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Nothing to Get – A Zen Story

Nothing to Get – A Zen Story

“You can create a lie, but you cannot create a new truth. You can only delve into something that is already there and realize it.”



A disciple who belonged to the Sixth Zen Sect joined a monastery called Kaaksi and attained enlightenment under the master’s guidance.

The master asked him to go around the world, so he began his travels. In one city, a student from another monastery met him and asked, "Where are you coming from?"

"I am coming from the Kaaksi monastery that belongs to the Sixth Sect," said the enlightened disciple.

"What did you get in that monastery?"

"There was nothing there which I did not already have before joining Kaaksi," said the disciple.

"Then why did you go there?"

"If I had not gone there, how would I have known that there was nothing there that I did not have before?"

Sadhguru's explanation:

Sadhguru: Enlightenment is not getting hold of something. Not leaping and attaining a target. Not reaching a mountain peak. It is just realizing the self, that’s all.

When you realize the truth that is already there, we call it realization. It is just like there was something always in front of your eyes but you missed it, and now suddenly you noticed it.

You can create a lie, but you cannot create a new truth. You can only delve into something that is already there and realize it. This is enlightenment or liberation.

Just to realize that there is something called knowing, you need to go to someone who is fully realized. Otherwise you will imagine something on your own and believe that you know everything. In other words, you must first know that you do not know what enlightenment means. The problem is, people don't even understand that they do not know.

My childhood problem was that I did not know a thing! If I took a leaf in my hands, I would sit for hours just looking at it. If they gave me a glass of water to drink at home, I would sit there for hours just staring at it without drinking. I used to sit up in my bed and stare at the darkness the entire night. I always kept staring at something or the other.

People around me thought that I had some kind of psychological problem. Others thought that some ghost or evil spirit had possessed me. But in reality, because I did not know anything, I just kept staring at anything my eyes fell on. I did not know any other way to find out about things.

Meanwhile, the people around me looked like they knew everything. And they seemed to be living happily because of their knowledge. They knew about everything that is here and even about things that are not visible to the eyes. They knew God, they knew what heaven was, they knew the entire cosmos. I heard a lot about people claiming to speak to gods and gods speaking to them.

I grew interested in knowing what happened to people and how they behaved after meeting and talking with God. So I sat outside the temple many times and looked intently at people who went in and came out. But the people who came out of the temple looked interested only in gossiping about people, spreading and listening to rumors.

At Indian temples, it is common for your footwear to walk away with somebody else. So I have seen people who lost their footwear cursing God very intensely.

It seemed to me that people who walked out of restaurants looked happier and more satisfied than those coming out of temples. Divine versus dosa - it was dosa that always won!

At that point of time I did not know what was divine or what was the nature of the divine. And of course, I also liked dosa. But I was assured that whatever was the source of the creation, it must be a far bigger phenomenon than to a dosa. But in fact, it was the dosa that gave people more fulfillment.

I felt something was fundamentally wrong with this situation. It took some time for me to realize that in reality nobody knew anything. They just derive satisfaction from their imagination. Because of readymade explanations and beliefs, human beings are not even ready to accept that they do not know. Only if you know that you do not know, you will start longing to know that which you do not know. Now, the possibility of knowing the unknown will arise.

The purpose of going to the right Guru or master is not to get something new. It is to get his help to realize something that is within you but you did not notice.

What was possible for me is also possible for you. It is also possible for your neighbor and even your enemy. You don’t have to acquire something new.

Editor’s Note: Read this article, where Sadhguru explains what Zen is and how it came to be such an effective means towards the Ultimate.

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