Chapter 5: See Right at Once
Discipline simply means a methodology of becoming more centered, of becoming more alert, of becoming more aware, of bringing more meditativeness to your being; not functioning through the head, not even through the heart, but functioning from the very core of your being, from the very innermost core, from the center of your being, from your totality. It is not a reaction - reaction comes from the past - it is a response. Response is always in the present, to the present.
Zen gives you a discipline to become a mirror so that you can reflect that which is. All that is needed is a thoughtless awareness.
The first thing to be dropped is curiosity, because curiosity will keep you tethered to the futile. It will keep you being a student; it will never allow you to become a disciple.
Boris, who was from Russia, had been in America only a few months. He did not speak English very well.
One day he was asked, “Boris, what is it that you are most anxious to see in America?”
“Well,” replied Boris, “I weesh most to meet the most famous Mrs. Beech, who had so many sons in the last war.”
Get it? He must have heard all the Americans calling each other “sonofabitch, sonofabitch.” so he is very much interested, anxious, curious, to know about Mrs. Beech, the famous Mrs. Beech.
Curiosity is always like that. It is foolish, but it can keep you tethered to the mind. And don’t think that there is some curiosity which is spiritual, metaphysical. No, nothing like that exists; all curiosity is the same. Whether you inquire about “the famous Mrs. Beech” or you inquire about God it is all the same. Inquiry from the mind will have the same quality - of childishness.
There is a totally different kind of inquiry that arises from the deeper recesses of your being.
Zen is interested in discipline, not in teaching. It wants you to be more alert so you can see more clearly. It does not give you the answer; it gives you the eyes to see. What is the use of telling a blind man what light is and all the theories about light? It is futile. You are simply being stupid by answering the curiosity of a blind man. What is urgently needed is treatment of his eyes. He needs an operation, he needs new eyes, he needs medicine. That is discipline.
Buddha has said: “I am a physician, not a philosopher.” And Zen is absolutely a treatment. It is the greatest treatment that has come to humanity, out of the work of thousands of enlightened people - very refined. It can help to open up your eyes. It can help you to feel again, to be sensitive to the reality. It can give you eyes and ears. It can give you a soul. But it is not interested in answers.
Meditate over this beautiful story: