Chapter 13: The Price of Rice
Ummon asked the head monk, “What sutra are you lecturing on?”
“The Nirvana Sutra,” replied the monk.
“The Nirvana Sutra has the four nirvana virtues, hasn’t it?” asked Ummon.
“It has,” the head monk agreed.
Picking up a cup, Ummon asked, “How many virtues has this?”
“None at all,” said the monk.
“But ancient people said it had, didn’t they?” said Ummon. “What do you think of what they said?”
Ummon struck the cup and asked, “You understand?”
“No,” said the monk.
“Then,” said Ummon, “you had better go on with your lectures on the sutra.”
On another occasion, a monk said to Ummon, “I ask you, master, to deliver a learner from darkness and illusion quickly!”
Ummon said, “What is the price of rice in Joshu?”
A philosophical monk asked Baso, “What teaching does the Zen sect propagate?”
Baso returned the question, and said, “How about you?”
The monk answered, “I am lecturing on as many as twenty different sutras and sastras.”
Baso exclaimed, “You are a lion’s whelp indeed!”
The monk said, “You are very kind.”
Baso breathed out strongly.
“That’s the real thing!” cried the monk.
“What do you mean, ‘real thing,’ may I ask?” said Baso.
“It’s the lion emerging from its den!” said the monk.
Baso was silent.
“That also is the real thing!” exclaimed the monk.
“How so?” asked Baso.
“It’s the lion entering its den!” said the monk.
“How about when the lion is neither coming out nor entering?” asked Baso.
The monk was silent. He began to take his leave, and was going out of the door when Baso called him, “Oh, monk!” The monk turned round and Baso said, “How about it?” The monk made no response, and Baso exclaimed, “Oh, man of little sense!”
Maneesha, before I enter into the beautiful world of Zen, I have to make a statement about the ugly world that surrounds us.
Hasya has been on a world tour with a project of creating the atmosphere amongst scientists, artists, painters, musicians, for a World Academy which belongs to no race, to no religion, to no nation, and whose absolute concern is the whole world.
She is back just today, and she reported to me that she had gone to see the chief editor of the German newspaper, Die Welt. The journalist who had taken her was immensely interested in the project and wanted to write a detailed article about it. He could see the potential of a World Academy of Creative Science, Art and Consciousness as a defense against those who are preparing to destroy the whole world in nuclear warfare.
But the journalist, of course, wanted to ask the permission of the chief editor. Coming out of the chief editor’s office he told Hasya that the man had thumped the table and shouted, “I am a Christian and I will protect the fatherland!” when the journalist had said he wanted to write a positive article about Osho.
What kind of Christianity is this? Thumping on the table is showing your immense violence. It does not indicate any relationship with Jesus, who said, “Love your enemies,” and even, “Love your neighbors.” Unfortunately he forgot to say, “Love your tables!” They are absolutely innocent. Thumping the table and calling himself a Christian is contradictory: either start learning drum-beating, or be a Christian. To be a Christian is, in its essence, a message of love.