The wild duck! What, how, and where?
Basho has seen, talked, taught and exhausted the meaning of the mountain clouds and moonlit seas.
But Jo does not understand…
Setcho is using Hyakujo’s everyday name, Jo. Jo does not understand. He sees but he sees only the form. He does not see the formless; otherwise even in the wild duck you will find the same essential soul as you will find within yourself.
The whole existence consists of one soul with millions of formulations – but the content of every form is the same.
“…has flown away.”
Flown away? No, he is brought back!
By pinching hard on the nose of Hyakujo the wild duck is brought back. Setcho means that if even now he cannot understand that nothing goes anywhere, everything remains here – like the pain. Then the wild duck is brought back.
Setcho has the style of repeating his comments with “Say!” He is commenting in front of disciples. He is asking them, “Say, have you understood it? Is the wild duck back? Say!” In fact it has never gone anywhere, it has been in its essence since eternity and to eternity. For the first time Setcho has made something beautiful, has added something to Basho’s statement.
And Maneesha is asking me: “Osho, Basho is said to have been the first Zen master to use hits, pinches, shouts and pushes to bring a disciple to the present. But such methods leave themselves open to abuse and to becoming simply a tradition.”
True! That fate has befallen the Zen tradition also; much of it has become dead. Still masters ask, “What is it?” when a wild duck flies over – knowing the whole story, still the noses are pinched – but now it is meaningless. You are right that such methods leave themselves open to abuse and to becoming simply a tradition. Everything outward is going to become a tradition and the moment anything becomes a tradition, it loses meaning.
Is it so easy to understand existence just by giving a pinch to somebody’s nose, or shouting, or hitting…? These kinds of strategies can work only once. Basho was very inventive – he never repeated the same strategy again. But even though you are inventive, how many things can you do from the outside? There is a limit.
Maneesha, you are asking, “You seem to devise a different method every day to outsmart us. You are always at least one step ahead of us. What do you say?”