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Chapter 6: Why Don’t You Retire?

Tokusan was studying Zen under Ryutan - that’s where he was missing. The very first step went wrong, and when the first step goes wrong, then everything else that follows will go wrong. Always remember to take the first step rightly. If the first step is taken rightly, then half the journey is already over, it is almost finished. Because if the first step is right, all that will follow will follow automatically; you will reach the goal. So don’t go to a master to study, go to learn. If you go to study, the master will teach you, but the most significant thing cannot be taught. Go to learn.

And what is the difference between the attitudes? Many differences: when you go to study you want more knowledge; when you go to learn you want more being - it is not knowledge. When you learn, your being grows. When you study, your memory grows. When you study you know more and more and more; when you learn you become more and more and more - and these are totally different things.

A man may have a great memory, know many things, and deep down in the being he is absolutely a beggar, poor, having nothing there. He may be deceiving himself that he knows so many things, but knowing will not help - unless you are, knowing is futile. Only being helps.

If you are dying, what will go with you, your knowledge or your being? Who will be of help? What will be the bridge? What can you carry with you beyond death? Knowledge? The brain is left behind, because the brain is part of the body. Only the being is carried over. And you have never looked at it, it has remained poor, starving - you have never fed it.

Learning is of the being, knowledge is only of the memory, of the mind. Universities can give you knowledge, teachers can give you knowledge, but only an enlightened man can allow you, can help you - and that help is indirect - to gain more being. You can take that help, but that final thing depends on you.

If you go to study, you have missed the first step. And the first step is very significant, because the first eventually becomes the last. The seed is very significant; the seed is the first step and it will become the tree. It may take many years to flower, but if you have planted the wrong seed, then even a million lives will not be of any help. Tokusan was wrong from the very beginning - studying.

Studying, he was more concerned with scripture, not with the master. And what foolishness! When a master is alive you are obsessed with the scripture. When the diamonds are all over, you are clinging to red stones, colored stones! When the master is alive, you are concerned with dead words.

One night Tokusan came to Ryutan and asked many questions.

A man who is with a master to study is always filled with questions, because this is how one studies. You have to raise questions so you can get answers, and then you can go on collecting the answers and you become more knowledgeable.

A man who is not after study but after learning has only one question, not many. And remember: many cannot be answered, only one can be answered. Many cannot be answered, because if you are that type of man who asks many questions, any answer that is given to you will only create many more questions - nothing else. Every solution will give you many more problems.

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