Yakusan said, “I limp along, ungainly in a hundred ways, clumsy in a thousand; still I go on this way.”
He is not ready to drop his scriptures, but he is not an egoist, he accepts himself: “I limp along, ungainly in a hundred ways, clumsy in a thousand; still I go on this way.”
On another occasion, Yakusan asked a monk,
“Where have you come from?”
“From the southern lake,” replied the monk.
“Has the lake overflowed its banks?” asked Yakusan.
“Not yet,” answered the monk.
Then Yakusan said, “So much rain and the lake not yet full?”
But the monk was silent.
What can he say? It is true…so much rain, but the lake is not overflowing.
These are symbolic statements. The master showers more than you can ever contain, but you are not even full; what to say about overflowing?
To be a disciple is a great opportunity to receive the rain that is showering continuously from the master’s grace and experience. Unless you also start becoming an overflowing lake, you have not done the homework. You have wasted your time, you have wasted a valuable opportunity.
Yakusan is right when he says, “So much rain and the lake not yet full?”
The poor monk has no answer. But even in his silence there is great gratitude.
There are dialogues of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle…. In modern times Martin Buber revived the whole philosophy of Socrates, the central point being the dialogue. But Martin Buber was not aware – and he could have been aware, because he was alive just a few years ago – that his dialogues remained the same as twenty-five centuries earlier, like Socrates.
This is a different kind of dialogue; no apparent reason, but inside there is so much insight.
A poet has written:
leave mountain caves;
water fills holes and flows over.
And another poem runs:
go out of mountain caves;
birds, tired of flying,
want to return home.