Chapter 4: A Stone Striking Bamboo
The point is, if you are prepared, and not asking for anything, not even for enlightenment, the right moment has come for you. Then the whole world from anywhere may bring you the light, the eyes, the interiority which you were missing - although you were trying. And you were missing because you were trying. Don’t try! Simply let it happen. And watch.
Here, when you do the meditation every evening, your function is to watch very silently how the body makes itself comfortable. It is not a question of trying. You cannot try relaxation - only in America!
There are books sold in millions of copies. When I came across such a book, it said, “You must relax!” Now that “must” will not allow you to relax; that “must” is your problem; that “must” is keeping you tense, strained.
You must not be; and suddenly there is relaxation. You are not, then relaxation is.
Kyozan was uncertain as to the validity of Kyogen’s enlightenment so, by way of testing him, he said to Kyogen, “I have heard that you composed a verse expressing your enlightenment. Please let me hear it and I will study it.”
When Kyogen had finished reciting the verse, he said, “We will leave it ready for some leisure time,” and he then proceeded to make another verse:
“Last year my poverty was not real poverty;
this year my poverty is the real thing.
Last year there was no place
for the awl to be struck;
this year I have not even an awl.”
The awl is an instrument - just like a bamboo but very pointed - for marking surfaces, piercing leather.
What is false poverty and what is real poverty?
“Last year, he says, my poverty was not real poverty;” I was only pretending to be nobody. But I knew who I was. In fact I was enriching my ego by the idea that I was nobody, that I was the humble, the simple person.
.this year my poverty is the real thing.
This year I am not proclaiming my ego or any egoistic attitude. This year I don’t know what is humbleness. This year I don’t know what is egolessness. This year I have really become poor.
But in the world of Zen this poverty, the real poverty - which is not concerned with your possessions, with your money, with your acquirements in the world - the real poverty means the ego has shattered, ambition has left you. Even if you meet God you will not have anything to ask him. Such deep poverty is really great richness.
When a man can meet God himself - this is just for argument’s sake; there is no God. Don’t start searching for him; you will not find him, particularly in Koregaon Park. But just for the argument’s sake, if you meet God, do you have some ambition to be fulfilled, a desire to be completed?