Kyozan succeeded Isan. But to interview the master before he became enlightened shows his daringness, his courage. And it also shows the grace and greatness of Isan that he did not object to it: “You don’t know anything about it, and you are trying to interview me?”
But without saying it, if you look at the whole thing, it becomes just the opposite. It is an interview not of Isan by Kyozan, but an interview by Isan of Kyozan. He did not say anything to hurt him, he did not reject the interview or say that “You are not of the quality yet; you have not experienced your innermost core.” Rather than rejecting, Isan accepts it and starts the interview himself.
Kyozan replied, “Kyozan has had this experience…” because Isan has asked, “How do you teach people? And how do you know whether somebody knows or not? whether somebody is a master or only a pretender?” And Kyozan has forgotten completely that he has come to interview Isan, and he is being interviewed – the craftsmanship of a great master.
Kyozan replied, “Kyozan has had this experience. When monks come from all directions, he raises his stick, and asks them if this is expounded…”
He is not asking about the stick, he is raising the stick to indicate “thisness.” Are you coming from a master who has explained to you “thisness,” the present moment of splendor, the great moment of being nobody? – because a master never hits a disciple unless a disciple is really able to be awakened by a single hit.
Kyozan said, “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?’”
In fact, if you have found a master you have found your home; there is nowhere to go. Or wherever you go you will find your master and nobody else.
When Gautam Buddha became enlightened his first words were strange: “Not only I am enlightened, the whole existence is enlightened with me. This music, this music of silence, soundless, these flowers, invisible, falling all over the place – I was just keeping my eyes closed. Today my eyes are open, but that does not make me superior. From the smallest blade of grass to the greatest star everything is in blissfulness.”
Man has created only one thing: misery for himself and misery for others. We are great creators of misery. If someday nothing terrible happens to you, that day is wasted – something terrible so that you can talk about it, rejoice about it, some great tragedy. People don’t like to see comedies, people like to see tragedies.