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Chapter 16: The Courage to Say “I Don’t Know”

I feel sad and sorry for Bodhidharma, because he has failed me. If he had said, “I don’t know” he would have raised himself as the highest and the greatest mystic the world has ever known.

But I want to say to you: I don’t know. And I want to emphasize that you should also remember, whenever there is an ultimate question, don’t try to deceive others or yourself. Simply accept your innocence. Say with humbleness, “I don’t know.”

It is not a question of ignorance. It is a question of your awareness that life is a mystery, a miracle. You can taste it but you cannot express anything about the taste. You cannot define it. And this is the greatness of existence. This is where all scientists have failed, this is where all philosophers have failed. This is the only place where mystics have succeeded.

Bodhidharma is a mystic and if he meets me.and somewhere there is a possibility in this eternal life, this unending existence, someday, somewhere I am going to catch hold of him. And he will recognize me because I am wearing the same sandals that he was carrying on his staff - the exact type. My sandals come from the Zen monasteries of Japan. It is particularly Zen - Zen people have everything of their own. Even if they use cups and saucers from the market, first they break them, then they glue them back together. Then they make them unique, then there is no other piece like that - then it becomes Zen, original, and without any other copy anywhere. Just one of a kind.

This sandal that you see has been used by Zen people since Bodhidharma, for almost fourteen centuries. The first sandal was sent to me by a Zen master from Japan as a present.

So he will immediately recognize me. I have just to show him my sandals. And I have to ask him why he missed a great opportunity.when he could have become the greatest mystic in the world. And he had every capacity. He has the genius for it.