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Chapter 3: The Abbot of Nansen

You can drop the ego in search of something. Then you have not really dropped it, you are bargaining. Realizing the fact that ego is ugly, the source of all misery and illness, you simply drop it. You don’t ask, “What will I gain out of it if I drop my ego?” - because all gain is the subtle search of the ego. You simply drop it because it is useless, harmful, poisonous.

You are passing through the woods, you come across a snake - you simply jump out of the way. You don’t ask, “What will I gain out of it? I will not jump out of the way unless I am certain of what I am going to gain out of it.” You simply jump without a second thought, because if you have a second thought about it, by that time the snake may have attacked you. You simply jump. Realizing the fact that the snake is there, death is there, you simply jump out of it.

The house is on fire. You don’t ask, “What will I gain if I run out of it?” You simply run out of it without a second thought. You think about it when you are out of it; in fact, you run without thinking. When you are out of danger, then you sit under a tree and you have a look; then you think over all that has happened - why did you run away? You realize it, and the realization becomes a change, a transformation, a revolution.

If you realize that the ego is your house on fire you drop it. You don’t ask, “What will I gain out of it?” You simply become a nobody, an ordinary being. And once you are ordinary, everything starts happening.

Zen is ordinary, it makes people just nobodies, and this is the beauty of it. When you become a nobody, when you are ordinary, this is the most extraordinary phenomenon possible. Listen: everybody wants to be extraordinary, so the longing to be extraordinary is very ordinary, because everybody wants it. And to become ordinary is absolutely extraordinary because nobody wants it, nobody longs for it. Remember this; only then can you understand Zen masters.

Because of this the seed, the seed of silence, the seed of inner emptiness that Buddha gave to Mahakashyapa, had to be taken to China, because in India a very great accident happened in the past, and that accident was the brahmins.

You cannot find more egoistic people than brahmins; they created the whole hierarchy in India. They were the most extraordinary, the chosen few, the head-people. They even divided the castes just like they do the body. They said: Those who are ordinary, workers who work with their hands, they are just like the feet - the lowest. Those who are business people, they are just like the belly; they help the body, they are the center of the body, the physical, just like the belly. Then the warriors, the soldiers, the kshatriyas, they are just like the arms - to defend, to protect. And brahmins, they are like the head - the thinkers, the philosophers - and the head is the highest. The whole body exists for the head; the head doesn’t exist for anybody, it exists for itself. The head is there to order the body, discipline it. The whole body has to follow the head, and if a leg says “no” it has to be cut off and thrown away.

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