A little biographical note:
YAKUSAN, ALSO KNOWN AS YUESHAN, WAS BORN IN 750. HE BECAME A PRIEST AT THE AGE OF SEVENTEEN. LATER, WHILE WITH SEKITO, HE REALIZED HIS ENLIGHTENMENT. ONCE A MASTER WITH DISCIPLES OF HIS OWN, YAKUSAN ESTABLISHED A MONASTERY, WHICH PROSPERED WELL.
What does it mean – WHICH PROSPERED WELL? Does it mean it accumulated great wealth?
No, it means it accumulated thousands of seekers for truth. It means many became enlightened under the guidance and presence of Yakusan. It is a totally different kind of prosperity. It is totally a different world. It belongs to your innermost splendor.
When so many people became enlightened under Yakusan, the whole mountain where he was collecting all these seekers must have become a paradise. So many enlightened people ... the whole mountain must have been rejoicing and dancing. That is what it means: his monastery prospered well.
YAKUSAN HAD NOT GIVEN A DISCOURSE FOR SOME TIME WHEN, ONE DAY, THE HEAD MONK CAME AND SAID, "THE CONGREGATION OF MONKS ARE THINKING ABOUT YOUR PREACHING A SERMON."
What has happened? He used to give a daily discourse, and then suddenly for some time he did not turn up to the discourse place. Every day thousands of seekers gathered to listen to him, but had to return back very sad and in despair: "What has happened to the master? Why is he not coming to give his sermons?"
It was not that he was ill, he was perfectly healthy; he was chopping wood – the disciples saw him
– he was carrying water from the well, he was doing everything except the sermons. What could have been the cause?
As far as I am concerned, I know the cause. The cause was that so many people had become enlightened that the master thought, "When there are so many enlightened people in the congregation, they will share. There is no need for me to go on and on telling people. Enough people are enlightened: they can share their enlightenment, their illumination, their light, their life. What is the need for me?"
But the chief monk of the monastery ... that is an administrative post, it does not mean that the chief monk is enlightened. On the contrary, the chief monk is never enlightened, because he has to do some work; he has to take care of thousands of monks.
THE HEAD MONK CAME AND SAID, "THE CONGREGATION OF MONKS ARE THINKING ABOUT YOUR PREACHING A SERMON."
They could not understand why Yakusan had stopped giving his sermons. They could not see that even the rocks of the mountain are giving sermons. So many people have become enlightened that the whole mountain is aflame. Now others who are not enlightened should sit by the side of the enlightened ones.
YAKUSAN SAID, "RING THE BELL."
That calls all the monks to the congregation place.
THE SUPERIOR BANGED AWAY AT THE BELL, BUT WHEN ALL THE MONKS GATHERED, YAKUSAN WENT BACK TO HIS ROOM. THE HEAD MONK FOLLOWED HIM AND SAID, "THE MASTER WAS GOING TO GIVE A TALK, AND THE MONKS ARE ALL READY; WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY ANYTHING TO THEM?"
The fact is, that which needs to be said cannot be said, and that which can be said is not the truth. Every enlightened person has come across the difficulty of how to transfer the experience.
Words are impotent and dangerous. Much is lost the moment you convert your experience from the no-mind into your mind; almost ninety-nine percent is lost, but still there is some fragrance left. But when you speak it, and it reaches the ears of the listeners, that one percent very rarely survives because the listener goes on interpreting it.
Unless the listener stops interpreting – that means, unless he becomes a no-mind .... Mind is interpretation; it is commentary, it is constant commentary. It is continuously telling you what it means.
When you simply listen in silence, with no commentary, no interpretation, that one percent fragrance will become a seed. And as you go on meditating that seed will one day become a flowering bush.
But it is very difficult, because the disciples have to be ready, rooted deep in meditation. Only then that one percent, perhaps, may enter their being and become a seed.
The master came to the congregation. All the monks had gathered because for many days he had not spoken. But when the gathering was complete, when everybody had come, the master returned to his room without saying a word.
In fact, he is not saying but showing. He is saying, "Return to your innermost room."
He is not saying it in words, he is showing them: "Don't waste time in words; just go inside, into your inner room, into your inner shrine. There you will find me, there you will find my message. There you will find your
His returning to his room is a gesture, an indication, that "You also return to your rooms, close your eyes, go inwards as I am going. Don't waste your time in words."
The head monk, very disappointed, followed the master and said,
"THE MASTER WAS GOING TO GIVE A TALK.
You have told me to ring the bell, and to call all the monks together to listen to your sermon --
AND THE MONKS ARE ALL READY; WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY ANYTHING TO THEM?"
This is the beauty of Zen, that it always remains a mystery. When the master says "Ring the bell," that does not mean that he is going to say something.
If the people were meditative, just the bell ringing and then becoming more silent, more silent, more silent ... the sound disappearing into silence .... If people were ready, meditative, they would not have come to the congregation. They would have listened to the bell, its sound disappearing into silence, the sound of their own mind disappearing into the silence of no-mind.
That was the message: not to come to the congregation place but to go inwards. As the sound disappears, you disappear. Let a great silence descend on you. But the head monk could not understand, nor the other monks.
Perhaps the enlightened ones may not have come to the congregation, and perhaps the master has come just to see who has gathered.
YAKUSAN SAID, "THERE ARE SUTRA PRIESTS AND THERE ARE SHASTRA PRIESTS" –
and what is their function? They don't know anything as their experience.
The sutra priests exist for sutras; they are just biological computers carrying sutras. You ask them for sutras, they will give you sutras. And there are shastra priests; they don't know anything on their own authority, but they can give you the whole shastra with all the interpretations possible. But it is all games, gymnastics of intellect and language.
Yakusan said, "I am neither, so WHY DO YOU QUESTION MY GOINGS-ON?
Why do you question that I have left the congregation? Neither am I a sutra priest, nor am I a shastra priest. I am myself. I expound my own experience, and I have expounded enough.
"I have said the unsayable in as many ways as it was possible to say it. I have expressed the inexpressible in thousands of ways, and so many people have become enlightened. Now all these meditators should sit by the side of those who have become enlightened. I have done my work, now I want to retire. Seeing the utter futility of saying anything, I wanted to retire from the very first day when I became enlightened. But because of my compassion, my love, and thousands of people coming with such thirst, I remained; I did not go into retirement, into silence. I hoped that perhaps their thirst may help them. The deeper their thirst ... I will be able to reach them with my words, with my silences, with my gestures. Perhaps if a thousand people come, one person may become enlightened. For that every effort is worth doing.
"And now that so many people are enlightened .... I am getting old, you should start sharing with the enlightened ones. This is my last gesture to you: Go into your innermost shrine. That's why I have come to my room." And he closed his doors.
Yakusan never opened his doors again. He died inside his room.
Zen masters die in different ways. They live individually, they die individually. Their every expression is so authentic, so original, you can never predict it.
The monks, the disciples, even the enlightened ones, were sitting around his house crying, shouting, "Please open the door." But there was nobody to open the door. Finally they had to break the door down. Yakusan was sitting in a lotus posture
– just the body; his being had melted like ice into the cosmos.
It is a very beautiful ending; the last sermon of the master just before his death.
– taken from Yakusan: Straight to the Point of Enlightenment, by
Other "Lost and Found"
commentaries by Osho