Tao The Pathless Path Vol 2 13

Thirteenth 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.

Duke Mu of Ch’en said to Po-lo:
“You are getting on in years. Is there anyone in your family whom I can send to find me horses?”
“A good horse can be identified by its shape and look, its bone and muscle, but the great horses of the world might be extinct, vanished, perished, lost. Such horses raise no dust and leave no tracks. All my sons have lesser talent – they can pick a good horse, but not a great one. But there is a man I know who carries and hauls and collects firewood for me, Chiu-fang Kao. As a judge of horses he is my equal. I suggest that you see him.”

Duke Mu saw the man and sent him away to find horses. After three months he returned and reported to the duke,
“I have got one, it is in Sha-ch’ui.”
“What kind of horse?”
“A mare, yellow.”
The duke sent someone to fetch it. It turned out to be a stallion, and black.

The duke, displeased, summoned Po-lo.
“He’s no good, the fellow you sent to find me horses. He cannot even tell one color from another or a mare from a stallion. What can he know about horses?”

Po-lo breathed a sigh of wonder.
“So now he has risen to this! It is just this that shows he is worth a thousand, ten thousand, any number of people like me. What such a man as Kao observes is the innermost native impulse behind the horse’s movements. He grasps the essence and forgets the dross, goes right inside it and forgets the outside. He looks for and sees what he needs to see, ignores what he does not need to see. In the judgment of horses of a man like Kao there is something more important than horses.”
When the horse arrived it did prove to be a great horse.
Tao is the vision of the total, the vision of the whole. Parts don’t matter, parts don’t have any meaning in themselves. The meaning belongs to the whole, to the unity, to the organic unity – if you look for meaning in the parts you will look in vain. Not only that, if you insist on looking for the meaning in the parts, you will destroy meaning rather than find it. That will be a destructive attitude.
For example, a poem does not exist in the words that constitute it, it exists somewhere beyond the words. It is transcendental. If you dissect the words, the sentences, the linguistic form, what are you going to gain? If you dissect a poem, if you dismember a poem, you are killing an alive unity. It is as if you are dissecting the body of a man – by the time you have succeeded in dissecting the body of the man the spirit is gone. Whatsoever you find will be a dead corpse. And you were searching for the man, not for the dead corpse. The man is in the unity, so is the poem.
If you dismember poetry, you will find sentences; if you dismember the sentences you will find clauses; if you dismember the clauses you will find words; if you dismember the words, then the alphabet is left. But where is the poetry – the poetry that has thrilled your heart? Where is that beauty that touched your being, which gave you wings? Where is that vision? In the alphabet there is nothing.
How did it disappear? Your approach was basically wrong. Your approach was basically destructive, violent. You dissected it. Poetry must be seen in its totality. It must be grasped as a whole. If you can grasp it as a whole, then each word contributes to it; if you cannot grasp it as a whole, then words don’t constitute it. Words constitute only the body of a poem, not the heart of it. Yes, the heart cannot exist without the body but the heart is not the body.
Man cannot exist without the body, certainly, but man is not just the body. Man is far more. Man is far superior. Man is far higher. He is tethered to the body, living in the body, but not the body itself. The body is the temple and man is the god in it. Yes, if you destroy the temple the god will not have any abode; it will disappear, evaporate.
Just so does a poem disappear. The poem is the god that resides in the words, the rhythm, the meaning, the beauty.
Listen to a small haiku of Basho, the greatest master of haikus. It is a really small haiku, a few words.
The ancient pond.
When I say it, visualize it because a haiku must be visualized. It is a picture poem. Only in visualization will you understand it.
The ancient pond.
A frog jumps in.
Finished. You can visualize it; you can visualize it with your inner eye – the ancient pond with moss on the rocks. You can almost touch it. You can feel the texture of it. It is a very ancient pond. Dry leaves are on the surface, dry leaves are on the banks. Old pine trees are standing guard. You can visualize it. You can smell the pine trees, the fragrance, the coolness. Maybe the morning sun…
And the frog. You can see the frog alive. The frog jumps in. In Japanese the actual translation will be: a frog-jump-in – not jumps in. A frog-jump-in. The frog and the jump are not two things, you cannot dissect the frog from his jump. He is the jump. He is in the jump. The Japanese and Chinese languages are far deeper than other languages. But to put it rightly, in good English, we will say: “A frog jumps in” – as if he is doing something. To jump in is not doing anything for a frog, it is not an act. It is spontaneous. “A frog jumps in. Plop.” The sound, the ripples on the surface of the old lake – and the silence.
Now, if you dissect this small poem – there are only nine syllables in it – what are you going to get? You will get a few words. Then dissect the words and you get the alphabet – linguistic elements. All meaning is lost. It is as if you go to see a beautiful painting and you dissect it into its colors. The painting is lost. Or, if I give you a beautiful lotus and you dissect it into its chemical constituents then the lotus is lost.
That’s how science has destroyed all meaning in life. If people in the West are feeling that life is meaningless, it is a by-product of their scientific endeavor. Science is trying to make life more intelligible; it has made life more intelligible, but all meaning has been lost.
The people who had not much knowledge about life were far happier. Life had more meaning then. They had not dissected the lotus, they were enjoying it. They were not worried about the constituents, the chemicals, they were not worrying about what beauty was – they were enjoying it, they were in it, they were swallowing it, they were swallowed by it. They were in tune with beauty, life, existence, and there was meaning.
Now science has made things much more intelligible; it has explained almost everything, and through explanations the beauty is destroyed. Explanation is in your hands but where is the mystery of life? If you go to a biologist and ask him what love is, he will explain it to you. It is nothing but a hormonal thing. Some chemicals running in your veins, in your arteries, in your blood, some hormones released by your glands – that’s what love is. Now tell a mother that the love that she has for her child is nothing but hormonal; tell a woman who has fallen in love with a man and is ready to sacrifice her whole life, is ready to die, will be happy to die for this man, tell her that it is just hormonal.
You are not saying something wrong, you are perfectly accurate, you are perfectly right – but something is missing in your truth. Your truth is dead. Your truth is concerned with the lowest denominator. It is as if somebody asks you about the lotus and you say it is nothing but the mud. What is a lotus? Nothing but the mud because it comes out of the mud. What is love? Hormonal because it comes out of the hormones.
That’s why Freud reduced all love to sexuality. Then he reduced prayer, then God too. Everything became sexual. The moment prayer, love and God all became sexual something was lost.
Tao’s approach is just the opposite. Tao says rather than explaining the thing by the part, rather than explaining the whole by the part, try to explain the part by the whole.
For example, this haiku I told you: “The ancient pond. A frog jumps in. Plop.” Now, the word frog or the word plop, the sound plop, can exist in a thousand and one contexts. In every context it will have a different meaning because the meaning will depend on the context. Plop itself does not carry the meaning. It depends. In Basho’s haiku you suddenly know what it is because of the frog. The frog gives meaning to it; the ancient pond gives meaning to it. In a different context will mean a different thing. The context, the whole, gives the meaning to the part.
“The ancient pond.” The word ancient can be used in a thousand and one ways. You will find it used in many ways. In every context it will have a different meaning. So the meaning is not contained in the word ancient, the meaning is contained in the whole in which the word is used.
You can see it in your whole life. Everything has meaning only because it is part of an organic unity which is higher than it is, bigger than it is. The meaning comes from the higher; the meaning comes from the bigger. The meaning certainly comes to the lowest, but the lowest is not the determining factor. Look at the different approach. If you ask the scientist, he will say the lotus is nothing but the mud; if you ask the Taoist, he will say the mud is nothing but the lotus.
The difference is tremendous. When you say that the lotus is nothing but the mud, the dirty mud, you have destroyed all beauty. Then only dirty mud is left in your hands and in your soul. Then you are left with a filthy life. Taoists say that if a lotus can come out of the mud then the mud cannot be just mud, it must be carrying the lotus, the possibility of the lotus. The fragrance, the color, the beauty of the lotus must be hidden somewhere in the mud. So don’t call it just mud – it carries the lotus, it is the womb for the lotus. Even mud becomes beautiful. And you start looking for the meaning in the mud. It is there somewhere – you may be able to see it, you may not be able to see it, it depends on your clarity, your eyes. But condemnation disappears.
Freud says that all of love is nothing but sex: even the love of God, even the love of Meera for Krishna, the love of Ananda for Buddha, the love of Mary Magdalene for Jesus is nothing but sexuality. Can’t you see how much beauty is destroyed immediately with a stroke? If you ask the Taoist, he will say that even when a man goes to make love to a prostitute there is something of prayer in it, there is something of the divine in it.
Just a few days ago I saw an article written by the Yogi Dattabal. He has put me with Freud, has said that we both say the same thing. There cannot be any greater misunderstanding. I say sex is love, Freud says love is sex – and the difference is tremendous. I say that in sex there is also a glimpse of samadhi; I also make sex sacred. Freud says that in samadhi, in Ramakrishna’s samadhi, there is nothing but repressed sexuality. He makes samadhi profane.
Those who have no understanding can put me in a bracket with Freud. It is very easy, simple. They will say, “What is the difference whether you call love sex or you call sex love? There is no difference.” Not much if you only think of the words. Then there is only the difference that I put sex in one place and love in another and Freud puts them just in the opposite places. So there is not much difference.
Can’t you see the difference? The difference is tremendous, vital, and of great value. And much will depend on that difference.
The Taoist vision is to look at the part through the whole so that the whole can give a meaning to the part, can make it meaningful. Not otherwise. Your eyes are beautiful but taken out of your body they won’t be.

