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Chapter 2: The Brash Student

Once you know it, you move as a nonbeing. Nobody can make you angry, nobody can make you happy, unhappy, miserable. No! In that emptiness all dualities dissolve: happy, unhappy, miserable, blissful - all dissolve. This is buddhahood. This is what happened under the bodhi tree to Gautam Siddhartha. He reached emptiness. Then everything is silent. You have gone beyond opposites.

A master is to help you to go to your inner emptiness, the inner silence, the inner temple; and the master has to devise methods. Only Zen masters beat; sometimes they throw a person out of the window, or they jump on him. Because you have become so false, such drastic methods are needed - and in Japan particularly, because Japan is so false.

In Japan, a smile is a painted smile. Everybody smiles - it is just a habit, a beautiful habit as far as the society is concerned, because in Japan, if you are driving and you hit a person on a Tokyo road, something will happen which can never happen anywhere else: the person will smile and bow down and thank you. Only in Japan can this happen, nowhere else. He will say, “This is my fault,” and you will say, “This is my fault,” if you are Japanese. Both will say, “This is my fault,” and both will bow down and smile and go their ways. In a way it is good, because what is the use of being angry and shouting at each other and creating a crowd - what is the use?

From their very childhood the Japanese are conditioned to always smile - that’s why in the West they are thought to be very sly people: you cannot rely on them because you don’t know what they are feeling. You cannot know what a Japanese feels, he never allows anything to come out.

This is one extreme: everything false, painted. So Zen masters had to devise these drastic methods, because only through them would the Japanese mask fall down; otherwise it is fixed, it has almost become their skin, as if grafted on the skin.

This is happening to the whole world now, not only Japan. Degrees may differ, but now this is the whole world. Everybody laughs, smiles: neither the laugh is true, nor the smile. Everybody says good things about each other: nobody believes in them, nobody feels that way; it has become social etiquette.

Your personality is a social phenomenon. Your being is buried deep down under this personality. You need a shock, so that the personality is thrown open, or for some moments you are identified with it no more and you reach the center. There, everything is empty.

The whole art of meditation is, how to leave the personality easily, move to the center, and be not a person. Just to be and not be a person is the whole art of meditation, the whole art of inner ecstasy.

Enough for today.