Chapter 1: The Whiskers of the Pebble
The moment you borrow it, it has lost its life, it is no longer alive. It will not bring a transformation in your being. And knowledge that does not bring a transformation in your being is not worth calling knowledge. But a teacher can teach the student, the distance does not matter; but the master is not a teacher. The master is the source of a certain energy, you have to come closer to share in the energy, in the fire of the master. You have to enter and become a fire also. Suddenly you will discover that you have every capacity, every potentiality, to become a buddha. Why bother about Buddhism when you can become a buddha yourself? When you can open your eyes and see the light of the sun, what is the point of asking the people with closed eyes what is light? And do you think that anyone can explain to you with closed eyes what is light? There is no way. You have to open your eyes.
When Bokushu said, “Don’t be bothered about these things: what is the meaning of Buddhism, why Bodhidharma came.. It is his problem, not your problem. Why don’t you come a little closer, a little nearer?” In that closeness your questions will melt away on their own because the closer you come, the more your darkness disappears; closer you come the more your ego disappears; closer you come, you start seeing your original face reflected in the master’s heart. It is a heart-to-heart silent message.
The monk went nearer and then Bokushu said, “When I call a man one from east of Setsu, one from west of Setsu is included. What is the meaning of that?”
The disciple may have come a little closer, but halfway, partially. But one can be closer only if one is total - east and west together. The disciple must have been holding something back and bringing something closer because the master has asked. But no master is satisfied with any partial involvement. Every master down the ages has asked you to come with your fullness, to come with your totality, not leaving anything behind, not holding anything. Just come with your totality and all your questions will disappear of their own accord.
The monk then asked, “What is the essence of the meaning of Sokei?” - (which was where Eno lived).
Eno was Bokushu’s master. Now Bokushu has become a master in his own right. The monk’s answer is sarcastic, skeptical. When he says, “What is the essence of the meaning of Sokei?” he is asking, “What were you doing at Sokei? You don’t know what the meaning of Buddhism is, you don’t know what was the cause of Bodhidharma coming to China. If you don’t know anything, what have you been doing with your master Eno in Sokei?”
Bokushu said, “When you meet a swordsman in the street, give him a sword. If he is not a poet, don’t show him your poem.”
He is saying, “I am giving you what you are capable of. I will not give you a poem if you are not a poet. I am not blind to your potentiality. If I see that you can become a great swordsman, I will present you with a sword, I will not bother you with any poetry.”