There is a difference in saying and saying. When you say without knowing it, without realizing it, it is just gibberish, just words and words and words, without any soul in them; it is a corpse; there is no aliveness in it. Those words stink – they stink of death. There is no heartbeat of life. When you know, when you have experienced, when you have fallen into that abyss called God, when you are transformed by that surrender, when you are totally immersed in it, when your every cell is bathed in it, then you say; but your words are not mere words. They carry silence. They are vehicles of silence; they are gestures of silence. We have a special name for it in the East: mahamudra – the great gesture
. Look at my hand. If it is empty, if there is nobody behind it who has experienced, then it is an ordinary gesture. But if there is somebody behind it who has known, who has lived, who has experienced, then raising this hand is a great gesture, mahamudra. Then the ordinary hand becomes extraordinary. Then ordinary words are no more ordinary words. You cannot go to the dictionary to find their meaning. When a word is full of silence, you will have to go within yourself to find its meaning, not to a dictionary, not to a library. You will have to go within yourself. The meaning will be found in your experience.
The word of a man who knows is loaded, loaded with great fragrance. You will have to decode it in your innermost core of being, into the innermost shrine of your being.
Truth is a transcendence, transcendence of all duality. So those who say truth cannot be said, only say a half-truth; and those who say that truth can be said only in silence, they also say a half-truth.
Zen brings the whole truth to the world. Zen is a great blessing to the world; it brings the whole truth.
The whole truth is: Truth cannot be said, and yet can be said. If not said, then showed, indicated. The ordinary duality is transcended. We are always moving from one pole of the duality to the other. Sometimes we say, “Yes, it can be said”; this is one pole. Then we become aware, “How can it be said?” – the other pole. Then we keep silent, but then again we become aware that there is something left: “Yes, it can be said.” This way it goes on moving, it swings.
Zen says truth is a transcendence, transcendence of all duality. The duality between the word and the silence is also to be transcended.
The Bible says in the beginning there was the word. The Vedas say in the beginning there was silence, eternal silence, and the silence brooded over the sea, and it was dark. And the Bible says there was the word. The first thing that happened in existence was the word. God said let there be light, and there was light. Both are half-truths.
If you ask the Zen people…They have not written any Bible or any Veda yet, and they will never try, because they don’t believe in scriptures. They say it is beyond the scriptures; it is a transmission beyond the scriptures. But if they ever write a Bible, or if they are forced to, like Lao Tzu was once forced to write the Tao Te Ching because the king wouldn’t allow him to leave the country unless he wrote his experiences….