And secondly: you will need some method, some strategy, to help you to sit silently and not to do anything. Each master develops devices – sometimes very strange, sometimes very obvious. It all depends on what kind of disciple he is going to help.
This haiku is from Basho, but he himself helped many people, helped the grass to grow – in spite of his statement which has become world famous. Nobody has bothered that he has helped much grass to grow.
He has given a certain kind of meditation to one disciple: to listen to the sound of one hand clapping. The disciple knows that there cannot be any sound from one hand. Whatever you do, sound needs at least two things to clash; one hand won’t do. But the master says, “Try. Sit down and try, and when you find something that is the sound of one hand clapping, come back and report.”
And every morning the disciple comes. The night before, he heard the wind passing through the pine trees, and he thought, “Perhaps this is the sound of one hand clapping.” In the morning he rushes to the master, and he tells him, touching his feet, “I have heard it! It is the sound of the wind passing through the pine trees.”
The master gives him a good slap and says, “You idiot! I have told you to find the sound of one hand clapping. The wind and the pine trees are two hands. Go back and start meditating.”
The disciple comes back again and again. Sometimes the sound of the water running…and he thinks, “Perhaps this is it!” But the master is difficult: the disciple is tired, and all that he gets is a slap on his face. He tells the master that he heard the sound of running water.
The master says, “You won’t listen to me!” He simply takes hold of him and throws him out of the window! It is a three-story house, and they are on the top floor. And not only does the master throw the disciple out of the window, he jumps after him, on top of him, and asks him, “Have you heard it?”
For a moment there is absolute silence. The disciple cannot believe what has happened. He had never thought that Basho, such a gentle man, will do anything like this. He is simply shocked. And now the master, sitting on his chest asks him, “Have you heard it?”
The shock, the situation – and for a moment time stops, mind stops, and the disciple smiles. And Basho says, “That is it! But you forced me to do something which I don’t do ordinarily. You were harassing me every morning with all kinds of nonsense things.”
Yes, the grass grows by itself. But man is not grass. He needs a guide, he needs a benevolent master. He needs a friend who at times can be really hard, a friend to create devices around him. This disciple would have waited for lives to hear the sound of one hand clapping.