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Chapter 5: Master of the New Monastery

The mind feels puzzled because mind knows only language, nothing else. If language is barred, mind is barred. What else is mind except verbal accumulation - names, words, language? And a master says, “Don’t use the name.” He is saying, “Don’t use the mind, and do something so that which the chair is, is expressed.”

The word god is not God, the word man is not man, the word rose is not a rose. When there is no language the rose exists; when there is no language, the tree goes on existing - what it is is not dependent on language.

This chief monk must have brooded over and over, again and again. Then he must have chosen an alternative beforehand. He was dead. That very moment he failed.

Inside, if you decide what you are going to do and you act out of that decision, you will miss reality, because reality is an ever-flowing movement. Nobody knows where it is going, nobody knows what is going to happen. Nobody can predict it; it is unpredictable.

There is a Zen story: Two monasteries existed side by side. Both the masters had small boys to run errands. Both the boys used to go to the market to fetch things for the masters - sometimes vegetables, sometimes other things. These monasteries were antagonistic towards each other, but sometimes boys will be boys: they would forget the doctrines and meet on the way and talk, enjoy. It was really prohibited: they should not talk, because the other monastery is the enemy.

One day, the boy who belonged to the first monastery came and said, “I am puzzled. When I was going to the market, I saw the boy from the other monastery and asked him, ‘Where are you going?’ He said, ‘Wherever the wind blows,’ and I was at a loss as to what to say. He created a puzzle.”

The master said, “This is not good. Nobody from our monastery has ever been defeated by the other monastery, not even a servant. You must fix that boy. Tomorrow, ask again, ‘Where are you going?’ He will say, ‘Wherever the wind blows,’ so you say, ‘If there is no wind, then.?’”

The boy couldn’t sleep the whole night. He tried and tried to conceive of what would happen the next day; he rehearsed many times. He would ask and the other boy would say, and he would give his answer.

The next day he waited on the road. The boy from the next door monastery came and he asked, “Where are you going?”

The boy said, “Wherever my feet lead me.”

So he was at a loss as to what to do. The answer was fixed, and reality is unpredictable. He came back very sad and said to the master, “That boy is not trustworthy. He changed and I was at a loss as to what to do.”

So the master said, “Next day, when he says, ‘Wherever my feet lead,’ you tell him, ‘If you are crippled and your legs are cut off, then.?’”

Again he couldn’t sleep. He went early to wait on the road, and when the boy came he asked, “Where are you going?” And the boy said “To fetch vegetables from the market.”

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