When he was with Kyozan, Ryusen was the monk in charge of food. One day a strange monk came and asked for a meal, at which Ryusen gave him part of his own.
Kyozan knew of this but called Ryusen to him and asked, “That enlightened monk who came just now – did he give you any food?”
Ryusen said, “He denied himself and passed on his alms.”
Kyozan commented: “You made a great profit.”
Maneesha, the understanding of Zen is not an ordinary understanding, for the simple reason that Zen does not care about language, does not care about common communications. It has evolved in its own way, a unique way. So those who are spectators and are afraid to enter into the stream will feel the cool breeze but will not understand the heart of Zen. In a word, Zen has contributed to the world a totally new language, a totally new communication, a very fresh communion.
Just in the morning as the lotus opens,
so newness is that of Zen.
The sun rises, the lotus opens,
and the dewdrops on the lotus leaves shine,
better than real pearls.
It is a very delicate matter, and rather than putting Zen into any category…Religion is too strict and hard, and in that very hardness the heart is crushed to death. Philosophy is so vague, making castles in the air, beautiful castles but it does not bring to the world any new fragrance, any new form of transformation.
Zen in some way accumulates all that man has created, but its approach is more aesthetic. All religions talk about truth, about beauty. In fact, truth, beauty and God – satyam, shivam, sunderam – has been the ancient search. These are the three doors: satyam, truth – but truth is a little hard, demands too much of you. Hence many never bother to ask what truth is. Godliness seems to be far away beyond the skies; the distance is so great that it discourages the traveler. Beauty is very close, in the flowers, in the birds singing; a solitary cuckoo deep in the forest gives a love call.
Zen’s approach is to find the truth, but not to be as hard as philosophers tend to be – more peaceful and more graceful. That’s why no philosopher in the whole history of man has raised his consciousness to the point where you can call him a buddha. He talks much of things beyond, but if you look into his ordinary life he is just as you are. All his flights of thought, his dreamlands are writings on water. Writings on paper don’t differ from writings on water. The only difference is: water is quick and finishes the writing; the papers, the books, the scriptures take a long time.
Zen has a very musical approach, a very poetic approach, the approach of a dancer, the approach of a lover. You have to treat existence with loving hands. You have arisen out of it, you will be dissolved into it one day. It is your life, it is your death. But whether in life or in death, you will remain part of the cosmos.