Tao The Pathless Path Vol 2 11

Eleventh Discourse from the series of 14 discourses - Tao The Pathless Path Vol 2 by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

Lieh Tzu was studying archery, and hit the target.
He sought advice from Kuan-yin who asked him,
“Do you know why you hit the target?”
“It won’t do yet.”
He went away to practice and after three years again reported to Kuan-yin.
“Do you know why you hit the target?”
“ I know.”
“It will do. Hold onto this awareness and do not lose it.”
This applies not only to archery but to ruling oneself. Therefore the sage scrutinizes not the fact of survival or ruin, but its reasons.
One of the most fundamental questions that has always faced humanity, and that will always be encountered by every human being that is ever going to be born, is the nature of knowledge. What is real knowing? One attains liberation only through knowing, one comes to know oneself only through knowing, only through knowing is the truth revealed.
Man is born in ignorance. The darkness is tremendous. Naturally, the first question that any intelligent being will ask is how to find light. What is light? We are born in darkness not knowing who we are. What greater darkness can there be? We are not even aware of who we are, where we come from, or where we are going. We are just groping somehow, drifting. We are accidental. We don’t have a destiny yet. We are unconscious. We have not yet attained to the light of inner being which can enlighten our path. In this darkness, if failure happens, it is natural. In this darkness, if frustration happens, what more could you expect? In this darkness, if you only die and never live, it seems logical.
So the fundamental question is: What is the nature of knowledge? What is real knowledge? Man knows many things and yet remains ignorant. You know many things but the fundamental knowing is missing. It is as if you have made a big building and the foundation is missing. Man knows much; knowledge has grown every day and yet deep down man remains as ignorant as ever. We must have misunderstood the very nature of knowledge.
Before we enter this very symbolic and very significant parable, a few things have to be understood.
First, unless you know yourself, all knowing is useless; unless you know yourself all knowing is only pseudo-knowing – you appear to know but you don’t really know. It is a deception. You know science, you know things, you know the world, but you don’t know yourself. If the knower himself is in deep darkness all his knowledge is just superficial, it cannot even be skin deep. Scratch the man of knowledge and soon you will find ignorance coming out of him. Just scratch a little and his knowledge will not be of any help. You will find him as ordinary and ignorant a person as any other.
If you insult an Albert Einstein, he becomes as angry as anybody else. If Albert Einstein fails, he feels as frustrated as anybody else. If Bertrand Russell succeeds, he is as happy as anybody else. There is no basic difference because the innermost core remains the same. Bertrand Russell of course knows more than you but the knowledge is quantitative. He is not more of a knower than you; the knowledge is not yet qualitative. As far as the being is concerned, he is the same as you. He has more information but not more knowing. More information is not more knowing – more knowing does not necessarily mean more information.
A buddha may not know as much as Bertrand Russell knows. Buddha certainly never knew as much as Bertrand Russell knows – but Buddha is a knower and Bertrand Russell is not. Buddha’s knowledge is not about things; his knowledge is about his own being. His knowledge is not an accumulation of information; his knowledge is an explosion, an inner explosion of light. That’s why we call it enlightenment. He has become more aware – that is his knowing.
He no longer walks unalert and inattentive. If you hit him, he will not react the way an unconscious man will react. He will respond, but he will not react at all. And his response will not be because you have insulted him; his response will be out of his awareness. His response will not be mechanical – that’s why I say it will not be a reaction.
A reaction is a mechanical thing; anybody can push your buttons and you react mechanically. You don’t have any control over your own mechanism. If somebody insults you, you are insulted. The other person is the master – he pushed a button and you are under his control. If somebody appreciates you, you are flowing and happy – he pushed another button and you are under his control.
You can praise Buddha or you can condemn Buddha, it will not make any difference. You can go on pushing buttons. You can go on trying to push his buttons but Buddha will not react. He is not a machine any longer.
Once Buddha was insulted. He was passing through a village and many people gathered, insulting and condemning him very much. Their anger was almost righteous because Buddha was destroying the very foundation of their rotten culture. He was destroying the very laws that Manu had prescribed for the Hindus. He was destroying the very foundation of this class-divided society – a society divided into castes, varnas. He was destroying the very foundation of the ancient sannyas, because in the ancient days a sannyasin meant a very old man. After seventy-five years of age, one had to become a sannyasin – when life had already ebbed one was supposed to be a sannyasin. And Buddha was initiating young people, even young children.
He was destroying two basic fundamentals of the Hindu society, of the ashram: the four stages of life – sannyas is the fourth stage, the last – and the four-caste system, varna. In this system the brahmin is the highest caste and the sudra is the lowest. In between is the vaishya and the kshatriya.
Buddha was destroying this system too because he said that one who knows Brahma is a brahmin – not by birth but by knowing, by being. He said that everybody is born as a sudra, as an untouchable, the lowest – brahmins included. Nobody is higher and nobody is lower by birth. By birth, everybody is born like an animal. Then, by and by, if you work, grow, seek and search and refine your consciousness, slowly, you move higher – from the sudra you become a vaishya.
A vaishya is a businessman. He is a little higher, has a few more values in life, thinks sometimes about music, sometimes about poetry. The sudra is one who thinks only of survival, of the body; he eats, sleeps – finished. Eat, drink and be merry – that is his whole circle of life. If you are doing only that you are a sudra, the lowest human being.
Everybody is born that way. You cannot expect a small child to be interested in music and poetry and philosophy and religion. A child is born a hedonist, a Charvaka, an Epicurean. He sleeps for eighteen to twenty hours – what more can you expect? Whenever he feels hungry he awakes and cries and weeps – and finds food and nourishment. Then again he falls asleep. He eats, drinks and sleeps. Every child is a sudra.
