And as time passed it became even more and more difficult to find new ways. Great masters had passed before and they had almost exhausted every possibility of finding new methods. He relaxed back, he understood well that he was enlightened but he could not be a rebel. And to fight against Ma Tzu is impossible. Even to think what you will do against Ma Tzu…He has simply finished everything. Whatever you do will look cheaper, will not look so dramatic and so novel and so original as Ma Tzu.
Finally he had to go back to Ma Tzu. These shouts are the steps of going back – because Ma Tzu had invented shouts. Before Ma Tzu shouts were not used, sticks were used; the master would beat the disciple. Those sticks don’t hurt.
Just a few days ago I received one Zen stick from Korea. I am waiting for the first German enlightened man, Stonehead Niskriya, to give that to him. It is a very good device. It is a bamboo, cut down the middle in two. On one end you can hold it, and beyond that it is cut in two parts, so you can hit. It makes much sound but does not hurt anybody.
The point was the same, but Ma Tzu… Because suddenly hitting a person who is asking a relevant question stops his mind – “What is the matter…?” It is incomprehensible by the mind. And that is the point: that the mind should be silent, even for a moment, and you will have a glimpse.
When for the first time these anecdotes were translated into other languages, people simply laughed: “These anecdotes constitute a religion?” It seems so strange, reading that the master hits the disciple and the disciple becomes suddenly enlightened. One could not understand the rationale of it. How can it happen that the master has hit the disciple and the disciple bows down in deep respect and gratitude?
It is possible. You can understand it. If your mind stops completely, even for a single moment, by any method, you will have a glimpse of your own innermost nature. And that glimpse is so beautiful, that glimpse is such a majesty, such a treasure, it is your eternity. The master has shown you the way that the mind has to stop thinking. For a moment you have seen the path; now follow on!
But Ma Tzu found shouting even better than hitting, because just hitting on somebody’s head, it is not necessary that his mind will stop thinking. The mind may even start thinking more, “What is the matter? Why am I being hit? I have asked a relevant question and what kind of stupidity is this?”
But when a master shouts, the shout goes deeper into you than any hitting can go. Hitting can only touch your body, your head, but shouting can go piercing like a spear, and your very heartbeat may stop for a moment. Ma Tzu’s great contribution was shouting, and certainly shouting goes deeper in stopping the mind than any hitting can do.
You can see the difference: hitting is a material phenomenon, shouting is psychological. And to stop the mind, some psychological hit is needed. Shouting is a kind of hit – invisible to your eyes, but it hits the mind completely, shakes it up, leaves it in a kind of amazement.