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Chapter 12: Wanderers in the Sky of Freedom

Once, Hakugan said to Yakusan, who was reading a scripture, “You should stop fooling people.”
As he rolled up the text, Yakusan asked, “What time of day is it?” Hakugan replied, “Just noon.”
Yakusan then said, “There is still this pattern.”
Hakugan responded: “I don’t even have nothing,” to which Yakusan said, “You are too brilliant.”
Hakugan commented, “I am just thus. What about you?”
Yakusan said, “I limp along, ungainly in a hundred ways, clumsy in a thousand; still I go on this way.”

On another occasion, Yakusan asked a monk, “Where have you come from?”
“From the southern lake,” replied the monk.
“Has the lake overflowed its banks?” asked Yakusan.
“Not yet,” answered the monk.
Then Yakusan said, “So much rain and the lake not yet full?”
But the monk was silent.

These small anecdotes are the most precious treasure. No other language, no other religion has reached to such a subtle understanding - that a small story, utterly naked, undecorated, becomes a pointer to the ultimate truth.

Zen anecdotes are not something to read. As far as reading is concerned, they are worthless. They are something to be lived; that is the only way to understand them. Intellect is absolutely not needed. What is needed is innocence; what is needed is not knowledge, but a humbleness, a humbleness that knows, “I know nothing.”

Out of this understanding that “I know nothing,” these small dialogues among Zen masters become tremendously meaningful, but you have to listen not with your ears, but with your heart; not with your mind but with your silent being. Something very important is being imparted. Be attentive.

Once, Hakugan said to Yakusan, who was reading a scripture, “You should stop fooling people.”

There is nothing more courageous than Zen. There have been Zen masters who have burned holy scriptures, there have been Zen monks who have burned even Gautam Buddha’s wooden statues because the night was too cold.

Hakugan is saying to Yakusan, “You should stop fooling people.”

All your so-called knowledgeable intellectuals, pundits, rabbis, all are fooling the people; because to let them get involved in scriptures is to take them away from themselves. You are not to find yourself in the scripture. You have to come inward, leaving all scriptures, philosophies and religions outside, howsoever true they appear to be, howsoever rational or reasonable is their logic. Logic cannot quench your thirst. And the source of love is not the same source..

Logic arises out of your mind, love arises out of your heart. But the love that arises out of the heart is just like Pune air - polluted, utterly polluted. It is the world’s fourth city which is the most polluted. Mind’s love is just a word, the heart’s love has a little life, but very crippled. Fortunately you don’t end at the heart, the road goes a little deeper.

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