By and by, when you start growing, new dimensions open in your being. You start becoming interested in things which are not only about your body. A little of the mind, a little psychology enters your being. You are no longer just a physical being. Then you are a vaishya. Then you are moving into the bigger business of life, you are a businessman. Not a very high state, but better than the sudra.
Then comes the kshatriya, the warrior. He becomes a little more interested in higher things. He starts searching for truth, for beauty, for love. His interest is higher than the businessman’s. He is ready to stake his life, he’s ready to lose his life for these higher values. He’s ready to gamble, he’s courageous. Courage enters him. The businessman is not courageous; if everything goes well he may enjoy music, he may enjoy poetry, he may sit in his home – centered, secure – and think about God too. But he will not undergo much danger, he will not take risks.
The warrior, the kshatriya, takes risks. He puts his life at stake. He becomes a gambler. The businessman is never a gambler. He thinks first about the profits and he goes only so far. He takes risks but only so far. It is a limited risk and he always thinks about what the profit and loss will be. He is always worried about profit and loss. The warrior risks all. He goes deep into life. That is the third stage.
The brahmin is the highest, the one who goes deepest into the mystery of life, reality, existence. He is never satisfied unless he comes to know what ultimate truth is. That is what brahmin means – one who comes face to face with the ultimate truth, the absolute truth.
Buddha said that these are not divisions conferred by birth; these are divisions of qualities that one has to evolve. Everybody has to evolve from the sudra and everybody has to go to the brahmin. Buddha destroyed the whole structure.
He said that becoming a sannyasin has nothing to do with age, has nothing to do with how old you are. Age has nothing to do with sannyas; it is not a chronological thing. Since sannyas is not concerned with time, how can it be concerned with age? Sannyas is a movement into the timeless. So anybody who is ready… Sometimes a child will enter sannyas. Shankara entered sannyas when he was only nine years of age. If he had waited for the old Hindu concept, he would never have become a sannyasin because by the age of thirty-three he was dead. Humanity would have missed his wisdom.
Buddha said that sannyas can be entered whenever somebody is ready. And there are different qualities of people, different intensities, different passions. At the age of nine, somebody may be more alert than most people ever are, even at the age of ninety. So you cannot decide outright by age; you have to look into the inner intensity of a person. And it is your life. If you want to risk it, it is your freedom – you have to be allowed. Buddha allowed young people.
These two systems were the foundations of the Hindu society, and both were destroyed. And people were against him, naturally. He was always in danger. But he created a great revolution in human consciousness.

Buddha was passing through a village of brahmins. They gathered together and they insulted him very much. He listened silently. They pushed and pushed on the usual buttons but nothing happened. They were a little worried, embarrassed – when you insult somebody and he stands there unperturbed, you become embarrassed. He seems to be beyond you. In fact, you cannot reach him because he is at such a height.
They asked, “Are you listening? Why are you standing silently? We are insulting and condemning you. Have you gone dumb? Have you gone deaf? Can’t you speak? Can’t you hear what we are saying?”
Buddha said, “I can feel, I can see your worries, your embarrassment, but I am sorry. You should have come ten years ago if you wanted me to react. Now it is too late. Now these buttons don’t work. I have gone beyond.”

It was as if a child were playing with his toy and you snatched the toy away and he cried and wept. One day he will not be a child and then, if you snatch his toy away, he will not cry and weep. In fact, he will give it to you, he will present it to you and he will say, “You can take it, you can have it. I am finished with it.”
That’s what Buddha said. He said, “It is too late. I am finished with it. I have gone beyond.”
This is knowing, real knowing. Knowing is a qualitative change in your being. It is a transformation of your being, it is a metanoia: you move higher, the altitude changes. With knowledge, so-called knowledge, you remain the same except that you go on holding more information. You know more but you remain the same.
So-called knowledge is almost like money – you go on hoarding money. That doesn’t change you. How can it change you? Your bank balance goes on growing but that doesn’t mean you are growing with it. How can you grow with the bank balance? You may start collecting lots of money, you may hoard millions of rupees, but how is that going to help your growth? You remain the same. That’s why you will see that even rich people remain beggars. Their money is there but their inner poverty remains the same. They remain the same miserly way. Sometimes they become even more miserly, because when you don’t have it you are not so worried about losing it. When you have it, you become worried about losing it. Rich people become poorer, their poverty is tremendous. They cannot share. They are always afraid. Their inner poverty does not change at all, it remains the same.
It must be so. If you are aggressive, just by changing your clothes you will not become non-aggressive. If you are an angry person, just by changing the style of your hair, you will not become non-angry. So the amount of money you have does not make any difference to your inner being – you remain the same.
In the same way, how much knowledge you have makes no difference. You can go to the university; you can have all the degrees possible, you can have a PhD or a DLitt. You can visit the libraries and you can go on reading and reading and reading and studying and you can collect much knowledge, but it will be just on the outside, on the periphery of your mind. It will be just in your memory; it will not change the quality of your consciousness. Unless your quality changes, nothing is attained.
So the first thing to be understood is that knowledge and knowing are different. Knowledge is information; knowing is understanding. Knowledge is gathered from outside, knowing is growth from inside. Knowledge is borrowed, knowing is yours, authentically yours. Knowledge is learned; knowing is not learned from anybody.
You have to become more alert so that you can see more, so that you can feel more, so that you can be more. Knowing is being, knowledge is just a peripheral accumulation.
Another thing: when you are a man of knowledge, when you have hoarded too much knowledge, your ego will be strengthened. You will think, “I know so much.” The ego is one of the barriers to seeing reality; it is not a bridge, it disconnects, it does not connect. When you are a man of knowing, ego disappears; a man of knowing comes to know that there is nothing you can know. How can you know? Life is so mysterious, so tremendously mysterious; there is no way to really know it.
