Better to see the face than to hear the words.
Thinking that he has understood it, he asks
Wouldn’t it be better to see the face and to hear the words?
Once you have seen the original face there is no need to hear the words. The original face is encountered only in absolute silence. words have no business there. Words are left far behind, far away. You have to go beyond the mind, only then can you see the face.
Mind consists of words. The moment you go beyond the mind you have gone beyond words. There is nothing to hear, but only to see. That’s why we have called the great mystics the seers. And in the East, particularly in India, philosophy is called darshan. Darshan means the art of seeing.
It is not right to translate philosophy as darshan or darshan as philosophy. It is a mis-translation. But people like Casper Vogel go on doing these things. Scholars like Dr. Radhakrishnan and others have translated the Indian vision into other languages, and they have called it “Indian philosophy.”
In India philosophy has not really existed at all – philosophy in the Greek sense of the word, philosophy in the sense Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Russell or Wittgenstein will understand. Philosophy in the East is not philosophy, it is philousia. Philosophy means love for knowledge, love for wisdom; philousia means desire for essence or isness.
Truth is not something to be thought about, it is something to be experienced, seen. The Zen people call it your original face. It has nothing to do with the face, with your body, with your mind; it has nothing to do even with your heart.
The ordinary Indian religious person thinks there are three ways to reach God: gyan yoga – the path of knowledge; karma yoga – the path of action; and bhakti yoga – the path of devotion. Vivekananda also agrees with the ordinary mind, and he says these are the three paths to God. None of these is really a path to God. Action belongs to the body and the body has to be left behind. Knowledge belongs to the mind and the mind has to be left behind. Devotion belongs to the heart and the heart has to be left behind. Only when you have transcended these three do you know what Zen is.
Zen comes from the Sanskrit word dhyana; it has a beautiful history. Gautam the Buddha never used the Sanskrit language for two reasons. One, it was the language of the scholars, the pundits, and they are the most stupid people in the world. Buddha never wanted to use the language of the scholars and the pundits and the priests. He used the language of the people.