Chapter 25: Nowhere to Fall To
For years now, I have been sitting by your side. Knowingly and unknowingly, an inner mountain has been climbed, effortlessly for the most part. Just today I looked down and it frightened me how far off the ground I am. A fear that I could fall grips me. The road is getting smaller and smaller, and I feel the danger. Would you speak to me about this?
David, the path back home is certainly a razor’s edge. As you come closer and closer to yourself, the path goes on becoming narrower and narrower. At the very end of this path you are going to find your pure aloneness.
The crowd has never found any truth. On the contrary, whenever anybody has found the truth, the crowd has rewarded him with crucifixion. To seek truth is the most dangerous, but very exciting, challenging, experiment.
An ancient Tibetan proverb says: “One hundred seekers start; ninety-nine are lost somewhere on the way, go astray. Only one - that too, very rarely - reaches the goal of his search.” With this proverb is attached a small story..
Deep in the mountains there is a monastery, far away from Lhasa. The chief monk is getting old and he wants a master from Lhasa to replace him. He sends a messenger, a young man, to the main monastery in Lhasa to ask them, “Our master is getting very old and he wants a man to replace him.” After long, long difficulties of mountainous paths the young man finally reaches to the main monastery.
An audience is given to him. And the master says to him, “I can understand. I will send one hundred people with you.”
The young man said, “But I have asked only for one.” And the master said, “Have you forgotten the old proverb? A hundred should go; rarely, one reaches.”
The proverb was certainly known to the young man, but he could not trust that a hundred people could go and only one would reach. But he could not argue either, with the chief of all the monasteries of Tibet. One hundred monks followed the young man.
They had not gone very far when they were stopped by a few soldiers with naked swords, who said, “Our small kingdom has lost its master. We need a master urgently. The pay is good, the palace to live in, and you will be the only religious man in the whole kingdom. And we are simply conveying to you the orders from the emperor. Refusal can be dangerous - you can see the naked swords.”
Many of those hundred monks started thinking, “This is a good place - why unnecessarily go deep into the mountains? It is close to Lhasa, the kingdom is rich, the monastery is rich, all facilities are available, and you will be the high priest of the kingdom.” So not only one, many wanted to go.
The young man said, “Have you forgotten?”
They said, “We have not forgotten. You forget it - all! We are going to stay.”
The soldiers said, “We need only one, but the monastery is big. If many of you want to come, you can be part of the monastery and the emperor will be immensely happy.”