Chapter 1: One Short Note
Kakua was the first Japanese to study Zen in China,
and while he was there he accepted the true teaching.
When he was in China he did not travel. He lived in a remote part of a mountain and meditated constantly.
Whenever people found him and asked him to preach,
he would say a few words and then move to another part of the mountain where he could be found less easily.
When Kakua returned to Japan, the emperor heard about him and asked him to come to court to preach Zen
for the edification of himself and his subjects.
Kakua stood before the emperor in silence.
He then produced a flute from the folds of his robes,
blew one short note, bowed politely, and disappeared.
No one ever knew what became of him.
The real teaching cannot be taught but still it is called a teaching. It cannot be taught but it can be shown, indicated. There is no way to say it directly, but there are millions of ways to indicate it indirectly.
Lao Tzu says that the truth cannot be said, and the moment you say it you have already falsified it. The words, the language, the mind, are utterly incapable. It defies reason, it defies the head-oriented personality, it defies the ego. It cannot be manipulated. It is utterly impossible for reason to encounter it.
This is the first thing to be understood, and the more deeply you understand it, the more possibility will be available for me to indicate towards it. Whatsoever I am saying is not the truth; it cannot be. Through words only a situation can be created in which truth may be possible. But that too one can never be definite about. It is unpredictable. No cause can be produced for it to happen - it happens when it happens. The only thing that can be done is to become available to it. Your doors should be open. When it knocks at your door, you should be present there. If you are present, available, receptive, it can happen. But remember, through scriptures, through the words of the enlightened ones, you cannot attain it.
So the first thing is that it cannot be said. And every master has to create an indirect situation, has to push you towards the unknown. All that he is saying is just pushing you towards that which cannot be said.
The second thing, before we can understand Kakua and this beautiful Zen story: the real teaching defies words but it cannot defy the heart. If there were a language of the heart, it could be said through it. But the heart has no language; or, silence is the only language of the heart.
When the heart is silent it says something; when the mind is silent it says nothing. Words are the vehicle of the mind. No words, silence, is the vehicle of the heart. Silence is a language without words, but one has to learn it. Just as one has to learn the languages of the mind, one has to learn the language of the heart: how to be silent, how to be wordless, how to be without a mind, how to be a no-mind.
When the mind stops functioning, immediately the whole energy moves towards the heart. When the mind is not functioning the heart functions; when the heart functions, only then can something be taught to you. The real teaching can be taught through the heart. You must be near the heart. The nearer you are, the more capable you become of understanding the silence.