The first question:
Somebody asked a Zen master, “What is the greatest miracle in the world?”
The master replied, “I am sitting here alone with me.”
What is the meaning of this parable?
It is not a parable, it is simply a fact. Look directly into it. There is no need to search for any meaning. It is like a roseflower – a simple statement. If you start looking for meaning you will miss the meaning of it. The meaning is there, obvious; there is no need to search for it. The moment you start searching for meaning about such simple facts, you weave philosophies, you create metaphysics. And then you go on and on, and you go far away from the fact.
It is a simple statement. The Zen master said, “I am sitting here alone with myself.” This is the greatest miracle. To be alone is the greatest achievement. One feels always a need for the other. There is a tremendous need for the other because something is lacking within ourselves. We have holes in our being; we stuff those holes with the presence of the other. The other somehow makes us complete, otherwise we are incomplete.
Without the other we don’t know who we are, we lose our identity. The other becomes a mirror and we can see our faces in it. Without the other we are suddenly thrown to ourselves. Great discomfort, inconvenience arises, because we don’t know who we are. When we are alone we are in very strange company, very embarrassing company. We don’t know with whom we are.
With the other, things are clear, defined. We know the name, we know the form, we know the man or the woman – Hindu, Christian, Indian, American – there are some ways to define the other. How to define yourself?
Deep down there is an abyss…undefinable. There is an abyss…emptiness. You start merging into that. It creates fear. You become frightened. you want to rush towards the other. The other helps you to hang out, the other helps you to remain out. When there is nobody you are simply left with your emptiness.
Nobody wants to be alone. The greatest fear in the world is to be left alone. People do a thousand and one things just not to be left alone. You imitate your neighbors so you are just like them and you are not left alone. You lose your individuality, you lose your uniqueness, you just become imitators, because if you are not imitators you will be left alone.
You become part of the crowd, you become part of a church, you become part of an organization. Somehow you want to merge with a crowd where you can feel at ease, that you are not alone, there are so many people like you – so many Mohammedans like you, so many Hindus like you, so many Christians, millions of them…you are not alone.