“The hen can hatch her eggs because her heart is always listening.” That is an important magic spell. The hen can hatch the eggs because of the energy of heat. But the energy of the heat can only warm the shells; it cannot penetrate into the interior. Therefore she conducts this energy inward with her heart. This she does with her hearing. In this way she concentrates her whole heart. When the heart penetrates, the energy penetrates, and the chick receives the energy of the heat and begins to live. Therefore a hen, even when at times she leaves her eggs, always has the attitude of listening with bent ear. Thus the concentration of the spirit is not interrupted. Because the concentration of the spirit suffers no interruption, neither does the energy of heat suffer interruption day or night, and the spirit awakens to life. The awakening of the spirit is accomplished because the heart has first died. When a man can let his heart die, then the primal spirit wakes to life. To kill the heart does not mean to let it dry and wither away, but it means that it has to become undivided and gathered into one.
The ancient Zen master, Dogo, had a disciple called Soshin. When Soshin became a novice under Dogo he doubtless expected that the master would instruct him in Zen the way a schoolmaster instructs his pupils. But Dogo said nothing special to him, and indeed, appeared to have no intention of conveying anything unusual to the disciple. Finally Soshin could stand it no longer and reproached his master for not having shown him anything of Zen. “But I have been giving you lessons in Zen ever since you arrived,” said Dogo.
“Oh?” said Soshin, “When could that possibly have been?”
“When you bring me my morning tea,” said Dogo, “I accept it. When you serve me a meal, I eat it. When you bow to me, I acknowledge it. How else do you expect to learn Zen?”
Tao can be shared but cannot be divided. Tao can be shown but cannot be said.
The master lives in Tao. The disciple has to imbibe the spirit of it. It is not a teaching, it cannot be a teaching – all teachings are superficial. It has to be deeper than a teaching. It has to be an energy transfer. It has to be heart to heart, soul to soul, body to body. It cannot be verbal. And the disciple has to see, watch, observe, feel, love the energy that is manifesting in the master. Slowly slowly, by and by, just sitting by the side of the master, the disciple learns many secrets, although they are never taught.
One of the greatest secrets is that sitting by the master’s side, the disciple starts breathing in the same way the master breathes. There arises a synchronicity, and in that synchronicity the two meet. It happens to lovers too. If you are in deep love with someone, sitting side by side, sitting together with your beloved, you will be surprised if you observe, that suddenly, for no reason at all, not cultivated by you, you are breathing in the same way. When the beloved exhales, you exhale; when the beloved inhales, you inhale. And suddenly you are connected, linked together.