Chapter 7: Be an Emperor
One day Soshin, who could not stand it any longer, went to his teacher Dogo and asked, “Ever since I came to this monastery, you have not given me your gracious teaching even once. What could be the reason for this?”
A very logical, rational question. But Zen is neither logical nor rational. It is existential. Logic, reason - all belong to your gibberish. Silence is beyond any logic and any reason. It simply is.
The master gave the least expected reply, for he said, “Why, ever since you came to my monastery, I have not, even for one moment, neglected to teach you.”
“What kind of teaching have you given me, master?” Soshin asked.
“Well, well! If you bring me a cup of tea, don’t I receive the cup? If you serve me meals, don’t I eat them? If you greet me with your hands pressed, don’t I return your bow? How have I ever neglected to give you guidance?”
Do you see the difference? There are millions of teachers in the world but very few will be able to understand even what Dogo is saying.
He is saying, “If you had been present to the present, you would have seen with what grace, with what gratitude I receive the cup of tea that you bring. Even just a single moment of awareness would have made you enlightened.”
Suddenly, Soshin, listening to this, hung his head deep, and for a while could not utter a word.
He was ashamed of himself - not being able to understand such a compassionate master who has been teaching every moment, day in, day out. Of course, without any words, just by his presence. That signifies the greatest masters.
Suddenly the master’s roaring cry, as if abusing him, fell on Soshin’s whole being. Dogo said, “When you see, see it direct! If a thought moves, it is gone!”
At this, Soshin uttered an unintentional cry “Oh!” and prostrated himself before the master, in tears, whether of joy or sorrow he himself did not know.
This is enlightenment. The sudden opening of all the mysteries and one is no more, so how can one know whether these tears are of joy or of sorrow? It is a tremendously beautiful story for every one of you to understand.
This very morning, Devageet was working on my teeth. For the first time in years, when I left his dentist’s chair, I asked him, “Are you satisfied?” - because I could see his dissatisfaction, that he has not been able to do the work he wanted to do on my teeth.