“Please don’t stand up!” Because you stand up to give honor to someone, the man naturally thought that Isan was going to honor him by standing. “Please don’t stand up!” exclaimed the monk.
But such was the subtle way of Isan to know about the inner mind of man. This man looks perfectly right in saying, “Please don’t stand up!” But on what grounds has he assumed that Isan should be standing up to welcome him?
“I haven’t sat down yet!” said Isan. “What about standing up? – I was just going to sit down. Why did you assume…?”
Perhaps that assumption is a deep expectation that he should be honored. Perhaps it is unconscious, but Isan has brought it to the surface. The man could have thought that Isan was going to sit down. He was in the middle – both possibilities were available to him – but the man had chosen the possibility that Isan was going to stand up. That shows his mind – a deep longing, a desire to be honored, although he has come only as a student to be taught.
Isan said, “I haven’t sat down yet” – the question of standing does not arise.
But the poor monk did not understand the subtle way: “I haven’t bowed yet,” the monk said.
“You rude creature!” commented Isan.
Very strange encounters! When Isan said, “I haven’t sat down yet!”, that was the moment to bow down and touch his feet, and to offer himself for the discipline, for the meditation, for all his teachings.
Rather than taking that, he retorted – he thought as if Isan was making a fool of him – “I haven’t bowed yet,” the monk said.
“You rude creature!” commented Isan. “This is not the way to be with me. You have to be grateful to be allowed to see me. Instead of it you are showing your ego.”
“I haven’t bowed yet,” he is saying. “Don’t consider that I am your disciple or I am your student; I have not even bowed yet.” And he has come to learn, but ego is such a subtle phenomenon that without your knowing, it immediately asserts. The ego simply retorted, “I haven’t bowed yet.”
Now, this has to be understood. There are things which should not be said; the very moment you say them they lose all their grandeur, gratefulness. You have to behave in a way that shows your gratitude, not your words.
Bowing down is a gesture of saying, “I am ready. You can trust that I will not misuse the time that you will give me, or the meditation or any kind of discipline. I will not misuse it. I have come to you whole-heartedly.” It is just a way, without words, of saying, “I am available.”
But the man said instead, “I haven’t bowed yet.”