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Chapter 5: The Great Matter

Tozan asked a monk, “What is the most miserable condition in the world?”
“Hell is the most miserable,” answered the monk.
“No,” said Tozan. “What is the most miserable is to wear this robe without understanding the great matter.”
Then, addressing all the assembled monks, Tozan said:
The late master, Wu Tzu, one day took a bath, burned incense, sat upright and said to his disciples: “The body of reality is perfectly quiescent, while giving the appearance of going and coming. The thousand sages are from the same source; myriad awarenesses are ultimately one. I am now a bubble bursting - what is the use of sadness? Don’t trouble your minds; just maintain complete awareness. If you follow this order, you are really requiting my kindness. If you stubbornly go against what I say, you are not my disciples.”
At that time a monk asked Wu Tzu, “Where are you going?” and Wu Tzu said, “Nowhere.”
The monk said, “Why don’t I see?”
Wu Tzu replied, “It is not visible to the eye.”
Relating this incident to his monks, Tozan commented, “Wu Tzu was an adept.”

Maneesha, perhaps Zen is the only path that has led thousands of people to the ultimate reality. And in a way that is so simple. There have been arduous ways, there have been self-torturing systems of belief. There are religions which are nothing but moralities, very temporary, having no relationship with the ultimate values of existence.

Zen is not a morality. It never talks about right and wrong. It never talks about the saint and the sinner. It is so respectful of reality that nobody in the whole of history can be compared to this respect. It is not only respectful to human beings, but to this cricket, to these cuckoos, to these crows. Wherever life is, the Zen experience is - it is the same life: no categorization; nobody is lower and higher.different forms of the abundance of existence. It blossoms in many forms, in many colors; it dances in many ways and in many forms, but hidden behind is the same eternal principle.

Zen does not belong to the ordinary category of religions either, because it has no theology, no God, no nonsense questions which have troubled people for centuries. It has reduced the whole religiousness to a single point within you. These anecdotes again and again enforce and reinforce the same point. Remember, the ultimate is within you but it is not within your mind. It is beyond the mind but within you.

Mind is a small corner in you, a small mechanism - useful, if you understand its ways of working; otherwise dangerous because it tends to take possession of you, becomes the master, and leads you into the ways of power, money and prestige. And you are lost in a jungle of desires, longings; you live thirsty and you die thirsty, while the source of all fulfillment was within you.

Zen cuts all nonsense out. It is twenty-four-carat gold, no mixture. That makes it very simple and also very difficult. Difficult, because the simple is the most difficult thing in the world to understand. Simple because it does not require you to do anything at all. Just sitting silently, settling within yourself, and you have arrived at the place which is your home and has been always your home. It is your very being.

Remember, whatever the anecdote, the basic principle is always pointing to the same thing.

Tozan asked a monk, “What is the most miserable condition in the world?”

Of course, the monk could not understand the question. He said,

“Hell is the most miserable.”

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