Live Zen 16

Sixteenth Discourse from the series of 17 discourses - Live Zen by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

Tanka’s Have You Had Your Dinner?
Tanka asked a monk, “Where are you from?”
The monk replied, “From the foot of the mountain.”
Tanka said, “Have you had your dinner?”
The monk said, “I have had it.”
Tanka said, “Is he open-eyed who brings food to a fellow like you and lets you eat it?”
The monk could make no reply.

Later Chokei asked Hofuku, “To give food to others is surely worthy. How could he fail to be open-eyed?”
Hofuku said, “Both giver and receiver are blind.”
Chokei said, “Are you still blind, even though you exhaust every means?”
Hofuku said, “How can you call me blind?”

Setcho’s verse:

Exhaust every means, and you will not be blind;
You hold the cow’s head to let it graze.
The Four Sevens, the Two Threes,
The following band
Have handed down the dharma treasure,
Raising dust and trouble to make men drown on land.

It seems to me that Zen provokes responses from one's intuition, though I'm not even quite sure what intuition is. Is there a connection between Zen and intuition?

I have heard that Gurdjieff used to serve up food to his disciples and watch them overeat and become drunk in response. You are serving up such delicacies in these evenings it feels that we need to refine our palettes and select the right implements before we can hope to savor what you make available.
The anecdote, which concerns Tanka’s asking a monk,
“Have you had your dinner?”
Is a way in Zen to ask someone, “Have you got it? Are you fulfilled? Has contentment happened to you? Are you awakened? Is your being enlightened?” Zen uses ordinary words like dinner and raises them to heights unimaginable.
Tanka asked a monk, “Where are you from?
…Have you had your dinner?”
In Zen you are coming from nowhere and you are going to nowhere. You are just now, here, neither coming nor going. Everything passes by you; your consciousness reflects it but it does not get identified. When a lion roars in front of a mirror, do you think the mirror roars? Or when the lion is gone and a child comes dancing, the mirror completely forgets about the lion and starts dancing with the child – do you think the mirror dances with the child? The mirror does nothing, it simply reflects.
Your consciousness is only a mirror. Neither you come, nor you go. Things come and go. You become young, you become old; you are alive, you are dead. All these states are simply reflections in an eternal pool of consciousness.
Unless you understand it, these anecdotes will look absolutely absurd.
First asking him, “Have you had your dinner?”
If you met Tanka – and Tanka is one of the rare Zen masters – what will you answer to him? You will not even understand what he means by dinner. Zen has developed a special language of its own: “Have you had your dinner?”
The monk remained silent. Perhaps he could not understand: “What does he mean? – is he asking me, inviting me for dinner?” What kind of inquiry, when you meet someone – suddenly, the first question, “Have you had your dinner?”
Seeing the monk, Tanka had asked, “Where are you from?” It is an effort of Tanka to provoke the man to understand the language.
“Where are you from?”
The monk replied, “From the foot of the mountain.”
He missed. He is not asking about the place from where you are coming, he is asking the ultimate question: “From where is your consciousness coming? Do you understand that you are endless, that you are not coming from anywhere, you simply are?”
Tanka said, “Have you had your dinner?”
Tanka is asking the monk another question to give him an opportunity to understand. Dinner does not mean dinner, it simply means, “Are you fulfilled? Are you complete in yourself? Have you found your center? Are you nourished by existence? Have you found your home?”
The monk said, “I have had it.”
The poor fellow is still thinking about dinners, but out of his great compassion, for which he is known….
Tanka said, “Is he open-eyed who brings food to a fellow like you and lets you eat it?”
Encountering a Zen master means encountering a lion. He will hit you from this side and that side, from this point and that point.
[Suddenly everyone is thrown into darkness as the power fails. Some timeless moments of silence with Osho before he continues with the discourse.]
Now, asking the monk, “Is he open-eyed – is he an awakened person, is he enlightened – who brings food to you? Have you got a master who nourishes you?” But strange language. And strange were those days and strange were those people. “Is he open-eyed who brings food to a fellow like you and lets you eat it?”
The monk could make no reply.
He cannot understand what is going on. Now he is completely puzzled and confused. All this talk about dinner seems to be about something else.
Later Chokei asked Hofuku, “To give food to others is surely worthy. How could he fail to be open-eyed?”
An ordinary understanding is that to give food to those who are hungry, to feed them, is a virtuous act. Obviously such a virtuous act can be done only by one who is awakened. At this point the Catholics and other Christians will certainly agree with Chokei, who is saying, “To give food to others is surely worthy. How could he fail to be open-eyed?”
In such ordinary statements so much is hidden. It is possible for you to feed the hungry and yet not be awakened. You can feed the hungry for reasons of your own. Most probably it is because of greed – greed for heaven, for heavenly pleasures. If you can accumulate enough virtue, you will be received by God. And if you are not virtuous, a sinner, a hellfire is waiting for you into which you will be thrown for eternity; there is no rescue.
