Chapter 3: I Am Higher
But he was pleased. Why? - for the simple reason that this man understands that the king can understand - and more respect than that cannot be shown. He has said the truth as it is, naked, utterly naked, trusting that here is a man who will be able to understand. There is no need to compromise; there is no need to come down; there is no need to talk in a language that he can understand. You can say the truth as it is and still you can hope that he will understand.
Chao Chou must have seen that this man had attained something of the no-mind.
And whenever you come before a master, just a look is enough and he knows you through and through, to the innermost core. He becomes immediately acquainted with you; no other introduction is needed. He can see whether you are asleep or awake. He can see whether you are pretending or real. He can see whether you are pseudo or authentic. He can see where you are.
Every evening people come to see me; they come to touch my feet. Touching my feet has nothing to do with me; that is just an excuse for them to bow down, to surrender. Any other excuse will do. If you can manage you can bow down to a tree, and immediately you will see a great uprising in yourself, a great uplift.
There are a few fools also. They will touch my feet, but they are only following a formality. There are a few other kinds of fools who will come to touch my feet but will not even be able to do it formally. They will just sit there like rocks. I touch their heads not to offend them, otherwise it is not worth it because it is meaningless. If they are not surrendering, my touch cannot reach their hearts, my energy cannot stir their hearts. If they are sitting like rocks, they are just touching my feet in a pseudo way. Touching their heads is futile. Still I touch, just not to hurt them unnecessarily. And they will not understand even that. You can hit only when somebody understands.
Now Chao Chou has hit the king as hard as possible by saying, “What are you? I am higher than all the kings, of this world and the other world.” He has hit him hard - must have seen the immense capacity of the man to understand. And that’s why the king is very pleased: he was not hoping that he would be respected so much.
Do you see the point? It is not an ordinary anecdote. When you read it, it looks ordinary; when you go deep into it meditatively, you will find subtle nuances, subtle turns. Just this single phrase - The king was very pleased - is of immense importance. What is there to be pleased about? The man has hit him like anything! But there is something to be pleased about, because he thought him worthy enough to hit; he thought him worthy enough to say the truth as it is. He belongs to the first category.
The next day a general came to visit Chao Chou, who not only got up from his seat when he saw the general coming, but also showed him more hospitality in every way than he had shown to the king.
After the general had left, Chao Chou’s attendant monks asked him, “Why did you get up from your seat when a person of lower rank came to see you, yet did not do so for one of the highest rank?”