It happened in the life of Vincent Van Gogh… He was an ugly man, very ugly – a great painter and a beautiful soul, but a very ugly body. No woman ever fell in love with him. He was repulsive, he was horrible. And he suffered very much. At the age of thirty-three he committed suicide. If there is nobody to love you, what is there to live for?
Once visiting a prostitute he said, “Nobody has ever said anything to me lovingly. Nobody has said that I am beautiful or I am nice or I am this or that. I hanker for it.”
The woman took pity on him; she must have had a very compassionate heart. She looked to find something that she could appreciate but she could not find anything. The face was ugly, the nose was ugly, the eyes were ugly, and everything was topsy-turvy – except the ears. So she said, “But you have beautiful ears.” And she played with his ear.
He went home, cut off his ear and presented it to the woman. She could not believe it! He brought the ear with the blood flowing and he said, “You like it, so now it belongs to you.”

But an ear cut from the body is no longer beautiful – even the most beautiful ear will become ugly.
Take things out of their context and they lose all meaning, they lose all beauty, they lose all truth. Truth is with the whole, so it is beauty, so it is goodness. This is the first thing to be understood about Tao – it is a vision of the whole.
And the whole must not be put together from dissected, constituent parts. This is the second thing to remember. There have been people who try to put the whole together. For example, Freud’s psychoanalysis tried to dissect human mind, human psyche, into fragments – that’s why it is called analysis, psychoanalysis. First he dissected the human mind into its constituent parts and destroyed much. Then came Assagioli and he created psychosynthesis. What Freud has done, Assagioli tries to undo. He puts the parts together again. Freud has destroyed, but Assagioli has not been able to revive anything – he cannot.
This will be difficult, but it must be understood because it will help you to understand the Taoist attitude. Freud does analysis. First he cuts off the limbs of the body and then he spreads all the limbs on the table and examines them. Then comes Assagioli. He puts all the limbs together again, binds them together, glues them together and thinks that now the man is whole. Both are wrong. Once you have killed something you cannot put it together. Life is so precious that once gone, it is gone forever. You cannot put it together.
If somebody takes all the petals of a rose apart and then Assagioli comes and puts all the petals together, pins them together and says “Now it is a real flower”… No, it is not the real flower. It only gives a false idea of unity. The unity is not there because the pins that are holding it were never part of it; the glue that is holding it was never a part of an alive rose. The alive rose was holding itself together, remember. It was not being held together by something else, it was not dependent for its unity on something else; it was holding itself together. It is the spirit that keeps you together, that holds you together. It is not that your hands and your legs and your eyes are put together, no. Something in you exists which is keeping them together. Once that unity is destroyed, even if you put things back, it will not be real unity.
So I am not in favor of Freud’s analysis, nor am I in favor of Assagioli’s synthesis. My attitude is exactly that of Tao.
What does Tao say? Tao says look for the unity that existed before analysis began. Go to the primordial, the primitive unity, the original. Go to the original. Synthesis comes after analysis, it follows analysis, it succeeds analysis. And the wholeness? The wholeness preceded analysis. It was before analysis destroyed it. The vision must be total and you have to see things in their totality. You are not to put them together. If you put them together, it will be a false unity, it will be synthetic, it will be artificial, plastic. It will not be true.
Is it clear to you? Look at the tree. The tree is together. Look deep into the tree. The tree is together with the earth because it is joined together. If you look deeply, the earth exists together with the sun. Without the sun, the earth cannot exist; without the sun, the tree will not be green, will not be alive; without the air surrounding it, it will not be able to breathe. So it is joined together with the air, with the earth, with the sun, and with the stars – with everything. All of existence is intertwined; we are intertwined with each other. I am in you, you are in me; we are in the tree, the trees are in us; we are in the earth and the earth is in us and we are intertwined. We are members of each other, we don’t exist separately.
To look from this high standpoint of ultimate unity is what Tao is. And then things have a totally different color. Then your vision reveals things which cannot be revealed on lower planes. It is not a question of putting them together.
One day a Christian missionary came to me and said, “I am happy that you are trying to put all the religions together.” I said, “You have not understood me. I am not putting them together. I see them as one.”
I am not putting them together; I am not making a synthesis. I am not in agreement with Mahatma Gandhi who was trying to create a synthesis by putting together Islam, Hinduism, Christianity – a few parts from the Bible and a few from the Koran and a few from the Gita – and making something out of it. This is a hodgepodge, a kedgeree, it is not unity; it is not the total vision. I am not putting Christ and Mohammed and Mahavira and Krishna and Lao Tzu together. No, as I see them they are one. It is not a question of putting them together, I am not making any effort to put them together; I am not trying to find some synthesis in them. They are one – that is my experience. They are one. They have never been separate. The separation is not possible. They join together into truth. They know the same truth, they live the same life, they enjoy the same bliss. Their samadhi is one. I am not putting anything together; I am simply saying it is so.
The second thing: Tao is not interested in understanding anything in separation because that understanding will be false, rooted in falsity. You cannot understand a thing separately because in that very separation, in that very definition, you have taken it out of its total context, out of its organic unity. Then you may have an explanation but no understanding.
Science explains; religion understands. Explanations are concerned with the parts; understanding is concerned with the total. Understanding is a very vague thing, liquid, cloudy. Explanation is very clear-cut and because it is clear-cut it is wrong. In life nothing is clear-cut. Boundaries merge and meet.
For example, you see a woman. In the morning she may be a woman. In the evening she may become a man. You see a man, he is very angry. And within a moment he could become soft and may become a woman.
It happened last night. I hit Yatri hard on the head and he shouted and screamed and said, “I will cut off your head, Osho!” I know him; he is a very feminine person. But he became very, very aggressive. Then he cooled down and fell at my feet. Now what was happening? Rather than cutting off my head he fell at my feet. No, this is not the same person who was going to cut off my head. He touched his head to my feet. And the interval was not very long; it happened within a few minutes. In one moment he was male, yang; then he became female, yin.
Boundaries meet and merge. The person who loves you can be angry; the person who is angry can love you.
In reality nothing is very clear-cut, and it is good that it is not very clear-cut. Look: the higher the being, the more vagueness there is; the lower the being, the more it is clear-cut. A rock has far more clear-cut definitions than a man. The rock remains a rock. In the morning, in the evening, in the night, the rock remains the rock. But a man goes on changing, changing, changing. The higher the unity, the more delicate the balance; the lower the unity, the more fixed the balance.
When a person has really attained to the ultimate, he is very fluid, riverlike. He is no longer like an ice cube. He has melted. An ice cube has definite boundaries, an ice cube can be defined, but when you have melted it, all definitions disappear.
Tao does not give any explanation but it understands; science gives explanations but it doesn’t understand. And the very explanations become barriers to understanding. The moment you have explained a thing you have destroyed its mystery. Never say that something is completely explained – that means that it is completely meaningless. Explain a thing and you have explained it away.
When a husband says that he understands his wife totally, love has disappeared. Now love cannot exist. Love can exist only when still there is mystery – when the husband still does not understand, when the wife still does not understand, when there is still a possibility that the husband may do something and the wife will be surprised, when surprise is still possible. This means that not everything is explained; something remains unexplained, something remains elusive, something remains mercury-like. You go on grasping it and it continues to slip away – that’s the beauty of life.
Tao says that the whole of life is mercury-like. The total is so alive that no fixed explanation is possible. You cannot label anything because things change so fast. By the time you have labeled something your label is already false – the thing has changed. The moment you have said something the utterance is already meaningless because the reality is no longer the same. Explanations, Tao has none of. Understanding, it has tremendously. And this is one of the basic ingredients of understanding: that life is a mystery.
The third thing: science tries to explain things by their causes and Tao tries to understand things by their ends. The difference is of tremendous value and must be understood. Science goes into the causes, the how of things. Tao goes into the end, the ultimate flowering, the why of things. For example, if you fall in love with a woman or a man, science will ask “How” – how did you fall in love? It will go into the causes of it. Tao will ask “Why.” It will go into the end of it. Science moves toward the seeds for its explanation and Tao moves toward the flower or the fruit for its understanding. Science goes into the past, Tao goes into the future. Science looks into the dead, Tao looks into the possibility and potentiality.

