That’s where Zen comes to be the highest kind of religiousness. Just compare it to Jesus’ saying to his followers, “Ask and it shall be given unto you” – but ask. What you can ask will be some desire, some longing, some passion, some greed. What can you ask? – and existence has no obligation to fulfill your asking.
Jesus goes on by saying, “Knock and the doors shall be opened unto you.” It seems as if existence is closed; unless you knock, the doors will not be opened.
The truth is, existence has no doors, so where are you going to knock? And existence is every moment available; your doors are closed. Are you going to knock on your own doors? And who is going to open them?
Jesus says, “Seek and ye shall find.” Beautiful words, and if you don’t understand, then great poetry. But if you understand, then they are not fundamental statements of a religious consciousness.
A religious consciousness will just change the whole thing into its opposite: seek and you will miss; don’t seek and you have already found. Knock and you will be knocking in vain, because existence has no doors; it is in every dimension open. Ask and you will be living in an illusion. It will be given to you not by existence, but by your own imagination.
Don’t put any condition on existence, don’t put any pressure on existence. Just be available and rejoice, whatever comes to you. And existence comes in such abundance to the unconditional man that it is simply surprising. You had not asked and all the treasures, all the splendors, all the mysteries, are your own. You were not seeking, and the truth is already there.
You are the truth, the whole seeking is stupid. The more you seek, the farther you will go away from the truth. So stop seeking – and complete stoppage of desiring, seeking, asking, they are all the same things. Just remain at your center, available and open, unconditionally, and you have found that which cannot be said.
In this background you should understand this anecdote.
Once, when Kingyu saw Rinzai coming to his monastery, he sat in his room holding his stick crosswise. Rinzai struck the stick three times with his hand, then entered the monks’ hall and sat down in the first seat.
Obviously the first seat belonged to Kingyu; he was the master of the monastery. And this is strange behavior from a guest, that he knocks first the stick of the master three times, and then, without saying anything, enters the assembly hall and sits in the place of the master.
Kingyu came in, saw Rinzai, and said, “In an encounter between host and guest, each should observe the customary formalities.”