Chapter 6: All Your Seriousness Is about Sandcastles
I am reminded of an occasion: Gautam Buddha is entering a village. On the boundary there is a river, and in the sand a few children are playing, making castles of sand, and they were very serious. If somebody - there were many children - if somebody disturbed somebody’s castle.It is very easy to disturb a sand castle, just throw a stone at it and it is gone. They were shouting and being angry at each other, and Buddha stood there, watching. Then it was time for the sun to set and their mothers called them from nearby houses, “Come back home, it is time for your supper.” And they all jumped on their own castles, the ones they had made and for which they were fighting that nobody should disturb them. They jumped on their own castles and never looked back, simply went home.
Buddha said to his disciples who were with him, “Life is not much more than this.”
All your seriousness is about sand castles. And you yourself will leave them one day, trampling them down, and you will not look back. The people who take it seriously miss the beauty of playfulness.
This incident: On one occasion, Nansen said to Joshu, “Nowadays, - it was not so in the very ancient times..
There are many stories for which there is no way to gather evidence, for or against: that man understood the language of animals, that man understood the language of the trees, that man was not apart from the world, but just one part who became a little more conscious than other parts. He was not in conflict. He lived joyfully, he died joyfully, because he was just a wave - a tidal wave, but even the tidal wave has to disappear; whatever is born will have to disappear.
So what is there to be serious about? And that is proved by many scriptures like Aesop’s Fables in which man is not there at all, but only animals. But those animals are very representative.
In a small anecdote a very young goat is drinking water in a mountain stream. A lion comes and thinks this is a good breakfast. But there has to be some rationality, you cannot just jump and catch hold of the young goat; first you have to rationalize your act.
So he said, “Listen, your father was very disrespectful to me.”
The little goat asked, “When did that happen?”
He said, “Just yesterday.”
The little goat said, “You must have been mistaken, my father has been dead for six months.”
The lion became very angry; his reason is nullified. Then he said, “You are spoiling the water that I am drinking! You don’t have any respect for the king of the animals!”
The poor goat said, “Just look at the stream. I’m standing down, you are standing up. How can I spoil the water? The water is going downwards not towards you. You are spoiling my water, but you have the right, you can do it.”
Seeing that he was being made a laughingstock - the goat was right - he jumped on the goat and said, “You don’t know any manners, any etiquette! You speak so loudly before elders!” and he made a good breakfast of the poor goat. But all those reasons..