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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   Hyakujo: The Everest of Zen, with Basho's Haikus
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Chapter 9: The Buddha Is Your Empty Heart

On one occasion, Isan, Goho and Ungan, were all standing together in attendance on Hyakujo.
Hyakujo said to Isan, “With your mouth and lips closed, how would you say it?”
Isan said, “I would ask you to say it.”
Hyakujo said, “I could say it, but if I did so, I fear I should have no successors.”
Hyakujo turned to Goho. “With your mouth and lips closed, how would you say it?” he asked his second disciple.
Goho said, “Osho! You should shut up!”
Hyakujo said, “In the distant land where no one stirs, I shall shade my eyes with my hand and watch for you.”
Then Hyakujo asked Ungan, “With your mouth and lips closed, how would you say it?”
Ungan said, “Osho, do you have them or not?”
Hyakujo said, “My successors will be missing.”

Maneesha, this is the last talk on Hyakujo, and the piece that you have chosen is the strangest - a beautiful ending, showing Hyakujo at his peak.

On one occasion, Isan, Goho and Ungan, were all standing together in attendance on Hyakujo.

These three were the most intimate disciples. One of the three was going to be the successor - so was the rumor. In the thousands of disciples these three were possible successors. And every master, before choosing, asks a question which is in fact a koan which cannot be answered.

Hyakujo said to Isan.

This was the evening of his life, time to depart from the world. He was in search now for whom to transmit the light that he had carried his whole life. He asked Isan,

“With your mouth and lips closed, how would you say it?”

Two things: first, the it is the ultimate experience. Zen is very particular. There have been gods which are male gods, created by male chauvinists: “How can a god be a woman?” And there have been women goddesses in the primitive tribes, far closer to the idea of the father god than the mother goddess, because the mother gives birth to life. God can be conceived as the whole womb of universe. He creates the world. It seems to be more human to conceive of God as a woman, but the male chauvinist mind won’t allow it. So only in very primitive tribes is there still some idea of mother goddesses. But all over the world, in the so-called civilized societies, the male chauvinist has replaced the mother goddesses and has put father god’s.

To avoid this stupid controversy about whether God is a man or a woman, Zen calls the ultimate experience, it - neither he nor she. That comes very close to the point of how God can be male or God can be female. It can only be a neutral life principle which can express itself in thousands of ways in men, in women, in trees, in mountains. Those are all just his expressions. In reality, hidden behind all these expressions, is a pure life principle. It can only be called it.

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