The inquirer was obviously puzzled. “Then what is the difference? You used to chop wood and carry water, you still chop wood and still carry water – then what is the difference?”
The master laughed. He said, “The difference is infinite. Before I simply used to chop wood not knowing the beauties that surrounded me. Now chopping wood is not the same because I am not the same. My eyes are not the same, my heart beats in a different rhythm – my heart beats with the heart of the whole. There is a synchronicity, there is harmony.
“Carrying water from the well is the same from the outside, but my interior has become totally different. I am a new man, I am born again. Now I can see in depth, I can see into the very core of things, and each pebble has become a diamond, and each song of a bird is nothing but a call from existence, and whenever a flower blooms, existence blooms for me. Looking into people’s eyes I am looking into the eyes of existence. Yes, on the surface I am carrying on the same activity, but because I am not the same the world is not the same.”
Start becoming a little more alert and watch things, and you will be surprised. Life is mysterious, unexplainable – life is absurd. You cannot prove anything for or against.
Tertullian says: I believe in God because God is absurd – credo quia absurdum. Why do I believe in God? – because God is absurd. No logic can prove him, no logic can disprove him. It is a love affair. And life is very hilarious because it is very ridiculous too.
If you become a little alert you will find love, light, laughter, everywhere.
It is said that when Hotei became enlightened he started laughing. He lived at least thirty years afterwards; he continued laughing for thirty years. Even in sleep his disciples would hear him giggling. His whole message to the world was laughter; he would go from one town to another just laughing. He would stand in one marketplace, then in another, just laughing, and people would gather. His laughter had something of the beyond – a buddha’s laughter. He is known in Japan as “the laughing Buddha.”
His laughter was so contagious that whosoever heard it would start laughing. Soon the whole marketplace would be laughing; crowds would gather and laugh and they would ask him, “Just give us a few instructions.”
He would say, “Nothing more, this is enough. If you can laugh, if you can laugh totally, it is meditation.”
Laughter was his device. It is said many people became enlightened through Hotei’s laughter. That was his only meditation: to laugh and help people laugh.
Just watch life, and you will be surprised.