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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   Dogen, the Zen Master: A Search and a Fulfillment
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Chapter 4: Dive a Little Deep

But in Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram you could not drink tea, you could not fall in love with a woman. Every day you had to eat with your meal neem leaves, which are the bitterest leaves in the world, just to destroy your taste; because scriptures say that tastelessness is a criterion of spirituality. It can be a criterion of stupidity, it cannot be a criterion of spirituality; otherwise all buffaloes will be spiritual.

Have you watched buffaloes? They always chew the same grass, showing in no way whether they are happy or unhappy, remaining so content and aloof. And the whole day it continues, chewing and chewing. It cannot be very delicious. You can try, once in a while it is good to try what other species around the world are doing. But I will not say that tastelessness has anything to do with religion. On the contrary, the more you become meditative, the more your taste becomes deeper. Every sense becomes more sensitive, you hear more, you see better, your touch starts becoming warmer.

Just touch a few people’s hands and you will see the difference. Some people’s hands are warm. The warm hands show that they are ready to give, to share; the warmth is their energy moving towards you, it is really a love symbol. But holding some people’s hands will be just like holding a dead branch of a tree, nothing moves in their hands. But these people in the past have been called spiritual. The more dead you are the more spiritual. Don’t eat for the taste’s sake!

You cannot believe that Buddhist scriptures have thirty-three thousand rules for a person to be spiritual. At least I cannot become spiritual, just because I cannot count that many rules. I cannot remember that much - thirty-three thousand rules! Whenever I count, I count on my fingers and after the third finger I always get lost. But that does not mean that I cannot be spiritual, arithmetic has nothing to do with spirituality. And what are those rules?

One instance I will give to you. A young monk is going to spread Buddha’s word to the masses. Before taking his leave he touches Buddha’s feet and asks him if he has something to say to him, because he will not be able to see him again until the second monsoon comes.

Buddha said, “Yes, I have a few instructions for you. One thing is, never look more than four feet ahead of you.”

The man said, “But why?”

Buddha said, “It is to avoid women. At the most you can see their feet. Then just move on, don’t look at their face. Keep your eyes glued to the ground.”

Now such a man cannot see the stars, such a man cannot see the sunset or the sunrise, such a man is utterly cut off from existence, his sensitivity has been killed. He has eyes but he is almost blind - eyes that can see only four feet ahead. His tremendous capacity for seeing is reduced to only four feet.

The young monk asked, “If once in a while I forget, or if there is some special situation in which I have to see a woman, what should I do?”

Buddha said, “Close your eyes. I am especially concerned, because once you have seen a beautiful woman you can close your eyes but you cannot forget the face.” In fact with closed eyes she becomes more beautiful.

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