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Chapter 4: Have a Cup of Tea

Joshu, the Zen master, asked a new monk in the monastery,
“Have I seen you before?”
The new monk replied, “No sir.”
Joshu said, “Then have a cup of tea.”
Joshu then turned to another monk: “Have I seen you here before?”
The second monk said, “Yes sir, of course you have.”
Joshu said, “Then have a cup of tea.”
Later the managing monk of the monastery asked Joshu,
“How is it you make the same offer of tea to any reply?”
At this Joshu shouted, “Manager, are you still here?”
The manager replied, “Of course, master.”
Joshu said, “Then have a cup of tea.”

The story is simple, but difficult to understand. It is always so. The more simple a thing the more difficult it is to understand. To understand, something complex is needed; to understand, you have to divide and analyze. A simple thing cannot be divided and analyzed - there is nothing to divide and analyze, the thing is so simple. The simplest always escapes understanding, that is why God cannot be understood. God is the simplest thing, absolutely the simplest thing possible. The world can be understood; it is very complex. The more complex a thing is, the more the mind can work in it. When it is simple there is nothing to grind, the mind cannot work.

Logicians say that simple qualities are indefinable. For example, if somebody asks you, “What is yellow?” - it is such a simple quality, the color yellow, how will you define it? You will say, “Yellow is yellow.” The man will say, “That I know, but what is the definition of yellow?” If you say yellow is yellow you are not defining, you are simply repeating the same thing again. It is a tautology.

One of the most penetrating minds of this century, G.E.Moore, has written a book, Principia Ethica. The whole book consists of a very persistent effort to define what is good. Making efforts from all directions, in two or three hundred pages - and two, three hundred pages of G.E.Moore is worth three thousand pages of anybody else - he comes to the conclusion that good is indefinable. It cannot be defined, it is such a simple quality. When something is complex there are many things in it; you can define one thing by another that is present there. If you and I are in a room and you ask me, “Who are you?” I can at least say I am not you. This will be-come the definition, the indication. But if I am alone in the room and I ask myself the question, “Who am I?” the question resounds but there is no answer. How to define it?

That is why God has been missed. Intellect denies it, reason says no. God is the simplest denominator in existence - the most simple and the most basic. The mind stops. There is nothing other than God, so how to define God? He is alone in the room. That is why religions have been trying to divide; then definition is possible. They say, “This world is not that. God is not the world, God is not matter, God is not body, God is not desire.” These are ways to define.

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