If you can know only yourself, that is more than enough, more than one can expect. If a small light starts burning in your heart and your inner being becomes lighted, that is more than enough. That is what is needed. In that light you become aware that reality is an ultimate mystery – that’s what we mean when we use the word God. God means exactly what nature means, with only one difference. In the concept of nature it is implied that if it is not known up to now, it will be known later on – but it can be known. It is knowable. That is the intrinsic meaning of the word nature.
Just a few days ago an atheist was talking to me and he said, “Why use the word God? Why not use nature? The word God creates trouble.” I said, “It can be used but then you will have to become more alert about what meaning you put on it.” Nature means that which is known, or, if not known, that which can be known, is theoretically knowable. Science says nature because science says that we have known something of it, we know something of it, we will know something of it. But, basically, one thing is certain – that one day everything will be known. By using God we bring another dimension into it. We say that something is known and more will be known – more will always be known – but still something will always remain unknowable, something will go on being elusive. The mystery is vast, the mystery is infinite. Since we are part of it, how can the part know the whole totality? It is impossible. The part cannot know the whole totally, the part can only know so far.
A man of knowing understands the mystery of life. That’s why Buddha is silent about life. He does not say a single word about it.
Lao Tzu kept quiet for his whole life until he was forced, really forced, to write his experiences. He was getting old and he was traveling to the Himalayas; he wanted to disappear into the Himalayas. He was stopped at the last border post of China. The guards wouldn’t allow him to pass because they said they had received a message from the emperor not to allow him to escape out of the country unless he wrote a book about his experiences. So for three days, at that outer border post, he stayed in a tent and wrote the book. He wanted to get out of the country; he wanted to go to the Himalayas and disappear.
A beautiful place to die – the Himalayas are really a beautiful place to die. Where can you find a better place to die and disappear into godliness? Nowhere is there such a godly phenomenon. Watching those Himalayan peaks, that virgin snow with the sun shining on it, it is as if the whole world has become golden. Watching that, in that cold, in that purified air, at that high altitude, what better space to die? You cannot find a better graveyard. It’s tremendously beautiful.
Lao Tzu was very old and he was in a hurry so he said, “Okay. If you insist, I will write.” But the first sentence he wrote in the Tao te Ching is: “The Tao, the truth, that can be said is not the real Tao. The Tao that can be uttered or expressed is already false.”
The truth cannot be said because you can say only things which have been really known, known totally, known perfectly. Once known, you can express it. Truth is never known totally. You feel it, you live it, you have great experiences of it, great visions; great mysteries open. But each mystery brings you to another mystery. As each door opens you see that a thousand and one doors are still there unopened. Each door brings you to new doors. So how can you express it?
A man of knowing will say, “I don’t know,” or, “I don’t know all of it, I know only a little bit. I know only myself.” But that is enough – that is more than enough. That is the highest one can aspire to.
The man of knowledge goes on claiming that he knows everything – hence he proves his ignorance. Only an ignorant person says that he knows; the knower always says that he does not know. That is the sign, the indication, of real knowing.
One thing more: when you know something you divide reality into the knower, the known and the knowledge. Reality immediately becomes divided into three things. That’s the meaning of the symbol of the trinity in Christianity. If you know, God becomes three. The moment you know, God becomes three. The one is no longer one. Knowledge divides. That is the meaning of the concept of the Hindi trimurti – God has three faces. The moment you know, he has three faces. Knowledge divides.
Now physicists say that they have come to know the foundation of life, the fundamental of existence – electricity. Again they find it is divided into three: the electron, the neutron and the proton. It seems that three is very basic. It seems that if you dissolve into reality there is one but the moment you turn it over and look at it, it immediately turns into three. Certainly, because then you are separate, that which you know is separate from you, and between the two is knowledge – the knower, the known and the knowledge.
So knowledge divides – and that which divides cannot lead you to ultimate truth. Knowing unites. In knowing, one does not know who the knower is, who the known is and what knowledge is. That’s why knowing, a man becomes a mystic; knowing, a man becomes one with reality; knowing, one loses all distinctions, differences, boundaries, definitions; knowing, one becomes undefined – as undefined as reality itself.

Now this parable.
Lieh Tzu was studying archery, and hit the target.
He sought advice from Kuan-yin who asked him,
“Do you know why you hit the target?”
Each word must be understood. Have the taste of each single word because each single word is significant. These parables are not just to be read in one stroke and forgotten; these parables were written to meditate upon. These are meditative devices.
Lieh Tzu was studying archery… Tao is the only religion which makes no difference between the sacred and the profane. All other religions make a distinction between the sacred and the profane.
Archery is a profane art – or swordsmanship, or cooking, or carpentry, or painting, or poetry. You cannot think of Buddha painting and you cannot think of Buddha as an archer. You cannot even think of Buddha composing poetry. These are mundane activities; Buddha is transcendental. Can you imagine Mahavira doing any ordinary day-to-day activity? No, he simply meditates. He remains in the purest sky. He walks on the earth but he does not belong to the earth. He walks on the earth but he never touches the earth. He is not an earthly being.
But Tao is something very rare and extraordinary. Tao says that any activity can be turned into a sacred activity – any activity whatsoever, even archery, even swordsmanship. In China and Japan there are schools of archery and swordsmanship but you will be puzzled to know that in the hall where the archer learns archery you will find a sign: Meditation Hall. People learn archery or sometimes wrestling, but the hall is known as the Meditation Hall. What type of meditation is this? People are fighting, wrestling, learning archery – murderous arts. What type of meditation is this? Why do they call them meditation halls?
