A king came to visit the monastery of a Zen master

1001 Tales told by the Master

“My definition of ‘being holy’ is nothing but to be whole – capacity to come into the world and yet remain above it, beyond it; capacity to use the mind but yet remain centered in your being.”

Truc Lam Zen Monastery

It happened:

A king came to visit the monastery of a Zen master. The master took him around; he was very interested in knowing everything about the monastery. He took the king to every place… except one – the central temple. And that was the most imposing building, and yet, whenever the king asked, ”Why don’t you take me to the temple?”, the master would behave as if he had not heard.

Finally, the king was very angry, because he was even taken to bathrooms and toilets. He said, ”Are you mad or something? Why don’t you take me to the temple?”

And the master said, ”For a certain reason – because you are constantly asking, ‘What do you do here?’ In the library we read: I can take you to the library. In the bathrooms we take baths: I can take you to the bathrooms. In the kitchen we prepare food. But to that temple I cannot take you, because we don’t do a thing there! That is the place where we move into non-doing, into non-action. And it will be impossible to explain that to you – that’s why. You are a great king, you are a great doer, and you are so much engrossed with having more and more. You understand the way of the mind, but you will not understand the ways which are not of the mind.”

[…] Mind is the original fall – the fall from the state of being. Mind is the original sin. […]

The fall has to be understood. Meditate over three words:

From being to having is the fall, and doing is the process of coming from being to having. […]

Hence, the mind is a doer. The mind constantly wants to be occupied. A great hankering to remain busy; that is the mind. One cannot sit alone; one cannot sit in passive receptivity, not even for a few moments. It is such a torture for the mind, because the moment you stop doing, the mind starts disappearing.

If you go to a Zen master and ask, ”What do you do here? What are these people, your followers, doing?” he will say, ”They just sit. They don’t do a thing.” […]

The mind is a doer. Watch your own mind and you will understand. What I am saying is not a philosophical statement, it is just a fact. I am not proposing any theory for you to believe or to disbelieve, but something that you can watch in your own being. And you will see it – whenever you are alone, you immediately start looking: something has to be done, you have to go somewhere, you have to see somebody. You can’t be alone. You can’t be a non-doer.

Doing is the process by which the mind is created; it is condensed doing. Hence, meditation means a state of non-doing. If you can sit silently, doing nothing, suddenly you are back home. Suddenly you see your original face, suddenly you see the source. And that source is satchitanand: it is truth, it is consciousness, it is bliss – call it God, or nirvana, or what you will.

From being to doing to having – this is how Adam-consciousness arrives in the world. To move backwards, from having to doing, from doing to being – this is what Christ-consciousness means. But Sufis have a very tremendously significant message for the world. They say, the perfect man is one who is capable of moving from being to doing to having to doing to being, and so on, so forth. When the circle is perfect, then the man is perfect.

One should be capable of doing. I am not saying that you should become incapable of doing; that will not be of any value, that will be simply impotence. You should be capable of doing, but you should not be engrossed in it. You should not become involved in it, you should not become possessed by it, you should remain the master.

And I am not saying that all that you have has to be dropped, I am not saying to renounce all that you have. Use it, but don’t be used by it, that’s all. Then the perfect man is born.

I call that perfect man a sannyasin: he will be both Adam plus Christ. The worldly man is Adam, and up to now the otherworldly man has been involved with Christ-consciousness. But both are half-half. Man needs to become a totality, a wholeness.

And my definition of ‘being holy’ is nothing but to be whole – capacity to come into the world and yet remain above it, beyond it; capacity to use the mind but yet remain centered in your being.

Then the mind is a mechanism of immense value; then it is not a sin to have a beautiful mind. You have a beautiful instrument of immense complexity, and it is a joy to use it, just as it is a joy to drive a beautiful car which is a perfect mechanism.

There is nothing like the mind, if you can use it; then the mind is divine too. But if you are used by it, and your sky gets lost in the clouds of the mind, then you’ll remain in misery, in ignorance.

The arrival of the mind happens through getting identified with the contents of consciousness. Just a small change, a single step is needed, and that step bridges this to that. That single step bridges the world to God, the outer to the inner, the mundane to the sacred.

What is that single step? Non-identification.

Remain a witness. Always remember to remain a witness: whatsoever passes in the mind, know perfectly well you are not it. You are not the stuff called the mind. Once you become identified with any stuff of the mind, you are trapped in a prison. Then you can go on changing and re-arranging the stuff again and again, but nothing will happen.

That’s what people go on doing – improving upon themselves, creating a beautiful character, becoming saintly, religious, but the basic thing has not yet been done. They are simply rearranging the stuff of the mind.

You can go on arranging the furniture of your house; you can arrange it in better ways, far more aesthetically, but it remains the same stuff. The sinner and the so-called saint are not very different; both are different arrangements of the same mind.

The real sage is one who has become aware that he is not the mind at all. The idea of sin arises in him, and he remains aloof; and the idea of being a saint arises in him, and he remains aloof. He gets identified with nothing – anger or compassion, hate or love, good or bad.

He remains non-judgmental, he does not condemn anything in the mind. If you are just a witness, what is the point of condemning anything?

And he does not praise anything in the mind – if you are just a witness, again, praise is just futile. He remains cool and collected and centered. The mind goes on raving around him, just from past momentum.

For thousands of lives you have remained identified with the mind, you have poured so much energy into it. It goes on revolving and revolving for a few months, even for a few years. But if you can remain a silent watcher, a watcher on the hills, then slowly slowly the energy, the momentum, is lost and the mind comes to a stop.

The day the mind stops, you have arrived. The first vision of what God is and what you are happens immediately – because once the mind stops, your whole energy that has remained involved with it is released.

And that energy is tremendous, it is infinite: it starts falling on you. It is a great benediction, it is grace.

Osho, Unio Mystica, Vol 2, Ch 3 (excerpt)

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

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