Chapter 8: Zen without Writing
The master still insisted, “Much that is valuable is written in it. It is no ordinary book, it is the book, The Bible” - The Bible means ‘the book’. And seven generations of enlightened people.“so don’t be sacrilegious, pay respect to this book, keep it and hand it over to your successor. By giving this book to you I certify you. This book is just a representation that you are my successor.”
The master gave the book to the disciple. It must have been a cold night because the fire was burning. In one hand the disciple received the book, and in the same instant he thrust it into the fire. The master, who had never been angry in his life, shouted, “What are you doing?”
And the disciple shouted even louder than the master, “What are you saying?”
This is beautiful. The master must have died peacefully. This was the right man. The book had to be thrust into the fire or the disciple would have missed. If he had kept the book he would have missed, and then he would not have been the successor.because you keep the book only when the thing has not happened to you. Who is bothered about words when the truth is with you? Who is bothered about a book when the real thing has happened within? Who is bothered about explanations when the experience is there? Explanations are precious because the experience is lacking; theories are significant because there is no knowledge. When you know you can throw theories - they are rubber bands. When the notes are with you, you can throw the rubber band. Preserving a rubber band shows foolishness.
This book was not precious - no book is precious - and the master was playing a game, the same that his master must have played with him. Nobody knows what was written in the book, but I tell you nothing was written in it. It was empty. Had the disciple preserved it, when the master died he would have opened it and then he would have cried. Nothing was written in the book. It was just a game, an old game. Every master tries to test the experience of the disciple, whether he knows. And if he knows, he will not be addicted to the book. Why? - there is no point in it. That is why the disciple said, “What are you saying? To preserve the book when I have achieved without it, when I have already achieved? What are you saying?”
The master provoked a situation, and in that situation the disciple proved his mettle. He proved that he knew. Even a slight inclination to preserve and he would have missed, he would not have been the successor. He didn’t even look in the book to see what was there. He was not even curious, because only ignorance is curious. If you know, you know: what is the curiosity?
What would have happened to you? The first thing the mind would have said was: At least look in it, see what is there. But that gesture would have been enough to prove that you had not achieved. Curiosity means ignorance. Wisdom is not curious. Curiosity asks questions; wisdom has no questions to ask. What would you have done? The first thing that comes to the mind: At least see what is there. If my master insists that this precious book has to be preserved, handed down from one generation to another with seven enlightened persons having written in it, and with my own master having added his own understanding to it, at least have a look before you throw it in the fire.