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Chapter 8: Tozan’s Five Pounds

Next time if you come to Tozan the same answer cannot be given, will not be given, because Tozan may not be weighing, or may be weighing something else, or may be even weighing flax, but the flax may not weigh five pounds. Next time the answer will be different. If you come again and again, each time the answer will be different. This is the difference between a scholar and a man of knowledge. A scholar has fixed answers. If you come, whenever you come, he has a ready-made answer for you. You ask, and he will give you the answer, and the answer will always be the same - and you will feel he is very consistent. He is.

There was once a case against Mulla Nasruddin in the court, and the judge asked his age. He said, “Forty years.”

The judge looked surprised and he said, “Nasruddin, four years ago you were here, and I asked that time also what is your age, and you told me forty years. Now this is absolutely inconsistent - how can you still be forty?”

Nasruddin said, “I am a man of consistency. Once forty, I remain forty always. When I have answered once, I have answered for ever! You cannot lead me astray. I am forty, and whenever you ask you will get the same answer. I am a man who is always consistent.”

A consistent man is dead. If you are dead, only then can you remain forty. Then there is no need to change. A dead man never grows - and you cannot find persons more dead than pundits, scholars, men of information.

An enlightened man lives in the moment: you ask, he replies - but he has got no fixed replies. He is the reply. So whatsoever happens in that moment happens; he does not manipulate it, he does not think about it, about what you are asking. You simply ask, and his whole being responds. In this moment it happened that Tozan was weighing flax, and in this moment it happened that the flax weighed five pounds, and when this monk asked, “What is Buddha?” in Tozan’s being five pounds was the reality. He was weighing; in Tozan’s being five pounds was the fact. He simply said: Five pounds of flax.

Looks absurd on the surface. If you go deeper, deeper, you find a relevancy which is not a logical relevancy, and you find a consistency which is not that of the mind, but of the being. Understand, try to understand the difference. If next time you come and Tozan is digging a hole in the garden, and you ask, “What is Buddha?” - he will give you the answer. He will say, “Look at this hole,” he will say, “It is ready; now the tree can be planted.” Next time, if you come again, and if he is going for a walk with his walking stick, he may say, “This walking stick.”

Whatsoever is in the moment will be the reply, because a buddha lives moment to moment - and if you start living moment to moment, you become a buddha. This is the answer: live moment to moment and you become a buddha. A buddha is one who lives moment to moment, who does not live in the past, who does not live in the future, who lives here now. Buddhahood is a quality of being present here and now - and buddhahood is not a goal, you need not wait, you can become just here and now.