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Chapter 5: The Eye of Zen

The person who thinks about truth is bound to think wrongly. All thinking is wrong about truth, because the moment you start thinking you follow the path of logic, and reality is paradoxical. They never crisscross. They run parallel, but they never meet.

Another name for this paradoxicality of existence is mystery. Mystery is not a riddle, mystery is not a problem, because it cannot be solved. There is simply no way to solve it. It is to be lived, experienced. Yet you will not be able to answer what it is, because the moment you try to answer it you have to bring language in and language is logical. Language is created by the logical mind, hence language is inadequate, absolutely inadequate to express truth. Truth can be expressed only through silence, but then silence again is a mystery.

The first paradox that you will come to on the path is: the mind cannot ask a right question. It is not within its powers to ask the right question, because to ask the right question is to find the answer immediately. In fact, the right question is the answer.

In the world of the mind there is a duality: the question and the answer; they are separate. In the world of reality, the right question is the answer. If you can ask the right question, there is no need even to ask. The very understanding of the right question is enough to understand the answer. But the right question cannot be asked by the mind. It can be asked only by the no-mind. But the no-mind never asks anything.

This is the first paradox one comes across: the mind asks questions, but all questions raised by the mind are bound to be wrong, because mind itself is wrong. Anything that arises out of that state is going to be wrong, and a wrong question cannot lead you to the right answer. The mind can ask millions of questions, but there is no answer anywhere for those questions.

The no-mind knows the answer, but the no-mind never asks the question. It is so at ease, so at home with reality, that the question does not arise. Non-arising of the question is the answer.

So the whole effort of Bodhidharma is to change the gestalt of your being, your focus. You are focused on the dualistic mind. The dualistic mind always thinks in either/or: “Either god is light or god is darkness. How can god be both?” It becomes impossible for the mind to conceive that god is both simultaneously: light and darkness, life and death, that god is and is not, and he is both together simultaneously.

The mind starts feeling crazy if you force the mind to think upon such matters. Mind simply recoils. It says, “This is nonsense!”

One of the very keenest minds of the modern West is Arthur Koestler. He came to study Zen. Now, Zen cannot be studied in the first place. It is not a question of studying. You cannot approach it through the mind, through the intellect, but that is the only approach available to the contemporary man. Contemporary man is far poorer than man has ever been before: rich in things but poor in understanding.

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