Chapter 5: Like a Cow
That ancient story reminded me of a child who never spoke until he was eight years old. Every effort was made, every test was made; his ears were perfect, there was no defect as far as physiology was concerned. It was a mystery why he did not respond. Finally they took him to a psychiatrist, but to no avail.
One day he shouted at his mother, “Mummy, where is the salt?” He was taking his lunch. The mother could not believe it, and she was alone in the house, nobody would believe her. For eight years the child had been defying.
The mother asked him, “Why have you been silent for eight years?”
He said, “Everything was perfect until now. Just today the salt is missing. There was no need to speak before. Why bother?”
But she said, “Will you speak in front of others?”
He refused. He said, “This is just a secret between us. Don’t tell anybody, otherwise you will be thought to be lying. I will keep my silence again.”
What is the reason why animals don’t speak and why they don’t grow their minds, their intelligence; why they are so contented, like a cow? It is because they are horizontal. There is no disturbance. In their physiology, in their psychology, everything is balanced. Gravitation is not disturbed. Man, by standing up on his two legs, has disturbed the whole balance. And his head started growing just because he was standing up.
It is a scientific fact that man’s standing on two legs is the cause of his increasing intelligence. Mind, in a small head, is a very complicated phenomenon; one billion small nerves make it, and those small nerves are almost invisible. They need a very small quantity of oxygen in the blood. Just a little more blood and it is almost like a flood - just as in Bangladesh, right now, three fourths of Bangladesh is taken over by water. Animals have not grown their brain, their mind, because the flood of blood to every part is equal.
Since man is standing up, it is very difficult for his heart, for his lungs, because it is going against gravitation to send oxygen and blood to the brain. The quantity became so small that this was the reason that man could grow very subtle nerves which can think, which can philosophize, which can even transcend thinking, which can make one a buddha.
Ma Tzu’s habit of walking on all fours just like a cow.The first implication is that he is now a no-mind, just as all animals are; that he has joined the world and dropped his mind; that he is now in tune with the universe, not struggling against it but just floating with it. The second implication is that because he has dropped the mind, he has become an emptiness - and it automatically grows into compassion, into love, into humbleness, into egolessness. You cannot find another animal like the cow in its humbleness, simplicity, contentment - and yet he looked around like a tiger.