It is not only Lao Tzu, but many have moved in their last days to the Himalayas and disappeared in the eternal snow. The Himalayas have a mysterious attraction: because of the height, because of the untrodden paths, there are still thousands of places where man has not reached, which are absolutely unpolluted by man and his ugly radiations.
Lao Tzu took leave of his disciples, but he got into trouble, because the emperor informed the guards on all the ways that go to the Himalayas. There were guards on every way that led to the Himalayas going out of China. He informed the guards, “Wherever you find Lao Tzu crossing the Chinese border, hold him prisoner. Be very respectful, but make a deal with him that if he wants to go to the Himalayas, he has to write the treatise of his experiences – just the essential hints.”
He was caught, with great respect, and he was given the cottage of the guard, and he was locked up and told, “Until you write down the essential experience and the steps towards it – we are under strict orders – you will not be allowed to leave China and move into the Himalayas.”
Under such loving compulsion, finding no way out, Lao Tzu wrote his book, The Book Of Tao. He starts from the very first line, “Truth cannot be said. The moment it is said, it becomes untrue.”
All those who read this small treatise are warned from the very beginning that these are words, and words cannot carry the wordless silence. This is the preface to his own treatise: “I am being forced, so I am writing it, but this is not the truth. You cannot get the truth from a book.” Such honesty!
Rinzai says, “Followers of the Tao, grasp and use” – they grasp the mind-ground, they grasp their very being, and use it – “but never name – this is called the ‘mysterious principle.’” They get hold of it, they use it in their whole life, they become one with it, but they never say a single word about it, what it is.
You have to live with a master who has attained to it, perhaps in deep silence, sitting with the master. Your heart and his heart may start synchronizing, dancing in the same tune, getting into a harmony. Nothing will be said, nothing will be heard, but everything will be understood. Because of this it is called the “mysterious principle.” Nobody has said it, nobody has ever heard about it, but thousands of people have lived it.
Religion is not an explanation, it is an experience. It is nothing to be studied, it has to be lived. That’s where all the religions have gone wrong. They have become scriptures, they have become temples, churches, synagogues, they have created prayers, rituals, according to the masses. Whatever the masses need they are ready to supply: just remain in their fold, because the presence of the followers is their political power.