That is the contradiction of Zen. You should be like a cow, utterly humble, but you should be as rebellious and revolutionary and radical as a tiger. So although he walked like a cow, you could see that his eyes were those of a tiger – he would jump on you and finish you! Whether it is symbolic or actual is very difficult to decide. But the contemporary sources all say that it is true.
He walked like a cow, and looked around like a tiger. He could touch his nose with his tongue. Very rare people can do it. Only very rare people can move their earlobes. Try to move your earlobes. They are yours but absolutely out of your control – you have no control over them.
I have come across only one man, a doctor in my village, and he was a student with me in the school and in the university. He is the only man in the whole world, perhaps, who can move his earlobes according to his will. It is a miracle to see how he manages it, because it is an impossibility if the earlobes are natural. They don’t have any nervous system, so you cannot manage them. You need a certain nervous system that can be controlled by the mind. But there is no nervous system, it is just pure flesh.
Perhaps this doctor – his name is Manohar – has got, by some mistake of nature, a nervous system in his earlobes. There is no other explanation. In China it is ancient lore that you cannot touch your nose with your tongue. But near to your death, you can touch it. The simple reason is that your teeth have fallen out – it is nothing miraculous – and so the nose and the tongue have come closer.
In India a similar kind of idea has been prevalent, which is more significant. Six months before your death you stop being able to see the tip of your nose because your eyes start rolling up. The moment you cannot see the tip, you can be certain that within six months you will be dead, because the eyes have started moving upwards. That’s why, when somebody dies, you immediately close his eyes. Because to see him…just the white of the eyes is showing, the black part has turned up, and it freaks you out to have somebody looking at you with pure white eyes! So in every culture the eyes are closed immediately after death.
But everybody dies with open eyes. Nobody can die with closed eyes, because closing the lids of the eyes needs a certain willpower, a certain life energy. You cannot die with a fist, because the fist needs some life energy. You can die only with an open hand, because an open hand is relaxed, it needs no life, no energy. In the same way, everybody dies with open eyes. And not to make others freak out, immediately the older people pull the eyelids down. The old fellow who has died cannot now even open them again, because for that too some energy is needed. He may want to have a look – what is happening around? – but he cannot open them.
So it is nothing special about Ma Tzu that he touched his nose with his tongue. The special thing is that people ordinarily don’t try it; otherwise everybody can touch. It is just that your teeth are the barrier. So whenever by chance your teeth fall out, and they will fall out one day, then try it and you will find that Ma Tzu was not doing some great miraculous thing, he was just very old.