It happened that a disciple was with a Zen master for many years and nothing happened. He tried to do whatsoever the master said but still nothing happened because in fact he was not trying, he was pretending to try. He was just showing that he was trying; he was playing a game, he was not sincere. Then he started asking others, “What to do? I do everything whatsoever the master says, and nothing happens.” Somebody said, “It will not happen, it is difficult, it is almost impossible. If you really want it to happen the only way is to die.” The man had by this time become such a practitioner of pretensions that he said, “I will do it”. He went to the master to see him.
Suddenly, as the master looked at him, he fell on the ground, closed his eyes and pretended that he was dead. The master had a hearty laugh, because you can pretend everything but how can you pretend that you are dead? It is the last of absurdities. The master said, “Right, you did well, but one question before you disappear completely. What about the koan, the problem I have given you to solve?”
The master had given him a problem to meditate upon, the very basic problem that if you want to create sound with one hand, how will it sound ( the sound of one hand?
The pretender opened one eye and said, “Master, that I haven’t solved yet.” The master hit him, kicked him hard and said, “You hypocrite, don’t you know this much, that dead men don’t answer any questions? You are dead, but immediately you answer a question.”
If you are really ignorant then all the other words that you have written are false, useless, futile, meaningless, gibberish. But if they are meaningful then whatsoever you have said in the beginning is a pretension. That’s why I say the question is complex.
And then you want my presence. A presence cannot be desired. You have to wait for it, you cannot want it. It is a free gift; whenever you are ready it is given. And your knowledge won’t allow you to receive my response. The man is saying that he is not in any way interested in my answers – because he knows the answers already, he is a man of knowledge. He wants my presence. But what have you done to earn it? Just by desiring do you think you become capable?
Then why are these others trying to get my response? Are they fools except you? In fact, to pass through response is a training to reach to the presence. You ask a question, I respond to you, and by and by your questions will drop. Not that you will become more knowledgeable – if you become more knowledgeable then more questions will arise. No, if you really listen to me, if you try to understand me – not the words, but the space between the words; not the lines, but the space between the lines; not what I say, but that which I mean – if you understand it, you will become ready, and by and by questions will drop. And when a non-questioning mind arises, suddenly my presence will burst upon you.
These answers are to make you ignorant; these answers are to bring your knowledge out, to help you to unlearn it, but it all depends on you. You can gather my answers without listening to the meaning, you can gather the words, but they will become more and more of a burden of knowledge on you, on your head. Then more questions will arise because every answer is capable of creating a thousand and one questions. Then you miss the point. Then you are not in fact here with me; you are on your own trip, your ego trip. It is not my trip, it is your trip; you are not with me.