Four pupils observing silence

1001 Tales told by the Master Discourses

“In the search for the first principle silence is the door – the only door,” comments Osho on this sutra.

Dengyo Daishi
Dengyō Daishi (Saichō) (766 or 767-822)
Founder of Japanese Tendai Buddhism,
a Buddhist School officially recognized
by the Japanese Imperial Court on January 26, 806 CE

Painting by unknown author – 藝術新潮1974年 10号 増大特集日本の肖像画, Public Domain,

The pupils of the Tendai School used to study meditation before Zen entered Japan. Four of them, who were intimate friends, promised one another to observe seven days of silence.

On the first day all were silent, but when the night came and the oil lamps were growing dim, one of the pupils could not help exclaiming to a servant, “Fix those lamps!”

The second pupil was surprised to hear the first one talk. “We are not supposed to say a word,” he remarked.

“You two are stupid! Why did you talk?” asked the third.

“I am the only one who has not talked, thank God!” concluded the fourth.

In the search for the first principle silence is the door – the only door. And except it there is no way to approach the first principle. The first principle can be known only when you move to the primordial state of your being. Thinking is secondary. Existence precedes thinking, existence comes first. First you are, and then you start thinking.

Thinking is secondary. Thinking is a shadow activity; it follows you. It cannot exist without you, but you can exist without it. Through thinking you can know secondary things, not the primary things. The most fundamental is not available to thinking; the most fundamental is available to silence.

Silence means a state of consciousness where no thought interferes.

Osho, The First Principle: Talks on Zen, Ch 3

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

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