It is said that a Sufi mystic was sent to India by a great Iranian king as a messenger to the Indian emperor. There was some conflict and the Iranian emperor was a little worried. So he sent this Sufi mystic to put things right, to create some understanding between the two countries.
The mystic came to the Indian emperor, presented his credentials, and showed his appreciation of the Indian emperor by saying, “You are a full moon.”
The news reached Iran that he had said to the emperor, “You are a full moon.” When he had departed from Iran he had said to the Iranian king, “You are a new moon.” The Iranian king was very angry. New moon? That means just the beginning, the first-day moon – you cannot even see it. Only on the second day does it become a little visible – on the third day a little more. Meanwhile he had said to the Indian emperor that he was the full moon. This was insulting. Let him come!
The king waited in anger. When the mystic came back he was immediately caught, brought to the court and asked for an explanation. He laughed. He said, “It is simple. A full moon is finished. It is already dead. A full moon is on its deathbed. It is ready to decline. It has a past but no future. Hence I said to the Indian king, ‘You are a full moon.’ You, I have called the first-day moon, the new moon. You have a future, you have potentiality, you are growing. Maybe the Indian emperor’s empire is great, but it is dead.”

Look: when something has a past it is already old. Science goes into the past. If you go to a psychoanalyst, he will go into your past. He will say, “Relate your whole past. What happened in the past? Start at your early childhood and go on from there.” He goes into the past. If a man is mad and is brought to a psychoanalyst, the psychoanalyst goes into the cause – why did he become mad in the first place? He has to go there. He has to look into the past to find the cause.
If you are brought to a Taoist, he will not go into the past. He will look into the future. He will think of what purpose your madness serves. Look at the approach. What purpose can your madness serve? If you are mad, can your madness be put to dancing, to meditating, to singing? Certainly a madman has more energy available – maybe that’s why he is mad. His madness can be used in a creative way. There is no need to think of how to destroy it, the need is how to use it, how to be creative with it.
If you go to a Taoist, he will look into your madness, he will try to figure out your future, your higher possibilities, and he will consider how to use your madness for that future, how to make your madness serve your destiny.
That’s what I am doing here. When you come to me you are mad, you are neurotic. I am not worried about it. My whole function here is how to make it creative. Madness is great energy. If you look into the past it is a problem, if you look into the future it can be used and can become a stepping stone. Everything can be used.
Tao believes in the same way as a gardener does in using manure. You can hoard manure and it will simply stink and it will make your life impossible. But you can spread the manure on the flower beds and the same stinking manure will become tremendously valuable perfume in the flowers. It has been used rightly. Manure is not to be collected; it must be spread on flower beds. Then the flowers grow bigger, with more color, with more life, with more fragrance, with more stability, with more zest and enthusiasm. And it is the same manure that may have become stinking, may have made life impossible.
What is madness? It is manure. What is anger? What is hatred? What is jealousy? They are manure. If you go on hoarding them, you will certainly go mad. It will be impossible to live with it. The Taoist approach is to spread it on the flower beds. It can serve meditation, it can serve love, it can serve joy, it can serve happiness, it can serve God.
A madman can reach God faster than the so-called sane people because the sane people move very cautiously. They don’t run, they don’t rush. Sane people move only so far, and always think, doubt, hesitate, linger, wait. They have many, many things that hold them back. A madman simply rushes. Nothing holds him. He is certainly mad. There is nothing to hold him. If he wants to do something, he will do it.
If a madman becomes interested in God, then it is sure that he is going to attain. If a madman becomes a painter, his painting will have a certain quality. No sane person could ever paint like a madman because a madman will not only paint, he will put his whole life into it. Van Gogh was a madman, so was Picasso. In fact, all the great painters were mad people and all the great poets were mad people. In fact, all the great people who have existed on the earth were thought by someone or other to be mad. Madness has tremendous potentiality.
Everything is potential – see how it can be used. Look at the future. Never think in terms of being a full moon, always remain a new moon.
So the Tao approach is never for the cause but for the end. It is eschatological, it is not causal. And it is tremendously beautiful because God is the end of the whole existence. That is the ultimate – where are we moving to, where are we going? What are we going to be? Everything can be put in a right way so that we can reach that goal more easily more softly, more joyously.
The last thing before we enter into the parable: philosophy divides knowledge into two – the subject and the object. With the object you cannot have any dialogue. A rock is an object – you cannot have any dialogue with it. You can watch, you can dissect, you can observe, you can find a few clues about it, but you cannot have any dialogue because you don’t believe that the rock is a person. It is an object.
The word object is beautiful. It comes from objectum – that which stands in your way, that which prevents you from moving, that which hinders your path. An object means that which stands in the way like a barrier, like a wall. If you believe that the whole world is objective – as science believes – then the whole world is a China Wall. There is no dialogue possible.
If you look at your wife as an object to be used sexually or financially or in some other way; if you look at your husband as an object, a security, or something like that, somebody to lean upon, somebody you can use, somebody you can depend upon, but as an object, then there is no dialogue. Between a husband and a wife the dialogue never happens because both think of the other as an object, as a means. They don’t think of the other as a person.
