“You do know the answer, don’t you?” he asked.
The guest began to laugh and finally rolled over the mat with mirth.
“No, reverend brother,” he said, “but I too have read a lot and heard a lot about Zen.”
Hearing me, there are many things you will start imagining, many things you will start believing. Beware, because those things won’t help. Hearing Zen, reading Zen is not going to give you Zen. Zen is a quality that you have to attain to. It is a new vision of life and reality. It is a new penetration into the mystery of existence. It is not intellectual; it is existential. You have to throb with it, your heart has to beat with it, you have to breathe it in and out. It is not going to be just an intellectual understanding.
Listening to me, the understanding will come to you intellectually very easily because whatsoever I am saying is simple. There is nothing difficult about it. It is not very complex. I am not spinning any philosophical theories here. I am simply stating simple facts.
Now, this fact is simple that a child has an innocent clarity. And one day if you also attain consciously to that childhood – what Jesus calls. “When you are reborn,” that is rebirth – then you will be able to see what is. But listening to me, you may start thinking, “Yes, that’s right. I also don’t know anything.” But is it your understanding, or just a reflection of my understanding? Is it your experience, or just an imitation?
It happens – in the presence of every master it happens – because man is naturally imitative. Darwin is right. Man comes from the monkeys, and is very imitative. He can imitate anything.
I have heard there was a great master:
The master would sit for hours alone in his cave meditating, his only companion being a favorite cat which he tied to a post in his cave during his periods of meditation. As years went by his fame spread and he soon had a number of pupils who came to learn from him and who made him their guru or their master. He instructed his pupils to meditate as he did. Soon each pupil could be observed meditating with a cat tied to a post by his side.
The master died, so what did the pupils do? They had known always of one cat being tied to a post by the side of the master. Naturally they thought the cat must have something to do with meditation. And cats are very esoteric people. The cat must have something to do with meditative energy. Somehow the cat must have been a help; otherwise why? The master used to do it continuously. For years they had seen it. Whenever he was meditating, the cat was there tied to the post.