Chapter 5: Throwing You Back to Yourself
So remember this difference: words cannot say anything about truth, neither can your so-called silence. Your silence is also yours. The plane of your silence and the plane of your words is not different - they belong to the same plane.
Truth can be understood only when you transform, transfigure your plane of being, when you attain to a new kind of consciousness, a new awareness.
We go on moving on the same plane. Sometimes we play the game of words, sometimes we start playing the game of silence. Sometimes we play the game of being worldly, sometimes we start playing the game of being other-worldly. Sometimes we play the game of the marketplace, and sometimes the game of the church and the temple - but the plane remains the same. We don’t move a single inch. Your monastery and your marketplace both belong to the same world.
You live on one plane. Unless this plane moves towards a higher altitude, you can do whatsoever you like but nothing will change. An angry person can pray, but his prayer will be out of anger; an angry person can love, but his love will be full of anger. An angry person can do many things, but wherever, whatsoever he is doing, anger will be present - maybe sometimes obvious, sometimes not so obvious. A violent person can try to be non-violent. Then in his non-violence there will be violence, he will be very violently non-violent. He will be very aggressive about it; he will become obsessed with non-violence.
Remember, it is not a question of changing from one polarity to another polarity on the same plane. The question is of changing from one plane to another.
A few years ago the dons of the Philosophy faculty at Cambridge decided to make the final examination consist of only one compulsory question, which read as follows:
“Is this a question?”
To everyone’s surprise one candidate got up, handed in a sheet of paper and walked out two minutes after the examination had begun.
When the results were announced he had come first. He had written: “If that is a question, this is an answer.”
Yes, that’s the exact answer - on the same plane. But neither is the question a question, nor is the answer an answer.
This is what we are doing. Be very watchful. It is very human to be caught in the polarity.
Yes, truth cannot be uttered in words, but it cannot be uttered through silence either. Then what is one supposed to do?
Zen has a very, very special approach about it. It uses words in a nonsense way - it uses words without any meaning. It uses words not as they should be used. It uses words in an absurd way.
Somebody asks: “What is a buddha?”