Tao says that any activity done with full awareness becomes a meditation. The activity is not the real thing – how you do it, what consciousness you bring to it, is. You can pray in a very earthly way and then it becomes mundane – you know it. If you go to the temples and listen to people’s prayers, you will hear it. Their prayers are not real. Somebody is asking for a lottery ticket; somebody is asking that his sick wife be made well again; somebody is saying that his son has failed, next time God should please take care; somebody is saying that his daughter has become very grown-up and it is difficult to find a boy for her, so please help. These are the prayers. They are very mundane activities – very ordinary. Why do you call them prayers? What is sacred about them? Nothing seems to be sacred about them. You may be sitting in a temple but that doesn’t make much difference.
If your prayer can be profane, then ordinary activities can also be sacred. That is a Taoist contribution to the world. They say that the activity is not the real thing, but what consciousness you bring to it.
For example, you may be wrestling. The Taoist wrestler first bows down to the opponent. The Taoist wrestler first has to bow down to his opponent and meditate on the opponent as being God, as being divine, not as the enemy. If he cannot meditate on the enemy as being God, as being a friend, then he is no Taoist. Then it is ordinary wrestling. But if he can see the same God in his opponent as he feels in himself, then wrestling is wrestling only on the surface; deep down it has become prayer.
Now, if you watch from the outside, you will be very puzzled. Two swordsmen fighting with their swords first have to look into the other’s eyes, into the window of the other’s soul to get the feel of the other’s being. It is exactly like his own being. Then they fight, but the fight is totally different. The fight is not aggressive, the fight is not egoistic. The fight is play. And the wrestlers or the swordsmen are not interested in killing one another. They are not even interested in protecting themselves. They simply relax and go into a let-go. Then two energies are there, dancing. It is wrestling to you if you look from the outside, but from the innermost it is just a dance of two energies. It is almost a love affair; it is a meeting of two energies.
You will be surprised to know that the one who is defeated is thought to be the one who is not yet in a let-go. He is still an egoist, that’s why he is defeated.
Sometimes it happens that two Taoist wrestlers have been wrestling again and again for years and neither has been defeated – because both were non-egoists. How can you defeat a non-egoist? Both were non-aggressive. Both were in such tremendous love that neither could defeat the other.
Two swordsmen may fight for hours and neither gets hurt. This is the art. The whole art is to be so empty that the sword cannot cut you. Now, if somebody hits you, you shrink; if somebody hits you, you resist. The Taoist art is that when somebody hits you, you expand. You take the attack in – you absorb it.
If somebody is throwing energy at you, don’t fight with that energy, absorb it. He is giving you energy and you are fighting with it. Absorb it instead. Try it sometime. If somebody hits you or punches you, try one day to absorb it. Just go with it. Don’t become hard, don’t become stiff, let it be absorbed. You will be surprised. You will be surprised because there will be a totally new experience. If there are two fighters and one fighter goes on absorbing the other’s energy, whatsoever the one is throwing out, he will be defeated. It is not that the other has defeated him, but he has defeated himself. He will become weaker and weaker and weaker and he will be defeated. The other one will come out of it very radiant.
Each activity can be turned into meditation. Even these murderous arts of archery can be turned into nonviolent arts. This is a great revolution.
The ego is hard and masculine. Tao believes in the feminine. The ego is aggressive; the feminine is receptive. Tao believes in the receptive. Tao believes in becoming a womb. The ego, the masculine ego is determined to penetrate rather than to be penetrated. The masculine ego is always trying to penetrate the other – just as in sex. In everything the male ego does there is a penetration, an effort to violate the other. And the feminine is absorbing – just as in sex. As in sex, so in everything, it is absorbing.
Haven’t you seen it happening every day? You may not have thought about it in that way. Women are always the winners. Napoleon may be a great man outside his house, but when he comes back home he is nothing. The woman may be a tiny wisp of a woman, but she dominates. Every husband is henpecked. And I am saying every husband. If you can find a husband who is not henpecked, then know well he is a Taoist. Then he is not masculine, that’s why he is not henpecked. He is already feminine. Each husband must be henpecked because the egoistic energy cannot win against the non-egoistic energy.
Haven’t you seen it? A woman crying is very powerful. You may have all the muscles in the world, you may be the great Mohammed Ali, but even Mohammed Ali, when his girlfriend is crying, just does not know what to do. Those tears seem to be more powerful. What is the power of the tears of a woman? She is so fragile, she is so vulnerable, she is so soft – where does the power of the woman come from? Why does she dominate? How does she manage it? She manages it without managing. In fact, she says that she is just dust under your feet. That’s how she manages. She massages your feet. That’s how she manages. She takes care of you. She serves you in a thousand and one ways. And that’s how she becomes the conqueror. She never tries to penetrate you, she never tries to conquer you – that is her victory. She is defenseless. But still some great strength comes from some unknown source.
Taoists say that this is the strength of the water element. Man is like rock and woman is like water. When the water falls on the rocks, the rock disappears, sooner or later it becomes sand. It is only a question of time. On the first contact of the water with the rock, the rock is so strong and the water is so soft that you cannot ever logically imagine that one day the water will destroy the rock, that it will disappear as sand and the water will still be there.
This is what Lao Tzu calls “the water-course way” – the strength of the feminine.
The energy of the masculine is that of the chopper, the woodcutter. Have you watched a woodcutter chopping wood? That is the energy of the masculine – destructive, aggressive, violent. Feminine energy is that of the surfer. The male wrestles with life rather than swimming with it; the feminine goes with it, swims with it, does not wrestle with it. The feminine is pliant and has suppleness, is more liquid.
If somebody is studying archery, he can study it as a masculine energy. Then he will become technically expert but he will miss the deeper art of it.
Lieh Tzu was studying archery, and hit the target. Now this is the man’s understanding. If you hit the target you have learned the art. What more is needed? If out of a hundred you can hit the target all hundred times, a hundred percent correctly, what more is needed?

A German professor, Herrigel, was learning archery with a Zen master in Japan. He became perfect; one-hundred percent perfect, not a single target was ever missed. Naturally he said to the master, “Now what more is there? Now what more do I have to learn here? Can I go now?”
