Once Joshu was asked, “What is the special teaching of your school?”
Joshu’s response was, “Though the folding screen is broken, the frame is still there.”
At another time, the same question was asked of Joshu, and he replied, “Ask in a loud voice – I’m hard of hearing.”
When the monk had repeated the question in a loud voice, Joshu said, “You ask me my special teaching – I know your special teaching.”
Once, Joshu was asked to go to a Korean temple to a meeting. When he reached the gate, he asked, “What temple is this?”
Someone answered: “A Korean one.”
Joshu said, “You and I are oceans away.”
On another occasion, a monk asked, “When a beggar comes, what shall we give him?”
Joshu answered, “He is lacking in nothing.”
Maneesha, this is the last night of the lion’s roar. Before I discuss the sutras placed before me, I have to give you a few hints to understand Joshu and his lion’s roar.
A lion is a special symbol. He walks alone, unafraid of any danger. He has nothing, but still he is called the king of the jungle.
A man of enlightenment has some similarities. He walks alone, and although there may be thousands of dead bodies following him, it does not take away his aloneness. His aloneness is something of his inner being – no crowd can take it away, there is no way for anyone to approach it. And he walks on a dangerous path.
Most people have remained outside themselves for a particular reason: to go in is a little dangerous. The outside seems to be familiar, well known. You know how to deal with it, you are well acquainted with it, you are educated and conditioned to relate with it.
But you don’t know the language of the inner, and you don’t know the sky of the inner, and you don’t know where you are going – you don’t have any map, you don’t have any guide. Nobody can come with you to help you. This creates tremendous fear. People remain their whole life outside, engaged, keeping themselves occupied. They don’t leave any time gap in their occupations because in the time gap they may become aware of something of the unknown that is always there.
One day it happened in a New York church: as the bishop entered the church he found a young man, looking just like Jesus Christ. He thought in his mind that this fellow must be a hippie…but what a similarity! He asked the man, “Who are you and what are you doing here?”
The man said, “I thought you would recognize me – I am Jesus Christ!”
The bishop became really afraid: who knows, he may be! But he may be just deceiving; that too is possible. He immediately phoned the Polack pope in Rome, asking him, “A young man – who looks to me like a hippie, but also looks like Jesus Christ – is standing here. Now what am I supposed to do? I have never been taught, I have never thought that I would ever in my life encounter Jesus.”
The pope remained silent for a moment, because he himself was not prepared for such a situation. But something has to be said to the poor bishop. He told the bishop, “Just keep yourself occupied, and don’t pay any attention to him. Everything is possible – he may be Jesus Christ, he may be a hippie. Inform the police, and meanwhile keep an eye on what the fellow is doing. And you keep yourself occupied – in anything – so that you don’t become afraid or frightened. But call the police!”