How long the night to the watchman,
how long the road to the weary traveler,
how long the wandering of many lives
to the fool who misses the way.
If the traveler cannot find
master or friend to go with him,
let him travel on alone
rather than with a fool for company.
“My children, my wealth!”
so the fool troubles himself.
But how has he children or wealth?
He is not even his own master.
The fool who knows he is a fool
is that much wiser.
The fool who thinks he is wise
is a fool indeed.
Does the spoon taste the soup?
A fool may live all his life
in the company of a master
and still miss the way.
The tongue tastes the soup.
If you are awake in the presence of a master
one moment will show you the way.
The fool is his own enemy.
The mischief he does is his undoing.
How bitterly he suffers!
Why do what you will regret?
Why bring tears upon yourself?
Do only what you do not regret,
and fill yourself with joy.
Man is a bridge between the known and the unknown. To remain confined in the known is to be a fool. To go in search of the unknown is the beginning of wisdom. To become one with the unknown is to become the awakened one, the buddha.
Remember, again and again, that man is not yet a being – he is on the way, a traveler, a pilgrim. He is not yet at home, he is in search of the home. One who thinks that he is at home is a fool, because then the search stops, then the seeking is no longer there. And the moment you stop seeking and searching, you become a stagnant pool of energy, you start stinking. Then you only die, then you don’t live at all.
Life is in flowing, life is in remaining a river – because only the river will reach the ocean. If you become a stagnant pool then you are going nowhere. Then you are not really alive. The fool does not live, he only pretends to live. He does not know, he only pretends to know. He does not love, he only pretends to love. The fool is a pretension.
The wise lives, loves, the wise inquires. The wise is ready, always ready, to go into the uncharted sea. The wise is adventurous. The fool is afraid.
When Buddha uses the word fool you have to remember all these meanings of the word. It is not the ordinary meaning that Buddha gives to the word fool. For him, the fool means one who lives in the mind and knows nothing of the no-mind; one who lives in information, knowledge, and has not tasted anything of wisdom; one who lives a borrowed life, imitative, but knows nothing of anything that arises in his own being.