Chapter 8: Tozan’s Five Pounds
The nature of the mind is repetition, and the nature of life is no repetition. Life is always new, always. Newness is the nature of life, Tao; nothing is old, cannot be. Life never repeats, it simply becomes new every day, new every moment - and mind is old; hence mind and life never meet. Mind simply repeats, life never repeats - how can mind and life meet? That’s why philosophy never understands life.
The whole effort of religion is: how to drop the mind and move into life, how to drop the repetitive mechanism and how to enter the ever-new, evergreen phenomenon of existence. This is the whole point of this beautiful story, Tozan’s Five Pounds.
The master Tozan was weighing some flax in the storeroom. A monk came up to him and asked: “What is Buddha?”
Tozan said: “This flax weighs five pounds.”
Many things: first, a Zen master is not a recluse, he has not renounced life; rather, on the contrary, he has renounced the mind and entered life.
There are two types of sannyasins in the world: one type renounces life and enters the life of the mind completely - these are the anti-life people, escaping from the world towards the Himalayas, Tibet. They renounce life to be completely absorbed in the mind - and they are in the majority, because to renounce life is easy; to renounce mind is difficult.
What is the difficulty? If you want to escape from here, you can escape! You can leave your wife, your children, your house, your job - really you will feel unburdened, because your wife has become a burden, the children have become a burden, and the whole thing, working every day, earning.you are fed up! You will feel unburdened.
And what will you do in the Himalayas? The whole energy will become mind: you will repeat Ram, Ram, Ram, you will read the Upanishads and the Vedas, and you will think profound truths. You will think about where the world came from, where the world is going, who created the world, why he created the world, what is good and what is evil. You will contemplate, think - great things! Your whole life energy which was engaged in other things will be freed from them now and will be absorbed in the mind. You will become a mind.
And people will pay you respect because you renounced life. You are a great man! Fools will recognize you as a great man: fools can recognize you only because you are the greatest of them and they will pay respect, they will prostrate themselves at your feet - you have done a great miracle!