This English word courage is beautiful, very interesting. To live through the heart is the meaning: a poet lives through the heart. And, by and by, in the heart he starts listening to the sounds of the unknown. The head cannot listen; it is very far away from the unknown. The head is filled with the known.
What is your mind? It is all that you have known. It is the past, the dead, that which has gone. Mind is nothing but the accumulated past, the memory. Heart is the future, heart is always the hope, heart is always somewhere in the future. Head thinks about the past; heart dreams about the future.
And I tell you that the present is nearer to the future than to the past. That’s why I say that the poet is nearer to religion. Philosophy, logic metaphysics, theology, science, all belong to the past, the known; poetry, music, dance, art – all the arts – belong to the future.
Religion belongs to the present, and I tell you that the future is nearer to the present than to the past, because the past is already gone. The future is to come. The future is yet to be. The future has yet the possibility. It will come; it is already coming Every moment it is becoming the present, and the present is becoming the past. The past has no possibility, it has been used. You have already moved away from it – it is exhausted, it is a dead thing, it is like a grave. The future is like a seed; it is coming, ever coming, always reaching and meeting with the present. You are always moving. The present is nothing but a movement into the future; it is already the step that you have taken; it is going into the future. Poetry is concerned with possibility, hope, drams; it is nearer.
This man, Ninagawa, must have been a great poet. Why do I say he must have been a great poet? – I have not read his poetry, I don’t know what he wrote. But I say he must have been a great poet, because he became interested in Zen. And not only that – he desired to become a disciple of the remarkable master, Ikkyu.
To be interested in Zen is not enough unless you become a disciple. To be interested in religion is not enough – it is good, but it doesn’t go very far. Interest remains a curiosity, interest remains mental, unless you take a jump into commitment, unless you become a disciple.