Tao says everything is subjective; even that which stands in your way has its own subjectivity. You can even provoke a dialogue with a rock; you can provoke a dialogue with a tree. So why not human beings? You can provoke a dialogue with anything – with the universe itself, with the sky, with the wind – and then there is a relationship, you relate. When you think about things as things and not as persons, when you think about the world as objective – as science teaches you to do – then you can hammer out a few facts but truth remains unrevealed. Truth is revealed only when you persuade existence, when you seduce existence through deep love and sympathy, when you are en rapport with existence, when you touch the rock as you would like to touch a person – you feel the texture of it, you close your eyes, you create a sort of relationship with it. And, if you are ready, if you understand Tao, you will be able to create a relationship with the rock. It will start talking to you sooner or later; it will respond.
All of existence is full of godliness. There is nothing that is dead, there cannot be. How can anything be dead? All is alive, thriving, throbbing. Listen silently and you will feel the heartbeat everywhere – in the rock too. And then a dialogue is possible.
In the old Indian scriptures it is said that the great science of ayurveda was found not by objective research but by subjective dialogue. The ayurvedic physicians would go to the trees, meditate with the trees, sit silently with the trees, and when they had fallen en rapport with the being of the tree they would ask, “Sir” or “Madam” – whatsoever the case may be – “Would you like to say something to us? I am searching for a medicine. Can you tell me if your leaves can be of any help, or your fruit, or your roots, or your bark? Or else, for what use can they be? How can you help humanity? In what way?” And it is said – it is a beautiful story – that this is how ayurvedic herbal medicines were discovered. Not by objective research, not by dissecting a tree, not by chemical analysis, but by dialogue.
The same is said about unani medicine. The greatest unani physician, Lukman, did the same thing. He went to herbs. He would put his ear to the roots of a tree and listen silently. He would fall in deep rapport, would become thoughtless, would silently be there, would listen to the heartbeat of the tree. When the right moment came and the tree was ready to reveal its secret, he would take the secret.
It seems that the stories cannot be just stories because they had no instruments of discovery at that time. Instruments had not been found at all. Whatsoever they said about trees has been proven to be true, so the stories seem to be literally true. Just one man, Lukman, talked to about half a million herbs. There could have been no other way because no lab existed for such chemical analysis. Just one man? How could he find out all that? The way was not by analysis, the way was not by synthesis, the way was not through the mind; the way was through the heart, a dialogue. When you are in dialogue the tree becomes the “thou.” You are “I,” the tree is the “thou,” and there is a possibility.
Explore this possibility. It will take time because your mind has been too conditioned by the objective. It will take time but it happens. You can develop this sensibility. And when this sensibility has grown you have become a Taoist.
No object is just an object. Every object is full of subjectivity because every object has a soul to it. Nothing is soulless. As you are full of soul, interiority, so is everything else.
Now this tremendously beautiful parable:
Duke Mu of Ch’en said to Po-lo:
“You are getting on in years. Is there anyone in your family whom I can send to find me horses?”
In the ancient world horses were very important – just as nowadays fighter planes are. The horse was the very hub of war and it was the fastest vehicle. Horses were very highly valued. It was the main power available, that’s why we still say that a car has a four-hundred horsepower engine. That was once the major measure of power. We still say, “How much horsepower does this machine have? Three-hundred horsepower? Four-hundred horsepower?” The measurement still remains in the language of before. The horses have disappeared; they are no longer needed, their old utility is gone.
In those days the people who could find a great horse were great masters. They were respected. Emperors would keep them, would pay them, would revere them because everything depended on a great horse – a great horse. We don’t know what they meant by a “great horse” because that language has become almost useless to us. A horse is just an animal to us; to them it was not so. The horse is a very intelligent animal and sometimes the intelligence of the horse would be of tremendous value to the king. It could save a life.
This man, Po-lo, must have been an expert, a master expert, in knowing what horse is good, what horse is bad and what horse is really great.
“A good horse can be identified by its shape and look, its bone and muscle, but the great horses of the world might be extinct, vanished, perished, lost. Such horses raise no dust and leave no tracks. All my sons have lesser talent – they can pick a good horse, but not a great one. But there is a man I know who carries and hauls and collects firewood for me, Chiu-fang Kao. As a judge of horses he is my equal. I suggest that you see him.”
This man, Po-lo, had become very old and now he could not go in search of horses. The Duke asked him if he could suggest somebody else.
First, his definition: “A good horse can be identified by its shape and look…” by its characteristics. A good horse is a trained horse. Training never goes deep; it remains on the surface. A man of character is like a good horse. A moral man is like a good horse. He has been cultivated; he has been well brought-up, conditioned rightly for right values. Wrong values have been repressed and right values have been superimposed. A good horse has a character like a good man, but it is not a great horse.
Then what is a great horse? A great horse is one who has intrinsic qualities – qualities which are not imposed from the outside. A great horse is one who has inborn potentialities; he is not trained. A great horse is a natural power, is a born power. A good horse is a talented horse; a great horse is a genius.

