Chapter 6: The Art of Archery
Now, let us try to penetrate this story, The Art of Archery. In Japan and in China, meditation has been taught through many skills - that is the difference between Indian meditation and Chinese and Buddhist and Japanese meditation. In India, meditation has been taken away from all action in life. It, in itself, is the total thing. That created a difficulty - that’s why in India, religion by and by died. It created a difficulty, and the difficulty is this: if you make meditation the whole thing, then you become a burden on the society. Then you cannot go to your shop, you cannot go to the office, you cannot work in the factory - meditation becomes your whole life, you simply meditate. In India, millions of people simply existed meditating; they became a burden on the society, and the burden was too much. Some way or other, the society had to stop it.
Even now, today, almost ten million sannyasins exist in India. Now they are not respected. Only a few.not even ten in those ten million are respected. They have become just beggars. Because of this attitude - that when you do meditation, when religion becomes your life, then there is only religion, then you drop all life and you renounce - Indian meditation has been, in a way, anti-life. You can tolerate a few persons but you cannot tolerate millions, and if the whole country become meditators, then what will you do? And if meditation cannot be available for each and every person - that means even religion exists only for the few, even in religion class exists, even God is not available to all? No, that cannot be. God is available to all.
In India, Buddhism died. Buddhism died in India, the country of its source, because Buddhist monks became a heavy burden. Millions of Buddhist monks - the country could not tolerate them, it was impossible to support them, they had to disappear. Buddhism completely disappeared; the greatest flowering of Indian consciousness and it disappeared, because you cannot exist like a parasite. A few days, okay; a few years, okay. India tolerated it - it is a great tolerating country, it tolerates everything - but then there is a limit. Thousands of monasteries filled with thousands of monks - it became impossible for this poor country to continue to support them. They had to disappear. In China, in Japan, Buddhism survived, because Buddhism took a change, it passed through a mutation - it dropped the idea of renouncing life. Rather, on the contrary, it made life an object of meditation.
So whatsoever you do, you can do meditatively - there is no need to leave it. This was a new growth, this is the base of Zen Buddhism: life is not to be denied. A Zen monk goes on working; he will work in the garden, he will work on the farm, and he lives on his own labor. He is not a parasite, he is a lovely person. He need not bother about the society, and he is more free from the society than the one who has renounced. How can you be free from the society if you have renounced it? Then you become a parasite, not free - and a parasite cannot have freedom.
This is my message also: be in the society and be a sannyasin. Don’t become a parasite, don’t become dependent on anybody, because every sort of dependence ultimately will make you a slave. It cannot make you a mukta, it cannot make you an absolutely free person.
In Japan, in China, they started to use many things, skills, as an object, as a help, as a support to meditation. Archery is one of them - and archery is beautiful, because it is a very subtle skill, and you need much alertness to be skillful in it.