The master said, “You can go but you have not learned even the ABC of my art.”
Herrigel said, “The ABC of your art? My target shot is one-hundred percent perfect now.”
The master said, “Who is talking about the target? Any fool can do that just by practicing. That is nothing much. Now the real thing starts.”

Listen. When the archer takes his bow and arrow and aims at the target there are three things. The archer is the most fundamental and basic thing, the source, the innermost. Then there is the arrow which will pass from the archer to the target. And then there is the bull’s eye, the target, the thing farthest away. If you hit the target you have touched the farthest, you have touched the periphery. You have to touch the source as well. You can become technically expert in hitting the target but that is not much – not much if you are trying to get into deeper waters. You are an expert; you are a man of knowledge, but not a man of knowing.
The arrow goes from you but you don’t know what source the arrow goes from, with what energy. How does it go? Who is moving it? You don’t know that. You don’t know the archer. You have studied archery, you have achieved the target, your aim is a hundred percent perfect, you have become efficient at one-hundred percent perfection level, but this is all about the target. Now what about you? What about the archer? Has anything happened in the archer? Has your consciousness changed a little bit? No, nothing has changed. You are a technician; you are not a real artist.
Taoists say that the real thing is to see the source, where this aim comes from, where this arrow gets its energy. Who is it who has succeeded? What is the energy? What kind of being is hidden behind you? That is the real target. If that is the real target and sometimes you even miss the outer target, nothing is wrong.
It is said about a great archer in Japan that he always used to miss his target. He was the greatest master but he was never able to aim correctly.
He must have been a man like me. Just a few days ago Priya put in a question which I have not answered yet. She asked: “Osho, can’t you walk straight?” I never tried!
That master must have been a man like me – one who cannot walk straight. He must have been a drunkard. So he used to miss. He never succeeded, not for a single time in his whole life. But he was known all over Japan as the greatest master.
What was his mastery? His mastery was of a totally different kind. He had penetrated the source; he had made the target his center.
The periphery is not the point. You may succeed or you may fail, but that is not the point at all. The real thing is this: have you succeeded in getting centered in your being? Has that target been achieved?
To succeed with the outer target is masculine energy; to succeed with your inner source is feminine energy. To succeed with the outer source you have to be aggressive, ambitious, concentrated, attentive, outgoing, extrovert – the arrow will be going out, will be going farther away from you. It will be moving away from your being. The arrow will be going into the world.
To move into your center one needs to be feminine, passive, inactive, non-doing, noninterfering, wu-wei, meditative. Relaxation is needed, meditation, not concentration. One has to relax oneself completely and utterly. When you are not doing anything then you are at your center; when you are doing something you have gone away. When you do too much you are too far away. Coming closer means that you are dropping your activities, you are learning how to be inactive, you are learning how to be a non-doer.

Herrigel’s master said to him, “You had become a doer, a perfect doer, but that is not the point. You could have learned that in Germany; there was no need to come to Japan. Masculine arts are available in the West, there is no problem. You can learn shooting. But you have come to Japan, to the East, so please, now learn the real thing. Now you have to take your bow without being a doer; you have to pull your arrow without being a puller; you have to aim at the target without aiming. There should be no tension, no effort, no doing on your part. You just have to be passive. You have to let it happen rather than doing it. Then you will be centered.”

Do you know the difference between when you do a thing and when you let it happen? If you know the difference, then you can understand this parable; otherwise it will be difficult.
Let me remind you, because you may not have noted it that sometimes, making love to your woman, you were a doer. Then you missed. Yes, there was a sexual release but it was not a true orgasm. Then sometimes it was not a doing, you allowed it to happen. Then it was a release, certainly, but with a plus. It was an orgasm. You had a feeling of expansion. You became enormous and huge; you touched the very boundaries of existence. In that moment you disappeared as an ego. You were not. You pulsated from one core to another core, you pulsated in all your layers, but you were not the doer. Bring the doer in and the pulsation stops. Drop the doer and the pulsation starts again.
Sometimes, swimming in a river, you started floating. Swimming is beautiful but nothing compared with floating. Sometimes, just lying in the river, not even making any effort, you started floating with the river. Then you will know a totally different quality of experience. The river takes you in her arms, the river supports you, the river and you are no longer enemies – there is a sort of inner connectedness. You have fallen en rapport with the river energy; your energy and the energy of the river are making love. There is an orgasm.
Sometimes, sitting silently, doing nothing, you have become aware of a let-go. And there is a benediction. Sometimes looking at the stars or at the trees suddenly it is there. You were not doing anything.
These moments come to everybody’s life. They come, unasked for. They come only when you were not expecting them, they come only when you are not – they steal in when your doors are open and you are relaxed. Sometimes out of nothingness and from nowhere a great benediction comes. These moments come to everybody but you have not observed them, you have not noticed them. These are gifts from God. They are reminders that you are in a strange land – come back home. These are reminders. God goes on knocking on your heart again and again – whenever an opportunity is there, whenever you allow him to.
On a Sunday you can lie in bed and you are not in any hurry to go to the office and the children are awake and rushing around in the room and your wife is preparing the tea and there is the sound of the samovar. And the milkman and the traffic slowly moving outside, and you turn in your bed and you pull your blanket up again and there is no hurry and there is nowhere to go – it is Sunday. Christianity has given only one beautiful thing to the world – Sunday. Hinduism has no Sunday. Sunday is the greatest contribution of Christianity. You can dream a little more, you can still float into sleep again. There are vapors from the kitchen, the smells from the kitchen, the breakfast is getting ready and you are just in a state of relaxation, not tense, tensionless – and suddenly you feel tremendously beautiful. Life has meaning. Something flowers in you. Something unknown enters you. These are moments when you are feminine.
