth and Knowledge

A disciple asked a Zen master, “If someone were to ask me a hundred years from now what I thought was your deepest understanding, what should I say?”

The master replied, “Tell him I said, ‘This is it!’”

Now what type of answer is this? - “This is it.” He indicated to the immediate reality - this.

Vedanta, the greatest philosophical effort in India, talks about “that.” “Tattvamasi, Svetketu” - “that art thou, Svetketu.” Zen people talk about “this.” Certainly their understanding is deeper - because “that” is again in the future, far away; “this” is present. This is that. This shore is the other shore. This life is the only life, and this moment is eternity.

If you can live this moment, if you can be here this moment, then everything takes care of itself. Then you need not be anxious. Then there is no need to ask - before you ask, the answer is delivered. The answer has always been there, but we are not aware. So the whole effort of Zen is how to bring awareness to you.

Man is as if asleep. Man lives in a stupor - moves, works, is born, lives and dies, but almost fast asleep, snoring. Man’s mind is very dull. Mind is dullness. Mind has no intelligence in it. There has never been an intelligent mind. I don’t mean that there have never been intelligent people; there have been intelligent people, but there has never been an intelligent mind. Intelligence is something that comes when mind is dropped. Mind is never original, never radical. Mind is always orthodox. Mind is always repetitive, mechanical; it functions like a robot. It goes on repeating the same thing again and again. It is like a computer - whatsoever you feed into it, it goes on chewing it again and again.

Have you watched your own mind and its functioning? Nothing new ever happens to it. Nothing new can happen to it. And because of it you remain oblivious to all that is happening all around you; you go on ignoring it. You are too much attached to this mediocre, stupid instrument. It is good to use it; it is good as a reservoir, as memory; it is good to keep records - but it is not a way to see into reality. It has no eyes.

Mind is blind like a bat. It has no eyes. Mind can never be intelligent - only no-mind is intelligent. Only no-mind is original and radical. Only no-mind is revolutionary - revolution in action.

This mind gives you a sort of a stupor. Burdened by the memories of the past, burdened by the projections of the future, you go on living at the minimum. You don’t live at the maximum. Your flame remains very dim. Once you start dropping thoughts, dust that you have collected in the past, the flame arises - clean, clear, alive, young. Your whole life becomes a flame, and a flame without any smoke. That is what awareness is.

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