There is an ancient story of a Zen monk…Every night the king used to go on a round of his capital in disguise, to see whether things were alright or there was some trouble which he was not allowed to know. Is somebody miserable? – if he could do something, he wanted to know it directly, not through so many mediators and bureaucracies.
He was always puzzled by a very beautiful, very silent man, always standing under a tree. Whatever time of the night he went, the man was always standing there silently, just like a marble statue. Naturally, curiosity arose, and finally he could not resist the temptation to ask this man what he was guarding. He could not see that he had anything…in fact he was standing naked.
The young man laughed and said, “I am guarding myself; I don’t have anything else. But guarding itself – being alert and aware and awake – is the greatest treasure. You have much, but you don’t have the guard.”
The king was puzzled, but intrigued by the beauty of the man and by the authority of his words. Every night they used to talk a little bit, and slowly, slowly a great friendship arose. The naked monk never asked, “Who are you?”
The king asked him, “I have been asking so many questions of you – who you are, from where you have come, what you are doing, what is your discipline – but you have never asked me, ‘Who are you?’“
The young man said, “If you knew who you were, you would not have been asking all these questions. I don’t want to humiliate you – I simply accept whoever you are. I never asked the trees, I never asked the animals, the birds, I never asked the stars – why should I ask you? It is perfectly good that you are, and I am perfectly at ease with you and with everything.”
The question is an uneasiness, it is a tension; it arises deep down from fear. One wants to know the other, because the other may turn out to be an enemy, may turn out to be mad. The other has to be made predictable, then one feels at ease. But can you make anybody predictable?
The young man said, “Nothing can be predicted. Everything goes on moving into more and more mysteries, and I am perfectly at ease; whatever is happening is a joy. Each moment is so sweet and so fragrant, I cannot ask for more. Whoever you are, you are good. I love you, I love everybody…I simply love. I don’t know any other way to relate with existence.”
This is faith: not knowing another way to relate with existence except love, except a total acceptance – the one suchness.
The king was so impressed. He knew well that a man who has renounced the world, even renounced his clothes, and in cold winter nights goes on standing alone in his silence, is bound to refuse his invitation – a simple expectation of any human being. But he said, “I have fallen in so much love with you that the whole day I wait for when the night comes and I go on my round. I am always afraid that some day you may not be here. I want you to be closer to me. Can I invite you to my palace? I will arrange everything as you want.”
There was not even a single moment’s hesitation and the man said, “This is a good idea.”