Rushing to the office you become male. You may go for a walk along the street where you go to the office every day, but when you are going for a walk you are a female. When you are going for a walk you are not going anywhere in particular, you are just enjoying the birds in the trees and the wind and the morning sun and children laughing and children going to school. You are enjoying and you are not going anywhere in particular, at any point you can return home; there is no target, there is no goal, you are simply enjoying a morning walk – and suddenly it is there that moment of let-go.
Watch these moments of let-go because they are messages from existence. Watch these moments of let-go, cherish them, savor them. Welcome them so that they become more and more available to you. Receive the guest gratefully so that the guest starts coming more and more often.
Tao says that the real happens only when you are in such a state of diffused relaxedness that you cannot say, “I am.” “I am” means you are tense.
Lieh Tzu was studying archery, and hit the target. He sought advice from Kuan-yin who asked him, “Do you know why you hit the target?” This Kuan-yin is a Taoist master and an archer. Lieh Tzu asked him about his archery and he said, “I have become an expert; technically, technologically, I have attained my goal. I have hit the target.”
The master asked, “Do you know why you hit the target? From where? Who are you? Who is this one who has hit the target? Have you looked deep into the source of your energies?” Forget the target and look at the archer. You have learned archery, what about the archer? Now you have to learn the archer. And the processes are very different. You have to learn archery but if you want to learn the archer you will have to unlearn archery.
By learning, you know the world; by unlearning, you know yourself. By learning, you accumulate knowledge; by unlearning, you become a knower. By learning, you hoard; by unlearning, you become nude, empty.
The master asked, “Do you know why you hit the target?” Why? That’s what Socrates means when he says to his disciples, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” You may succeed, but it is not worth living if it has not been examined so deeply that you know the very source of it, the very foundation of it.
You see the flowers of a tree but that is not real knowledge unless you go deep and you know the roots. The flowers depend on the roots. The flowers are nothing but the expression of the innermost core of the roots. The roots are carrying the poetry, the source, the juice, which will become flowers, which will become fruits, which will become leaves. If you continually go on counting the leaves and the flowers and the fruits and never go deep into the darkness of the earth, you will never understand the tree because the tree is in the roots.
Where are the roots of the archer? You have succeeded in hitting the target – that is a flowering – but where are your roots? Do you know why you hit the target? Do you know why these flowers have bloomed? Do you know from where, from what source? The flower is the last activity, the most peripheral. The roots are the seed, the first primary activity, the most basic. The roots can exist without flowers, but the flowers cannot exist without the roots. You can cut the flowers off and another flower will come; in fact, a far better flower will come. If you cut the flower, the roots will take up the challenge immediately and they will send a bigger flower. They will say, “Let us see who wins.”

I once had a gardener, a very rare man, a master-gardener, who used to win all the competitions in the city. Nobody was ever able to produce such big flowers as he – all sorts of flowers. And I asked him, “What is your secret?”
He said, “This is not my secret: I challenge the roots.”
I said, “What do you mean?”
He said, “I go on cutting the flowers. I don’t allow ordinary flowers to happen to the tree at all. If the tree can give a hundred flowers I allow only one. I cut ninety-nine; I cut them off immediately because that is a waste. And the roots get madder and madder and madder and angrier and angrier. And then the biggest flower comes – as if all hundred flowers are made into one. Finally the roots win. That is my secret I make them mad.”

You can go on cutting the flower and it will come again, cut another and it will be replaced. But cut the roots and the tree is gone.
The master asked, “Do you know why you hit the target?” The disciple said, without any hesitation, without waiting for a single moment,
This is honesty. The disciple is really a disciple. It is Lieh Tzu himself, the man we have been talking about all these days. He said: “No.” This is honesty.
If I ask you, “Do you know who you are?” only the very, very honest will say “No.” The dishonest person will start thinking, brooding. He will say, “Let me think.” What are you going to think? If you know, you know; if you don’t know, you don’t know. What are you going to think about? Thinking means you will try to manage an answer; you will try to manufacture an answer. If somebody asks you, “Do you know God?” have you ever said no? No, it is very difficult to find a man who can say no. That is the man who can become a real disciple, that is the man who can one day know.
You will not say no. Somebody will say, “Yes, God is. I know.” And somebody else will say, “There is no God. I know.” But both know. Nobody is able to say no.
The disciple said no – he is a real disciple, a true disciple, authentic. The disciple has to open his heart before the master – the disciple must be nude. He must not hide anything – because if you hide from the master you will never grow.
Lieh Tzu said: “No.” Then the master said,
“It won’t do yet.”
“It is good, you have progressed. And your no is a good indication, but it won’t do yet. You have to go further; you have to go still further.”
He went away to practice and after three years again reported to Kuan-yin.
What did he do for three years? He had attained his target, so what was he doing for three years? The parable does not say because this is a parable to be meditated upon. A parable is one which says only a few things and leaves many things unsaid. So you have to meditate and fill in the gaps. You have to find where the intervals are. And the real thing is in those intervals.
What did he do for three years? When you have hit the target then what more can you do? Now he was unlearning. Learning was finished, he had hit the target, learning was complete – so what else can you do? He was unlearning, or he was turning his eyes inward.
Watch. When an archer takes the bow and arrow in his hand his eyes are on the target, naturally. So what was Lieh Tzu doing for three years? When he took up his bow and arrow he would look at the target, but deep down he would look at himself. The target became secondary. The arrow of his consciousness became double-headed – that’s what Gurdjieff calls self-remembering.
When you see me, you are seeing me; your consciousness is one-arrowed – arrowed toward me. If you change… This you can do right now and it will be good to do it to understand that you are looking at me; how your eyes are arrowed at me. If you are really arrowed at me, you will forget yourself. This is forgetfulness. Now make your consciousness double-arrowed. Look at me and at the same time, simultaneously, look at yourself. Look at the looked-at, and then look at the looker-on – the viewed and the viewer.
