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Chapter 10: What Next?

Just the other day I was telling you the Chinese allegory of the man who returned from the middle of the river. Why did he return from the middle of the river? Because there is no other shore, this is the only shore. And why did he start laughing? Because he suddenly realized he himself is the Buddha whom he has been seeking.

Zen masters teach their disciples that if while meditating some day you come across Buddha - kill him immediately. Don’t spare a single moment - kill him immediately! Otherwise he will lead you astray.

They are right. While you are meditating Krishna comes with his flute, it is so beautiful.... Again you are dreaming, again you are caught in dream and desire. And Jesus comes, and you are caught in the web of the mind; it is a spider’s web. And then Buddha comes, and you forget yourself.

So Zen masters say: Kill the Buddha immediately. Clear the way. Don’t allow anybody else to be there; that is, don’t allow any goal to be there. Just be total, alone - in your absolute purity. This is enlightenment.

I should repeat it, because I know you will forget and forget and forget: you are already that which you are seeking. Let this be the basic mantra. If you can understand this mantra, you have understood all.

Give it a try. Goals - too many lives you have already given to them. Now try to live moment to moment, as if there is no future. In the beginning it will be only as if, but by and by you will become aware that that AS IF is the only reality. In the beginning it may be just like acting. Soon you will realize that this acting is the only reality.

You have come with a goal but I won’t allow you to remain with a goal. If you don’t escape me the goal is bound to drop. Just hang around a little more and the goal is bound to drop. Either I can be here with you or the goal can: you have to choose.

The second question:

What is the difference between reaction and response?

There is much, a lot of difference, not only in quantity but quality. A reaction is out of the past, a response is out of the present. You react out of the past old patterns.

Somebody insults you: suddenly the old mechanism starts functioning. In the past people have insulted you and you have behaved in a certain way; you behave in the same way again. You are not responding to this insult and this man, you are simply repeating an old habit. You have not looked at this man and this new insult - it has a different flavor - you are just functioning like a robot. You have a certain mechanism inside you: you push the button, you say, “This man has insulted me” - and you react; the reaction is not to the real situation, it is something projected. You have seen the past in this man.

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