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Book Name: Zen - The Solitary Bird, Cuckoo of the ForestPrevious     Next
 

I don't want anybody to be a follower of anybody else either. The moment you start following someone, you are going to miss yourself. You will be lost in dark nights and dark clouds and it will become more and more difficult to find the way back home.

A MONK SAID TO TOZAN, "YOU ALWAYS TELL LEARNERS TO TAKE THE WAY OF THE BIRDS.

WHAT IS THIS WAY OF THE BIRDS?"

TOZAN SAID, "YOU MEET NOBODY ON IT."

It reminds me of a very beautiful story in Aesop's fables. There are scholars who think that Aesop as a person never existed, that those stories are told by Gautam Buddha, who was also called bodhisat. And the word bodhisat, as it moved from country to country, became Aesop. But it does not matter who told them; the stories are significant on their own.

This story is that a little girl, Alice, reaches the wonderland and wants to see the king. She was led to the king's court and the king asked the little girl, "Did you meet somebody on the way coming towards me? I am waiting for somebody."

The girl factually replied, "Nobody, sir."

And from this point the story becomes pure Zen.

The king said, "If you say you met nobody, then he should have reached here by now!"

The girl said, "Don't be angry, sir, nobody is nobody!"

The king said, "I understand language, you don't have to teach me. Nobody is of course nobody, but where is he? It certainly proves that nobody walks slower than you!"

The poor girl now gets into trouble. She says, "No, nobody walks faster than me!"

The king said, "This is very contradictory. If nobody walks faster than you, he must be here by now."

It is a children's book, but certainly the source cannot be found anywhere else except Gautam Buddha. Even if Aesop existed as a historical person, he must have got the idea of `nobody' from Gautam Buddha's insistence that to be somebody is to be nothing and to be nobody is to be all. The ego makes you somebody and egolessness makes you nobody. But the ego is a confinement, and the moment you stop the ego you are as vast as the whole universe, you are the universe.

The Birds' Way, Tozan said, is one where you meet nobody.

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