“I am not here to give consolation to you. For consolation you can go to ordinary saints. I disturb, and I disturb totally, to the point where you have a nervous breakdown, because unless you have a breakdown, you can’t have a breakthrough.”
Very few people had the courage to remain with Chuang Tzu. He was creating situations which were very embarrassing. Saints are not supposed to do such things. For example, he was found one day in the capital sitting on a donkey, his disciples following him, and the whole town laughing. And the people are gathered on both sides…because he is not sitting in the right way, he is sitting looking at his disciples and the donkey is going forward and he is looking backward! The people are laughing and the disciples are feeling very embarrassed.
Finally one disciple said, “Why are you doing it? You are making a fool of yourself! And with you we are becoming idiots unnecessarily – people are thinking we are idiots!”
Chuang Tzu said, “There is something great implied in it. I have thought it over and over: if I sit the way people sit on donkeys, then my back will be towards you, and that is insulting. And I don’t want to insult anybody, not even my own disciples. There is a possibility that you can be in front of me, but then you will be insulting me – and that is not right at all, disciples insulting the master.
“So this is the solution that I have found. Let the fools laugh – but I am facing you, you are facing me. That’s how a master and disciple should be; and I am respectful towards you, and you are respectful towards me. And the donkey has no objection – why should we bother about the people?”
Now this kind of man is rare, unique, difficult to find. But he attained to the highest clarity, consciousness, love, compassion – but he remained a rascal to the very end.
I mentioned the name of Hotei. He was just on his deathbed, and he asked his disciples, “Can somebody suggest to me a way to die which has never happened before? – because I don’t want to die in the ordinary and common way. For example, most people die lying in their bed.
“And,” Hotei said, “that’s why I never lie in bed because that is the most dangerous place: ninety-nine percent of people die there! So I have been sleeping on the floor my whole life to avoid that place.
“But I would like to die in my own way, just the way I have lived my life in my own way: not caring at all what others say but simply living spontaneously, out of my own being, out of my own insight. Whether I am condemned or whether I am disrespected – that I have never cared about. But I am worried – I need some suggestion from you.”
Somebody suggested, “You could die standing.”
He said, “The idea is good!”