Chapter 7: Blue Sky
These differences are very indicative. They show that these people are not concerned about philosophy, they are more concerned to bring as much truth to you from as many sides as possible. That’s why the last point is always anirvachana - that which cannot be said. You have to go to the place within you where no word can ever reach, and from that point you cannot bring any explanation. You can bring an experience. You will be transformed, you will be reborn, but you cannot bring a philosophy from there. You will be a new being, a new joy, a new laughter. New flowers will blossom in you, but all that you can do is sing, dance, play on your flute. Words are the lowest as far as expression is concerned.
On one occasion, two Zen monks came from a rival community and, arriving at Isan’s monastery, commented: “There is not a man here who can understand Zen.”
Obviously, the ordinary mind always thinks, “I am superior, I am more intelligent. I have more of truth.”
Later, when all the monks were out gathering firewood, Kyozan saw them both resting. He picked up a piece of firewood and said to the two: “Can you talk about it?”
Both were speechless, at which Kyozan commented: “Do not say that there is no one here who can understand Zen.”
You cannot even explain wood on fire; what can you say about firewood?
One of the most important philosophers of this century, G.E. Moore, has written a book, What Is Good? He was concerned his whole life with the meaning of good. His final conclusion is - after two hundred and fifty pages of long discussions about good - the conclusion at the end is that good is indefinable.
That’s what Buddha is saying: anirvachana. That means indefinable. That is what Mahavira is saying: avyakhya - indefinable.
But after two hundred and fifty pages of very complex argumentation, at the very end he says that you cannot define anything. For example if somebody asks you, “What is yellow?” what are you going to say? You will say, “Yellow is yellow,” but that is not much of an answer.
You will be left speechless as you come closer to reality. Even words like yellow become indefinable. Firewood? - what can you say about it? What can you say that has not been said before?
The two monks remained speechless, at which Kyozan commented: “Do not say that there is no one here who can understand Zen. Take your words back.”
When Kyozan got back to the monastery, he said to Isan,
“Today, I exposed two Zen monks.”
“How?” Isan asked, and Kyozan told him of the exchange.
Isan commented: “I have now exposed you as well.”