Somebody went to Mozart, the great composer and musician, and asked him, “I would like to learn music and become as great a musician as you are. How should I start?”
The man was very young, not more than twenty years of age. Mozart said, “You seek a master.”
But the young man said, “I have heard that you never learned from any master, so why should I seek one? And I have heard that when you were just a kid, seven years old, you started composing great music. I am twenty. Why should I go to a master?”
Mozart said, “Then it is up to you. But when I was seven – even when I was seven – I never went to ask anybody what to do about it. I just did it. You have come to ask me. That simply shows that at the most you have only talent, you don’t have genius.”

Talents have to be learned. A talented man is imitative – he is imitating the genius. The genius is not imitative, the genius is original. A good horse is a horse that has been trained to look like a great horse. He does not have the soul of the great horse, he has just the character.
That’s how it is in human life. A good man is a man who has been cultivated to look like a great man. A Christian saint is a good horse, Jesus is a great horse. The Christian saint has simply cultivated his character to look like Jesus. He is a carbon copy. So is a Buddhist monk – he is a good horse, certainly good, and it is better to be good than to be bad, I am not against the good. Relatively it is good. It is better to be a saint than a criminal – but it is nothing compared to being a sage, nothing compared to being a buddha. A buddha has not imitated anybody. It is his original face, uncultivated. It is how he is.
Then what is the difference? If somebody can cultivate a buddha and become a buddha by cultivation, why should we be against him? In ordinary situations he will be able to pretend, but in extraordinary situations he will not be able to pretend. In ordinary situations he will look like a buddha but whenever there will be extraordinary pressure he will give in.
That is the difference between a good horse and a great horse. A good horse will look, pretend, jump, show that he is a great horse, but when the right moment comes, when the danger arises, when there is a challenge, he will give in. The carbon copy cannot go very far; the original is needed. Only the original can be depended upon. One can trust only the original.
When you are seeking a master always seek an original man. Don’t seek a cultivated man. It is difficult to live with an original man; that is certainly true. It is very difficult because it is difficult to grow. And with an original man growth happens. It is very easy to be with an imitator.
You must have read Thomas à Kempis’ very well-known book, The Imitation of Christ. Now that can create only a good horse. You can look almost like Christ but you cannot be Christ. The only way to be Christ is to be yourself. Buddha is a christ, Christ is a buddha. A Buddhist monk trying to be Buddha is not a buddha – and Jesus never tried to be a buddha and he was a buddha. When you are yourself, true to your being, you are a great soul – whatsoever you are. If you just are a woodchopper, there is nothing to be worried about – be an original woodchopper, be a real carpenter. That will do. You will attain to buddhahood through it. That will be your door. There is no need to become a great poet, you can be a cook – but be original. Imitation is the greatest calamity.
The old man said, “A good horse can be identified by its shape and look, its bone and muscle, but the great horses of the world might be extinct, vanished, perished, lost. Such horses raise no dust and leave no tracks.” Look at the beauty of this sentence. These parables are not just stories. They have great insight. “Such horses raise no dust and leave no tracks.” A great horse is one who has no past and no future, who lives in the moment. That is the meaning of the sentence, “Such horses raise no dust…” When a great horse is coming you will not be able to see that he is coming because he will not raise any dust; you will not see a cloud of dust being raised. Only when he has come right in front of you will you be able to see him, but then it is too late. Then you cannot make arrangements. And a great horse leaves no tracks. You cannot follow a great horse, he leaves no tracks. No footprints are left.
This is the quality of a Buddha, of a Christ. This is the quality of the great man. He is in the present. He’s unpredictable. You cannot say what he is going to do or say or be. Nobody knows. He is always a surprise. And he leaves no track behind. He is like a bird flying in the sky: the bird flies and no track, no trace, is left behind – no footprints.
There is a book, a very famous one, The Footprints of Buddha. The title is ugly because a buddha leaves no footprint. There are many books like that which show misunderstanding. Buddha leaves no footprints. He walks so carefully and so alertly that he leaves no footprints. You cannot follow him. He leaves no signs, no indications, no maps – otherwise you will become imitators.

