Chapter 7: Autumn Floods
Chuang Tzu told the story of the autumn floods:
The autumn floods had come. Thousands of wild torrents poured furiously into the Yellow River. It surged and flooded its banks until, looking across, you could not tell an ox from a horse on the other side.
Then the River God laughed, delighted to think that all the beauty in the world had fallen into his keeping.
So downhill he swung, until he came to the ocean. There he looked out over the waves toward the empty horizon in the east, and his face fell.
Gazing out at the far horizon, he came to his senses and
murmured to the Ocean God, “Well, the proverb is right: ‘He who has got himself a hundred ideas thinks he knows more than anybody else.’ Such a one am I. Only now do I see what they mean by expanse!”
The Ocean God replied, “Can you talk about the sea to a frog in a well? Can you talk about ice to a dragonfly? And can you talk about the way of life to a doctor of philosophy?”
Life is experience and not theory. It needs no explanation. It is there in all its glory, just to be lived, enjoyed, delighted in. It is not a riddle, it is a mystery. A riddle is something which can be solved, a mystery is something which can never be solved. A mystery is something you can become one with; you can dissolve into it, you can melt into it - you yourself can become mysterious. This is the difference between philosophy and religion. Philosophy thinks that life is a riddle; you have to solve it, find explanations, theories, doctrines. Philosophy thinks that there is going to be some answer, that life is a question mark and one has to work hard at it. Of course, if you take life as a question mark, your effort becomes intellectual. The very assumption that life is a question leads you into more and more intellectual efforts, and in search of an answer you decide upon theories.
Religion says that to take life as a question is basically false. It is not a question - it is there, with no question mark. It is there as an open secret; it is an invitation. You have to become a guest, you have to move into it. It is ready and welcoming - don’t fight with it! It is not a question, don’t try to solve it! It is not a riddle. Come and become one with it, and you will know it. The knowing will come from your totality, not from the intellect. Intellect is a partial effort, and life needs you to be totally with it, to flow with it, so one with it that you cannot feel what is what, you cannot feel where you end and where life begins. The whole of life becomes you, the whole of you becomes life. This is what salvation is. It is not a solution, it is a salvation.
This is what Hindus have called moksha: it is not a theory, a conclusion, it is a totally different way to live with existence. It is not head-oriented. Really, you become headless, you lose all distinctions; the periphery dissolves - you are just like a drop in the ocean. You lose your boundaries and you gain the cosmic boundaries which are infinite.