An angry man slammed the door and threw his shoes

1001 Tales told by the Master Discourses

“If you can be angry, then why can’t you be loving?” asked Rinzai. From our series 1001 Tales, compiled by Shanti.

Shoes at door

A great Zen Master, Rinzai, was sitting. A man came. He pushed the door very hard – he must have been angry – he slammed the door. He was not in a good mood. Then he threw his shoes, and came in.

Rinzai said, ‘Wait. Don’t come in. First go and ask forgiveness from the door and from your shoes.’

The man said, ‘What are you talking about? I have heard that these Zen people are mad, but it seems true. I was thinking it was just rumour. What nonsense you are talking! Why should I ask forgiveness from the door? And it looks so embarrassing… those shoes are mine!’

Then Rinzai said, ‘You get out! Never come here again! If you can be angry at the shoes, why can’t you ask their forgiveness? When you were angry, you never thought that it was so foolish to be angry with the shoes. If you can relate with anger, then why not with love? Relationship is relationship. Anger is a relationship. When you slammed the door with such anger, you related to the door; you behaved wrongly, immorally. And the door has not done anything to you. First go, otherwise you don’t come in.’

Under the impact of Rinzai’s silence, and the people sitting there, and that presence… like a flash, the man understood. He understood the logic of it, it was so clear. ‘If you can be angry, then why can’t you be loving? You go.’ And he went. Maybe in his whole life that was the first time. He touched the door and tears started flowing from his eyes. He could not hold back those tears. And when he bowed down to his own shoes, a great change happened in him. The moment he turned and came towards Rinzai, Rinzai took him in his arms and embraced him.

This is reconciliation. How can you pray if you are unreconciled? How can you come to a Master if you are unreconciled with existence?

Osho, I Say Unto You – Talks on the sayings of Jesus, Vol 1, Ch 3 (excerpt)

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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