The old man said, “Do what I have told you. Just this way – going back and coming again, going back and coming again – you will become enlightened.”
Miserably, he went away. No one has ever heard that he came back again. But this man, for sixty years, had been waiting for a cigarette.
The second story is certainly fiction. This one that I have just told you may be true. The second is that when Edmund Hillary reached Everest he was surprised to see a Hindu sannyasin squatting on the ground there. He said, “My god! We used to think that nobody had ever reached here. How did you manage?”
He said, “I come here every day. This is a sort of toilet for me. I live just nearby. But these things we can discuss later on – how much for your watch? Because here it is so difficult to know what time it is…”
These people who have escaped from the world, do you think they are thinking about anything else? They are thinking more of the world than you are, because you don’t have to think – it is there! These poor fellows have to think thousands of things which are not there. Mind always desires that which is not there. That which is with you, mind simply accepts; there is no need to think about it.
This ordinary conception has prevailed amongst humanity that one should go to a quiet place to meditate, and get away from places which are full of strife, struggle, conflict. But Zen has a totally different attitude – and more psychological. There is no need to leave the world. The world is a perfectly good place – as a fire test. What is needed is to go in, not to go somewhere out.
And you can go in anywhere in the world, whether it is the Himalayas or the M. G. Road. You can become enlightened even with a rented bicycle! It does not matter that it was rented. I have heard of people becoming enlightened even on stolen bicycles, because becoming enlightened has nothing to do with bicycles.
If he tries to take refuge from trouble by running to some quiet place, he will fall into dark regions.
No other religion has said that. And I authenticate it: The person who escapes from troubles falls certainly into a very dark space, because his very beginning is wrong. He is going away from the trouble. He should have remained in the trouble, untroubled – that would have been some gain. But he has escaped from it, and when there is no struggle, no trouble, no strife.…Sitting somewhere in the Himalayas, the silence that surrounds you is of the Himalayas, not of you. That is not going to help. You have to find your own Himalayas within.