Chapter 1: Catching the First Principle
The truth is not a question. It is a quest! It is not intellectual; it is existential. The inquiry is a gamble, a gamble with your life. It needs tremendous courage. Belief needs no courage. Belief is the way of the coward. If you are a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan you are a coward. You are avoiding the real lion, you are escaping from the real lion. If you want to face the real, then there is no need to go to any church, there is no need to go to any priest, because the real surrounds you within and without. You can face it - it is already there.
I have heard:
A Zen master, Shou-shan, was asked by a disciple, “According to the scriptures, all beings possess the buddha-nature; why is it that they do not know it?”
Shou-shan replied, “They know!”
This is a rare answer, very rare, a great answer. Shou-shan said, “They know! But they are avoiding it.” It is not a question of how to know the truth. The truth is here, you are part of it. The truth is now, there is no need to go anywhere. And it has been there since the beginning, if there was any beginning, and it will be there until the end, if there is going to be any end. And you have been avoiding it. You find ways to avoid it. When somebody asks, “What is the way to truth?” in fact he is asking, “What is the way to avoid the truth?” He is asking, “How can I escape?”
You may not have heard:
Says that old rascal Bodhidharma: “All know the way, few walk it, and the ones who don’t walk cry regularly, ‘Show me the way! Where is the way? Give me a map! Which way is it?’”
Those who don’t walk, they go on regularly crying and shouting, “Where is the way?” And all know the way because life is the way, experience is the way. To be alive is the way, to be conscious is the way. You are alive, you are conscious. This is the first principle.
But it cannot be said, and I am not saying it!
And you are not hearing it.
The truth, by its very nature, is a dumb experience. All experiences are dumb because they happen only in deep silence. If you love a woman the love happens in deep silence. If you create poetry it descends in you in deep silence. If you paint a picture you disappear. The painter is not, when the painting is born, there is not even a witness to it. It happens in utter silence and utter aloneness. If you are there then the painting cannot be of any value. If the poet is there then the poetry will be nothing but a technical thing. It will have all the rules fulfilled, it will follow the grammar, the rules of melody, but there will be no poetry. It will be a dead corpse. It will not be a real woman; it will be a nun.
I have heard: