Chapter 22: The Sweetness of Silence on Your Tongue
I have overcome the gossips, please just give me some sutras to meditate upon.
Devageet, it is next to impossible to overcome gossips, particularly in such a juicy, holy place! Gossips are so intrinsic to a cheerful life that they need not be overcome. They should be enjoyed. They also contain a certain fragment of truth. That should be discovered. No gossip is just a lie. It is a strange phenomenon that all gospels are simply lies; and no gossip is just a lie, there is some element, some fragment of truth in it.
The serious people are addicted to gospels. And if nonserious people start overcoming gossips, what will be left for you? Gospels you have overcome already; now all that remains for you is gossiping. Life has always been taken seriously, and that has produced a miserable mankind. Life should be taken as fun! Only then can we create a paradise on the earth.
Life is neither profane nor sacred; those are words used by the serious people. Either they condemn it, or they make it divine; either this extreme or that extreme - but the truth is always in the middle, in the exact middle you are standing on the truth. Life is neither profane nor divine. It is simply a tremendous opportunity to rejoice. The moment you call it profane, you start feeling guilty. You become crippled on your own, you cannot dance - dance becomes profane and condemned - you cannot sing, you cannot celebrate.
One Zen master, Takuan, was on his deathbed. He asked for some paper and his calligraphic brush. It has been a long-standing tradition in the world of Zen that masters when departing from life give their last statement, written. Takuan wrote on the paper a Japanese word which means dream. He laughed, closed his eyes, the brush dropped from his hand.
But before writing this last statement he had instructed his disciples, “Bury me just in the mud behind the temple, because I am part of the earth and the earth wants to reclaim me, to rejuvenate, to create me anew. I am tired and it wants to take me to rest. And don’t mourn when I die, but celebrate. Don’t make a monument on my grave, because I am going home. It is not a grave to me, it is only entering into eternal rest. So rejoice, sing, dance, celebrate and carry on your daily work as if nothing has happened.”
People like Takuan understand that life, although it is a dream, does not need to be condemned. It is a beautiful dream. You can sing it, you can dance it, you can make it more beautiful, you can decorate it.