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Chapter 3: I Am Higher

Now the attendant monks can see only the outer shell. The general is of a lower rank, the king is of a higher rank - they can only see the outer side. And they must have been puzzled: “Why did Chao Chou behave in such a hard way with the king and why did he behave in such a soft way with the general?”

Chao Chou replied, “You don’t understand. When people of the highest quality come to see me, I do not get up from my seat.”

There is no need, because the highest quality people have no egos; that’s why they are of the highest quality. If they have no egos, there is no need to stand up or to show great respect to them. That will be futile, meaningless. That will simply show that you don’t understand.

“When people of the highest quality come to see me, I do not get up from my seat; when they are of middle quality, I do; but when they are of the lowest quality, I go outside of the gate to receive them.”

The ways of the masters are strange! And to be with a master is to be with a mystery. A master is a mystery: he lives on the earth and yet he is not part of the earth. He is in the body and he is not the body. He uses the mind and he is not the mind. He is in time but he belongs to the beyond, to eternity. He is as alive as you are, but in a totally different way because he knows there is no birth, no death. He has gone beyond life and death; he knows life eternal.

From the outside he is just like you - hungry he eats, thirsty he drinks, tired he sleeps - just like you. But in his innermost core he is totally different because he is in a totally different world, in a totally different space.

And to understand his inner world you will have to grow into your own interiority; that is the only way. You can understand only so much. If you move deep into yourself you will understand the master in a deep way. The deeper you move inside, the deeper you will understand the master. To understand the master you will have to go deeper into yourself. When you have reached the innermost core of your being you will know the master in his absolute perfection. Otherwise, you will misunderstand.

Now, even the attendant monks could not understand.

Chao Chou said, “You don’t understand.”

It is very simple!

“When the people of the highest quality come to see me, I do not get up from my seat.”