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Chapter 1: The Way of the Birds

And from this point the story becomes pure Zen.

The king said, “If you say you met Nobody, then he should have reached here by now!”

The girl said, “Don’t be angry, sir, nobody is Nobody!”

The king said, “I understand language, you don’t have to teach me. Nobody is of course Nobody, but where is he? It certainly proves that Nobody walks slower than you!”

The poor girl now gets into trouble. She says, “No, nobody walks faster than me!”

The king said, “This is very contradictory. If Nobody walks faster than you, he would be here by now.”

It is a children’s book, but certainly the source cannot be found anywhere else except Gautam Buddha. Even if Aesop existed as a historical person, he must have got the idea of “nobody” from Gautam Buddha’s insistence that to be somebody is to be nothing - and to be nobody is to be all. The ego makes you somebody and egolessness makes you nobody. But the ego is a confinement, and the moment you stop the ego you are as vast as the whole universe - you are the universe.

The birds’ way, Tozan said, is,

“You meet nobody on it.”

Don’t misunderstand like the king in Aesop’s fable. You meet nobody does not mean that you meet nobody, it means you become nobody. That is the meeting with nobody.

The monk then asked, “How can we go on this way?”
Tozan answered, “By egolessness, attending to each step as it comes.”

.Living moment to moment, step by step, neither bothering with the past which is gone, nor becoming concerned about the future which has not yet come, always being herenow - and you are a nobody, you are a no-mind. And this opening is the greatest ecstasy. This opening brings all your potentiality to its flowering.

Zen treats you like lotuses.

You need to open to the sky, to the stars. In your opening is your freedom, in your opening is your dignity, in your opening is your splendor.

But the poor monk did not understand. He said:

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