Ordinary morality will agree with Chokei, but anyone who understands the meaning of inner awakening knows it perfectly well: to feed someone does not mean a virtuous act because it is coming out of unconsciousness, out of greed, out of a certain motivation, certain ambition, certain fear. How can you be called an awakened person? The awakened also feeds, but not because of any profit to be gained here or hereafter. The awakened also feeds not only the body but the soul, out of pure compassion, never expecting anything in return.
Hofuku said, “Both giver and receiver are blind.”
These are great dialogues between great people. Chokei himself is enlightened. You might not understand his asking, “How could such a man fail to be open-eyed, who feeds others?” This is a net thrown to catch Hofuku. If Hofuku said, “Yes, you are right,” he would have missed the point, but Hofuku stands on the same ground as Chokei. He makes the statement, “Both giver and receiver are blind” – to think that “I am giving” is ego-centered and to think that “I am receiving” is also ego-centered. There is no difference; both are blind.
Chokei said, “Are you still blind, even though you exhaust every means?”
Hofuku said, “How can you call me blind?”
Before we think about Setcho’s comments, something more about Tanka has to be understood, because this dialogue is about Tanka asking a monk, “Have you had your dinner?” and “From where are you coming?”
Who is this fellow Tanka? He stands as high as any enlightened person has risen, ever – and with a uniqueness of his own.
Tanka was a contemporary of Nansen, Ryutan, Ho Koji and Yakusan…
All great masters, but none of them had the extraordinary quality of Tanka. He first studied Zen with Basho.
Just to study with Basho is enough to give you a new way of seeing things. Just to sit by his side is enough to make you unique. Basho is one of the great awakened ones. Basho stands in the history of Japan, just as in the history of India, Gautam Buddha stands; the same height, the same peak, and something more. Basho was also a mystic, a poet, a painter. The very fact that he accepted Tanka as his disciple is in itself a certificate of uniqueness. Basho was not for the masses, he was only for the chosen few.
…and then at Basho’s suggestion, Tanka went to Sekito.
Sekito was very lonely, without any disciples, a mystic living deep in the mountains. A few times Basho sent a few disciples to Sekito because he could see that they needed a different kind of nourishment. With Basho they would become enlightened, but just to be enlightened is not enough. To be enlightened and still remain unique needs a certain atmosphere, a different kind of air.
This is something to be understood about Zen. In no other religion does one master send his disciples to another master, never. In all the religions of the world every master is a competitor to other masters. They are fighting for disciples because whoever has more disciples is a greater master. It is sheer politics, politics of numbers – although their game is religion, hidden behind the word religion is pure politics.
Sekito was very averse to disciples. Just to avoid them he had gone far away deep in the forest. But Basho could see in Tanka some similarity, something that can fall in deep harmony with Sekito. There is no competition. It is not a question that you have more disciples, so you are great. Zen masters continually send people to other masters.
That is a rare phenomenon: no competition, and on the other hand, a deep understanding of the disciple. If Basho sees that “somebody else can help Tanka more than I can help, because he does not belong to the same kind of energy,” then it is better not to prevent him and waste his time but send him to the right man.
Tanka lived with Sekito three years and finally returned to Basho’s temple. Before paying his respects to Basho, he went into the monk’s hall and climbed up onto the shoulders of a statue of Manjushree.
Manjushree is one of the disciples of Gautam Buddha, the first disciple who became enlightened; hence, his status is just next to that of Gautam Buddha. The monk I have told you about who became enlightened sitting under the tree, and flowers showered and showered, was no one but Manjushree.
Now this was very strange of Tanka, coming back to the temple of Basho where Manjushree’s statue is worshipped. Basho loved Manjushree, felt some synchronicity between himself and Manjushree. Tanka went into the temple and climbed up onto the shoulders of Manjushree.
The monks were astonished and went to tell Basho, who came down to the hall. He saw Tanka and said, “My son, Tennen.”
Tanka climbed down from Manjushree’s shoulders and made bows to Basho, saying, “Thank you master, for giving me my dharma name.” And thereafter he was called Tennen, meaning son of nature.
Tanka is another formation of Tennen.
Rather than being angry with him, rather than being offended, “What kind of nonsense are you doing? It is insulting to Manjushree and it is insulting to me!” Instead of saying that, he said, “My son, Tennen.” He has initiated him with such love – “My son” – and has also given him the name Tennen.
Tanka climbed down from Manjushree’s shoulders and made bows to Basho, saying, “Thank you master, for giving me my dharma name.”
These kinds of anecdotes you will not find in any religious tradition around the world. What was the meaning of Tanka climbing up on the statue of Manjushree? In this gesture he is declaring without saying a single word, “I have reached higher than Manjushree. Do you recognize it or not?”
Basho recognized it. He said, “My son, come down. You will be known as Tennen.” To give the dharma name, the name of sannyas, is to accept the disciple.