There is a story of a great Zen monk, Bokuju. When he was dying he called his disciples to bring all his books and all that he had said and all that he had written. Everything was piled up but for a while they couldn’t see what he was doing. And then he made a fire out of it.
They started screaming and shrieking and they said, “What are you doing?” Because in those days there were no printing presses, there were only handwritten books. So they were lost, lost forever.
Bokuju said, “I am going and I want to leave no trace behind. I shall not leave any footprints. Now whosoever wants to follow me will have to follow himself. Whosoever wants to understand me will have to understand himself. I am throwing you, all my disciples, to yourself. That’s why I am destroying these books.”

Another story of a Zen monk:

A Zen master, when he was dying on his deathbed, called his chief disciple to him and took a book from under his pillow. Everybody was curious about the book because he had never allowed anybody to see it. During the night people had sometimes peeped through the keyhole and he was reading it.
“What book is that? Why does he protect it so much?” The master never left his room unlocked and he would never allow anybody in his room alone. So nobody had seen what the book contained.
Then he called his chief disciple and said, “Keep this book. In this book there is everything that I have taught. Preserve it as you have seen me preserve it. This was given to me by my master, now I give it to you. It is a heritage.” And the disciple threw the book into the fire.
All the others could not believe it. They were aghast. But the master put his hand on the head of the disciple and blessed him. He said, “You have understood. If you had preserved the book, you would not have been my disciple at all. In fact, there was nothing in the book. It was empty. You have thrown it away – good. You have understood, you have understood my teaching that nobody is to follow anybody; everybody has to go into his own soul.”

