Chapter 5: Master of the New Monastery
A buddha is a living river. It goes on flowing. In the morning it is different - the sun rises, and all over the river the gold flows. In the noon it is different, by the evening it is different. And when the night comes and the stars start being reflected in it, it is different. In the summer it shrinks; in the rains comes a flood. A river is not a painting, it is an alive force.
A painting, whether it is raining outside or it is summer, it remains the same. In the rains a painted river will not be flooded. It is dead; otherwise every moment there is change. Only one thing is permanent and that is change. There is only one thing that goes on continuously and that is revolution. Everything else is impermanent except revolution. It goes on and on and on.
This chief disciple must have decided; the conclusion was there, and he was waiting only for the master to ask. Then the master put a jug before them, a pot filled with water, and said, “Say something but don’t use the name. Say something but don’t use the mind. Say something but don’t use language.”
The very thing looks absurd. When you say, “Say something and don’t use language,” you are creating an impossible situation. How can something be said without using language? But if you cannot say something about an ordinary jug filled with water without using language, how will you be able to say anything about God who is filled with the whole universe? If you cannot indicate this jug without language, how will you be able to indicate the great jug, the universe, God, the truth? And if you cannot indicate this, how will you be made chief of a monastery? People will be coming to you, not to know words but to know reality. People will be coming to you, not to be trained in philosophy, because that can be done by the universities.. There are millions of universities; they teach words.
So what is the purpose of a monastery? A monastery has to teach reality not words; has to teach religion not philosophy; has to teach existence not theories. So if you cannot say anything about an ordinary pot, what will you do when someone asks, “What is God?” What will you do when someone asks, “Who am I?”
The chief disciple answered. Whenever the mind faces such a situation, the only way is to define negatively. If someone asks, “Say something about God, without naming,” what will you do? You can only say negatively: you can say, “God is not this world, God is not matter.”
Look in the dictionaries, go to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and see how they define things. You will be surprised: if you turn to the page where mind is defined you will find the definition, “Mind is that which is not matter.” Then turn to the page where matter is defined, and you will see written, “Matter is that which is not mind.” What type of definition is this? When you ask about mind they say no-matter; when you ask about matter they say no-mind. Nothing is defined, this is a vicious circle. If I ask about A you say not-B; if I ask about B you say not-A. You define one thing by another indefinable. How can something be defined by another indefinable? This is a tricky thing. Dictionaries are the most tricky things in the world; they don’t say anything and they appear to be saying so much. Everything is defined and everything is indefinable, nothing can be defined!