Chapter 4: A Pearl of Exceeding Beauty
Certainly he will not allow you to leave. He will prevent you from leaving, because your going means one prop to his ego disappearing. He will be dependent on you. And the master who is dependent on you.how can he help you? He himself needs help; he himself is in confusion, in darkness. He himself is not yet capable to be alone. He has not arrived home.
But the true master will always watch when to leave you. He will be always ready to leave you whenever you are ready to be on your own,. He will not leave you before you are ready, that is true. And only he can know when you are ready; you cannot know it.
Just the other day, one sannyasin has written me a letter saying that now he feels he is capable to be on his own, that now he can go all alone, and he wants to drop out of sannyas. I said, “That’s perfectly okay.”
Now he wants to see me. I said, “Why?” He wrote a letter to get last instructions from me. Now, what kind of readiness is this? If you still need instructions from me, then what kind of readiness is this to be on your own?
When you are ready I will tell you that you are ready. And the paradox is, I will tell you, “Drop the sannyas!” and you will not drop it. How can you drop it? It is the sannyas that has brought you so far.
When Sariputra became an enlightened person in his own right, Buddha told him, “Now there is no need to bow down to me. You are in the same exalted state as I am.” But Sariputra continued to bow down the same, no difference. Just as he had come for the first day years before and had touched Buddha’s feet, he continued to touch Buddha’s feet. And Buddha would say to him again and again, “Sariputra, now there is no need!” And he won’t listen.
One day Buddha asked him, “Why don’t you listen to me?” Sariputra said, “Now I am a buddha in my own right. Why should I listen to you? This is something tremendously beautiful. And how can I stop bowing to you and touching your feet? It is a sweet nostalgia, it is sweet memory. It is through these feet I have come to this point; it is sheer gratitude.”
Buddha sent Sariputra away. He told him, “Now go. And there are millions of people stumbling in darkness - help them.” Sariputra was crying and he said, “No, don’t tell me to go anywhere.”
And Buddha said, “Now you are a buddha in your own right, and it doesn’t suit a buddha to cry. You are capable to go on your own.”
And Sariputra said, “There are no conditions on a buddha; he can cry, he can laugh. There are no conditions on a buddha, his existence is unconditional.”
But he had to go, the master was insistent. He went, but every day wherever he was, he would bow down in the direction where Buddha was. Every morning, every evening, his disciples would ask, “To whom are you bowing down?”
He said, “Buddha must be there in the east. I have information that he must be in that certain town today, so I am bowing down in that direction where he is.”