“Such horses raise no dust and leave no tracks. All my sons have lesser talent – they can pick a good horse but not a great one.” So he said, “I suggest a man, Chiu-fang Kao, he is a judge of horses, as competent as myself, equal to me.”
Duke Mu saw the man and sent him away to find horses. After three months he returned and reported to the duke,
“I have got one. It is in Sha-ch’iu.”
“What kind of horse?”
“A mare, yellow.”
The duke sent someone to fetch it. It turned out to be a stallion, and black.
Now this is absurd! The man cannot be a judge of horses at all. He cannot even judge whether it is a stallion or a mare. And not only that – he cannot even judge whether it is black or yellow. This man is blind; he does not know anything about horses. These are simple things. Anybody knows. No master is needed to judge whether a horse is yellow or black. Naturally the Duke was very displeased.
The duke, displeased, summoned Po-lo.
“He’s no good, the fellow you sent to find me horses. He cannot even tell one color from another or a mare from a stallion. What can he know about horses?”
Now something must be understood. This is the Taoist approach to things. A mare means the feminine, a mare means yin quality. The Duke could not understand the man. The man was not talking about the body, the man was talking about the soul; the man was talking about the whole. The whole quality of the horse was that of yin – passive, receptive, womb-like. The whole quality of the horse was round, shapely, soft, with no corners. The whole quality of the horse was that of a beautiful woman – non-aggressive, nonviolent, loving, compassionate. That’s what he was saying when he said that the horse was a mare. He is not talking about the body, he was not talking about the physical, he is not talking about the part – he is talking about the whole. The totality of the horse is feminine.
Haven’t you seen it many times? You see a man and he looks very feminine and sometimes you see a woman and she looks very masculine. These are qualities. A buddha is so feminine; a buddha is a mare, not a stallion. That’s how Nietzsche criticized him – he called him feminine. Nietzsche also criticized Jesus, calling him feminine. He criticized these two men saying that they had destroyed the masculinity of the world, the manliness. His criticism was true in a way. These two persons brought the feminine into the world, feminine grace.
That’s why you will never see a mustache on Buddha’s statue. Not that he did not have one, but those who know the quality of great horses know how to paint a buddha. The body should not be painted – the innermost core has to come out.
Haven’t you noticed it? Mahavira has no mustache, no beard; Rama has no mustache, no beard; Krishna has no mustache, no beard; Buddha has no mustache, no beard. All the great sages of India, all the tirthankaras avatars, have no beards and mustaches. Do you think there was something hormonally wrong with them? Do you think that they were effeminate, that they were sexually missing something, that they were not man enough? No. They were great sages. They had beards, they had mustaches but the people who painted them knew the qualities of a great horse. It must be looked at in its totality.
In that way Jesus is not so fortunate. He could not find a real painter. If he had been born in India, he would have been painted without a mustache and beard. The people who painted Jesus must have looked from the outside; they could not see the inner quality, the inner quality of the feminine.
By saying that the horse was a mare, this man, Chiu-fang Kao, had said something of tremendous value. The horse is non-aggressive and Taoists say that when a person is non-aggressive he is unconquerable. When a person is aggressive he can be conquered because someone who is aggressive depends on his own energy. All energies are limited and when a person is aggressive he is wasting his energies in aggression. Sooner or later he will be weakened by his own aggression, he will be defeated.
How was Adolf Hitler defeated? He was too aggressive. That became his defeat. Don’t you see? All the great aggressive people were always defeated eventually. What happened? They exhausted their energies themselves. Adolf Hitler or Mussolini or Napoleon or Alexander all died frustrated failures. What happened to them? They exhausted their energies by fighting, by being aggressive.
A buddha dies a conqueror. Without fighting, he conquers. A Lao Tzu is victorious. Without making any effort, his victory is ultimate. The great horse has the quality of non-aggressiveness. Nobody can defeat him. That is the meaning of mare.
And the color yellow is also very symbolic. It stands for a few things. First, yellow is the color of gold, the costliest metal. Gold has always been used as the highest value. Gold became an alchemical symbol. Turning baser metal into gold meant turning the lower into the higher, turning the devil into the divine, turning the gross into the subtle.
When he said that the horse was the color yellow, he meant he was gold, not a baser metal. He was not talking about the color of the body, that is irrelevant. What difference can color make? Whether the horse is black or white or yellow, the color of the body cannot make any difference. How can the color make a horse great or not great? Whether a person is a Negro, Indian, Chinese or American – black, white yellow – how does it matter? The color of the skin is just irrelevant to the being. It is just a very cheap pigment.
If you ask the scientist, he will say that between the blackest Negro and the whitest white man the difference is only about one rupee’s worth of pigment. Nothing much. It is just that a certain pigment exists in the Negro which does not exist in the white man. So in fact the white man is missing something. The Negro has something more. The Negro needs the black pigment to protect him from infection and heat. Naturally he is more powerful. He can tolerate more heat and remain cool. He does not need to go to the cool hill station. Wherever he is, he is cool. The white man is in trouble. He cannot tolerate heat. His tolerance is very low; his body is not so resistant.
But there is not much of a difference. And how is this difference going to make any difference as far as greatness is concerned? Does it make any difference whether Jesus is a Negro or a white man? It is irrelevant.
That is why the old man did not talk about the body color. He was using the alchemical symbol, gold. It means the highest quality, the purest quality.
Secondly, yellow is symbolic of the sun – vitality, radiance, aliveness, youth, life. So he is saying that the great horse is very much alive: as yellow as the sun, as vital as the sun.
And thirdly, yellow is the color of death. That is why Buddha has chosen yellow as the color for his bhikkus. Their robes are yellow. Why? Why the color of death? When a leaf dies it becomes yellow, when anything dies it becomes yellow. Yellow is death approaching close by. Yellow is the shadow of death.
So why was the Duke told that the horse was yellow? Because only if somebody accepts death totally is he fearless, otherwise not. The Buddhist monk has accepted death, has accepted yellow, the color of death, with great gratitude, with reverence. He is ready to die any moment, hence there is no fear. All fear is of death; behind all your fears there is death. Sooner or later, if you go on looking, you will find death standing behind all fears. So unless one is completely in deep acceptance of death, in harmony with death, one cannot be fearless.
The old man said that the color of the horse was yellow. He said that he was just like a Buddhist monk – he did not worry about death, hence he was fearless.
The duke sent someone to fetch it. It turned out to be a stallion and black.

The duke, displeased, summoned Po-lo.
“He’s no good, the fellow you sent to find me horses. He cannot even tell one color from another, or a mare from a stallion. What can he know about horses?”

