Chapter 3: The Sword and the Lotus
Yakusan talked with Meikei Osho and later told Ungan: “Meikei was once a government superintendent in his past life.”
Ungan asked, “Osho, what have you done in your past lives?”
Yakusan replied, “Being afraid and shaky, with hundreds of uglinesses and thousands of clumsinesses, I somehow have managed to live lives.”
Ungan later repeated this to Dogo, who commented: “It is a good story, but one question is missing.”
“What, may I ask?” Inquired Ungan.
Dogo said, in the manner of literary, scholarly Chinese: “How did you become like that?”
Ungan took the question to Yakusan, using the same scholarly Chinese.
Yakusan answered, “I never open any books.”
On another occasion, Yakusan asked Ungan, “A horse has horns; can you see them?”
Ungan replied, “if it has, there is no need to see.”
“That horse is of the best quality,” added Yakusan.
Ungan replied, “If that is so, I’ll take it.”
One sannyasin has asked that his parents, and particularly his mother, harass him very much while he is meditating. She says to him, “Why are you wasting your time sitting here, doing nothing? Who are you bluffing by closing your eyes? It is better to read the Bible, or go to the church and pray to God, or do some virtuous actions. This - what you call meditation - is simply selfishness.”
The sannyasin has asked me,
“What is your answer?”
It has many implications to be understood.
First, in one’s unconsciousness one cannot do any virtuous act. Virtue comes out of deep meditation. Virtue is a flower of your realization that you are eternal, immortal, that you are divine. Sharing that divineness is virtue. There is no other virtue in existence.
But all the religions, particularly Christianity, go on emphasizing, “Do virtuous acts. Don’t sit silently, it is selfish.”
I have to ask, first: when you succeed as a rich man nobody says to you that it is selfish. Everybody praises you: that is great. When you succeed as a politician and become a president or a prime minister nobody says it is selfish, everybody praises you.
Thirty million dollars are being spent celebrating President Bush’s success. Success is not selfish - do you see the point? - being super-rich is not selfish, creating materials for destruction of the world is not selfish, accumulating nuclear weapons is not selfish..
And what is your virtue? Is it unmotivated? Are you not being virtuous doing service to the poor, or the sick, or the orphans, in order to get into paradise with all its pleasures? It is simply business. Who says it is virtue?
I am reminded of an ancient Chinese parable..
There used to happen in the capital of China every year a festival. Millions of people gathered - the fair lasted for one month - and even the emperor used to come to inaugurate it. But in those days, in China, the water wells were not protected by walls. In darkness one could easily fall into a well, because there was no wall as a protection.