Chapter 10: Ninakawa Smiles
Mulla Nasruddin said, “My business was very good, money was pouring in continuously. I was a very industrious worker, totally absorbed in my business. And I had a motto on my table: ‘Think constructively! Act decisively!’ and money continued pouring in. And then.” Mulla Nasruddin’s frame started convulsing and he said, “then my wife burned the motto. That motto, ‘Think constructively! Act decisively!’ - the whole thing depended on that motto. And my wife burned it! That was the greatest catastrophe, and that has led me to this sad plight.”
Have you ever thought, if your scriptures are burned, what will happen to you? If your mottos are burned, what will happen to you? If your words are burned, what will happen to you? You will be in a very sad plight. That’s why, if someone says anything against the Bible, you become mad. It is not because he is saying something against the Bible - he is burning your motto. You depend on the word. And you depend on the word because you don’t know what truth is. If you come to know what truth is you will throw all the words, you will burn all the mottos.
Mulla Nasruddin seems to be foolish - he is not. He is just a representative human being, the most representative, the normal. He is you, in all your absurdities - but magnified, of course.
This Ninakawa was struggling his whole life, meditating, sitting, using many techniques, trying in every way to become calm and quiet and still; but he was still in the grip of scripture. The day he was dying Ikkyu visited him. That was the moment now to push this man into the infinite abyss. He may miss, because at the time of death, if scripture is there, you will miss.
You need to be totally vacant, you need to be totally empty; only then can you meet death, because death is emptiness. And only the alike can know the alike, the same can understand the same. If you are filled, even with a single word, you will miss, because then the mind is there - and death has no mind, death has no thought; death is simply falling into emptiness.
So Ikkyu came to push this disciple at the last moment. He had been missing his whole life - he should not miss this last moment. And I also tell you: if you miss your whole life, then there is only one possibility and only one hope - at the moment of death. But no need to wait for it, it can happen right now. If it is not happening right now, then go on trying. But get ready for death. If you are ready, I will be there to push you. If you are ready, then it is very easy: just a little jerk, and the mind blows.
Just before Ninakawa passed away the Zen Master Ikkyu visited him.