Po-lo breathed a sigh of wonder.
“So now he has risen to this!”
This is the beauty of Tao. They are absurd people, very paradoxical people, but if you start loving them you will know that they have a certain quality which is missing everywhere else.
Po-lo breathed a sigh of wonder. He could not believe it; it was incredible – because this means the ultimate in Tao. “So now he has risen to this?” He did not even make a judgment about whether the horse was a mare or a stallion – these distinctions were only on the surface – and he had seen to the deepest core.
Are you a man or a woman in your deepest being? If I see you as a man then I don’t see you. If I see you as a woman then I don’t see you. The day I see you neither as man nor woman but as your innermost quality reveals you to me, then I see you.
“So now he has risen to this! It is just this that shows that he is worth a thousand, ten thousand, any number of people like me.”
Now it is a qualitative jump. No quantity can be compared: “He is worth a thousand, ten thousand, any number of people like me.” First this old man had said that he was equal to him but now he says, “I am nothing. I am just zero compared to him.”
So he has risen to this insight. He cannot see that the horse is black; he just sees the yellowness of the horse. And he cannot see that the horse is a stallion, he just sees the hidden mare in it. He has become able to see the bodiless qualities, the spiritual qualities. Now he is incomparable.
“What such a man as Kao observes is the innermost native impulse behind the horse’s movements.”
The body is just a surface, a moving surface – just as when you watch a lake and see the ripples on the surface. Those ripples are not the real lake. To know the real lake you will have to dive deep. The body is just a surface – moving, changing. You have to look into the innermost core, into the unchanging, the constant, the unmoving. That is what truth is.
“What such a man as Kao observes is the innermost native impulses behind the horse’s movements. He grasps the essence and forgets the dross, goes right inside it and forgets the outside. He looks for and sees what he needs to see, ignores what he does not need to see. In the judgment of horses of a man like Kao there is something more important than horses.”
So he is not just a man who knows horses, now he knows something more. He knows real Tao. He has the insight to see the whole and not to be worried about the parts. He can see the gestalt, the very pattern, the innermost pattern, of the horse – now he is not worried about the body, the color, male, female, height. He is not worried at all. These are accidental things, nonessential. He looks only for that which is essential because only the essential is meaningful. The meaning comes from the essential but we always go looking for the accidental.
When you see a very rich man you say, “How rich he is.” Now, can a person be rich just by having money? You cannot be rich just by having money. If that is how a man is rich, then Buddha was not rich. And if Buddha was not rich, then who is? Was Alexander rich? Alexander was a poor man, a beggar. Hence in the East we have worshipped beggars and forgotten about emperors. We have not cared much about the emperors. They come and go – that is the surface of existence, nonessential.
Did you know that in the East we have not written history at all? The West is very surprised that in the East people have not written any history. History is so important.
No, we don’t write history – or, we started writing it only because of the impact of the West. We write myths, we write mythology, we write puranas, beautiful parables. We don’t bother about history because history is concerned with the nonessential; history is concerned with politics, day-to-day events, politicians, generals, wars, famines. History is concerned with the very nonessential, the moving, the flux. Myth, mythology, a purana, is concerned with the essential.
So there is a problem when a Western person starts reading the Ramayana. He becomes concerned about when Rama was born. When? That is not told at all. We have never worried about it. What does it matter? Any day will do, any year will do. That is not essential. We look into the innermost; we look into the essential quality of Rama. What type of man was he? What greatness did he carry in his being, what fragrance? What song was his song – authentically his? We are not worried about the chronological; we are worried about the spiritual. Time is irrelevant. We look into the timeless.
That’s why Po-lo says, “In the judgment of horses of a man like Kao there is something more important than horses.” He has become a sage himself.
What did he look for first? He grasped the essence and ignored the gross. Remember it. When you look at a man or you look at a tree or you look at a rock, always look for the essential, forget the gross. The gross is not the thing. But in the modern world we forget the essence and look at the gross. If a man has a lot of money, we look. If he has a big car, we look; if he has a big house, we look. We forget the essential. We don’t look directly into his heart. We don’t have the eyes. In fact we don’t believe that he has a heart, we don’t believe that man has a soul. Man is just a body, a physical thing, and so is everything else.
So it is not a wonder that our life has become so dull. It has become a drag. There is no joy, no celebration. How can celebration exist without a soul? Celebration arises out of the soul, out of the spiritual, out of the essential. Joy arises out of your innermost core and we have denied that.
You don’t look into yourself and you don’t look into others. Only surfaces meet. In fact, it is not right to say, “meet” – they clash, because there is no dialogue. There is discussion but there is no dialogue. There is argument but there is no meeting, there is no love – because love can exist only between two souls. When two essential beings look into each other’s essentialness, love arises. When you look through your essential core into the essential core of existence, God arises.
Don’t ask where God is. God is a dialogue with existence. God is not a being; God is not a person. When you know how to be in a dialogue with existence, you know what God is. God is the meaning of existence, the meaning that permeates the whole. But it can be known only by moving through the essential. The essential is the door.
In the parable, Kao looks and grasps the essence and forgets the gross. He looks into the innermost native impulses; he looks into the spontaneity of the horse, not at what has been cultivated in him.
He does not look into the character – a man may be a saint or he may be a sinner. Don’t look into the sainthood of a man, and don t look into the sinner-hood of a man: look into the potentiality of his being. Then you will come to see that nobody is a sinner, nobody is a saint; everybody is a sage. Everybody is divine – sinners and saints, all. Then whatsoever a person is doing is not of much importance. Being is important. What you do is very irrelevant, what you are is relevant. Your acts are superficial, your being is fundamental.
“He looks for and sees what he needs to see…” You don’t look for that which you need to see. Whatsoever object comes in front of you, you look at it. You are not searching. Whatsoever accidentally comes in front of you, you look at it. You don’t go deep, you don’t explore any potential, you don’t dive. You just stand outside. At the most you are a spectator.
Life can be known only through participation. Don’t be a spectator. The whole modern world has become just a spectator, a crowd of onlookers. Somebody dances, you look . What are you doing? How can you look at a dance? A dance must be felt; a dance must be danced. Somebody is singing and you look and you listen. To know the song and the beauty of it you have to sing, you have to participate. This calamity has taken epidemic proportions. You go on looking at everything.
You rush to the movies – what for? Can’t you live a beautiful life? Why do you have to go to see a movie? People are glued to their chairs in front of their TV’s just looking at other people’s lives. And they are not even living, they are acting for you. They are acting for you and you are seeing those actors – and nobody is living. The dancer is not a true dancer, he is a professional and you are the audience. All is false.
Surfaces clash and the essentials are not meeting. Look for the essential. When you start looking for the essential you will become a participant. You will know. A dance must be known in only one way – that is to dance. How can you know what swimming is if you just stand on the bank and watch somebody swimming? You will see the strokes and you will see the man doing something in the water but how will you know the thrill that is happening to him, the kick that is happening to him, the sensation, the buoyancy, the joy? The feeling of the river, flowing with the river, dancing with the river – how will you know it by standing on the bank? Jump into the river; that is the only way to know life. Jump into the river. Never be a spectator. The spectator is the poorest man in the world. Participate. Through participation comes love, through participation comes truth, through participation comes beauty, through participation ultimately comes God.
“In the judgment of horses of a man like Kao there is something more important than horses.” Yes, in this parable horses are not being discussed, horses are just an excuse to talk about something tremendously important and significant.
When the horse arrived it did prove to be a great horse.
You can also become great horses and you can also become knowers of great horses. But remember, this parable is not about horses; horses are just an excuse. The parable is about the sage, the Taoist sage, the great sage.
Meditate over it. Let it sink deep into you. It will give you many insights, many more than I have talked about. You will get many more insights because there are many which cannot be talked about at all. They will be revealed only when you meditate on it. You will get many more because when you meditate you will certainly meditate in a different way – from your angle, from your vision.
I have just given you a few indications. These are not fixed rules. I am not an interpreter – remember always, I am not an interpreter. I love these stories and I try to share my love with you. It is not an interpretation. I am not a commentator. Commentary is an ugly job – why should I comment? I am not commenting. I love these stories, I feel the fragrance of these stories and I like to share that fragrance with you.
Maybe through that fragrance you also become interested. Maybe while listening to me a great desire arises in you to go deeper into the waters. If that is done then my effort has been fruitful.
So don’t take my interpretations as rigid interpretations, and don’t think that I have done the job for you. I cannot chew for you; you have to chew for yourself. I can simply seduce you. These are seductions, not commentaries – just seductions so you become interested in a different dimension. Each Taoist parable opens a dimension, opens a new door. If you go into them, more doors will open and if you go through those doors, even more will open. It is a never-ending mystery.
Enough for today.

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