Another box of cornflakes

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The world is a market, and nothing is wrong with it being a market. Why are you so against the market? The market is beautiful! You can go to the mountains for a rest, but eventually one has to come back to the market. The market is reality. Mountains may be holidays, but holidays are not so real as the reality of the market.

You must have seen the ten ox-herding pictures of Zen. They are beautiful. In the first picture, the bull is lost. The bull is a symbol of self, and the owner of the bull is in search. He goes into the forest; he cannot see where the bull has escaped, where the bull is hiding, but he goes on searching. In the next picture he finds the footprints of the bull. In the third picture he sees, somewhere far away, just the back of the bull; he can see the tail. In the fourth picture he can see the whole bull and he catches hold of the tail. In the fifth he has tamed the bull. In the sixth he rides on the bull toward home. This is the way the story goes. In the seventh the bull is transcended, and in the eighth the bull and the owner of the bull have both disappeared. In the ninth picture, the world starts appearing again: trees, mountains, flowers, but you cannot see the bull or the bull-owner. In the tenth picture the bull-owner is back and is standing in the market-place. Not only is he standing in the market-place, but he is carrying a bottle of alcohol.

In the olden days only eight pictures existed. The eighth picture is empty; nothing is there. That is the highest peak of meditation, where everything disappears; the seeker and the sought, everything disappears -- just emptiness. But then a great Zen Master felt that this was incomplete. The circle was not complete: one had to come back to the world. Mountains are good, but the circle was incomplete if you remained in the mountains. One had to come to the market place. Then he added two more pictures, and I feel that he did well. Now the circle is complete. You start from the market-place and you come back to the market-place. The market is the same, but you are not the same. The world remains the same, but you are not the same. One has to come back to it.

This is how it has always happened. Mahavir left -- for twelve years he remained in silence in the mountains, in the forest. Then, suddenly, one day he was back in the market-place. Buddha left -- for six years he remained in isolation. Then one day, suddenly he was in the market place standing and gathering people to tell them what had happened to him. Jesus went to the mountains for forty days. But how can you live in the mountains forever? -- the circle will be incomplete. Whatsoever you attain in the mountains has to be given back to the market.

The first thing is: don't be antagonistic to the market. The whole world is a market. Antagonism is not good. And what is wrong with being a box of cornflakes? Cornflakes are wonderful! They have as much possibility of Buddhahood as you.

I must tell you a few anecdotes.

One Zen Master, Lin Chi, was weighing flax. One seeker came while he was weighing flax and asked, 'I am in a hurry and I cannot wait, but I have a question to ask. What is Buddhahood?' The Master didn't even look at the seeker; he continued weighing and he said, 'One pound of flax.' It has become a code in Zen -- one pound of flax. Then why not one pound of cornflakes?

Even flax has the possibility, the potentiality of Buddhahood. Everything is holy and divine. When you condemn something, something is wrong with you. Once, Lin Chi was sitting under a tree and a man asked, 'Is there any possibility for a dog to become a Buddha? Can a dog become a Buddha? Is a dog potentially a Buddha also?' What did Lin Chi do? -- he jumped on all fours and he barked, 'Woof, woof!' He became a dog and he said, 'Yes, nothing is wrong, nothing is wrong at all in being a dog.'

This is the attitude of a real religious man: that the whole life is divine, unconditionally. Nothing is wrong with being a box of Cornflakes on the market, so don't be afraid of telling people about me and don't be afraid of the market. The market has always been there and will always be there. And in the market anything goes. Wrong things will also be sold; nobody can prevent that. But because of wrong things, people who have some thing right to sell in the market become afraid. They always become afraid, and they think, 'How to put such a thing on the market where everything that is wrong is going on?' But this is not helping in any way. Rather, on the contrary, you help the wrong thing to be sold.

In economics there is a law that says that false coins force real coins out of circulation. If you have a false coin and an authentic coin, the human tendency is to first try to circulate the false coin. You want to get rid of it; keep the authentic coin in your pocket and circulate the false coin in the market. That's why so many false coins are in circulation. Somebody has to bring the authentic coin to the market. And once you bring the authentic coin to the market, the very authenticity works.

Just look -- even if false things go on, why not the real thing? But people who have the real thing are always afraid of unnecessary problems. Many people I know are afraid even to tell people about me. They think, 'When the right moment comes -- then.' Who knows when it will come? They think, 'How can I say? I have not yet experienced much.' Then they think that if you talk about me it becomes like another advertisement. If you talk on the T.V. or on the radio, or you write articles in the newspaper, it looks like you are selling something. It looks cheap. But people who are selling bad and false things are not afraid of this, they are not bothered. They are not even bothered about whether any cornflakes are inside the box or not. They are simply selling beautiful boxes, but empty. They are not afraid.

This is how bad people put right people out of circulation. They are not bothered about whether something is cheap; they simply go on shouting loudly. And of course when somebody shouts loudly, people hear. When somebody shouts so loudly and with such confidence, people are caught in it.

Don't be afraid. Just by your being afraid you cannot take the wrong things off the market. The only way to put them out is to bring the right thing. And if you have the right thing, then shout from the roof tops. Don't be bothered; shout as loudly as you can. That is the only way that things move in the world.

Jesus has said to his disciples, 'Go to the farthest corners of the earth. Convert people and cry from the house tops, so that everyone can hear. Then everybody can come to know what truth is.' Buddha has said to his disciples, 'Go, and don't be stopped for long periods in one place, because the earth is big.' The word of Buddha is, 'charaiveti, charaiveti' -- go on, go on! Many are still there to hear the word. Don't stop, don't rest -- charaiveti charaiveti! Go forward continuously, go on, because the whole earth is waiting for the message.

Don't be afraid. If you feel that you have the right Cornflakes for people, go to the market place. Don't hesitate, gather courage. Because just boxes are being sold, when you have cornflakes in the box that is the only way that those empty boxes can be put out of circulation. There is no other way. Nothing is wrong with it. The market place is just a free competition for everything. You have as much chance to win as everybody else.

These problems always bother people who have something; they always hesitate. They hesitate because maybe if they say something, people may reject them. Who knows? And good people are always hesitant; bad people are always dogmatic, stubborn. That's why the world is won more by the bad people -- and good people are always standing outside the market, thinking, 'What to do and what not to do?' By the time they decide, the whole market is filled with false things.

In the West particularly this is so, because now in the West a man to man approach has become impossible. You have to use all the communication media. In Buddha's time it was totally different -- Buddha would move and meet people face to face. No newspapers existed, no radio, no television. But now to meet people personally is impossible, particularly in the West, unless you use the mass media. And when you use the mass media, of course, it looks like meditation is also a commodity. You have to use the same terms, you have to use the same language, you have to persuade people in the same way as other people are persuading for other things. If you say that this meditation is the ultimate in meditations, it will look like a commercial because there are many who are saying this. They are saying about soaps that: 'This is the ultimate in soaps, this is the ultimate in perfumes!' There are perfumes named 'ecstasy'. Sooner or later, someone is going to name a perfume 'satori', 'samadhi'. You have to use the same terms, the same language; there is no other way. You have to use the same methods, but nothing is wrong with that.

I have been in the mountains and I have come back to the market place. Can't you see the bottle of alcohol in my hands? I am in the market place now. You have to be bold. Go and use all the mediums that are available now. You cannot do it like a Buddha, you cannot do it like a Jesus -- those days are over. If you go on doing it like that, then it will take millions of years to spread the news. By the time the news reaches people, the thing will be already dead. So while the Cornflakes are fresh, hurry, reach the people.

Yoga The Alpha & Omega Vol 04 ~ 10, Q 2