When you are listening to me, listen, and always become aware of the listener too. The speaker must be listened to, and the listener must be listened to also. Then your consciousness has double arrows. Right now it is one-way traffic: you look at me and you are not looking at yourself. This is a sort of self-forgetfulness. If you look at me and simultaneously become capable of looking at yourself, in that moment self-awareness happens. Buddha calls it samyak smriti; Kabir calls it surati; Gurdjieff calls it self-remembering. But it is the same.
What Lieh Tzu did for three years in the forest was a harder task. Learning was simple. He was male. But then he had to become female. First he had been trying to penetrate the target outside, now he started moving inside into the womb of his own being. He became feminine.
Knowledge is aggression; knowing is passivity.
There are two types of minds discussed in Tao: one they call mui and the other they call ui. Mui means natural, relaxed, and ui means unnatural, tense. When you are fighting with life you exist as ui; when you are flowing with life you exist as mui. Swimming, you function as ui; floating, you function as mui.
When you are in a let-go it is the natural mind in tune with the whole, in tune with Tao. Then these birds singing here are not a distraction; on the contrary, they enrich. Then everything is allowed. All the doors are open. You are not resisting, you are not struggling – you simply are. That is the state of mui.
First Lieh Tzu learned and created the state of ui; he became very, very aggressive, extroverted, pointed toward the outside. He succeeded; he fulfilled his target. It was ambition. Then the master said it was nothing, he had to go further. What did he do for three years? He became mui – he relaxed. He would sit silently and feel the let-go. By and by he would take his arrow and bow and shoot the arrow in a state of let-go. He would not shoot it – he would allow it to be shot. That is difficult. He would not shoot it – he would wait for it to shoot itself.

Herrigel tried with the master but could not succeed. Then one day, desperate, he said, “I don’t think I will be ever able to succeed. I cannot understand what you call this mui, it is all nonsense. How can the arrow shoot itself if I don’t shoot it? If I don’t pull the bow, how can things happen on their own? It is impossible.”
We can understand Herrigel. That is the whole Western attitude: it is impossible.
The master said, “Then you can go.”
Herrigel said, “Will you give me a certificate?”
The master said, “Impossible, because you have not learned anything. Whatsoever you have learned you could have learned anywhere else, so it is of no credit here. You can go.”
Herrigel booked a flight, made the arrangements to leave, forgot all about everything. He had been there for three years – it was too long.
Then he went to say goodbye to the master, but the master was teaching other disciples so he had to wait. He sat on a bench while the master was teaching and for the first time he was in a relaxed state because now he was no longer worried – he was leaving, finished – and he was no longer greedy. There was no effort. He just looked and he could see that the master was not shooting. The master took the bow in his hand; he pulled the bow with his hand – but the bow shot itself. He could see it. It was a vision. He could not believe how he had missed it. For three years he had been watching his master again and again, but his own logical mind was interfering. It would not allow him to see. He said, “How can it be? He may be more expert, but how can it be that the arrow goes by itself?” That morning he saw it. Then he relaxed; then he stopped worrying about attaining anything. When you are no longer in effort, in greed, in desire, you are relaxed.
He rushed to the master and touched his feet. Then without saying anything, Herrigel took the bow from the master’s hand and shot the target. The master put his hand on Herrigel’s head and said, “You have done it. You can have the certificate. And you can still go because now there is no need to wait. Finished. You have known it, you have tasted it.”

Things can happen on their own. You were born – you did not manage it. You fell in love – you did not do it. Hunger comes, you eat – you feel satisfied. Thirst arises, you drink, you feel quenched. You are young, you will become old. One day you will die. Everything is happening. The doer is a false illusion. Be in the state of mui.
The society creates the state of ui. It makes you unnatural, tense, knowledgeable; it makes you cultivated, cultured. But it creates a hard crust around your heart and you lose your real nature, Tao.
He went away to practice and after three years again reported to Kuan-yin.
“Do you know why you hit the target?”
Again the same question, and Lieh Tzu said:
“I know.”
Again it is simple, as simple as the first: “No.” It is not a pretension. Again, when a person pretends, he thinks before he says, “I know.” He tries to rehearse in his mind; that’s what you call thinking. This answer is without any thinking on Lieh Tzu’s part. It is as it is. First he said simply: “No.” Now, in exactly the same humble way – with no claim, remember – he says: “I know.”
Many times you get too involved in words. The Upanishads say that one who says “I know” does not know. Right, but there can be a person who says “I know” and does know. If you can say “I know” in a simple, humble way, with no claim, then there is no problem. When the Upanishads say that if a person says “I know,” he does not know, the emphasis of the Upanishadic seer is on the “I.” When somebody says “I know,” the emphasis is on the “I” – “I” is underlined. When a person really knows and says “I know,” “I” is not underlined. The “know” is just a fact.
How can Lieh Tzu say something untrue? If he knows, he knows. He has to say it. But it is not a claim.
So don’t get too burdened with words. People sometimes get too burdened with words. For example, if a Vedantin reads this he will say, “He says, ‘I know,’ so he cannot know because of what the Upanishads say.” Words are words and one has to feel the innermost core of the words, the heart of the words.
I say to you that when Lieh Tzu says “I know” he knows. And his “I know” means exactly the same as when the Upanishads say “I don’t know.” His “I know” means exactly the same. It means exactly the same as when Socrates says “I don’t know a thing.”
By saying, “I don’t know a thing,” Socrates is denying the “I.” But by saying, “I know,” as a simple fact, as an ordinary fact, with no claim, Lieh Tzu is doing a far greater miracle. Listen to it – sometimes a pretender can pretend and say, “I don’t know,” in the hope that you will think that he knows. Because the Upanishads say so and Socrates says so, a pretender can say, “I don’t know,” and hope that you will think that he is a knower, that he is another Socrates. Mind is very cunning. So remember one thing: if a mind is simple, humble, and simply states the fact, then that is the truth – whatsoever the fact.
