Chapter 3: The Greatest Sermon in the History of Zen
The sunset came, Bennett was utterly tired - an intellectual who has never worked, and particularly such work. And seeing the sun setting there was great relief: “Now, at least Gurdjieff will start having the dialogue I have come for.”
Gurdjieff was walking just by the side, watching all the time.
Then Bennett said, “The ditch is ready.”
Gurdjieff said, “Now fill up the ditch completely. Bring it back to the state that it was. Throw all the mud back in its place.”
Bennett was so tired, but he was also a man of integrity. He said, “Let us see what happens.”
Without food, without rest, without even a coffee break he filled the ditch again. It was almost the middle of the night and Gurdjieff was standing the whole day just watching and smoking his cigar. The moon was full, at the highest peak of the night. It was a beautiful silence.
And Bennett remembers: “I was so tired. I don’t know from where - a tremendous silence descended over me.”
In his autobiography he says, “I was simply astonished.”
Gurdjieff laughed and said, “Have you heard? Now go and rest.”
But what was said? Nothing was said. The question is not that the master should speak. The question is that the disciple should be so silent.and he was silent because he was so tired that he could not even think. The mind became utterly empty. In that silence there is no need for the master to say anything. He can just indicate it as this, and the sermon is over.
But Hyakujo even goes beyond Gurdjieff. He did not even say, “This!” He forced his disciples to work to the optimum - where their energy is completely absorbed by the work and the mind has nothing, no energy to continue its chattering.
Again and again disciples reached him, but he would simply repeat, “Go and work in the field.”
But one day those who had remained with this strange man who teaches nothing, who simply says, “Go back to the field and work as hard as possible.”
He was known to be one of the great masters who knows the secret. Many came, but only a few remained. He was a difficult man.
When only those few remained who had become silent working in the fields, who had come to a deep harmony with nature, whose minds had settled down, he accepted the invitation.
This time - after many efforts of the disciples to invite the master and getting the same reply, “Go back and work in the field” - this time, when they came and asked,