It was also Tanka who features in the story about using a wooden statue of Buddha to burn in a temple one night to keep himself warm.
The night was cold, and in Japan there are wooden statues. When the priest went to sleep – Tanka was just a guest; the night was cold – he took one of the statues of Buddha and burned it. Now this would be utter disrespect by anyone anywhere in the world – but not in the world of Zen, and you will see why.
The priest was awakened, seeing that in the temple there is a fire. And when he reached, he could not believe his eyes – he was only a priest – he said, “Are you mad? You have burned the statue of Buddha!” Tanka took his staff and started looking into the burnt ashes of the statue for something.
The priest said, “What are you looking for?”
He said, “I am looking for the bones of Buddha.”
The priest said, “You are really mad! This is a wooden statue; wooden statues don’t have bones.”
Tanka said, “You are a very intelligent man, you have understood. Just bring another statue! The night is long and very cold, and you have so many statues…and rather than taking care of a living buddha, you are bothering about a wooden buddha. What do you want? A living buddha should shiver in the cold and wooden buddhas should sit on their thrones?”
The priest thought that this man should not be left alone – he would burn those statues and they were very valuable. But now he has proved his point: how can wood be a buddha? You can carve it into a statue of a buddha, still it is wood. Buddha is inside you. He was saying to the priest, “Here I am, and you are preventing an awakened man from burning ordinary statues.”
The priest pushed him out of the temple and locked the temple door. Tanka said many times, “This is not right. You are not behaving as you should.”
He said, “I don’t want to listen to anything, just get out! I cannot leave you alone inside the temple, and I am going to sleep – I am not going to waste my whole life sitting, watching that you don’t do any stupid thing.”
In the morning, when the priest opened the door of the temple, he said, “Certainly this man is mad.” Because Tanka was still sitting by the side of the road, where there was a milestone. He had plucked a few wild flowers and put those wild flowers on the milestone and he was worshipping, doing his morning meditation. He said, “In the night you burned a buddha and in the morning you are worshipping a milestone! Have you any sense?”
Tanka opened his eyes and he said, “If wood can be a buddha, stone can also be a buddha; it is just uncarved, the buddha is hidden. It needs a sculptor and the buddha can be found. I can see buddha is in this stone. The buddha that I burned in the night must have been just a wooden log and some artist must have carved it. This is raw material; it can become a buddha. And the question is not…I am not concerned about the wood or the stone, I am concerned about buddhahood, which is the nature of everything. I am a buddha, you are a buddha…. In the night a living buddha burned a dead buddha, in the morning a living buddha is worshipping a dead buddha for the simple reason that nobody worships this poor buddha. Out of compassion, at least give him satisfaction that one man recognized his innermost being.”
Further, it was noted about Tanka that when he was eighty-one years old, he retired to his temple at Mount Tanka in Hunan province.
One day four years later, he said to his disciples, “I am starting on my journey.”
He equipped himself with hat, leggings, socks and staff, and put on a shoe. Before his foot hit the ground, he was dead.
Can you see the man? What a great man! He is going on the eternal journey, so he is getting ready.
This is why Zen masters ask again and again, “Suggest some original way of dying.” Now this is an original way, equipping himself with hat, leggings, socks and a staff, and putting on a shoe. Before his foot hit the ground he had died. He has left everything behind; his consciousness has moved on the great pilgrimage.
If you understand Tanka, then it will be easy for you to understand his questioning…“Have you had your dinner?”
He was not an ordinary man.
“Where are you from?”
He must have frightened the monk. He said: “From the foot of the mountain.” Tanka said, “Have you had your dinner?” The monk said, “Yes, I have had it.” Tanka said, “Is he open-eyed who brings food to a fellow like you and lets you eat it?” The monk could make no reply. He is saying, “Have you been a disciple, a learner? Have you drunk from the sources of an awakened being? Have you eaten from the sources of truth and love and peace?”
Now Setcho’s comment is:
Exhaust every means, and you will not be blind.
Once in a while, he comes with a right answer. Exhaust every means; whatever you can do, do.
And when you cannot do anything, you will find yourself.
Make every effort, exhaust all means, because unless you exhaust all means, a lingering doubt will remain in your mind: “Perhaps if I had gone on this way, I would have reached.” So go on all the ways, exhaust every possibility, eliminate every effort. Come to a point where you can be effortless, where you don’t know what to do. In this non-doing, in this let-go, in this relaxation you will find your own self blossoming in its immense glory and splendor.
You hold the cow’s head to let it graze.
He is asking, “Do you hold the cow’s head to let it graze? If the cow is there and the grass is there, the cow is going to graze, you just wait. You are there, your longing to know yourself is there, just wait!”
The Four Sevens, the Two Threes,
The following band
Have handed down the dharma treasure,
Raising dust and trouble to make men drown on land.
A beautiful statement. The Four Sevens are the twenty-eight Indian patriarchs, beginning with Mahakashyapa – they are called the Four Sevens. The Two Threes are Chinese patriarchs, beginning with Bodhidharma. The following band… after that, in Japan, hundreds of monks became enlightened. Now there is no question of numbers; it is called simply “the following band.”
They all have the same experience of enlightenment, but still there are differences and those differences are very minute and very delicate.
For example in a dark room with one candle, the room is full of light. With two candles the room is full of light. With three candles the room is full of light. With four candles the room is full of light. You go on increasing the number of candles, the room is still just full of light. What one candle can do will be done by a hundred candles, nothing more, because light may become more and more bright but its intrinsic quality of dispelling darkness is the same.
Hence I have said to you, just the taste of a single dewdrop and you have known all the oceans.
But Setcho is for the first time making a very loving statement: The four sevens, the two threes, and the band following have handed down the dharma treasure. They have been handing down the experience of truth, raising dust and trouble to make men drown on land.
Naturally this will explain to you why Jesus is crucified, why Socrates is poisoned, why Al-Hillaj Mansoor is stoned to death. These people create trouble.
I am condemned all over the world. You may understand; you may not understand. Twenty-four countries will not unnecessarily bother about a man who never leaves his room. Still, two years after I left America, their parliaments are discussing whether the law should be withdrawn, or the law should be kept, which prevents me from entering in their countries. Just two days ago the parliament of Germany decided to continue to keep their law – I am still alive….
But what is the fear? These people, Setcho says, create great trouble. First they make everybody aware of their ignorance. That is a great trouble. You may have cancer, you are not aware of it. You are perfectly happy going fishing but the doctor creates the trouble. He says, “You have cancer and you don’t have much longer to live.”
Where are you going? Are you still going to go fishing? Now the whole desire, the whole joy of going fishing is finished, you return home with a sad face. It is not the cancer that has made your face sad, it is the doctor.
When a Gautam Buddha arises, he creates so much trouble in so many people’s minds, in so many people’s families, in so many people’s hearts. He is a trouble-maker because he goes on telling you, knocking on your doors, that you are fast asleep while if you wake up you will find a great treasure hidden in you. All misery and all agony will disappear; ecstasy will be your reward. Blessings will shower on you. But wake up!
Anybody who wakes you up seems to be like an enemy, even in ordinary waking. Early in the morning, when the breeze is cool and you would like to have another turn and hide yourself in the blanket and somebody goes on pulling your leg – “Get up, it is time for meditation!” – how do you feel? You feel like killing this man! And if you don’t listen to him, he starts the Dynamic Meditation then and there in your room. Anyway he won’t allow you to sleep.
Setcho is right. These people create so much dust where everybody is so peaceful in his agony, everybody is so happy with his troubles – where everybody is living in utter stupidity but without any questioning, without any quest. These people come and they shake you: “What are you doing? You are not meant to do these things. This is not your destiny, this is not what you are keeping hidden within yourself. This is not the flower and the fragrance of your being.”
Naturally the category of the buddhas has always been condemned, poisoned, killed. Every effort has been made somehow – these people should go and do their Dynamic Meditation somewhere else: “Why do you disturb us? We are sleeping well – although we are suffering from a nightmare and a migraine. But we are well acquainted with that; we have always suffered with migraine so there is no problem in it.”
But these people say, “You are talking about a migraine; we are telling you to drop the mind itself. With the mind the migraine will also go. Without mind you cannot have a migraine.”
Nobody has been able to do it up to now, to have no mind and just migraine. But without a migraine it will look so lonely. It has been such a good friend, such an old acquaintance, always with you. Wherever you go it has followed like your own dog, and now somebody says, “Get rid of this dog.” You cannot feel that it is possible. Nobody believes that a buddha is possible.
In the presence of a buddha one becomes enchanted, one becomes full of trust that certainly there is a possibility, a new opening of existence and a new experience of life. But as you go home, just on the way, one after another doubts start arising…perhaps that man has hypnotized you. Perhaps with so many people listening so silently, you got caught in their silence. Alone the migraine is back; alone the old doubts are back. People avoid….

