Q: What is the significance of your long beard?
I have none. Look again!
You may not know – in Zen there is a koan. The koan is: Why didn’t Bodhidharma have a beard? Now, Bodhidharma has a big beard – the founder of Zen. In fact his beard is so big that you can only see his eyes… all beard. And “Why does Bodhidharma have no beard?” – this is given to the disciples to meditate on… and they have to close their eyes and meditate. Now, it is very difficult: Bodhidharma has a big beard, and the question is why he has none… and the disciple meditates and meditates, and it is very puzzling. And Bodhidharma comes again and again, and laughs… and his beard is there!
And the disciple comes to the master and says, “It is difficult – he has!” The master says, “You go and look again.” After months of meditation, one day the recognition happens – that the beard belongs to the body; how can it belong to Bodhidharma? Bodhidharma is not the body. The body is just the abode, the temple: Bodhidharma is something beyond that is residing in it.
The day this dawns on the consciousness of the disciple, he has realized something within himself. Then he comes to the master and says, “Yes, you were right. He has no beard.”
You ask: “What is the significance of your long beard?” Never heard about it. I don’t have any beard. You look again. And Bodhidharma is dead, I am here alive: you can look rightly… I have no beard at all.
If you see the beard, then it must be a projection of yours.
Osho, The Divine Melody, Ch 10, Q 7