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Chapter 7: The Source

This was the student.. After one year, when he came in, the master saw that slapping was not going to do it - he had been slapping him for one year continually! He just took hold of him and threw him out of the window. It was a two-story building..

It was such a shock to the student. He was expecting a slap, but he was not expecting to be thrown from the window into a ditch. And besides that, the master jumped on top of him, so the few bones which had been left unbroken were now broken. He had multiple fractures! And on top of all that, the master was asking, “Got it?” The shock was such that his mind stopped - it was so unexpected.

Mind stops only when there is something unexpected - so unexpected that the mind cannot figure it out.it stops.

Absolute silence.and tears of joy in the eyes of the disciple. He touched the feet of the master and said, “Why have you waited for one year? You could have done it on the very first day.”

The master said, “It would not have worked. I had to wait for the right moment, when you were ripe. You had worked hard with your mind. Your mind was tired, utterly tired; it had lost all hope that there is any possibility to find the answer. This was the moment when, if something unexpected happens to you, the mind may stop - just for a single moment. And that’s enough to hear the sound of one hand clapping.”

The words are deceiving. It is not the sound of one hand clapping; it is the silence when the mind stops. Now anybody looking at the anecdote and not knowing the whole inner process - just an outsider - is bound to think this is simply stupid. But the disciple became enlightened, and it is always the end which decides whether the means were right or wrong.

Ta Hui is just an intellectual, so sometimes he repeats beautiful words. But here he has shown his reality, because he could not conceive any meaning in the stories and the anecdotes. I will go into them.

You must see the moon and forget the


This is so easy to repeat, because for the thousands of years since Gautam Buddha this has been one of the most important statements: the buddha only points the finger towards the moon.

His ‘finger’ means all that he says, all that he does, and it is only an indication - a hint. You should not get too much attached to the finger, because the finger is not the point. What he is saying, what he is preaching, is not the point; it is only an indication. You should not get attached to the philosophy, you should not become a Buddhist. You should look at the moon.

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