Just a few days ago I had an infection in the ear and Doctor Jog, the best expert in Pune, was called to see me. He came. He could not believe that here are thousands of people with such a joyful, playful aliveness, caring about the garden, meditating or just sitting silently, doing all kinds of work, but without any anxiety.
He told me, “You will have to forgive me.”
I said, “For what?”
He said, “I had many times passed by the gate. The gate attracts, but the mind says, ‘Beware! Everybody inside is hypnotized.’ Your name is such that if I talk to anybody about you, he looks at me as if I am a little bit crazy.”
On the second day he brought his wife. The third day they came to listen, and he told me on the fourth day, “I told the people of my profession outside, the other doctors, that our conception is absolutely wrong, and they should go and see with their own eyes what is happening here: a great experiment in consciousness. It is so tangible; the silence is so expressive, and the bliss. You can almost feel it in the air, in the atmosphere.” They all said to him, “Jog, you are lost. Don’t go there again! You are hypnotized, we can see.”
And he told me, “The people of my profession started avoiding me just because I have been treating your ear.”
And when he came with his wife he asked me, “My wife wants to see you alone for five minutes.”
I said, “Perfectly okay” – and I am waiting. Both have disappeared. Jog must have been afraid that if the wife becomes too much interested in my caravan then she is gone! And there are examples of people…

