On the path there are not answers, simply the disappearing of the questions. What the master says makes the question disappear, makes the question irrelevant, out of context, meaningless. He clears the space, so you can see also the same clarity that is his own. He wants to share his clarity and he removes your questions by answers. He is not interested either in answers or in questions. He answers only just to remove the question. But if a person is not a person on the path of seeking, it does not matter. He may have removed one question to the side…he brings another…. He does not see the point.
The visitor asked, “Is cosmic vitality the Tao?” Neither does he know cosmic vitality, nor does he know Tao. This is where intellectuals get lost, in words. Words are a far more thick forest than you can find anywhere else. Apparently it seems to be perfectly right to ask a question, “Is cosmic vitality the ultimate life? The same as the Tao?” But the question is arising out of curiosity, not out of inquiry. It does not matter if you don’t answer. What I mean by urgency is, it matters that we should find our life source, the cosmic vitality.
Hyakujo responded, “Cosmic vitality is cosmic vitality. The Tao is the Tao.”
Now immediately in any ordinary mind the question will arise: Are they two? Is the path and the goal two? The path is the path; the goal is the goal – but they are not two. The path is only the extension of the goal. The goal is only the end point of the path. Hyakujo is not saying they are two. He is simply saying, the path is the path and the goal is the goal. Don’t make any decisions before you have followed the path. At the end point of the path you will find the goal. And then suddenly, you will realize their absolute oneness.
The Taoist said, “If so, they must be two different things?”
A very ordinary mediocre mind can say that. In front of a master, one has to think twice what he is asking.
Hyakujo said, “That which knows does not proceed from two different persons.”
You can follow only one path. There may be many paths – just like a mountain peak, you can climb it from one side or the other side. And there can be a thousand paths moving to the ultimate peak, but as paths they are different from other paths. Some paths may be moving through a desert, and some paths should be moving through lush green trees. As paths they are different, but when they will reach to the end, there will be an explosion of understanding that everything leads to the ultimate.
Some take a little more time, some take a little less time; some are arduous, some are very relaxed…it is your choice. Move from anywhere towards your life source. You will reach to the same point that any buddha has ever reached. The ultimate experience is not either yours or mine, it is simply the ultimate experience of all consciousnesses who move towards the inner source.
The exasperated Taoist replied…