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Chapter 3: As Within, So Without

Abrahamson had reached the grand old age of eighty and decided to celebrate. All his life he had been orthodox, had worn a long beard, black hat, black suit and black overcoat. Now to celebrate his birthday the old man shaved off the beard, replaced his somber black clothes with the latest style green checked suit, a burgundy tie and blue striped shirt and headed for the massage parlor.

As Abrahamson crossed the street he was struck by a truck and killed. In heaven he spoke to his maker, God, “Why me? I was a good husband, I gave to all the charities, I have always been a religious man.”

“To tell the truth,” said the Lord, “I did not recognize you.”

And I would like to tell you even God will not be able to recognize you either. He changed his dress only once and became unrecognizable and you change your periphery every moment, you change your dress every moment, you change your face, your mask, every moment. Forget about God - you cannot recognize yourself. You cannot say who you are.

In Zen they have a koan, a deep object for meditation, to find out one’s original face. The master says to the disciple: “Go and sit silently and find out your original face.” They mean the face you had before you were born or the face that you will have after you have died - because the moment the child is born, the society starts giving him false faces; the moment the child takes his first breath, corruption starts. The child has entered into the world of politics, falsification, untruth. Now, layer upon layer, there will be many faces.

And the clever man has many more faces than the simple man. So whatsoever the need he immediately changes his face. He adjusts his face.

Have you watched? You are sitting in your room and your servant passes by. You have a different face for the servant, a very indifferent face. In fact, you don’t look at your servant, he is not worth looking at. You don’t recognize that a man, a human being just like you, has entered the room. It is as if a mechanism has passed. You don’t recognize the humanity of the servant. But if your boss comes into the room immediately you are standing, wagging your tail, smiling - all smiles. You have a different face for your boss. If your wife comes you have a different face, if your mistress comes you have a different face. Continuously you go on adjusting, manipulating. One has to understand otherwise one cannot find one’s original face.

A man who has an original face has a unity. He remains the same. Buddha is reported to have said that the taste of an enlightened man is just like the taste of seawater - wherever you taste it, whenever you taste it, it always tastes of the salt.

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