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Chapter 15: The Long Journey Can Be Cut Short

And this is a spontaneous act on the part of Basho. It is not a considered act, he has not thought about it. It is just that the moment he feels it, he does it. The disciple has a few fractures, but those fractures will heal; they don’t matter. What matters is that the shock of getting thrown out of the window, and the master jumping onto him was something so unexpected that the mind had to stop.

Mind can only function with the expected, with the known. When there is something unexpected, unknown, then it has to stop. And the stopping of the mind is the sound of one hand clapping. It is silence.

Now the disciple knows what silence is. Now he can sit in silence doing nothing and letting the grass grow by itself. But the first taste of silence - who is going to give it to you? Only one who has tasted it.

It is of immense importance not to be lost in theoretical assumptions, and to always remain in the world of the practical, because it is there that things happen. Once they have happened then the theoretical seems to be perfectly right - but only once they have happened.

A master is only a support when you are not able to walk on your own.

If a child is not helped by the mother to start walking on his own feet.. She is very protective. She takes care that he does not fall into a ditch, she takes care that he does not get hurt. She provokes the child, she challenges the child: “You can do it. I am here, you will not fall - I will support you.” But the first steps of a child - for the child it is entering into an unknown world.

If left alone, no child will stand up on his feet; he will walk on all fours all his life. This is a proven fact, because many times children have been found in jungles, in caves, living with wolves. Some motherly wolf has taken the child from the city, and she has been feeding the child.. But because all the wolves are moving on all fours, the child also walks on all fours. Nobody has challenged him to stand up on two legs: “Change your position from the horizontal to the vertical.”

A few years ago one boy was found near Lucknow in India. He was fourteen years old, but he was not able to stand up. It took six months for doctors to help him to stand. Then too, whenever he was left alone, he would walk on all fours. It was only under compulsion that he would stand on his two feet. It was too difficult, and he was very hesitant, afraid, nervous.

Theoretically, man is capable of walking on two legs, but practically a mother is needed, a motherly milieu is needed, in which he can feel supported and unafraid - even if he falls, he will not get hurt. And sometimes he will fall, but slowly he will get the knack. Then the mother is not needed. Then for the whole of his life he will not remember at all that he is walking because of a mother; otherwise he would have not been walking on two legs.

In the spiritual world it is a little more complicated and a little more subtle. The master is playing many roles. He is a friend, he is a guide, he is a mother. And in every way he is trying to give you the first experience. That first experience triggers a series of experiences. And then you can sit alone, silently.

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