Another doctor, Dr. Modi has lost Zareen. Zareen is here; Dr. Modi is sitting alone in a vast house. A nice and good man, he comes to the ashram – and a man of understanding. He has not created any trouble for Zareen. She wanted to come to the ashram; he allowed her, and he still comes to the ashram. But everybody in his profession must be telling him, “Look, that is what happens. You have lost your wife. Why in the first place have you taken her there? Whoever goes inside the gate somehow disappears.”
I do nothing at all, and parliaments in different countries are discussing for hours whether I should be allowed into their countries and I have never asked them! I don’t want to go anywhere. I have made it clear to everybody, “Don’t be afraid. I am not going anywhere” – but who knows…?
They are keeping a law that I cannot even step outside at their airports; entering the country is out of the question. I cannot even step out at the airport! What is the fear? Certainly, I must be creating some trouble in their minds.
I am creating trouble. Their lives are settled and whatever I say is going to unsettle their lives. Nobody wants to be unsettled, nobody wants to be left alone by the crowd. Such a fear exists that even my own centers…Jayantibhai must be here; yesterday he was. Ahmedabad center has asked, “Can we drop your name from the center’s name, because your name creates trouble.”
It is my center, but because of my name nobody wants to come there. So I told them, “You drop my name. Let people come. My name is not important; my message is important.”
Tanka has created the right silence. I will take Maneesha’s question some other day. Today there is just a little time for having a good belly laughter. We receive and welcome this silence with our laughter – and our laughter helps to open deeper doors of silence and mystery.

A black man is having a conversation with God: “Tell me, Lord,” he says, “how come I am so black?”
“You are black,” replies God, “so that you can withstand the hot African sun.”
“Tell me, Lord,” continues the black man, “how come my hair is so short and kinky?”
“So that you will not sweat in the hot African climate,” replies God.
“Tell me, Lord,” implores the black man, “how come my legs are so long?”
“So that you can escape from the wild beasts that roam the jungles of Africa,” replies God.
“Then tell me Lord,” shouts the black man, “what the hell am I doing in Chicago?”

“Noah!” booms the voice of God.
“What?” shouts Noah looking around. “What do you want?”
“You have got to take one of those elephants out and bring in another one.”
“What for?” shouts Noah.
“Because,” booms the voice, “you have got two males and you need one male and one female.”
“I’m not bringing nothing in!” shouts Noah. “You just change one of them.”
“Come on, Noah,” booms the voice, “you know I don’t work like that.”
“Well, I’m sick and tired,” says Noah, “I have had enough of this. I have been working for days. I am through with it!”
“Noah?” asks the voice
“Yeah!” shouts back Noah.
“Noah,” comes the voice, “how far can you swim?”

Hamish MacTavish goes salmon fishing and at the end of a long day he catches a tiny fish, not even big enough for one mouthful. Hamish is just about to kill the fish when it speaks to him.
“Hamish MacTavish!” gurgles the fish, “I am a magical fish, and if you spare my life I will grant you three wishes.”
“That’s great!” says Hamish.
“But,” continues the fish, “because you are such a mean old Scotsman, remember, everything you ask for, your worst enemy Fergus MacPherson will get the double.”
“Okay!” agrees MacTavish, “I would like a fortune in gold!”
“Done!” gurgles the fish, “But MacPherson gets the double.”
“And,” continues Hamish, “I would like a dozen beautiful women for my pleasure.”
“Agreed!” gurgles the fish, “But MacPherson gets two dozen!”
“Okay,” says MacTavish, grinning, “and my last wish is for you to painlessly remove one of my balls!”

It is a closely guarded secret that the Vatican has a weekend resort for senior church members.
The nuns who live in this special resort are sworn to silence, but they have worked out their own coded language.
One weekend, the resort is graced by His Holiness Pope the Polack, along with a cardinal and a bishop. After dinner the three men of the church retire to their rooms where they are entertained by their hostesses.
The following morning at breakfast, Sister Margaret, who has been entertaining the bishop, picks up a piece of toast and with a great display butters it four times.
Sister Gloria, who has spent the night entertaining the cardinal, takes her toast, and with a satisfied smile, butters it five times.
Sister Theresa has spent the night in Pope the Polack’s room, and looks a little pale and tired. Slowly, she reaches for her toast. She takes some butter, and spreads it three times.
The other two nuns start to giggle. But then, Sister Theresa turns her toast over, and butters it three times on the back.

Now close the eyes.
Be absolutely still – no movement.
Just gather all of your energy within.

Now let go.

Okay, come back.

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