Chapter 5: Perfectly Imperfect
So he said, “That will do!” The old man stood on his head, and it is said that there were all the visible signs that he was dead. But there was a difficulty: the difficulty was that the Zen disciples were in a very puzzling situation; what to do with this old man now? They had never heard of any ritual for somebody dying standing on his head. What had to be done? They knew perfectly well what had to be done when somebody died in bed, but what to do with this man? And he was standing there dead, on his head!
Somebody suggested: “We should run. His old sister lives very close by; she is a nun. She may be able to do something or suggest something. And she is even crazier than this old man!”
So they ran. The sister came and shouted at her brother and said, “Look, your whole life you have been a trouble! At least die peacefully, don’t make much fuss about it! And why are you driving these poor disciples crazy? Get up and lie down on the bed!”
The old man laughed, got up and lay down on the bed, and he said, “Who has brought this crazy sister of mine here? She won’t even let me die in an improper way!”
But he said, “Okay, you be happy. This is your last desire, and I have never followed any advice of yours. At least this much I can do before I depart.”
But the woman did not stand there to see him depart. She said, “You just lie down there, I am going. And die on the bed in a proper way! No more trouble.”
And she left, and the old man died in the bed in a proper way.
This is how life should be lived.
I am not a saint, I am not a sage. All those hocus-pocus words don’t mean anything to me. I am certainly a little bit crazy, and it is because of my craziness that you can rely on me! Never rely on saints, never rely on sages - they will drive you nuts!
It was teatime in the pad, and the air hung heavy in thick blue folds as the beat bunch and their tourist friends lit up. Suddenly, a loud voice in the hall demanded that they open the door in the name of legality. The smokers frantically gathered their still-smoking weeds and stuffed them in the cuckoo clock. The police entered, searched diligently, found nothing and left. The bunch breathed a sigh of relief and made for the cuckoo clock just as the clock’s hands announced 3 a.m. The little door popped open, the bird poked his head out and said, “Hey, man, what time is it?”
The second question: