Chapter 12: Silence Is the Prayer
Silence is the prayer.
Silence is the prayer. By prayer we always mean a communication, something said to the divine. But the Upanishads say that whatsoever you may say will not be prayer. Prayer is not something to be done. You cannot do it. It is not an act. It is not your doing. So, really, you cannot do prayer, you can only be a prayer. It is not related with any of your doings. It is a certain state of your being.
So the first thing to be understood is: man has two dimensions in existence. One is his being, the other is his doing. Prayer is not part of the second. You cannot do it. And a prayer that is done will be false, inauthentic. You can be - prayer belongs to the dimension of being.
The body cannot do prayer, cannot be in a prayer. The mind cannot do prayer, cannot be in prayer. The body is meant to do something; it is the vehicle of action. The mind is also a vehicle of action. Thinking is doing, it is action. So you cannot do anything with your body which can become prayer, neither can you do anything with your mind which can be called prayer, because these are both parts of the dimension of doing, action. Beyond body and mind, prayer happens. So if your body is in total inactivity, passive, and your mind is nullified, empty, only then is prayer possible.
This sutra says: Silence is the prayer. When mind is not working, when body is not active, there is silence.
Second thing to be understood: silence is not part of mind. So whenever we say, “He has a silent mind,” it is nonsense. A mind can never be silent. The very being of mind is anti-silence. Mind is sound, not silence. So when we say, “He has a silent mind,” it is wrong. If he is really silent, then we must say that he has no mind.
“Silent mind” is a contradiction in terms. If mind is there, it cannot be silent. And if it is silence, it is no more. That’s why Zen monks use the term “no-mind” never “silent mind.” No-mind is silence! And the moment there is no-mind you cannot feel your body, because mind is the passage through which body is felt. If there is no-mind, you cannot feel that you are a body. The body disappears from consciousness.
So in prayer there is neither mind nor body, only pure existence. That pure existence is indicated by silence, moun. How to attain to this prayer, to this silence? How to be in this prayer, in this silence?