Chapter 8: Tozan’s Five Pounds
The master Tozan was weighing some flax in the storeroom.
A monk came up to him and asked: “What is Buddha?”
Tozan said: “This flax weighs five pounds.”
Religion is not concerned with philosophical questions and answers. To go on looking this way is stupid, and a sheer waste of life, time, energy and consciousness, because you can go on asking and answers can be given - but from answers only more questions will come out. If in the beginning there was one question, in the end, through many answers, there will be a million questions.
Philosophy solves nothing. It promises, but never solves anything - all those promises remain unfulfilled. Still it goes on promising. But the experience which can solve the riddles of the mind cannot be attained through philosophical speculation.
Buddha was absolutely against philosophy - there has never been a man more against philosophy than Buddha. Through his own bitter experience he came to understand that all those profundities of philosophy are just superficial. Even the greatest philosopher remains as ordinary as anyone. No problem has been solved by him, not even touched. He carries much knowledge, many answers, but he remains the same in his old age - no new life happens to him. And the crux, the core of the matter is that mind is a question-raising faculty: it can raise any sort of question, and then it can befool itself by answering them. But you are the questioner, and you are the one who solves them.
Ignorance creates questions, and ignorance creates answers - the same mind creating both parts. How can a questioning mind come to an answer? Deep down, the mind itself is the question.
So philosophy tries to answer questions of the mind, and religion looks at the very base. The mind is the question, and unless mind is dropped the answer will not be revealed to you - mind won’t allow it, mind is the barrier, the wall. When there is no mind you are an experiencing being; when the mind is there you are a verbalizing being.
In a small school it happened: there was a very stupid child; he never asked any questions and also the teacher neglected him. But one day he was very excited when the teacher was explaining a certain problem of arithmetic, writing some figures on the board. The child was very excited, raising his hand again and again; he wanted to ask something. When the teacher finished with the problem, she washed the figures from the board, and was very happy that for the first time this child was so excited as to ask something, and she said, “I am happy that you are ready to ask something. Go ahead - ask!”
The child stood, and he said, “I am very worried, and the question comes again and again to me but I couldn’t gather the courage to ask. Today I have decided to ask: where do these damn figures go when you wash them off?”