“It will do,”
…said the master. Very easily he said: “It will do.” It is not a question of what Lieh Tzu is saying, it is a question of what Lieh Tzu is – the simplicity, the humbleness, the meekness of the person, the innocence of the person.
When you say “I know,” a subtle ego arises. Just say the words “I know” and you will feel a subtle ego strengthening in you.
The master must have been looking into Lieh Tzu. Masters don’t look at you, they look into you. They don’t watch your face, they watch your heart. He must have looked into his heart when Lieh Tzu said “I know.” Did something arise there? Did something integrate, become an ego? Nothing. The space remained untouched, virgin. He said “I know” and nothing happened inside him. The master said,
“It will do. Hold on to this awareness and do not lose it.”
It is difficult to gain a glimpse of this let-go and it is very easy to lose it – because for centuries, for many lives, we have practiced doing. So when those moments of non-doing come, our whole practice of many lives goes against them, our whole habit goes against them, our whole mechanism goes against them. Their happening is a breakthrough and your past will struggle to close your doors again.
That’s why the master says: “Hold on to this awareness and do not lose it.” This is the treasure, the kingdom of God within you. This is the treasure – to be in a relaxed state and allow God to function.
Now Lieh Tzu was not doing anything. Yes, he took the bow, he took the arrow, he aimed at the target, but he was not: it was God in him. This is the state which Krishna, in the Gita, wanted Arjuna to be in – this is the state. Krishna wanted Arjuna to become empty like Lieh Tzu so that God could function. He wanted Arjuna to take his bow and fight the fight. If it had to be so, it had to be so.
Arjuna was bringing his mind in. He was saying, “How can I do it? It doesn’t seem right.” And Krishna was saying, “Who are you to think about what is right and what is wrong? Leave it to God. You don’t come in. Just put yourself aside. Don’t stand in the way.” Arjuna said, “How can I kill these people? It is violence.” And Krishna said to him, “If you don’t kill them, somebody else will kill them; I can see that they are already dead. Somebody must be instrumental in putting them into their graves – they are dead. If you are not going to become the instrument, somebody else will, and you will miss an opportunity of becoming an instrument.”
This applies not only to archery but to ruling oneself. Therefore the sage scrutinizes not the fact of survival or ruin, but its reasons.
This applies not only to archery but to ruling oneself. In fact, in Tao and Zen, archery is just a way to learn something about life. When somebody insults you, remember that the person who has insulted you is outside you, on the periphery, like the target; you are deep within yourself, the source. And between you and the insulter stands the mind – like the arrow.
If your mind is arrowed on the person who has insulted you, you will miss. Let it be arrowed toward the source. Rather than thinking that he has insulted you, look into your own being: you must be carrying some wound, that’s why you feel insulted. Otherwise how can anybody insult you? If somebody calls you a fool and you feel insulted that simply means you think that you are very wise – nothing else. If you yourself think you are a fool, you will hug the person. You will say, “Right! Exactly right! That’s how I feel!” Then where is the insult?
If somebody says you are a thief and you feel humiliated, that simply means that you have always been thinking that you are a great moralist – virtuous, this and that – and deep down you know also that you are a thief. He has hit the soft point in your being, the fragile point.
So now there are two possibilities: either you jump on him and prove that you are not a thief, or you look inside yourself. Always go to the source. In Yoga, going to the source is called pratyahar. Mahavira calls this going to the source pratikraman. Jesus says “Repent.”
Christians have misunderstood. Repent has nothing to do with repentance. Repent originally meant return, go back, go inside yourself. The Greeks have the right word for it: metanoia – turn into yourself, make a hundred-and-eighty-degree turn. You must have seen in some old ancient mystery books the symbol of a snake eating its own tail – that is metanoia.
Go back to yourself. Rather than going to the other, go to yourself, turn back. Let your arrow move in a circle and come back to the source from where it started. Somebody has insulted you and turmoil arises. This is the beginning of the arrow. The arrow starts moving toward the other person. It wants to hit the other person, to insult the other person. Don’t be deceived by it. Let it move in a circle. Let it come one-hundred-and-eighty-degrees back to you – to where it started, to where you felt the turmoil. Let it come back there; look there. This can become the key of an inner transformation. A new being is possible.
Archery is just a device. Taoists have devised many devices. But in all the devices the basic thing, the essential thing, is to turn to one’s own nature.
Meditate on this parable and start using it in your life. First, look for moments of let-go, wait for them, receive them with great welcome and rejoicing, invite them again and again, become more feminine.
Second, if any opportunity arises when your arrow starts flying outward, remember immediately and turn it inward. Turn it in. Rather than turning on, turn in. If somebody insults and you are turned on, if a beautiful woman passes by and you are turned on, sex arises – turn in rather than turning on. A beautiful woman passing by is not the real target; you have some sexuality in you. Go to the source. Let it be a great opportunity for meditation. Transform each ordinary opportunity into meditation and the payoff will be great. Each moment will start becoming luminous.
There is no mundane or profane activity. All activities can be turned into meditation – they have to be. This is my message. Meditation must not be something apart from life; it must become the innermost core of life. Each activity, small and big, must be luminous with meditative awareness. Then you will see that each activity brings you to godliness, each activity brings you home, each activity becomes liberation.
Each activity has to fall back into the original source. The anger that arises from your being has to fall back into your being; the sex that arises from your being has to fall back into the source itself. There where the alpha and the omega meet, where the beginning and the end meet, where the snake turns to its own tail and starts eating it, you become complete, a whole circle. That’s the stage of the sage. That’s what sannyas is all about.
Enough for today.

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