Chapter 10: The Master of Silence
This communication beyond words is possible only from heart to heart. So for nine years Bodhidharma searched in China, and then he could find only one man. For nine years Bodhidharma was sitting in China, not facing people; he would always sit facing the wall. If you had gone to hear him he would have been facing the wall, his back towards you. People used to ask him, “Why do you sit in such a peculiar way? - we have come to listen to you.” And Bodhidharma would reply, “I am waiting for the man who can listen to me. I will not look at you, I will not waste my time; I will look only at the person who can listen to me.”
Then came a man; he stood behind Bodhidharma, cut off his right hand, threw it at Bodhidharma and said, “Turn towards this side, otherwise I am going to cut off my head.”
Bodhidharma immediately turned and said, “Right! So you have come! Take this key and relieve me of the work.” The key that was passed from Buddha to Mahakashyapa, Bodhidharma delivered to this man. A Chinese became the seventh master, and up to now it has been traveling. The key is still there, somebody is still holding it; the river has not dried up.
To me, if all the scriptures of Buddha disappear, nothing is lost. Only this anecdote should not disappear. This is the most precious, and scholars have dropped it from Buddha’s biography. They say, “This is irrelevant; it doesn’t fit with Buddha.” But I say to you: All that Buddha did was just ordinary - anybody can do that. But this is extraordinary, this is exceptional - only a buddha can do this.
What happened that morning? Let us start to penetrate into it. Buddha came, sat, and started looking at the flower. He would not look at the people; the flower became the wall. That’s what Bodhidharma did. He would look at the wall, he would not look at the people - he would not waste his look. The flower became the wall and the crowd disappeared. Buddha looked and looked at the flower. What was he doing? When Buddha looks at anything, the quality of his consciousness is transferred. And a flower is one of the most receptive things in the world. Hence Hindus and Buddhists go with flowers to put at their master’s feet or in the temple, because a flower can carry something of your consciousness.
A flower is a very receptive thing, and if you are aware of the new research in the West, you will understand it. Now they say plants are more sensitive than you, than man. A flower is the heart of the plant; the whole being comes into it. Much research is going on in Russia, in the USA, in England, about the sensitivity of plants, and something unbelievable has been discovered.
One man, a scientist, was working on plants - how they feel, whether they feel anything or not, whether they have emotions or not. He was sitting with a plant with electrodes fixed to it to detect any movement in its inner being, any sensation, any emotions. He thought, “If I cut this plant, if I tear down a branch or cut it from the earth, what will happen?” Suddenly, the needle making the graph jumped. He had not done anything, he had just had a thought: “If I cut this plant..” The plant became afraid of death and the needle jumped, recording that the plant was trembling. Even the scientist became scared because he had not done anything - just a thought and the plant received it. Plants are telepathic.