Mahakashyapa, Bodhidharma, they all used centering: going within to the point where nothing remains, just a pure presence, no person. The same became even more beautiful with the great heritage of Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu and Lao Tzu. They were also people of centering. They were exploring their interiority to find themselves, and what they found was an absolute absence of anybody – even the finder disappeared. Out of that state came neither the found nor the finder, neither the seeker nor the sought, but an absolute silence, alive, full of its own music, full of its own dance. Seeing this, Mahakashyapa laughed – “Buddha goes on saying to people ‘Seek yourself, find yourself’ and he is tricking them.”
It is a perfectly legitimate statement, to seek yourself. But Mahakashyapa knew: when you find yourself, you are no more there. It is a very strange situation; except laughter, nothing can express it.
There is an old definition of a philosopher: in a dark night, in a dark house where there is no light – and the philosopher, moreover, is blind – he is looking for a black cat which is not there. But the search continues. And if suddenly light comes in and his eyes are cured and he thinks of all the trouble that he was taking to find the cat which does not exist, what else to do except to laugh at himself?
Fools laugh at others.
Wisdom laughs at itself.
But in Japan the cross-breeding had a very tremendous manifestation. It has gone very far away from Mahakashyapa’s laughter – a long journey. On the journey it gathered many new manifestations, many new revelations, many new methods. In Japan it turned out finally to be the peak. And the peak was that anything can be used to find the truth. Even a warrior can use his sword, fighting with another warrior; there is no need for him to sit and meditate. The archer can find in his archery; the painter can find in his painting; the sculptor can find in his sculpture.
What was in India only pure meditation, grew in Japan into many branches. Indians cannot even conceive how a warrior, a fighter with a sword can be meditative, or how archery can be a meditative method, because Indians have never tried. It needed Mahakashyapa’s laughter to travel from India to China and from China to Japan. On this long travel of a thousand years it gathered much insight.
One German professor, Herrigel, could not believe – he was reading about Zen – how the art of archery can be meditation. There seems to be no relationship. It seems to be perfect that Gautam Buddha sitting in the lotus posture is meditating. But to conceive that an archer or a swordsman, whose effort is to kill the other, can be meditative….
Herrigel went to Japan. For three years he was in Japan, and there he found the secret. He learned archery. He himself was an archer, a master archer; a hundred percent he was successful in hitting the target. But his Zen master said, “This is not the point. The point is not there in the target; the point is within you. Are you grounded?”
He said, “In the West we have practiced archery for hundreds of years and nobody has thought about grounding. What is this grounding?”