Chapter 3: The Wheel of Dhamma
With Subhuti, just the opposite is the case. He is lost inside himself, he is utterly drowned by his inner joy. Unless he makes an effort he will not be able to listen to what Buddha is saying. He is perfectly capable of listening to Buddha’s silence. If Buddha is silent there is communion, but if Buddha is saying something then he has to make effort, he has to pull himself together, he has to come out, he has to come in the body, he has to be very attentive. He is drunk with the inner wine.
Hence Buddha says these strange words: Listen well, and attentively. And this is for the first time that I am explaining to you these words. For twenty-five centuries nobody has commented on these words. They have been taken ordinarily, as if Buddha is saying to anybody, “Listen well, attentively.” Buddha is not talking to an ordinary human being.
For twenty-five centuries nobody has commented rightly. People have been thinking they understand the meaning of the words. The meaning of the words changes; it depends by whom they are used, for whom they are used. The meaning of the words depends on the context and the circumstance. The words don’t have any meaning in themselves. The words are meaningless. The meaning arises only in a particular situation.
Now this situation is very rare. Buddha has used these words thousands of times; every day he had to use these words to people - “Listen well, attentively.” So those who have commented on The Diamond Sutra have missed. I think the commentators were not knowers. They knew the language but they were completely unaware of this strange situation. Buddha has not addressed some ordinary human being; Buddha has addressed somebody who is very close to buddhahood, who is just on the boundary of it, entering into buddhahood.
And he starts the statement with “therefore”: Therefore, Subhuti, listen well and attentively. Now this “therefore” is also very illogical. “Therefore” is only logical when it comes as a part, as a concluding part, of a logical syllogism: All men die. Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal. Then “therefore” is perfectly right. It is part of a syllogism, a conclusion. But here there is no logic, nothing has preceded it, there has been no premise. And Buddha starts with the conclusion - therefore.
That too has a strangeness about it. And that is Buddha’s way. That is how in The Heart Sutra he addressed Sariputra: Therefore, Sariputra.. Now he says: Therefore, Subhuti.. Subhuti has not said anything for which “therefore” is needed, Buddha has not said anything for which “therefore” is needed, but something is present in Subhuti’s being. “Therefore” is related to that presence; nothing has been uttered.
A master responds to what is present in you. A master responds more to your silence than to your words. A master is more interested in your quest than in your questions. A master is more interested in your needs than in your questions. This “therefore” indicates a subtle need in the innermost being of Subhuti. Maybe Subhuti himself is not aware of it, maybe Subhuti will take a little time to become aware of it.