Chapter 2: The Way Is Perfect
It is said about Rinzai that when he got up in the morning he would laugh a belly laugh so loud that the whole monastery - five hundred sannyasins were there - would hear it. In the evening when he went to sleep, he would again have a belly laugh.
Many people asked why, but he would simply laugh and he would not answer. When he was dying somebody asked, “One thing: tell us why you were laughing every day, morning and evening, the whole of your life? Nobody knows, and whenever we asked you laughed again. This is the only mystery. Please reveal it before you leave the body.”
Rinzai said, “I laughed because of the foolishness of the world. In the morning I laughed because now again I was entering the world and everybody around was a fool. And in the evening I laughed that one day passed so well!”
You will laugh, you will not be in anguish. The whole thing is so ridiculous all around, but you cannot see it because you are a part of it. You are so much involved in it you cannot see it. The ridiculousness cannot be known unless you gain a distance, a detachedness.
When the deep meaning of things is not understood
the mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail.
And you gain nothing, you reach nowhere, you simply get disturbed. Where have you reached? What have you gained by your anxiety, tension, disturbedness? What are you? Where are you moving? Nothing is gained. Even if something is gained. It may seem that through your being disturbed you are gaining something. You are not gaining something. On the contrary, you are losing. You are losing the precious moments which can become blissful, the precious time, energy, life, in which you could have flowered. And you cannot flower.
But you always think - this is the ignorant point of view - you always think, “The whole world is wrong, and if I could change everybody then I would be happy.” You will never be happy, you cannot be happy. This is the base of unhappiness. Once you understand that it is not for you to change the whole world, the only thing that you can do is to change yourself.
Bayazid, a Sufi mystic, has written in his autobiography, “When I was young I thought and I said to God, and in all my prayers this was the base: ‘Give me energy so that I can change the whole world.’ Everybody looked wrong to me. I was a revolutionary and I wanted to change the face of the earth.
“When I became a little more mature I started praying: ‘This seems to be too much. Life is going out of my hands - almost half of my life is gone and I have not changed a single person, and the whole world is too much.’ So I said to God, ‘My family will be enough. Let me change my family.’