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Chapter 9: Just a Morning Walk

He turned to look at the master; at that moment the master raised one leg. That he could not understand. The master is saying, “You have turned only half; turn totally, and turn in, not towards me. I’m just an object outside.”

No authentic master wants his disciples to turn towards him, because that is taking them away from their own selves. Only the false master, the pseudo master, tries to get people to look up to him, to surrender to him, to be dedicated to him, to be devoted to him; his whole concern is that the disciples’ consciousness should be arrowed towards him.

This is the only way of finding out whether the master is authentic or pseudo. The authentic master tries in every possible way to turn you inwards. Everything outside is objective: it will never give you an insight into your subjective reality; it will never allow you to know your interiority, which is your temple, where is hiding your buddha, where you will reach to the highest point of consciousness.

On another occasion, a monk came and stood before Nansen with folded hands. Nansen said, “A great layman!”

A layman is not a disciple but has deep gratefulness, respectfulness towards those who have arrived, who have reached to the point of ultimate explosion. Folded hands in the East are the symbol of respectfulness. It also represents humbleness.

Nansen said, “A great layman!”

The monk clasped his hands.
Nansen said, “A great monk!”

On the surface all these statements look irrational, absurd. What the monk is saying by clasping his hands is, “My hands are not dead, they are not like a statue. My love and my gratitude is alive. You should not call me just a layman, I am a fellow traveler.” The movement of the hands signifies that the hands are not made of stone or wood, they are alive.

And Zen is the religion of the people who worship only life, no stone gods, no statues, no God in the heaven. All those are fictions for Zen. Zen loves this life in total affirmation. For Zen there is nothing more to existence than this life; you just have to go deeper into it, where space and time are both left behind, where you enter into the transcendental. Zen has no god, Zen has no prayer; there is nobody to whom to pray. Zen is absolutely concerned with the inner, not with the outer.

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