“I like it well enough, but I have not got my present yet.”
“Your present?” queried the mother. “What do you mean?”
“Teacher said, when she saw me, ‘You may sit here for the present, little man.’ I sat there all morning and didn’t get a thing!”
Now, a small child’s understanding is a small child’s understanding. And that’s how you are – small children as far as Buddha is concerned, as far as his statements are concerned. His statements are of the ultimate experience. You will have to be very very patient, only then something will start dawning in your consciousness. They are of utter significance. Even if a single statement is understood that will prove radical, that will change you from your very roots.
A father took his young son to an opera for the first time. The conductor started waving the baton and the soprano began her aria. The boy watched everything intently and finally asked, “Why is he hitting her with his stick?”
“He is not hitting her with the stick,” the father explained.
“Then why is she screaming?”
In your mind these ideas will come many times: What is Buddha saying? It looks so utterly mad, it doesn’t make sense. It is beyond sense. You will have to gather yourself together to climb to something higher than you. You will have to stretch your hands towards the beyond. Even if you can touch just a fragment of these sayings, your life will not be the same again.
But it is difficult. We live rooted in the earth. We are like trees rooted in the earth. Buddha is a bird on his wings in the sky. Now these trees rooted in the earth are trying to understand the message of the bird who has no roots in the earth anymore, who is flying in the sky, who knows the vastness, the infinity of the sky. He has a different understanding, a different vision. And the distance is immense.
Only very few can have a few glimpses of what Buddha is trying to do. Something of absolute value is being conveyed to you. If you cannot understand, then remember that you cannot understand. Don’t say, like that whisky drinking, chain-smoking, popcorn munching priest, that Buddha is mad. Don’t say that, beware of that. It is easier to say that Buddha is mad then you are freed of the responsibility of understanding; then you can close The Diamond Sutra and forget all about it.
If you say, “It is beyond me,” then there is challenge. When you say, “Maybe I am very childish, juvenile. I cannot understand, I have to grow into my understanding. How can Buddha be mad?” then there is a challenge and you start growing.