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Chapter 6: Why Don’t You Retire?

You come to me and you ask, “Who created this world?” And if I say “God,” then you start asking about God: “Who is this God? And why did he create the world?” And if I say, “Because of this,” then you ask.. Every answer will create more and more questions.

But if you have only one question.that is very difficult. Only a very wise man asks the one question. Coming to the one question, you have already become mature - because many questions show your curiosity, one question shows that your being has come to a conclusion. Now this is at stake: if this question is solved, everything is solved. It is a question of life and death.

To ask one question means you have become one-pointed. To ask one question means now you are already a unity. And when you are a unity, the answer can be given to you; otherwise, you are not ready. And no master is going to waste his time and energy on you if you are asking many questions. Ask one question!

First find out what is the one question that is significant. Don’t move on the periphery, come to the center! On the periphery there can be many points to be asked, but at the center there is only one point. And when you move on the periphery you go on moving in a circle; one question will lead to another, another will lead to another, and you go on and on ad infinitum.

But at the center there is only one question. And that question can be answered even without answering; if you have come to one question, the master can look at you and the question has been answered. The master can touch you and the question has been answered. Because when you are so one-pointed, when you are so intensely alive, your flame is burning so bright, your mind is so clear - not filled with clouds, only one sun, not millions of clouds - you are so unclouded, everything is keen, clear, aflame, just a look may do; just a touch may do. But if you are filled with many questions, even if the master goes on hammering answers on you, nothing is going to happen.

One night Tokusan came to Ryutan and asked many questions.

These Zen stories are so beautiful, their every word is meaningful. One night - not in the morning but in the dark. In the morning you come to ask one question, in the night you come to ask many questions. In the morning you are clear, fresh, young. In the night you are old, rotten. In the night means you are in the dark, groping. Even if you come to the door you will not be able to see. Even if the answer is given it will not be understood.

Mind is the darkness of the soul, it is the night of the soul. But you believe in this mind so much - and it has not given you anything except promises. It gives you promises, it is wonderful in that - it goes on promising.

I have heard: Once Mulla Nasruddin came back to his home very, very late at night. He knocked, the wife asked, “Nasruddin, what is the time?”

Nasruddin said matter-of-factly, “It is very early, only elevenfifteen.”

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