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Chapter 8: Tozan’s Five Pounds

You ask about the sky and I answer about the earth; you ask about God and I talk about a rock - no meeting. And yet there is a meeting - but very perceptive eyes are needed, not intellectually keen but feelingfully perceptive; not identified with reasoning but waiting to look, watching, witnessing what is happening; not already prejudiced, but open. Koestler is prejudiced.a very keen intellect, can work out things very logically in the tradition of Aristotle, but does not know anything, does not know at all that there exists an absolutely non-Aristotelian world of Zen, where two plus two are not necessarily four; sometimes they are five, sometimes they are three - anything is possible. No possibility is destroyed, all possibilities remain open, infinitely open. And every time two and two meet, something else happens. The world remains open, unknown; you cannot exhaust it.

Look: superficially this man is mad, but deeply you cannot find a saner man than this Tozan. But Koestler will miss, and Koestler is a keen intellect, very logical; only a few people can compete with him in keen intelligence, but he misses. In this world intelligence is a means, in that world intelligence becomes a barrier. Don’t be too wise, otherwise you will miss the real wisdom. Look at this Tozan without any prejudice, without any mind of your own. Simply look at the phenomenon, what is happening?

A disciple monk asks, “What is Buddha?” - and a Zen master lives in the moment, he is always here and now, he is always at home - whenever you come you will find him there, he is never absent from there - he remains in this moment. The trees, the sky, the sun, the rocks, the birds, the people - the whole world is concentrated in this moment! This moment is vast. It is not just a tick of your clock; this moment is infinite, because in this moment, everything is. Millions of stars, many new stars being born, many old stars going to die, this whole infinite expanse of time and space meets in this moment. So how to indicate this moment? - and Tozan was weighing flax - how to indicate this moment, how to bring this monk here and now? How to put his philosophic inquiry aside? How to shock him and awaken him to this moment, and in this moment?

This is a shock - because he must have been inquiring about Buddha in his mind, thinking: “What is the reality of a buddha? What is truth?” And he must have been expecting some profound answer, something very superb: “This master is enlightened, so he must say something very valuable.” He could never have expected that it was going to be such an ordinary thing, such an ordinary and absurd answer. He must have been shocked.

In that shock you can be awake for a moment, a fraction of a moment. When you are shocked thinking cannot continue. If the answer is anything relevant, thinking can continue, because that is what mind asks - relevancy. If something is said which is relevant to the question, thinking can continue; if something is said which is absolutely absurd, discontinuous, is not to the point at all, the mind cannot continue. Suddenly the mind is shocked, and the continuity broken. Soon it will start again, because the mind will say: This is absurd!

Mulla Nasruddin was being analyzed by a psychiatrist. After many months of analysis, many meetings, the psychiatrist said, as Mulla lay on the couch: “This is what I feel, this is what I conclude: you need to fall in love, you need a beautiful feminine object. Love is your need.”

Mulla said, “Between me and you, don’t you think love is silly?”

The psychiatrist said, “Between me and you? - it would be absurd!”