Chapter 1: Beyond Individuality: The Ultimate Center
One day, when Master Rinzai went to Ho-fu, the governor asked him to take the high seat.
Then Ma-yu came forward and asked Rinzai, “The great compassionate one has a thousand hands and a thousand eyes. Which is the true eye?”
Rinzai responded, “The great compassionate one has a thousand hands and a thousand eyes. Which is the true eye? Speak, speak!”
Ma-yu pulled the master down off the high seat and sat on it himself.
Approaching him, Rinzai said, “How do you do?”
Rinzai, in turn, pulled Ma-yu down off the high seat and sat upon it himself.
Ma-yu went out, and Rinzai stepped down.
Friends, the other day, the hilarious drama of procession against me reached to the very peak. I have heard that three hundred donkeys surrounding one bodhisattva reached to the police commissioner’s office asking for me to be arrested, because I am destroying the culture of a self-styled city which dreams of being cultured.
The one bodhisattva was carrying my effigy. The one bodhisattva looked like a donkey, and the three hundred donkeys looked like human beings. Even the donkey was laughing, because he was the only authentic being in that crowd: “What has happened to this cultured city and these so-called cultured people?”
Donkeys by their very nature are very silent people, very philosophical, very cultured. And this donkey was wondering, “Except me.all the three hundred donkeys who are hiding behind human masks, are doing my work, ‘cheepon, cheepon.’” [Hindi for “hee-haw, hee-haw.”]
These so-called human beings, self-styled, cultured ones, thought that they were insulting me. Nobody in the world can insult me, because it is in my hands: if I accept the insult, it is okay; if I don’t accept it, you have to carry it to your home. Nobody can humiliate me. Humiliation needs my acceptance.
On the contrary, these people were proving everything right that I have been saying to you. They were thinking that they are destroying my arguments by such processions. No procession can be an argument. No procession proves intelligence, it only proves retardedness. And carrying my effigy on a poor donkey simply exposes their real face: they are donkey-worshippers.
All human beings are not human beings. There are so many categories: a few are still chimpanzees, a few are still gorillas, a few are still monkeys, a few are still donkeys, a few are still Yankees.
But in this so-called, self-styled cultured city, not a single person objected to these people, that “You are exposing yourselves, your vulgarity, your unculturedness.”
And why are you harassing a bodhisattva? I call that donkey a bodhisattva.
And not only I, but since the day twenty-five centuries ago when Gautam Buddha gave Mahakashyapa a lotus flower, and told to the whole commune of ten thousand sannyasins, “What I could say to you I have said. What cannot be brought into language, I am transferring to Mahakashyapa. This lotus is just a symbol of transferring something which does not come into words.”