After two, three sessions, the psychoanalyst was continuously thinking about the man. And slowly slowly a doubt started arising in him, “If somebody asks me to prove it, how am I going to prove that I am alive?”
That night he could not sleep. Next day was his session. He said to the man, “I will not charge you anything, but please leave me alone. You can find some other psychoanalyst – they are a rupee a dozen – because I am becoming suspicious about my own life. Rather than convincing you that you are dead, you are by and by convincing me that who knows? – I may have died! Perhaps I am dreaming that I am alive.”
What proof have you that you are not dreaming?
Death is the criterion in the tradition of Zen. How a man dies proves whether he has lived or not. Only a living man can die; you cannot afford to die if you have not lived.
I have heard about a great scholar. He became aware that he was alive only when he was dead. Then suddenly he realized, “My God! I used to be alive, and I never took any notice of it.”
Particularly in Zen, the masters show the highest peaks of consciousness. Death is the criterion. If you can die gracefully, blissfully, almost dancingly, that proves that you have lived, and you have lived so deeply that you know that death is only the changing of the house.
Kyozan once returned to Isan to interview him.
You will be surprised…That is another speciality in Zen, that disciples come to interview the master – nowhere else. But Zen is very playful. Its playfulness is so deep that it takes nothing seriously.
Kyozan once returned to Isan to interview him. Isan said to him, “You are now called a good and clever teacher. How can you distinguish between those who come from all parts and know it, and those who don’t know it; the masters who have inherited it, and those who have not; the profound learning, and the meaning learning. Explain and let me hear.”
Kyozan replied, “Kyozan has had this experience. When monks come from all directions, he raises his stick, and asks them if this is expounded where they come from or not. Further, he says to them, leaving this aside, ‘What are the old masters where you come from teaching?’”
Isan admired him and said, “This has always been the claw and fang of our sect.”
A few things to be noted.