Chapter 8: The First Principle
There are some beautiful letters carved over the gate of the Oaku Temple in Kyoto which say: The First Principle.
People come from far and near to admire them. The original calligraphy was done on paper by the Master Kosen.
When Kosen was drawing the characters there was a pupil standing by who had mixed the ink. “Not so good,” said the pupil at Kosen’s first try. “That’s worse than the first one,” said the pupil to the second try. And so it went on.
After the sixty-fourth try, the ink was running low,
so the pupil went out to mix some more. “Just a quick one with the last of the ink,” thought Kosen,“ while that pupil is out of the way.”
When the pupil returned, he took a good look as this latest effort, and said, “A masterpiece!”
A few things before we enter this beautiful story. First, if you are divided, then a conflict arises not only in the mind but in your bio-energy. Then you are two. And if you are two, the energy is wasted in the conflict; the energy is dissipated. Unless you are one, nothing can be done. As far as the inner journey is concerned, your oneness will be needed more and more. On the surface it is okay; you can go on doing the day-to-day work even if you are divided.
Just imagine a circle with a center: if you draw two lines from the periphery towards the center, on the periphery they are divided; the more you come towards the center, the gap becomes less and less and less. Just near the center the gap is almost not; at the center the gap disappears. At the center everything becomes one; at the periphery everything is divided, is two.
When you are self-conscious you are two, because then you exist at the periphery. When you are not self-conscious you are one, because then you don’t exist at the periphery, you exist at the center.
If you are an egoist you are dissipating your energy, because the ego exists at the periphery. The ego exists for others; it has to be on the periphery. When you are totally alone in your innermost being the ego doesn’t exist. You are but the ego is not, and when you are without the ego your energy is tremendous. When you are without the ego you are a god. Then you are undivided and the source of energy is infinite.
At the periphery everything is divided, and not only divided but in conflict. It is as if both my hands are fighting - right fights the left, left fights the right. What will happen? Is there any possibility of either hand being victorious? - no possibility, because both hands are mine. The right cannot win because it is mine; the left cannot be defeated - it is mine. Behind both hands I am one, so there is no possibility of any victory. And all victories will be just dreams, pretensions. I can fool myself, I can put my right hand on top of my left and say, “Now the right has won.” I can change the situation in a single moment; I can put the left on top of the right and say, “The left has won.” This is what you have been doing continuously.
If you fight with yourself there is no victory. Nobody is going to be defeated, nobody is going to win; the whole game is stupid. But one thing is certain: if you go on fighting with yourself you are dissipating energy. The right cannot win, the left cannot win - you will be defeated in the end. It is suicidal, you are destroying yourself.