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Chapter 6: The Miracle of Ordinariness

Even the prostitute felt guilty to go there and test this man, but the old woman bribed her. She went, she opened the door. The monk was meditating. It was midnight; in that isolated part nobody was near. The monk opened his eyes, looked at the prostitute, jumped to his feet and said, “Why are you coming in? Get out!” His whole body trembled. The prostitute went nearer. The monk jumped out of the hut crying, “This woman is trying to seduce me!”

The prostitute returned, she told the whole thing, and the old woman sent her servants to burn the hut of the monk. She said, “This man is of no use; he has not become innocent yet. He may be a saint but his saintliness is ugly, it is manipulated. Why should he see a prostitute so suddenly? A woman was entering not a prostitute; why should he think that she had come to seduce him? He should have been at least gentlemanly. He should have told her, ‘Come, sit. Why have you come?’ He should have at least shown a little compassion. And even if she had embraced him, why should he be afraid? He has been telling me for thirty years, ‘I am not the body.’ If he is not the body then why should he be so much afraid of the body? No, his saintliness is cultivated, it is a pose. It is not from the inner, it is from the outer. He has managed it all right, but inside he is not innocent. It is not childlike.” And unless saintliness becomes childlike, it is not saintliness at all, it is just a sinner hiding, hiding through a façade.

Bankei has said, “We know only one miracle.” What is that miracle? It is to be childlike. Whenever a child feels hungry he starts crying - he is hungry. Whenever he feels sleepy he goes to sleep. We try to manage even a child; we destroy him.

In the West now there are books, guides for mothers. And what type of world is there going to be when a guide is needed even for a mother? guidelines that say: After three hours give milk, never before, but each three hours, give. The child is crying, but that is not the point, the child is hungry, but that’s not the point, because the guidebook says after three hours. The mother is waiting, and when the three hours are complete she will feed the child. Even motherhood is not enough, a guide is needed; and a child’s authentic cry is not to be trusted, as if the child may be trying to deceive. But why should the child deceive? If he is hungry he is crying.

But we are trying to destroy childhood. Sooner or later he will follow us; he will also look at the clock, and when the three hours are complete he will give a cry that “I am hungry!” This hunger will be false, and when hunger goes false everything goes false.

We go on forcing children to go to sleep when we think it is time. But sleep is not to be manipulated by time, sleep is something inner. When the child feels sleepy he will go to sleep. But mother and father go on forcing the child: “Go to sleep!” as if sleep can be ordered. Children must think you foolish; they think that something has gone wrong in your mind. How can a child force sleep? He can pretend, so when you are there he can close the eyes and when you have gone he can open the eyes, because sleep cannot be forced. Nobody, not even you, can force sleep. If you don’t feel sleepy how can you go to sleep?

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