The conspiracy between two Zen masters

1001 Tales told by the Master

“How can you become a Buddha? Either you are, or you are not. How can you become?” asks Osho.

Lin-Chi Yixuan, born in China, died 866 CE

One man came to Lin Chi, a great Zen master, and said: “I am very troubled. I would like to become a Buddha myself. What to do?”

Lin Chi chased him out with his staff, out of the temple – he hit him hard, the man started running, and he chased him out of the temple.

Somebody who was standing by said, “This is too hard. The poor man has not asked anything wrong. He was simply asking a very religious question, and he looked very sincere – you should have looked at his eyes, his face. He had really traveled a long way to come to you, and he was asking a simple sincere, religious question: how to become a Buddha. And what you did seems to be too hard on the poor man, and unjustified.”

Lin Chi said, “I chased him out because he was asking an absurd thing. He is already a Buddha. If he tries, he will miss. And if he can understand why I hit him and chased him out, then he should leave all effort – there is nothing to be achieved, he has just to be himself. He has to be just whatsoever he is.” […]

The poor seeker went to another master, thinking that this Lin Chi was mad: I ask a simple question and he hits me hard, and then chases me out of the temple. He is completely insane.

He went to another master; a master who was opposed to Lin Chi. They had their monasteries nearby in the same hills. He went there. He felt: This man will be right, because he is opposed to Lin Chi. And now I know why he is opposed.

He went to the master, the other master and asked the same question. The master said, “Have you ever been before to any other master?”

He said, “Yes. But it was wrong of me to go there. I went to see Lin Chi. He hit me hard, and chased me out of the temple.”

Suddenly, the master became very ferocious, as if he would kill him. He pulled his sword out of his sheath, and the man ran away.

The master said, “What do you think? Do you think I am an ignorant man? If Lin Chi can do that, I will kill you completely.”

He asked somebody on the way what to do. The man said, “You go back to Lin Chi, he is more compassionate.” And he did.

When he went back, Lin Chi asked, “Why have you come back?”

He said, “The other man is dangerous, more dangerous than you. He would have completely killed me. He seems to be a maniac, ferocious.”

Lin Chi said, “We help each other. It is a conspiracy. Now you be here and never again ask how to be a Buddha, because you are already. One has just to live. You live like a Buddha. You don’t bother, don’t try to become one.” And he became enlightened.

This is the greatest teaching possible: you live it out – you need not bother to become, you are already. And Buddhahood is a being, it is never a becoming. You can never become. How can you become a Buddha? Either you are, or you are not. How can you become? How can an ordinary stone become a diamond? Either it is or it is not; becoming is not possible. So you decide: either you are, or you are not. If you are not, forget everything about it. If you are, there is no need to think about it. In either way you simply be whatsoever you are, and in that very being everything is caught hold of – you can catch hold of emptiness without any effort. […]

There are no ways better or worse. The way doesn’t exist, because the way means that something has to become. The way means that some distance has to be traveled. The way means that you and the goal are separate. The way is possible if I am traveling to come to you, the way is possible if you are traveling to come to me, but how is the way possible if I am trying to be myself? There is no distance.

If you are trying to reach yourself, the way is not possible. There is no space, no distance. You are already yourself, the way doesn’t exist. That is why Zen is called the pathless path, the gateless gate. The gate is not there, and this is the gate; the pathless path, the path doesn’t exist. And to understand this, is the path. The Zen effort is to throw you onto your reality immediately. There is no need to postpone.

Osho, The Grass Grows By Itself – Talks on Zen, Ch 3 (excerpt)

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

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