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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol. 2
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Chapter 11: The Stage of the Sage

Lieh Tzu was studying archery, and hit the target. He sought advice from Kuan-yin who asked him:
“Do you know why you hit the target?”
“It won’t do yet.”
He went away to practice and after three years again reported to Kuan-yin.
“Do you know why you hit the target?”
“ I know.”
“It will do. Hold onto this awareness and do not lose it.”
This applies not only to archery but to ruling oneself. Therefore the sage scrutinizes not the fact of survival or ruin, but its reasons.

One of the most fundamental questions that has always faced humanity and that will always be there encountering every human being that is ever going to be born, is the nature of knowledge. What is real knowing? Only through knowing does one attain liberation, only through knowing does one come to know oneself, only through knowing is the truth revealed.

Man is born in ignorance. The darkness is tremendous. Naturally, the first question that any intelligent being will ask is how to find light. What is light? We are born in darkness not knowing who we are. What more darkness can there be? We are not even aware of who we are, from where we come, to where we are going. We are just groping somehow, drifting somehow. We are accidental. We don’t yet have a destiny. We are unconscious. We have not yet attained to the light of inner being which can enlighten our path. In this darkness, if failure happens, it is natural. In this darkness, if frustration happens, what more can you expect? In this darkness, if you only die and never live, it seems logical.

So the fundamental question is: What is the nature of knowledge? What is real knowledge? Man knows many things and yet remains ignorant. Man knows many things but the fundamental is missing. It is as if he has made a big building and the foundation is missing. Man knows much the knowledge has grown every day, and yet deep down man remains as ignorant as ever. We must have misunderstood the very nature of knowledge.

Before we enter this very symbolic and very significant parable, a few things have to be understood.

First, unless you know yourself, all knowing is useless unless you know yourself, all knowing is only pseudo-knowing - you appear to know but you don’t really know. It is deception. You know science, you know things, you know the world - but you don’t know yourself. If the knower himself is in deep darkness all his knowledge is just superficial, it cannot even be skin deep. Scratch the man of knowledge and soon you will find ignorance coming out of him. Just scratch a little and his knowledge will not be of any help. You will find as ordinary and ignorant a person as any other.

If you insult an Albert Einstein he becomes as angry as anybody else. If Albert Einstein fails he feels as frustrated as anybody else. If Bertrand Russell succeeds he is as happy as anybody else. There is no basic difference because the innermost core remains the same. Bertrand Russell of course knows more than you but the knowledge is quantitative. He is not more of a knower than you, the knowledge is not yet qualitative. As far as your being is concerned he is the same as you. He has more information but not more knowing. More information is not more knowing - and more knowing does not necessarily mean more information.

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